Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Last Chance Hero by Hope Ramsay

Ross Gardiner has had his fill of difficult relationships. Returning to Last Chance after a rough divorce, the town's handsome new fire chief just wants safety and stability-a tall order given his dangerous job and the way he has the attention of all the single women in town. All except Sabina Grey, the girl who stole his heart when they were teenagers. 

Sabina knows a lot about playing it safe. Always the good girl, she's now responsible for her antiques store and caring for her sister. But having Ross in town brings back the memory of one carefree summer night when she threw caution to the wind-and almost destroyed her family. Now that they are both older and wiser, will the spark still be there, even though they've both been burned?

Sometimes you just need a good ole romance and Last Chance Hero is just that. And if you want to know what its like to live in a small town in the south - you'll get a kick out of the old ladies in Last Chance.

This book took me back to my days of living in a tiny town and how rampant gossip can spread. This is the story of Ross Gardiner and Lucy and Sabina Grey sisters, who are plagued by the local gossips and pressured into love lives they really aren't happy with.

This is a fun book with some serious sexual tensions going on all around. The characters are fun and enduring and I really enjoyed this book. It's my first in the series and I definitely will be going back to read the rest in the group!

4 Stars

She wore a pair of faded blue jeans that clung to her hips and butt like they were part of her.  Her green tank top looked like something she might have found at a tag sale.  The slippery, clingy fabric was covered in Oriental flowers, and it was almost see-through.
Not to mention that it exposed her shoulders, which had freckles on them.  As usual, Sabina had pulled her hair back into a ponytail.  And as usual, wisps of hair had escaped around her face.  He wanted to cross the room, pull that damn rubber band out of her hair, and bury his hands and his nose in all those amazing curls.
Oh yeah, and his hands itched to touch her breasts through that silky fabric.  Which is why he balled them into fists and jammed them into his pockets.  Then he pretended that his feet were set into concrete.  
A man could get hurt by lust like this.  
And that didn’t even count the damage his feelings for Sabina might do to Lucy or Henrietta or even the folks in Last Chance who were all invested in him marrying Lucy.
He didn’t want to feel this way. 
About anyone.
Lust like this was just crazy.  It made a man do stupid things, and he had been there and done that.  He much preferred the cool, calm feeling he had for Lucy and her lists.
Sabina stood there staring at him for a moment, her lips soft and parted.  The afternoon sun coming through the dusty window, lit up her hair.  Her voice sounded squeaky when she started talking, and she stammered, which was not like her at all.
“Uh . . . I . . . Uh.  I got a call from Bubba Lockheart.  I gather y’all moved the trunk down from the attic?”
“Oh, yeah, you came for the trunk.”  He had the twin sensations of being relieved and disappointed all at the same time.  
She nodded.  
“It’s in the living room.  Let me get the hand truck.”  He hurried out onto the back porch and snagged the dolly and wheeled it into the living room.  
Sabina was waiting for him.  
“So, did you search through it?  What else is inside?”  She tilted her head, and for an instant, she resembled a little kid on Christmas morning, so excited to be unwrapping a present.
“Uh, no.  We were kind of busy today.”  He kept his words sharp and short.  He shoved the dolly under the trunk and tilted it back.  Then he wheeled it all the way out to the porch and down a make-shift ramp that had been set up over the front steps.  Sabina followed him and opened the tailgate of her van.
“Can you lift it yourself or do you need help?” she asked.
“I can do it.” He wanted her to leave.  Fast.  But the trunk was awkward and he almost tilted it sideways when he tried to lift it.  Before he could stop her, Sabina bent down and grabbed one of the handles and helped.
Together they got it up into the van.  But in the process they ended up side by side and their shoulders touched.
He’d never been burned by a fire.  He was practically religious about keeping his gear in topnotch form.  But that touch scalded him.  It would have been normal to jump back from all that heat.  After all, he’d been trained to know the danger of uncontrolled fires.
But his training went right out the window, along with his common sense.  Instead of running like hell, he turned toward her.  She looked up at him, the fire dancing in her eyes.  Oh, man, this was so wrong.
And so right.
“Ross,” she whispered, her voice so damn sultry. 
His mind told him to stop.  But his heart had a completely different idea.  His heart had been waiting decades to kiss Sabina Grey.  And there she was, right in reach, and her mouth looked so ready to be kissed that he couldn’t help himself.
He leaned down and pressed his mouth to her lips, and even though this wasn’t exactly the hands-on, bodies-pressed-together, hot and heavy kiss he’d once fantasized about, the heat of the moment still swept through him.  
He wanted to pull her close.  He wanted to explore her mouth a little deeper.  He wanted to do a lot more than dance with her.
But Sabina pushed back.
“We can’t do this.”  Her look was stunningly sober.
“Right,” he said on a deep exhalation.  “Right.”  He repeated the word because his mind had sort of checked out for a moment.  “I’m sorry.”
She didn’t accept his apology.  She just gave him one of those female looks that were so hard to decipher.  This one was pretty bad ass.   
And then she backed away, ran to the driver’s side of the van, and took off, sending the gravel on the driveway flying.

Hope Ramsay grew up on the North Shore of Long Island, but every summer Momma would pack her off under the care of Aunt Annie to go visiting with relatives in the midlands of South Carolina. Her extended family includes its share of colorful aunts and uncles, as well as cousins by the dozens, who provide the fodder for the characters you'll find in Last Chance, South Carolina. She's a two-time finalist in the Golden Heart and is married to a good ol' Georgia boy who resembles every single one of her heroes. She lives in Fairfax, Virginia, where you can often find her on the back deck, picking on her thirty-five-year-old Martin guitar. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Bound by Lies by Rebecca Shea

Torn between two men; one was what I needed; the other was what I wanted. One man was safe and the other was dangerous. But both men would lay down their lives to save me. 

ATF agent Sam Cortez is fighting to bring down the Estrada family empire, which was built on murder and corruption. Alex Estrada did what was needed to keep me safe…and paid with his life. 

Starting over as I try to rebuild my life, it’s clear that the past is never what it seems. What no one knew was that we were all bound by lies.





I want to tell you... REALLY!! But there just isn't anything I can say without giving away this book! There are twists and turns and WTF moments that will have you on the edge of your seat. I wanted to strangle Rebecca at some points and the next minute want to kiss her all over her face - yelling THANK GOD!!! I absolutely devoured this book and threatened my children that if they interrupted me one more time - I was cancelling all summer activities!

Absolutely the best work of Rebecca's to date - Such a great series. Such great characters - full of emotional torture in the best possible way.

And the epilogue had me smiling like a fool. LOVE LOVE LOVE

MUST READ of 2015  

OMG! Where to even begin?? All I know is that I am so happy that I had book two to dive right into after finishing this book...otherwise... AAAUUURRGGGHHH!!!

Emilia and Alejandro - Em and Alex. OH MY... Becca you did good girl! I absolutely loved this book.

Em is all alone. She's from a small town in Illinois, where her mother committed suicide only a few months before Em took off for Phoenix in search of the only other family she has left...he dad, whom she has never met.

Things don't go the way she planned and she finds herself in a strange city with no money and no clue how she is going to survive. That is until she meets Alex. Alex becomes her knight in shining armour. Even though she doesn't know Alex - there is a pull towards him. The only thing is Alex has been telling her lies. He can't let her know who he really is. Otherwise he will loose the one person he has started to trust since his mother died when he was a child.

Rebecca takes you on quite the ride in this romantic suspense novel. She weaves a tale that will have you turning those pages so fast that it just might catch on fire. The characters pull you in and never let you go.

This book does end in a major cliffhanger but lucky for you...Book 2 is already out!

Love Alex and Em, Love Becca, LOVE THIS BOOK!

Rebecca Shea is the USA Today Bestselling 
author of Unbreakable. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her family and her beagle, Miles. From the time Rebecca could read she has had a passion for books. Rebecca spends her days working full-time and her nights writing, bringing stories to life. 

Born and raised in Minnesota, Rebecca moved to Arizona in 1999 to escape the bitter winters. When not working or writing, she can be found on the sidelines of her son’s football games, or watching her daughter at ballet class. Rebecca is fueled by insane amounts of coffee, margaritas, Laffy Taffy (except the banana ones), and happily ever afters.


Find her online:

REVIEW: Safe at Last by Maya Banks

The third book in the beloved #1 bestselling author’s sexy, romantic suspense Slow Burn series…

They say young love doesn’t last, but a girl from the wrong side of the tracks with unique abilities and the hometown golden boy were determined to defy the odds. For Zack Covington, Anna-Grace—his “Gracie”—was the one. Until one night forever alters the course of their future, when a devastated Gracie disappears without a trace, leaving Zack to agonize over what happened to the girl he loved. As the years pass, his desperate efforts to find her uncovered nothing.

Now working for Devereaux Security, he stumbles across a painting featuring a special place only he and Gracie would know. The image is too perfectly rendered for it to be coincidence. His Gracie must be alive. When he finally tracks her down, he is shocked—and heart-broken—to discover the wounded shell of the girl he once knew and still loves. Her psychic gifts are gone, and worse, she believes he betrayed her all those years ago.

Zack has enemies, and once his weakness is discovered, Gracie becomes a target for revenge. He’ll have to save her before he can earn her trust and her love. And he vows they’ll never be torn apart again.


Absolutely love this series set in my hometown.

Zach Covington is the right hand man and best friend to Beau Devereaux. He's been a mystery to us in the past books but with Safe at Last - we get the background on Zach and boy is it a doozy!

DSS is called into a local art gallery for an upcoming show. When the team steps inside, all of them sense that there is something off. The gallery owner is wanting the security for the paintings themselves and not for the artist. In the middle of the meeting, the piece that will be the showcase arrives and when it's uncovered, Zach's world goes into a headspin. The painting is of him and the girl he thought would be his world, until she disappeared without a word, more than a decade ago. Then to his surprise, the front door opens and Anna Grace - his Gracie comes walking through the front door.
From this point on, it is a whirlwind of action and angst. Zach and Gracie meant the world to each other, but Zach went to college while Gracie stayed at home to finish High School. Zach was Gracie's whole world. She had no family except for him. But an event that changed both of their lives - sent both of their emotions and worlds into tailspins that they both are fighting with more than 10 years later.
Gracie's life is in danger and who ever is behind this is after Zach too.
This book was a page turner, leaving my heart breaking knowing that both Gracie and Zach had suffered so much in the past over something neither of them really had control over.
This book can be read as a stand alone but I HIGHLY recommend reading this series. Its full of excitement, angst, steam and romance at its best.

My name is Maya Banks and I live in Texas with my husband and three children and our assortment of pets. I’m more of a cat person, but my daughter became convinced she NEEDED a dog. So convinced in fact that it became her mission to convince her father and me. She prepared a two page handwritten proposal that detailed WHY she needed a dog, and well, after I sent her to her father (I knew he wouldn’t tell her no) we embarked on the search for the perfect dog. The journey that was two hours away and that I got pulled over for speeding while I was on the phone with my agent who had an offer from a publisher for one of my books… The officer wasn’t impressed. He wrote me a ticket anyway. Thus, I now tell my daughter that her dog turned into one very expensive concession! But isn’t he cute?
When I’m not writing, I love to hunt and fish with my family. We all love the outdoors and go on family hunting trips every year. We also love to travel. One of our more recent trips was to Scotland, which was every bit as comical as National Lampoon’s European Vacation. You know the part about “Look kids, Big Ben, Parliament” as they went round and round the roundabouts? Yeah, that was us, only we couldn’t even get out of the airport in Glasgow without hitting three of those suckers.
Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of a writing career is getting to meet so many wonderful readers. There’s nothing better than dishing books with someone who loves the romance genre as much as I do. Romance readers are passionate and vocal. We love our books, love our happily ever afters, and we love to spend time talking to others about our favorites. THIS is why I love my job so much, and I’m so grateful to readers who gave ME a chance when I began my career. So thank you.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Red Carpet Kiss By Melissa Brown

Add to Goodreads
Release Date:June 30th
Buy from Amazon 

After penning a series of bestselling novels, Eleanor Riley vowed to leave her past—and the man who broke her heart—far behind. As the creator of one of television’s most beloved dramas, Elle couldn’t have written a better comeback for herself. But her success doesn’t leave much room in her life for romance…until Luke Kingston enters the scene.

Luke, a stunningly handsome star, is set to play the latest love interest in Elle’s show…but he’s got his eye on Elle, and she can’t deny their sizzling chemistry. Then Elle has a chance encounter with Troy Saladino—the man who had been the love of her life—and suddenly a million old feelings are rushing back.

With two gorgeous men pursuing her, Elle can’t decide who holds the key to her heart: her new love or her old flame. Will her choice bring her happiness—or more heartbreak?

“I wish I could read your mind right now.”

Troy leaned in across the table, his eyes boring into hers. “I don’t think you’re ready for that.”

Elle felt bold, as if she had nothing to lose. Her breath was quickening as her eyes remained fixed on Troy’s. “Try me.”

Troy lowered his voice to a whisper. “Right now, I’m thinking about how good your lips would taste. I’m thinking about how much I want to pay the check, walk out of here, and press you up against the bricks of the building.” He paused for a minute. “Should I go on?”

Elle had a sudden awareness of her own heartbeat; her fingers tingled with the need to touch and be touched by the gorgeous man on the other side of the table. Those eyes, those soulful brown eyes, focused on hers as if she were the most beautiful creature on the planet.

“Yes,” she whispered.

He glanced around briefly before continuing. “I’m thinking about pressing you against that brick wall, and unbuttoning your blouse. I’d take my time, savoring the look and feel of you as I opened each one.”

Elle swallowed hard, her palms began to sweat, and her nerve endings stirred beneath her skin. Their hands were still enmeshed on the table, and she realized

Troy was now stroking her palm with his fingertips. That simple touch left her craving him, as much of him as she could possibly obtain. She wanted to make the table vanish, to push it all aside, eliminating all distance between her and the man who was making her heart pound out of control.

“What else?” She parted her legs slightly, feeling completely enveloped in her need for Troy.

“I’ll pay the check and then I’ll tell you. How does that sound?”


Troy released her hand and rose from the table. He walked to the other side of the restaurant, where their waiter happened to be standing. He pulled him aside, opened his wallet, and handed him a bundle of cash. Then, with a cocky grin, he joined Elle, who managed to stand despite her wobbly and weakened knees.
When he took her hand and led her outside, Troy did exactly what he had described inside. The brick felt harsh against her back, but it didn’t matter. All she wanted was to touch and explore every inch of Troy’s body. His lips crashed against hers. One hand cupped her ass as the other toyed with the collar of her blouse.

“God, I’ve missed you,” she murmured between kisses as Troy unbuttoned the first button of her blouse. “I’ve missed this.”

“Shhh,” Troy whispered, popping the next button, exposing the lace of her bra. His fingertips danced over the exposed fabric, tickling her sensitive skin, creating a delectable shiver down her spine. His lips pressed again to hers, and immediately Elle opened her mouth, inviting him in. He deepened the kiss, stroking her tongue with his own in determined yet gentle strokes. Arousal built within her as her hands roamed his back, his neck, his hair.

“Should we go somewhere . . . somewhere more private?” Elle asked, suddenly aware they were in public when she heard the voices of people walking past the restaurant. “Your place, maybe?”

“No,” Troy answered.


“I think we should say good-night.”

“You can’t be serious.” Elle’s vision became clouded, and her throat ran dry.

“I think we should take things slow.”

“You call this slow?” She could feel her pulse pounding in her ears. She planted her feet in a wide stance, crossing her arms in front of her chest. “What’s going on, Troy? Are you still pissed off? Is this all a game to you?”

Troy ran his fingers through his hair. “No, of course not. You know me better than that.”

“Maybe not.” Her fingers fumbled to button her blouse. She felt ridiculous, foolish, like Troy was playing with her emotions. Turning her on only to walk away from her. She’d felt that ten years ago; she didn’t want to feel 

As a hopeless romantic, I can never go wrong with a Melissa Brown novel! Red Carpet Kiss is all I wanted and more. I am usually not one for triangles, but Luke made all things good in my adventure through the life of Elle.

Elle is successful, by anyone else's standards... on top of the world. Even with everything going her way, she is still having a hard time getting over Troy and her failed marriage 10 years ago. When Luke Kingston walks into her auditions... she is stunned at how much she is attracted to the devastatingly handsome actor that had her from hello. The only problem is that her past collides with her present, sending Elle into confusion. Can she let go of the man who has held her captive for the past 10 plus years, or will she take a chance with the man who is filling her tomorrow with hope.

I loved everyone involved - primary and secondary characters that grab hold of you.  This book was little more angsty than previous books by Melissa in my opinion, so if you want a good angsty ride - Red Carpet Kiss is all for you!

4.5 Stars.

Melissa Brown was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago. She attended the University of Illinois and is the mother of two fantastic kids. She's an avid reader who enjoys making handmade gifts for her family and friends, as well as baking and painting. Melissa has an unhealthy obsession with pop culture. She speaks fluent movie quotes from the 1980s (John Hughes = genius), reads celebrity gossip magazines and never misses an episode of Scandal. She enjoys writing contemporary romance, romantic suspense and young adult novels.

All of Melissa's books are currently available exclusively through Amazon.com and are part of the Kindle Unlimited Program.

Wicked White by Michelle A. Valentine

wickedwhiteAfter his mother dies, rock star Ace White—lead singer of the red-hot band Wicked White—is done with the celebrity game. The phony people, the meaningless one-night stands: he doesn’t want any of it anymore. Quitting in the middle of a sold-out tour, Ace sets out to find some place—any place—where he can be alone.

Aspiring singer Iris Easton’s life has never been easy. First, her mother walked out on her when she was a kid. Now she’s buried in debt, weeks after losing her beloved grandmother. When a mysterious and sexy new guy moves in next door, Iris can’t help but be drawn to his soulful gaze. She can tell there’s something from his past haunting him—something he’s not telling her.

Just as Ace starts falling for Iris, the media go on a worldwide hunt to find the missing rocker. Will true love conquer all, or will the truth be the very thing that tears the couple apart?

The one thing that Michelle Valentine knows how to do and do well, is write rockers that you fall in love with. Ace though is different than the boys of Black Falcon. Different in a good way. I loved Ace and Iris. 

Ace White is tired of the celebrity game. Doing what everyone else wants. No one giving an inch of kindness in return when needed. So he leaves it all behind him. No looking back. 

Iris Easton had a dream of being on Broadway. Leaving the lackluster life in her small town in Ohio behind. Until her grandmother dies and she needs to return to get all of her affairs in order, including the trailer park that she has now inherited and must run to bring in income for herself.

A mysterious man answers her ad for a vacancy she has in the park. Even though he seems tough and unapproachable on the outside, she decides to kill him with kindness - and eventually starts to win him over. 

This is definitely a different approach with Michelle, a sweeter romance with the rock background, which I LOVED. Ace may appear to be tough on the outside, but he is kind and considerate and so good for Iris.

Love this book and can't wait for more in the series!

4.5 Stars

ABOUT MICHELLE A. VALENTINE Michelle A. Valentine is a Central Ohio nurse turned New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of erotic and New Adult romance. Her love of hard-rock music, tattoos, and sexy musicians inspired her erotic BLACK FALCON series. Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram Be a little naughty - join Valentine's Vixens on Facebook for sneak peeks at Michelle's upcoming works, as well as fun and chatting with her and other readers!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Repaired by Melissa Collins

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A Man without a past meets a man without a future in Repaired by Melissa Collins

Now Available!
iBooks: https://itun.es/us/oCd-7.l
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1IsrAZN

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Liam Davis is a man without a past. That’s what he wants everyone to believe, anyway. Hell-bent on erasing any memories of his previous life, he knows that starting over is all he can do. Hiding who he is, where he’s from, why he’s running, and especially who he’s left behind, Liam has run away from everything he’s ever known. His plan works perfectly until one day when Parker Ryan threatens to expose his carefully concealed world.

Parker Ryan is a man without a future. Sure, he’s a partner in one of New York’s most prestigious law firms, but he’ll never be more than a failure in the eyes of his boss, his father. Rather than break away from his father’s standards, he finds himself mindlessly pursuing them, in turn sacrificing anything that would actually make him happy.

When Liam’s and Parker’s lives collide, the ugly truth about who they really are, and who they hope to become reveals itself when they least expect it. As both of their lives become wrecked beyond all belief, they’ll learn how to rely on each other in their journey to become Repaired.

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Another amazing book by Melissa Collins. Parker and Liam will leave you in pieces, as these two men from total opposite world collide to heal and repair each other in way neither knew they needed.

Parker come from money. He's a high profile lawyer under the thumb of his father. No matter what he does, how well he performs at his job, Parker is never enough. 

Liam has been running from a past that even his closest friends know nothing about. He's a mechanic, who has been hiding for the past 10 years. He knows that if anyone finds out about his past, they'll run as far away in the opposite direction as fast as they can...he's not made for loving or being loved.

When the two men meet after Parker's car breaks down, both feel the connection right away. But what would a rich, snobbish lawyer want to do with a lowly mechanic? As the two begin to work together, walls come down on each side and even with them being for polar opposite backgrounds...their connection ignites.

I absolutely loved both of these broken men and how they began to open up to each other, trust each other and eventually love each other. Parker accidentally find out about Liam's past - is it as bad as Liam seems it to be? You'll have to find out! There were some twists and turns, I didn't see coming and the storyline will keep you turning page after page, cheering, swooning, crying... absolutely beautiful. #LoveIsLove and Melissa takes you on a journey of the heart with Parker and Liam.

5 Loving Stars

It was only the sound of tires coming to a halt in the lot of the shop that pulled my attention away from drying the last droplets of water from Parker’s windshield. The sleek black sedan had to be Parker’s. It definitely wasn’t the usual ride of our clientele. Tucking the towel into my back pocket, I walked toward the car. Stopped dead in my tracks by the sight of Parker’s long legs stretching out of the car; my mouth actually went dry. Lying to myself, I chalked it up to working all afternoon without eating or drinking. If I wanted to be honest, it had everything to do with him. His long, strong legs were showcased perfectly in a pair of uppity khakis—khakis I should hate, but ones my fingers itched to rip from his body. It became impossible to look away from him as he swiped his aviators from his face. His biceps flexed under the thin cotton of his black polo, making swallowing a challenge. When he pushed them up into his sandy blond hair, it was almost as if I could feel the silkiness of the strands as they flopped back down into his eyes. His mouth fell wide open as he took in the sight of his car behind me. Turning around quickly, he thanked the driver for the ride and then shooed him away.
After clearing my throat, in some vain attempt at finding my voice, I managed a simple, “Hey.”
Parker looked down at my hand, extended for him to shake, with frustration that bordered on anger. It wasn’t lost on me that he was constantly reining in his emotions when he was around me. Tracking his gaze, I realized my hand was still dotted with specs of grease, though not enough that it should warrant that look.
He nodded his hello, not uttering a word. Shame forced me to tuck my hand into my pocket and walk him toward his car.
“Flat’s been changed,” I explained, squatting down to the new tire. “New rim and the damage to the under carriage is all taken care of, too.”
“I didn’t ask for it to be cleaned and detailed.” His voice was harsh, stressed even.
Completely thrown off guard by his blunt comment, I turned on my heel and walked us toward the office portion of the shop.
Once inside, I slid his bill across the counter. His eyes were glued to the detailed bill, but mine were glued to his chiseled face. His jaw ticked with an anger, which I couldn’t put my finger on. When he chewed on his lower lip, I couldn’t even hear my own thoughts clearly. The only sound racing through my ears was that of my pounding blood.
“An oil change?” He looked up at me with tense eyes.
“Yeah, but there’s no charge.” Pointing to the item on the list, I traced my finger to the side of the bill where all the prices were listed. “You were due for one and since I was stuck here, I needed something to keep myself busy.” The faraway look in his eyes suggested he hadn’t heard a word I’d just said.
“Why’d you do all of this?” His voice was softer, a touch less angry. “You didn’t have to.”
The blood thrummed in my ears even louder. Whatever hard shell he’d had on out at his car moments earlier, was cracking a little. Bits of himself he seemed to guard carefully were falling away like peeling paint, scattering across the floor.
Shrugging, I responded, “Yeah, I know. Was just trying to be nice since you were spending so much.”
The anger in his face returned with a vengeance, pulling tight lines in the corners of his eyes. Through clenched teeth, he gritted out, “I told you not to worry about the fucking money.”
His voice made my stomach twist in knots, and not simply because he was angry with me. The power, the control, the dominance of it all called to me on a level I spent years trying to cover up.
“Here.” Sliding a pen across the counter to him, I tipped my chin down at the paper. “Just sign it. What’s done is done, so unless you want me to drain the oil and throw mud at your precious car, then I can’t take those things back.” Turning around to the binder where we kept the sales receipts, I muttered under my breath, “You know some people are just thankful when someone else does something nice for them.”
When I turned back to the counter, Parker was holding the signed receipt in his hand, the anger absent from his eyes. “You’re right,” he admitted quietly.
Reaching for the paper, Parker made a very obvious move, grazing his fingers against mine as the sheet of paper glided like silk passing from his hand to mine. At the simple touch, his shoulders relaxed, sinking at least an inch or two away from his ears.
Gambling on the very obvious change in his demeanor, I took a chance and asked, “Is everything okay?”
His full lips parted as he sighed. Completely mesmerized by his long fingers raking through his hair and pulling his sunglasses down, I found my mouth opening, too. He tucked the sunglasses into his opened collar, exposing a light dusting of hair which matched the color on his head.
“If it’s about the car, I can charge you.” I laughed nervously. “I mean if taking your money will make you feel better, by all means, don’t let me get in your way.”
“It’s not you who’s the problem. I just had a shit day, but that’s none of your concern.” His words were quite the opposite of the stern self-confidence he’d shown just moments before.
When I didn’t respond with anything more than a laugh, Parker’s lips curled into a small smile, erasing the lines of tension, distorting his ocean blue eyes. He laughed along with me, softly, cautiously almost. “No, it’s okay, really. The car looks great. And I appreciate the oil change.” He handed me his credit card and I swiped it through the machine. Hypnotized by the masculine lines of his signature, I watched as he signed the receipt. “Besides,” he added, catching me staring at his hands. “It looks as if everything is squared away now.”
After filing away his receipt, we both walked out of the office. His heat was a palpable force surrounding me as he stood behind me. Nervousness coursed through my body. My fingers shaking, I tried but failed to lock the door. The keys dropped to the ground, sending a billow of dust up into the air.
Before I could grab them, Parker scooped them up. Dangling them in front of me, he smirked. “Everything okay?” He echoed my words from just a few minutes ago, but there was heat in his voice, gritty and raw somehow.
“Yeah. Fine.” Snatching the keys from his hands, I quickly locked the door; thankful I didn’t drop the keys again.
As we walked over to his BMW, an uncomfortable silence followed us. Rather than moving toward his own car, he escorted me to mine. “Can I pay you back with a beer?” Leaning against the glossy black paint of my car, he looked like a piece of artwork.
“You don’t have to. I said I didn’t mind doing those things.” Averting my eyes from his, I fumbled with the lock on my door. The key slid in easily, but turning it became a herculean task, like pulling the sword from the stone. My brain and hand wouldn’t work together to complete the simplest of tasks.
Parker’s hand fell to mine, steadying it. Heat passed between us as our eyes met over our joined hands. Relief washed over me as he spoke first, because for me speech was something that just wasn’t going to happen.
“Fine. Then it won’t be to pay you back. I had a shit day and I could use a drink.” He pulled his hand back at his admission, running it through his hair. “Sorry,” he added, looking down at my hand, frozen where he’d left it. Honestly, I was afraid if I moved it, the heat of his touch would be gone forever. “I didn’t mean to . . .” His words trailed off as he jammed his hands into his front pockets—an action that pulled the front of his khakis even tighter against his groin. “Forget it. Thanks again. See you around.”
On its own volition, my hand reached for his shoulder as he strode away from me. 

“Wait.” We faced each other again. Finding it impossible to do anything other than smile at him, I did just that. Angling my head down the block, I said, “There’s this place. Murray’s. It’s right down that way. We can grab a drink and some food there.” His torn look confused the fuck out of me since he’d just asked. Taking a chance on him, and on the physical spark I couldn’t possibly deny, I tried my best to convince him. “Let’s go have a drink and you can share some of your shit day with me.” He nodded and I added, “Besides it couldn’t possibly be worse than mine. Wait until I tell you all about this asshole and his BMW.”

Melissa Collins
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Melissa Collins has always been a book worm. Studying Literature in college ensured that her nose was always stuck in a book. She followed her passion for reading to the most logical career choice: English teacher. Her hope was to share her passion for reading and the escapism of books to her students. Having spent more than a decade in front of a classroom, she can easily say that it’s been a dream.
Her passion for writing didn’t start until more recently. When she was home on maternity leave in early 2012, she read her first romance novel and her head filled with the passion, angst and laughter of the characters who she read about it. It wasn’t long before characters of her own took shape in her mind. Their lives took over Melissa’s brain and The Love Series was born.