NEW ADULT ANTHOLOGY! You Won’t Want to Miss It!

 

A Collection of today’s bestselling authors

 

10 Full-Length Novels that are first in the series or a companion novel that can be read as a stand alone.

 

Brooke Cumberland – Spark
Erika Ashby – Moving Forward
J.S. Cooper – The Last Boyfriend
J.L. Berg – When You’re Ready
Mia Sheridan – Stinger
Harper Sloan – Axel
Adriane Leigh – Wild
Kasey Millstead – Cowboy Town
MJ Carnal – Taming the Bachelor
Kimberly Lauren – Beautiful Broken Rules
This anthology will only be available for 10 DAYS starting April 15, 2014! Make sure you one-click it before this exclusive, limited time offer goes away!

 

Synopsis

 

Jesika Reynolds’ heart was left broken one year ago when her husband died, leaving her and her son alone in this world. Slowly, she started putting the pieces back together of her life. Knowing that she may never open herself up to love again. That was until the day Derek came into the picture.

 

Why does this gorgeous stranger seem to care so much, so suddenly?
Derek Jordan’s charm drew her in with an instant connection, and familiarity that helps her feel at ease. Her heart is falling at his feet, but as their relationship grows, so does a secret from both of their pasts that neither saw coming. One by one, the threads slowly start to unravel.
Can their newly sought love stand up against the secrets that life is unlocking to their pasts? Or can they decide together that moving forward and forgetting the past is the only option for them to find true happiness?
**Intended for Mature Audiences**

 

About the Author
Being born an “Army Brat”, Erika Ashby has been residing in Oklahoma the last 10 years finally putting an end to the nomad tendencies she had grown accustomed to. She’s a happily married woman who has 5 kids between her and her husband. She has an insane passion for music and embraces her Inner Groupie any chance she has. It wasn’t until the age of 29 that she realized she also had a hidden passion for reading; before then she claimed to have hated it. Six months after unlocking that deep desire she never knew she held, she turned the key to another chapter of her life which has become the desire to write. And the rest is still history in the making.

 

 

Synopsis
Years after suffering the tragic loss of her husband, Ethan, which left her alone to raise their young daughter, Clare Murray still holds the last letter he wrote with the words “When You’re Ready” written in his familiar messy handwriting, unable to break its weathered seal. Ready for what? He was her entire world, and Clare had accepted a life without him, without love. Until years later, fate brings her to an emergency room, and face to face with a stormy-eyed doctor intent on changing her mind.

 

 

 

Son of a billionaire, Logan Matthews has spent his life trying to make his absentee father proud. Without a family to depend on, all he’s ever wanted is a place to call home. After a failed marriage, Logan believes he’s unworthy of love…until he meets a woman who awakens his spirit and transforms his entire life in an instant.
But how far are Clare and Logan willing to go for love? Can his love mend the pieces of her grieving heart?
When their love is tested, is Clare ready to put her whole heart on the line again? Can Logan learn the true meaning of love, even if it means sacrificing his own happiness? When a second chance at love is given, Clare and Logan learn you are never truly ready until you’re ready to risk it all.

 

About the Author
I’m a California native, who lives in the South – Virginia to be exact. I still prefer sushi to fried chicken, avocados to okra, and I absolutely loathe humidity. I do love watching the seasons change though. My husband and I have been here for ten years, and I still get giddy like a school girl every time it snows.
I’m married to my high school sweetheart. We were married young, barely out of high school. Everyone told us we were crazy and stupid. We’ll be celebrating 12 years of marriage this year, and I love him more every single day. We’re living proof that true love knows no age limit.
We’ve been blessed with two beautiful daughters who continue to amaze and inspire me, and are probably making me go a bit insane. I’m obsessed with yoga and pilates and am a complete chocoholic. I apologize in advance for the amount of sweets in my book.
I’m absolutely obsessed with romance novels (duh) and probably could have built a vacation home with the amount of money I’ve invested in them over the years. Romance novels take you to another place, making your heart race, emotions swell, passion run free. After so many years of meeting hundreds of fictional characters and discovering their worlds, I found myself creating my own.
Synopsis
Ex marine and bad boy, Mark Moretti, made a pact with his childhood friends to live life to the fullest and never allow a woman to tie him down. After years of success and the world at his feet, he is determined to make that pact a reality. A move back to his beloved Los Angeles threatens to change the future he had written for himself when the shy and beautiful, Sophie Barringer, ends up being the Maid of Honor at his sister’s wedding.

 

 

 

Sophie has been burned at love. The last thing she needs is a self proclaimed bachelor to turn her head. But her heart may have other plans.
Forced to spend a week together in paradise, can they deny their steamy chemistry and stay away from each other or will they give in to lust and take the chance? Can Mark get over his player reputation to take a shot at love or will fate be cruel enough to deny them their happily ever after?

 

 

About the Author

 

MJ Carnal lives in Lexington, South Carolina with her husband, gorgeous daughter and two loving and super furry dogs. She spends her days in the world of neurosurgery but her nights in a world she creates on paper. When she isn’t writing, you can find her watching episodes of The Walking Dead with her hubby, having tea parties with Princess Caroline, Singing karaoke for anyone that will listen and reading just about anything she can get her hands on. The Moretti Novels are her first published works.

She loves to hear from fans, fellow writers and book lovers. Find her online at http://www.facebook.com/mjcarnalauthor or on Twitter @mjcarnalauthor.

Synopsis

Lucky Morgan has had her share of heartbreak. She is devastated when her boyfriend dumps her after sleeping with him and she vows to herself that she won’t be used again. She decides that the next guy she dates and sleeps with, will be her one true love.

Zane Beaumont is the mysterious and snooty guy that comes into her diner every Friday night with a different girl. He’s the type of guy she’s learned to avoid: carefree, fast, handsome, rich, and sarcastic. Unfortunately, she can’t stop thinking about the devilish gleam in his eyes.

When Lucky’s car breaks down one night after a party, it is Zane who comes to her rescue. As Zane attempts to sweep Lucky off of her feet, she soon realizes that nothing is as it seems and that Zane may very well be the guy for whom she changes the rules. That is until she meets Braydon.

 

About the Author

J. S. Cooper is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She is a true romantic that is in love with love. The J. S. stands for Jaimie Suzi. She just thought J. S. sounded cooler! J. S. was born in London, England and moved to the States at age 17. She studied history in college and then went to law school and then decided to follow her writing dreams. J. S. writes ‘New Adult’ contemporary romance books because that is what she also loves to read.

Available Books: The Last Boyfriend, The Last Husband, Before Lucky, The Other Side of Love, Zane & Lucky’s First Christmas, Crazy Beautiful Love, Scarred, and Healed.

Upcoming books: Finding My Prince Charming, If Only Once (The Martelli Brothers), Everlasting Sin, The Rebel Next Door and Hot Prof.

Please join J. S. Cooper on her facebook page if you enjoy her books here: https://www.facebook.com/J.S.Cooperauthor. If you wish to get in contact, please email her at Jscooperauthor@gmail.com.

 

Synopsis
When your past controls your future, how do you move forward?
Velaney Wills knows about that all too well.
Weak, powerless, and fearing the one person who has hurt her the most…can she overcome the barriers to move forward?
Being saved by a muscled Godsend was never on her agenda, but when firefighter, Eric Reilley comes into her life unexpectedly, everything changes.Velaney has never felt loved or cared for, and her past prevents her from letting anyone in. Eric manages to break down her walls—despite the repercussions that come for them afterwards.They have an undeniable spark—something she has never felt before, but will it be enough? Can love overcome all obstacles? Can they save each other to protect their love or will her past shatter everything she never knew she needed…?

**Spark is for mature audiences only – strong language, explicit sexual content, and sexual abuse are apparent.**

About the Author

 

Brooke Cumberland is a stay-at-home mom who writes full-time. She lives in the frozen tundra of Packer Nation with her husband and wild child. She’s the author of The Riverside Trilogy and The Spark Series. When she isn’t writing she’s reading or hanging out with her family.
You can find Brooke on Facebook, Twitter, and on her website.
www.brookecumberland.com
www.facebook.com/brookecumberlandauthor
Twitter @blcumberland
Synopsis
One thing Emerson Moore has come to terms with is that she is the school slut. She knows her way around a frat house and how to get what she wants. She doesn’t make any excuses for her actions and she doesn’t pretend to be anything different. She is who she is and with that she knows how to have a good time. She’s made rules to keep relationships at bay and avoid the demons of her past.

When her best friend, Cole has his two friends from back home move in with him she begins to think she has met her match with Jaxon Riley. Jax is the perfect mixture of tattooed muscle and a sweet-talking mouth. With “hand” written notes, a voice that exudes sex and knowing just how to get under her skin, Jaxon learns how to break all the rules. But will he just end up breaking her heart anyway?

New Adult/Adult Contemporary Romance – recommended for ages 18 and up.

About the Author

I’m a wanderer, an adventurer, a traveler.

I want to see it all. I haven’t been everywhere but it’s on my list.

“She travels the world & home is always in her heart.”

Lately if I’m not traveling or chasing a toddler, I’m writing. Which is weird because I hated writing in college. Oh wait, that’s because that was boring. Who really wants to sit there and cite all your sources into APA format? Not this girl. Writing for yourself is enjoyable and cathartic. Please try it. Then tell me about because I love indie authors.

I’m a Texas girl living in Southern California, who misses living in Europe!

 

Synopsis
An independent woman, a controlling man, and one wild one-night stand…Kat Kennedy moved to the rugged coast of Maine to start a new life, but encountered much more than she bargained for in dark, dangerous, and seductive Lane Wild.Desire and temptation smolder before she succumbs to her darkest fantasies with the captivating stranger. She doesn’t expect to see him again after an explosive one-night stand leaves her breathless and craving more, but just like lightning in the darkness, he shows up in her life at the most unpredictable moments.

A sensual game of cat and mouse ensues before the attraction between them reaches a fever pitch—the magnetism combustible, the sexual tension nearly unbearable—and Kat finally abandons inhibition and explores the cunning, selfish, and sexual side of a world she’s never known.

They have the perfect non-relationship—passion-fueled nights with no strings attached—until life gets real and the past and present collide in a dangerous storm of lust and obsession.

About the Author
Adriane Leigh was born and raised in a snowbank in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and now lives among the sand dunes of the Lake Michigan lakeshore.She graduated with a Literature degree but never particularly enjoyed reading Shakespeare or Chaucer.

She is married to a tall, dark, and handsome guy, and plays mama to two sweet baby girls. She is a voracious reader and wishes she had more time to knit scarves to keep her warm during the arctic Michigan winters.

 

Synopsis

Ever since her parents passed away in a tragic car accident, Eden Cross has been living a quiet, stable and predictable life in inner Sydney – the total opposite of her carefree, relaxed, happy-go-lucky past. Her parents passing and the fact she’s an only child meant Eden was left with her best friend, Jules and Matt, her boyfriend of three years as her only family. That was until she discovered something about Matt that would turn her life upside down. Eden leaves Sydney in a hurry and begins an adventure that takes her across four Australian states before she lands in Pine Creek, Northern Territory.

Jackson Henley has lived in Pine Creek his entire life. He runs a massive cattle and cropping station with his twin brother, Jeremy, which they inherited when their parents retired. He’s had a bad experience with relationships courtesy of The Bitch – Dannika, so lately he’s preferred to play the field. That is, until he comes face to face with the stunning brunette beauty who’s behind the bar at the Cow and Calf. The problem is, she won’t tell him her name, she won’t give him the time of day, and she won’t give him a chance to prove himself.

What’s it going to take for Eden to give Jackson a chance? Does he have the patience to even bother fighting for her? How will he handle the competition?

In the end, will Jackson have what it takes to convince Eden to start living again, instead of just existing?

About the Author

Kasey Millstead is a wife and mother of four children. She lives in a picturesque location in country New South Wales, Australia.
Kasey is the author of the #1 bestselling Down Under Cowboy series. She is also the author of The Steele Investigations series, Fighting to Stay and Illicit Desire.
When she is not busy writing, racing around after her children and husband or trying to avoid doing housework, she enjoys nothing more than curling up with a good book and getting lost in the world of Happy Ever After.
You can contact Kasey on Facebook (www.facebook.com/authorkaseymillstead), on Twitter (@KaseyMillstead), via her website )www.kaseymillstead.com), or by email (kaseymillstead@gmail.com)

 

Synopsis
Grace Hamilton was the girl with a plan. She knew exactly where her life was going and prided herself on always achieving her goals. It was who she was, and how she lived her life. She never stepped outside the lines, and never considered what she might desire and whom she was actually trying so hard to please. Until him…Carson Stinger was a man who didn’t play by any rules except his own. Working in the adult entertainment industry, he didn’t care what others thought, and took each day as it came, no direction, no plan. He knew what women wanted from him and believed it was all he had to offer. Until her…When circumstances forced them to spend several hours together, they walked away changed. But for two people who never should have meshed, overcoming the reality of their vastly different lives wasn’t possible. At least not yet…

THIS IS A STAND-ALONE SIGN OF LOVE NOVEL, INSPIRED BY SCORPIO. New Adult Contemporary Romance: Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.

 
About the Author

 

I’m Mia Sheridan. So nice to meet you! 🙂 I’m an avid reader, and now writer! of romance and erotic novels. I live in Cincinnati, Ohio with my husband who is a police officer and my biggest fan (not necessarily in that order). We have four children here on earth and one in heaven. When I’m not sitting on my couch with my head buried in my Kindle, I can be found writing or doing anything creative from building a patio, to sewing pillows. The wild hairs I get know no bounds. Leo is my debut novel, but my head is swimming with more…
Synopsis
Fate hasn’t always been friends with Isabelle West. In fact, fate has been a downright bitch. Isabelle has learned the hard way how hard life can be when fate isn’t by your side. It can hand you dreams on silver platters, but it can snatch them right back and hand you nightmares. One thing Isabelle knew for sure fate was consistent with was taking away everything she ever loved.

For the last two years Isabelle has been slowly clearing the clouds of her past. Happiness is finally on the horizon. She has a thriving business, great friends, and her life back. All she has to do is jump over the last hurdle…her ex-husband. When problems start causing her to fear her new life, and memories that are better left forgotten start rushing to the surface the last thing she needs is a ghost from her past to come knocking on her door.

Axel never thought he would look into the eyes of Isabelle West again, and he wasn’t sure he wanted to now. He’s carried his anger for so long he isn’t sure he can just turn it off, but when he is faced with protecting her and an unexpected desire to have her again, life gets a little more complicated.

How will Axel and Isabelle deal when all their cards are put on the table and everything they thought was true blows up in their faces?

About the Author

 

Harper lives in small town Georgia just a short drive from her hometown of Peachtree City. She (and her 3 daughters) enjoy ruling the house they dubbed ‘Estrogen Ocean’, much to her husbands chagrin. Harper has a borderline unhealthy obsession with books; you can almost ALWAYS find her with her eReader attached. She enjoys bad reality TV and cheesy romantic flicks. Her favorite kind of hero–the super alpha kind!
Harper started using writing as a way to unwind when the house went to sleep at night; and with a house full of crazy it was the perfect way to just relax. It didn’t take long before a head full of very demanding alphas would stop at nothing to have their story told.
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The Race to Forever Begins…

Can we say PRETTY COVER!! Yes, yes I think we can.

I mean look at it. It’s just so romantic with the desaturated colors on the flower, the water, the white… elegant. Just elegant LOL.

Info on the Book:

Carson Bradley has been under the impression that his heart was decommissioned and torn apart when he lost his first love in a slow, agonizing battle of illness fifteen years ago.

When his plane crashes into the ocean and he finds himself washed up on a beach grasping the ankle of a young, beautiful medical resident, he realizes that maybe the possibility of finding love again, isn’t as far away as he thought.

Lillian Ly had one main concern in her life: becoming a doctor. It was her dream and nothing was going to hold her back, but when she finds herself taking care of a handsome businessman, she realizes that maybe things aren’t always supposed to be planned out & that she needs to let the reins go a bit, in order to find her true happiness and maybe even her Forever.

 Beginning with Forever <—- Click to check it out on Goodreads

What’s not found in the Synopsis:

Song selection time! For this book I have:

Au Revoir

by One Republic

Alrighty, why this song? I honestly just found this vibe to be awesome for this book. It’s a little soft, and a little elegant – just like the cover and the writing style. Also, frankly something about it just reminds me of Carson.

Overall Rating: 3.75 Stars ***3/4

 I loved Lan’s writing style and how she paints her characters.

Carson is so sophisticated – even when his lips are chapped, he’s dehydrated and covered in seaweed – that man still had style.

Casting for Carson: (Well I just can’t deny David Gandy is kind of awesome..)

https://i2.wp.com/i64.photobucket.com/albums/h179/scribble14/gandy%20candy/DavidGandy.jpg

AND (just in case you are truly truly offended that I selected a picture to represent a major CEO and he’s not in a suit – here’s something to satisfy. What can I say, I like to please my audience)

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-siitcH21YqU/UVV03RTX0lI/AAAAAAAADXo/Srpo2D23lm8/s1600/David+Gandy+M&S+Collezione+Summer+2013++(1).png

 He was also an incredibly refreshing CEO character. While still dominant, he wasn’t domineering. You could see from his actions that he truly cared about Lillian and that he would give anything and everything for her, if she just asked for it.

For Lillian my cast is: Stephanie Jacobsen 

https://i1.wp.com/fansiter.com/2009/08/47278_stephanie_jacobsen_032_122_778lo.jpg

I mean I feel like she can pull of anything from sexy to elegant to sweet… Look she can even do the scrubs 😀

https://i1.wp.com/www.hairboutique.com/tips/StephanieJacobsen63_250h.jpg

Anyways, it’s an enjoyable book, but personally I just had a hard time getting truly invested in the characters. It started out great, but then I found myself weaning a bit just because I wanted more… “feels”. If that makes sense. I wanted more about his first love and I wanted to feel his pain for her more than I did. I wanted some struggle – but I LOVE angst – from him about her.

But overall, Lan has a lovely writing style. Her characters are poised, sweet, caring and while there some characters I wanted to beat upside the head and shake them, *ahem* Bianca/Richard – sorry did I say that aloud? Carson & Lillian had you rooting for them from the get go – their first meeting was just so original!

And frankly, check out this teaser:

https://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-frc3/t1.0-9/p403x403/10169410_664621863584879_861009383_n.jpg

Hey, hey. Nudge nudge.

https://i2.wp.com/i251.photobucket.com/albums/gg316/Copama/GIFs/KUpton-Wink.gif

You’re definitely in store for sexy times that’s for sure!

Cheers,

COVER REVEAL: ANOTHER NEW LIFE by Sydney Aaliyah Michelle

HOW EXCITING! 

I beta-read this book and I’m so happy it’s being released!

Anyways, here’s the very pretty cover! 

Title: Another New Life

Author: Sydney Aaliyah Michelle

Publication Date: June 2, 2014

New Adult Contemporary Romance

**This book contains adult subject matter. Not intended for young readers.**

Cover Design by: © Arijana Karčić, Cover It! Designs

Miranda Preston is a walking contradiction. Beautiful on the outside, but, insecure, haunted and damaged on the inside. Despite these contradictions, she’s ready to start Another New Life.

When her talent wins her a piano scholarship to the University of Texas at Austin, Miranda arrives on campus determined to experience everything college has to offer and to keep her secrets in the past where they belong.

An easy task, until the first guy who catches her eye happens to be someone, she’s known all her life.

Eight years have passed since the last time Miranda and Troy saw each other. He reminds her of the best and worst times of her life, but she can’t think about one without dwelling on the other. As they grow closer, every day their attraction reminds them they are no longer kids.

The epic romantic love story that is Miranda and Troy seems to be destined for a happy ending, but Miranda knows it’s only a matter of time before her secret is discovered. A secret that will not only destroy their relationship, it will destroy Troy, too.

Can Miranda focus on her future with Troy while preventing her past from tearing them apart all over again?

Giveaway

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About The Author

Website   Facebook   Twitter

Pinterest   Goodreads

 Google+   LinkedIn

 

  

Sydney Aaliyah Michelle is a New Adult Contemporary Romance writer, a voracious reader and movie fanatic.

Sydney has been blogging at sydneyaaliyah.com for three years, where she interviews people about their tattoos, discusses her favorite movie quotes, reviews books (New Adult & only the ones she loves) and journals about her writing and editing process.hailsfrom Texas. After surviving 5 1/2 years living in China, she had the courage to finally pursue her passion and become a writer.

Sydney’s self-published debut New Adult Novel Another New Life will be available June 2014. An active tweeter, she is also a JuNoWriMo (2x) and NaNoWriMo (2x) winners who notes the sci-fi action flick “The Matrix” as the best representation of her life in the past. She is blessed to be awake now and doing what she loves.

Cover Reveal: WHEN WE FALL by Kendall Ryan

 

Release Date: May 26, 2014

Book Description

In this third and final installment of the much loved When I Break series, Knox and McKenna’s relationship has reached a critical impasse. The mistakes and secrets of their pasts have caught up to them and threaten their future happiness. Can McKenna trust that Knox’s sexual addiction is behind him and make a life with this beautifully troubled man? And when Knox reveals the full truth about his past, will McKenna be able to put her own fears aside and accept him?

When We Fall is the conclusion to Knox and McKenna’s story. It will be released May 26, 2014

 

Link to books 1:

Amazon

Barnes&Noble

——

Author Bio:

 Kendall Ryan is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the contemporary romance novels Unravel Me, Make Me Yours, Hard to Love, Resisting Her, The Impact of You, and Working It. She’s a sassy yet polite Midwestern gal with a deep love of books and a slight addiction to lip gloss.
Thank you,
Kendall Ryan
New York Times & USA Today bestselling authorSign up for my newsletter!
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Four Seconds to Lose Paperback Launch!

RDL Banner FSTL

We are extremely excited about the Release Day Launch for the paperback of FOUR SECONDS TO LOSE by K.A. Tucker! FOUR SECONDS TO LOSE is the third novel in K.A. Tucker’s Ten Tiny Breaths Series, published by Atria Books (an imprint of Simon & Schuster). There is a fabulous international giveaway of a TEN TINY BREATHS scarf and an Amazon Gift Card for one winner! Four Secondsto Lose    

Available At: Amazon Barnes and Noble Other Retailers

 

~ABOUT FOUR SECONDS TO LOSE~

Owning a strip club isn’t the fantasy most guys expect it to be. With long hours, a staff with enough issues to keep a psych ward in business, and the police regularly on his case, twenty-nine year old Cain is starting to second guess his unspoken mission to save the women he employs. And then blond, brown-eyed Charlie Rourke walks through his door, and things get really complicated. Cain abides by a strict “no sleeping with the staff” rule. But being around Charlie challenges Cain’s self-control…and it’s been a long time since any woman has done that. Twenty-two-year old Charlie Rourke needs a lot of money, really fast, in order to vanish before it’s too late. Taking her clothes off for men makes her stomach curl but Charlie tells herself that at least she’s putting her acting and dancing skills to good use. And though her fellow dancers seem eager to nab their sexy, sophisticated, and genuinely caring boss, she’s not interested. After all, Charlie Rourke doesn’t really exist—and the girl pretending to be her doesn’t need to complicate her life with romance. Unfortunately, Charlie soon discovers that developing feelings for Cain is inevitable, that those feelings may not be unrequited—but losing him when he finds out what she’s involved with will be more painful than any other sentence awaiting her.  

 

~EXCERPT~

Charlie The small exhale escapes my lips before I can stop it. When I came up with this plan two weeks ago, I wasn’t fully aware of the inner workings at these clubs. But you can find anything on the internet. I found out that many owners charge a high stage fee, so the girls actually earn their money working hard on the floor and in the private rooms. Rumor has it that, though illegal, many of them do “extras,” on top of the lap dances. The idea of stripping on a stage in front of people is a giant pill to swallow for me. But lap dances . . . I’ll do it. I have to do it, I remind myself.

When I ran out of Sin City that day, I was sure that my plan was dead in the water. I mean, how was I going to perform daily lap dances when I couldn’t even get through my interview! But Ginger told me that Penny’s is different. That Cain is different. That no one in the private rooms will be taking their pants off, and that doing “extras” is one of the only ways that you get fired at Penny’s. Cain sounded too good to be true. Setting my chin with steely determination, I say, “Both, please.”    Swallowing the revulsion bubbling up in my throat, I clarify with a struggle, “I want to work the private rooms as well as the stage.”

Cain blows air out of his mouth, one hand on his hip while the other pushes through perfectly styled, slightly wavy dark hair as he stares hard at me. There’s an inexplicable look in his eyes, but I know he’s trying to read me. I wonder if he’s deciding whether to ask me for a demonstration. My gaze drifts to the couch again and my stomach tightens. Somehow I think giving this guy an interview lap dance might be harder than doing one for a sleazeball. Because if I could get past the embarrassment and nerves, I might enjoy it. But he doesn’t ask me to demonstrate. Instead, he asks me, “Have you ever bartended before?”

I shake my head, frowning.

“I have too many girls working the private rooms right now. But working behind the bar would bring your earnings up significantly. It’s what another stage dancer of mine used to do.” He continues, more to himself, “Maybe we see how that works out first.”

I came in here expecting the worst—that I’d be grinding on guys’ laps by the weekend because I have to. And yet, now, the relief is pouring out of me.

“Why are you in this profession?” he suddenly asks, lifting his eyes to bore into me once again. One question I did expect.

I meet his stare and hold it as I explain, “Because I’m good at it, I’ve got a decent body, and have no interest in serving French fries for minimum wage while I figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life.”

I deliver that as I practiced it—calmly, clearly, convincingly. It’s a good answer. One that creates no doubt.And so far from the truth. I know exactly what I want to do with my life. End it and begin a new one. He nods slowly, his lip pressed together in a grimace. I don’t know if that means I’m hired or not, so I bite my tongue and wait for a concrete verdict.

I’m still waiting for Cain’s decision when his cell phone rings. I watch with fingers laced together in front of me while he answers with a gruff, “Yup.” He listens, his free hand absently rubbing a small tattoo behind his ear. A second later he barks, “No! I’m on my way.” Hanging up, he digs into a drawer and comes out with a handful of papers. “Fill these out, please. Bring a copy of your driver’s license tomorrow night with you.”

Whatever gentleness crept into his voice before has vanished. It’s all business now, as he slides the sheets across his desk with hands that look strong and muscular but incapable to soothe. “If the crowd likes you, you’ve got a job.” Turning those eyes my way once more and pausing for a moment, he adds, “Fair?”

“Absolutely. Thank you,” I say with a nod and what I hope is a courteous smile as I collect the forms. With that, he turns and crouches down behind his desk. I hear something metal slam that reminds me of my stepdad’s safe door. When Cain stands again, it’s to fit a holster and gun on him, startling me. It’s not the first time I’ve seen a gun. I have a gun. I’ve used a gun. But seeing Cain with one right here, right now, was unexpected. Why does he even need one? Throwing a light jacket over himself to conceal it—he’ll die wearing that in the summer heat, but concealing your weapon is a law in Florida and I guess Cain is a law-abiding citizen—he walks over and, with one hand on the small of my back, ushers me toward the door. It’s not exactly rude, but it’s also far from polite. With me in the hall, he pulls his office door shut and marches out the back exit, not turning once. I’m left standing alone, inhaling the faint scent of beer, my ears catching someone testing the sound system. The one that will play music that I strip to tomorrow night. I take a deep breath as a rash of butterflies swirl through my stomach, the sudden urge to let loose my bladder overwhelming. It’s not a big deal. Mom did this. I can do this. After everything I’ve done, that I’ve been accomplice to, taking my top off in front of a bunch of drunks is nothing. I deserve to suffer a bit. I glance down at the paperwork in my hand. He said he wants a copy of my license. That’s fine. The only accurate thing on it is my picture.

 

 ~ABOUT K.A. TUCKER~

Author Photo Born in small-town Ontario, Kathleen published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. She is a voracious reader and the farthest thing from a genre-snob, loving everything from High Fantasy to Chick Lit. Kathleen currently resides in a quaint small town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.

 

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