Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Excerpt & Giveaway: Duty Bound by Christina Bauer


Duty Bound
Christina Bauer
(Angelbound Origins 0.5)
Published by: Monster House Books
Publication date: February 27th 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance
An Angelbound Prequel Novella by Christina Bauer
As the High Prince of the demon-fighting thrax, Lincoln knows he must marry for political gain. Not that he minds. For all of his eighteen years, Lincoln’s been bound to his duty. Fighting demons is his life, and he’s never given romance a second thought. Instead, the High Prince lives for the days when he leaves his hidden realm to fight demons on Earth.
Then, everything changes.
Lincoln and his nobles become forced to visit Purgatory, the home of quasi-demons (who are mostly human with a bit of demonic DNA). Here Lincoln spies Myla Lewis, a lady warrior who enflames his heart, ignites his interest, and inspires his respect. Trouble is, Myla’s also a quasi. By thrax law, Lincoln must kill anything demonic—not date them. For the first time in his life, Lincoln wonders if he’ll follow his duty…or heed the demands of his heart.
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I am Lincoln Vidar Osric Aquilus, High Prince of the Thrax. My people are renowned as the greatest demon hunters across Heaven, Hell, Earth, Purgatory, and the Dark Lands. At eighteen years old, I’ve killed precisely one thousand four hundred and thirty-seven demons in hand-to-hand combat, more than any other thrax in history. All of which leads to a single inescapable conclusion.
I can make it through this breakfast with my mother.
At least, I think I can.
“You haven’t touched your eggs, my son.” Mother spears a strawberry off her plate. After many years of maternal encounters, I’ve learned to keep my mouth closed in situations like this one. Mother will bring up her true concerns when she’s good and ready.
In reply, I merely maintain her stare. We’ve an odd relationship, but a close one. We’re both natural schemers, so neither wants to pass up a test of intelligence and charm.
“Perhaps you dislike formal breakfasts,” says Mother as she gestures to my tunic.
“I’m fine with wearing royal garb to meals. Rest assured, all my Batman costumes are safely packed away.” As a child, I fought hard to dress as a human superhero. Unlike demon killing, that was one battle I ultimately lost.
“So you say.” A small smile rounds Mother’s mouth. “Those tunics hide quite a lot.”
“True. I’ve a Bohemian Rhapsody T-shirt on under this thing.”
“I have no idea what that is, but I’m pleased to see you turned out so well.”
This morning, I’m dressed in a velvet tunic, leather pants, and tall boots. Meanwhile, Mother looks regal and lethal in her black velvet gown. She has porcelain skin, delicate features, and an all-knowing glare that reduces hardened warriors to mush.
Needless to say, I’m pleased that her glare has softened. I must remember to work Batman into our conversations more often.
For a few minutes, Mother and I continue our breakfast in silence. It would be pleasant, except for the setting. Our new feasting hall is located in Purgatory.
Yes, Purgatory.
This place combines the worst of a rundown human suburb with the best of a rotting Dumpster. The sky is constantly cloudy with two types of weather: rainy and about to rain. It’s part of the magic of this realm that the weather is always dreary. Plus, the sky never reveals the sun or moon, and even if it did, those celestial bodies follow different patterns than they do in other realms.
Closing my eyes, I let my thoughts return to the glittering caverns of my homeland. As a rule, thrax live underground on Earth in the realm of Antrum. For some reason, the oracle angel, Verus, has demanded the royal family—and our noble entourage—move to Purgatory for a short period of time. This wasn’t a popular idea, but the oracle’s word is law, so we arrived here three months ago. Until Verus sets us loose, our days will be spent in tents and wooden halls like this one.
I scan the empty benches around me and sigh. It’s hard being separated from the bulk of my people. Quiet breakfasts like this only make things worse. Usually our feasting hall is packed with thrax sharing breakfast at communal tables. However, today Mother insisted on having a family-only morning meal, which in this case translates into me, Mother, and a half-dozen terrified workers. Father should get here any minute now. I can only hope he arrives before Mother’s temper returns.
As if in reply to my thoughts, Mother spears another wilted strawberry with a vengeance. Looks like her temper will resurface before Father does. Bugger.
“You never answered my question,” says Mother. “You haven’t touched your food.” She spears a grape with such force the entire table wobbles.
“Careful there,” I say. “You’ll bring down the roof down.”
“One perk of being queen. I can bring down roofs and no one says a thing.”
At those words, the half-dozen servants in the room visibly shiver.
There’s no question about the general topic of Mother’s angst, either. It’s always the same issue: the House of Acca. That tribe is the largest and most troublesome of all thrax.
At this point, problems with Acca could fall into one of two categories.
One, Mother might be worried about my impending marriage contract with Acca’s most eligible noblewoman, Lady Adair. If Mother thinks there are problems on that front, she would be sorely mistaken. It’s a business arrangement, nothing more. I’d regret that, but I’m a prince. I always knew I’d never marry for love.
Two—and far more worrisome—would be if Mother discovered my ongoing scheme against Aldred, the dreaded Earl of Acca himself. I’ve many issues with the Earl, but my largest is how Aldred keeps leading his warriors into ill-planned demon attacks on the Earth’s surface. Thanks to the Earl of Acca, hundreds of good thrax meet bad ends every week. I meet with the families of the fallen, trying to provide comfort as their worlds fall apart. So many tears and ruined lives…and all so the Earl can prove his so-called prowess in battle.
It’s outrageous.
Even worse, my parents have forbidden me from doing anything to stop Aldred’s bloodshed. Per some ancient treaty, if I interfere with Aldred’s rights to lead his troops, then the Earl has the unmitigated right to execute me on the spot.
And as every royal knows, execution threats and breakfast do not mix well.



Author Bio:
Christina Bauer knows how to tell stories about kick-ass women. In her best selling Angelbound series, the heroine is a part-demon girl who loves to fight in Purgatory’s Arena and falls in love with a part-angel prince. This young adult best seller has driven more than 500,000 ebook downloads and 9,000 reviews on Goodreads and retailers.
Bauer has also told the story of the Women’s March on Washington by leading PR efforts for the Massachusetts Chapter. Her pre-event press release—the only one sent out on a major wire service—resulted in more than 19,000 global impressions and redistribution by over 350 different media entities including the Associated Press.
Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

New Mailing List!

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Excerpt & Giveaway: From The Top by Dani Collins


From The Top
Dani Collins
(Blue Spruce Lodge, #2)
Published by: Tule Publishing
Publication date: February 27th 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Their hot New Year’s Eve wasn’t supposed to have consequences…
Fiercely independent after a difficult childhood, Ilke Lunquist devotes herself to one thing: skiing. She’s on the cusp of gold when an unexpected pregnancy throws her future into chaos.
Nathaniel Hart takes on the daunting project of restoring Whiskey Jack Ski Resort to be close to his young son, but with one failed marriage behind him, he avoids serious relationships.
They might be virtual strangers with only a baby in common, but Nate is determined to be part of his child’s life. Ilke didn’t become a champion by backing down from a challenge, especially not one where her child’s happiness and her own heart are on the line. When tragedy strikes, heartbreak draws them closer together. Nate discovers he’s more than ready for a bigger family and maybe, just maybe, Ilke will find the home that has eluded her all her life.


EXCERPT:
Ilke and Nate start negotiating how they’re going to proceed with this unplanned pregnancy…

“Have you told anyone?”
“My ex.”
Why did that go through her like a spear, leaving an open wound in its wake?
“Not that you’re the mother, just that there’s a baby.” Now he sounded painfully stilted. Averse. “Look, if no one knows… Maybe you should go back to Sweden to have it. When the baby is born, I’ll…” He trailed off.
She didn’t know what would happen, either. That was the reason she was here.
“I don’t have anywhere to live there. I gave up my apartment.”
“Why?”
“It was too expensive.” She had looked online for a few places, but now she could stay here in trade for repeating a spiel over the phone to inquiring callers and punching bookings into a computer.
“Do you need money?” He sounded surprised.
“Everyone needs money.” There was always government assistance, of course, but that was her last resort.
“I mean, what do you usually do for rent and groceries? I thought you had, like, sponsorships or something.”
“I had to withdraw from the World Cup. I won’t see any of the prize money I was hoping for. As for sponsorships, those tend to come in three levels: gold, silver, and bronze.” She put up her fingers: one, two, three. “None of which I attained. I’ve been informed that my previous arrangements will not be renewed. I doubt I’ll top anyone’s list once I’m a single mother, not unless I’m killing it in qualifiers. Even then, how many single moms do you see hawking big-name products?” She didn’t even know how she would afford to get herself and her equipment onto the slopes to train, let alone to the races. Those expenses burned through savings fast.
“Am I supposed to feel guilty?”
“I’m just saying, yours isn’t the only life being ruined.”
It’s not too late…
She held her breath hoping he would argue that this baby wasn’t ruining either of their lives. She had to quit thinking it was ruining hers. That’s how her mother had viewed her and she was still trying to prove her worth.
She felt so unwanted and isolated right now. How was she supposed to be a decent mother? She didn’t know how. She needed him.



Author Bio:
Award-winning and USA Today Bestselling author Dani Collins thrives on giving readers emotional, compelling, heart-soaring romance with some laughter and heat thrown in, just like real life. Mostly she writes contemporary romance for Harlequin Presents and Tule’s Montana Born, but her backlist of forty books also includes self-published erotic romance, romantic comedy, and even an epic medieval fantasy. When she’s not writing—just kidding, she’s always writing. She lives in BC, Canada with her high school sweetheart husband who occasionally coaxes her out of her attic office to travel and visit their grown children.

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Monday, February 26, 2018

Excerpt & Giveaway: Promise Me Always by Rhonda Shaw


Promise Me Always
Rhonda Shaw
Publication date: February 26th 2018
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Gabrielle Wells was everything Danny Anderson shouldn’t want. She was his opposite in every way, but he couldn’t keep his distance, and fate seemed to push them together at every turn. She consumed him, and the more he learned about her, the more he realized she was exactly what he didn’t know he needed. But then past mistakes forced him to walk away and never look back, breaking Gabrielle’s heart in the process.
Fast forward six years, and it seems as if fate is intervening again. Danny, now a best-selling rap artist, returns to his hometown, and is reunited with the only girl he’s ever loved.
Gabrielle isn’t the girl he left behind, though, and Danny realizes life has thrown her quite a few curves. But he will stop at nothing to get her back, refusing to let his true desires—love and family—continue to elude him. However, when Danny’s past crashes into his present, threatening everyone he loves and everything he’s fought for, he must decide if his promise to Gabrielle of “always” is worth the risk.


EXCERPT:
“Rap something for me.” I was almost begging, the urge to hear him perform his craft so strong I couldn’t fight it.
He laughed, a nice, low rumble, and the light expression brightened his face. “No, I’m not going to rap something for you.”
My heart stuttered, and warmth pulsed through me. I wanted to hear his laugh again. “Why not?”
“Why don’t you dance for me?”
I dropped my bag and set myself in fourth position, praying I didn’t twist an ankle on a pebble, before rolling up to balance on one foot while lifting the other to my knee. I spun around twice before landing into a lunge with my arms in third position.
“What was that?”
I leaned down to pick up my bag. “A pirouette.”
His mouth opened and his eyes widened before a stony expression fell into place. He turned and we continued walking.
“I’m waiting,” I pressed.
“Waiting for what?”
 “My rap.”
We stopped again, and he glanced at me before staring straight ahead over my shoulder, preparing the rhymes in his head as he nodded to a beat only he could hear. His voice was sharp as he snapped out the words, bending them in a way where I could almost hear the music that might have been playing along with it. He told me a story about a girl who was white-faced and
straight-laced, and, like Dorothy, was totally out of place.
When he finished, I smiled. He’d been trying to offend me, but I found his lyrics funny. “That’s good.”
His gaze lingered, as he’d most likely expected me to get insulted and stomp off in a huff, but when I didn’t, he shrugged. “It’s the best I could do on short notice, considering the material I have to work with.”
My grin widened. “Are you saying I’m boring?”
“Not too many skeletons in your closet, I’m guessing.”
“And you do?”
“You have no idea,” he murmured.
“Why are you always doing that?”
“Doing what?”
I walked over and stood right in front of him. He was only a few inches taller than I was, but appeared as if he towered over me. “Make me scared of you, or try to make me believe you’re some evil person.”
“I’m trying to make it clear you shouldn’t trust me.”
“And why shouldn’t I trust you?” I crossed my arms.
“Because it would be better for you if you didn’t.”
“Isn’t that for me to decide?”
“Sure.” He shrugged. “If you weren’t so naïve.”
I threw up my arms. “Well, then help me to not be naïve. Help me learn what I need to survive here. Don’t just tell me I’m naïve and walk away.”
His gaze held mine before a beautiful smile broke out on his face, completely transforming it. “You’re a funny girl, Gabrielle.”
I was ready to lash out at his condescending comment, but stopped when he said my name. I’d been positive he hadn’t remembered it, me being nothing more than a small blip on his radar, and hearing his low voice say it caused goose bumps to break out over my skin and a shiver to roll through me. God help me, but there was something about this rude and impolite guy I liked.
“You should do that more often,” I said instead.
His eyes narrowed, the hardness returning to his face. “Do what?”
“Smile. It looks good on you. Thanks again for the escort.”
I stepped past him, but paused when he called out.
“Hey!”
I turned my head and raised an inquisitive brow.
“It’s Danny.”
I smiled. “It’s nice to meet you, Danny.”



Author Bio:
Rhonda owes her love of reading to her mother who would read to her each night before bed and sometimes give into pleads for more than one chapter. These days, if Rhonda doesn’t have a book in her hands, it feels like something is missing. While romance is her true passion, Rhonda enjoys reading multiple genres.
Born in California, but transplanted to the Midwest, Rhonda is warm weather girl to the bone (even years later, winter and her are not on speaking terms) and loves nothing more than a balmy, summer evening. She also loves all animals–especially her silly French Bulldog, Keno.
Nowadays, she has so many characters and story ideas running around in her head that she can’t keep up with them. But one day, she’ll tell each one.

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Sunday, February 25, 2018

Excerpt & Giveaway: The History of Hilary Hambrushina by Marnie Lamb


The History of Hilary Hambrushina
Marnie Lamb
Publication date: May 31st 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Hilary has one goal for her first year in junior high: to become popular. But her plans are turned upside down when her best friend leaves for the summer and a quirky girl named Kallie moves in next door. Kallie paints constellations on her ceiling, sleeps in a hammock, and enacts fantastical plays in front of cute boys on the beach. Yet despite Kallie’s lack of interest in being -cool, – Hilary and Kallie find themselves becoming friends. That summer friendship, however, is put to the test when school begins, reigniting Hilary’s obsession with climbing the social ladder. As Hilary discovers the dark side to popularity, she must decide who she wants to be before she loses everything.
EXCERPT:
I put on a sweatband and sneakers and brought down a water bottle. My plan was to pedal non-stop for an hour. I figured I could do it, since I was used to riding my own bike, and how different could this bike be? I should lose at least one pound that way, I told myself. So if I use the bike every day, in fifteen days I’ll have lost the weight I want to lose.
I stepped over boxes and piles of books to reach the bike, which sat in a dark corner. This corner had a musty smell, like an old church that hadn’t been dusted since Queen Victoria was my age. A fake raccoon-fur hat someone had given my dad as a joke hung on the wall nearby.
The bike seat was too high for me, but I couldn’t move it because it was screwed in place. Gripping the handlebars for support, I tried to heave my leg over the seat several times without success. I was becoming angry and sweaty, so I started breathing deeply, like I was having a baby, to calm myself down. “Hoo hoo hoo.”
“Hilary!” shouted my mom. “Why are you making monkey noises?”
I froze. I knew that if I said, “It’s nothing,” she’d come down, and I didn’t want her to think I needed help getting on a stationary bicycle. So I called, “I’m just playing a game.”
I managed to lift myself on to the bike. I had to stretch to reach the pedals, but I finally did and started pumping. It was O.K. at first, but soon, my muscles felt like some psycho was using them as rubber bands. And some people actually do this for fun! What’s wrong with them, I thought. I reached for the water bottle and tried to squirt some water in my mouth. Nothing but air came out. I’d forgotten to fill the bottle! I threw it away and continued to pump furiously. Objects on the wall began rattling, and I was making so many strange noises my mother must have thought a whole pack of monkeys was performing a conga line in the basement. I began to have visions of monkeys in spangly pink bikinis
kicking up their heels (did monkeys have heels, I wondered) on stage at the Princess of Wales Theatre.
Suddenly my sweatband fell over my eyes. I didn’t stop to fix it, though. You’re going to pump for the full hour, not for fifty-nine minutes, I ordered myself. Instead, I tried nodding vigorously to get the sweatband to fall under my chin. It fell over my nose and I couldn’t breathe. Then something dark and furry leapt on my head, covering my eyes and tickling my face like a bunch of feathers. I screamed, batting at the thing with one hand and pumping frantically, as if I could escape that way. I soon realized it was only my dad’s hat, but I still couldn’t get it off. Finally I stumbled off the bike and yanked the hat’s tail away from my eyes.
I had no energy left to remove the hat, so I left it on and trudged upstairs. I passed my mom, who took one look at me and started to snicker. Ignoring her, I went into the kitchen to check the clock. I’d been on the bike five minutes.
So that was the end of my experiment with exercising.


Author Bio:
A Journey Prize nominee, Marnie Lamb earned a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of Windsor. Her short stories have appeared in various Canadian literary journals. Her first novel, a YA book named The History of Hilary Hambrushina, is forthcoming from Iguana Books. When she is not writing fiction or running her freelance editing business, she can be found cooking recipes with eggplant or scouting out colourful fashions at the One of a Kind Show.


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Saturday, February 24, 2018

Excerpt & Giveaway: Perfect by Felice Stevens


Perfect
Felice Stevens
(Soulmates #4)
Publication date: February 23rd 2018
Genres: Adult, LGBTQ+, Romance
Despite multiple degrees and business success, in his heart Jeremy Strauss feels he’s never measured up. While he hasn’t lacked for men or women to share his bed, Jeremy has yet to find someone who sees beyond his muscles and perfect smile. Taking it slow with a lover isn’t how he operates, but something about the shy accountant he rescues in a snowstorm makes him want this time to be different. So what if Blake drops little comments here and there about Jeremy’s pretty face? Their relationship is perfect.
Or is it?
Lonely most of his life, Blake Myers is as careful with his heart as he is with a balance sheet. The last thing he expects is for a man like Jeremy to fall for him, and he can’t help but wait for the bubble to burst on their relationship. When the stress of a professional crisis turns personal, Blake sees the perfect relationship he and Jeremy have built start to crumble. Caught in an ever-tightening web of lies, rather than wait for Jeremy to leave him, Blake breaks it off and vanishes.
Perfection is an illusion.
Jeremy doesn’t know which way to turn and for the first time in his life, he’s lost and uncertain. Believing he’s no longer the man Jeremy needs, Blake sinks deeper into despair. Both men struggle with secrets, lies, and hurtful memories until they are forced to look inside their hearts and learn the truth—that love is perfectly imperfect.
EXCERPT:
At around six thirty, his desk phone buzzed. “Yeah?”
“Blake here to see you?”
His pulse sped up. “Be right there.” Jeremy ran a hand through his hair and walked out of his office to the front desk. In his suit and tie and dark wool overcoat, Blake looked sexy and sophisticated. Jeremy felt like an underdressed slob in his sweats and T-shirt. His heart pounded, and his palms turned sweaty. What the hell was happening to him?
“Hey. I’m here.”
When their eyes met, Blake’s face lit up, and he smiled. “Hi. This place is great. I can’t believe you started it from scratch.”
“Yep. I did.” Seeing the curious glances of both Benny and Gino, Jeremy took Blake’s hand in his. “Guys. This is my boyfriend, Blake. Blake.” He squeezed Blake’s hand. “The dark-haired guy is Gino, and the redhead is Benny. They’re my right-hand men.”
“Nice to meet you both.”
Gino gaped at him. “Boyfriend? You never said you were even dating anyone.”
“I didn’t realize I owed you an explanation.” Jeremy chuckled and shook his head. “Blake and I are going back to my office, so unless it’s my brother or the mayor, no interruptions. Got it?”
They nodded, staring at him with wide, shocked eyes, but he ignored them and pulled Blake along, anxious to be alone with him.
He pushed Blake into his office and slammed the door shut behind him, locking it. “Finally. I’ve been waiting all day to do this.”
He covered Blake’s mouth with his and kissed him deep and hard, his tongue pressing at the seam of Blake’s lips. For a moment, Blake stiffened, but when Jeremy slipped his tongue inside, Blake grabbed on to his shoulder and began to kiss him back with equal fervor.
“Mmmm. That’s better.” His hands sure and steady, Jeremy first pushed off Blake’s coat and suit jacket, then loosened his tie. “Wanna know what sexy fantasies I’ve been having all day since you said you were coming over?”
Blake stared at him, wild-eyed and panting. “Yeah. Tell me.”
“You, bent over my sofa, naked. Me fucking you, while outside people are walking by. Maybe they hear us, maybe they don’t.”
He watched Blake’s eyes glaze over with lust. Jeremy was more than willing to make Blake’s fantasy a reality. Getting him off in semi-public was hot as hell, and the desire Jeremy stemmed all day burst free. He wanted Blake. Now.
“Take off everything.”
Breathing heavily, Blake licked his lips. “But what if someone needs you? They’ll knock on the door and—”
“And I won’t answer because I’ll be too busy being inside you. Come on. Get naked.”


Author Bio:
If you join my newsletter: https://tinyurl.com/y85e69ab you'll get exclusive content, sneak peeks at new books and contests. I feature favorite authors, recipes and free short stories!
I have always been a romantic at heart. I believe that while life is tough, there is always a happy ending around the corner, My characters have to work for it, however. Like life in NYC, nothing comes easy and that includes love, but getting there is oh so fun and oh so sexy.
I live in New York City with my husband and two children. My day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass (or two of red wine). I practice law but daydream of a time when I can sit by a beach somewhere and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there are bound to be a few bumps along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.

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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Excerpt & Giveaway: Love and War: Volume One by Charisse Spiers


Love and War: Volume One
Charisse Spiers
(Shadows in the Dark, #2)
Publication date: February 22nd 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Note from the author: This is a Dark Romance. If you do not like dark themes this book may not be for you. Suitable for audiences 18+ due to content.
The f*cking lights. They are all I can remember. Everywhere I turn I see them. They haunt my dreams, and now my reality. She liked the lights. I do remember that. It was part of her life, and in turn a part of mine, until the day I forgot it all.
They say your childhood paves the way to adulthood, and maybe it does. I know mine was lit up in flames. I walked the roads of Hell until I figured out that the only way to survive was to exist under a cloak of darkness—to deal with the devil himself. It was the only way to escape the pain, the torment. But the nightmares are still very real. They’ll never leave me alone. The shadows of solitude follow me wherever I go.
Weapons—they can be anything I need them to be. Unlike people in my life, they are predictable, dependable. Without any effort they can cause so much destruction, but also so much peace. Through the internal chaos, the anger that won’t cease, and the constant noise, everything is silenced with the pull of the trigger.
Ink—I’ve loved it since I can remember. It defines me. It’s my release. When I feel like I’m about to blow I turn to the needle. It is the one high I need. I brand people. It’s what I do. Kross Brannon is the best there is when it comes to tattoos. The success of my company proves it.
But I never teach. Those that work for me learn from someone else. I’m a solo artist. Always have been and always will be…but then I looked up and saw her, standing in my shop, beautiful, tattooed, and her soul screaming for me to reach out. She was a force of nature I couldn’t turn away.
That’s the moment everything started falling into place…
EXCERPT:
Delta . . .
I group my tips together and fold them in half. I’ll count them later. Right now I just want to take these shoes off my feet. Dancing in stilettos sucks. They were not intended to be worn for extreme activities. Then again, maybe they were. I prefer chucks, high tops . . . Hell, anything flat. These are more Lux’s style.
I’m sweating; burning up, even though I know Chuck keeps it cold in here. Keeps the nipples out, he said, and nipples make the customers happy. I roll my eyes at the memory of that conversation from my first night. I thought he was ‘the shit’ back then. My way out of a shitty, unwanted existence. A way to live on my own. And it was . . . Until I wanted better for myself.
My thighs and calves are burning. I’m ready to go home and shower, to crawl into bed with a movie in the background as I fall asleep, but unfortunately that won’t happen anytime soon for me. I still have another set later.
I walk into my dressing room and shut the door. “Lock it.”
I nearly jump out of my skin at the sound of his voice, my hand immediately snaking over my breasts to cover them. Reflexively I lock it without questioning him. His tone is a little . . . harsher than usual, and his irritation is nothing new to those that work for him.
I look at him sitting in my chair, hunched over, legs spread wide with his elbows to his thighs, holding a lighter between them—my lighter, in fact. In a hypnotic rhythm he strikes it, causing the flame to emerge before letting it go. He’s looking at it and not at me, as if he’s trying to cool some sort of fury inside of him. My heart begins to race. I can feel my pulse beating along every passage in my body. My nerves spark like two wires being touched together with opposite charges. My oxygen tries to recede back into my lungs. I force the words out. “Kross . . . What are you doing here?”
He looks up at me, a cold, stone-like demeanor present, emotion absent. The words come out as controlled as he is. “Come here.”
His eyes look different—determined, angry maybe. My feet automatically move toward him. I should stay where I am, but instead, I quickly tread across the floor to where he sits. The second I get to him he stands and grabs my neck so fast I can barely blink between movements. He forces me to sit on top of my vanity, head against the mirror as he comes between my legs. “What the fuck are you doing here?”
I grab his wrist as a reflex. “Kross, I’m working.”
He looks down my almost-naked body, his judgment cutting into me like a serrated edged knife. If I didn’t already feel like trash I would with just that look. “I can see that. What happened to the damn bar, Delta?”
He’s seething. Fear sets in. Little to nothing scares me. I’ve worked for him for a while now. I’ve seen him on a daily basis and in many different moods. I’ve never heard this tone before. It’s bordering on psychotic. And his eyes. What’s wrong with his eyes? His grip tightens, but still not enough to hurt me in ways I can’t take or cut off my air. Because even though he’s holding me in a way that most would deem abusive, no bone in my body feels like he would physically hurt me. The only thing my mind can process is the fact that he’s close, and that he’s touching me in a way I’ve wanted him to since I laid eyes on him. He’s looking at me like I’m his, like he’s angry with me. I stare into his eyes, unable to look away even though I can’t read them. “Answer me.”


Author Bio:
I found books when I was going through a hard time in life. They became my means of escape when things got bad. I realized quickly how much I loved to take a backseat to someone else's life and watch the journey unfold. That began my journey with books in November of 2012. I constantly had a book open on my Kindle app. Never in a million years would I have imagined myself as a writer, because I never thought I was creative enough. I'm living proof that things will fall into place when they're meant to be. People will make their way into our lives when we don't expect it, setting the path for what we are meant to do. Never give up on people. Never stop taking a chance on others. Someone took a chance on trusting me with her work when she didn't know me from a stranger on the street and gave me the opportunity of a lifetime as our relationship progressed, which led me to editing and writing as well. This is my dream I never knew I had. As soon as I sat down and gave writing a shot, it was like the floodgates opened. Now, I am lost in a world of fiction in my head, new characters constantly screaming for their stories to be told. Continue to dream and to go for them. No one ever found happiness by sitting on the sidelines. Sometimes we have to take risks and put ourselves out there. Thank you for all of your support, and may there be many books to come. XOXO- C

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Review: Toad by Cambria Hebert

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Title: Toad
Author: Cambria Hebert
Series: Public Enemy #2
Version Reviewed: Finished, eBook
Website: www.cambriahebert.com
I read this book through Kindle Unlimited.

GoodReads Synopsis:
Aerie Boone is a toad.
At least according to every news outlet and online hater imaginable.
Accusations of lip-syncing.
Rumors of being dropped by my label.
Reports of celebrity feuds and rivalries.
And then there’s my personal favorite…
The pending annulment of a marriage I can’t even remember agreeing to.
When you’re the sweetheart of country music, being a headline is a given.
Living the headline is more of an uninvited surprise.
I’m barely recognized for the massive success I’ve had.
Now I’m famous because people love to hate me.
I’m a public enemy, but no one knows my side of the story.
I’m beginning to think it doesn’t even matter.
I’m burned out, hurting, and everyone thinks I have warts. Ew.
Becoming a shut-in is exactly what the doctor ordered.
Too bad my label has other ideas.
They send me a solution…
In the form of a red-haired, green-eyed man who wears sarcasm like armor.
I don’t want a stranger in my house.
I don’t want Nate.
All I want is to go back to a time when I wasn’t a toad.
When I was country music’s princess.
But going back is impossible.
Moving forward will change everything.
 Review:
I get extremely excited anytime Cambria Hebert puts out something new and this series is no exception. This woman is a beast at releasing books every other month (sometimes EVERY month). I don't understand how she does it. And each and every one of them is a quality story that keeps you hanging on. Toad is absolutely no different.

I wasn't sure what to expect from her new series but I honestly think they're great. I guess it's the mysterious aspect of celebrities that I find appealing, the secret personality behind the public face. I'm a sucker for reality shows and celebrity gossip so I love that the Public Enemy standalones are centered around celebrities.

I really enjoyed Butterfly and Nate was a hilarious, endearing side character that was easy to love. I was really happy when I learned that Toad was going to be his story.  He totally went from goofy side character to red headed sex machine without changing even one thing about himself and I couldn't get enough. His mix of super sweet and protective mixed with goofy, immature behavior made him super realistic and easy to fall for. There were even times when he reminded me of my husband who is just a huge kid at heart.

Aerie Boone, on the other hand, was an extremely serious character with more on her plate than she could handle. She was in a terrible situation that she needed out of and Nate was the perfect Knight In Shining Armor to her Damsel In Distress. Her seriousness equaled well to his silliness and, again, kind of reminded me of my husband and myself. The differing personalities balanced each other out and made for a great, stable couple. The heat between them didn't hurt either.

Just like all of Cambria's other romantic suspense novels, Toad was a great read full of  twists and turns and sexy, steamy moments that will melt your heart.

Definitely recommend to fans of romantic suspense or celebrity fiction.

Rating: 4 Stars

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Excerpt & Giveaway: Love on a Battlefield by Posy Roberts


Love on a Battlefield
Posy Roberts
Publication date: February 20th 2018
Genres: Adult, LGBTQ+, Romance
Not every compass points north.
Andrew Summers is forced to spend his vacations reliving Civil War battles with his father. He hates every minute, until a blue-eyed, red-haired boy behind enemy lines catches his eye.
Shep Wells would much rather travel the world than play at boring war reenactments. He never dreamed a Texan boy would capture his heart.
Real life and years separate them; Andrew is forced onto real battlefields, but for Shep the world is a playground. They’re opposites, but writing letters closes the distance, uncovering their hopes and dreams. When Shep visits Andrew, they get to see if the tug they’ve felt for years is the compass pointing the way home.

EXCERPT:
My father started taking me to Civil War reenactments long before I understood the politics of the war and its moral implications. I was introduced to the tradition before I knew what any war was truly about.
It wasn’t until I was sixteen that I was allowed to carry a weapon and shoot it myself. The physicality of battle was exciting. Hand-to-hand combat when munitions were spent was better than football any day.
But there were strict rules my dad implemented that I didn’t enjoy. “If we’re going to do this,” Dad always said, “we’ll be as authentic as possible. We’ll do it right, unlike those people who think this is Summer Stock.”
I wasn’t allowed to socialize with the Yankees at all, so I hung out with the Confederate kids or sat around campfires listening to the adults shoot the shit. If school was in session, I’d bury myself in homework and often ended up helping some of the younger kids with their lessons. The guys my own age . . . Well, we had little in common. Some were intense, a few down-right scary with their racism so proudly displayed.
What I’d learned after hanging out with them for years was that they hated everyone who wasn’t like them.
I wasn’t like them, but I wasn’t about to let them know for fear they’d turn their hate on me.
For the last two years, I’d watched a Union kid who only came to a few of these events, not like most of the reenactors, who made this a way of life. When he showed up, he was the center of attention. Maybe because he was novel, but when he was there, he always drew my eye. It was obvious the other kids looked up to him, fawned all over him, really. I never got close enough to talk to him, to find out what made him so fascinating.
But I saw it from afar. He was strong yet graceful, with a mess of hair in a color I’d never seen outside of jewelry or pipe fittings. His smile was easily earned, and he seemed so . . . carefree. So unlike the overly serious and angry kids who surrounded me.
I’d watch the Union kids in their shorts and T-shirts laughing and having fun. I wanted to be a deserter. I wanted to go see what life was like on their side. It sure as hell looked like a lot more fun than what ended up feeling like a weekend prison sentence in a hot, scratchy suit.
I couldn’t stop myself from turning to him, staring at him. I’d watch him leap into the air to catch a wayward Frisbee or wrestle boys to the ground, then help them up, all with a bright smile on his face.
Last summer, he’d worn a wreath of daisies in his hair, walking around as if it was the most normal thing in the world. My ‘friends’ laughed at him and speculated about his sexuality. I joined the adults then, unwilling to spend any more time with the assholes. It brought me closer to the redhead too, so I made myself blend in with my surroundings and looked to my heart’s content.
I didn’t know his name. I never got the chance to find out, but if he was here this time, I was determined to discover it.
As we arrived Friday afternoon, I scanned the area for his hair but didn’t see him. After setting up camp, I followed my father out of our tent and joined the other men as they scoured maps and walked the battlefield to get a lay of the land. I turned down an invitation to hang out with the Rebel kids and instead listened to an expert on this particular battle drone on and on. Sitting there, sweating in my wool uniform under the scorching heat for hours, I had to get out from under the sun.
“I’m going to go fill up my canteen,” I whispered to my father.
“Stay hydrated.”
I gave him a quick nod, made my way past the tent filled with women and young girls quilting or spinning yarn, and found the metal water pump. I pushed down on the handle, trying to draw up the water, with little luck.
That’s when I saw him. He was in full Union dress, the buttons of his coat making the gold and red highlights in his hair appear metallic. He was unlike anyone else I’d ever seen.
He walked toward me with a wide smile. Sure of himself, but not cocky. More . . . careless. Utterly free.
“Want some help?” he asked. “I heard it’s hard to get this one started.”
I met his blue eyes, brilliant and wild like the sea. I was stunned into silence. He was even hotter up close, and suddenly I was unable to form words. I nodded my assent instead.
He wrapped his fingers around the metal handle and pushed down. It made a grating squeak that echoed, but the lever moved. He helped me push it down several times, hands sliding closer and closer with each pump until our fingers intertwined.
He laughed as water poured from the spout, and he bent down to taste the stream. The smell of iron surrounded us as I filled my canteen.
I watched him wet his hair, making it darker, which made his skin look extra pale. He was gorgeous, and the way the sun hit him right then, he looked like something out of a dream.
Stop being cheesy, I chided. So he’s hot. Don’t turn him into a fricking poem.
I replaced the cork, slung my bottle over my shoulder by the leather thong, smiled at him, and rejoined my father.
As we lined up on the battlefield the next day, I saw that shock of auburn hair straight across from me. Before I could make eye contact, the battle had begun, horses moving, gunfire blasting, and a few men already collapsing to the ground, probably playing out some real-life soldier’s tragic end.
I took out several Union soldiers with my fake munitions before I tripped over a rock. As I regained my footing and stood up, he was right in front of me.
I don’t recall if we gave each other a visual cue or if he said something, but we both decided to take a hit, bodies falling to the ground. We landed face-to-face, limbs sprawled out in opposite directions. My father was near, so I slammed my eyes shut, authenticating my death until I heard his voice move away with the continuing battle building.
When I dared open my eyes again, the Yankee soldier was staring at me, smiling and licking his lips. His jaw was strong, defined, dusted with stubble from who-knew-how-many-days growth, and it drew my attention to his chin and full lips. We lay there studying each other for several minutes, shamelessly staring, before he scooted closer.


Author Bio:
Posy Roberts started reading romance when she was young, sneaking peeks at adult books long before she should’ve. Textbooks eventually replaced the novels, and for years she existed without reading for fun. When she finally picked up a romance two decades later, it was like slipping on a soft hoodie . . . that didn’t quite fit like it used to. She wanted something more.
She wanted to read about men falling in love with each other. She wanted to explore beyond the happily ever after and see characters navigate the unpredictability of life. So Posy sat down at her keyboard to write the books she wanted to read.
Her stories have been USA Today’s Happily Ever After Must-Reads and Rainbow Award finalists. When she’s not writing, she’s spending time with her family and friends and doing anything possible to get out of grocery shopping and cooking.

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Monday, February 19, 2018

Excerpt & Giveawa: The Devil Makes Three by Evelyn Vox


The Devil Makes Three
Evelyn Vox
(Share Me, #1)
Publication date: September 8th 2017
Genres: Erotica, Romance
LEXIE
I know what you must think of me.
You’re going to think I’m a whoring trophy wife.
You have to believe me when I tell you, I do love my husband.
I tried to stop it. I tried to resist him.
But there was no resisting Derek Drake.
And if you were me, you wouldn’t have been able to, either.
DEREK
As long as I can remember, the beast has been inside of me.
It’s a monster with dark desires and carnal needs.
When it sees something it wants, it won’t be denied.
Alexandra Hale was a Princess, a spoiled brat who needed to be taught a lesson.
The moment the beast saw her, it claimed her. It was only a matter of time before it got out and took her.
It didn’t help that she so clearly wanted to be taken.
When Manhattan socialite Lexie Hale hires the dark, brooding Derek Drake to remodel her house in the Hamptons, she never imagined the deep, forbidden desires he’d awaken inside of her. There’s just one little problem: Lexie is married. How long can she resist Derek’s promise to dominate her and take her in ways her husband never could? And what will happen when her husband finds out?
Share Me: The Devil Makes Three is a steamy, heart racing erotic romance about the forbidden lust and even more forbidden desires between a married woman and her Alpha male contractor. It includes cheating, consensual, hard BDSM, an MFM scene, and a taboo cuckold relationship. Not for the faint of heart!
First novel in the Share Me Series
A Club Midnight Novel
EXCERPT:
I pulled up the album full of photos I’d saved and we went through them. I swiped away, explaining what I liked about each one, nerves fueling my gabbing more than anything else. He listened without saying a word, nodding here and there.
“This is my favorite picture,” I told him.
It was an ornate master bathroom with a huge tub, cream and gold accents, and white marble. He reached out and angled the phone so he could have a better look. Our hands brushed against each other, but instead of moving away, he let his rest against mine. The light, simple contact sent a shock through my system, and I knew he could hear the way my breath hitched when he touched me.
“You don’t need to flatter me, Alexandra,” he said, looking up at me, no, into me, with those dazzlingly gray eyes.
Like some bashful school girl, I was still distracted by the press of his hand against mine. I decided that I liked the way my full name sounded, coming out of those sensual lips of his. He was looking at me with the intensity at full blaze again. It sent a thrill of butterflies shooting down my stomach, and I took a moment too long to reply.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean you don’t have to show me pictures of my own work to convince me to take on this project.”
“I had no idea,” I breathed, “this really is my favorite of all the pictures. It’s a bathroom fit for–”
“A goddess,” he finished my sentence, never releasing me from his searing gaze.
His face was close. Too close.
I really couldn’t get over the color of his eyes. I’d never seen eyes like his before, like polished slate. The tension between us ramped up to an unbearable pitch, and he looked like he was about to devour me.
What scared me most was that I wanted him to.


Author Bio:
My readers and I are one in the same: we like it dark, and we like it dirty. If you like dominant men, strong-as-hell heroines, and heart-racing plots with lots of kink, then welcome to our wicked little club. My characters will take you on a wild ride as they give into their most forbidden desires, uncovering their truest selves along the way. Always steamy and extra sinful, my romances will have you embracing your dark side in no time.
Evelyn lives in Brooklyn, and some might be so bold as to call her a *gasp* hipster. When she's not busy ordering a craft beer or drinking kombucha, she works part-time at a wellness center. No matter what she's doing, her mind lives full-time in smutland, always thinking of new ways to torture those hunky Alpha males and the ladies they love to play with.
Check out my website for updates, newsletter sign-ups, and giveaways!

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Review: Lake + Manning by Jessica Hawkins

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Title: Lake + Manning
Author: Jessica Hawkins
Series: Something In The Way #4
Version Reviewed: ARC, eBook
Website: www.jessicahawkins.com
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

GoodReads Synopsis:
The final book in the Something in the Way series, a love saga.
Manning and I have what happily-ever-after is made of . . .
A home he built us on the unshakeable foundation we fought for.
A life of laughter carved out of heartache and betrayal.
A love story to stand the test of time.
But between a trust that can’t be broken, joy that can’t be bridled, and passion that would scorch the sun, the empty spaces are becoming more and more difficult to ignore . . .
Fears that keep Manning up at night as he slips from our bed.
Our complicated relationship with a man he respects and one I don't know how to forgive.
And a sprawling, beautiful home with one small room I'm afraid I'll never be able to fill.
Manning and I have what happily-ever-after is made of . . .
But I'll beg the heavens for just one thing more.
Review:
Man, oh man. Or should I say man, oh Manning? Hah, see what I did there? ;) Okay, okay but I couldn't resist.

I honestly don't think I have read a series that has hit me this hard in years.  From the very beginning of book one I was addicted, hung on every word, eager to find out what was going to happen next and how things would unfold for Lake and Manning. I was rooting for them from the first moment she saw him sitting on that brick wall. Throughout each book, I followed along the rollercoaster of a relationship that these two have and every single way that they have impacted the lives around them. It's been an emotional, insanely beautiful ride and I can't believe that it has just come to an end.

I wasn't sure how Jessica was going to end the great saga of Birdy and her Bear but I knew that there was no way I would be disappointed in how their story was going to turn out. This ride was too beautiful and too hard fought for it to turn out any way other than perfect.

Lake + Manning was was full of emotional twists and turns that unfortunately come about in real life and, though their relationship is insanely beautiful and meant to be, it's also been full of heartache and pain and this book was no different. Though I can't really relate to Lake in any other way, I found myself relating to her on a deeply personal level in this book as she ended up dealing with some of the same issues that I had in the early parts of my marriage. It was refreshing to have a main character that dealt with some of the same issues that I have dealt with in the past and one that felt so real and like a real woman with real world problems.

The way this book went was phenomenal. I really enjoyed the way that the author broke the story up and made it into different parts. It allowed the reader to truly discover the events of Lake and Manning's life and how they and their relationship changed over the course of many years.

I honestly don't know what else to say about this book other than it was simply beautiful. If you're a fan of starcrossed romance, or just romance in general, I highly suggest you read this series. I don't think you'll regret it.

Lake + Manning was a perfect end to a truly epic love story.

Rating: 5 Stars


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Behind The Screen: A Book Blogger Tag!


Image and book tag courtesy of the lovely Amber @ Du Livre!

Hi, I'm Darcus!
I run Rainy Days and Pajamas!
Here's a little bit about me.
:)

When did you start blogging and what was your first review?
I first began blogging in June of 2011 but not on this blog. I started with a blog called Starcrossed Reviews (inspired by Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini!) but a few years later I decided I wanted to completely rebrand and I opened up Rainy Days and Pajamas! My first review (posted on Starcrossed Reviews) was Marked by PC & Kristin Cast.
Marked (House of Night, #1)
Who/what inspired you to start blogging?
I remember looking up information for a book one day and I randomly stumbled upon a book blog. I had been reading a Enjoying The Small Things for a while and I figured, hey, I read a ton of books so why not start a blog of my own!?  I was also in a pretty bad place, emotionally and mentally, at the time. I had just suffered an ectopic pregnancy after trying for years for a baby, my husband and I were living in a friend's basement, and I was dealing with crippling anxiety/depression. Book blogging became a sort of escape for me.

What is a blog-related goal that you have?
I honestly don't have many goals when it comes to book blogging. I enjoy reading, I enjoy helping out authors and sharing news and information about great books. And honestly, I really just enjoy doing my own thing. I guess if I had to pick something that I would like to work towards, it would be respect. I've been pretty lax about blogging since I started, not keeping a good schedule, not posting for weeks at a time, missing tours, not keeping deadlines, etc. But, in the last two years, I've managed to completely turn myself and my blog around in that area and I would eventually like to garner the respect of bigger authors and publishing companies.

What was your biggest blog-related accomplishment?
Other than getting myself back on track in every area that I mentioned above, there hasn't really been any great accomplishments. I've kind of unintentionally flown under the radar since I started out.

What types of posts do you enjoy writing?
I love love LOVE doing giveaways.

Where do you usually blog? What does your setup look like?
I would normally say in our office/library. I used to have it set up so beautifully and then we moved and I still haven't gotten my desk cleaned up and organized. But for my birthday this past year my husband built me a little desk that is the perfect size for my laptop and it scoots right up under the couch and is the perfect height for me.

What was your last 5-star read?
Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols.

What was your last 1-star read?
I very rarely give these ratings out. I seriously had to go all the way back to early 2015 to find my last 1-star rating. And it was Harriet The Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. I was a huge fan of the movie growing up but when I read the book to my daughter, I vowed to never read it to her again (she can read it on her own when she's older, I don't believe in banning books, ya'll) unless she is mature enough to understand that Harriet was not of great character and didn't treat others well. She literally learned nothing  by the end of the book and was just a spoiled brat.

What are three words that make you pick up a book?
Forbidden
Beard
M/M
Yeah, that last one isn't technically a word, but I'm going to count it.
:P

What is your Hogwarts house?

What is your favorite reading environment?
On a cozy couch or chair, light throw blanket, light rainy day with a window open.

What advice would you give to new bloggers?
Don't take everything too seriously. Read to have fun and try not to let blogging ruin your love of it. As much as you enjoy it, it can get tiring. 
Also, don't get so excited when you start getting free books that you request or accept way more than you can handle. You'll spend the rest of you book blogging experience regretting it, trust me.
Lastly, have fun and enjoy it!



Happy Valentine's Day & A Giveaway!

This graphic was designed by FreePik but edited by me to fit my content.


One winner will receive a $10 gift card to the Rainy Days and Pajamas used book shop.
Check out the current books and swag available for purchase here

GOOD LUCK!
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Monday, February 5, 2018

Excerpt & Giveaway: Dark Wish by Yumoyori Wilson


Dark Wish
Yumoyori Wilson
Publication date: September 8th 2017
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance
What do you get when you add free and dumb?
FREEDOM

My name is Makoto Heart and I’ve always wished for a chance at freedom. Every day, I prayed before the Starlight gods, asking for their divine assistance in accomplishing such a difficult task.
Being an experiment for as long as I can remember, my hopes of obtaining freedom have diminished, drastically. The disappointment haunted me, as myself and my spirits struggled to survive. I had no hope left, believing my final plea fell upon deaf ears, yet again.
But what happens when my prayers are finally answered? I’m thrust into fulfilling a destiny, with the help of six star knights. Suddenly, I am no longer experiment 555, but the stolen princess of Heila.
Freedom, how you have teased my troubled soul. May the Starlight gods guide me and my knights, on this path towards the unknown.
~In Stars We Trust~
Dark Wish is an extraordinary new paranormal reverse harem series.
Recommended for 18+ audience, containing mature sexual content and strong language.




EXCERPT
Why is it so cold or is his tingle inducing voice doing that?

“If you were wearing clothes, maybe you would feel, you know, less chilly?” Rose suggested, sounding uninterested in my current dilemma.

I panicked, glancing down to see myself wearing only a pink laced bra and matching panties. Karen had given me a spare set of clothes to change into that were more feminine, reassuring me I’d have more selection and school uniform by tomorrow.

I swear to starlight, I put something on before I slept...

“If you're referring to the sheet that you grabbed off the side of the bed, wrapping yourself up like a caterpillar cocooning itself for hibernation, and face planting into the bed, then yes. You essentially put something on.” Lexi mused, enjoyment oozing off her usual mellow voice.

I groaned, putting my head into my hands. If I could die from embarrassment, this would be the moment. First night sleeping in a house filled with boys and I’d miraculously broke into one of the rooms, snuck myself into an occupied bed, and now was on full display like an underwear model.

Talk about first impressions.



Author Bio:
Yumoyori Wilson is from Toronto, Ontario. She loves to sleep and write her days away. She works at night as a registered nurse. She has a little addiction to bubble tea and coffee but loves to workout. She has big plans for the writing world and can't wait to share them with everyone.



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