Reeling from a sudden breakup, Casey Webb leaves Brooklyn, drives north, and settles in a sleepy mountain town in upstate New York. She’s convinced she’s happy being alone—until she reads the acknowledgments in her ex-boyfriend’s hit debut novel, thanking his new girlfriend “above all.”
Good thing Ben Mailer is in town. The hot, young Brooklyn-bound chef offers the perfect distraction. Soon the backwoods are heating up… But as their fling turns into more, the demands of Ben’s family and budding career make moving to her idyllic town impossible.
Now Casey must decide what she can’t live without—her life in the mountains, or the man she wants to be hers above all.
EXCERPT- ABOVE ALL by RebeccaBrooks
“You’re a little scary,” he whispered, turning to look into her eyes.
Casey knew he was trying to be serious, but she had to laugh. “Me? You’d pretty much only seen me in sweatpants and knew I had nothing but eggs and beer in the fridge. If I’m scary, it’s because I’m the loser monster that follows young kids around, providing ample fodder for their parents to issue warnings about what will happen if they don’t do their homework and wind up with too many cats.”
Ben smirked and shook his head. “Something tells me you always did your homework. And last time I checked, you don’t have any cats.”
“Only because I’m not responsible enough to take care of them. I can’t even keep a house plant alive.”
“Overrated skills,” he said. “And you should try a jade plant. You can neglect them to your heart’s content and they’ll live.”
“Tried it,” she countered. “I was expertly negligent and still it died.”
He pressed his lips together, trying not to laugh. “You are a special one.”
“See?” she said. “Not scary.”
“Only scary to a houseplant.”
“Which you are not.”
“But I’m serious.” Ben brought the conversation back around. “You are. You’re beautiful, smart, thoughtful, observant, kind, and an incredible artist—I mean really—and you withstand subzero temperatures—”
“The water’s not that cold,” she objected, but he shook his head.
“Don’t interrupt me when I’m complimenting you. It’s intimidating to be around someone who’s basically the whole package. And intimidating because, how do I even get her attention when she has no reason to glance my way? And then, oh my god, what do I do if she actually does?” He shook his head.
“You’re crazy,” Casey murmured, not sure what to make of this boy who clearly hadn’t been around enough women to know that Casey was anything but special, and far from scary.
“I guess I’ve never known anyone who felt this real,” he whispered so quietly, it was almost as if he hasn’t spoken.
There was a long pause. Casey had no idea how to respond. There was no way to explain how deeply she had longed for him to come back, and your dimples make my heart beat like a bongo set didn’t exactly have the right ring. It was crazy, when she thought about how little they actually knew each other.
But it was even crazier to pretend that after what they’d just shared, they could return to their lives pretending that nothing had changed.
“I think I really like you,” Ben finally said. Quietly, in that embarrassed tone he got that made her want to kiss him all over.
But instead she laughed. “You think?” She raised an eyebrow.
“I know,” he whispered in her ear, his breath shooting arrows down her spine. “I’ve had way too long to think about it, and I know.”
ABOUT REBECCA BROOKS
Rebecca Brooks lives in New York City in an apartment filled with books. She received a PhD in English but decided it was more fun to write books than write about them. She has backpacked alone through India and Brazil, traveled by cargo boat down the Amazon River, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, explored ice caves in Peru, trekked to the source of the Ganges, and sunbathed in Burma, but she always likes coming home to a cold beer and her hot husband in the Bronx. Her books are about independent women who leave their old lives behind to try something new—and find the passion, excitement and purpose they didn’t know they’d been missing.
Abandoned by her people, a young woman was being sent to her doom.
Kelly was going to be a prisoner; a slave. At least that’s what she thought as she waited for the mysterious giants that lived on the Black Isles to claim her. A human sacrifice, once every eight years. That’s what it took to keep mankind safe from these savages.
The human would ensure the survival of his bloodline. Whether he liked it or not.
Broc’s reign as King of the Black Isles had lasted seven years already. That was a long time to go without a queen and therefore, an heir. He knew what he had to do; to claim the human offering and make her his own.
When they met, it changed everything. A glimmer of hope, even of love, in unexpected places. But life on the Black Isles was far from simple. And there were powerful secrets, yet to be uncovered, that could change everything yet again.
Claimed by the King is the first in Lorelei Moone’s brand new fantasy romance series, Shifters of Black Isle. Shifters, magic and relatable characters; set in a mysterious, distant land, where anything seems possible, and yet all its inhabitants hold dear could be destroyed in an instant.
EXCLUSIVE RELEASE EXCERPT- CLAIMED BY THE KING
Broc held on to his sword tightly, the leather of his gloves creaking loudly under his powerful grip. He could hear it, despite the screeching winds and waves battering the wooden boat.
Although they were at peace with the men of West Hythe, one could never be too careful.
Every eight years, the humans had held up their end of the bargain, though. They had left a suitable young woman behind on the shore near their villages, and nobody had stayed behind to watch the giants’ arrival or possibly interfere.
In any case, the timing of this exchange was carefully thought out: nights on the Northern Sea were always foggy this time of year. If anyone had stayed behind, they would have to be very nearby indeed to be able to see a thing. Looking around the wooden longship, Broc could see a lot of his people were much more excited about tonight’s festivities than he was. Their chatter was even louder than the rhythmic drum setting the speed for the rowers. He hated to have to do this; to tear a young girl away from the only life she had known and take her to the Isles against her will. Sadly there was no other way to ensure the survival of their bloodline; without this tradition, Broc’s people might become even extinct. After the Great War, many of their number had fallen. Outnumbered, and overpowered by the sorcerers who had sided with humankind, their kind had retreated to the Black Isles and left the mainland to be ruled by men. However, their reduced numbers had meant that they would need fresh blood to replenish their line.
One can only interbreed for so long before things start to go wrong and madness sets in.
He had seen it happen with his own two eyes. If he squinted, he could just about see the shore through the dense fog. Luckily, his people had a lot better vision than the humans, meaning they could safely navigate the treacherous waters around Hythe Bay to collect the latest addition to their clan. Broc had first pick, as was tradition.
There was no way he could get out of it either. He’d been king of the Black Mountain and surrounding isles for seven years, ever since his father had sailed off into the next realm.
It was time to start thinking about an heir, whether he liked it or not. “Wonder what this one’s going to be like,” Rhea next to him remarked, her tone sharp with spite. Her comment was a reference to the trouble they’d had last time. Transitions could be difficult. He glanced over at the strong young princess, his cousin twice removed, as she stared darkly over the water leading to the coast. It was obvious she’d wanted to be his queen, but it wasn’t meant to be. A union between them would have been forbidden, in any case.
They were too closely related. And they even shared the same animal form.
Broc had always aimed to be a fair ruler; he could not make an exception to such an important rule for himself. The consequences would be too severe; the islanders’ mating rules existed for a reason. A king must do everything within his power to ensure a healthy heir is produced. In his case this had meant taking a human as his bride instead of the relative he’d grown up with. Although he hadn’t made his intentions about this Reaping public yet, Rhea had guessed. And she had made it a point to openly express her displeasure. Shortly before the keel of their ship threatened to hit ground, Teaq, Broc’s half-brother and commander of the Black Isle armies, gave the order to steady the oars and drop anchor. Impeccable timing as always.
Broc observed as Rhea and Teaq shared a dark look. It was obvious they each disapproved of tonight’s goings on for their own reasons. “There she is,” Teaq spat, unable to disguise his disgust.
His tone rubbed Broc the wrong way. It wasn’t the girl’s fault she had been sent to them as an offering in the Reaping. And what exactly had sparked Teaq’s dislike of human females, Broc had not yet understood. “Remember, she will be shown the respect deserving of any citizen of the Black Isles,” Broc spoke in a low, determined tone.
Teaq’s jaw tensed, but he did not respond. “Yes, my king.” Rhea averted her eyes from the shore and retreated to the back of the ship to stand watch over the waters behind them. As commander of the royal guard, it was her duty to ensure Broc wasn’t ambushed.
“Just remember what we discussed,” Teaq grumbled. “These are troubled times. The last thing we need is further complications within our own walls.”
When their father had conducted the last Reaping ritual, the girl had found it incredibly difficult to adjust to her new surroundings. For some time it was feared they’d lose her to madness, but thankfully she had recovered and integrated into their way of life some months later.
They’d instituted a new rule; the newcomer would not be fully introduced into their ways until she had obviously adjusted to her new circumstances. Teaq had wanted for things to go much further; including keeping the girl on house arrest for the first month; something Broc had vehemently disagreed with. As king, the final decision had obviously been his.
They would keep her in the dark, figuratively, but she would be as free as any of the other inhabitants of the Black Isles. At least as far as her movements within the castle on Black Mountain were concerned.
Still, it was for the best to be cautious. She did not need to know the truth about everything from the start. Humans did not handle it well when their views of the world were challenged. “I wish you’d reconsider and at least let me put a watch on her. We do not know of her intentions,” Teaq added.
Broc scoffed. Her intentions. This was just going to be some unfortunate girl who thought she was being sent to her death.
Just like the last ones.
Lately Teaq had grown more and more paranoid. They had enough to worry about with the threats from further out at sea. As long as the humans continued to hold up their end of the truce, their peace would hold.
“Alright. That’s enough of that,” Broc said. “We’ve laid down the rules already. But I won’t have her treated as a prisoner under my rule. Let’s get on with what we came here to do.”
The many dozen or so soldiers onboard held their heads bowed as Broc strode past towards the port beam, which was by now perfectly lined up with the shoreline. Teaq signaled the all clear and jumped over the side, landing squarely on his feet in the waist-deep water. Broc followed.
They were back on track, but this wasn’t the end of that particular discussion; Broc was certain of it. Teaq’s stubbornness was in part because as the older brother he’d always expected to get first right to the throne. He wasn’t good at following orders.
Too bad for him that their father, the late King Ryk, hadn’t seen it that way. They had fought it out just like in the old days. Hand-to-hand combat.
Obviously, it was Broc’s victory that had earned him the honor of ruling over the Black Isles. Whether Teaq liked it or not.
The salty water of the Northern Sea was close to freezing, but Broc—as well as the rest of his clan—were used to it. They were much better suited to cold temperatures than humans were.
Despite the saltiness in the air, Broc could smell the human from across the stony beach. Her scent was sweet, almost floral, with a hint of something sharp. Fear, perhaps.
His inner beast stirred. A new sort of sensation came over him. Although he hadn’t even seen her yet, he knew how this Reaping was going to end. She would be his. And she would give him his much awaited heir. It was a bittersweet prospect.
The poor girl had no idea what was in store for her.
ABOUT LORELEI MOONE
Lorelei Moone is an author of paranormal / fantasy romance based in London. A lover of all things sweet, and caffeinated, when she’s not writing about sexy bear shifters and their strong-willed curvaceous love interests, Lorelei can be found baking cookies or cakes for her family.
Hale Wilder, aka the Anaconda of Wall Street, spent his childhood fighting to be the best to win his father’s love. He was the best student and the best athlete, who grew into a successful businessman and took the finance world by storm. Want to retire before you’re forty-five? He’s got you. Need your millions to be billions? He’s your man.
Young, rich, and powerful, Hale was unstoppable, until a company scandal destroys his reputation and threatens to bring down everything he’s bled for.
Becca Shields is the kickass public relations goddess spinning scandals to gold and launching has-beens into superstardom. She never expected to see Hale again—not following the humiliating night when her family caught them on the beach, barely clothed.
When Becca discovers Hale is in trouble, she can’t turn her back on the boy who was once her world and the man she never forgot.
Hale never thought he’d have another shot at greatness or with Becca. Now that he has both, he won’t let either go without a fight.
*NOTE*Although a part of a series, INFINITE can be read as a complete STANDALONE and features a new couple!
I shut the TV off when she turns to answer the next question. Not because I don’t want to keep watching, but because I do. Jesus Christ in heaven. When the hell am I going to get over this woman?
“Did you turn it off?” Sean asks.
There’s enough sound coming from his end of the line that I can still hear Becca’s voice. Unlike me, Sean is still watching. He and Becca remain close, but then again, they never got as close as Becca and me got on that beach.
“I have work to do, Sean,” I say, trying to keep my voice casual. “Anything else you want to tell me?”
“Yeah.” He takes a sip of his drink. “I think Becca broke off her engagement.”
I straighten, every muscle along my spine turning to stone. For once, I’m glad Sean’s not around. I don’t want him to see me like this.
“To the owner’s son, Paris,” Sean adds. “Hmm. Or is it Lynda? Could be Brooklyn or maybe something fancy like Minnesota. Whatever his name is, he’s out of the picture. Did you see? She’s not wearing a ring no more.”
I didn’t bother looking, but if Sean’s telling me, it’s because he did look. Ever since learning she accepted that jackass’s proposal, I’ve forced myself to stop wondering what could’ve been between us. Who the hell am I kidding? I’ve never stopped wondering about us. How her hair fanned over my shoulder and the feel of her when I climbed on top of her.
DON’T MISS THE OTHER BOOKS IN THE CAROLINA BEACH SERIES
Cecy Robson is an author of contemporary and new adult romance, young adult adventure, and award-winning urban fantasy. A double-nominated RITA® Finalist, Winner of the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and published author of more than twenty titles, you can typically find Cecy on her laptop or stumbling blindly in search of caffeine.
USA Today and International and bestselling author J.C. Valentine is back with the latest in her captivating, enigmatic, and rousing world of the Spartan Riders MC…
They’ve been through hell and back and have the scars to prove it.
Kade “Moose” Hunter doesn’t tolerate drama. He’s cocky, unapologetic, and all about the quiet side of life.
That’s why Mouse fits him so well.
Angel “Mouse” Grace isn’t like the other women hanging around the club. She’s sweet and gentle, and when Moose gets her engines revving, her passion burns bright. She’s the yin to his yang, and Moose is almost certain she’s the one, but life is never that easy for a Spartan.
The catch? Their town is falling apart.
A cesspool of crime and addiction, the Spartans face yet another challenge: confront crime lord Manuel Contreras and risk war, or worse, death. When Angel’s kid sister rolls into town and takes a shine to the Spartan’s mortal enemy, Moose is torn between doing what’s best for his family…and what’s best for his love life.
Will he be able to strike a balance, or lose everyone he cares about in the process?
*NOTE* COCKY can be read as a STANDALONE! Although a part of the Spartan Riders series, COCKY features a brand new couple, therefore, can be read as a standalone!
EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT: CHAPTER ONE
Building bikes was more than just a hobby; it was a way of life. Moose didn’t know anything else. He’d been taking apart and rebuilding engines since he was knee high to a grasshopper. Every time he had a tool in his hand, he remembered working beside his dad in the garage, his deep voice guiding and teaching him. Everything he knew he’d learned from him.
That man was his hero.
Moose was glad he wasn’t around anymore to see what their family had been reduced to. With the exception of the brothers around the table, the members that were left were trash, and the only one he’d thought was salvageable—Tanner, his little nephew—had turned out to be even worse.
Putting him down had been a necessary evil. Putting him in the ground had been as hard as he’d expected. But that was behind him now. Today was a new day, as Moose always tried to view it. And he had a lot to be thankful for. Starting with his brothers and ending with his new sidepiece.
Angel was…well, an angel. Never in a million years would he have thought he’d find a sweetheart like her serving beers in a strip club, but he had. She was a diamond shining amidst the dirt and grime, too young to be tarnished by the harshness of the world.
She was too good for him.
After the confrontation with Cruiz, after he’d left Tanner to bleed out on the pavement, the only person he could think about was his angel. He’d sought refuge with her, and she hadn’t hesitated to take him in and care for him. She’d soothed his body and his mind in ways no one else ever had.
He was keeping her. There were no two ways about it. Moose had decided to stake his claim. It’d taken him a few weeks of back and forth in his head to reach that conclusion, putting him in the garage for more hours than was usual for him so he could sort his thoughts, but as he tightened down bolts and nuts and greased chains, he knew only one thing: Angel was going to be his.
“I knew I’d find you here.”
Goose bumps spread across his arms, over his shoulders, and down his back at the sound of her soft, alluring voice. Angel had an interesting effect on him that Moose had yet to get used to.
A wide smile spreading across his face, Moose stopped what he was doing and straightened, turning to see her coming up the drive toward him.
She was wearing a little halter top that revealed a toned stomach and the tiniest pair of white shorts he’d ever seen. He knew without looking that her ass was hanging out. A possessive growl climbed up his throat when he thought of how many men had seen her ass today before him.
“Bad girl,” he said, his voice a low rumble as she walked straight into his arms, rose up onto her toes as he bent down to meet her, and kissed him like she meant it.
“Only for you,” she breathed against his lips, her fingers combing through the hair at the base of his head.
“Mmm,” Moose hummed, then tossed down the wrench he’d been holding onto and grabbed two handfuls of her fine ass, lifting her off her feet. She was so tiny, like a little doll against him. He towered over her, bigger, stronger. He loved the dichotomy. “That’s what I like to hear.”
Her smile was wide and full of laughter. “I know,” she purred.
“I’m getting you all dirty,” Moose informed her. Not like he gave a flying fuck though. Now, any man who looked at her ass was going to see his two giant, greasy handprints marking it. They’d know she’d been claimed. If they tried to step to her after that, he couldn’t be blamed for what happened next.
“Baby, I’ve been dirty since the moment I followed you out of the club.”
Moose snapped his teeth at her and gave her ass a hearty squeeze, eliciting a delighted little squeal from her. “What do you say we go inside and make you even dirtier, little girl.”
Cinching her legs around his waist, she nudged his nose with the tip of hers. “Why go inside when we have a perfectly nice tool bench right here?”
The rumble in Moose’s chest was loud and fierce, his cock so hard he was surprised it hadn’t ripped a hole through his pants. “Oh, you are a very bad girl,” he growled. “I love the way you think.”
“And I love the way you fuck. So less talking and more kissing.”
Moose sealed his mouth over hers, giving her exactly what she wanted. Carrying her across the garage, he set her down on the tool table and popped the button on her shorts, drew down the zipper, then dragged the too-short scrap of jeans down her silky legs. He left her panties on, though, in case anyone came looking for him. Should have closed that damn door…
It was too late now.
With his left hand, he pulled her panties aside and dragged his thick finger through her wet folds, testing her tight pussy while he worked to free his throbbing cock.
Her mouth was wild against his, anticipation fueling both their need. When Moose withdrew his finger, she made a sound of protest that was quickly silenced when he nestled the head of his cock up against her pretty pussy.
Breaking the kiss, he rested his forehead against hers as he pushed his cock inside her, slowly filling her so they could both feel every inch as he sank in deep.
When their bodies were flush against one another, his cock jumping inside her and her pussy clenching down hard around it, he lifted his head to look her in the eyes.
“You are the best part of my day,” he told her…
Then Moose pulled back and started fucking her like the animal he was.
The grip she had on him ensured that Moose couldn’t hold on long. There was nothing but friction as he pushed into and pulled out of her tight-as-a-fist body. He’d lost track of how many times he’d laid waste to her sweet pussy, and yet he still hadn’t managed to fully break her in.
Maybe he was just too big. The beast inside of him liked that idea.
His little mouse’s claws dug into his shoulders as she clung to him, her legs cinched around his hips, her mouth hot and wet against the side of his neck. The little sounds of pleasure she made spurred him on, and Moose tightened his grip on her firm ass and pulled her up tighter against him as he deepened his thrusts.
If she didn’t come soon…
Fuck. The instant he thought it, he heard her breath hitch, the only tell she had that gave it away.
“Fuck yeah,” he growled, “come for me, Mouse.”
Her walls spasmed around his cock, milking his own release. With a grunt, Moose let go, coming with a ferocity that never failed to surprise him. He came so hard, he saw stars, felt the ropes of cum shoot out inside her as he filled her to the brim, the sloppy sounds as he continued fucking her growing louder as it overflowed, making a mess of them both.
Thank fuck she was on the pill. He loved going in raw. Loved feeling the powerful sensations that came with not having to pull out.
Huffing every breath into the curve of her slender shoulder, Moose cursed under his breath. “Goddamn, Mouse, you undo me every fuckin’ time.”
A small, barely audible laugh brushed by his ear as they both drew back to look one another in the eyes. Unwilling to break the connection, Moose remained firmly rooted between her thighs, his still-hard dick soaking up her warmth for a few moments longer.
Transferring her hands from up around his shoulders to his sides, Angel teased his heated skin with her blunt nails. “I think I’m starting to get addicted to you.”
Moose popped his eyebrows up. “Starting? Girl, you already are.”
Sucking in her bottom lip, she dragged the flat edges of her teeth across it before saying, “And how would you know that?”
“Because when I don’t get to you first, you come looking for me.” And he loved that. She was quiet, reserved when she wasn’t getting fucked, but she was a woman who knew what she wanted, and as she’d demonstrated today, she was more than willing to go out and get it instead of waiting for it to come to her.
“Maybe I was just in the neighborhood,” she replied coyly.
“And maybe you just had a craving for my dick inside you,” he said with a cocky smirk that set off a little fire behind those stunning green eyes.
Straightening her spine, Angel’s arms banded around his back as she brought her chest flush up against his. Her tongue ran up the front of his throat, over his Adam’s apple, to his chin. He felt the tantalizing nip of her teeth next and smiled as he tilted his chin down so he could see her eyes again.
“You’re playing with fire, Mouse,” he warned her. She knew he loved when she did that, and she knew what happened when she played.
That self-satisfied look she was giving him said she wanted to get burned. She opened her mouth to say something when the distinct sound of motorcycles reached his ears, growing louder by the second.
Turning his head toward the mouth of the garage, Moose glared at the as-yet empty street. Fuck. His brothers were coming.
With a resigned sigh, he dragged his cock free of its warm housing and ran his palm down it to dry it off some before tucking it back—with some difficulty—into his pants.
“Get dressed, Mouse,” he commanded as he reached down to pick her shorts up off the floor. “We’ve got company.”
Gone was that confident woman as she plucked the shorts from his hand and jumped down off the table, hurriedly stepping into them and shimmying the small scrap of fabric up those sexy-as-hell legs.
Mouse was back to being…well, a mouse. She was shy around everyone but him. He didn’t have to see her in action to know that she was nervous as a long-tailed cat in a house full of rocking chairs when it came to being around his brothers. He was the only one who got to see the other side of her—the open, honest, and free side.
He loved that he had the privilege.
As the bikes and his brothers made their appearance at the end of his drive, Moose looked his girl over, admiring what was his. “You’re a filthy girl, Mouse,” he observed, noting all the grease smudges his dirty hands had left on not just her clothes, but her pale, flawless skin.
Her wary gaze swung from his brothers who were now climbing off their bikes and making their way over to herself. Seeing his handiwork, the corner of her mouth twitched.
“Guess I should go home and get cleaned up.”
“Guess maybe you should.” He didn’t really want her to leave, but he wasn’t ready to share her fine ass with his brothers just yet. What was theirs was theirs, and he wanted to protect it for a little while longer.
“What up, my brotha?” Country shouted as he reached the garage opening. His curious gaze flicked to Angel and he jerked his chin up in greeting. Glancing at both of them, his smile grew wider. “Hope we aren’t interrupting.”
Moose looked at Angel, and seeing her hesitation, recognizing her discomfort, he shook his head as he stepped into her personal space and hooked his arm around her neck, tucking her tiny frame up against his side.
He loved how her hot little hand flattened over his stomach as she curled into him, her other hand resting just above his ass. “Nah, bro, just finishing up here. Baby girl was just leaving.”
She started to pull away, but Moose wasn’t about to let his mouse go without a kiss goodbye. Pinching her chin between his thumb and forefinger, he turned her face up and he brought his down and sealed his mouth over hers.
The kiss wasn’t intended to be as long as it was, but the instant Moose got a taste of her, he couldn’t let Angel go. He spent way too much time licking and biting those luscious lips. By the time he was done, his dick was ready for round two.
He cleared his throat, took a moment to meet her glazed eyes, and said softly, “I’ll be around later. Be ready.”
She nodded and stepped away, her movements a little wobbly before she got ahold of herself. Moose watched her walk past his brothers, teasing a shy little half smile in polite greeting to each one.
He didn’t like the way those fuckers checked her out though. Kind of made him want to punch each one of them in the face. Instead, he accepted their open appreciation as a compliment to his good taste. His baby girl was hot as fuck, and she was all his.
He kept his eyes on Angel until she was in her car and pulling away, shooting him a little smile and a wave, before he turned his full attention to his brothers. Quick, Repo, Country, Taco, Cricket, even a couple of prospects crowded his personal space.
He focused on the prospects, a broad smile sliding into place. He’d more than been looking forward to this night.
“Someone close the door. Let’s get down to business.”
ABOUT J.C. VALENTINE
J.C. Valentine is the USA Today and International bestselling author of the Night Calls and Wayward Fighters Series and the Forbidden Trilogy. Her vivid imagination and love of words and romance had her penning her own romance stories from an early age, which, despite being poorly edited and written longhand, she forced friends and family members to read. No, she isn’t sorry.
Living in the Northwest, she has three amazing children and far too many pets. Among the many hats she wears, J.C. is an entrepreneur. Having graduated with honors, she holds a Bachelor’s in English and when she isn’t writing, you can find her editing for fellow authors.
Sign up for J.C.’s newsletter and never miss a thing! http://bit.ly/1KxXWWB
Sometimes we must let go of what was, appreciate what remains and fearlessly embrace what comes next.
Born to a family of outlaws, I was destined to ride with the Satan’s Knights MC. With mayhem and havoc in my blood and chaos living deep in my soul, I learned the Devil don’t sleep. You never hear him creeping and he often comes disguised as everything you ever wanted.
I was just teenager when she first showed, masquerading as the girl of my dreams. A whiskey shootin’ spitfire who knocked me on my ass and helped me turn the town upside down. The girl who stole my heart with her smile and never gave it back. The same bitch who ruined me and turned my blood to ice.
It’s been six years since I turned my back on Mac, my family and my club. I’ve pushed her to the back of my head, wrote everyone off and damned the Kentucky charter to hell. But, where God built a church, the Devil built a chapel. Now, her life is on the line and it’s clear I’m still a sucker for her gorgeous chaos because I’m the one riding to her rescue.
I often dreamed of what it would be like to stare into Bas’ blue eyes again. To hear his raspy voice whisper his love for me and feel his strong arms around me. After all, it’s always been in his embrace that I felt the safest. In my dreams, he abolishes my sins and forgives me for breaking both our hearts. But this is no dream. I’m running from a nightmare and the one running with me, looks at me with enough anger to burn the world to ash. Once upon a time, we were in love. Once upon a time, it was us against the world. Once upon a time, he didn’t look at me and see the Devil. If only he knew the truth. If only he knew the Devil was a broken angel with tattered wings. An angel who sacrificed her heart and soul for him.
***NOTE: Contains explicit sexual situations, violence, offensive language, and mature topics. Not recommended for people under the age of 18***
Nothing will scare the shit out of a man more than waking up and feeling a pair of eyes drilling a hole in the side of his head. Especially, when you’ve been trying your hardest to sleep with one eye open because there’s a mark out for your girl and her kid.
Bolting up, I rub the sleep from my eyes and stare back at Ryder.
“Buddy, what are you doing?”
Crossing his little arms against his chest, he glances next to me at his sleeping mother. Thank fucking Christ she’s covered. The last thing I need to explain is why his mother is naked in the bed with me, his uncle.
How’s that for a family tree?
“Why are you in my mom’s bed?”
Dragging the sheet up to my waist with one hand, I reach behind me and cup the back of my neck with the other.
“Well, that’s actually a funny story…”
It’s not funny at all.
Not even a little bit.
But telling Ryder his mother and I fucked like rabbits after she rubbed her pussy all over me and woke me up, really isn’t an option.
“How about I tell you over breakfast?” I suggest.
I have no fucking idea how to make pancakes.
“How’s about a bowl of cereal?”
“Okay,” he says, uncrossing his arms. He doesn’t move and suddenly, I’m intimidated by the little boy wearing SpongeBob pajamas and a scowl on his face. When did that happen?
The day you decided you wanted to be enough of a man to make him a better one.
“All right then,” I say offering him a smile as I look towards the door. “Why don’t you get a head start?”
I’ll buy you a puppy…hell, I’ll buy you the whole damn litter if you just let me grab my shorts, kid.
Debating, he glances at his mom again.
“Should we wake mommy?”
“Fuck, no…eh, I mean….” my words trail as I swipe a hand over my face. “Let’s let her sleep.”
“Okay, we can surprise her with breakfast in bed.”
Yeah, sure, if you want to get a peep show.
“Sounds like a plan.”
He takes another minute before he finally exits the room. I wait until I hear his footsteps on the stairs before, I lose the sheet and dig a pair of sweats out of one of my six bags of clothes. As luck would have it the day I decide to move my shit in here, Ryder catches me in bed with his mom the next morning. I’m not sure how I’m going to explain this one. Mac and I haven’t talked about telling Ryder about us and we’ve been cautious around him. I’m not sure why. I’m not going anywhere, and neither are they.
Making my way to the door, I pause and look back at Mac.
A man can get used to that.
He can die happy.
Pulling the door closed behind me, I head downstairs and enter the kitchen to find Ryder trying to clean spilled milk off the floor.
Lifting his head, he meets my eyes and I can tell he’s struggling to hold back tears. That fucking does something to me. It breaks my heart is what it does.
“It was an accident,” he cries. He tears his eyes away from me and I watch his hands fumble as he pulls the paper towels off the roll.
“Ryder,” I rasp, crouching down beside him. Gently, I take the towels from his hand and place a finger under his chin, forcing his eyes back to mine. “It’s okay.”
“You’re not mad?”
“No,” I say hoarsely. “It’s just spilled milk, Ryder,” I add as I wipe his tears with my thumbs.
“My dad would’ve been mad.”
Biting the inside of my cheek, I control the anger simmering in my veins.
“I’m not him, Ryder,” I say with conviction. “You never have to be afraid of me.” His blue eyes search mine and I pray he’s inherited his mother’s knack for reading me because they’re saying all the things I don’t know how to.
I love you.
I’ll jump off a cliff for you.
Run through fire for you.
I’ll kill for you.
Bleed and die for you.
Swallowing, I smooth down his hair and lean forward, kissing the top of his head.
“Let’s get this cleaned up and get started on making you and your mom breakfast.”
“We don’t have that much milk,” he says.
How fucking hard can it be to make pancakes?
“I thought you wanted pancakes,” I reply with a wink. His eyes light up and the smile he gives me is worth every bit of heartache that brought him into this world. I get it now. I understand what Mac meant when she said he was too precious to be labeled anything less than a blessing.
“Uncle Bas, I know you said I don’t have to be afraid of you but…”
“You don’t,” I assure him. “I would never hurt you. Never.”
“Does that mean you won’t hurt my mom either?”
It might not be my place, but I don’t give a fuck. It’s time Ryder, and I had a talk.
Man to little man.
Rising to my feet, I hold out my hand for him.
“C ’mere,” I tell him.
He places his little hand in mine and I pull him to his feet before leading him to the kitchen table. Sitting across from one another, we stare at each other. I’m not sure if he’s looking at me with curiosity or if he’s sizing me up trying to decide if I’m the guy good enough for his mom.
“Why don’t you tell me what you’re thinking,” I suggest. “And remember, anything you ask me won’t make me angry.”
“Okay,” he says. “I don’t want anyone to hurt my mom. She smiles a lot and I like it.”
“She has a great smile,” I agree.
“The best,” he whispers. Then as if a light bulb has gone off in his head, he looks at me with wide eyes. “If I promise not to be afraid will you promise not to take her smile away?”
“Ryder, I want you to pay close attention to what I’m going to tell you, can you do that for me?” I ask him as I lean over the table and level my eyes to his.
“I’ll try my hardest.”
“Fair enough,” I say, taking a deep breath. “Ain’t no one in this world going to take your mom’s smile away ever again nor will anyone hurt either of you. As long as I’m alive, you and your mom will always be safe and if I have a say in the matter, the both of you will keep sharing your smiles with me.”
“Does that mean you love her?”
“I’ve loved your mom for a really long time. What it means is I finally get a chance to prove to her and to you just how much I love you both.”
I let my words sink in for a minute before continuing.
“When a man loves a woman, he isn’t afraid of expressing it and his actions sometimes speak louder than his words. One day you’re going to be a man and you’re going to find a girl who knocks you off your feet. You won’t see her coming, you’ll ask yourself why she chose you and you’ll pray you never lose her. It’ll be the most exciting time of your life and the scariest too. You might make mistakes, but they’ll never be intentional because you’re going to think back to this conversation and remember how you wanted me to treat your mom.”
“I want you to be nice to her,” he whispers.
“I want you to be humble and kind,” I counter.
“Take her nice places,” he continues.
“Always hold the door for her,” I say.
“Tell her it’s going to be okay when she’s sad,” he adds.
“Do your best to never make her sad,” I counter.
“Make her smile,” he whispers.
“Cherish every smile she gives you,” I reply.
“Love her,” he pleads.
“Love her,” I agree.
A beat of silences passes between us before I hold out my hand.
“A man’s handshake is his word. It’s his promise,” I explain, tipping my chin to my hand, urging him to take it. Lifting his hand, he slides it into mine and he gives it a firm shake, sealing our promise to one another.
For him to grow up and be a good man.
For me to set the example by loving his mother.
MEET AND GREET
Come meet Author, Janine Infante Bosco and model, Joe Adams at the “Tempted & Tantalizing Author Event” in Staten Island, New York this October!
Janine Infante Bosco lives in New York City, she has always loved reading and writing. When she was thirteen, she began to write her own stories and her passion for writing took off as the years went on. At eighteen, she even wrote a full screenplay with dreams of one day becoming a member of the Screen Actors Guild.
Janine writes emotionally charged novels with an emphasis on family bonds, strong willed female characters, and alpha male men who will do anything for the women they love. She loves to interact with fans and fellow avid romance readers like herself.
She is proud of her success as an author and the friendships she’s made in the book community but her greatest accomplishment to date would be her two sons Joseph and Paul.