Category Archives: Book Blitz

Release Blitz: Legacy of Lies by Jillian David

Title: Legacy of Lies
Series: Hell’s Valley #1

By: Jillian David
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Genre: Western Paranormal Romance


Garrison Taggart doesn’t have time to deal with touchy-feely junk like “trust issues” or “feelings.” His dad’s health is waning and the family’s Wyoming ranch is being sabotaged. Too bad his supernatural ability to tell when someone is lying has been exactly zero help in ferreting out the betrayer so far. So, when sweet schoolteacher Sara Lopez raises concerns about his son being bullied, who can blame a guy for getting a little testy?

The last thing Sara needs is any more attention or gossip after her recent breakup with big-shot rancher Hank Brand. So her attraction to surly but sexy Garrison, Hank’s rival, is entirely unwanted. When she uncovers an insane plot to kidnap the Taggart boy and throws herself in harm’s way to protect him, Garrison must risk his deepest secret and his own life to save the people he cares for the most. But will his heroics cost him everything?

AMAZON UK – https://goo.gl/DZUjGj
AMAZON CA – https://goo.gl/3ML13J

But she couldn’t ignore the new hand that caught the door right before it closed. Big, square fingers with trimmed, work-roughened nails blanched as they gripped the metal. A flannel sleeve encased a thick wrist dusted with reddish hair. Sinews flexed as he pushed open the door.
Hail Mary … yum.

He crossed the worn linoleum floor in three strides, bringing with him scents of horses, hay, leather, and hardworking male. She inhaled, triggering fond memories of watching rodeo competitions featuring a certain steer roper.
Too bad her pleasant thoughts didn’t jibe with the scowling man standing next to the chair.
Keep it professional. Stay cool. You can do this.
Sara wiped damp palms on her black slacks and stuck out her hand. “Mr. Taggart, I’m glad you were able to take time to meet about Zach.”
His strong hand wrapped around hers.
Rough skin against soft. His ruddy, weathered skin against her light olive tone. Opposites all around, but damned if their hands didn’t look perfect together.

Garrison Taggart was anything but old. He must be, what, a few years past thirty now? Other than some weatherworn fine lines around his eyes, nothing else about his fit physique indicated he was anything but in the prime of his life.
When a twinkle lit the gold flecks in his eyes, her neck warmed up. Her thick hair, worn down today, had been a bad idea, if the heat building up at the nape of her neck was any indication.

He relaxed into the seat across the desk from her. The chair next to him remained conspicuously empty. When he rested a dusty-booted ankle on his knee and balanced his Stetson on his solid thigh, she sighed and made a superhuman effort not to stare at the taut denim covering his …
Wow, she needed to stick with the parent-teacher routine and ignore how the guy made her ovaries tremble with excitement.

Jillian David lives near the end of the Earth with her nut of a husband and two bossy cats. To escape the sometimes-stressful world of the rural physician, she writes while on call and in her free time. She enjoys taking realistic settings and adding a twist of “what if.” Running or hiking on local trails often promotes plot development.
Social Media Links
Twitter – @jilliandavid13

Release Blitz: Keeping the Faith by Beth Rinyu

 Title: Keepin’ The Faith
By: Beth Rinyu
Publication Date: November 11, 2016
Cover Designer: Q Designs
Genre: Romantic Comedy

I had always been a good girl ruled by my catholic guilt, until one little slip-up in college led me down a different path. Now, I’m just trying to be the best mom I can to my little girl, making ends meet – cleaning houses by day, hosting sex toy parties at night, and holding out hope that Prince Charming truly does exist.
Then I met him – handsome, successful, and hardworking. The perfect Prince Charming. Right? Wrong. So wrong.
I’m carefree.
He’s a perfectionist.
I’m broke.
He’s rich.
I’m a single mom.
He doesn’t have patience for kids.
And…Did I mention, he’s my new boss? A boss who has me thinking more impure thoughts than a teenage boy with their first dirty magazine, a boss who is totally out of my league, and a boss who I’m impossibly attracted to.
Sometimes a girl must give up the illusion that fairy tales exist and realize happily ever afters only happen in movies. I’m not a princess, and he’s not a prince.
But when an unconventional fairy godmother intervenes to work her magic, maybe just maybe, I’ll get to wear that crown after all.

AMAZON UK – https://goo.gl/v2hyxx
AMAZON CA – https://goo.gl/Ibxinj
Ever since I can remember, I have always enjoyed Creative Writing. There was always something about being able to travel to a different place or become a different person with just the stroke of a pen – or in today’s world a touch of the keyboard. I am the author of The Exception To The Rule, An Unplanned Lesson, An Unplanned Life, Drowning In Love, A Cry for Hope, A Will To Change, Blind Side of Love, When The Chips Are Down and Easy Silence.
My life is not as interesting as my books or the characters in them, but then again whose life is? I’m a mom of twin teenage boys, a crazy Border Collie and a cat with an identity crisis! I guess you can say writing is my form of relaxation.

Social Media Links
Facebook – https://goo.gl/v3vylL
Twitter – @bethrinyuwriter
Goodreads – https://goo.gl/CX6ExJ
Website – http://goo.gl/fTSxTy
Amazon – https://goo.gl/CX6ExJ

Release Day Blitz: His Lullaby Baby by Airicka Phoenix

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Today is the release day blitz for HIS LULLABY BABY by Airicka Phoenix. This is an adult novel that is the 5th, and final, book in the Baby Saga. Check out the buy links and teasers below.

 

The Baby Saga 20

Add HIS LULLABY BABY to Goodreads

His Lullaby Baby - Amazon

HIS LULLABY BABY BLURB:

Nothing ever happens by accident.

Ex-combat search and rescue officer Toby McClain had seen all aspects of humanity in his ten years of service until friendly fire took him out of action. But bitterness was something Toby could never do. He was alive. He had his family and, after being ambushed by a door, he had his eyes on the sexy new innkeeper.

Adelaide Nixon had felt the burn of love once already. It was a mistake that cost her six years of her life. It was a punishment she never wanted to feel again, especially when there were two little people who depended on her to keep them safe. The last thing she wanted or needed was the attention of a guy whose family kept the gossip mills turning.

But no secret ever stays hidden in a place like Willow Creek. Even as Toby breaks through Addy’s walls, a new threat comes to town, leaving her no choice but to put more than her heart in Toby’s hands and trust him not to destroy her.
Read the rest of this entry

Release Blitz: Transcending Darkness by Airicka Phoenix

Title: Transcending Darkness
Author: Airicka Phoenix
Genre: Contemporary Dark Romance
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s Tours

Blurb:

One: Sign the contract.Juliette Romero had a debt to pay, a debt that wasn’t even hers. But it was the only way to keep her family safe and all she had to do was sell her body and soul to the devil.

Killian McClary wasn’t called the Scarlet Wolf for nothing. He’d been the head of the McClary Organization since he was fifteen and had built a reputation for being a ruthless son of a bitch when it came to running the city’s underbelly, not to mention merciless when it came to punishing those who betray him. He didn’t believe in weaknesses. Only results. Juliette, with her shy smiles and hot little body was a weakness unlike any other and yet he was powerless to resist one more taste of her sweet flesh.

Two: Become his for a year.

When given the choice between her life or her body, what could Juliette possibly do, but submit to a man whose very name invoked fear in the hearts of others? She just never anticipated falling for his dark, hungry eyes and clever hands, or the way the beast in him made her feel oddly safe and cherished.

But what will happen when Killian’s dark past finally catches up to him and threatens the woman he can no longer imagine himself without? What will happen when both sides find themselves caught in a web of passion, lies and broken promises? Can Juliette tame the wolf or will her love for him devour them both?

Three: Don’t fall in love.

Boundaries will be crossed, loyalties will be tested and lives will be changed forever.

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Self-proclaimed romance addict, Airicka Phoenix lives in a world where unicorns, fairies and mermaids run amok through her home on a daily basis. When she’s not chasing after pixies and rounding up imps, also known as her four children, she can be found conjuring imaginary friends to play with.
Airicka is the prolific author of over eighteen novels for those who crave strong, female leads, sexy alpha heroes and out of control desires. She’s a multi genre author who writes young adult, new adult and adult contemporary and paranormal romance.For more about Airicka and the realm she rules with an iron fist–and tons of chocolate–visit her at:

Author Links:

Twitter: http://goo.gl/yoVWYF (@AirickaPhoenix)

Goodreads: http://goo.gl/HGVszf

Instagram: http://goo.gl/QRmqdy

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Book Blitz: The Voyeur Next Door by Airicka Phoenix

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Today we are sharing some teasers and a sale for THE VOYEUR NEXT DOOR by Airicka Phoenix. It’s on sale for a limited time only so grab it up while you can!

Woman in the bed

Add THE VOYEUR NEXT DOOR to Goodreads

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THE VOYEUR NEXT DOOR BLURB:

He lived next door.

Alison Eckrich was an expert at being invisible. Having been raised by a mother who saw only flaws, she had learned long ago to watch and never participate. Until him. He was gorgeous from what little she could make out through his bathroom window and he awakened things inside her she had always been told was wrong. But she didn’t care.

She was addicted.

Gabriel Madoc was no stranger to the cold sting of betrayal. His broken heart had left him hard and bitter and that was how he liked it. Until her. She was a vision in the soft twilight. Everything about her called to him. It didn’t even matter he couldn’t see her face.

He wanted her.

The rules were simple: No names. No faces. No attachments. They both had what the other needed so long as they never broke the rules. But what will happen when the mystery is unveiled and they both come face to face with the truth and each other? Is what they shared in the cloak of darkness enough to keep them together, or will reality tear them apart?

Young naked girl Sensual brunette beauty posing.

BUY LINKS:

Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble

AUTHOR INFORMATION:

Airicka PhoenixBIO:

Airicka Phoenix is a romance junkie with an incurable addiction to chocolate. She is also a prolific author of several novels written for young adult and new adult romance addicts who love bad boys, hot kisses and a gritty plot. Airicka prides herself in producing quality material her readers can fall in love with again and again.

When she’s not hard at work bleeding words onto paper, Airicka can be found cuddling with her family, reading, watching TV shows, or just finding excuses not to do chores.

Be the first for giveaways, teasers and upcoming releases by joining Airicka’s newsletter on her website www.AirickaPhoenix.com

AUTHOR LINKS:

Website: www.AirickaPhoenix.com

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/VgLqD

Facebook: http://goo.gl/eYXrrh

Twitter: http://goo.gl/yoVWYF (@AirickaPhoenix)

Goodreads: http://goo.gl/HGVszf

Google+: http://goo.gl/wgdslQ

Instagram: http://goo.gl/QRmqdy

Pinterest: http://goo.gl/Y5AOQq
Amazon: http://goo.gl/Nq57nJ

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Release Blitz: In Your Heart (Willow Creek #3) by Micalea Smeltzer

Title: In Your Heart
Series: Willow Creek #3
Author: Micalea Smeltzer
 Release Date: June 16, 2015
Blurb
I thought I had found love. 

I thought I had found my forever. 

I’d never been more wrong in all my life.  Sadie Westbrook’s seemingly perfect life comes to a screeching halt when she catches her fiancé in bed with another woman. Suddenly, everything she believed in is tested and there’s only one person she can turn to—the guy who has been by her side ever since their best friend’s fell in love and became inseparable.
Ezra Collins—the bassist for the band Willow Creek—has only ever had one weakness, and her name is Sadie. When he receives a frantic call he rushes to her aid, helping to pick up the pieces of her crumbling life—even if that means letting Sadie live with him.
The close proximity tests the limits of their friendship and as the lines between friends and lovers blur they’ll have to decide if falling in love with your best friend is worth the risk of losing them.
Links to Buy
AMAZON US / UK
 Also Available
AMAZON US / UK
AMAZON US / UK

Excerpt

I looked up at the sky and the
birds flying above us. “I feel like I don’t know who I am anymore. I spent two years
with a guy that stripped me of my identity. I feel like all I have of myself is
my store and the rest I’m left questioning. I tried so hard to please him, to
make him happy, and in the end I made myself miserable. I was just so desperate
for it to work out that I overlooked how toxic our relationship was. How stupid
is that?”

“You’re human,” he replied. “We
have this inane desire to belong to something that is greater than we are on
our own. That desire is so strong that we can fool ourselves into believing
things that aren’t true.”

“So, I’m not crazy?” I cracked a
smile.

“Definitely not crazy.”

His smile was comforting and I
reminded myself for the hundredth time that everything would be okay.

I rested my head on his shoulder
and a moment later his head rested on top of mine.

A smile touched my lips.

I’d
missed this—having someone that understood me completely, even when I didn’t
know myself.

Author Bio

Micalea Smeltzer is a bestselling Young and New Adult author from Winchester, Virginia. She’s always working on her next book, and when she has spare time she loves to read and spend time with her family.

 Author Links

Book Blitz: Hexed Hearts by Becca Vincenza

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Hexed Hearts by Becca Vincenza
Publication date: April 2015
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal

HexedHearts

Colette had known all her life that she was half human and half werewolf. She had no expectations of a life filled with love and adventure.

Everything changed on her 21st birthday. A curse casted by witches centuries ago set things in motion, things she could have never imagined. A past that Colette has no clue about has come back to steal her away.

When Hunter, her destined but very unexpected mate, arrives, she is at a complete loss. She must learn to forget an old love and how to make room for a new love.

The curse is being recast and Colette must stop it in order to save the wolves, all the while finding who she really is.

Purchase:

Excerpt

Hunter tight black pants. I could see the contours of his strong, thick thighs. My eyes trailed up he was wearing the gray shirt that I had stolen from him when he left.

Hunter leaned against his motorcycle. He held bulky black helmet with an open face. When I looked up at his eyes, I saw the smile there.

“No. No way,” I stuttered and backed away from him. While my tone was light, a touch of fear and excitement rushed through me.

“Yes,” Hunter moved quickly and stood in front of me in the matter of seconds.

“This is pay back, isn’t it?”

“I thought all girls had a motorcycle fetish? Hoping for that bad boy with a bike,” Hunter said with a half-smile. He was enjoying this entirely too much.

“No, most girls are stupid and don’t realize those things are death traps. And I shudder to think how many bugs will meet their untimely demise in my mouth!”

Hunter raised his eyebrows at me and held the helmet hovering over my head.

“You’re part wolf and you’re with me. I’m your mate. I’d never do anything that would put you in danger.”

“Fine,” I grumbled. “Still doesn’t solve the bug problem.”

Hunter placed the bulky helmet on my head and moved to snap the clasp beneath my chin. I lifted my head up for him. When I looked into his eyes, I saw the contentment in them. His beard was trimmed. For me? How nice.  I watched as the lines in his face soften as he worked.

“If you keep looking at me like that I’ll never finish.”

His eyes flickered up to mine and a blush stole across my cheeks. I was paying too much attention to his lips and I forgot everything else. It felt silly, seeing how much time I’d spent with him, but butterflies took flight in my stomach. My nerves felt like they were on fire.

Becca_

Becca Vincenza lives in wonderful Michigan. She has a love for Skittles, rainbows, Star Wars, and reading about hot men. When she’s not wearing her author hat, she’s working to pay off her student loans for her recently acquired English degree.

She recently released the first book in her Rebirth Series and is set to release the second book before the beginning of summer.

You can find Becca around the internet at these sites:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/beccavincenza
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/goodreadscombecca_vincenza
Website: http://beccavincenzaauthor.wordpress.com/

**a Rafflecopter giveaway**

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Release Day: Always Yours, Baby by Airicka Phoenix

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Today is the release day blitz for ALWAYS YOURS, BABY by Airicka Phoenix. This is a new adult, standalone novel that is the 4th book in The Baby Saga. Check out the materials below for buy links, an excerpt, and a giveaway!

The Baby Saga 14(1)

AlwaysYours

Title: Always Yours, Baby
Author: Airicka Phoenix
Genre: NA Contemporary Romance
Series: The Baby Saga
Series Number: #4

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BOOK BLURB:

How could someone so pure want filth like him?

Damon Comb was no stranger to pain, hunger, loneliness, and abandonment. Being given a family that would die for one another didn’t erase six years of torture. It didn’t take away the nightmares. She did. She was everything someone like him should never be allowed. She was goodness and strength and she made him human.

How could someone so broken complete her?

Willa McClain had it all, a family that adored each other, the love of an entire town and a future she worked her butt off to get. But all she wanted was the boy with the sad blue eyes and the crooked smile. He was her best friend, her protector and the only one who really understood her.

How could a love like theirs be extinguished?

But nothing ever lasted forever. Damon knew better than anyone how quickly the tides could change. Can he keep his past at bay before it consumes the only light in his dark world? Can he finally tell Willa the truth, or will his fears tear them apart forever?

How could love so strong ever fail?

couple in love on the beach in autumnThe Baby Saga Twitter Banner 2

EXCERPT:

She beamed, but it didn’t go all the way to her eyes like it normally would. There were lingering fingers of shadow along the edges that prickled his attention.

“What?”

“Does it feel different?” she asked.

He hooked her hair with a finger and dragged them back behind her ear.

“Does what feel different?”

“Us,” she whispered. “I feel like it should feel different, but I feel the same.”

He hummed quietly, knowing full well what she meant.

“How do you want to feel?”

“Like this,” she said immediately, eyes growing urgent. “I love the way I feel when I’m with you. I don’t ever want that to change. But I have been so scared for so long that I just … I wasn’t expecting to feel exactly how I always felt.”

He let his fingers ghost along the elegant curve of her brow, down the lines of her face to the hollow of her cheek. He watched as her eyes closed and her head tilted into the touch.

“How have you always felt?” he wondered, his voice constricting with the band that had tightened around his chest at the simple gesture.

“Loved.” Her eyes opened and met his. “Wanted, happy, excited. A little sad.”

He felt his muscles stiffen at the confession. “Why sad?”

“Because I know one lifetime with you won’t be enough and it kills me.” Her eyes bore into his, reflecting the fear she spoke of. “I can’t lose you, Damon. I’d never survive.”

He kissed her gently on the mouth with one hand lifting up to cup the back of her head. He pulled back a second later before caution could be thrown to the winds and he started something he would be powerless to stop.

“You will never lose me,” he promised. “I won’t ever let that happen.”

Teaser 3 Twitter Banner 1

BUY LINKS:

For a limited time you can get ALWAYS YOURS, BABY, and the rest of The Baby Saga for just .99¢ each!

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PURCHASE THE PREVIOUS BOOKS IN THE SERIES

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Forever His Baby *Sloan & Lily* (Book 1):

Amazon us: http://goo.gl/syIa8C

iBooks: http://goo.gl/lOZ7RW

Barnes & Noble: http://goo.gl/Q6GRZB

Smashwords: http://goo.gl/nqrsaH

Bye-Bye Baby *Cole & Beth* (Book 2):

Amazon us: http://goo.gl/5uX19t

iBooks: http://goo.gl/QydkSn

Barnes & Noble: http://goo.gl/CZIFA3

Smashwords: http://goo.gl/M2Dutw

Be My Baby *Calla & Jared* (Book 3):

Amazon us: http://goo.gl/nDgRIa

iBooks: http://goo.gl/H88IMk

Barnes & Noble: http://goo.gl/EWpDvs

Smashwords: http://goo.gl/7EU3BW

Teaser 6

a Rafflecopter giveaway
AUTHOR INFORMATION:

Airicka PhoenixBIO:

Airicka Phoenix is a romance junkie with an incurable addiction to chocolate. She is also a prolific author of several novels written for young adult and new adult romance addicts who love bad boys, hot kisses and a gritty plot. Airicka prides herself in producing quality material her readers can fall in love with again and again.

When she’s not hard at work bleeding words onto paper, Airicka can be found cuddling with her family, reading, watching TV shows, or just finding excuses not to do chores.

Be the first for giveaways, teasers and upcoming releases by joining Airicka’s newsletter on her website www.AirickaPhoenix.com

AUTHOR LINKS:

Website: www.AirickaPhoenix.com

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/VgLqD

Facebook: http://goo.gl/eYXrrh

Twitter: http://goo.gl/yoVWYF (@AirickaPhoenix)

Goodreads: http://goo.gl/HGVszf

Google+: http://goo.gl/wgdslQ

Instagram: http://goo.gl/QRmqdy

Pinterest: http://goo.gl/Y5AOQq
Amazon: http://goo.gl/Nq57nJ

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Release Day: The Voyeur Next Door by Airicka Phoenix

Title: The Voyeur Next Door
Author: Airicka Phoenix    
Genre: NA Contemporary Erotic
*Warnings: Strong sexual content & language. (18+ Only)*
Release Date: April 27, 2015

Blurb:

He lived next door.Alison Eckrich was an expert at being invisible. Having been raised by a mother who saw only flaws, she had learned long ago to watch and never participate. Until him. He was gorgeous from what little she could make out through his bathroom window and he awakened things inside her she had always been told was wrong. But she didn’t care.

She was addicted.

Gabriel Madoc was no stranger to the cold sting of betrayal. His broken heart had left him hard and bitter and that was how he liked it. Until her. She was a vision in the soft twilight. Everything about her called to him. It didn’t even matter he couldn’t see her face.

He wanted her.

The rules were simple: No names. No faces. No attachments. They both had what the other needed so long as they never broke the rules. But what will happen when the mystery is unveiled and they both come face to face with the truth and each other? Is what they shared in the cloak of darkness enough to keep them together, or will reality tear them apart?

FB Release Party: https://www.facebook.com/events/808116989263187/




Chapter One

Ali
“God, baby, I need you inside me so bad…” My husky moan fogged the glass, obscuring my view of the deep fried and smothered in chocolate goodness just one creepy glass lick away from being all mine. “But I can’t let you control my life anymore.”
The pimply faced adolescent on the other side of the counter fidgeted uncomfortably, clearly disturbed by my affections, and possibly the drool marks I was leaving on his pristine display case.
“Ma’am?”
Giving the pastry one final glance of longing, I turned to him. “Just tea. Decaf because I apparently hate myself.”
Still looking nervous—maybe he was afraid I would start making out with the register next—he punched in my order, muttered off my total and then scurried off to grab me a pretty white cup and fill it with hot water. I set my money down and waited, all the while casting furtive peeks at the Boston cream pastry eyeing me back with a seductive, chocolaty glaze that all but whispered all the ways it could make me feel muy mucho goodo because that was how all my dirty fantasies started—with my food sounding like Antonio Banderas.
My water and teabag were set on the counter and nudged towards me the way lions were fed at the zoo—with a long stick poking their meals in under a steel cage door. Only the stick was his finger and the counter was the only thing keeping him safe from my all out crazy. My money was swept into a sweaty palm and tossed carelessly into the register. The drawer was slammed shut. Then there was nothing left for me to do but leave. Yet my weakness took that moment to nearly win; I started to open my mouth to order the pastry anyway, to portray that fuck it attitude I only pretended I possessed. But who was I kidding? It would never be just the one and my ass could do without the extra pounds.
Dejected, I took my disgusting drink and shuffled off to find a table somewhere within the air conditioned heaven. No one wanted to sit outside when it was hot enough to fry bacon. But most of the tables in the small café were full by drone-eyed squatters slumped over their laptops and cappuccinos.
Bastards.
Moving quickly down the line leading all the way to the door, I bee-lined for the only available table out on the shaded patio. My scalding water sloshed in the cup, but stayed stubbornly within the confines of the ceramic.
The moment I shouldered open the doors, I knew I’d made a mistake getting tea; it was just too damn hot.
I glanced back over my shoulder at the line. Nope. No way was I standing in that death trap a second time, not even for a Frappuccino with whipped cream and chocolate syrup, which was what I had originally gone in to get, except the beautifully athletic woman ahead of me had ordered a soy, low fat, no foam, something-something-something latte and the guilt had been too much. When the boy had fixed me with those judgy little eyes, I had balked and let myself be swayed by peer pressure and shame.
Resigned, I went to the table and sat. I stuffed my purse into the seat next to me and wondered how to drink my tea without sweating to death. I started by dropping my teabag into the water and watching as dark tendrils escaped and tainted the clear liquid. I adjusted my glasses as they began to slide down my sweaty nose and squinted at all the blinding brightness around me.
The café sat in the middle of a semi busy street catering mostly to restaurants and coffee shops and the occasional art studio. I wasn’t normally a coffee drinker and art made no sense to me, but I liked people. More importantly, I liked watching them … secretly … from a very great distance so as not to have to interact. People fascinated me. The things they did half the time made me question just how much chemicals and hormones really went into our food. But the problem with the artsy part of town was that it was very shiny. Everything gleamed. There were lights everywhere and everyone was dressed in bold, flashy colors that hurt the brain.
Me, in my long black skirt and baggy blouse melded with the décor. I could never pull off bold and sexy. Hell, I couldn’t even pull off one of those. Most days, my face would be lucky to see makeup, just because it was time taken away from something less pointless. No guy that didn’t require coke bottle glasses would ever look in my direction twice. Everything about me was all the things most men never noticed in a woman, unless they were into lobotomizing their dates. I just didn’t have the right looks to get men excited. It was a fact I had come to accept. Me and my lowly little decaf cup of tea.
“Rats!”
The exclamation was followed by the ripping sound of paper and the thud of things striking pavement. I twisted around in my seat just as an elderly man dropped down next to his torn bag of groceries. Pedestrians flocked around him, parting like the Red Sea to avoid stepping on him, or his things. But no one stopped to give him a hand as he scrambled to scoop items off the ground.
Abandoning my untouched drink, I hurried from my seat and dropped down next to him. My hands closed around a bag of apples, a tray of fresh chicken breasts and several cans of corn. I hugged them to my chest as he dumped his armload into the torn paper bag.
“Here,” I said, pulling the bag to me and emptying my things inside as well.
There was a stalk of celery and a carton of eggs that had upended on the sidewalk. I managed to salvage the celery. But the eggs had already begun to sizzle against the concrete.
“I think your eggs are toast,” I told him, stuffing the celery into the bag. “Or fried eggs, I guess.”
The man sighed. “Figures. That’s what I get for getting them free range eggs for about ten dollars more.”
It was a struggle not to laugh at the disgruntled huff.
“I think I have a plastic bag in my purse,” I said instead. “We might be able to fit all of this into it.”
Taking the bag from him, I walked back to my table and dragged my purse over. I opened the first pocket and rummaged inside.
The man shuffled up beside me and whistled. “Now, I’ve seen some crazy purses women carry around, but that right there is a doozy.”
My purse really was unique. When I first found it, it had only had the one big pocket and the one tiny pocket sewn into the inside. By the time I finished with it, it had about twenty pockets in various shapes and sizes and they all carried something. I had everything from a tiny sewing kit, to a paperback novel nestled inside. There were packets of tissue, gum, a small set of screw drivers, several zip ties, different sizes of Ziploc bags. and even a flashlight. I had everything a person could possibly need for just about any occasion. Because of all that, the bag was actually kind of heavy, which came in handy if I ever had to hit someone, which hadn’t happened yet, but I was hopeful.
“I like being prepared,” I told him. “Here we go!” Shaking out the plastic bag, I slid the paper one into it and held it out to the man. “There you are.”
The man squinted at me with one brown eye. The other one was screwed shut against the sun and he had to cup a gnarled hand over his brows to see me properly.
He had to be in his late seventies with big, child-like eyes and a kind face that immediately made a person like him. What little hair he had was combed over the wide bald patch on his head and looked as fine as a baby’s. His frail body was tucked into a pair of beige trousers and a checkered top that was buttoned all the way to his throat.
“What’s your name?” he asked.
Still holding the bag, I smiled. “Alison Eckrich.” I held out my free hand. “Everyone calls me Ali.”
He took it in a surprisingly firm handshake. “Earl Madoc.” He let my hand go and squinted some more. “Listen, Ali, you wouldn’t mind helping an old man get his groceries home, would you? My arthritis is just killing me today.” He rubbed his contorted hand, working the stiff muscles with a grimace deepening his wrinkles. “I live about a block down that way. I would pay you for your troubles.”
I waved away the offer. I was done with the whole fresh air thing and would have probably gone home anyway. Walking him would have been no skin off my nose, especially since he was walking in the same general direction.
I grabbed my purse, threw the strap around my shoulders, and took up his bag of groceries once more.
“Lead the way, Earl.”
Offering me a kind smile, he started forward at a shuffle-limp, like his right leg had been injured at some point and hadn’t recovered properly. I wasn’t sure if that was the case, or if it was just age, but I wondered why he didn’t walk with a cane if it hurt him as much as it seemed to. I didn’t ask. I figured whatever the reason was, it was his business.
We walked in silence for several steps and stopped at the lights.
“So what do you do, Ali Eckrich?” Earl asked as the lights changed and we started across.
“I am currently between jobs,” I replied around a tight curl of my lips. “I just moved here, so actually I’m kind of still looking.”
“No kidding.” He scratched his jaw dusted with a fine layer of white bristle. The sound reminded me of sandpaper. “Where did you move from?”
“Portland, Oregon,” I answered.
Earl’s eyes went wide. “An American!”
I laughed. “No, I was only there for school. I’m originally from Alberta.”
“What did you study?”
I pulled in a breath that smelled of fried hotdogs from the cart we passed and asphalt from the construction crew working on the roads a street down.
“I have my bachelor’s degree in business administration.”
Earl whistled through his teeth. “That’s fancy.”
“Four years,” I confessed.
“And they didn’t teach that here at the schools in Canada?”
I laughed at that. It was the same comment I got from my sister when I initially got accepted to the University of Portland. But at least she had known the real reason behind my need to get as far away from home as possible. Earl didn’t need to and I didn’t need to tell him.
“It was a growing experience,” I said, using my fall back response to most things.
“So you’re good with the books and things of a business.”
I shrugged. “Yes, and marketing and finances.”
“Interesting.” He scratched his jaw again. “Do you know anything about filing?”
“Filing?”
“Organizing,” he corrected.
I had to shrug at that. “I guess. Depends on what it is.”
We turned a corner and started down Pine Street. For a split second, I almost stopped, thinking I was inadvertently leading the poor guy back to my house. But Earl kept shuffling onward and I hurried to keep up.
“I just moved to this street,” I said. “My apartment is further down.”
“Yeah? My grandson did, too,” Earl said.
I started to ask where, when Earl veered left, hobbling his way towards a large, badly painted building that was impregnating the whole street with a powerful stench of motor grease, metal, and sweat. The rusty sign bolted over the trio of wide garage doors spelled, Madoc Auto Body Repair. The bay doors were all open to the bright afternoon. Two were empty. The middle one had a car hoisted on a lift. A man in a blue jumpsuit stood in the trench underneath with a handheld work light.
“It’s all right,” Earl called out to me when he realized I wasn’t following him. “This here has been in the family for near four generations.”
Curiosity perked, I knuckled my glasses back up the bridge of my nose and shuffled after him. Up close, the smell did not improve.
The man beneath the Pontiac banged on the underside of the car with a wrench; the sound swallowed the hum of jazz spilling from the boom box perched on the red toolbox next to the car. I watched him even as I followed Earl up a set of stairs built into the side of the garage, leading into what appeared to be an office cut out of gray stone slabs. It was impossible to tell what was hidden beneath the towers of paper that were layered over every available flat surface. There was another set of doors straight across, painted a harsh yellow that led to what looked like stairs going up. Earl stopped at the bottom, gripping the railing bolted into the side and leaned against the wall, his face flushed.
“The kitchen is straight up,” he panted slightly. “I’d show you, but that heat just about did me in and I can’t trust myself on them stairs right now.”
Concerned by the sheen of sweat glistening across his brow, I tossed a frantic glance over the room. I caught sight of a swiveling chair poking out from beneath the papers and hurried over to it. The wheels grated against the concrete as I shoved it to where Earl half slumped against the wall.
“Here.” I guided him into it. “Why don’t you sit down and I’ll get you some water?”
Earl smiled at me. “You are such a sweet little thing.”
“Will you be okay if I run up?”
He waved me away as he leaned his head back and closed his eyes.
Not wanting to leave him alone for longer than I had to, I hurried up the stairs, grocery bag in tow. At the top, I paused as the loft-style space came into view. The layout was straightforward with a bedroom set in one corner beneath a grand, bay window. At the foot of it, was a sitting area equipped with a leather sofa, recliner and TV. Across from that was a kitchenette and a bathroom on my right. I moved towards the kitchen. I ran the tap and occupied myself by shoving the groceries into the fridge while I waited for the water to get cold.
“Who are you?”
The pack of chicken breasts slipped out of my hands with my undignified squeak of fright and hit the top of my sandaled foot. I whirled around to confront the sudden explosion of words from behind me. The booming voice was male, but it was the volume of it, the sheer weight behind the sound that prickled the skin along my spine. My hand trembled as I fidgeted with my glasses, shoving them back into place so the dark, blurry shadow looming mere feet away could come into focus.
I wasn’t blind. I could see most things without my glasses. They just weren’t very clear. Everything had a fuzzy hue around the edges. Kind of like a smudged pastel painting, exaggerating the shapes and size of people.
This guy was not exaggerated.
No less than seven feet with a frame that was clearly stolen from some lumberjack catalogue, he stood blocking my escape. I mean, I could have maybe done some crazy ninja lunge over the counter, but that probably wasn’t going to happen. Instead, I stood there, slack-jawed, staring at the mountain man glowering back at me with a suspicion one would normally reserve for diamond thieves and those bitches who steal all the bikes at the gym just to sit and talk to each other.
He wore flannel, which only made my lumberjack theory all the more plausible. It was undone over a white t-shirt and form fitting jeans that hugged his lean legs the way I kind of wanted to. The hems fell over battered and really ugly boots that needed an incinerator to put them out of their misery and were frayed around the cuffs. His chest strained beneath the thin material with every breath and my gaze was drawn to the hard squares cut of his breast plates and along the wide lengths of his shoulders. The sleeves on the flannel were rolled up his toned forearms and barely concealed the raw muscles underneath.
Definitely a lumberjack.
Shit the man was hot. Screw Boston cream pastries. I’ll take two of him.
“Hello?”
Blinking, my eyes shot up to the head attached to that delicious body and my steamy fantasy bubble popped.
Thick, black hair covered his jaw and mouth in a beard. His hair was the same shade of ebony and hung uncut around his ears and over the collar of his flannel. From amongst all that hair, I could just make out piercing, intense gray eyes.
“Really?” I blurted in clear disappointment, my brain and mouth having lost communication at some point.
It was his turn to blink in surprise. He leaned over and snapped the faucet off with a smack of his palm.
“What?”
There was no helping it. My whole day was officially ruined and it was his fault.
Okay, I had no problem with men with facial hair. Sometimes, it was even hot. But not when it looked like he was going for a yearlong expedition through the Himalayan Mountains, or planned to live with bears out in the wilderness. There was a reason trimmers and razors were invented. And … Goddamn it! The dude was too hot for that shit.
“Are you lost?” he demanded when I could only stand there and silently judge him.
“I don’t know! Maybe you could loan me a compass!” I shot back. “Or a hatchet.” So I was just being crazy and I almost couldn’t blame him for his confounded scowl. I took a deep breath. “I’m Ali,” I said calmly and rationally. “I—”
“Gabriel?” Earl limped up the stairs, clutching tight to the banister until he was at the top. He looked better, I noted. The flush was gone from his face and he wasn’t panting. “I didn’t know you were here.”
Gabriel turned to the other man.
“Really?” I was amazed at how much that single question sounded like mine, full of indignant disapproval. “She’s not even half your age.”
I had not seen that coming.
“Whoa! Wait. What?”
I was ignored.
“Why do they keep getting younger?” he demanded of Earl. “You’re going to break a damn hip … again, and I’m going to have to listen while you explain to the doctor how you broke the fucking thing … again! You’re eighty years old, Grandpa!” Gabriel then rounded on me. “He’s eighty years old!”
“Dude!” I began, putting both hands up to ward off the craziness he was spewing. “I am not tapping that.” I winced and shot Earl a sheepish smile. “No offense.” I went back to glowering at Lumberjack. “So his hip is perfectly safe with me.”
Gabriel looked me over. Actually looked me over with a disbelief that was astounding. Did I have old man hooker stamped to my forehead, or something? Like seriously? I was insulted … and then he added salt to my injuries.
“I guess,” he mumbled. “Did he forget to return a book, or something? I didn’t know the library did house calls.”
How. The. Fuck. Did I go from being a hooker, to a librarian in the span of two seconds?
“Ali was kind enough to help me with my groceries,” Earl piped in before I could kick his lovely grandson in the family jewels.
Swooping down, I hefted up the pack of chicken still lying at my feet and shoved it into his gut with all the force in me. His grunt of pain was only mildly satisfying.
“I accept apologizes in written form only,” I growled through my teeth. “I like to file them under Fuckhead.”
With that, I stomped around him and started for the stairs.
“Ali, wait.” Earl hurried after me, and I only stopped for him. Otherwise, I was ready to make my grand exit, stage left. “Don’t mind Gabriel. His mother drank while she was pregnant.”
“Grandpa!”
He ignored his grandson, which amused me. I was really beginning to like Earl. Enough to sleep with him? Uh, no. But definitely enough to want to give him a high five.
“I still owe you for helping me with my groceries.”
I shook my head. “Really it’s fine. I have to get home anyway and continue the job hunt. But it was wonderful to meet you.”
“Actually!” Earl grabbed my hand before I could leave. “That’s exactly what I want to do.”
I frowned. “You want to help me job hunt?”
“Yes and no,” he answered with a chuckle. “We need someone with your expertise here at the shop and you need a job. I think we can help each other out.”
“What are you doing, Grandpa?” Gabriel demanded.
“I’m getting this place an administrative assistant,” Earl retorted. “Someone who knows how to do the books and filing, because apparently you got my brains when it comes to paperwork.”
Gabriel scowled. The guy was a professional scowler. I could tell. He was very good at his job.
“We’re doing fine,” he grumbled.
“Have you seen the office, Gabriel?” Earl countered. “I found a form the other day dating back to when the shop was first opened. We need the help.”
Gabriel seemed to chew this bit of information over, possibly literally. His face-bush kept twitching. Either that, or some unsuspecting rodent had made a home beneath that jungle.
“Fine. I’ll call someone,” he replied. “There has to be an agency, or—”
“Why when Ali’s right here?” Earl said, waving a hand at me.
Those smolderingly gray eyes darted to me and narrowed even further if possible. “You met the girl two minutes ago. How do you know she’s any good? Besides, she barely looks old enough to be out of school.”
Yeah, this guy and I would never be friends. He made me want to stab him, repeatedly, with something pointy and rusty. That didn’t make for very good friendship.
“I graduated with my bachelors last year,” I informed him sharply. “And spent the last ten months interning at one of the biggest ad companies in Portland. Trust me, I am very good at what I do.”
“And I am a very good judge of character,” Earl added. “I like Ali and since this is still my shop, I’m hiring her.”
Gabriel stared hard at his grandfather. “That’s not how this works. You need references and—”
“I’m not an idiot, Gabriel!” Earl snapped. “I’ve been doing this since before you were born. But she’s the one I want.”
It didn’t even dawn on me that I had just accepted a job at a garage. At that moment, all I wanted was to rub it in Gabriel’s smug little face. Then it hit me.
“Wait, you’re giving me a job?”
Gabriel threw his hands up. “Observant.”
I opened my mouth to tell him I was ten different belts of crazy and not afraid to use all of them on him if he kept pushing me, but Earl touched my arm.
“If you want it,” he said kindly. “It might not be all fancy, but you can start tomorrow. Bring your papers and Gabriel will go over them.”
With that, and a pat on my shoulder, he shuffled back down the stairs, leaving me alone with Mountain Man.
“Are you sleeping with him?”
Unbelievable.
“I don’t sleep with men to get what I want, Jack,” I snapped. “I’m perfectly capable of getting through life without offering my taco to every man that walks my way.”
That seemed to silence him. He watched me like I was some endangered species that just made no sense. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. I wasn’t there for his approval. I certainly didn’t want it.
But, at the same time, I did need a job. After three months of unemployment, my savings had begun to grow a happy family of dust bunnies and I didn’t know when I would get another offer like that. Besides, it would only be temporary. I could watch my mouth and temper for a few months.
Gabriel turned his full attention on me, which meant not just his eyes, or his head, but his entire body so we were facing off. I hated that he was taller than me. Pretending to be a bad ass took extra effort when you were stuck glowering at a beautiful man chest.
“My grandfather is eighty years old,” he told me again in a deep, quiet tone. “He’s trusting of pretty faces, but I’m not. I may not have any say in who he hires, but that sure as hell won’t stop me from booting you out of here if I smell even a hint of foul play.”
“What exactly do you think I’m after?” I wondered. “And what exactly does foul play smell like?”
His gaze roamed along my frame, taking in everything from the chipped, purple nail polish on my toes to the messy knot that was my hair bun. I wasn’t sure which of that irritated him more, because his frown never shifted. He seemed to disapprove of all of me.
“Look,” I said, struggling to keep my calm when all I wanted to do was throat punch the guy for making me feel about two inches tall with just a look. “I get it. You think a woman doesn’t belong in a garage.”
“You’re right,” he said evenly. “That’s exactly what I think.”
It took me a full second to peel my jaw off the floor.
“That is the most sexist thing I have ever—”
“Do you know what women are, Ali? A liability,” he went on, ignoring my irate sputtering. “They come into a place and destroy it with the two ton bag of drama they heave around. I don’t like drama. And I don’t like trouble, which is exactly what you are.”
Any other time, any other person and I would have taken that as a compliment. As it were, his condescending bullshit pissed me off.
“And how am I trouble?” I bite out with all the composure I could scrounge up. “Is it the glasses, because I can vouch for their character?” His eyes narrowed, but I didn’t give a shit. “You know, this is why women don’t feel comfortable bringing their cars in to get checked, because of assholes like you who treat them like they’re braindead and unworthy of a fair exchange. You think just because we’re women and may not know as much about vehicles as men that we’re somehow less superior to you. Well, you know what, Jack, you can keep your fucking job. I wouldn’t work for you, with you, near you if you paid me in gold bricks.”
Whirling on my heels, I left.
I walked out of the garage without running into Earl. I briefly wondered if I should find him and thank him for the generous offer that I needed to decline, but thought better of it. I needed to get away from that asshole before I did something I might not regret later.
My apartment was a two block walk from the garage, tucked behind a towering wall of spruce trees. It sat nestled on a slight incline surrounded by Victorian homes and other smaller apartments. Mine was one of the older structures. The red brick was faded and chipped in places and the windows were the enormous panes used in lofts, but the rent was cheap and I liked the view.
The building itself had originally been two separate structures with six stories each. At some point, someone had connected the pair by a wall on either end, leaving a narrow gap in between that opened into a courtyard that was never used because realistically, it was a squished alley someone spruced up with flowerboxes. I could easily leap from my balcony into the apartment across the way … if I was Cat Woman, or a burglar. As it were, I was neither and had no desire to leap into an empty apartment. But the thing I did like to do was occasionally stand by the terrace doors and watch the lives of the people in the other building. As a person who lived on the sixth floor, dead center, I had the perfect angle to see most of what was going on in the other suites. Call me crazy, or a pervert, but most people in my position would do the same, especially since there was nowhere else to look, except to maybe count the bricks on the building. My neighbors were much more interesting.
I have always liked watching. I like seeing how people interact and behave alone and in groups. I like wondering what they’re talking about and what they’re thinking. As a child, I was the lone kid on the playground, the one that said nothing, but stared at the others as they ran and played. I was okay with that. I never cared that I wasn’t picked for teams, or asked to play skip rope. While I wasn’t some creepy shut in that liked collecting strands of my classmate’s hairs to make dolls, I didn’t go out of my way to make friends either. I still don’t. Friends are great, except I never know what to do with them. I see other people and it all seems so natural. They laugh and talk and make plans to talk and laugh some more at a later date. I would probably throw a fry at them and hope they were distracted enough not to notice me running away.
So I stayed home. When I did have to interact, I did so cautiously and tried not to make any sudden movements. Occasionally, I could even have full on conversations with people without anyone getting hurt. But I liked my solitary life. I cherished it even.
My apartment was designed by someone with no concept of measurements. Everything was done in extremes. The living room was barely big enough for a sofa, while the only bedroom was enormous. The kitchen was small, but the single bathroom could fit an entire Russian circus. The closet in the hall could have doubled as a second bedroom if it hadn’t been so narrow, while the pantry in the kitchen could barely hold a stack of towels. I was only thankful no one ever came to visit me or it would have been hard to explain why my bedroom was in the living room and why my living room was in my bedroom, or why all my food was in the closet down the hall near the bathroom and my towels were in my kitchen. It all worked fine for me, but I knew it wasn’t normal.
Tossing my keys and purse onto the glass table I kept by the front door, I kicked off my sandals and made my way into the bedroom. It was a short walk down a minute hall that split off in three separate directions. Right to the kitchen. Left to the living room and bathroom, and straight for the bedroom. My toes curled in the plush carpet that extended from wall to wall. Underneath it was the scarred hardwood that came with the place. But after a week of waking up to use the bathroom and having to tiptoe on what felt like a sheet of ice, I said screw it and splurged on a carpet. Best investment ever.
My bedroom was my favorite spot in the whole place and it showed. It was designed for comfort and easy access to everything. My queen sized bed faced the TV I had mounted over a glass set of shelves holding my DVD player and surround sound. On one side of the bed was my mini fridge. The other held an end table with a lamp and the remotes to the TV. The terrace doors were on the other side of my bed, draped in sheer curtains. On the opposite side of the room, against the wall that separated the bedroom from the kitchen was my vanity. Everything was within reach.
I stripped. I rarely saw the point of being dressed at home. There was no one there to judge me for the way I looked, or what shape I was in. It was my place of sanctuary. Plus there was something liberating about eating a cup of pudding completely naked.
At a little after six, I drew on a robe, turned off the TV and wandered into the kitchen for a bowl of something. My pantry consisted mostly of things that could easily be warmed, cans of soup, microwavable dinners, the occasional canisters of squeeze cheese. I lived for one person. Me. If I wanted to cook a full meal, I had the luxury of running to the grocery store, grabbing the items and coming home. But those desires were rare. As it were, I grabbed a bowl of cereal and made my way to the terrace.
Seven o’clock was when my neighbors came home. It was when the dark windows lit up and life happened on the other side of the glass. I treated seven o’clock the way soap opera junkies treated their favorite sitcoms, with reverence and excitement.
The steel hoops embedded into the curtains hissed as I dragged the sheer drapes across the metal rod. I propped the glass doors open to the muggy evening and leaned a hip against the frame.
It was still fairly bright out. The sun was just making its final descent behind the buildings, but the narrow notch of space that I considered my little world had shadows slinking their way across the bricks. The lights from the other apartments were sharper, brighter, casting the figures inside into edgy silhouettes.
There were eighteen apartments. Each floor had three windows stamped into the side. I had given each one a name, which periodically changed as the occupants did. For example, in the three months I’d lived there, no one had ever rented the apartment adjacent to mine so that had come to be known as the Empty. Levels one, two, and three were impossible to see into from my sixth floor view. So that left me four, five and six. Four was iffy. I could only see about six feet into their apartments. But five and six were gold and that was where my favorite people lived.
Window one, top row: Old Man and Young Girl I had assumed for the first three weeks were father and daughter. So. Not. I learned that the hard way while eating spicy curry and nearly dying when he heaved the girl against the glass and started fucking her.
Window two, top row: Empty.
Window three, top row: Crazy Jungle Couple who fought like piranha’s over fresh meat and made love just as intensely. They were better to watch than WWE on pay per view. I always had popcorn ready for when they got home. It was impossible to tell how the night would end.
Window one, second row: an Asian Couple with Little Girl. Watching them made me nostalgic for my own family, but then the girl would cry and throw things and that feeling would go away.
Window two, second row: Slutty Blonde with copious number of lovers. That week, she was banging the occupant of window three, second row, Handsome Dark Haired Dude with a beer belly but a seriously massive cock.
Row three was full of families.
Window one, row three: Single Mother with Little Boy. I would occasionally see him sitting at the window with his hand held game, munching on carrot sticks.
Window two, row three: Man and Woman with Twin Ghost Daughters. I was convinced those two girls were from The Shining. Creepy little shits. Every so often, I would look down and they’d just be standing there … staring back. Not blinking. It made it even creepier that they were both extremely pale with dead eyes and long dark hair. I shuddered every time my gaze roamed over their window.
Window three, row three: Large, Hairy Man with a deeper love of microwavable food than me, who spent a large portion of his time in his recliner watching football. I had a feeling he was a gambler, simply from the fits he’d always have when his team lost. It was irrational. But then what did I know about men and sports? Maybe he just had rage issues. Yet that didn’t explain why he’d get on the phone immediately afterwards and shout at whoever was on the other end. But that also could be explained. Maybe he had a friend somewhere else equally pissed and the two were venting to each other.
The fun was always in the guessing.
That evening, only three of the windows lit up. Old Man and Hopefully Not His Daughter came home first. She sauntered into the living room, tossed her bright, pink purse down on the sofa and flopped down next to it. Old Man ambled his way into the kitchen and yanked open the fridge.
No fucking tonight, I thought, shifting my gaze to the other two windows.
The Ghost Girls were back in their lacy, purple dresses, white stockings and jet black hairs. They stood shoulder to shoulder with their backs to the window. Their dad was hanging up their matching red coats in the hallway closet. Mom wasn’t home yet. She was a secretary, or a lawyer. She didn’t get home until about eleven, stooped over like her briefcase was filled with bricks.
The third window gave me a start. The presence of the pale, golden glow took my brain a full minute to process and even it knew something wasn’t right.
Window two, top row: wasn’t empty. There was movement behind the curtains. There was light!
“Holy shit!”
Cereal bowl abandoned on the glass table next to the terrace doors, I stepped further onto the balcony. My fingers curled around the cool metal railing and I leaned in as far as I could without forgetting my not Cat woman notion and making the lunge over.
But as quickly as all the excitement had started, it sparked in surprise when the light flicked off and there was nothing. My gaze darted from the windows to the glass doors, waiting like an eager little puppy begging someone to throw the fucking ball already.
Nothing happened. The lights remained off. Stillness continued.
My gaze narrowed as I straightened. “All right,” I mumbled to the silence. “You win this round, but tomorrow…”
I let my promise linger into the night as I stepped back into my apartment.

Airicka Phoenix is a hopeless romantic with a dark imagination and an incurable addiction to chocolate. She is also the author of several novels written for young adult and new adult romance readers who like bad boys, hot kisses and a gritty plot. Airicka prides herself in producing quality material her readers can fall in love with again and again.

When she’s not hard at work bleeding words onto paper, Airicka can be found cuddling with her family, reading, watching TV shows, or just finding excuses to avoid doing chores.

To find out about upcoming books, teasers, giveaways and more, join her newsletter or check out her www.AirickaPhoenix.com!:

 

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Release Day Blitz: Wickedly Exotic Spring Erotic Wonderland Box Set

anthology teaser100% of proceeds benefit National Autism Association

Wickedly Exotic Spring Erotic Wonderland box set

Stories & Author list

49 Shades Of Vampire by P Mattern

Ghost Of A Chance by C.A. Tibbitts

The Undercover Rock Star by Jenna Galicki

Bella Noche by Elisabeth Popolow

A Wolff’s Mate by P.T. Macias

Fantasy Come True by Desiree A. Cox

His Living Kiss by Heather Marie Adkins

Vampires Of The Sea by Lynna Stephens

Assassin’s Mate by Jami Brumfield

Subtle Magic by Josette Reuel

Tomorrow’s Forecast by Ginger Marie

—————

49 Shades Of Vampire by P Mattern

Be careful what you wish for—especially if it BITES!

Ambrosia Divik has landed her dream job—she is the personal assistant of a handsome billionaire, working in a high rise. A huge fan of Vampire themed movies and Indie Vampire novels, she is convinced after observing his lifestyle and habits that he is a modern day vampire.

Will confronting him make her dreams come true or usher in a nightmare from which there is no awakening?

49shades.pmattern

———————-

Ghost Of A Chance by C.A. Tibbitts

Vanessa has run a bed and breakfast for years in her small home town in Missouri.  When her ex, Grant, shows up after his mother’s death, he winds up staying at the bed and breakfast and taking over the vacant position of handyman.

Vanessa is haunted by the ghost of Grant’s mother, while Grant frequently sees Vanessa’s deceased aunt.

Can two meddling ghosts help to rekindle the love between Grant and Vanessa that never really died?

ghost of chance.CATibbitts

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The Undercover Rock Star by Jenna Galicki

A spur of the moment vacation was supposed to jolt Cameron Douglas out of his funk, but it appears he only traded locations.  It was a chance meeting with a handsome stranger at the luxury resort that changed everything.  The mysterious man stirs Cameron’s interest and his heart, but will the handsome man reveal his true identity before their vacation in paradise is over?

Sometimes life in the spotlight was a heavy weight to bear for Brandon Bullet. He never knew if men were interested in him as a person or just enamored with his rock star status—until he meets Cameron Douglas. It wasn’t often that Brandon shared a connection with someone who wasn’t aware of his notoriety. He’s determined to keep his identity a secret while the two of them get to know each other—and before someone blows his cover.

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Bella Noche by Elisabeth Popolow

When vampires Lily and her blood-sire, Darius visit New York to meet with the discerning Master of the City, Nikolas, he ends up being more than they had bargained for. Not only is Nikolas a neurotic clean-freak, he wants their help in catching a crazed weretiger shifter that’s been terrorizing the streets, murdering and eating not only humans, but vampires too. Will Lily and Darius be able to find the weretiger for Nikolas before she strikes again- and adds yet another victim to her pile of corpses?

 

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A Wolff’s Mate by P.T. Macias

The FBI Director seeks intel and discovers more than he counted on. His mate is in trouble and time is running out. The mature widow is oblivious to what she has in her hands. The tall handsome stranger awakens her passions and love. She’s forced to make life changing decisions, forget her insecurities, and liberate her passions.

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Fantasy Come True by Desiree A. Cox

Gavin and Chloe’s relationship was very sensual and passionate.  They were no strangers to talking about fantasies; however, Chloe revealed a particular fact about her past that intrigued Gavin.

While on vacation they ensured Las Vegas’ nickname ‘Sin City’ continued to hold true.  The temperature wasn’t the only thing hot as they pushed their sexual limits beyond the traditional boundaries into taboo territory, with satisfied desires and one Fantasy Come True.  For 18+ readers due to explicit sex, sex situations, and language.

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His Living Kiss by Heather Marie Adkins

MJ Strong’s life spiraled into darkness when her father committed suicide just before the new millennium. On a late night bender, she’s found by the only creature in the world drawn to her depression: a vampire. What she thinks is a forever connection ends abruptly fourteen years later when he disappears without a trace.

MJ finds herself searching for meaning to her existence in the wake of his absence. What she finds is a bar, the patrons and people who work there, and Foster Price. A human man—a living man—whose connection goes so much deeper than their shared darkness. Together, they find the light they seek to burn away the sorrow they’ve lived with for far too long.

 

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Vampires Of The Sea by Lynna Stephens

Lynnea and Zendava are two sisters of a different breed, literally.  They are Vampire Mermaids. Until a life threatening event their secret had been something they shared with no one, not even each other. Their taste for blood and the need to keep their dark secrets hidden brings them to the shores of surrounding islands where they in their own unique ways satisfy their lust filled desires. Lynnea enjoys the bar scene where she carefully picks her prey, teases them, tortures and finally sucks the life out of them. She not only had a taste for blood but the violent aftermath excited her as well.

Zendava views each prey as a course of a meal. For her appetizer she likes them light and airy, smart on the outside dumb on the inside. She is especially excited by the fancy, stiletto wearing, stuck up ones. They always weaken in her presence. For her entrees she enjoys full, voluptuous even heavy prey. The bigger the better. They are usually lonely and alone. They love to be touched and she loves how excited they get, how they become so enthralled that they don’t even fight when her teeth graze and then sink into their soft necks. She likes the feeling of being full and happy and knew her visits would be few and far between so she tried to make them last. She had learned a lot of the type of prey she liked and what it took to get them to drop their guard on her visits above. They were all very sexual and surprisingly easy to manipulate.

Coming to shore was a forbidden act and a secret each sister kept from the other. Mermaids all knew the dangers of visiting the shores. If found out their lives could turn to nightmares. Lynnea and Zendava had always been warned against visiting the world on top by their mother who spoke of it as if it were hell. Just as everything comes to an end eventually so did their trips above. One dark visit brings sickness, confusion, near loss and love had taught this family of Mermaids a hard lesson. Their Mother who had over the years become less vibrant and energetic finally reveals what brought her to that point. Fortunately their love for each other and their clan brings them home to the sea, for good.

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Assassin’s Mate by Jami Brumfield

Scarlett Jennings is on the run from a sadistic ex-fiancé. She takes refuge on a supernatural cruise liner as a dancer. She doesn’t makes plans for her future because she knows he will find her someday. Brock Martin is part of an order of assassins. He hops the supernatural cruise to kill his next target but is intercepted by a red-headed tigress. After one kiss he makes plans to take out his mark and spend the rest of the week courting the beautiful dancer. There’s only one problem with those plans, his Scarlett has a hefty price on her head and he’s been dispatched to collect.

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Subtle Magic by Josette Reuel

Growing up different had made life difficult for Harley Hawen, a Rhai’ud without magic; she had buried herself in her cooking and baking. Her only friend, her cousin and roommate, Jenna, was a true Rhai’ud with the looks and magic.

Resigned to a life alone and magicless, Harley worked at her parents diner and spent free nights with Jenna. Then six months ago a group of men on motorcycles rolled into town and Harley and Jenna’s dreams had become tormented.

Magic has a subtle way of making things happen.

Chase and Diesel were Gwar’Arth — bear shifters. The Den they had grown up in was becoming too tight for all of the younger males that were looking for mates, so they had brought their new Den members to a new home on Karhu Ridge.

Chase and Diesel were two-thirds of a Triad mating. They had found each other as young boys, but had never found their third. So, they rode into town that first day knowing that they had a third for their Triad out there somewhere, but they hadn’t realized that she would walk right out in front of them when they were least expecting it.

For six months the woman tormented them and did everything to keep away from them, but they had had enough. She would realize that they were all meant to be together, if it was the last thing both Gwar’Arth men did.

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Tomorrow’s Forecast by Ginger Marie

Amber Collins has come back to her country home in the hills of Kentucky. Returning after years of traveling, Amber is longing to find some deeper purpose for life than just work and solitude.

Shane Callahan is a very successful, highly motivated man that doesn’t take no for an answer. Shane had been rather content with his life, until….. He saw her again!

It had been almost 20 years since their paths had crossed. Little did they know how much their lives mirrored one another’s.  Always checking the forecast to plan the day. Each longing to find meaning, driven by desires, how little they knew that deep down their most erotic desires were deep seeded around the other.

After all this time…. Would they continue to be “best buds” or would they give in to their inner urges?  Allowing themselves to drift into an erotic abyss of pleasure…

What Will ….

TOMORROW’S FORECAST Bring?!

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Amazon:  http://bit.ly/wickedlyexotic

All proceed from the sale of this box set goes directly to the National Autism Association.

Facts: Autism now affects 1 in 68 children; Boys are four times more likely to have autism than girls; About 40% of children with autism do not speak. About 25%–30% of children with autism have some words at 12 to 18 months of age and then lose them; CHILDREN WITH AUTISM DO PROGRESS – EARLY INTERVENTION IS KEY; AUTISM IS TREATABLE, NOT A HOPELESS CONDITION.

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