#bookrelease – Stripped Bare – by Nikka Michaels and Eileen Griffin @evernightpub

Stripped BareStripped Bare By Nikka Michaels and Eileen Griffin

Genre: M/M, BDSM

Length: 22,000 Words

Series: Cooper Mountain

Release Date: November 14, 2014

Publisher: Evernight Publishing

Goodreads page

BLURB:
When Donovan Ramsey comes home from yet another business trip he realizes he and his long-term boyfriend, Nate Pearson, have drifted apart. Donovan is used to engineering solutions in his career, but he’s stumped on how to fix his dwindling sexual relationship with Nate.
After a late night internet search, Donovan finds a place that might be exactly what they need to rekindle the romance in their relationship. There’s just one catch: the idyllic Cooper Mountain Bed and Breakfast specializes in BDSM for couples.
Over the course of the weekend, the two men experience a taste of what the BDSM lifestyle has to offer. Will that taste lead to a stronger connection between Nate and Donovan, or will it ultimately be their undoing?

EXCERPT:
Donovan recognized a few of the search results from friends’ suggestions about quick weekend getaways. The majority, though, were ones Donovan had never heard of. “Deluxe cottage, nestled in the woods. Full shower and bath. Total privacy.”
Donovan kept that window open, even though the price was way more than what he would normally pay for a hotel room for the night. The next boasted similar features, except this one had a private outdoor hot tub for the guests’ use. Donovan was about to go back to the first listing until he saw one that looked different from the others.
“Cooper Mountain. A secluded B&B that caters to couples who want to rekindle their relationship. Fully catered meals, private quarters, and attentive staff. LGBTQ Friendly.”
Out of curiosity, he clicked on the link. The first picture that popped up featured a beautiful cottage situated in a rural setting next to a lake. The next picture, however, had his mind reeling. A wooden cross, labeled St. Andrew’s Cross in the caption below, made him wonder if this was a couples’ retreat or a torture palace. The owner’s message at the bottom of the image gallery explained that play was optional, and every stage of kink was welcome. There were educational classes for newbies as well as complete privacy for the more advanced couples.
Testimonial after testimonial made his head swim.
“Toby and Logan are the perfect hosts. Not only did my partner and I rekindle the passion we thought we’d lost, we found out we really love floggers!”
“Thank you, Logan, for the best weekend getaway we’ve had in years. We’ll definitely be back on our next anniversary to try out the spanking bench.”
And the last one, “A weekend at Cooper Mountain worked wonders for expanding our understanding of the D/s relationship. We’ve grown closer as a couple and can’t wait to take more of Logan’s classes!”
Donovan’s mind raced as he clicked through the image gallery, shocked and slightly scandalized by the images he saw. After all, what kind of person got off on pain? What kind of person got pleasure from tying another person up or by dominating someone else sexually?

book

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EILEEN GRIFFIN BIO:

Eileen Griffin lives in the southwest, but loves to travel and has spent many summers crossing Europe with nothing but a backpack on her back. She enjoys TexMex, lives for good wine, and has a certain penchant for purple unicorns. She loves reading all genres of books, but her current obsession is writing M/M romance. Her past published works include: Chasing Matt, a M/M novella co-authored with Nikka Michaels, Dinner For Two, a M/F romance novella, “Claiming Ayden”, a M/M shifter romance that is part of Evenight’s Alpha’s Claim Anthology: M/M Edition, and “Lost and Found”, a short story written for the M/M Romance Group’s Don’t Read in the Closet: Love’s Landscapes Event. Eileen is currently working on book three of the In the Kitchen series from Carina Press with Nikka Michaels, as well as several other projects both individual and co-authored.

NIKKA MICHAELS BIO:

Nikka Michaels lives in the rainy Pacific Northwest where she spends her time cooking up romantic tales to satisfy her craving for HEAs with heat. A voracious reader, novice knitter and music lover she’s been known to multitask without breaking a sweat. She loves to read and write M/M romance but believes everyone deserves a love story. She currently has several releases out including, Chasing Matt, a M/M novella co-authored with Eileen Griffin, Christmas with Caden, a M/F romance novella from Cobblestone Press, “Waking up Wolf”, a M/M shifter romance in Evernight Publishing’s Alpha’s Claim: Manlove Edition anthology, and the MM series which includes, Mile High Service, Room Service and Lip Service from Cobblestone Press’ Blue line. She also has a short story, “His Assistant” in Evernight Publishing’s best-selling Executive Assistant: Manlove Edition anthology.

EILEEN GRIFFIN SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:
Website and Blog: http://www.eileengriffin.wordpress.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/eileengriffin77
Facebook Profile: http://www.facebook.com/eileen.griffin
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/eileengriffinauthor
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NIKKA MICHAELS SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:
Website: http://www.nikkamichaels.com
Blog: http://nikkamichaels.com/blog/
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Facebook Profile: http://www.facebook.com/Nikka.Michaels
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#coverreveal – Mistletoe Menage – by Molly Ann Wishlade @evernightpub

I’m so excited to reveal my new cover to you today! My Rubenesque Regency Romance novella is coming soon with Evernight Publishing.

So…here we go…

MistletoeMénage-evernightpublishing2-3Drender

Here’s the blurb:

It is 1816. Anne Blackburn is a voluptuous thirty-two year old widow. Due to her family inheritance and the fortune left to her by her husband, she is a wealthy woman, and she moves in the social circles of London’s upper class.
Anne has sworn never to marry again. However, she cannot help yearning to find out more about the pleasures of the flesh. Her deceased husband was more father than lover but she has felt passion once—before she married over six years ago.
Edward Moore loved Anne and proposed to her but when he left London to seek his father’s blessing, Anne was approached by Lord Moore’s lawyer who told her to forget Edward. If she refused, Edward would be disinherited. When Alfred Blackburn asked for her hand in marriage, Ann accepted to set Edward free.
Now there is an artist in London with a mysterious patron. Mr. Guy Harper provides the ladies he paints with certain erotic extras. When Anne commissions a portrait from him, she gets more than she could have imagined in her wildest dreams.
But will her mistletoe ménage become a painful humiliation or the stepping stone into her very own happy ever after?

MistletoeMénage-evernightpublishing2-banner2

You are invited to the wedding of the year… @jaxandwillsmum @ukcarina

ChristmasWeddingInvite copy

Christmas Wedding at the Gingerbread Café
Released today!

You are invited to the wedding of the year!
Snow is falling thick and fast outside the Gingerbread Café and, inside, its owner Lily is planning the wedding of the year. Her wedding! She never dreamt it would happen, but this Christmas she’ll be marrying the man of her dreams — in a Christmas-card-perfect ceremony!
The gingerbread is baking, the dress is fitted and the mistletoe’s in place — for once, everything’s going to plan. That is until her mother-in-law arrives… Suddenly, Lily’s famous cool is being tested like never before and her dream wedding is crumbling before her eyes.
In the blink of a fairy light, the Gingerbread Café has been thrown into chaos! Lily thought she had this wedding wrapped up, but with so much to do before she says ‘I do’, can Lily get to the church on time — and make this Christmas sparkle after all?

Christmas Wedding at the Gingerbread Cafe

Excerpt – Chapter One – Ten days

The fluffy white meringue hypnotizes me as it swirls around the mixer into soft valleys and peaks. A chocolate cake cools on the stainless-steel bench ready for me to layer with meringue, which will look like fresh snow for the cheery-faced fondant reindeers to graze in. High-pitched voices interrupt my reverie, and I turn to see the small children of Ashford making their way along the icy street, caroling.
It’s almost nightfall; through the tinseled window and flashing fairy lights I watch them sing, their faces lit up with the excitement of Christmas. I switch off the mixer, and dust my hands on my apron. Edging closer to the door, I listen to them pitch and warble. I sing along, enraptured by the catchy festive songs.
A couple of young stragglers pull away from the crowd of carolers, and race to the window of the Gingerbread Café. They push their tiny red noses against the glass; their breath fogs up the view. I duck my head around the door. “See those marshmallow snowmen? CeeCee made them especially, so when you’re finished caroling you can take as many as you want. Tell your friends too.” Their eyes go wide, as they squeal and dash back to the group, gesticulating wildly back to the sweet treats on display.
Smiling at their exuberance, I glance back to the window, and see why they’re so animated. At their age and height it must look like a monolithic ode to gingerbread. CeeCee insisted we make our own Christmas tree this year…out of gingerbread. It took us the better part of three weeks to work out how exactly to bake the pieces so they’d fit together to form branches. There were plenty of mistakes made, which were hastily eaten up by our regular customers.
We felt like the most accomplished engineers when it was finally erected and we’d decorated it with golden candy floss ‘tinsel’, and ‘baubles’ made from scarlet toffee. The ‘ground’ is made from marshmallow, and the Christmas presents made from chocolate dusted with edible glitter sit afoot the tree. All the late nights baking seem like nothing when a crowd of children stop and ogle it as if it’s something magical. I can’t wait for Damon’s daughter, Charlie, to see it. For a moment I picture her, with her beautiful blond curls, following the kids along the street, singing. I miss her when she’s gone, almost as if she’s my own child.
The doorbell jingles, catching me mid-chorus. I turn, half expecting the tiny revelers to rush in. “Oh, golly, that’s the voice I love,” Damon teases. His hands snake behind my jacket and he rubs the warmth of my back. “Operatic, and dramatic.”
“Very funny.” I grin. “I would have tried a bit harder if I knew I had an audience.” So, my singing leaves a lot to be desired. I blame my mamma — she’s sings as if she’s being strangled and unfortunately I inherited that gene.
“And I get to wake up to the sound of that voice every day until…for ever.”
Gazing up at him, my mouth hanging open like a love-struck fool, I say, “Ten days until I’m Mrs. Guthrie. Ten days until I swan down that aisle. I’m tingly with excitement even if I do have to wear gloop on my face, and be tortured with hair devices to make my curly hair…curly.”
He laughs so hard little dimples appear on his cheeks. “I’m tingly too, in more ways than one.” He half groans as he leans down and kisses me full on the mouth. I close my eyes as my whole-body throb reaches swoon level. This fine-thing sure knows how to kiss a girl, all right.
Slightly breathless, we pull apart, silent for a moment until the blood rushes back to wherever the hell it’s supposed to be. We stare hard at each other, but I don’t dare kiss him again. We’re likely to close up shop and jump into bed for the evening. As tempting as that is, I have cakes to bake.
But…no.
I have cakes to bake.
Damon runs his hands through his hair. “Let’s just close…”
Jelly-legged from his presence, I fight to stay strong. “Nope.”
He hooks his fingers through the belt loops of my jeans and pulls me against him. I step back, but he pulls me close again in an effort to convince me. “Lil…”
“Nope.”
His lips part slowly, and my restraint almost crumbles. Cakes, think of the cakes.
He moans low. “You’re a temptress…”
I laugh. “It’s a hard life.”
“Very hard,” he agrees, winking. He makes a show of exhaling, and shakes away the desire that is plain on his face. Composed, he says, “Let’s stop canoodling in the doorway before we end up in some compromising photos on CeeCee’s Spacebook.”
I imagine a picture of us wrapped together squid-like, flushed, for the world to see on Facebook. I giggle and drag Damon close to the fireplace when my friend Missy ducks her head in and says, “Hello, lovebirds! You’re looking mighty sweet all tangled like that.”
“Come out of the cold, Missy.” I wave her over to the fire. She struts in. Despite being heavily pregnant, she still manages to saunter rather than waddle.
Missy, who owns The Sassy Salon, has all these grand plans for my wedding hair and make-up, and, while it’s not usually my thing, it’s hard not to get caught up in her excitement. She is an expert, after all.
I rub her belly before giving her a hug. As always she smells sweet with perfume and hair products, her heavily made-up face perfection as she fluffs her big auburn curls. “I don’t intend to interrupt you two from whatever it is you were doing…” she arches an eyebrow, and grins “…but I wanted to give you these, Lil.” She hands me a brown paper bag. “Some make-up samples, colorstay, so no matter how much toying you do to your pretty little face, it should stay put.”
I go to protest, but she shakes a finger. “Before you start shaking your head, hear me out. You need to decide what colors you like…so just try it, OK? I know make-up is not your thing, but you’ll get used to it if you try it out a few times before the wedding.”
Damon lets out a huge belly laugh. I pivot, hands on hips, and give him a fake pout, he stops immediately and claps a hand over his mouth. “You think this is funny?” I tease; ruing the fact that at almost thirty years of age I still don’t understand the basics of applying make-up. I’ve tried, but it feels so unnatural, as if I’ve cemented my face, that I can’t help but mess with it, as a child would.
“No, no!” Damon holds his palms up, stifling a laugh. “Definitely not funny.” I give him a shove with my hip and turn back to Missy.
“I just hope I’m not going to look like a Dolly Parton impersonator.”
Missy rolls her eyes heavenward. “There’s nothing wrong with Dolly Parton, Lil. That woman knows what real beauty is.”
I guffaw.
“She’s my people and I won’t hear a bad word about her!” Missy laughs. I grin back. Missy dresses similar to Dolly Parton, all tight miniskirts, bold prints, the odd sequin or two. She’s vibrant and sassy and has a heart of pure gold.
“OK, no more Dolly jokes. So are there instructions with this stuff?” Doubt creeps in as I survey the bag full of colorful vials and tubes used for God knows what. Missy knows I’m erring on the side of natural rather than full-on war paint, but so far all I see are pinks and reds so bright they make my eyes hurt.
Missy scoffs. “No, there aren’t instructions! At least try the lipsticks and see which shade you prefer. We can sort the rest at the make-up trial, OK?”
“OK.”
“I better go and close up shop or else Tommy’ll think I’ve run off with another man.”
Laughter barrels out of us at the thought of a heavily pregnant woman running anywhere, least of all off with another man. “See you tomorrow, and thanks.” I hold up the bag. Missy air kisses us both and struts away. From behind you can’t even tell she’s pregnant — all the gingerbread men and slices of pie she’s consumed have obviously gone straight to the baby.
“Only ten more days…” Damon’s voice brings me back to the present as he kisses the top of my head.
Ten more days marks our one-year anniversary, and our wedding day.
I wasn’t searching for love a year ago, far from it, when it fell in my lap — or rather my café — in the form of this tight-jean-wearing, curly-haired, six-packed, glorious man. Some days it still doesn’t feel real, that this kind of passionate, all-consuming love could just happen, in the blink of an eye, but thank my lucky stars, it did.
Nipping my fingers into Damon’s back pockets, I pull his hips close. “Look at them…”
Ashford’s mini carolers huddle together as they wait to cross the road. They’re bundled up in woolen scarves and beanies, their mittened hands holding candles. They chorus Amazing Grace, and I stiffen in Damon’s arms. Oh, no. I bite the inside of my cheek. I wiggle my toes. Isn’t that what people do to stem their tears? It’s too late. My eyes well up; it’s no use. That song kills me. It’s the very heart of Christmas and it speaks to me like nothing else.
“Lil?” Damon says. “You OK?”
I half laugh, half hiccough. “It’s that darn song. It’s even more of a tear-jerker when six-year-olds are singing it.” My voice comes out a little strangled as I try to laugh it off.
“How could I forget?” he says wistfully. “The Amazing Grace blubber-fest exactly one year ago today.”
I cock my head. “Wait…what? You saw that?” This time last year I had my hand wedged well and truly up a turkey’s behind, stuffing the damn poultry to sell in the café as I sang my little heart out to Amazing Grace, laughing-shrieking-sobbing with the sadness of one whose life wasn’t going as planned. And that very same day, I met Damon.
Damon smacks his forehead. “Whoops. So I may have been spying on you long before you marched across the road to shout at me for stealing your customers.”
The memory makes me smile. I’d been all riled up when this handsome newcomer strode into town selling the same things as my beloved Gingerbread Café. It hadn’t helped matters he was gorgeous and instantly had a shop full of ladies, single or not, flicking their shiny hair, and strutting about, trying to make his acquaintance.
“You were spying on me?” I ask, mock seriously.
He puts a hand to his chest and does his best to keep his face straight, but his lip wobbles as he gulps back laughter. “I fell in love with you that very second. I thought, if a girl can stuff a turkey, simultaneously cry, and laugh, and sing like it’s the only thing that’ll save her, then she’s the one for me.” He presses a fist to his mouth, no doubt reliving the scene in all its sob-fest glory.
I laugh and blush to the roots of my hair. I really did make a spectacle of myself that long-ago wintry morning in the café. I had no idea anyone could see me in such a vulnerable state. “I’m surprised —” I hit him playfully on the arm “— that you’ve never mentioned this before.”
He raises his eyebrows. The deep brown of his eyes is so easy to get lost in, I forget for a moment what we’re even discussing. “You were upset, and I didn’t want you to know I’d seen. I only wanted to make you smile. Little did I know that you’d take offence to my mere presence in town, and that it would become a bit harder than I’d first thought.”
Thinking back to that day, I’m caught up in a rush of mixed feelings. Back then, I was pining for my ex-husband Joel, too naïve to know he was no good, not realizing it was just the idea of love I missed — and not actually him. And that very day, I’d vowed to run Damon out of town because I’d seen him as a threat to my business, and without the café I would have been lost and broke. That version of me, sad and lonely, seems like a lifetime ago.
Shaking my head, I marvel — what a difference a year makes. It hadn’t taken long for me to fall in love with Damon; he truly was a Christmas miracle. And now, we’re about to get married! I resist the urge to pinch myself.
When a man turns every notion you had of love upside down, and shows you what a genuine heart he has, it’s almost impossible not to well up, and again it makes me wonder why I let my ex-husband treat me callously for so long. Silently, I thank the universe he’s out of my life for good, and instead focus on the wonderful man in front of me.
And next year, I vow, I’ll only listen to Amazing Grace when I’m alone, and can bawl for the full five minutes and afterwards will feel strangely refreshed, and altogether festive.
“Where’s CeeCee?” Damon asks, glancing around the café.
Frowning, I push a tendril of hair back. “She dashed out to get some Christmas presents for her grandbabies.” I glance at my watch and shrug. “But that was a while ago. She’s probably bumped into someone.”
You can never really dash anywhere in Ashford. Everyone knows everyone — you can’t get down the main street without stopping to chat to people. Even the inclement weather doesn’t deter the locals from stopping to shoot the breeze.
Outside snow drifts down like white confetti, pitching in the wind, and settling on the square window panes. The sight makes me want to curl up and watch the world go by. With that in mind, I push Damon towards one of the old sofas in front of the fireplace, and sit with my legs over his lap. He’s impossible to resist and the cakes can wait, for five minutes, at least. The fire is stoked up, and crackles and spits as if it’s saying hello. Damon groans. “I’m beat. You don’t realize till you stop for a minute.” He covers his mouth as he yawns, which immediately makes me yawn.
“How’d today go?” I ask. Damon owns a small goods shop across the road, and hosts cooking demonstrations as well as sorting out the finer details of our catering business. No matter what you do, money is tight for shopkeepers in Ashford purely because it’s such a small town. Though the lead-up to Christmas is frantic for us all.
“Busy. I must have made a hundred cups of coffee…”
I smirk. Damon’s fancy coffee tastes like tar to me, but women still flock there, and grimace their way through a cup. He’s totally clueless they’re ogling him as he dashes behind the counter, while they stare, mouths hanging open. I don’t blame them. I’d spend my morning at his coffee bar and stare too if I could.

Find the book here:

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Find Rebecca here:

https://www.facebook.com/RebeccaRaisinAuthor

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http://www.twitter.com/jaxandwillsmum

untitled (4)Rebecca Raisin is a true bibliophile. This love of books morphed into the desire to write them. She’s been widely published in various short-story anthologies, and in fiction magazines, and is now focusing on writing romance. The only downfall about writing about gorgeous men who have brains as well as brawn is falling in love with them — just as well they’re fictional. Rebecca aims to write characters you can see yourself being friends with. People with big hearts who care about relationships, and, most importantly, believe in true, once-in-a-lifetime love.

#coverreveal – This Christmas – by Katlyn Duncan @ukcarina

This Christmas: A Novella by Katlyn Duncan
Release date: November 18, 2014 from Carina UK
Genre: New Adult Contemporary

This Christmas pic Summary:

This year, if Hadley wrote her dream Christmas list, it would go something like this:

1. Spend every waking – and sleeping – moment with her incredibly gorgeous boyfriend, Will.

2. Figure out what’s been bugging him lately. Yes, going away to college has been tough…but it’s time they reconnected.

3. Enjoy a sparkling Christmas in New York City, gazing at the Rockefeller tree, going ice skating, and drinking steaming mugs of cocoa in Central Park.

So, driving off to spend Christmas in a rustic cabin in the woods wasn’t exactly the plan. But when it comes to her irresistible, and at times, impossible boyfriend, nothing’s ever that simple. And as fantasies of an icy Times Square are replaced by a clumsily decorated tree, making snowmen and the warmth of a log fire, Hadley feels herself falling in love all over again.

Except does Will have something to tell her that could change Hadley’s happily-ever-after Christmas dreams into a not-so-winter wonderland after all?
Don’t miss this festive sequel novella to This Summer

About the Author
KatlynKatlyn Duncan was born and raised in a small town in western Massachusetts. Her overactive imagination involved invisible friends, wanting to be a Disney Princess and making up her own stories. Her bibliophile mom always encouraged her love of reading and that stayed with her since. Even though she works full time in the medical field Katlyn has always made time for books, whether she is reading or writing them.
Katlyn now lives in southern Connecticut with her husband and adorable Wheaten Terrier and she is thrilled to finally share her stories with the world.

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#bookrelease – Spray Paint Kisses – by @bethanykris @evernightpub

A warm welcome to my lovely friend Bethany Kris!

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Thanks so much for having me on your blog today to share my latest release with Evernight Publishing, Spray Paint Kisses.
Before I tell you about the story, I thought I’d share ten facts about my hero and ten facts about my heroine to introduce them a little better.

The Hero: Gage Masselin
Age 22
Green eyes, dark hair, approximately 6 foot 1 inch tall
Popular graffiti/street artist
From a tiny town in Eastern Canada, but currently lives in the city
Mentors troubled youth at a teen center during his spare time, but otherwise his attention and drive is totally focused on his art
Spent time in a juvenile detention center for vandalism
His mother died while he was finishing out his sentence, something that weighs heavily on his mind often
Favorite colors are black and white—the two shades he always uses to begin any project
He might be somewhat of a city boy, now, but he’ll always be a small town country boy at heart
He’s never been in love … until he meets his one

The Heroine: Summer Davey
Age 21
Blue eyes, blonde hair, 5 foot 7 inches tall
From a small town in Saskatchewan, Canada
Loves to travel—mostly by car so she can drive to wherever she wants to go, and leave when she wants to leave
Her gypsy nature is often reflected in her style and attitude being very carefree and lighthearted
Favorite color is the blue like the sky, because it reminds her of what it feels to be nothing but open and free
Only travels back home a couple of times a year to visit her family—going more often makes her feel like she might end up getting stuck somewhere she doesn’t want to be
She’s a pretty simple girl with little troubles—she doesn’t need fancy things to impress her, just something or someone unique
She’s been from one side of Canada to the other, and back again twice
Nothing has ever felt like home … until she meets Gage

Thanks for letting me introduce my main stars to you! I hope you enjoy Spray Paint Kisses!
–Kris

Spray Paint Kisses by Bethany-Kris
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance, New Adult
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Release Date: August 20th, 2014
Length: 26k – Short Story

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Blurb:
He’s left his mark everywhere. She’s still trying to find a place to leave hers.

Gage Masselin is a graffiti artist whose life has revolved around his art, and focused entirely on his career. He’s never needed a muse to get his inspiration flowing, so when an unexpected blonde-haired beauty knocks him out of his zone, he knows he’s in trouble.

Summer Davey is just a traveling girl with a gypsy’s soul. The one constant she has is her need to keep moving on. She’s never stayed in one place long enough to plant roots, never mind finding a man with spray paint kissing the tips of his fingers to make her heart beat faster.

She inspires him. He’s the first thing to ever feel like home.

Sometimes the hardest things to find in love and life are the easiest to lose.

Excerpt:

“Isn’t that illegal?”

Gage Masselin nearly dropped the aerosol paint can when he heard the feminine voice. Whenever he was in the middle of creating a tag, he was in the zone. There were no sounds but the constant whoosh of the spray paint can’s nozzle and his rhythmic breathing. No distractions took him away from his art.

Well, usually.

Turning on his heel, Gage forgot about the black and white bandana he still wore around his lower face as a shield from the paint fumes. The material muffled his surprise as he came face to face with the prettiest damned thing he’d ever seen in his twenty-two years of life.

Long waves of golden hair were tied off to the side in a messy braid, falling over her front. There wasn’t a lick of makeup on her clear peaches and cream complexion. Standing in gladiator style sandals, ripped up jean shorts, and a faded band T-shirt, the girl could have been just about anyone.

Except she couldn’t. Gage’s tiny New Brunswick hometown was a blink and you’d miss it kind of place. Growing up in Plaster Rock gave him the ability to know everyone, even if he didn’t officially live there fulltime anymore. Thing was, people moved away, new people didn’t move there.

Everybody knew everyone else, or they thought they did. Gage didn’t know this girl.

“Uh …”

The girl smirked before waving in Gage’s direction. “Your face.”

His face?

What?

“My—”

Instantly, Gage realized what the girl meant. The bandana still covered the lower part of his face, including his mouth. He probably looked like some little hoodrat hiding in the alley, tagging the shit out of the high school library’s wall.

No wonder she thought he was doing something illegal.

Tugging down the bandana so it rested around his throat, Gage offered the girl a shrug in explanation. “Sorry, habit to wear it. I usually don’t have company when I’m painting, so no reason to have my mouth free to chat.”

“You mean an accomplice, right?”

“No, I mean company,” Gage replied with a smile.

“I didn’t realize graffiti had become legal.”

Oh, this girl had balls, or she just liked breaking them. Either way, Gage liked that.

“It’s not. That’s probably why I spent two years in juvenile hall.”

“Wouldn’t be juvie now, though.”

“No,” Gage said. “It’d be the pen. Good thing it’s legal. I’m not looking to spend any more time in a lockup.”

The girl still didn’t look convinced.

“Honest, sweetheart. See …” Gage pointed at the piece of official paper taped to the brick wall. If a cop happened to stop by, all he had to do was refer to that permit. “Gives me the right to be here slumming up this wall with my work. The school commissioned me to do the piece. It’s all on the legal side of things, promise.”

A small hand rested on her jutted out hip. The action caused Gage to let his eyes wander down the expanse of her creamy thighs and wonder if they felt as smooth and silky as they looked. They probably did. He bet she’d taste like salt, skin, and sin.

Shit, how short were those jean shorts of hers, anyway?

Short enough that they made Gage’s mouth a little dry just from staring.

Fucked, that’s what he was, and he didn’t even know her name.

“If you say so,” the girl mused.

Gage couldn’t help but tease. “What would you have done if I said it was illegal? Call the cops?”

“Nope.”

“That’s it?”

She smiled a blinding sight. “That’s it. It is pretty.”

“Uh, thanks?”

“You’re welcome.”

With one more glance at the bare bones of the mural just beginning to take form, the girl turned to leave. Gage was positive his heart leaped into his throat, creating a lump his words couldn’t make their way by.

“Wait!”

The darkened blue of her eyes glittered as she stared back. “Yeah?”

Gage forced himself to swallow the nerves beginning to form in his throat. Nervousness wasn’t like him at all. “You didn’t tell me your name.”

“You didn’t tell me yours, either.”

“Gage. It’s Gage.”

“Summer.”

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Author’s Bio

Bethany-Kris is a Canadian author, lover of much, and mother of two young sons, two cats, and two dogs. Between barking dogs, snuggling cats, playing children, and a spouse calling over his shoulder, she is nearly always writing something … when she can find the time.

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Cowboys and Corsets #wildwildcowboys @ukcarina #wildwildwest

I, for one, adore cowboys and corsets. In all of the historical Westerns I’ve written so far, cowboys and corsets feature heavily.

In this post, I’m going to focus on cowboys. (If you want to read about my love of corsets, check out the post Why We Love The Corset at Butterfly Corsets.)

So what is it about cowboys?

I think that a childhood spent with my fabulous little Granny and her own fascination with the Wild West probably started it all. We’d sit and eat hot strawberry jam toasties on a Saturday afternoon, whilst watching the likes of John Wayne, Kirk Douglas and Clint Eastwood swagger across the screen of a tiny portable television. Their arrogance and pride, their chaps and Stetsons and their love of the land all hooked me right there and then. They were respectful towards women (usually) and they would bare knuckle fight anyone who insulted their own woman or family.

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Now, even as a child, I knew that they were acting but it opened a whole new world to me, one where men were chivalrous and masculine with integrity and a thirst for justice. Growing up in the Welsh valleys, the Wild West was a complete contrast and I became fascinated by the wild and rugged landscape and the men who sought to tame it.

My western novels are set in the 1800s. I’m addicted to historical romances and historical novels and I love reading about different times. I’m always thinking ‘what if…’ when I read and write and I like to consider how my characters would have coped with the challenges of day to day life back then, as well as how they’d behave when faced with love and loss. Romance novels require a strong, honourable and sexy hero and cowboys epitomise this. These heroes are brave, deep and honest. They don’t want any trouble but if it finds them, they face it with courage and they stick to their principles – and their guns! 😉 They also have deep dark eyes, broad toned shoulders, thick muscular thighs and abs to die for… but I have to give the heroine (and my lovely reader) a bit of what she fancies!

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Add to these qualities an air of mystery and independence, and what more could you wish for? The cowboy often has a past that would make many lesser men break down but he bears it admirably and he doesn’t harp on about how hard he’s had it. It might mean that he has a secret vulnerability that only the heroine can soothe and when he does ‘open up’, it’s a beautiful and sensitive moment. His desire for independence means that he works his land and he cares for his animals, he has the means to support himself and his family and he doesn’t need anyone or anything else. In fact, he doesn’t give a damn what others think. In a society where we deal constantly with job insecurities, rising living costs and are relentlessly bombarded by the message that we need to be better in all areas of our lives, it’s no wonder that the cowboy hero is so appealing.

What’s that? Did I hear you say… Go on, remind me!

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He’ll gallop in on his horse, scoop you up in his arms and seat you on the saddle in front of him, then carry you back to his homestead where he’ll make sweet love to you in his rough and ready, yet extremely sensual way, and offer you your Happy Ever After (in more ways than one) as only a cowboy can.

Who’s your favourite cowboy her0? Why not let me know at #wildwildcowboys @ukcarina @misswishlade by Thursday 21st August and you could win some sexy stationery featuring my gorgeous covers for The Wild Wild West novella series.

xxx

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