Wednesday, June 28, 2017

RELEASE POST ~ SEMPER FI COWBOY by Heather Long



Book description:

A Leatherneck by any other name can still kick ass, which is just what retired United States Marine Corps Captain Tanner Wilks plans to do when he returns to his Texas family ranch to care for his ailing father. And nothing will stop him from achieving his mission—not even a lithe, brown-eyed town veterinarian who seems hell-bent on driving him wild.

Captain Tanner Wilks, honorably discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps, returns home to find his father struggling after his latest heart attack. Worse yet, Julia Heller—the sexy new girl in town that he once spent a hot night with—is the resident veterinarian who’s made a home for herself at Round Top ranch, and doesn’t seem to be in a rush to repeat their time together.

It falls on Tanner’s shoulders to take on the ranch and keep an eye on his father before he falls victim to another heart attack. But Julia doesn’t appreciate Tanner coming in or pursuing her. Even if he’s hot as hell and can make her quiver with just a look. Ousting her may give Tanner the leverage he needs to corral his father, but first he has to wrestle with his own heart.


Excerpt:
The sun setting ahead of him painted the sky in vibrant, bold colors while softening the harshness of the empty land. Home was the Hill Country, and he could almost see it waiting for him over the next rise. Nearly twenty years since he’d set foot in Durango Point. He’d stop for the night in town: get a beer; see the nightlife. And then he’d get some rack time before he headed out to Round Top.
One more day wouldn’t hurt anyone.
Ten minutes later, he parked outside the Silver Dollar. The glorified honky-tonk dominated the corner of Main Street and Oak. Open daily, it’d offered live music on the weekends when he was growing up. According to their weather-beaten marquee, they’d added Wednesday nights to that list. The menu consisted of wings, burgers, fries, and nachos. The bar served only beer and wine. None of the locals complained—or they hadn’t started to, anyway.
Staring at the wood-and-brick structure, Tanner couldn’t get over the odd sense of déjà vu invading his limbs. Sure, he’d flown into San Antonio, taken a taxi to the storage facility where he’d kept his truck, then driven home. Intellectually, the facts remained the same, but sitting in his truck outside the bar, he could almost imagine it was twenty years earlier and he’d finished his homework with enough time to slide down to the dance hall. They didn’t card at the door.
Hell, they didn’t card at the bar. No one needed to. Every- one in Durango Point knew everyone else. Back then, if he’d tried to order a beer, old Sully behind the bar would have knocked him into the next week and then waited for him to do it again.
No, Tanner’d gone to the Silver Dollar to dance, listen to the musicians, and pick up girls. Mostly the last, though he’d done his fair share of the first two.
Shutting off his vehicle’s engine, he glanced at the bag on the floor of the truck. He’d traveled light. If he wanted to kick back and have a beer, he could grab a room at the Triple B—Belle’s Brake and Bed. The hotel boasted ten rooms, all clean, and always inexpensive for locals, especially if they needed to sleep one off.
I can drive out and see the Colonel in the morning.
He’d signed his papers, finished his exit interviews, and spent weeks getting his affairs in order before flying home to another set of interviews and civilian life. Parched from the drive, he deserved one evening of rest before he tackled the issue of the Colonel. Decided, he locked up his truck and headed inside, a cowboy hat serving as his cover. His head felt too damn naked outdoors otherwise.
Inside the bar, he paused to draw in a deep breath of sawdust, beer, grilling meat, traces of perfume, and a hint of sweat. A handful of dancers stomped, twisted, and turned to the country music blaring from the old-world jukebox in the corner. The tinny strokes of a needle on a record playing offered a welcome no MP3 could ever replicate. About half the tables in the bar were filled with couples, families, and friends, while the bar itself only had one other occupant. A glance at his watch said it was just after six—it was still early. Nostalgia twined with whimsy, and after years in foreign countries, firefights, and following orders, he was home.
Just another evening in Texas. Grinning, he tugged off his hat before crossing the hardwood floor to the bar. If he’d thought the exterior was familiar, the interior seemed to have been frozen in time. The years washed away with every step until he set his hat on the bar top.
Sully glanced in his direction. Tall, broad-shouldered, and beer-bellied, the grizzly bear of a man boasted more gray hair than brown. His craggy face split into a grin as he reached into the refrigerator below. “You still drink American, right, boyo?”
“Well, Mexican.” He answered the older man’s joviality and tapped the bar. “Corona, two limes.” Why not live large? A wide, open grin was akin to a backslapping hug on Sully’s part. Time and distance shrank in the time it took Sully to pull the drink from the refrigerator case.
The bottle slid into place on the old weathered bar top, the wood stained and well oiled over the years. The stories it could tell. Limes slid into the bottle’s neck, the icy beer foamed at the top when the citrus hit it. A basket of hot peanuts joined the beer.
“How long has it been, Tanner?” Sully knew him. Hell, Sully knew everyone in Durango Point. Sully’s grandfather had opened the Silver Dollar after World War I. Sully’s father grew up, left to fight in World War II, and then later, Korea. Sully did his share in Vietnam and lost a son in Beirut. Like the Wilks, the Johnson family served their country, and most of the time, they returned to the Silver Dollar.
“Too long, sir.” He slid onto the cracked vinyl barstool and raised his bottle to him before taking a drink. “Good to be home.”
The man thumped the bar, then hit the bell behind him. “Welcome home to our boy—one round of drinks for every- one on the house!”

A roar rose from the still-thin crowd, laughter, and an echo of welcome. He didn’t know everyone anymore, but he didn’t have to. In Durango Point, no one was a stranger.



Author bio:

Heather Long is a national bestselling author who likes long walks in the park, science fiction, superheroes, and Marines. Her books are filled with heroes and heroines tangled in romances as hot as her native Texas summertime.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Release Day Launch - THE IMPOSSIBLE VASTNESS OF US by Samantha Young




From New York Times bestselling author Samantha Young comes a story of friendship, identity, and acceptance that will break your heart—and make it whole again. Don’t miss THE IMPOSSIBLE VASTNESS OF US releasing June 27, 2017, and get a sneak peek of the book below!



About THE IMPOSSIBLE VASTNESS OF US:

“I know how to watch my back. I’m the only one that ever has.”

India Maxwell hasn’t just moved across the country—she’s plummeted to the bottom rung of the social ladder. It’s taken years to cover the mess of her home life with a veneer of popularity. Now she’s living in one of Boston’s wealthiest neighborhoods with her mom’s fiancé and his daughter, Eloise. Thanks to her soon-to-be stepsister’s clique of friends, including Eloise’s gorgeous, arrogant boyfriend Finn, India feels like the one thing she hoped never to be seen as again: trash.

But India’s not alone in struggling to control the secrets of her past. Eloise and Finn, the school’s golden couple, aren’t all they seem to be. In fact, everyone’s life is infinitely more complex than it first appears. And as India grows closer to Finn and befriends Eloise, threatening the facades that hold them together, what’s left are truths that are brutal, beautiful, and big enough to change them forever…




Amazon US Hardcover: http://amzn.to/2f0RQGu
Amazon US eBook: http://amzn.to/2kj5JD1
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/2s6JJNr
GooglePlay: http://bit.ly/2qtHGR8






EXCERPT:

“India, I’m not using her. I mean, I am, but it’s not like that. Eloise is getting what she wants out of this relationship, as well.”
“Like what?”
“I can’t tell you.”
“You are using her.”
“I’m not.” His chair screeched as he pulled it closer so our knees touched. His dark eyes moved over my face and I sucked in my breath at the open appreciation I saw there. “I’m not using her…but we are in a relationship together. I guess it just never occurred to me that I might actually meet someone in high school. Someone I…”
That feeling in my chest, that thick, hot feeling, threatened to overwhelm me at all the things he wasn’t saying. “Finn, Eloise is going to be my family.”
He looked so forlorn it took everything within me not to reach for him.
“What is it you’re hiding?”
“I can’t tell you. Please, just trust me.”
Hurt and frustration swept through me in equal measure but I tamped it down. It wasn’t my place to demand his secrets.
My frustration was suddenly mirrored in his eyes as he looked up at me. “I wish things were different.”
But they weren’t different. And yet they were the same, history repeating itself. I cared about someone and they didn’t care enough about me back to be honest about what was really going on.
I didn’t know if I was angry at Finn or just angry that nothing ever seemed to be easy for me. Everything was always a fight.
It felt like I lived in a constant clusterfuck.
I gave a huff of laughter. “Story of my life.” I shook my head, grabbed up my bag and, unable to look at him, said, “Thank you for your help tonight.”
“You’re not leaving without me.”
His protectiveness confused and pissed me off even more. “I’m not? Funny, it looks like that’s exactly what I’m doing.”
His familiar scowl was back in place at my sarcasm. “You’re also not going home alone after what happened here. I’ll give you a ride.”
“Finn.” I slumped, suddenly feeling exhausted. “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
Sadness flittered through his eyes before he managed a carefully blank expression. “I think I can handle driving you home.”
Still a trembling mess after everything that had happened, I gave in and followed Finn out to his car.
The tension that we’d shared before was nothing compared to how it was now. Now that Finn had in a roundabout way admitted he liked me and I’d realized that what I was feeling for him was attraction, the tension could not be mistaken for anything else but sexual.
I’d never felt anything like it before—it was the most frustrating, scary and exhilarating feeling in the world.
When we eventually pulled up outside the house, the guilt washed over me. I shouldn’t be feeling this way about Eloise’s boyfriend and he certainly shouldn’t be feeling this way about me.
I felt like we were to blame for the whole thing but I didn’t know why.
I hadn’t asked the universe to make Finn like me.
And I had definitely not intended to like him in return.
“India,” he said just as I moved to get out of his car. “I’ve never really cared what anybody thought of me before…but I really don’t want you to think I’m a bad person.”
I stared into his beautiful eyes. “I can’t imagine ever thinking you’re a bad person. I meant it earlier…thank you for coming for me tonight. I’ll never forget it.”
“This feels weirdly like a goodbye,” he said with a bitter twist to his gorgeous lips.
“Maybe it is. I guess we’re both just a complication the other doesn’t need.”
Slowly, so slowly my heart had time to increase in hard, steady thumps, Finn slid his hand over the center console between us and stroked his thumb along the side of my hand. I felt that simple touch in every nerve, my body reacting to it in a way it never had to the touches and deep kisses that had come before it.
I stared at our hands for a moment, wondering how different my life could be if Finn wasn’t Eloise’s boyfriend, if we’d just met as strangers at school, felt the inexplicable bond between us and were free to do something about it.
Suddenly very aware of how long I’d been sitting outside the house in his car, I fumbled for the door handle. “See you around, Finn.”




About Samantha Young:

Samantha Young is the New York Times,  USA Today  and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of adult contemporary romances, including the On Dublin Street series and Hero, as well as the New Adult duology Into the Deep and Out of the Shallows.  Every Little Thing, the second book in her new Hart’s Boardwalk series, will be published by Berkley in March 2017. Before turning to contemporary fiction, she wrote several young adult paranormal and fantasy series, including the amazon bestselling Tale of Lunarmorte trilogy. Samantha’s debut YA contemporary novel The Impossible Vastness of Us will be published by Harlequin TEEN in ebook & hardback June 2017.

Samantha has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award 2012 for Best Author and Best Romance for On Dublin Street, Best Romance 2014 for Before Jamaica Lane, and Best Romance 2015 for HeroOn Dublin Street, a #1 bestseller in Germany, was the Bronze Award Winner in the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2013, Before Jamaica Lane the Gold Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2014 and Echoes of Scotland Street the Bronze Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2015.

Samantha is currently published in 30 countries and is a #1 international bestselling author.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Lauren Blakely's THE KNOCKED UP PLAN

   

From #1 NYT Bestselling author Lauren Blakely, comes a new and sexy romance…THE KNOCKED UP PLAN! A standalone romance told in dual POV, THE KNOCKED UP PLAN is about all of the fun, hotness, and heartfelt emotions that come when a single woman asks her gorgeous, jaded, sworn-to-be-single-forever good friend to get one particular job done. What happens next when he agrees to provide the bun for her oven are lots of hot sexy times and heartfelt moments.

   

Now available on all retailers! Get your copy delivered now!

   

✮✮✮ THE KNOCKED UP PLAN is here! Grab your copy today! ✮✮✮

There are three little words most guys don't want to hear on the first date. Not those...I mean these... "knock me up."

This single gal has had enough of the games, the BS and the endless chase. I know what I want most, and it's not true love. It's a bun in the oven, and I'm not afraid to hit up my sex-on-a-stick co-worker to do the job. Ryder is gorgeous, witty and charming -- and he's also a notorious commitment-phobe. That makes him the perfect candidate to make a deposit in the bank of me.

I won't fall for him, he won't fall for me, and there's no way baby will make three.

Right?

**** There are four words every guy wants to hear on the first date -- "your place or mine?"

When my hot-as-sin co-worker makes me a no-strings-attached offer that involves her place, my place, any place -- as well as any position -- I can't refuse. Besides, I've got my own reasons to take her up on her deal even with her one BIG condition.

There's no way I'll want more from one woman than any position, any where, any night? Except . . . what if I do?

Be prepared to swoon and fan yourself from the heat! This full-length standalone contains lots of hot baby-making s-e-x, happy tears, playful jokes and a hot, swoon worthy hero you will fall madly in love with. One-click now for pure reading enjoyment!

Kindle US Kindle UK Kindle CA Kindle AU iBooks

Barnes & Noble Kobo Google Play Amazon PB

   

REVIEW:

I am a HUGE Lauren Blakely fan. Anything she publishes, I have to read. So when I saw this cover, and the blurb, I stalked her and her PR team, praying that I would get an ARC. I got to enjoy this book prior to the release. And let me tell you.....  You are going to love it !!!!

Lauren NEVER disappoints. I will be honest, when I started the book, I felt it was very similar to The Proposition by Katie Ashley.  Heroin wants to have a baby, but isn't in a relationship. Rather than have a stranger father her child, she opts to ask someone who she knows. Someone that is good looking, smart, and has great qualities. That is where the similarities end and Lauren takes us on a ride. 

In the Knocked Up Plan, things start off as simple. Get me pregnant, then go on your merry way. When Nicole speaks to Ryder about artificial insemination, will he agree? Will Ryder accept the contract as Nicole lays out, or will he request a few changes?  What happens if Ryder wants to have a little fun, while trying to make a baby?  Will Nicole agree?

The bantering between Nicole and Ryder will have you in stitches. Ryder was the perfect hero and Nicole was the perfect heroin.  She knew what she wanted and set her goals to obtain it. Was a baby the end prize?  What if Nicole wanted something else?  While trying to get knocked up, will Nicole and Ryder begin to develop feelings for each other?  

Lines begin to blur. The plan to knock Nicole up takes us on an adventure of our own. Nicole and Ryder have chemistry that is off the charts. Ryder is definitely book boyfriend material. The ending of the book was PERFECT.  I would not have wished for a better ending. 

The Knock Up Plan was a 4.5 star read for me!!!!!  


✦The audiobook will be narrated by Sebastian York and Andi Arndt! Link coming soon! ✦



       

"A refreshing take on the baby trope, The Knocked Up Plan is as sweet as it is naughty. Blakely not only balloons Nicole and Ryder’s incredibly powerful chemistry to new heights with their steamy love scenes, but she also infuses sweet emotion into every single one of their interactions."

- USA Today

 

“Wildly romantic! Incredibly sexy! Hilarious and sweet! The Knocked Up Plan HAD IT ALL! The PERFECT romance to kick your Summer into HIGH GEAR! Ryder and Nicole are Lauren Blakely's BEST CHARACTERS YET!”

- Shayna at Shayna Renee’s Spicy Reads

       

Excerpt:


“How does it work?” I ask. “The whole donation process.”
She stabs a carrot slice, chews, and swallows. “Well, there’s this thing guys do when they’re horny. It’s called”—she glances furtively from side to side—“jacking off.”
“I’m well aware of how the protein shake is made. What I mean is, are we talking about one of those little rooms you go into?” I ask, since what man doesn’t have an image of a jerk-off chamber? “With magazines or porn or whatnot?”
“Yes, they schedule the donors for forty-minute sessions in them.”
“I’m more efficient than that, but that’s good to know.” I take another bite and chew. I set down the burger. “So, a nurse or orderly would escort me to a special room, and then I’d need to drop my
drawers and whack off. Into a cup, right?”
“A plastic sample cup. With a top,” she says, and I’m kind of amazed that she’s answering every question like a champ. No blushing, no stammering.
“What do they provide for entertainment? Laptops? Computers? Or is it old school with Playboy?”
“They provide pornographic material in printed form as well as video on a TV screen.”
“Awesome. So I just choke the chicken in a room with a ton of other dudes going at it in their own rooms, too. Hand a cup to the nurse. She seals up the goods. Then, what’s next?”
“They do tests on your swimmers.”
“They’ll pass. Then you come in, maybe the same day, maybe a few days later?”
“Same day. We’d have to time everything to my cycle and when I’m ovulating.”
“Fine, so they undress you, prop you up on an exam table, and stick a turkey baster into you?”
“You paint a lovely picture of the process.”
I hold up a hand, waving her off. “Wait. I’m not done. You’re in nothing but a hospital gown. The doc tells you to put your cute little feet in stirrups, and they stick that baster up inside what I am sure
is an absolutely gorgeous and heavenly home,” I say, because if she can complement my tadpoles, I can say something nice about the paradise between her legs. She mouths a thank you. “After the boys
make the upstream trip, they send you home.” I mime patting her on the rear and then sending her out the door.
“I think you’ve got the basic idea.”
“And after that?”
“That’s all,” she says. “That’s all I’d want you to do. I don’t expect or want any involvement. I’d have all the paperwork drawn up in advance saying there are no legal rights, responsibilities, or expectations of parenting, and no financial commitments required.”
I’m almost ashamed to admit it, but that’s the clincher for me—the lack of involvement. If I’m ever going to raise a child, I’m damn well going to do it right. The whole nine yards, two parents, just like my mom and dad raised my brother, my sister, and me.
Nicole isn’t asking me to sign up for daddy duty, though. She doesn’t want me to help with diaper detail or midnight feedings.
She’s a friend asking for the help she needs so she can then do those things on her own.
And helping a friend seems like something I should consider.
Fine, she’s asking for a hell of a lot more than a dude to put together an IKEA TV stand, and those things are beyond Da Vinci Code-level cryptic. I’d like to see Robert Langdon decipher some IKEA assembly instructions. Good luck with that, Harvard symbologist.
I like Nicole. I respect the dickens out of this woman. I want to take her request as seriously as she’s asking it. “Can I have a few days to think about it?”
“Of course. Take all the time you need,” she says, then glances at an imaginary watch on her wrist. “It’s only my biological clock ticking.”

“The chemistry between Ryder and Nicole is COMBUSTIBLE!!! They are magic together.”

- Bookalicious Babes Blog

Add it to Goodreads here!

http://bit.ly/2r4ml1u

       

✮✮✮Enter to win this amazing THE KNOCKED UP PLAN GIVEAWAY!✮✮✮

Lauren’s Bundle of Joy Special Delivery Giveaway! This bundle is valued at $200 and includes the most delicious cupcakes delivered to your door from Wicked Cupcakes, a $50 gift certificate for luxurious bath products to make your skin baby soft from The Body Shop, and comes wrapped up with a beautiful sterling silver bow bangle bracelet from Pandora ($125 value).

http://laurenblakely.com/knocked-plan-giveaway/

   

About Lauren Blakely: A #1 New York Times Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that's hot, sweet and sexy. She lives in California with her family and has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than eighty times, and she's sold more than 2 million books. In June she'll release THE KNOCKED UP PLAN, a standalone contemporary romance. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter! laurenblakely.com/newsletter    

Website ** Facebook ** Twitter ** Newsletter ** Goodreads

 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

TYCOON by Katy Evans

SBPRBanner-tycoon-BT.jpg

Tycoon by Katy Evans Publication Date: June 20th, 2017 Genre: Contemporary Romance

Tycoon, an all-new standalone from Katy Evans is available now!!!

Tycoon Amazon

He wasn’t always this rich. This hot. This difficult.
Aaric Christos was a guy who protected me. Wanted me. Maybe even loved me.
That man is gone.
In his place is the most powerful real estate tycoon in the city.
He’s a cold, ruthless, aggressive businessman.
The only one who can save me and my startup from ruin.
It takes every ounce of courage to put my pride aside and ask for his help.
I didn’t expect him to offer it easily.
And he doesn’t.
Instead, he vets me harder than he’s vetted anyone.
Don’t invest in what you don’t know, he says.
He's assessing every piece of me, to the point I've never felt so bare.
I yearn for the boy I once knew, whose touch once craved me.
Putting it all on the line will be worth it, I tell myself.
Until I realize—too late—that some risks are not worth taking.



REVIEW:

Katy Evans never disappoints. Aaric Christos will melt your panties. Tycoon is AMAZING !!!  I loved Christos personality, I loved how he owned the room in which he was in. I loved how the hero of the story was in love with the heroin from the time he laid eyes on her. It was quite the change to see the hero fall to his knees for the woman he loved. For the woman that held his heart from when he was just a teenager.  

Christos didn't think he was good enough for Bryn. So rather than tell her how he felt about her, he kept her at arms length. He wanted to better himself. Become the man that he thought Bryn deserved.   So what happens when years later, Bryn stumbles into Aaric Christos' office with a business proposition.  Will Aaric help the girl that he was once in love with?  Will Bryn be able to work side by side with the man that has only man that has ever made her 'feel' ?

Christos is a true alpha male. He commands attention, he demands loyalty. So what will happen when he wants more than what Bryn is willing to give?  How much will Bryn give of herself?  Will loving Christos interfere with her dream of owning her own clothing line, running her own store?  

There are a few twists and turns in this story that will have you captivated from start to finish. I devoured this book in one sitting.  Katy Evans is one of my go to authors that delivers every time she publishes a book. She has a way to make you fall in love with her characters, both female and male. The energy and chemistry between Christos and Bryn is off the charts.

5 star read !!!!! 


EXCERPT:

I hop off the train and walk several walks to his building. It’s a brownstone in Park Avenue, one of the most elite of the elite spaces in town. My lungs feel a little bit overworked from awe as I head up the steps to the double doors, grateful that I came dressed to kill in a little black dress, a jacket, and pumps. Simple, but effective. See, I may be feeling a little awkward, but at least I don’t look it. I’m greeted by his maid. She’s dressed in black and white, her hair drawn back in a neat bun, her expression stoic and formal as she leads me down the hall to a gorgeous study. I catch my breath when I notice all the books and shelves. It’s like a reader’s paradise in here. There’s a sleek chrome bar, a modern mahogany glass-topped desk, and two huge whiskey-colored leather chairs that almost swallow me up when I’m instructed to wait in one. I drum my fingers, inhaling the scent of leather and wine, remembering a guy I knew with his mechanic navy-blue uniform, black streaks on his jaw, his big nose always the first thing you’d see, which was a pity because he had beautiful eyes and a really sinful pair of lips. He’s living in luxury now. Wow. Good for him. I hear footsteps approaching and the little hair on my arms prick at attention. My head turns as a tall, dark figure steps into the room, and the most intimidating guy I’ve ever seen enters and crosses the room toward the desk. He walks like he’s the shit…his strides proud and composed, elegant and powerful. Christos, I hear myself breathe in surprise. He’s so tall now…six three, at least. Dirty-blonde hair, gold-green eyes, chiseled jaw, and a gorgeous profile. All in black, he looks very much a New Yorker. He’s wearing a black jacket, black pants, and a black turtleneck beneath the jacket... I stare at him, my jaw hanging a little bit open. The man is….all man. Testosterone. Muscles. Height. Width. My chest hurts all of a sudden because I realize… The boy you knew is gone. I force myself to stand. “Thank you for seeing me.” He heads to the bar to pour two drinks, then he prowls over, takes the whiskey leather chair across from mine and leans forward, pushing a glass of cognac with one finger across a small table, toward me. And he waits. In silence. But my stomach dips as if he’d said something ultra-sexy and decadent. “You might not remember me, I’m sorry to be reaching out like this,” I say, nervous. “What do you want?” There’s a pleasant shiver as he speaks. Recognition of his voice, even though it’s far deeper than I remember. “I was told you sometimes invest in startups.” “I’d say more than sometimes.” He raises his eyebrows as if I should’ve done my homework better. Ugh, Bryn! Focus! Be SMART! Make yourself and your business irresistible! A silence settles as he eyes me, slowly setting his drink down as he leans forward and finally, unexpectedly, smiles. At me. It’s just a smile. But the world tilts under its impact. “Hello, little bit.” Amusement touches his gaze as he tilts his head and watches me. “You know, I’d think you’d have grown up the ten-plus years since I last saw you. At least an inch.” He leans back in his seat, seemingly displeased. Wow, this guy is not the lanky kid I knew once. This guy oozes danger. Every ounce of “boy” is gone. Oh God. For a moment I wish that we could go back in time and I could discuss my startup with the guy I knew before. But time travel is not really my talent, and it seems like I have yet to see if I even have any special talents at all—depending on what this guy thinks. “I grew two in width,” I shock myself saying. He laughs then, his eyes drinking me in openly. “Shame on you, you’re not trying to see if it’s true?” I ask him, frowning now. He shrugs casually, his lips curved at the corners. “I can’t help it. Something has to have changed.” “Why?” “Because nothing good ever lasts. Even you, little bit.” A smile touches those unforgettable gold-green eyes. A shiver runs through me. Because… Christos recognized me. “I can tell you’re as incorrigible as ever.” I shake my head, but I’m smiling, truly just relieved that he recognized me. “I try to be,” he purrs dangerously. I’m feeling warm all of a sudden. I can’t believe I’m staring at him so much, but it’s like I cannot take my eyes away. He looks achingly familiar, but at the same time, so different I cannot help but stare and track the differences in his features. The way his jaw squared out even more, the way his body filled out with hard, lean muscles that shift and ripple beneath his expensive designer clothes. I cannot believe that this is a guy I knew once. He seems to silently be taking in my changes too, his keen stare allowing me to see that he seems to approve of it all. Even the dress I’m wearing. “You changed enough for the both of us,” I blurt. “Really. How so?” he asks. “You grew into your nose.” “Really?” He chuckles as if despite himself. “Width and height too. Quite a bit,” I add. “Anything else,” he prods, one eyebrow rising. “You learned how to dress.” He looks down at his black suit. “This old thing?” He grins, then shifts forward, sobering up. “What can I do for you, Bryn? Considering I’m rather surprised to see you here, I’m eager for you to satiate my curiosity.” His stare becomes keen. “So am I. I didn’t expect to be here,” I admit, and for a moment when I look into his eyes, all I see is someone I’ve seen before. Someone who belonged in my life long ago. “You know when you had that misplaced crush on me and told me one day I’d know what it felt like to throw pebbles at someone’s window wanting them to open? I’m sort of throwing rocks here.” “Not to sing me a love song,” he says flatly, his eyes shuttering. “No. Well, you know that was never....I mean...” Don’t bring up your rejection of him, Bryn! “It’s for something better. Business.” “Go on.” “I knew that’d get you.” I smile privately. “So it’s true your love is money now.” “She gives back what I put in. Though her ass isn’t as juicy as I like,” he says nonchalantly. “Wow. No matter how polished you look, your mouth is still as crude as ever.” “Thank you,” he purrs, his eyes grinning at me. I laugh. Then I sober up and realize he’s waiting for me to speak. “I’m looking for money for my startup,” I say. “How much.” “One hundred thousand.” “I don’t invest less than a million.” He twirls his whiskey in his glass, eyeing the liquid. “Well then, I’ll ask for a million.” He raises his brows, setting his glass down. “It’s not how much you want to ask for, it’s how much the company’s worth.” Eyebrows up, he skewers me with a cold, intimidating look. “It’ll be worth more than a million, trust me,” I bluff. “Good for you. Except…” he leans back with a rustle of clothes, every athletic inch of his black-clad body flowing sinuously like a feline with the move, “considering that has yet to happen and I’ll need to trust you on that, my trust needs to be earned.” This version of Christos is even more intimidating than the old one, unfortunately. I try to hide it, keeping my voice as level as possible. “How does one earn your trust?” “I’d tell you if I were interested, but I’m not exactly sure that I am.” He eyes me as if debating in silence. This guy is the only guy in the world that unnerves me in this way, and I can’t seem to slow the fast pounding of my heart in my chest as I try to remember what I came here to say. “I have a full presentation for you. I’m not taking no for an answer.” I reach into my briefcase. “Darling. Are you ready?” I start at the female voice and glance at a gorgeous woman striding into the study. Christos continues looking at me as he stands and reaches for the cell phone the woman extends out. “We’re done here,” he answers her as he pockets the phone, his gaze remaining on me. “I’ll wait for you in the car.” She leans up and kisses his jaw, her hands proprietary on his chest, then sends me a woman-to-woman claiming look, before she swishes away, all glittering jewels and lean body. There’s a silence as he approaches, and for a second all I can hear is the sound of a toilet flushing, taking my only opportunity with a possible investor away. “I’ll think about it,” he says. “Christos.” “I said I’ll think about it,” he says from the door. “Please do,” I say as he exits the room. I cup the sides of my mouth, “I’ll be back tomorrow. Same time?” I say jokingly. I’m surprised when I hear footsteps returning. He pauses when our eyes meet. “I’ll make contact,” he says, raising his eyebrows meaningfully, “If I’m interested in hearing more.” He nods. “Nice to see you, Bryn.” “Nice to see you. Christos.” Well, that went sort of awful. Tycoon-ANLOGOS

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About the Author:

Katy Evans is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Her debut REAL shot to the top of the bestselling lists in 2013 and since then 9 of her titles have been New York Times bestsellers. Her books have been translated into nearly a dozen languages across the world.

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Email: katyevansauthor@gmail.com
Twitter @authorkatyevans

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