Friday, February 28, 2014

THAT ONE SUMMER by C.J. Duggan: Blog Tour & Review

That One Summer (Summer #3)
Release Date: 12/17/13
Summary from Goodreads:

Loving Chris Henderson would be wrong. Diabolically disastrous. I mean, what is there about him to love? He’s moody, bossy, brooding, a control freak, and that’s on a good day … but there was one achingly obvious fact that haunted my every thought, every minute of every day …

He sure could kiss.

As the countdown to the new millennium begins, there is one thing everyone agrees on: no one wants to be in Onslow for New Year’s Eve.

So that can only mean one thing: road trip!

No longer the mousey, invisible, shy girl from years ago, Tammy Maskala is finally making up for all those lost summers. A new year with new friends, which astoundingly includes the bossy boy behind the bar, Chris Henderson.

She likes her new friends (at least most of them), so why does she secretly feel so out of place?

After chickening out on the trip, a last-minute change of heart sees Tammy racing to the Onslow Hotel, fearing she’s missed her chance for a ride. The last thing she expected to meet was a less-than-happy Onslow Boy leaning against his black panel van.

Now the countdown begins to reach the others at Point Shank before the party is over and the new year has begun. Alone in a car with only the infuriating Chris Henderson, Tammy can’t help but feel this is a disastrous start to what could have been a great adventure. But when the awkward road trip takes an unexpected turn, Tammy soon discovers that the way her traitorous heart feels about Chris is the biggest disaster of all.

Fogged up windows, moonlight swimming, bad karaoke and unearthed secrets; after this one summer nothing will ever be the same again.

I fell in love with the Onslow boys immediately in The Boys of Summer, and I can't seem to keep my hands off every time C.J. Duggan releases another book in this series. My favorite character? CHRIS HENDERSON! He's always been so elusive and mysterious with his serious manner and mother-hen-like approach to all the others in the group. So when I realized that the next book in the series was going to center around Chris, I about flipped my lid.

As usual, That One Summer is told through the eyes of the female character; in this case Tammy Maskala. Just like Chris, she's been somewhat of a mystery character within the series. So I was pretty excited to delve into her character as well. She's pretty mousy, and insecure and when you put Tammy and Chris in a van alone on a road trip... well, I wasn't sure what to expect. 

These two characters were so perfect together! Duggan did a wonderful job bringing both of them to life and making them and their interactions realistic. In fact, she excels at this in all her books. Through a multitude of misunderstandings, insecurities, and mishaps the relationship between these two overly serious, yet still fun-loving characters grows beautifully.

If you've read the other books in this serious, you will fall in love with this Onslow boy just as much as the rest. Even more so! If you haven't read The Boys of Summer and An Endless Summer (Books 1 & 2), I highly recommend them. These books are amazing coming-of-age stories filled with humor, love and growth. You'll watch both the characters and their relationships develop before your eyes and you fall more and more in love with the Onslow boys and the girls who love them with every turn of the page.

What's next in the Summer Series?

The Summer Series on Goodreads:

 Purchase links and newsletter subscription:

About the Author
C.J Duggan is a Number One Best Selling Australian Author who lives with her husband in a rural border town of New South Wales, Australia. When she isn’t writing books about swoony boys and 90’s pop culture you will find her renovating her hundred-year-old Victorian homestead or annoying her local travel agent for a quote to escape the chaos.

The Boys of Summer is Book One in her highly successful Mature Young Adult Romance Series.

1 winner will get ebooks of Book 1-3 of the Summer series (INT)


Contest is void where prohibited. Entrants must be 13 or else have parent or guardian’s permission to enter. Winners will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond  or another winner’s name will be selected. Winning entries will be verified for authenticity.
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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

On the Rocks by Sawyer Bennett: Release event and ARC Review

Last Call, #1
Adult Contemporary Romance

He left to travel the world for fame and glory, but only after spurning Gabby Ward and crushing her young heart. Now Hunter Markham has come back home to the sand and salty breeze of the North Carolina Outer Banks so he can open up Last Call, a beach bar nestled among the dunes of the Atlantic. 

Gabby Ward is not happy that Hunter has returned. Bitter over his rebuff years before, she’s content to stay far away from him and his dangerously charming ways. 

Gabby’s well-schemed plans to ignore Hunter go up in flames when he presents an offer to her that she simply can’t refuse, throwing them together in a common quest to each reach their goals. Working together day in and day out proves to be problematic for Gabby, who soon realizes that the feelings she had for him are still very much alive. Hunter struggles to reach through to Gabby’s cold heart, all while starting a new career away from his life as a top ranked, professional surfer.

What starts out as a mutual business arrangement soon turns into a passion that neither of them can continue to deny. 

Hard choices lay ahead for both of them when Hunter is offered a once in a lifetime opportunity to return to the pro surfing tour.
Choices that could destroy what they have built or take them further than they ever had dared to hope.

This is a book full of emotion, passion and a lot of steamy male surfer! Sawyer Bennett continues to WOW me with every books she turns out, and On the Rocks is no different.

I really like couples who have a history, a past, that requires them to overcome something in order to be together. Hunter and Gabby have that. In spades. He broke her heart, and she has never forgiven him. The challenges they faced kept me riveted to the page, and I never wanted to put it down.

One thing I always look forward to in Sawyer's characters is finding out what their occupation will be. If you've never read any of her books, you may be wondering why that would seem so interesting but her characters always have very interesting backgrounds. For example, in On the Rocks Hunter is a pro-surfer (sexy!) and Gabby, get this, is a contractor! Yep, and she rocks it! She's a strong female character, who has a big weak spot for the family friend turned pro-surfer.

You definitely want to dive into this one because this is a story full of drama, but not in the over done kind of way. The difficulties and misunderstandings that are involved are issues that many couples face. You'll get drawn in, invest yourself, and then cry right along with the characters.

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About the Author
USA Today Best-Selling author, Sawyer Bennett, is a snarky southern woman and reformed trial lawyer who decided to finally start putting on paper all of the stories that were floating in her head. She is married to a mobster (well, a market researcher) and they have two big, furry dogs who hog the bed. Sawyer would like to report she doesn’t have many weaknesses but can be bribed with a nominal amount of milk chocolate.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

REVIEW ~ Just One Day by Gayle Forman

 Allyson Healey's life is exactly like her suitcase—packed, planned, ordered. Then on the last day of her three-week post-graduation European tour, she meets Willem. A free-spirited, roving actor, Willem is everything she’s not, and when he invites her to abandon her plans and come to Paris with him, Allyson says yes. This uncharacteristic decision leads to a day of risk and romance, liberation and intimacy: 24 hours that will transform Allyson’s life.

A book about love, heartbreak, travel, identity, and the "accidents" of fate, Just One Day shows us how sometimes in order to get found, you first have to get lost. . . and how often the people we are seeking are much closer than we know.
  The first in a sweepingly romantic duet of novels. Willem’s story—Just One Year—is coming soon!
Wow... Gayle Forman's writing is so deep. She really guides her readers into her characters feelings so flawlessly. While I read Just One Day, I felt as though I went on a journey. This is how I'd picture myself if I were in Allyson's shoes. The words in this book poured into my soul. Just One Day really "stained" me.
Just One Day is an inspiring story about a girl who breaks free from her reserved life and after a trip to Europe, blossoms into self-discovery. After watching an urbanized guy and his rendition of an urbanized Shakespearean play, Allyson breaks through her barrier and tests her limits.

My heart was like a beating drum from the excitement I had when Allyson took a leap to Paris. That alter ego of hers pushed her along with the help of a mysterious, smirky Willem, which led to this one impulsive, out of character day.

Allyson was a very passionate character. The reader feels this character blossom in every page- the rattling of Allyson’s nerves, her confidence radiating at acknowledgement, her hope, her despair.

And there's the guy Willem. He made my breath catch. The dude seriously had words of wisdom that charmed me to kingdom come. He's like a saint of characteristics, or something. He's also a dang tease with that smile, dammit! I want to be that coin in his pocket. Plus, he was full of mystery and free spirit—but I think that was to escape his own reality.

In Just One Day, Allyson experiences so many feelings from freedom to intimacy to abandonment. After a battle with depression, and a little help from Shakespeare and some friends, she reflects and regains herself in just one year. Gosh, I can see so much of myself at a younger point in my life in this girl.

GF leaves us with an ending that will leave you drooling for more. So be prepared!

The cover of this book fit the story magnificently. If you are looking for a read that will magnify how fate can happen in Just One Day well then- there you go.

Just One Day was a beautifully told story that will stay with you. Forever and a day.
Find Just One Day by Gayle Forman on Goodreads
Purchase Just One Day by Gayle Forman on B&N, Amazon, Book Depository

Monday, February 17, 2014

RELEASE EVENT: Worth the Chance by Vi Keeland + Giveaway


A New Adult/Adult Contemporary Romance
Releasing February 17th, 2014

Meet Liv Michaels.

It may have been seven years, but I’d know him anywhere. Sure, he’s grown, filled out in all the right places, but his captivating blue eyes and cocky grin are exactly the way I remember. Even though I’d much rather forget. Liv Michaels is almost there. She’s smart, determined and weeks away from landing the job she’s dreamed about for years. Time healed old wounds, even her broken heart from the devastation of being crushed by her first love.

Meet Vince Stone.

Women love a fighter, especially a good one. Lucky for me, I’m damn good. But there’s one woman that isn’t interested. Not again, anyway. Vince ‘The Invincible’ Stone is every woman’s fantasy…strong, sexy, confident and completely in control. Growing up surrounded by chaos, he’s learned never to get too attached. Love will drag you down. He adores women, treats them well, puts their own needs before his own…for the night anyway. With the biggest fight of his life coming up, his focus should be on training.

When fate brings Vince & Liv back together again, there’s no denying the chemistry is still there. But can Vince erase the old scars their past left behind? Or will Liv hurt him instead?

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Read the full excerpt from Worth the Chance HERE.

Sigh! This book is a stunner! But then again, I feel that way about most of Vi's books. Vi did such a great job keeping this book about the main characters while giving the reader a little peek at where the characters from book 1, Worth the Fight, were in their lives. In book 1, Vince was just a squirrely 13 year old, but he sure is all grown up now. And Worth the Chance is his story. You do not need to have read book 1 to understand what's happening in book 2. (Although I strongly recommend Worth the Fight as well).

Worth the Chance will hit you with a one-two punch of emotion and keep you riveted through the end. I fell completely in love with Vince Stone. He's a charmer, and he'll charm your panties right off! He's got a magnetism to him and I found myself fully invested in his story. He's got a rough exterior that stems from his crazy childhood and a drugged out mother. But his past is also what makes him special.

Liz is a character that loved as well. She's smart, but pretty weak when it comes to Vince, but then, I would be too. Remember, charmer! These two have a shared past that didn't work out so well, so when the present brings them back together there is naturally some tension and hesitation. Throw in Liz's little "issue" at work, and BAM, you've got a entertaining fight of the conscience going on.

You'll ride the ups and downs with these two, but you won't want to miss a second of this extraordinary romantic drama.  
Don't forget to check out the fabulous Worth the Fight, Book #1 (Each book a standalone). Read my review HERE!
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About the Author

Vi Keeland is a native New Yorker with three children that occupy most of her free time, which she complains about often, but wouldn't change for the world. She is a bookworm and has been known to read her kindle at stop lights, while styling her hair, cleaning, walking, during sporting events, and frequently while pretending to work. She is a boring attorney by day, and an exciting New York Times & USA Today Best Selling smut author by night!

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Sunday, February 16, 2014


Please welcome Liz Crowe, author of the fabulous Stewart Realty series. In honor of the release of the new Stewart Realty “Jack & Sara Trilogy” print anthology, she’s taken the time to answer some of Britney’s questions. And as always she’s such fun to talk to!

Britney: You're a writer of "Romance for Real Life." What is your definition of "Romance for Real Life" and what do you like most about writing this subgenre?

Liz: Well, first let me say “thanks” for having me here today. And second, allow me to say that honestly, my books are not really “romance.” They have elements of what readers expect in romance novels but that really just means that the books are “character driven.” Or that the characters drive the story as opposed to some external plot or crises.

I write books with characters that provoke very strong reactions in readers—not always positive ones—which is sort of where “romance” and “Liz books” part company. And I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t read traditional romance books and never have. However, I do love a book that delves deep into the psychology of the humans in it, and have attempted to do that in all of my books.

I think that any author who can create characters that make a reader stop, think, and have deep emotional reactions to them that are NOT always “knee- melting,” or “omg I want to be her bestie” are authors I want to read. So, that is what I try to create. It’s a tough balance, crafting characters that you can curse on one page, then empathize with on the next. I shoot for it.

I’m not saying romance books are bad. Frankly, it’s such a giant beast of a genre I’d be lucky to consider myself successful in it. But I gave up on that once I acknowledged that I just could not allow my characters to be too…perfect.

B: I'm really looking forward to this new anthology in print! (Yes, I still have a bookcase and I love my hard copy books!) This anthology will include the first 3 books in the Stewart Realty series: Floor Time, Sweat Equity, and Closing Costs, also known as the Jack and Sara Trilogy. Which of these was your most favorite to write and why? What do you like most about Jack and Sara's relationship and/or is there anything about their relationship you found particularly difficult to write?

L: You know, I adore these two, mainly because so many of my fans “feel them,” or come to me at various times and say “I have never felt as if a book character could be as real as these.”

That said, both Jack and Sara are so type-A as to be pretty self-centered. I think that I enjoyed so many aspects of crafting their relationship (and that of those around them) and each one of the original trilogy represents something important about how they learn to trust and love each other. Their love is so strong, it transcends many things (as readers have found in the final novel Good Faith that released last November). But I make them go through a fair bit of hell to find that heaven in each other’s arms…finally. Floor Time is part one—the heat, the steam, the getting-to-know and really enjoy but reject, until Jack pulls a major trigger at the end. Sweat Equity is the one that had many readers cursing my name in the wee hours. It’s the typical “middle novel” that has the bulk of the personal crises with a killer cliff hanger. Closing Costs introduces a very important new character—one that finally makes Jack and Sara understand that it is NOT all about the two of them.

B: You are constantly turning out new and exciting stories full of romance (well I consider it romance. Who needs an unnaturally happy ending all the time!?)and lets be honest, a fair share of heartbreak. Can you give us an idea of what you have coming out for us in the near future?

L: Well, I’m turning my attention to a psychological thriller that I hope to sell to an agent who will help me move to a new level of my career. I also have a really killer mystery novel (both of these are set in Ann Arbor/Detroit) that’s in early stages of development that I want to have ready for that go-getter agent once we find each other.

I also have big plans for the Black Jack Gentlemen series, a side series from Stewart Realty that already has 3 novels released. It is about a fictional expansion pro soccer team set in Detroit.

B: Now for fun! If you were stranded on an island and could only choose to live the rest of your life with 1 of each of the following, what would your choices be?

- Type of beer (I know how difficult this one might be for you Ms. Beer Wench!) Easy: an India Pale Lager—hoppy, balanced, around 7% alcohol.
- Book: Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood
- Movie (Hey, this is a semi-well equipped deserted island!): Empire of the Sun
- Food: Pizza
- Non-alcoholic beverage: coffee (duh)
- Animal: my standard poodles (both of them)

B: I like to keep my deserted islands very well equipped. Hey, it’s my world! Thanks so much for joining us Liz! It was such a pleasure as always.

L: Thanks again for having me!

Find Liz online at the following places:
Beer Blog:
Jack Gordon’s FB Page:

Stewart Realty Anthology: The Jack and Sara Trilogy

Stewart Realty:  Life in the House Lane

Love is an easy word to use, a hard one to demonstrate, and sometimes impossible to trust. 
The Stewart Realty series is a sweeping epic, encompassing many years in the lives of two people who know how to love with their bodies, how to please and get pleasure, to control and be controlled.  When it comes to the deeper meaning of the one word they both need, backgrounds and personalities get in the way. While their physical connection sizzles they somehow manage to continuously disappoint one another on an emotional level.
 Jack Gordon has it all—money, success, a string of women—but also a deep longing for something more. When he thinks he finds it with Sara Jane Thornton, his world is never the same again. Sara releases a side of himself he considered buried out of frustration and unhappiness. Sara soon learns that she must trust him implicitly, something she cannot do, no matter how many times she tries...and he fails.
With a rich cast of secondary characters, including a young man who presents a near-perfect foil to Jack's intensity, and who falls hard for Sara, The Stewart Realty series is a saga with an emphasis on contemporary life with a healthy dose of realistic eroticism. A tale of modern, busy, driven people seeking the ever-elusive and highly coveted combination—a friend, lover and trusted companion who will be there for the long haul.
Start at the beginning, with the Jack and Sara Trilogy, now for the first time ever in a print anthology. The Stewart Realty series is a best seller in family saga and urban fiction categories. See for yourself what the buzz is all about.

Want to know more? Check out this fabulous sneak peek!
Floor Time Excerpt (Stewart Realty Series (Book 1):

Sara put her palms against the ice-cold glass of the floor-to-ceiling windows. She smiled, observing the entire downtown of Ann Arbor spread out below her like a child's carpet map. The heat rose visibly from the pavement as the crowds scurried in and out of restaurants and shops.
Adam's arms around her waist startled her. As she turned, a niggling voice at the back of her brain made her hesitate before brushing his lips with hers. They'd been in the vacant condo way too long. Now that he'd teased a satisfactory orgasm from her neglected body, an antsy, nervous sensation wormed through her psyche. She sighed and disentangled herself from his embrace. 
When the doorbell echoed through the cavernous space, she broke out in a cold sweat. Fumbling with blouse buttons, she pushed past Adam on her way through the kitchen and to the door, cursing under her breath. She looked back to make sure he was pulled together – not a tough thing since neither of them got completely out of their clothes – and scowled as he gave her a knowing smile.
Shit. You should not have done this. You don't even really like him. But it had been so long and he was pretty good looking. Jesus, slut much Sara?
Sara let guilty thoughts clang around her head long enough to hear the doorbell ring once more before yanking it open, her perfect pleased-to-see-you sales smile fixed in place, keys clutched in one hand.

Jack had a hot date, one that was going to yield him a kick-ass listing, but due to the unwarranted dawdling of the condo-shopping couple he had been dragging around, he'd be lucky to make it in time. The empty lock box on the door of the penthouse unit provided the real icing on the cake. He leaned on the doorbell, hoping they could skip this one and stop wasting his time while mouthing platitudes to his clients. He had hoped that the relocating, executive couple like the ones he was courting at that moment wouldn't spend so much of his valuable time arguing over granite colors and the relative benefits of central vacuum cleaners. God, he hated this job sometimes. He smiled, and turned, hearing the click of the deadbolt. Finally.
When the heavy door swung open, the vision standing there froze him mid-sentence. Sara Thornton, one of the newer, and more successful, realtors at Stewart Realty, stared at him, eyes blazing in a strange combination of aggravation and satisfaction. Jack clenched his jaw at the sight of her smoking hot body encased in skintight short black skirt, creamy silk blouse and four-inch stilettos.
As one of the few chosen to populate the downtown storefront office, based upon her good looks and the ability to rope in new buyers and sellers off the streets of Ann Arbor, Sara had serious sales skills. He'd studied the branch's numbers, as part of a management decision-making process, to ultimately turning down the offer to handle that stable of prima donnas. But at that moment Jack couldn't believe he'd never noticed her before – really noticed her. Where had she been hiding? And what was that amazing sexy aura that permeated the air? Jack's heart jumped in his chest.
"Um, hi Jack." Her voice was hoarse, making him blink. He made a conscious effort to wipe the idiotic look off his face, aware of the annoying clients still standing at his elbow. He held out a hand, needing to confirm that her skin felt as hot as it looked. Surprised no one else saw the sparks pass between them, he couldn't suppress a grin at the look on her flustered face.
So, she sensed it too. This could get interesting.
"Sara." He heard his own voice, sounding a hell of a lot more confident than he felt at that moment. And he did not rattle easily. "Sorry to barge in but…” He was struck dumb once again by the sight of Adam Donovan, mortgage broker tool, at Sara's shoulder. Jack gave himself a mental shake. The sudden realization of what had undoubtedly happened, in the same condo he was about to show, made his head pound. Reluctant admiration mixed with something resembling jealousy fogged his brain.  He raised his eyebrows at the tall blond man whom he could have sworn was engaged to someone else. 
"Jack." Adam moved around the beautiful woman who still blocked the doorway.  "Good to see you."
Jack shook the guy's hand, never taking his gaze from Sara, reserving his smile for her.  His brain engaged, focus locked on Sara Thornton, and the world shifted under his expensively clad feet.

Sara had never been more embarrassed. No, that was too weak of a word – mortified was better. Jack Gordon, king of the Ann Arbor real estate universe, wanted to show the condo where she'd just let Adam Donovan mercy fuck her. As she tried not to drown in Jack's deep blue gaze, Sara clenched her thighs, already imagining how he might have done it differently, and likely better.       
"Um, hi Jack," she croaked out. Her face flooded with heat; even more so when she put the keys in his outstretched hand, and yanked herself back at the intensity of their instant connection. Tall, ruggedly handsome with coal-black hair and a shimmering blue gaze, the man boasted a personality that bested all other males within a fifty-mile radius. Sara only knew of him, of course. They'd never actually met. However, she'd swear right then he seemed happy to see her. The realization made her zing from scalp to toes.
She watched his full lips form words but remained deafened by the roaring in her ears. His gaze never left hers, even when Adam nudged her aside and shook his hand. Her whole universe suddenly shrank to two people. Looking back, she'd pinpoint that as the instant she fell hopelessly in love with an impossible man.

Buy the book on AMAZON or B&N
See what other readers have to say about
Floor Time (Stewart Realty Series Book 1)

“Sara and Jack’s banter and absolute need for one another when they were together was positively combustible, and it had me switching from angry to aroused every other minute!”
~ Just Erotic Romance Reviews              

“The sizzling power of attraction and the sexiness of a take charge Alpha male attitude is incredibly written by this talented author.  From passion to inner turmoil, to falling in love, these characters take the reader on a whirlwind of rides!”
~ Romancing the Book

“When it comes to a book with a little BDSM, Liz Crowe’s “Floor Time” is absolutely a must read!  Crowe brought out the personal inner struggles of a former Master who lost his way, and a newly introduced submissive who is battling within herself between keeping the control or giving up said control willingly…if you’re looking for a way to enjoy a known fantasy or maybe you’d like to consider a little rough play, I say pick up this book for some inspiration.  You will not regret it!”
~ Bitten by Love Reviews

2 signed copies of the new Stewart Realty “Jack & Sara Trilogy” print anthology (U.S. ONLY)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


Last Call, #1
Adult Contemporary Romance
Releasing February 17th, 2014

He left to travel the world for fame and glory, but only after spurning Gabby Ward and crushing her young heart. Now Hunter Markham has come back home to the sand and salty breeze of the North Carolina Outer Banks so he can open up Last Call, a beach bar nestled among the dunes of the Atlantic. 

Gabby Ward is not happy that Hunter has returned. Bitter over his rebuff years before, she’s content to stay far away from him and his dangerously charming ways. 

Gabby’s well-schemed plans to ignore Hunter go up in flames when he presents an offer to her that she simply can’t refuse, throwing them together in a common quest to each reach their goals. Working together day in and day out proves to be problematic for Gabby, who soon realizes that the feelings she had for him are still very much alive. Hunter struggles to reach through to Gabby’s cold heart, all while starting a new career away from his life as a top ranked, professional surfer.

What starts out as a mutual business arrangement soon turns into a passion that neither of them can continue to deny. 

Hard choices lay ahead for both of them when Hunter is offered a once in a lifetime opportunity to return to the pro surfing tour.

Choices that could destroy what they have built or take them further than they ever had dared to hope.

Sneak Peek Excerpt
By Sawyer Bennett

“What the fuck is wrong with her?” I grumbled.
“You’re clueless, dude,” Brody said while he placed the twenties, tens, fives, and ones in their respective drawers. He opened up the rolls of coins and emptied them in their slots. “Absolutely clueless.”
Walking up to the bar, I pulled a stool out and leaned one ass cheek on it, laying my forearms on the bar. “Want to enlighten me?”
Shutting the register drawer, Brody turned to look at me. “You two remind me of two kids who like each other but don’t understand it. So rather than confronting it, you pick at each other, letting your confused emotions come out as anger and stupid words.”
“I’m not the one picking at her,” I pointed out.
“True, but I expect Gabby’s feelings run in a different direction than yours. You’re running around with your tongue hanging out, panting after her, and she’s got her heart tied up. It’s the classic difference between men and women.”
I stood there with my jaw hanging open, staring in wonder at Brody. He just fucking ‘Dr. Phil-ed’ me, and I was in awe.
“How in the fuck do you know that?” I asked.
He shrugged his shoulders and walked out from behind the bar, heading toward the stockroom. “One thing in prison you have a lot of… is time. Three things came out of it. I devoured a lot of books, I had plenty of time to think, and I sharpened my observation skills. I see plenty of what goes on, even if you and Gabby don’t.”
I was struck dumb. My brother… the felon… the philosopher. I was beyond grateful that he was actually having a conversation with me. I was blown away at the nature of said conversation. My respect for my brother increased tenfold, because I realized that prison might have actually made him smarter… keener… even potentially more well-rounded.
“You amaze me,” is all I could think to say.
Brody just snorted at my comment and walked into the storeroom, while I stared after him. Maybe that was a turning point for Brody, actually doling out advice to his dumbass brother.
Now it’s Wednesday morning and, as I pull into the parking lot of Last Call, I see Gabby’s work truck. None of the other crew members have arrived, but it’s only 7:30 AM and they don’t usually clock in until around eight. I have no clue what time Gabby shows up each morning, but I’m guessing it’s way earlier than seven thirty.
Unlocking the door, I let myself in and relock it behind me. I’ll open it back up at eight.
I hear sounds coming from the back room, which leads out onto the existing deck. Gabby said they’d be starting the deck expansion today, so I expect to find her out there.
When I walk back there though, I find her still inside, bent over one of the pool tables, reviewing the design plans she has spread out before her. She’s wearing her classic work clothes… jeans, a t-shirt, and work boots. She has her tool belt riding low on her slim hips, and she’s chewing on the end of a pencil while she peruses the documents in front of her. With her hair pulled up in a ponytail, she looks young and fresh… and it makes me want to kiss the fuck out of her.
“Good morning,” I say, and her head snaps up.
For a brief moment, her face is placid and relaxed. But the moment she realizes it’s me walking in, her lips set in a grim line and she turns her attention back down to the plans before her.
And that just pisses me off. Fuck what Brody said about her liking me, and that’s why she’s so cranky. It doesn’t make any sense, and I’m getting tired of her bratty behavior. It makes me want to be a brat in return, so what do I do?
I walk up beside her, getting up close and invading her personal space, and lean over the plans. “Whatcha doin’?” I ask in a friendly voice.
I swear I can hear her teeth gritting from my nearness, and she takes a step to the side. “Just going over the specs on the back deck extension, so I can get the crew started when they get here.”
I slide a step closer to her, bending over the drawings. “Explain what you’ll be doing today.”
She curses under her breath, and I have to suppress a chuckle. I’m enjoying what my bratty side is doing to her.
“I don’t have time for this, Hunter. You either trust my work, or you don’t.”
I turn to look at her, and she’s glaring at me. “You’re cute when you’re angry. I particularly like the way you pout. It’s sexy.”
Flames leap out of her eyes, I kid you not, and she takes a step in closer, while jabbing me in the chest with her finger. “Just cut it out, Hunter. I know you think this banter is funny but it’s not. It’s really pissing me off. I’m trying to do a job here, and you’re not making it—”
I’ve had enough—enough of her rancor and PMSing or whatever the fuck her problem is. Brody said she likes me, and I’m going to see if he’s as smart as I think he might be.
Grabbing her shoulders, I pull her in hard to me so her breasts mash into my chest. She lets out a tiny gasp, her hazel eyes going wide, and her lips full and slightly open. It’s the only invitation I need before I bring mouth down on hers… fast and hard.
I unleash all the pent-up frustration I have toward her cranky behavior into her mouth, slamming my tongue up against hers, scraping my own bottom lip against her teeth. The pleasure-pain is exquisite, and I groan at the first contact.
She’s stiff… just for a second, her hands hanging loosely at her side. I let it cross my mind briefly that I could be making a very big mistake, that this could be bordering on assault, but then her arms come up and she clutches my hips with her fingertips.
That spurs me on, and I tilt my head, angling for a deeper contact. She responds tenfold, sliding a sexy whimper into my mouth, and I feel myself starting to grow painfully hard.
All from a fucking kiss.
A kiss that is just like five years ago, yet so very different. Then she was forbidden, young, innocent. It was shocking and altering, two things that fueled my lust.
Now, it’s a desire that’s fueled by years of wondering, fantasizing, and maybe even a bit of regret. It’s also a flame that has recently been fanned by anger, and let’s face it… there’s nothing hotter than being in the middle of an argument and releasing that emotion through the sexual channels.
My heart is slamming inside my chest, and my dick is aching. I want to do nothing more than take Gabby, lay her across the pool table, and fuck the meanness out of her. I want to sink myself in her warmth, make her body mine, and when it’s done, have her look at me with something other than disdain.
But now is not the time, and it’s certainly not the place. When I take her—and I will—it’s going to be somewhere private so I can do things that might border on depraved… but will certainly wipe that smug look off her face. Just the thought has me smiling against her lips.
I bring one hand up and cup the back of her head, pushing her mouth harder against mine for just a second, taking a last swipe at her with my tongue. Then I pull back, gripping onto her hair to hold her in place.
I stare at her intently, watching her eyes, which are clouded with lust and longing. Without the power of the kiss driving us, her gaze starts to clear, and I enjoy the myriad of emotion that filters through. Desire is replaced by confusion, which is then replaced by anger.
She pushes back against my body, her hands still at my hips, but I hold tight to her hair and I don’t budge an inch.
“What the hell was that for?” she seethes.
I give her a calculated smirk, running my eyes over her face and leaning down to nip at her lower lip with my teeth. She shivers in my arms and I internally gloat, because while she acts like she’s mad, she wants me. There’s no denying it.
Pulling back slightly, I rub my nose against hers, and then say, “It was the only way to get you to shut up.”
She looks at me blankly for a moment, and then it sinks in what I just said to her. She practically screeches as she rips away from my embrace, and I quickly release my hold on her hair so she doesn’t tear a chunk of it out. Stepping back a foot, her eyes do a slow burn and her hand comes up to wipe it across her lips. It’s a calculated move… to show me that the kiss disgusted her, but she’s not fooling me. I invented that move, used it on her five years ago in fact. I know all about masking my true feelings.
Leaning against the pool table with one hip, I cross my arms across my chest and give her a lazy smile. “Don’t act affronted, Gabs. You enjoyed that just as much as I did.”
“Oooohhh,” she screeches again, and I wince at the sound. “You’re an asshole. If you touch me again, I swear I’ll… I’ll…”
“What?” I taunt her. “Kiss the fuck out of me again? You wanted it… you enjoyed it. Accept it.”
“I did not,” she insists, stomping her foot. “You caught me off guard.”
Laughing at her silliness, I take a step forward, even as she takes a step back to keep distance between us. “You may not know what’s going on here, but I do. Brody enlightened me the other day.”
That gets her attention because she can’t help but ask, “What do you mean?”
I decide I’m done playing for the day. I can see she’s going to need time to process this, and I’m fully expecting to deal with a she-devil tomorrow. So I just turn around and head back out to the front of the bar, telling her over my shoulder. “Ask Brody. He’ll fill you in.”
I hear her curse behind me, dropping a few F-bombs in the process. I just laugh, and I know she can hear me because a few more choice words follow me out the door.

About the Author
USA Today Best-Selling author, Sawyer Bennett, is a snarky southern woman and reformed trial lawyer who decided to finally start putting on paper all of the stories that were floating in her head. She is married to a mobster (well, a market researcher) and they have two big, furry dogs who hog the bed. Sawyer would like to report she doesn’t have many weaknesses but can be bribed with a nominal amount of milk chocolate.