Pieces by Toni Aleo

Introducing Toni Aleo’s highly anticipated debut Paranormal Romance novel, PIECES. This radiant, powerful + magical love story takes you into a new world where anything is possible; where an underground society in NYC will make you question everything you thought you ever knew.

Dare to venture into… THE WORKS.

NOW AVAILABLE

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ITUNES

KOBO

B + N

Overview

In New York City, an underground society of supernatural beings exists, hidden among everyday humans. They don’t know of our activities or any of our secrets.

The districts of the Works are made up of vampires, wolves, shifters, witches, and I’m in the fifth and arguably most important district, the Patchwork. My father is the leader of our group, and he oversees all of the other factions.

As his only daughter, that makes me the princess of it all. Cool, right? Actually…no.
Sure, I live in a mansion and money isn’t an object, but that doesn’t matter because I can’t leave. I have a guard who follows me around 24/7. My father and three older brothers treat me like I’m a fragile piece of glass, never allowed to take an independent step or make any decisions on my own.
It’s beyond frustrating–especially since my father essentially runs my life.
He says what I do, when I do it, how I do it, and all that jazz. He tests his formulas and new techniques on me. I’m a walking science experiment.
I hate it.
I hate my life here.

But then he comes along: Killian.
He’s just some vampire…or so I thought.

But you’ll have to read my story to find out what I mean. To know my secrets.
Until then, though, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Rebekah von Stein.
And I’m a descendant of Dr. Frankenstein.

Welcome to the Works.

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Reviews
“Wow! Toni Aleo is the queen of hockey romance but now she writes paranormal flawlessly. Is there anything she can’t write? I think not. She weaved this new world of witches, wolves, vampires and Dr. Frankenstein’s descendants, that had me hooked from the very first page. It was a fresh new story that I devoured in one sitting. This story was filled with suspense, mystery and romance. It had me on edge wanting, no, needing to know what would happen next.” – GoodReads Review \\ Jill M \\ Embrace The Romance
“Okay, so what the hell? I didn’t see that coming. I mean, really, the queen of hockey writing about vampires, werewolves and Dr. Frankenstein’s descendants? Let me be a little sceptical. And after I read it, let me apologize for it. This book was a fresh wave. I devoured it. It took me only one night to finish it because this story didn’t let me go. I’m sitting here trying to put together the pieces – not funny – but I can’t. I want to read more books like this one. Just keep it up, Toni!” – GoodReads Review \\ Becca
“I loved this book it was phenomenal.I could not put it down for anything. I help my breath for most of it and still didn’t fully exhale when it was over! The end was left with a bit of a cliffhanger and it has me wanted so much more!” – GoodReads Review \\ Ash \\ Morning Books and Coffee
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Shameless by Gina L Maxwell

Enter to Win a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card…TWO WINNERS!

SHAMELESS
Playboys in Love #1
Gina L. Maxwell
Releasing May 30th, 2016
Entangled: Scorched

People say I’m shameless. They’re
right.
I like my work dirty and my sex even
dirtier. It takes a hell of a lot to tilt my moral compass, and dancing as a
private stripper for horny suburbanites doesn’t even register. Neither does
hooking up with them afterward whenever the mood strikes—it’s one of the
bennies of the job—but it’s always a one-and-done. I don’t do repeat
performances. Ever.
Until I meet the one girl in all of
Chicago not interested in dry humping my junk. She’s all I can think about, and
that’s a problem, because I made sure she wants nothing to do with me. But I’ve
seen her deepest secrets, her darkest fantasies, and they match mine to a
fucking T.
I want her. Bad.
Now I need to show her how good it
can feel…to be shameless.

BUY NOW

Gina L.
Maxwell is a full-time writer, wife, and mother living in the upper Midwest,
despite her scathing hatred of snow and cold weather. An avid romance novel
addict, she began writing as an alternate way of enjoying the romance stories
she loves to read. Her debut novel, Seducing Cinderella, hit both the USA Today
and New York Times bestseller lists in less than four weeks, and she’s been
living her newfound dream ever since.

When she’s
not reading or writing steamy romance novels, she spends her time losing at
Scrabble (and every other game) to her high school sweetheart, doing her best
to hang out with their teenagers before they fly the coop, and dreaming about
her move to sunny Florida once they do.

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Sway by Adriana Locke

 

 

Title: Sway
Series: Landry Family #1
Author: Adriana Locke
Genre: Contemporary Romance
 Release Date: May 16, 2016

 

Blurb

 

BARRETT LANDRY has it all.
Power, prestige, and plenty of women, the dapper politician’s life is pretty phenomenal. But in the midst of the biggest campaign of his life, he needs to focus. The last thing he can afford is a distraction.
 ALISON BAKER is a work-in-progress.
As a single mother to HUXLEY, she’s rebuilding life on her terms. She’s focused on family, faith, and a future for her son that can’t be taken away. Putting her child first means not being careless, no matter what.

A chance encounter forces Barrett and Alison to redefine what they really want out of life. But everything comes at a cost … and sometimes, even for love, it’s a price too steep to pay.

 

Purchase Links
AMAZON US / UK

 

Excerpt

“I want a chance to win you over,” he breathes, peering at me. The way his eyes search mine make it seem like time stands still. “Will you let me try?”

He forces a swallow and the look of hesitation, the internal fight he’s having, isn’t lost on me. It’s there, right beneath the surface, and when I add my concerns to the mix, it’s enough to make me balk. Just a bit.

“I’ll think about it,” I whisper, holding on to the little strand of courage I have left.

“Say yes.”

Instead of responding, I ask, “Where’d you get that scar over your right eye?” I reach out and press gently on the raised skin. I expect him to pull back, but he doesn’t.

My hand shakes as I touch his warmed skin. His forehead is silky and smooth. I’d like to run my hands over every inch of it, feel it ripple beneath my fingertips.

The corner of his lips twitch. “Lincoln hit me in the head with a baseball.”

“Bad reflexes on your part?”

“Wicked curveball on his,” he says, his face breaking out into a full smile.

“I thought he played center field?”

“He does. But he pitched some growing up.”

We stand inches apart, my hand gently brushing down the side of his face. Although I feel like he’d stand here all night and talk to me, it’s not possible.

“I really need to get back to work,” I say, trying to unlock my eyes from his.

“Dinner? This week?”

I can barely resist the look in his eye, the one that implores me to say yes. The one that makes me believe he really does want to have dinner and spend a few hours with me.

I need to get away, put some space between us while I can.

“We ran into each other tonight,” I shrug. “If we’re supposed to see each other again, then I guess we will.” I start to turn away before I completely buckle under his gaze.

“How am I supposed to get ahold of you? I don’t have your number,” he calls after me.

Heading up the steps to the Savannah Room, I glance at him over my shoulder. “You’re the Mayor. Figure it out.”

REVIEW:

Sway was absolutely amazing! Adriana pulls readers into her stories with her characters! I was hooked from start to finish and couldn’t put it down!Barrett and Allison are written in a way that you feel like you are part of the story. This is definitely a must read!

Author Bio

 

USA Today Bestselling author Adriana Locke lives and breathes books. After years of slightly obsessive relationships with the flawed bad boys created by other authors, Adriana has created her own.

She resides in the Midwest with her husband, sons, and two dogs. She spends a large amount of time playing with her kids, drinking coffee, and cooking. You can find her outside if the weather’s nice and there’s always a piece of candy in her pocket.

For sneak peeks, giveaways, and more, please join Adriana’s Facebook Group, Books by Adriana Locke, or her Goodreads group, All Locked Up.

 

Author Links

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Temptation is ONLY a room away….
Filthy Foreign Exchange is Now live!
Amazon USAmazon UK | iBooks | Barnes & Noble

Blurb

filthy Foreign exchangeNew York Times bestselling authors Angela Graham and S.E. Hall have teamed up again to bring you a full-length, steamy new romance.

Echo Kelly is loyal to her studies, family, and aerial artistry. She has no time for or interest in anything else, and is heartbroken when her oldest brother, Sebastian, gets accepted to a study-abroad program— exchanging places with cocky, not-at-all-shy foreign exchange student Kingston Hawthorne.

Kingston Hawthorne had the life every twenty-year-old guy dreams of— endless cash, easy women, and fast cars— until his father ripped it all away, shipping him off to the States and placing him temptingly close to the underage virgin who fascinates him in the most challenging of ways.

With Kingston’s bedroom just a connecting bathroom away from Echo’s, the chemistry between them is even more enticing than the notes he leaves for her on the shower door.

How long can you pretend you’re just friends?

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Excerpt

I creep silently into the house and find a tinfoil-covered plate on the kitchen counter: the dinner my mom saved for me, even though I’m sure my father said something along the lines of, “If she wants to eat, she can sit down, on time, with the rest of us.”
I smile to myself at the small victory. My dad may think he rules the roost, but he doesn’t call the last shot when it comes to my mom taking care of her babies.
After I finish off the still-warm chicken and potatoes as quietly as possible, I tiptoe past my parents’ bedroom, paying special attention to each step I take—or, more specifically, avoiding the floorboards that creak.
My father’s stern voice pierces the darkness. “We’ll talk in the morning, young lady.”
Damn, he’s good. I literally wobbled left to right like a drunk person, nailing the silent boards, and he still heard me.
“Yes, sir,” I spit out before hurrying up the staircase to my bedroom.
My grandfather, smart man that he was, built this house after he had children. With the master suite on the bottom floor and the kids’ rooms upstairs, there was no getting past the parents. But somehow, Grandpa had forgotten to take into account that our family has studied the art of Aerialism for generations. So once you’re up in your room, getting out of it undetected isn’t much of a problem—a caveat I know for a fact my older brother Sebastian took advantage of often. Mostly because he used my balcony to do so nine times out of ten.
I head straight for a hot shower, not allowing my overworked muscles to stiffen. The entire time I stand under the spray, I stare through the glass at the closed door on the far side of the room. Sebastian’s bedroom is connected to mine by a Jack and Jill bathroom, but my brother isn’t on the other side anymore. Tonight, and every night for this school year, he’ll be in England, his room vacant. The thought is the final blow to my day.
Once I’ve dried off and tied my robe, I open his door slowly, with tears in my eyes. I’m not sure why—maybe to see the proof of his absence, naively hoping that will help settle my anxiety?
It’s dark inside, of course, but the thin drapes are parted and the moon is full and bright after tonight’s storm.
My breath hitches, my feet coming to a complete and sudden halt when I spot the large body lying in my brother’s bed. It’s almost comforting at first; I find myself wishing it was Sebastian, but I know it’s not. And I can only assume it’s Kingston. I have no clue why my parents didn’t just drop him at his dorm, or why I’m not turning around to go back to my own room. But now, as I stand so close, my curiosity is piqued.
From this angle and lighting, he could almost pass for Sebastian: dark-brown hair cut short, muscularly outlined back, sleeping on his side. But whereas Sebastian sleeps under the covers, our houseguest has the sheet and comforter shoved down past a tight, perfectly rounded ass that’s filling out his black boxer briefs in a way I find startlingly sinful. He also has his arms shoved under his pillow—another difference that makes it hard for me to pretend.
I creep a bit farther into the room, checking out his luggage—designer and monogrammed, all matching of course, and reeking of luxury and fine leather. Fancy, but mismatching horribly with the black (somewhat sexy) combat boots that—
“Umpf,” I grunt despite my desperate efforts to remain quiet, reaching out for anything to brace myself on. But it’s no use. I fly forward, having tripped over the second, not-nearly-as-sexy-now boot.
“I was told you were the graceful one.”
His low, gravely taunt comes out of nowhere and startles me further, throwing me backward in the opposite direction, my balance completely lost. With my hands flailing, my only hope now is that the luggage provides a soft landing.
But I never meet it, or the floor. Instead, two strong hands rescue me, snaring my wrists and pulling me down on top of one seriously hard, hot—temperature-wise, I mean—body.
“I’d presume you to be Echo and say hello, but again, not the graceful girl I was expecting. So, you are…?” He looks up at me with a smug twitch to his lip and devastating twinkle in his gray—Are they really gray, or is that the lighting?—eyes.
“I…uh…” I stammer idiotically, dressed only in a robe that’s far too revealing for the position I find myself lying in: across the bare torso of perhaps the most gorgeous guy I’ve ever seen up close, in person. And we are very up close.
I attempt to push off him, but his hands slide down to my hips and grip tighter.
“Yes,” I gasp, before battling for a sense of authority in my next response. “I’m Echo. Sorry I woke you, I just wasn’t…expecting you to be in here.” His brows rise, practically screaming that he sees right through me. “Let me up! I tripped over your big, stupid boots, then you scared me.”
“My apologies, Echo.” A quiver plays down my spine at the way my name rolls off his lips in that decadent English accent of his. “Had I known you’d be visiting my room tonight, I’d have taken more care in setting my belongings out of your way.”
“I should’ve left when I realized you were in here, so we’re even. Can you let me up now?”
His grip remains firm as his smile deepens. “I must admit, I am rather enjoying this version of our introduction. Far better than a mere ‘How do you do?’ over dinner.” He’s sporting a full grin now, blindingly bright even in the dimly lit room.
All I can do is stare at him, words failing me. I half suspect I’m dreaming, but I can feel, long and stiff against my stomach, that this humiliation is, in fact, reality.
“I’m quite comfortable, so do feel free to stay as long as you like. And if you really want to give me a smashing welcome, don’t be afraid to wiggle around a bit.” His smirk grows impossibly wide as he thrusts his hips upward, pressing his erection firmer against me.
And just like that, my speechlessness evaporates.
“Are you insane?” I use both hands to shove hard against his chest, but I’m no match for his relentless clutch on my hips. “Let me go! You’re a guest in our home tonight—you can’t just manhandle me when the mood strikes!”
“Ah, grace period.” He nods. “Understood. So, tomorrow night, then?”
“Unbelievable!” I seethe, wriggling around in hopes of escape.
His fingers dig deeper, but the ravenous gleam in his eyes softens. “A joke, Echo. My apologies. Perhaps I took it too far.”
My anger soothes to a low simmer. He’s got a certain playful charm about him, and maybe this is just his very forward way of easing the awkwardness that I instigated in the first place by sneaking into the room in the middle of the night.
But just as I start to form a forgiving smile, he ruins all the excuses I’d just mentally compiled.
“Can I be frank with you?”
“Will you let me up?” I toss back.
“Of course.”
“Then let’s hear it.” I wait for him to say God only knows what—a heartfelt apology maybe?—but instead, his expression sharpens into one of pure lust.
“I’ve lied to you. The truth is…I’d much prefer it if you grinded down on me a bit, Love. Wiggling is for strangers, and we’re not strangers anymore, now are we?”
“Ugh,” I growl, propelling myself off him when his laughter loosens his hold. I stomp out of the room, his sounds of amusement lingering behind me.
And that’s how I met our foreign exchange student, Kingston Hawthorne.

View the Filthy Foreign Exchange Trailer HERE

An attractive young couple in a loving embrace kissing one another in bed.

Review

This story was absolutely amazing! It did take me a couple chapters to really get into it but once I did, I was hooked! The characters are amazing and so real. S.E. and Angela deliver yet another amazing story. And the title lives up to what it says! This is a must read! 

4 stars

Pre-order Filthy Foreign Exchange 2
Releasing June 14th

Amazon US
Amazon UK

About the Authors:

se hall biographyS.E. Hall

S.E.Hall, lover of all things anticipation and romance, is the author of The Evolve Series: Emerge, Embrace, Entangled, Entice, Endure and companion novellas Baby Mama Drama and Guide for Tools Looking to Date My Daughter by character Sawyer Beckett. S.E. also wrote the stand-alone Finally Found novels Pretty Instinct and Pretty Remedy. Her co-written works include The Provocative Professions Collection: Stirred Up, Packaged and Handled 1&2, One Naughty Night and full-length, standalone novel Matched with Angela Graham as well as Conspire, a romantic suspense, written with Erin Noelle.
S.E. resides in Arkansas with her husband of 18 years and 3 daughters of the home. When not writing or reading, she can be found “enthusiastically cheering” on one of her girls’ softball games.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Newsletter

angela graham bioAngela Graham is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of the Harmony Series. She spent a lot of her childhood hidden away in the aisles at her local public library where she fell in love with reading. It was a home away from home through her youth to her adulthood.
In 2012 she knew she found her calling in the world of fiction the moment she began pounding away at the keys for her first short story. With a baby on her shoulder, she wrote about a year before deciding to try her hand at a novel. It was the best decision she ever made and one that changed her life in ways she never imagined.
Together with S.E. Hall, she has released five novels and one short story together.
Angela resides in Northwest Arkansas with her three beautiful children and a rowdy dog.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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To the Stars by Molly McAdams

To The Stars - Release Week Banner

 

We are so excited to bring you the Release Week Blitz for Molly McAdams’ TO THE STARS! TO THE STARS is a contemporary romance novel being published on February 9th by HarperCollins’ William Morrow Impulse imprint and is the second novel in Molly’s Thatch Series.

 

To The Stars

Grab Your Copy Today!

Amazon ** Barnes & Noble ** iTunes ** Kobo ** GooglePlay

 

 

To The Stars - RWB Teaser 1

 

About TO THE STARS:

In the second standalone book in New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Molly McAdams’ Thatch series, Knox Alexander must convince his long-time love Harlow Evans that they’re meant to be together.

He promised to wait for her.
She told him he was wasting his time.
Not waiting for him ended up being the biggest mistake of her life.

When they were younger, Knox Alexander swore to Harlow Evans that he would wait for her to turn eighteen so they could be together. But that was two and a half years away, and Harlow couldn’t ask him to give up all the fun and thrills of going away to college for her. As the years passed, Knox remained a constant in her life but when her eighteenth birthday came around, Harlow’s heart belonged to someone else.

Every day for the last four years, Harlow has been haunted by that fateful choice. And though he may appear unaffected by what happened in their past, Knox has always tried to fill the void Harlow left. But when he comes stumbling back into her life and refuses to leave, will Harlow finally let him into her heart…?

 

To The Stars - RWB Teaser 2

 

 

And don’t miss the first book in the Thatch Series…

 

Letting Go - cover

LETTING GO

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Author PhotoAbout Molly McAdams:

Molly grew up in California but now lives in the oh-so-amazing state of Texas with her husband, daughter, and fur babies. When she’s not diving into the world of her characters, some of her hobbies include hiking, snowboarding, traveling, and long walks on the beach … which roughly translates to being a homebody with her hubby and dishing out movie quotes. She has a weakness for crude-humored movies and fried pickles, and loves curling up in a fluffy comforter during a thunderstorm … or under one in a bathtub if there are tornados. That way she can pretend they aren’t really happening.

 

 

 

 

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TO THE STARS Goodreads ** Molly McAdams Goodreads

 

 

To The Stars - Available Now

 

 

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Beautiful Burn

Synopsis:

Fresh out of college, Ellison Edson has fallen through the cracks of rock bottom. While staying in her family’s vacation home in Colorado, her behavior has finally gained the attention of her parents—but not in the way she hoped. Cut off from the millions she’s always taken for granted, and left alone to fend for herself, Ellie spirals further out of control, making a mistake she can’t take back.
Like his twin brother Taylor, Tyler Maddox is a member of the Alpine Hotshots, fighting wildland fires on the frontline. As arrogant as he is charming, Tyler’s nomadic lifestyle makes it easy to contain his relationships to one night. When he meets Ellie at a local party during off-season, her extreme personality and dismissive attitude fascinates him at first, but as his feelings deepen, Tyler realizes that the crippling inner demons of the woman he loves might be the strongest enemy any Maddox has ever faced. 
Review:

I absolutely LOVED Beautiful Burn! Another Maddox brother steals my heart in this story and I couldn’t put it down. I was hooked from start to finish. Everything about Tyler and Ellison was just amazing and you could feel the emotion as if you were right there with them. Jamie McGuire did an outstanding job again! This is a must read!

5⭐️

Status Update by Annabeth Albert

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$25.00 Amazon eGift Card

 

STATUS UPDATE
#gaymers book one
Annabeth Albert
Releasing Dec 7th, 2015
Carina Press
Adrian Gottlieb is winning at life. He’s a successful video
game designer with everything a man could ask for, including a warm comfy ride
to Denver and a date for his sister’s wedding. But he finds himself in need of
a total reboot when he’s left stranded at a snowy campground in Utah. Holiday
plans? Epic fail.
That is until Noah Walters offers him shelter for the night and a reluctant
cross-country ride. Nothing about the ultraconservative geoarchaeologist should
attract Adrian, but once he discovers Noah’s hidden love for video games, the
two connect on a new level. Soon, a quiet but undeniable chemistry sparks.

Something doesn’t add up, though. As the miles accumulate and time runs out,
Noah must face the most difficult choice of his life. Meanwhile, Adrian must
decide whether he’s ready to level up. Is their relationship status worth
fighting for, or has this game ended before it’s even begun?

 
BUY NOW
REVIEW: By Ginnie
Status Update by Annabeth Albert was my first book by this author but I will definitely be reading more by her. From the first page to the last page I was loving Adrian and Noah and their dogs.

Adrian and Noah’s first meeting was definitely by some strange circumstances but the chemistry was there from the beginning even though Noah was fighting it.

Adrian is funny and sexy and Noah is quiet and reserved but when they get together it like fireworks. The book just flows with their escapades together in a RV. There are some silly and deep conversations by both characters and when it gets heavy the dogs add some comedic relief.

The book is not your typical dive right into sex book but had more back story and depth to it. I really enjoyed getting to know each character.

Cannot wait to read more in this series.

Excerpt:

Noah knew the dog was trouble as soon as he and Ulysses entered the campground’s off-leash dog area. The little guy—some sort of Chihuahua/mini-pin mix in a yellow-and-green checked coat—stood in the center of the scrubby grass, barking his fool head off. The only human in the dog area sat at the picnic table on the far side, completely absorbed in his shiny phone, oblivious to his dog strutting around like all eight pounds of him would be enough to keep potential threats out.

Ulysses gave Noah a look, like “you really expect me to ignore that?” Noah tightened his hold on the tennis ball chucker. Ulysses never did well competing with smaller dogs for his toys. He unclipped Ulysses with a stern look.

“Be good.”

Still yapping, the little dog rushed over to inspect his new enemy. Predictably, Ulysses wandered away to do his business. He was too old for these sorts of games.

Noah gave a halfhearted wave in the direction of the owner, but the guy didn’t look up from his phone. The young guy was a typical hipster tourist—thick tortoise-framed glasses, artfully messed-up dark hair, with a thick purple streak, falling over his forehead. Slim build, but his wide shoulders stretched his too-thin jacket, making the shiny fabric ripple with his motions. He wasn’t any more prepared for November in Utah than his designer dog. Still, he was a cute guy, if one was the type to notice things like that, which Noah was not.

Noah looked away, studying the sheer cliffs that surrounded the Capitol Reef National Park. Didn’t matter how much time he spent in Southern Utah, he never got tired of the view. Phone guy was missing the light shifting into one of those perfect late fall sunsets that made the early dusk worth the loss of daylight. Pink streaks mingled with gray sky to cast a rosy glow over the scrubby grass and low fence of the dog area.

Rowwwr. Ulysses flopped at Noah’s feet, a deep beseeching whine rattling out of his barrel chest. He was eighty pounds of unhappy. He’d waited patiently all afternoon while Noah worked, and now he was missing out on his ball time thanks to the teacup gatekeeper.

“Okay, but play nice.” Noah threw the ball hard with the chucker toy, going for enough distance to outstrip the tiny dog’s ability to keep up with Ulysses. Not surprisingly, the little guy was tenacious, cutting off Ulysses’s path to the ball. Ulysses gave a warning woof, and Noah broke into a run, heading after the dogs.

“Down,” he called out. Ulysses wouldn’t attack the smaller dog, but he wasn’t above a major tantrum. And despite the smaller dog acting as instigator, people would see the huge black dog and toss out the “aggressor” label. Noah preferred to exercise him late in the day—Ulysses simply didn’t enjoy playing with other dogs, and Noah wasn’t one to force his dog into uncomfortable situations.

The little dog stood over the ball, yapping up a storm while Ulysses barked and growled, ignoring Noah’s command to sit.

Finally, the owner hefted himself off the picnic bench.

“Pixel, baby, what are you doing?” the owner called in a melodic voice that didn’t inspire Noah’s confidence in the man’s ability to control his dog. “Did the big doggie scare you?”

Hah. Typical. Noah snorted. “Can you grab the ball?” He didn’t trust those little dog breeds—too quick to snap. He’d nearly been bitten trying to retrieve a ball more than once.

“Oh sure.” The guy reached under Pixel—typical cutesy name for an annoying dog—and delicately plucked the ball free, but instead of handing it to Noah, he gave it a toss, sending both dogs running.

Oh great. Noah let out a slow breath, little puffs of vapor in the crisp evening air that did nothing to defuse his tension.

“It’ll be okay.” The way-too-handsy guy patted the sleeve of Noah’s parka. “They just need to work it out. Pixel loves to play.”

Noah took a step to the side. Who did that? Touched complete strangers? But the guy kept up his friendly grin, not unlike his dog, who kept gamely chasing Ulysses. Ulysses won the race to the ball this time and hightailed it back to Noah. Not releasing his prize, he whined softly.

“Hey, boy. You got a toy?” The guy knelt to dog level and extended a hand, but instead of sniffing, Ulysses shook his head.

“Sorry. He’s not much on new people.” Neither am I. Noah’s voice sounded rough to his own ears—too many days with only Ulysses to talk to.

“It’s okay.” The guy straightened, then extended a hand to Noah. “I’m Adrian Gottlieb. You been at Capitol Reef long?”

“Couple of weeks.” He returned Adrian’s handshake, hating it when a little buzz shot up his arm. Unlike his own gloved hand, Adrian’s hand was bare, a hint of a tattoo playing peekaboo with his cuff, his grip strong and firm. And Noah had absolutely no business noticing anything more than the guy’s relentless friendliness.

Adrian smiled expectantly as he released Noah’s hand.

“Oh, I’m Noah. And that’s Ulysses,” he added, because dog people always wanted to know all about the dog. No doubt the guy was bursting to tell Pixel’s life story.

“Add-dreeee-an,” a heavily accented voice called from the gate. A beefy guy close to Noah’s age leaned on the fence, bald head gleaming in the setting sun. “I’m lonely. When are you coming back?”

“Coming,” Adrian shouted, then gave Noah a shrug with a “what can you do?” expression on his face. He grabbed Pixel and jogged across the field.

Noah nodded like he knew anything about handling demanding friends. Adrian greeted the mammoth dude with a quick peck. Okay then. Not a friend. He should have guessed, but he was a bit slow about relationship stuff. The country was changing, even way out here, but no one would dare try even that much PDA in his tiny West Texas college town. His stomach gave a weird flip—not quite discomfort, but something else he refused to name. Time to return his attention to Ulysses. He hurled the tennis ball as hard as he could.

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Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two toddlers.

Represented by Saritza Hernandez of the Corvisiero Literary Agency