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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Tour & Giveaway: Black Waltz by Yoshiyuki Ly



Black Waltz
by Yoshiyuki Ly
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy Romance


As a Black Waltz—a magical ballet dancer—Stella Azrith appears to all as a composed, no-nonsense sorceress of notable talent. Yet she is deeply dependent on her muse for far more than most artists, complicating her relationships. Nyte Lysander is a suave, emotional cellist who once struggled in her obsession to stay in Stella’s world. She and Stella find one another again after a tumultuous breakup, needing the other for reasons warped beyond the norm. Black Waltz is a sprawling urban fantasy romance set 350 years after The Scorpion’s Empress and 100 years after Venus and Lysander, concluding the trilogy. Can be read as a standalone.

Searching for acceptance, Stella and Nyte learn to understand each other anew, strained only by disagreements past and unspoken. Nyte’s living situation in the crime-ridden district of Maleficus in the city of Eden pushes her and Stella to pursue better artistic opportunities elsewhere. As they toy with the idea of exploring a power play relationship, they learn about a greater evil that threatens the Azrith and Lysander families. The true enemy twists on its head through whirling rainstorms, driving Stella and Nyte to prove who and what they stand for. 

There can be no waltz for three.




Yoshiyuki Ly was born in San Diego, CA. Her pen name represents her multiracial heritage and a unique, diverse outlook that reflects in her work. She is a writer and a gamer, primarily inspired by thought-provoking, well-written video games such as the Shin Megami Tensei, NieR, and Drakengard franchises. 



Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!










Monday, November 19, 2018

Blitz & Giveaway: Dark Arts & a Daiquiri by Annette Marie



Dark Arts and a Daiquiri 
by Annette Marie 
(The Guild Codex: Spellbound, #2) 
Publication date: November 16th 2018
Genres: New Adult, Urban Fantasy


When I found myself facing down the scariest black-magic felon in the city, practically daring him to abduct me, I had to wonder exactly how I ended up here.

It all started when I accidentally landed a job as a bartender—but not at a bar. At aguild, populated by mages, sorcerers, alchemists, witches, and psychics. Good thing this lame-o human is adaptable, right?

Then my favorite guild members—three sexy, powerful, and intermittently charming mages—asked for my help. Did they want access to my encyclopedic knowledge of cocktails? Oh no. They wanted to wrap me up in a pretty ribbon and plunk me in the crosshairs of a murderous rogue to lure him out of hiding.

So that’s what we did. And that’s why I’m here. About to be kidnapped. Oh, and our grand plan for safely capturing said murderous rogue? Yeah, that completely fell apart about two minutes ago.

Why did I agree to this again?

*Note: The three mages are definitely sexy, but this series isn’t a reverse harem. It’s 100% fun, sassy, fast-paced urban fantasy.

Tori has no problem getting herself into trouble in every book in the Guild Codex series, but each one is a complete adventure—no cliffhanger endings.*



“This is really nice,” I gushed, unconcerned by the apartment’s lackluster finishes. Beggars couldn’t be
choosers, and having spent the last ten months sleeping on my brother’s sofa, I was ready to overlook
anything less than holes in the walls.
Which, unfortunately, had been included in all the apartments we’d viewed so far, along with
complimentary mold, cockroaches, and suspicious odors. That wasn’t including the batshit crazy
landlords. Did normal people not dabble in real estate investment, or did all the well-adjusted landlords
have tenants already?
“It’s clean,” Sin observed. “Running water. Heat. Wait, does it have heat? It’s cold in here.”
“Well, it is a basement.” I flapped my printout. “It says all utilities are included in the rent. How sweet is
that?”
Sin wrinkled her nose suspiciously. “It’s too cheap. There’s got to be something wrong with it.”
“Maybe there’s a hobo living in the crawlspace.” I pointed at a half-height door tucked in a corner of the
living room. “That’s a crawlspace, right?”
We crossed the room and I crouched at the door, Sin leaning over my shoulder. I pulled it open. Inside
was nothing but impenetrable darkness.
“Use your phone’s flashlight,” Sin suggested. “There must be a light switch or—”
Chill air whispered over my skin and all the hair on my body stood on end—then arctic wind blasted me
in the face.
I recoiled, crashing into Sin’s legs. She landed on her ass as the wind howled out of the crawlspace,
whipping dust through the room. My printouts went flying and we scrambled backward on our butts with
the papers spiraling toward the ceiling.
The darkness in the crawlspace leaked out from the doorway and pooled on the floor like ink. Shadows
writhed and something pale materialized in the threshold—a skeletal woman on her hands and knees,
toothless mouth gaping, empty eye sockets dribbling black blood.
I took one look at the moaning specter and screamed like the sissy girl that I am.
Sin let out her own terrified shriek as the ghostly woman dragged herself out of the crawlspace, her long
hair trailing on the floor. She stretched a hand toward us, blackened fingers curled like claws, and icy
gusts lashed at our faces. Still screaming, Sin grabbed my arm, her fingernails digging into my skin.
Sharp pain cut through my panic.
I jammed my hand into my pocket and whipped out my trump card—yes, a literal card.
My trusty Queen of Spades was more than it appeared: a sorcerer’s artifact embedded with a spell that
reflected magic. Was there any magic here to rebound? I had no idea. Would it work on a ghost? Also no
idea. I wasn’t a sorcerer. I was a crime-of-convenience thief and I had only the vaguest notion how to use
the card.
But it was the lone magical defense I had, so I thrust it at the phantom and shouted, “Ori repercutio!”
The air rippled and the gale-force wind reversed direction. It slammed into the woman, flinging her back
into the crawlspace. Her head hit the door frame with a whack.
“Ow!” she squeaked.
Sin’s scream cut off. In unison, we launched to our feet. We weren’t screaming anymore, but I for one
was even more freaked out. The woman was too solid to be a ghost, but holy freaking shit, that body did
not belong to a living being—papery skin clinging to bones, empty sockets for eyes, stringy hair down to
her knees.
The ghost woman sprang up, raising her hands like claws. “Begone from this place,” she moaned.
“Begooooone ... or else!”
I tilted my head toward Sin, not daring to take my eyes off the not-a-ghost. “Hey, Sin. Is that ... a
vampire?”
“No.” She pulled a handful of vials with colorful liquid contents out of her purse. “Not even close.”
Selecting a bottle, she dropped the others back into her bag and unscrewed the top. A hideous smell like
burnt iron singed my nose.
“No!” the woman shrieked—except she didn’t sound like a woman anymore. Her voice was two octaves
higher and painfully nasal. “Don’t!”
Sin held out the bottle threateningly. “Show us your real form or I’ll drench you!”
“Noooo! Go away!” The woman stomped her foot. “Stupid humans! This is my house!”
Raising her hand higher, Sin started to tip the bottle.
“Uuuuugh. Fine.” The woman threw her hands up—and her body melted. It lost solidity and shrank, then
reformed into something new.
The creature was dark green with skin the waxy texture of pine needles. Even with twigs sprouting off its
large head in place of hair, it barely reached my waist, and a mixture of spruce branches and pine cones
hid its torso. Thin arms and legs stuck out of the twiggy mess, its hands and feet comically oversized.
Its eyes, narrowed angrily, dominated its face, the crystalline green irises unnaturally bright and entirely
lacking pupils—just giant green orbs.
The creature pointed an accusing finger at us. “This is my house! Leave or I’ll turn you into bean
sprouts!”
I cleared my throat. “Okay, not a vampire,” I said to Sin. “What is it?”
“This,” Sin replied grimly, “is a faery.”
Excerpt 2
I lifted my sunglasses to take in the chaos. The bar was normally tidy—because I kept it that way—and
the dark wood walls and heavy beams in the ceiling gave it a Ye Old Pub feeling I enjoyed. But the dozen
tables were scattered like litter in the wind and the chairs were even more haphazard, half of them lying
on their sides.
“Aaaaroon!”
A woman with black braids tied into a high ponytail charged between two tables, chasing down her
victim. Hands outstretched in placation, he retreated with stumbling steps. Inexplicably, he was soaking
wet, his red hair plastered to his face.

Reading Order


Annette Marie is the author of Amazon best-selling YA urban fantasy series Steel & Stone, its prequel trilogy Spell Weaver, and romantic fantasy trilogy Red Winter. Her first love is fantasy, but fast-paced adventures and tantalizing forbidden romances are her guilty pleasures. She lives in the frozen winter wasteland of Alberta, Canada (okay, it's not quite that bad) with her husband and their furry minion of darkness—sorry, cat—Caesar. When not writing, she can be found elbow-deep in one art project or another while blissfully ignoring all adult responsibilities.









Tour & Giveaway: Astraeus by Haley Cavanagh



Astraeus
by Haley Cavanagh
Genre: SciFi Romance

One pre-apocalyptic Earth. One desperate space mission to find a solution. One unexpected alien. 

When Dr. Sakota Thorell signed onto the mission to scout out a new, habitable planet, she knew discovering extraterrestrial life was always a possibility. But she never expected to find an alien adrift in space, nor for that alien to be so intriguing. Sakota feels an instant and undeniable attraction to Astraeus, but he represents a million possibilities, and just as many threats.

There are others hunting Astraeus, and his rescue may cost Earth its last hope. 




“What are you called? What’s your name?”
He opened his mouth, and she moved closer, eager for his first words. Instead, he focused on her lips with obvious fascination. His intriguing eyes caught the light. Despite her disappointment that he couldn’t speak, a rush went through her. Alien or not, he was the most handsome man she’d ever laid eyes on, with the kind of ethereal elegance some upper-class, privileged men on Earth spent fortunes on plastic surgery trying to achieve.
“It’s okay if you don’t want to talk, or if you can’t. We’ll get there. Now, I’m going to check you.” She kept her voice gentle, as she might use with a child. She pressed the button to disengage the protective bubble over the med bed and shone the retinal scanner in her own eye to demonstrate. “I just need to look at your eyes with this.” She motioned with the scope to him. “It won’t hurt. I promise.”
Warm puffs of his breath blew on her neck as she leaned in. She paused, noting the remarkable eight-pointed star-shape of his pupils. The mutation was his one physical difference, and only if one looked closely. The pupils dilated when hit by the scope’s light. She’d never seen eyes as remarkable.
“You’re doing great,” she soothed. Her head burst with countless questions.Where are you from? How did you get here? What do you want?
He appeared to like the cadence of her voice. His posture relaxed, and his breath against her was steady. How long had she been staring into his eyes? Should she push her luck and try to examine his mouth?
Before she could try, his finger stroked her inner arm. He was still restrained at the wrists, but he could reach her.
She allowed it. He stroked a feather-light finger along her forearm. As he did so, his gaze never left hers. She offered a kind smile. “That’s right. Friend. Sakota. Sa-ko-ta.”
He opened his mouth and let out a chicken-like squawk. “-Ota,” he said in a throaty, deep voice.
She raised her eyebrows. “Good. Very good.”
He tilted his head, watching her lips. “Gooood.”
Excited, she lowered the retinal light. “Can you understand me?”
He looked confused. “Me…”
“Okay. That’s a no. Then let me take this opportunity to say, in no uncertain terms, you, my friend, are the stuff of dreams and legends. I’ve waited my whole life for this. Are you getting this, Alistair?” she called out.
He came in over the speakers. “I am. Amazing. I’ll get to work on a linguistics program. Our friend seems to want to communicate.”
She moved to pull away, but the man’s fingers closed over her wrist.
“Let me go.” She jerked her arm, but he wouldn’t release his grip. She gave him a cautionary look, and he loosened his fingers, though he still held her. Warning bells went off.What if he’s not here in peace?But his eyes sparkled impishly. He seemed to enjoy her skin pressed against his. Maybe he hadn’t been touched in a while. Or maybe he had a crush. Who knew.
Before she could extricate herself, the intercom chimed. “Sakota, are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. He’s just being friendly—”
The man’s forefinger trailed along her arm again. She sucked in a breath and shut her eyes as a series of images flashed through her mind.A high wall made of stacked stones. A hand spread out to touch the tips of tall, golden wheat of a field. Multi-hued buildings in the distance under a purple sky. Children’s laughter and then screams. She jerked when the images changed.Strange rain, like metal. Black ships attacking from the sky, horrible screams which rent the air, death.A gentle brush against her hand again. She inhaled and opened her eyes. The man searched her, calm and patient. She struggled to see straight, but her mind spun.
“W-was that your—”
The isolation walls shot up. Rutledge burst into the room and advanced like an angry bear, brutish, immaculate, and combat ready in his black Oceanstone fatigues. “Let her go,” he snarled.
Rutledge yanked the man’s hand off her and pushed her aside. She fell to the floor on her back in a dizzy haze, reeling from the vision. She turned her head. The man bellowed and tore loose from his restraints. His and Rutledge’s images faded into one as they collided and fought. Rutledge’s weapon whirred as he strained to activate it. The rifle propelled over her head and hit the wall.
“Stop.” Her pleas fell on deaf ears. She closed her eyes.
The men barged into the room with heavy footfalls and angry shouts. She opened her eyes, but her vision swirled. The blurred image of the alien lifted Rutledge’s lieutenant like a kitchen chair and catapulted him in the same direction as the weapon. “Stop,” she hollered to the men. “Don’t shoot him. He wasn’t attacking me.”
Another soldier fell to the floor with a sick thud, holding his stomach. “Yeah? Well, he’s attacking me.”
The alien pounced over her, crouching low. He caged her with his body and made a guttural rumble in his throat, a warning to the men. She turned her head to the marines, who zeroed their weapons in on them.


Haley Cavanagh is a military veteran, wife, and mother. She is an alumna of Columbia College, a musical theater nut, and she loves to dive into any book that crosses her path. Haley resides with her family in the United States and enjoys spending time with her husband and children when she's not writing. She loves to hear from her readers, and encourages you to contact her via her website and social media. She also writes under the name Roxanne D. Howard.


Follow the tour HERE for exclusive content and a giveaway!









Sunday, November 18, 2018

Tour & Giveaway: Deadly Rising by Jeri Westerson



Deadly Rising
A Booke of the Hidden Novel #2
by Jeri Westerson
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Pub Date: 10/23/18


Things were quiet in Strange Herbs & Teas. For about a week.

Our crossbow slinging hero and her ragtag gang of Wiccans tuned in to the paranormal have earned some rest. But when Kylie learns that the Booke may have released not one, but two creatures of horror out into the world, it’s up to her to save Moody Bog. Again.

Calling upon the devilishly handsome demon Erasmus once more for help, Kylie’s determined to handle the mischief of the Booke and go back to a normal life. But when digging through Moody Bog’s history leads her to the ghost of her grandfather, the past she once knew is turned upside down. 

Can Kylie save the town and her grandfather, or will the horrors of the Booke be too much to handle?


Booke of the Hidden
A Booke of the Hidden Novel #1


“Westerson creates an utterly believable history of witches, demons, and magic for her claustrophobic New England village including a heroine with enough spark, smarts, and stubbornness to keep both the bad guys and the deliciously dangerous love-interest on their toes.”
 —Kat Richardson, author of the Greywalker series

To get a fresh start away from a bad relationship, Kylie Strange moves across the country to open a shop in a seemingly quiet town in rural Maine. During renovations on Strange Herbs & Teas, she discovers a peculiar and ancient codex, The Booke of the Hidden, bricked into the wall. Every small town has its legends and unusual histories, and this artifact sends Kylie right into the center of Moody Bog’s biggest secret.

While puzzling over the tome’s oddly blank pages, Kylie gets an unexpected visitor—Erasmus Dark, an inscrutable stranger who claims to be a demon, knows she has the book, and warns her that she has opened a portal to the netherworld. Kylie brushes off this nonsense, until a series of bizarre murders put her, the newcomer, at the center. With the help of the demon and a coven of witches she befriends while dodging the handsome but sharp-eyed sheriff, Kylie hunts for a killer—that might not be human. 






Los Angeles native and award-winning author Jeri Westerson writes the critically acclaimed Crispin Guest Medieval Mysteries, historical novels, paranormal novels, and LGBT mysteries. To date, her medieval mysteries have garnered twelve industry award nominations, from the Agatha to the Shamus. Kirkus Review said of her latest Crispin Guest Medieval Mystery A MAIDEN WEEPING, “Once again Guest’s past misdeeds actually help him in the present in a case that includes plenty of red herrings and an interesting look at medieval jurisprudence.” Jeri is former president of the SoCal chapter of Mystery Writers of America and frequently guest lectures on medieval history at local colleges and museums. She lives in southern California with her home-brewing husband, a complacent tortoise, and 40,000 bees.



Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!









Saturday, November 17, 2018

Tour & Giveaway: Secrets in Oak Creek by B.K. Stubblefield



Secrets in Oak Creek
by B.K. Stubblefield
Genre: Mystery, Romance


A small town with a dark secret. A new arrival in grave danger. Can she solve the mystery before she ends up the next victim?

The best part of Emily's childhood may have been the time she spent with her quirky aunt. So when her favorite relative passes away, she drops everything to attend the funeral in the small town of Oak Creek. But she never expected to inherit her aunt's entire estate, including her massive black dog Bentley. Just as she starts to get the hang of small-town life, an unknown driver runs her off the road and sends her to the hospital.

As doctors tend to her and she makes a connection with a charming Oak Creek resident named Ryan, Emily racks her brain to figure out who would want her dead. When sparks start to fly between her and the Good Samaritan that sat by her bedside, they team up to solve the mystery. Digging into the crime starts to reveal a dark side to Oak Creek and long-held secrets nobody wants revealed. Emily and Ryan must uncover the truth before her assailant comes back to finish the job.

**Only .99 cents!!**



TRAVELING SOUTHBOUND ON I-65, bottleneck traffic is slowly dissipating. Rush hour is over, but the recent storm has kept many employees at their offices past their normal office hours, while others have fled the streets to remain safely inside restaurants, bars, or shops.
Starting to relax, Emily turns up the volume of the country station tuned on the car’s radio. She hums along as Keith Urban’s sexy voice fills the interior of her aunt’s old 4-runner… “Baby, Blue Ain’t Your Color.”
Her exit was just a few miles ahead. Another twenty minutes after that, and she’d finally be home. Home…How strange that sounds, she thinks to herself.
Cars and trucks are passing by fast as she keeps her speed steady at the posted limit. The experience of flashing blue lights pulling her over has taught her to be cautious at this particular stretch of interstate. Driving in the far right lane keeps her from speeding.
Whoa…buddy! How about a little distance?
“Get off my butt, will ya?” A black pickup truck has sped up fast behind her, closing in on her tail. The vehicle looms large and menacing in her rearview mirror.
“What…are you freaking nuts? GET OFF MY ASS!” she shouts as she steps on the gas in an attempt to create more space between them. With rising anger, she flips him the bird and watches in horror as the truck then speeds up. Front and rear bumpers are within an inch of touching each other.
Frantically checking her rearview mirror, she can’t see the driver’s face but realizes the truck is relentless in its pursuit. But why?
In sudden fear, Emily’s heart begins pounding rapidly inside her chest. Her knuckles turn white as she curls her hands tightly around the steering wheel in an effort to brace for what she instinctively knows will come next.
Shiiit… NOO! This is gonna hurt…briefly flashes through her mind. Panic burns in her chest as adrenaline floods her body at the sound of metal crunching.




B.K. Stubblefield is a new writer with a passion for animal rescue. After adopting her new dog Harper, she was quickly overwhelmed with the challenges of raising a "puppy on steroids". Together with her close friend, Debra Wagner, she published 'Rescued: A Tale of Two Dogs', two nonfiction tales of love, patience and commitment.

In an effort to help bring awareness to animal neglect and abuse in our own neighborhoods, B.K. Stubblefield shares several short stories of animals brought out of the shadows and into the light of love in her second book "Rescued: Out of The Shadows." 

Fictional short stories and memory books/journals continue to carry the theme of dog rescue. 

B.K. Stubblefield is also a contributing author to "Be Their Voice: An Anthology for Rescue, Volume I & II 

Her debut novel, 'Secrets in Oak Creek', a mystery/romance, was published n November 2017.
Born and raised in Germany, the author has spent many years supporting her husband's military career. Moving between Europe and the United States, she now makes her home in the small rural town of Elizabethtown, Kentucky where she enjoys the slower pace of small town living. Early morning weekend walks with her dog Harper are among her favorite activities.




Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!







Friday, November 16, 2018

Tour & Giveaway: Finding Luna by Becca Fanning



Finding Luna 
Pride Book 1
by Becca Fanning
Genre: RH Paranormal Romance



What happens when three Lion Shifters have to share one Mate?

Maryellen was born into a life, if given the chance, she would gladly give away. Though she is probably one of the wealthiest people in the country, Maryellen has never wanted her wealth. Nor her family who is constantly trying to find ways to steal her wealth from her. After being the sole heir to her grandfather’s fortune, everyone has been out to get her ever since. After countless kidnapping attempts and always being afraid to fall asleep, El is finally taking the step to date someone and perhaps find true love. 

But when she meets Ryan on a blind date, her world changes forever. She is plunged into the world of the paranormal as Ryan reveals his true identity; that he is the leader of the local Pride of Lions. And more than that is the fact that Ryan knows El is her mate. And to make matters more complicated, Ryan is part of a Triad of brothers. Meaning, El has three mates. As El tries to comprehend this crazy new life she is a part of, she can’t deny how right this all feels. She now has the protection of shifters and three men who will love her and keep her safe. 

But, even after accepting her new life, she can’t let go of the past. She will have to find the truth behind why she is always targeted and come to understand that it’s not just for her money. She will have to make tough decisions, but at least now she knows she will never be alone again. 

USA Today Bestselling Author Becca Fanning brings you a compelling and steamy Reverse Harem Shifter Romance! 



Most people hate first dates.
The truth was, Maryellen Forsythe-Drew, or El to her friends, hated them too. But on this particular occasion, she had a gut feeling.
And that gut feeling was telling her that this date was going to be epic.
Sure, it wasn’t the first time the gut feeling had made an appearance, and had, ultimately, let her down. Like the time she’d been certain she’d be allowed more leeway with her campaigns on one of her charities when instead the head of project development had come on to her.
Filing for sexual harassment, and inadvertently getting the flexibility she’d wanted as a result, wasn’t how she figured gut feelings should work, but…
“Wow, way to blow your good mood, El,” she grumbled under her breath as she took a seat at the swanky restaurant where she’d arranged to meet with her blind date.
He wasn’t late. El was just insanely early. The need to get here, to get the ball rolling as it were, had been driving her since they’d made the damn arrangements on Thursday.
The anticipation of waiting for Saturday had practically killed her. But she’d already had arrangements with her parents on Friday night, and though she’d have loved to have skipped that particular session in torture, the misery from breaking that date wasn’t worth it.
Even for a date that had more potential than any other she’d had this year.
She blew out a breath as the server appeared. It was a woman, and praying for female solidarity instead of sisterly bitchiness, she asked, “Do I look flustered?”
The woman, a young blonde barely out of high school, blinked at her. “Ma’am?”
“I’m about to have a first date,” El explained, her stomach rumbling with more nerves. “I was just hoping I don’t look as bright pink as I feel.”
The server, Diana from her badge, smiled at her. “No, you don’t look pink. You look quite cute.”
El blinked. “Really?”
“Yeah.” Diana grinned. “I bat for your team, so you can trust me when I say that.”
El’s mouth dropped open. Feeling more flustered now, her hands rose and fell several times on her lap before they settled on digging into her upper thighs. “Oh my God, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to impose.”
Could she have messed that up more royally?
Diana snorted. “Don’t be silly. I only mentioned it so you’d know when I say cute, I mean it. I can tell, you’re very nervous though.”
“I am,” El confessed, and it felt weird to have a confessor who was at least ten years younger than her, but damn, she’d take anything she could get. “I met him on that new dating site, Pride in Love. My friends dared me to go on it and I thought it was just stupid, but then I met Ryan, and…” She blew out a long breath.
“He’s like the whole package, you know?”
Diana’s smile was warm. “I’m glad. So why if he’s the ‘whole package’ are you nervous? You should be excited!”
“Because I’m a dork, and I don’t want to screw things up,” El admitted. “I’m already here forty minutes early…”
Diana blinked in surprise. “Wow! That’s definitely early. Can I get you something to drink or eat to settle your nerves?”
“I don’t normally drink,” El confessed again. “But on this occasion, I’ll have a white wine spritzer. Maybe that will calm me down. I really don’t want to mess this up.”
“Well, you look beautiful, and you’re nice and friendly, El. I don’t see why you should be any different when Ryan comes by.”
Something about Diana’s words before she bustled off had El sitting up straighter. The server was right.
She was a nice woman. Easy to talk to, friendly and caring. On the outside, she wasn’t bad to look at. Her friends said she was beautiful but El knew they were just being kind—if she dropped thirty pounds, she’d be beautiful.
As El’s mom often said, “You have such a pretty face, darling.” That wonderful compliment often came when El arrived at the family home, dressed formally as her mother required, and always feeling wanting in comparison to her stick thin sisters-in-law—a feeling her mother encouraged.
El shrugged off the thought because if she had her parents on her mind she’d never charm Ryan.
Even thinking about her family was enough to subdue her, and El knew that wasn’t the woman Ryan had come to know. 
Within the anonymity of the dating site, she’d allowed her natural vivacity to flow free when they’d chatted, and she wanted Ryan to meet that side of her. The uninhibited woman who could and would appear when she wasn’t being cowed by her mommy and daddy.
Irritation flared, and she embraced it. Embraced the heat because it burned that inner core of cold that she’d created over the years as a defense mechanism.
Spying Diana coming with her drink, El took a look around the restaurant and smiled. It was a fancy place, that was for sure.
Bright white, it should have been cold, but huge golden orbs were suspended from the ceiling in different heights, creating a wave of sorts. The orbs were like miniature moons. All of them in assorted sizes.
They swirled about the room, even appearing on the floor; in corners or over on the dancefloor in the center of the restaurant, which was bordered by the bright orbs.
Tables were sectioned off for privacy with low frosted glass partitions, but the bright cerulean blue tablecloths were a spark of color in the otherwise white restaurant. Even the waitstaff wore all white.
She looked at the doorway where the maître d’ stood. The woman was tall, close to six feet, and she was the only staff member that El could see who wore color—the same bright blue as the tablecloths. Her white starched blouse was tucked into high waist trousers, and the result was a tailored dream.
El wished like hell she had the figure to pull off something so simple, but she was way too round for that.
A pear when she needed to be a ruler.
Feeling Diana’s approach, she was about to turn when she saw Ryan—immediately recognizing him from his pictures online. He didn’t come from the front door, but from a back room behind the maître d’. He stopped to talk to the woman, smiled at her as he bent over the stand, and studied the plans
she kept on there.
Just as El was wondering whether Ryan managed the restaurant or something, he kissed the maître d’s cheek.
Bile tried and failed to gurgle around her insides, but jealousy did. It hadn’t been a sexual kiss, El tried to reason with herself.
Still, seeing it hurt.
The thought had her stiffening in her seat because she didn’t own the damn man.
It had been a kiss on the cheek, not an all-out make out session in the doorway. Friends kissed friends, right? It could be perfectly natural. Innocent, she thought frantically.
Before the tension from her date kissing another woman could flood her, Diana appeared and popped her drink down in front of her. The server must have seen where she was looking because she half-turned and saw Ryan.
El frowned at Diana’s reaction—the other woman dropped her tray to her side and declared, “You’re the Ryan?”
El flushed. “Excuse me?” Mortification succeeded in turning her bright pink. What the hell was going on?
Ryan approached the table, and now he was nearer, and not kissing cheeks with beautiful members of staff, she had to admit he was better looking in person.
God, talk about a total understatement. Better looking? That was like saying he was handsome.
Ryan was…
Well, handsome wasn’t the word.
He was a god.
That was it.
No other way of describing him.
Taller than the maître d’, she knew from his profile he was six-seven. But he wore it well. He wasn’t thin and lean, but lithe and strong. His muscles were evident through his brutally tailored navy suit. It clung in all the right places and displayed a soupcon of a white silk shirt that lay flat against abs so
delineated, she could see them through the fabric. He wore no tie, but he had a little pocket handkerchief… the lack of one and the presence of the other equalizing the semi-formal look.
His hair was a blond any woman would have killed for. So many shades of gold, her own hands longed to touch the silky locks. He was tanned and bronze, and his eyes were a bright blue that seemed to scan the situation with ease.
He had a strong Roman nose, a wide brow, lips made for kissing, and a jaw so hulking she knew from looks alone how stubborn he was.
All in all, she felt totally underdressed and overwhelmed.
Who was this god and why had he elected to date her?
She gulped when he shot her a smile that made her melt. Just like that.
Jesus.
His nostrils flared a second, but before she could freak out over whether he could smell her arousal—who could do that? No one, she desperately reassured herself—he turned to Diana and wrapped an arm around her.
Wow, this guy was tactile.


USA Today Bestselling Author Becca is interested in one thing: big alpha male Shifters who know when to be tough and when to be sensitive. She didn't think there were enough of those, so she's been writing about them for the past three years! Her books are steamy with deep characters, suspense and authentic relationships.


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