Monday, August 24, 2015

Crossing the Line by Michele Shriver

I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. It's a quick read but it has a lot of depth to it. I normally read more erotica than straight romance, so it's different than what I'm used to, but I thought the characters were well-developed, the relationship strong, and the story thoughtful. I would read again!

RELEASE DATE: August 18, 2015
Cover designer: Michele Shriver
Official genre of book: Contemporary romance (sports)


The bestselling Men of the Ice series, featuring the players of the San Antonio Generals hockey team, continues with Crossing the Line.

Nikolai Brantov left his homeland of Russia at the age of nineteen to pursue his dream of playing in the NHL. As the first-ever draft pick of the San Antonio Generals, Nik wants to justify the team’s faith in him Adapting to a new country and culture and learning a new language take up most of his off-ice time, and he doesn’t needed any added complications, especially from the team owner’s beautiful daughter.

Hailing from one of the wealthiest families in Texas, Meryl Johnson should have everything she wants. But money doesn’t buy happiness or her father’s affection. Even though she’s been warned that the player’s on the team are off limits, a new community project puts Meryl in regular contact with the budding Russian superstar, and that’s exactly the way she likes it.

When sparks fly between Nik and Meryl, her father sets out to remind them who is in charge—of both the hockey team and his family. Can the young couple triumph over his manipulations, or will falling in love spell the end of Nik’s time in San Antonio?


Chapter One

Nikolai Brantov knotted his tie and ran his fingers through his damp hair, trying to spike the top exactly the way he liked it. When he first moved to the United States from his native Russia five months before to realize his dream of playing in the National Hockey League, he not only had to learn a new language—one he still struggled with—he had to learn new customs and traditions too. Among those were the expectations of being a player in the NHL, including the team dress code which left Nik primping more in front of a mirror as he prepared to leave the arena after a game than he might to get ready for a date. Not that he had any time for dating. Practice, games and English lessons filled most of his days, and that suited Nik fine. He’d left his family and his homeland at the age of nineteen to move to North America to play hockey, not meet women.

“Great game tonight, Nik,” the team captain, Colton Tremblay, said as he came up beside Nik.

Nik nodded at Colton. “Thanks. You too.” The San Antonio Generals beat the Winnipeg Jets three to two in overtime, and Nik scored the winning goal. His first season in the NHL, and the expansion Generals’ first season in the league, were both going well. The country might be unfamiliar, and the rink sizes a little different, but hockey was still hockey, and on the ice was where Nik felt most at home.

“You’re going to stop by the foundation table to see how the toy drive went, right?” Colton asked.

“Yes.” Nik would because he knew it was expected of him. It was almost Christmas, and the Generals’ charity foundation sponsored a drive to collect toys for needy children. Many of his teammates, included Colton, were excited about the event because their girlfriends and wives had helped organize it. Being single, it was less of a big deal to Nik. Still, as much as he would feel completely out of place, it was an important team event and Nik was expected to show up, even if only briefly.

“I’ll head over there with you,” Colton said. “I want to see my girl.”

Nik nodded and they left the locker room together. Of course, Colton was anxious to see his girlfriend again. With no one there waiting for Nik to greet him with a kiss and congratulate him on a good game, he planned to make a quick appearance—the minimum expected of him—and head home. Such that it was. ‘Home’ to Nik right now meant staying with a host family in San Antonio while he acclimated to his new city and new country.

Sure enough, as they approached the Generals Foundation charity table, Colton’s girlfriend came over gave him a kiss on the cheek. “Nice game, as usual,” she said, then nodded in Nik’s direction. “You too.”


“The toy drive was a huge success,” Maya continued. “Come see everything we collected.” She led the way to the boxes of children’s toys. She wore a maroon and silver Generals jersey with Colton’s name and number on the back. A group of women surrounded the table, similarly dressed to support their player.

“Hey Nik, is there something you’re not telling us?” Colton asked, as his eyes darted to a young woman in the group.

Nik recognized her as Meryl Johnson, the daughter of the Generals team owner. They’d never formally met before, although Nik had seen her at a couple of team events. His impression of her was that she was spoiled and liked to get her way, but that probably wasn’t unusual from the daughter of a billionaire. And maybe it wasn’t fair to judge someone he’d never so much as exchanged a word with. She was attractive, that was for sure, and he liked her casual style, with her long brown hair pulled back in a ponytail and tucked through a ball cap sporting the Generals logo. which featured the team name in a circle around the Alamo facade, with three stars underneath. She, too, wore a team jersey, and it took Nik a moment to realize what Colton referred to. The jersey Meryl wore was Nik’s.

Before he could answer Colton that he had no idea what it was about, Meryl approached him. “Hi there. I don’t think we’ve ever been introduced,” she said, extending a hand. “I’m Meryl Johnson.”

“Yes. Mr. Johnson’s daughter.” Nik shook her hand. “Nikolai Brantov.”


He said it as if he thought she might not know his name, and Meryl appreciated his unassuming nature. So many of the athletes she’d encountered had big egos, and Nikolai had every reason to as well. The hockey season might be only a few months old, but the young Russian had already made an impression on the league. Sports reporters remarked every day that Nik was a superstar in the making.

Meryl smiled at him. “I know who you are.” After all, her father owned the team, and Meryl made it her business to know about the players he employed. And why shouldn’t she? Hockey players were hot, and in Meryl’s estimation, none more so than Nikolai Brantov, with his gray eyes and spiked brown hair that Meryl longed to run her fingers through.

She’d noticed him during the summer’s NHL draft, when he became the first-ever draft choice of the San Antonio Generals. He appeared awkward in his early interviews, and a little overwhelmed, immediately intriguing Meryl. Was that his true personality, or a byproduct of the circumstances he found himself in? It couldn’t be easy moving to a new country and having to learn a new language at the age of nineteen.

From that moment, Meryl wanted to learn as much about him as possible, so she sought out all the information she could. She knew Nik hailed from the Siberian city of Irkutsk, that his favorite color was orange, and he liked to eat steak and baked potatoes. He listed the Pittsburgh Penguins as his favorite NHL team and his countryman, Evgeni Malkin, as his favorite player. And even knowing all of that, Nik remained an enigma to Meryl.

“I’m wearing your jersey, after all,” she said, and did a little twirl so he could see his name and number, forty-four, on the back. Her choice of attire had raised a few eyebrows among the wives and girlfriends’ who’d put together the event, and who proudly sported their man’s jerseys, but Meryl didn’t care. Her father owned the team, she could wear whatever she wanted.

“Yes,” Nik said, nodding. “It’s...what is the word?” He frowned a little. “Bold of you?”

He was so cute in his uncertainty. Meryl knew he had a tutor working with him on his English, a job she would have gladly volunteered for. In fact, she had, only half-jokingly. Not surprisingly, Daddy had vetoed that idea and warned her that Nik, and everyone else on the team, was off-limits to Meryl. “That’s me. Bold,” Meryl said.

“It looks nice on you,” Nik said, causing Meryl’s heart to flutter a little.

“Better on you, I think. Especially when you scored the winning goal.”

Nik shrugged. “I was in the right place and got a good pass from Colton.”

Definitely unassuming, Meryl decided. And hot. She kept going back to that one. Damn her father and his silly prohibitions. He never wanted her to have any fun. “What are you doing tonight?” she asked. “I have to help put this stuff away,” she gestured to the boxes of toys they’d collected during the charity drive, “then my dad is having a little party up in his box, if you want to join me.” He’d already called her bold. Meryl figured she might as well live up to it.

Nik hesitated before answering, giving Meryl hope that perhaps he’d seriously consider the offer, but the hope was dashed when he shook his head. “No, thank you. I need to go home.”

Meryl knew ‘home’ to Nik was a family of strangers hosting him in their house, and she questioned his need—or desire—to rush back there, but she didn’t press the issue. “Have a good night, then. It was nice to meet you.”

“You as well, Miss Johnson,” he said.

She watched him walk away, admiring how his perfectly-tailored suit fit his body. Okay, he hadn’t accepted her invitation. Meryl hadn’t really expected him to. At least they’d shared a few words, finally. The rest would happen in due time. Meryl was accustomed to getting everything she wanted, and she’d already decided she wanted Nik Brantov.


Barnes & Noble


Michele Shriver writes women’s fiction and contemporary romance. Her books feature flawed-but-likeable characters in real-life settings. She’s not afraid to break the rules, but never stops believing in happily ever after. Michele counts among her favorite things a good glass of wine, a hockey game, and a sweet and sexy book boyfriend, not necessarily in that order.




The official website ( of the San Antonio Generals. The Generals are a fictional NHL expansion franchise based out of San Antonio, Texas and featured in the Men of the Ice series by author Michele Shriver.

The Men of the Ice books are contemporary romance novellas about the Generals players and the women who love them.

More information about the books, as well the team, organization, and news and events can be found on this site.

Visit the official Facebook page ( of the San Antonio Generals. The Generals are a fictional NHL expansion franchise based out of San Antonio, Texas and featured in the Men of the Ice series by author Michele Shriver.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

My Masters' Nightmare by Marita Hansen

In the interest of full disclosure, I received an arc in exchange for an honest review. I tried very hard to get into this book, but wasn't successful at every turn. 

The cons: It's broken down into "episodes", almost like a television show. There is a lot going on, a ton of different main characters, several storylines, and a lot of confusion. There is humiliation, rape and incest. Luckily, no one during the course of the book itself is underage, although it is alluded to in the backstory. 

The pros: fast-paced. The "masters" are surprisingly very likable. You want to just hug Jagger. Frano, you want to hit him and then do him. The story is different and surprising. 

It's a good read for what it is. I was able to put it down and walk away for periods of time, which isn't what I look for in a book. It may, however, be someone else's cup of tea as the writing was good and thoughtful.

No matter the cost 

Or how much I lost 

Because I am Rita Kovak 



NATIONALITY AND CULTURAL CONNECTIONS: I'm a true blue Aucklander, born and bred in New Zealand. I tend to write about cultures I have connections to, such as Croatian and Maori. I would love to visit Croatia again as I have family there. At the moment I'm living in Singapore, but will be back in New Zealand next year, possibly earlier.

SPORTS: As a teen my favourite sports were karate, badmington, and running. I also did unarmed combat and played in a touch rugby team (my gym teacher made me do the last one!) Now I stick to running and have completed a marathon.

CAREER PATH: I started off as a Graphic Designer, then went to Auckland University, where I got a BA degree in Art History and Italian Studies and a post-graduate Honours degree in Art History. I worked in the Art History field, then became a full-time artist, doing commissions. I eventually lost all of my senses and gave it up to be a poor, starving writer, smh.

FAVOURITE FOODS: I'm vegetarian. I love pasta based foods, tofu, chocolate mousse and golden queen peaches.

BAD HABITS: I'm a major procrastinator that can't seem to earn money to save myself!

STATUS: Married to my high school sweetheart (which he hates me calling him). We have two kids.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Pure Lust by M.S. Parker & Cassie Wild

This series is hot!!! I wasn't sure how I would feel about it, although I love M.S. Parker's writing. Parts seemed a bit illogical, but once the triangle came into play, I couldn't care less! All 3 of the characters are great. Gabriella is tough, but at the same time, can come across as needy. Edward is hot but way too stiff and uptight for my taste. Pretty good in bed, though. And Flynn...holy smokes! Total donkey in personality but could set the bed on fire! I'm not sure who exactly I'm rooting for yet, but looking forward to reading more!


GoodReads Link:

Pure Lust, Book 1
"I'd always wanted my life to be a fairy-tale. Romance and roses, and a white knight sweeping me off of my feet. But at twenty-two, I'd come to realize that I’d been lying to myself; none of that existed."

Gabriella Baine has a way with words. She dreams of one day becoming a staff writer for the biggest TV shows. But dreams don’t pay rent and during a job interview at one of the largest model agencies in the country, she meets fashion photographer, Flynn McCreary. Sparks fly and there’s an intense, visceral pure lust that culminates in the hottest sex Gabriella’s ever experienced. Soon afterwards, Flynn's gone and once again she realize that her wish for Prince Charming will never come true.

Then she meets the handsome, romantic and mysterious Edward, a man who seems to have it all but is also keeping secrets that could destroy any chance of Gabriella ever finding her happy ever after.

You don't want to miss the first book in M.S. Parker and Cassie Wild's newest sexy and twisted collaboration, Pure Lust. 

Pure Lust, Book 2
When Gabriella Baine began her whirlwind romance with rich, handsome Edward Bouvier, she never expected for her one-night stand, photographer Flynn McCreary, to make an appearance. She wants to put everything behind her, but Flynn can't seem to stop playing things hot and cold. To make matters worse, she's broke and needs a good-paying job - like modeling for Flynn again. Will Gabriella be able to resist temptation or will she lose everything?

Pure Lust, Book 3
Gabriella Baine is going to marry the man of her dreams...if her monster-in-law-to-be doesn't drive her away first. As she struggles to deal with wedding plans, she's also beginning to realize that, no matter how much she tries, she can't stay away from her fiancé's younger brother, Flynn McCreary. He's arrogant, rude and lashes out at everyone around him, but that doesn't stop her from going back to him for work. When the unthinkable happens, it forces Gabriella to make the biggest decision of her life.

Pure Lust, Book 4
It was almost here. My wedding day. The happiest day of my life. Or at least that's what it should have been, but when Cody brought news that something bad had happened to Edward, I felt my world crashing down. 

Twenty-two year-old Gabriella Baine is just about to get her happily ever after with her very own rich and handsome Prince Charming, Edward Bouvier, despite his mother's attempts to tear them apart. Now, with the news that Edward's life is in danger, Gabriella knows that she could lose everything. 
Will this be the end, or only the beginning? 

Don't miss the final installment of the heart-wrenching and steamy Pure Lust series by M.S. Parker and Cassie Wild. 

Pure Lust Series Buy Links:
Pure Lust, Book 1
Amazon US:

Pure List, Book 2

Pure Lust, Book 3
Amazon US:

Pure Lust, Book 4
Amazon US:
Amazon UK:

About Author
M.S. Parker
M. S. Parker is a USA Today Bestselling author and the author of the Erotic Romance series, Club Privè and Chasing Perfection. 

Living in Southern California, she enjoys sitting by the pool with her laptop writing on her next spicy romance.

Growing up all she wanted to be was a dancer, actor or author. So far only the latter has come true but M. S. Parker hasn't retired her dancing shoes just yet. She is still waiting for the call for her to appear on Dancing With The Stars. 

When M. S. isn't writing, she can usually be found reading- oops, scratch that! She is always writing. 

Cassie Wild
Cassie Wild loves romance. Ever since she was eight years old she's been reading every romance novel she could get her hands on, always dreaming of writing her own romance novels.

When M.S. Parker approached her about co-authoring Serving HIM series, it didn't take Cassie many second to say a big yes!!

Serving HIM is only the beginning to the collaboration between M.S. Parker and Cassie Wild. Another series is already in the planning stages.

Author Links:
M.S. Parker

Cassie Wild

Naughty Desires by Ann Mayburn

This collection of novellas are hot, steamy, and are definitely a naughty way to pass the time! I normally don't enjoy novellas, much preferring to sink my teeth into a novel length story. These, though, were a great read. The erotica scenes were well-thought out and the characters were really people you could rally for. I enjoy reading about people experiencing new things and going outside of their comfort zone. It's definitely worth the purchase!

Naughty Desires by Ann Mayburn Media Kit
GoodReads Link:
A steamy collection of scandalous novellas exploring women’s secret, naughty desires and the amazing men who bring those fantasies to life. The short stories Captive Fantasy and For Her Eyes Only can only be found in this anthology.

Captive Fantasy
Mary has always had a fantasy about a dangerous escaped prisoner kidnapping her and forcing her to sate his brutal, pent up desires. When she receives an invitation from the IWSS to live that fantasy out in one of their research facilities she jumps at the chance. Now she just has to convince her gentle giant of a husband to take control and make her his willing love slave.
Sensation Play
Retired German cage fighter, Jonas Becker, has a chance meeting with his dream woman at a charity ball. Unfortunately she leaves before he can get her contact information. When he sees her again at a coffee shop he overhears her talk about the perfect, kinky, opportunity for Jonas to win her over.

Erica signs up with the Collette's List dating service, a dating site that specializes in pairing up sexually adventurous couples. Her request is simple. She wants a dangerous, rough, intimidating man to fake break into her hotel room and force her to submit to his wicked demands while giving her multiple orgasms.  Using every ounce of his skill as an experienced Dom, Jonas hopes to win Erica over before the night ends. He can only hope that the pleasure he can bring her would make the beautiful woman look past his scarred and battered exterior to the man within who can give her sensations like no other.
Peppermint Passion
Shyla has dreamt about, lusted after, and fallen in love with her to hot as hell bosses over the past year that she's for them. With only a few months left before she graduates and earns her teaching degree, Shyla decides to make her move at the company Christmas Party.

Trent and Jack have been fighting a losing battle to keep their hands off of their beautiful and innocent waitress, Shyla, until she graduates. When she surprises them by arriving at their Christmas party dressed like a wet fetish dream, and they learn she plans on being part of the submissive auction, the men quickly decide that the time to show Shyla who she belongs to, and who truly loves, her has arrived.
For Her Eyes Only
Amanda accepts an invitation from the prestigious Institute for Women’s Sexual Satisfaction. Volunteering for their study means she must divulge her deepest, naughtiest fantasies and then act on them. But one wicked fantasy involves watching her boyfriend do something so intimate, so forbidden that she’s afraid he’ll refuse and may even break off their relationship.

Jared can’t believe his gorgeous girlfriend wants to see another woman don a strap-on and take his anal virginity. But he wants to make her wildest fantasies come true -- and maybe finally indulge some secret fantasies of his own.
Bound for Her Pleasure
Football star Tycen Preston has everything he could ever want, everything except the healing release of subspace that he desperately craves. After four years of searching for the right Domme, he finally has the opportunity to indulge in all the dark, forbidden desires that would ruin his carefully crafted image if they anyone every found out.

Lara Perez is tired of the weak submissive men that offer her no challenge. She yearns for a strong Alpha male to tame and call her own. A blind date seems to be the perfect arrangement for fulfilling both of their decadent cravings. Unfortunately a scheming paparazzi photographer is hot on their trail, and will do anything he can to get a scandalous picture of Tycen that would destroy his career.
Buy Links:
Amazon US:
About Author:
With over forty published books, Ann is Queen of the Castle to her husband and three sons in the mountains of West Virginia. In her past lives she's been an Import Broker, a Communications Specialist, a US Navy Civilian Contractor, a Bartender/Waitress, and an actor at the Michigan Renaissance Festival. She also spent a summer touring with the Grateful Dead-though she will deny to her children that it ever happened.
From a young Ann has had a love affair with books would read everything she could get her hands on. As Ann grew older, and her hormones kicked in, she discovered bodice ripping Fabio-esque romance novels. They were great at first, but she soon grew tired of the endless stories with a big wonderful emotional buildup to really short and crappy sex. Never a big fan of purple prose, throbbing spears of fleshy pleasure and wet honey pots make her giggle, she sought out books that gave the sex scenes in the story just as much detail and plot as everything else-without using cringe worthy euphemisms. This led her to the wonderful world of Erotic Romance, and she's never looked back.
Now Ann spends her days trying to tune out cartoons playing in the background to get into her 'sexy space' and has accepted that her Muse has a severe case of ADD.
Author Links:

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Peace, Love & Romance box set



Name of cover designer:
Official genre of box set: SWEET & STEAMY ROMANCE MIX


For a limited time, ten of today's hottest and bestselling authors bring you Peace, Love & Romance - a collection of full-length novels (some sweet, some sizzling!) all celebrating women who have loved, lost, and triumphed.



Names of Authors: Jennifer Theriot, Diane Rinella, Christine Ardigo, Robyn Roze, Dee Ernst, Aubree Lane, Kelly Cozzone, Jill Cox Vogt, Rebecca Warner, Nan Reinhardt


Out Of The Box, Regifted – Jennifer Theriot (Amazon Bestselling Author)
With a new beginning on the horizon for Olivia and Ash, what could possibly stop them from finding their happily-ever-after? In the midst of joy, this blended family finds they have to trust in love and family bonds to get them through what is coming next...or self-destruct. How long can Ash keep parts of his life hidden from those who love him?

Scary Modsters – Diane Rinella (Amazon Internationally Bestselling Author, two category Amazon Hot 100 Author)
Rosalyn is ridiculed for her eclectic wardrobe and unconventional music collection. Niles’s offbeat character is her perfect complement. Sadly his flaws equate to relationship suicide. When Niles learns he can overcome his obstacles by helping the ghost of deceased rock deity Peter Lane avenge murder, how far will he go to secure Rosalyn’s heart?

Cheating To Survive – Christine Ardigo
Cheating to Survive weaves the story of three Norlyn Plains Hospital coworkers and their seemingly perfect lives. However, their marriages are anything but ideal. When they decide to cheat on their husbands, will they find happiness or be destroyed by the consequences? Christine Ardigo handles infidelity realistically and humorously. It will resonate in some way with every woman on the planet.

Chain of Title - Robyn Roze
Newly divorced Shayna wants adventure, and Sean wants her. But the revelation of her ex-husband’s dirty secret sets off a chain of events with deadly consequences that reveals who Sean really is and leaves Shayna to question how well she knew either man. Robyn Roze weaves a story of love, loss, betrayal, and ultimately forgiveness.

A Different Kind Of Forever - Dee Ernst (Amazon Bestselling Author)
Michael is a hot, young rock star. Diane is a single mom almost twenty years older. When they meet, the attraction is immediate. He knows she’s the real thing. She can’t ignore her feelings for Michael, but can’t see past their differences. A Different Kind of Forever is about two complicated people finding—and trying to hold on to— love.

Tahoe Blues – Aubree Lane (Amazon Bestselling Author)
When Cara finds the glitz and glitter of casino life isn’t what it’s cracked up to be, she divorces her husband, finds a new love, a new home, and new piece of jewelry around her ankle. Under house arrest for a crime she didn’t commit, Cara must rely on a zany group of misfits to help set her free.

Tropical Nightmares – Kelly Cozzone (Amazon Internationally Bestselling Author)
The tranquil life David Murphy and Tiana Alexander built on St. Lucia is threatened by the dangerous and vengeful Robert Dubose. Can they survive his lust for revenge, or will his secret partner succeed where he failed? Can their love survive, or will it be the final casualty?

The Fizgig – Jill Cox Vogt (Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Competition Winner)
Daisy Young believes that when life hands you lemons, eat chocolate and get on with it, but no amount of candy gets her mind off her drowned fiancé—until she flees to East Tennessee’s mountains and meets a man with a dark, secret past.

Doubling Back To Love - Rebecca Warner (Great Southeast Book Festival Top 10, Honorable Mention)
Lexi Avery asks, "Why does it have to come down to choosing just one man, when no one man can give me everything I want?" Why indeed? Follow her tantalizing adventures as she explores love's options.

Sex and the Widow Miles - Nan Reinhardt (Amazon Bestselling Author)
Julie is anticipating an idyllic retirement with her husband, Charlie, when he dies suddenly. She meets a younger man, Will, and embraces life—and sex—again. But a dark secret reveals her perfect marriage may have been a lie. Jules goes in search of the truth and finds there’s always a second chance for love.

No Strings Attached by Kristen Strassel

No Strings Attached (The Escort #1) Media Kit

Leah Godfrey has almost everything she could ask for—
She’s got an interior design business with an A-list clientele, a weekly spot on a national morning TV show, and a great daughter—but she doesn’t have a date for her twentieth high school reunion. It wouldn’t be a big deal, but her ex-husband was her high school sweetheart, and now he’s married to the slut Leah caught him with in bed. She won’t let the biggest failure of her life overshadow her success.

When her best friend suggests she hire a date, Leah thinks the idea is scandalous. But for one weekend, she wants to forget her mistakes and pretend she has everything her ex took away from her.
Jagger Holiday makes women’s fantasies come true—But working as a male escort leaves him feeling empty. He turns to photography to fill the void. When Jagger gets a call from a lonely single mom who needs the same thing he does, he wants more. He wants her.

Leah and Jagger have no problem convincing everyone at the reunion they’re together. She should’ve known better than to think there’d be no strings attached.

After all, he’s a professional.

Buy Links:
Amazon US: 
Amazon UK:
The doors closed behind us. Jagger backed me up against the wall, and there was nowhere I could look but his eyes. One knee was between my legs, and his hands burned the skin on my stomach underneath my sweater. “You look amazing,” he whispered.
I hadn’t planned anything special for tonight. New underwear, that was all. Maybe I should’ve paid more attention to Kari when she told me about the schedule. I’d worn a sweater, scarf, jeans, and knee-high boots. “So do you,” I murmured back. Jagger was one step ahead of me in black dress pants and a deep blue button down shirt. It perfectly complemented his olive skin and dark hair. The more I thought of Jagger in terms of art, the more beautiful he became.
Jagger cupped my bra as his lips once again found mine. We could barely complete a sentence since he’d come to my room without our mouths crashing against each other. Going to this party was a terrible idea. After a drink or two I’d be begging him to take me on the bar. His fingers drew slow circles, dipping inside my bra, brushing back and forth against my nipples. They pebbled at his touch. I tangled my hands in his long hair, pulling him closer to me as I moaned against his mouth.
I hadn’t even noticed we weren’t moving until the alarm went off. We jumped away from each other. “What did you do?” I asked. “Didn’t you just hit the lobby button?”
“I hit stop.” Jagger had his hands up like he was about to get arrested.
“You can’t do that here.” I slammed my hand repeatedly against the lobby button to make the alarm stop screaming. The elevator started moving. “The fire department is probably already on their way. This is a small town. They’ll be talking about this until the next reunion.”
My stomach tied itself in knots complicated enough to flummox a boy scout as we walked through the lobby. The older woman at the front desk glared at us. “See?” I bumped against Jagger, who smiled and winked at the clerk. She turned bright red as she looked back to the computer. “We were seconds away from thanking the firemen for their commitment to service.”
Every head in the bar turned as we walked in. I made a beeline for the bartender, pulling Jagger along with me. He ordered our drinks. “You didn’t ask me what I wanted.”
“Don’t you want sangria?” He surprised me even more by pulling out his wallet. “You practically purred when you drank it in Washington. I’m not sure what you liked more, me or the sangria. But I know I liked the way it tasted on your lips.”
“How did you even know they had it? Some places throw bar garnish and Sprite into cheap wine and try to pass it off as the nectar of the Gods.” I leaned back against the bar, hooking my boot into the barstool, trying to play this cool. If Jagger had any idea he could knock me over with a feather right now he might stop trying so hard. I wanted to see what else he had in him. “They can’t fool me with that crap.”
“I checked before you got here.” Jagger tapped his glass against mine before taking a long sip of whatever he got.
I knew all along they had it. I’d been here more times than I could count. “And if they didn’t?”
“We’d find someplace that did.” Those hazel eyes smoldered. So many emotions I couldn’t read yet marched through them.
I put the glass down on the bar and turned back to him. It took everything I had to keep my hands to myself. “And if that wasn’t what I was craving?”
Jagger leaned closer to me and I could feel every eye on the room on us. “I will make sure you’re satisfied.”
We took stools at the bar. It was still pretty early. A cover band I’d been going to see since my twenties was setting up in the corner, and only a handful of my classmates had shown up so far. I wondered if we’d see many locals. Getting a babysitter two nights in a row was such a bitch.
“So that’s Eric. He went out to LA to act and he’s had a bunch of bit parts in movies, and it looks like he’s here with…” I squinted to see better, then squealed when he took the hand of someone I didn’t expect. “Michael. Nice. I think he’s still in the Marines. I knew he was stationed at Camp Pendleton, but I didn’t realize they were a couple. It makes total sense, now that I think about it, they’re always together in their Facebook stuff.”
After finding the bottom of my drink, I had no problem openly pointing out the weekend’s players to Jagger. A fresh drink appeared like magic, and I dove right into it. “And that’s Marcy. She was my manager at Design Spot. We used to put wine in our coffee cups to deal with the monotony of that place. Oh, God. You must think I’m a total lush, right?”
“No.” Jagger laughed. “Which one is Karina?”
I had to think about before answering him. “Who’s Karina?”
“Your best friend?” Jagger slid the glass away from me. “The guys at the agency have nothing but good things to say about her.”
“Oh! Kari.” I took it back. “I never think of her like that. Unless I’m giving her a hard time. Her reputation would precede her.” Good for her. “I don’t know. She should be here. She’s technically our host.”
She’d been coy in the last couple weeks, much more concerned with my plans for the reunion than sharing hers. Probably because being here was just as much of a nightmare for her as it was for me, even if our reasons were completely different. She’d definitely bring a date to the battle ground.
The band started, tearing through their nineties set with slightly less fire than they had in the actual nineties, and Jagger started drumming the beat against the bar. “Let’s dance,” he suggested.
“Sounds fantastic.” After the second sangria it easier to join the few other couples on the floor, and I waved to the people I’d pointed out from the bar. So far, we weren’t behind enemy lines. None of those people had shown up yet. I twirled around Jagger, singing the lyrics of the song to him as he put his arms around my waist and pressed my back against his body. We swayed together to the beat, his hair falling into my face as he joined me on the harmonies. I turned into him when the song changed, our hips grinding to the raunchy beat of the song. If this was any indication of what I had to look forward to when we went back upstairs, I had no idea why we were still here.
Jagger’s hands stayed on my hips, directing them, and I hooked my arms around his neck. His forehead rested on mine and I could only look at him. The rest of the room spun on a different axis. I hadn’t had too much to drink, I was drunk off of Jagger.
“Can I have this dance?” Kari managed to wedge herself between the two of us and I grabbed her arms to steady myself from the shock. She swung around, offering a hand to Jagger. “I’m Karina Gomez. Leah’s best friend. And I’m a United States prosecutor, so when I say I know where to hide the bodies…”
“Kari!” I jerked her away from Jagger before she said anything I regretted.
“I’ve heard all about you. Nothing but wonderful things of course.” Jagger ran his fingers under my chin. Kari didn’t release her death grip on my arms. “I’ll meet you over at the bar.”
My new dance partner spun me around. “First of all, he’s insanely gorgeous. I don’t get intimidated by many men, but it’s hard to breathe looking at him.”
“Where have you been?” I asked. I wanted to change the subject before it turned into a lecture.
“Here, for like a half an hour.” Kari rolled her eyes. “You were too busy eye-fucking your escort to notice anyone.”
My head whipped around the room. “Oh God, who else is here?”
“Pretty much everyone, and you are the topic of conversation.”
“Why?” Another quick scan of the room, but I didn’t spot Rich or Shelley.
“Because the two of you look like you’re going to crawl inside of each other. We’re all choking off the pheromones. Would you please go upstairs and fuck his brains out before some of the single ladies in the crowd abduct him?”
Nobody had to tell me twice. “Yes, ma’am.” I headed off the dance floor, but Kari still had my hand.
“Don’t ever call me ma’am.” Kari yanked me back into her. “Leah, please be careful tonight.”
“I will, ma’am.” I laughed when Kari looked like she might puke. “I brought protection.”
She squeezed my hand. “That’s not what I’m talking about, and you know it.”

About Author:
Kristen Strassel writes books about rock stars and vampires. After all, they tell you to write what you know. She is a passionate music fan who also loves football games and diner food. Kristen works as a makeup artist on film and TV shows when she's not writing, and loves being behind the scenes. A former resident of Las Vegas, Kristen now lives in the Boston area. 
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