Monday, October 16, 2017

Blog Tour - Thrill of Love By Melissa Foster


Fate brings Ty and Aiyla together, but will tragedy tear them apart?


THRILL OF LOVE
The Bradens at Peaceful Harbor, MD #6
Melissa Foster
Releasing Oct 4, 2017
World Literary Press


Do you believe in fate?

World-renowned mountain climber and nature photographer Ty Braden never believed in second dates, much less heart-pounding, steal-his-breath love. But that was before a trip to Saint-Luc, where he met funny, strong, and entrancingly beautiful Aiyla Bell, a ski instructor and fellow photographer whose hopes and dreams, and love of the outdoors, aligned perfectly with his—and whose kisses alone turned him inside out.

After spending five magical days and four sweet, soulful nights falling in love, Aiyla couldn’t imagine a day without Ty. But when he asked her to go with him on his next assignment, his reputation for having women at his beck and call stopped her from upending the life she’d worked so hard to create.

Months later fate steps in when a chance encounter brings Ty and Aiyla together for a five-day wilderness event held in the Colorado Mountains. Their deep, passionate connection is stronger than ever, and Ty is bound and determined not to lose her again. But when tragedy strikes and their worlds are turned upside down, their love faces the truest test of all.




REVIEW
The minute I heard about the  Thrill of  Love I was so very excited  . I mean just reading that blurb had me so very intrigued to dive into this story,  so when I got a chance to read this book I was so excited .  Ty and  Aiyla story carried me on a rollercoaster of emotions and I loved every minute of it, their story was sexy, swoon-worthy and so emotional.I was  hooked from  very  early on in this story and  It felt like my eyes  where racing to get to  each  page because I needed to know what would happen next , there were so many times where I would sit down and wonder how are things going to end well for  these two just because of the heartbreaking thing that happens  that turns there world upside down, however as you always hear love finds a way and Melissa Foster delivers a perfect ending for there story . Thill of  Love was an excellent story and  I thoroughly enjoyed it!! If you love all these things in your books you should definately  go pick up a copy.

RATING 
4.5/5 STARS





Excerpt
She sat outside her tent snacking on Tropical Heat Hot Tamales and icing her leg, wishing she and Ty had exchanged numbers so she could call and find him now.
“There’s my girl!” Ty’s voice boomed from across the clearing, as arrogant and appealing as ever.
Everyone looked up to see who he was talking about—including Aiyla—as he strutted across the dirt in a pair of dark green cargo shorts and open sweatshirt over an impossibly snug shirt. Their eyes met and sparks ignited like a wick, burning up the space between them.
Aiyla set the ice pack on a towel and pushed to her feet, trying desperately not to choke on her candy as her stomach dipped and flipped.
“Your girl?” she asked. “Presumptuous, aren’t you?”
His eyes took a slow stroll down her body, heating up every inch as his gaze dragged down her breasts, her stomach, all the way to her toes. She wasn’t the kind of girl who wore makeup or fussed with fancy hairstyles. And as his eyes took on an appreciative, sinful darkness, she remembered how often in Saint-Luc he’d told her she was beautiful, each time making her blush anew.
“Mm-mm.” His smoldering eyes were set off by his cocky grin. “Shorts and a hoodie have never looked so good.” He stepped closer, his tone turning seductive. “You smell sweet and hot. My favorite combination.”


Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance and new adult romance with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Melissa’s emotional journeys are lovingly erotic and always family oriented–perfect beach reads for contemporary romance lovers who enjoy reading about wealthy heroes and smart, sassy heroines.


Friday, October 13, 2017

Excerpt Reveal - Ride Hard By Laura Kaye

   

Get Ready for RIDE WILD with an exclusive excerpt AND a Sale on RIDE HARD!

OMG you guys! I’m so excited! Because the first book in my new Raven Riders series is on sale for just $.99 for a limited time AND I’ve got an advance excerpt from the newest book here for you to enjoy! The Raven Riders is a sexy contemporary romance series, and a spin-off from my Hard Ink world, about a different kind of a motorcycle club with a protective mission. Ride Hard tells the story of a sheltered woman on the run who’s been rescued by the jaded and tormented president of the Raven Riders, who learns that she’s strong enough to save herself and the man she loves, too. Ride Wild is the story of a sexy single father wild with grief over the death of his wife several years before and the strong survivor he hires to be his nanny. It’s hot and emotional and I adored writing it! I hope you’ll check both out – plus they’re standalones, so you can jump in anywhere!

Also, did you know that I’m donating a portion of all my sales from Ride Wild through 11/5 to Noah’s Arks Rescue? AND that you can get a bonus story for grabbing your copy?

Now, enjoy this delicious tease from Ride Wild, coming 10/31/17, and grab your copies of BOTH! Thanks for reading! ~ Laura Kaye

 
About Ride Hard (Raven Riders #1)

Now on sale for $.99 for a limited time!


Brotherhood. Club. Family.

They live and ride by their own rules.

These are the Raven Riders…

Raven Riders Motorcycle Club President Dare Kenyon rides hard and values loyalty above all else. He’ll do anything to protect the brotherhood of bikers—the only family he’s got—as well as those who can’t defend themselves. So when mistrustful Haven Randall lands on the club’s doorstep scared that she’s being hunted, Dare takes her in, swears to keep her safe, and pushes to learn the secrets overshadowing her pretty smile.

Haven fled from years of abuse at the hands of her criminal father and is suspicious of any man’s promises, including those of the darkly sexy and overwhelmingly intense Ravens’ leader. But as the powerful attraction between them flares to life, Dare pushes her boundaries and tempts her to want things she never thought she could.

The past never dies without a fight, but Dare Kenyon’s never backed down before…


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 From Ride Wild

“I don’t know how I’m going to do this.” “Do what?” Of course, healing from this was going to take some time. And he’d help her with that however he could. And forgiving herself, well, even when there was nothing to forgive, it was possible to beat yourself up till the end of time. Slider knew that too damn well, didn’t he? As for getting justice—or revenge—the Ravens had already taken care of that when they’d killed her degenerate drunk of a father at their racetrack the night Haven’s father attacked the club. But none of that was what she meant. Instead, she surprised the hell out of him—not with what she revealed, exactly, because he had an inkling. But instead she surprised him with her courage. “Pretend that I don’t have feelings for you,” she said. If she hadn’t owned him already, she did as of that very moment. Emotion this in his throat, he tried to tell her. “I’ve been such a fucking wreck, Cora.” “I know. I didn’t admit that to try to make you say anything back.” He cupped her face in his hand, because he sure as shit was going to respond to that. “I’m a wreck, and I’d convinced myself that I always would be. But lately, I’ve been trying. I’ve been better. Hopeful, for the first time in years.” Admitting that should’ve been freeing, and it was. But, maybe ridiculously, it was also scary as fuck. Because when you’d become wed to a certain narrative of your life, letting go of it threatened to crumble the ground beneath your feet, leaving you with no idea where you’d be left standing when the dust settled. Her expression went so, so soft. For him. “I’m really glad of that, Slider. So glad you feel better.” “It’s you, Cora. It’s me, too, some. But you worked your way into my heart and my head and my house and my whole life until I could see again that I had a life. One I’d been neglecting. One I hadn’t been appreciating. So I don’t know how I’m going to pretend either. And frankly, I don’t want to, not anymore. Because I care about you, too. And not just as a friend.” “You…really?” she asked, her eyes so wide and her face so damn pretty. God, she didn’t get it, did she? Just how much she’d done to change his life…But he was going to make sure she did from here on out. “Really. I don’t know where we go or what we call it or how public we go with it, but there’s something here. And I want it. I want you.”     



   

About Ride Rough (Raven Riders #2)

Brotherhood. Club. Family.

They live and ride by their own rules.

These are the Raven Riders…

Maverick Rylan won’t apologize for who he is—the Raven Riders Motorcycle Club Vice-President, a sought-after custom bike builder, and a man dedicated to protecting those he loves. So when he learns that the only woman who has ever held his heart is in trouble, he’ll move heaven and earth to save her.

Alexa Harmon thought she had it all—the security of a good job, a beautiful home, and a powerful, charming fiancé who offered the life she never had growing up. But when her dream quickly turns into a nightmare, Alexa realizes she’s fallen for a façade she can’t escape—until sexy, dangerous Maverick offers her a way out.

Forced together to keep Alexa safe, their powerful attraction reignites and Maverick determines to do whatever it takes to earn a second chance—one Alexa is tempted to give. But her ex-fiancé isn’t going to let her go without a fight, one that will threaten everything they both hold dear.


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About Ride Wild (Raven Riders #3, 10/31/17)

Brotherhood. Club. Family. They live and ride by their own rules. These are the Raven Riders...

Wild with grief over the death of his wife, Sam “Slider” Evans merely lives for his two sons. Nothing holds his interest anymore—not even riding his bike or his membership in the Raven Riders Motorcycle Club. But that all changes when he hires a new babysitter. Recently freed from a bad situation by the Ravens, Cora Campbell is determined to bury the past. When Slider offers her a nanny position, she accepts, needing the security and time to figure out what she wants from life. Cora adores his sweet boys, but never expected the red-hot attraction to their brooding, sexy father. If only he would notice her... Slider does see the beautiful, fun-loving woman he invited into his home. She makes him feel too much, and he both hates it and yearns for it. But when Cora witnesses something she shouldn’t have, the new lives they’ve only just discovered are threatened. Now Slider must claim—and protect—what’s his before it’s too late.


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PREORDER RIDE WILD & HELP MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

Animal rescue is a big part of the storyline of Ride Wild, and that’s something that's close to Laura’s heart, so Laura’s giving to the cause by donating a portion of all preorders and sales through 11/5 to Noah's Arks Rescue, a fantastic organization that serves as a source of inspiration for the book. When you grab your copy of RIDE WILD, you're helping a great cause AND you'll get a bonus story when you submit your order info, too!


Submit Your Preorder Info to Get A Bonus Story:https://a.pgtb.me/HRn7Bc


Learn More about Noah's Arks: http://www.noahs-arks.net/

      About Laura Kaye: Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over twenty books in contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense, including the Hard Ink and upcoming Raven Riders series. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.      

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Trailer Reveal - Fault Lines By Rebecca Shea

   

From USA Today bestselling author, Rebecca Shea, comes a new, heartbreakingly beautiful standalone romance, FAULT LINES. Don’t miss the stunning and captivating trailer below, and pre-order your copy today!

   

About FAULT LINES:

At eleven he was my first crush. At sixteen he became mine. At nineteen he broke my heart and destroyed me. That was ten years ago and the last time I saw Cole Ryan.

They say you never get over your first love...I beg to differ. I left my shattered heart buried in a town I never expected to return to. I erased every thought of him and buried the memories never to be found.
I moved on...now ten years later I have the perfect life, the perfect fiancé, the perfect career. Everything I ever wanted until I'm forced to go back and face my past and the man that destroyed me.
He won't stop until I know the truth no matter how hard I fight it. In the end, lies will be uncovered, hearts will be broken, and my life as I've come to know it destroyed.
   

FAULT LINES is coming October 30, 2017! Pre-order your copy today!


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Add to your Goodreads

   



    About Rebecca Shea: Rebecca Shea is the USA Today Bestselling author of the Unbreakable series (Unbreakable, Undone, and Unforgiven) and the Bound and Broken series (Broken by Lies and Bound by Lies). She lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her family. From the time Rebecca could read she has had a passion for books. Rebecca spends her days working and her nights writing, bringing stories to life. Born and raised in Minnesota, Rebecca moved to Arizona in 1999 to escape the bitter winters. When not working or writing, she can be found on the sidelines of her sons’ football games, or watching her daughter at ballet class. Rebecca is fueled by insane amounts of coffee, margaritas, Laffy Taffy (except the banana ones), and happily ever afters.      

Website | Facebook | Twitter |Instagram |Goodreads

   

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Release Blitz - This Dark Light By Nazarea Andrews

 

Today we are celebrating the release of THIS DARK LIGHT by Nazarea Andrews. This Dark Light is an adult contemporary romance, standalone novel. You can purchase it now on Amazon.

Follow Nazarea's newsletter for news and giveaways!

 

THIS DARK LIGHT by Nazarea Andrews

A Standalone Contemporary Romance

PURCHASE NOW

Amazon | Kobo | *More links coming soon!

Blurb:

When their business partner and friend Scott dies, brothers Austin and Ezra retreat from the world, to regroup, to write a book, to grieve. They return to Lightpointe, a tiny village where Scott grew up, and take up residence in an abandoned lighthouse.

While Austin is drawn into the eccentric seaside village they live on the outskirts of, Ezra loses himself in the pain of his best friend’s death. He wanders the beach and their lighthouse, stuck in his grief and the life he left behind, until a handsome stranger on the beach intrigues him. He strikes up a friendship with the eccentric Milo, a quiet distraction as his brother begins dating again.

Both Austin and Ezra are falling in love. But as Austin learns more about the village, it becomes clear that Milo is hiding things about his past.

And losing someone else might destroy Ezra.

------------------------------------

  ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  

NazareaAndrewsNazarea Andrews (N to almost everyone) is an avid reader and tends to write the stories she wants to read. Which means she writes everything from zombies and dystopia to contemporary love stories. When not writing, she can most often be found driving her kids to practice and burning dinner while she reads, or binge watching TV shows on Netflix. N loves chocolate, wine, and coffee almost as much as she loves books, but not quite as much as she loves her kids. N is a self-professed geek and enjoys spending her spare time lost in her favorite fandoms and can often be found babbling about them on social media. She lives in south Georgia with her husband, daughters, spoiled cat and overgrown dog. She is the author of World Without End series, Neverland Found, Edge of the Falls, and The University of Branton Series. Stop by her twitter (@NazareaAndrews) and tell her what fantastic book she should read next.  
AUTHOR LINKS:
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Release Day Blitz - Game On By Victoria Denault





GAME ON by Victoria Denault 
October 10, 2017
Hometown Players Series Book 6

“I don’t break hearts. I break headboards…”

When it comes to scoring in the pro hockey league, Alex Larue is crushing it—with the hot puck bunnies.  He’s the life of the party, the guy with all the jokes… and the one whose Party Guy mast keeps the real him well hidden.  The last thing he needs is anyone finding out about his troubled past, or the nightmares that haunt him still.

Brie Bennett is less than impressed by Alex from the moment she meets him.  And even though he insists on volunteering at the charity she runs, she doesn’t trust him.  He’s hiding something…but so is she.  She’s not just the rich privileged New York princess he thinks she is.  The animosity between them is undeniably addictive and as their worlds keep colliding it becomes supercharges with something else—attraction.  But if they stop playing games and let each other in, they both might lose.

Buy the Book!
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2v1aq9j
Google: http://bit.ly/2vu7C5k

REVIEW
Game On is my very first  Victoria Denault by book so when I got the chance to read   this book I was thrilled and I dived into this book as soon as I could .Watching  Alex and Brie story unfold over the course of this book was just fantastic.   This book was sexy  ,  fun but at the same filled with moments that are filled with emotion and heartwarming moments and the way that Victoria Denault is able to balance all that is just fantastic.  I could go on and about how good this book was, it was so hard to put down  and throughly enjoyed  it .I felt that this was  the perfect story for this couple  and the epilogue omg that epilogue just made me so happy .Iam sad to be ending this story  but happy to see what   Victoria Denault  will have  instore for us next.If you love all  these in your books you should  definately get a copy of Game On as soon as you.





Excerpt

I look around at Alex’s sparse apartment. There’s a sectional, an ottoman, but no chairs, bookcases or pictures. The nook for his bedroom only contains one three-drawer dresser. His bedside lamp is on the floor beside the bed because it doesn’t have night tables. “You don’t seem to like things.”
               He shrugs, and those deep blue eyes find mine. “I don’t have a lot of things from my past worth holding on to.”
               Oh, this man… I reach up and gently cup the side of his face. He grasps my hand and I think he’s going to pull it away, but he doesn’t. He holds it to his face and pushes into it. He’s like a puppy looking for love, and I want desperately to give it to him. But he won’t let me.
               “And you seem to want to throw away things now that are worth holding on to.” I force myself to step back and start walking toward the front door because if I don’t leave now I’ll let things happen that are going to mean more to me than they should. Than he wants them to. But his words stop me in my tracks.
               “I don’t know how to be a boyfriend, Brie.” The look of pure confusion on his face would be comical if we were still talking about his inability to run a dishwasher. But we’re talking about feelings here. “The only thing I’ve ever committed to was hockey and even it tried to reject me. Hell, in a way every time I get traded, I feel like it still is. But it’s a thing, not a person. Hockey doesn’t have a choice, but you do.”
               I start to walk back into the kitchen as he turns away from me to look out the window. “People who have had the choice to keep me in their lives never have.”
                Thank God he’s turned away because I actually press my palm to my heart to keep it from cracking. Holy shit. I have no idea how anyone would walk away from him – the man and his big, broken heart –because what I want to do is run to him. “Give me that choice and I’ll change your track record.”
               He grunts and turns back to face me. “You’re this amazing, stubborn, gorgeous woman who wants more than the one thing I know I can give. And as much as I suddenly, for the first time in my life, want to try and give more, I’m so fucking clueless as to how.”
               I walk right up to him so we’re toe to toe. “You want to know how? You just do it. You let me in. You take the chance, like you do every time you step onto the ice. You don’t know if you’ll win or lose, but you play the game anyway and you take the shots on net even if you don’t know if you’re going to score. So tell me you want this. Take the shot.”
               He nuzzles my hand and but then turns his face and kisses my palm. When he turns back to me he looks so serious it’s startling. “I want this.”
                I smile. It’s not big, but I feel it inside me from my toes to the roots of my hair. “Game on?”
               He smiles back, raw but darkly playful. “Game on.”







About the Author


Victoria Denault loves long walks on the beach, cinnamon dolce lattes and writing angst-filed romance.  She lives in LA but grew up in Montreal, which is why she is fluent in English, French, and hockey.

Social Media Links

Add Game On to your shelf on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2v1ac28
Follow Victoria Denault on BookBub: http://bit.ly/2fbVn7r
Follow Victoria Denault on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2fcwA2T

Giveaway
Enter to win 1 of 15 free ebook downloads of Game Onhttp://bit.ly/2u8w4K5



Release Day Blitz - Knocking Her Up By London Hale

KHU_BLITZ_2
London Hale DELIVERS today...
Knocking Her Up is officially here!!!
GET YOUR COPY NOW:


IT'S #FREE FOR KU SUBSCRIBERS!!!KHU_BLITZ_1
BLURB:
She wants a baby
All I’ve ever desired is a family of my own. Too afraid I’ll follow in my late mother’s footsteps, I plan to have a baby before time runs out. Problem is, I fell in love with someone unattainable. John Hamilton is kind, thoughtful, and generous...and it doesn’t hurt that he’s built like a Mack truck. I’m ready to throw caution to the wind and ask him to be the father of my child. The only problem? He’s my stepbrother, and it could destroy our family.
He just wants her
The first time I met Emery Collins, she was a scrawny teenager...and my new stepsister.  She’s a grown woman now, and every long, hard inch of me has taken notice. But with our family ties, she’s officially off limits. Too bad she’s come to me with something she wants, something she needs from me. Now I can’t stop dreaming of filling her...of watching her belly swell with my child. What she’s asking for could tear apart our cobbled-together family. I’m just not sure it’s enough to stop me from taking what I want.
ADD TO YOUR TBR → http://bit.ly/2xGo4zS

REVIEW
I love London Hale books so when I heard about Knocking Her Up I was so excited and could not wait to dive into the story and it was fantastic.  John and  Emery story has to be my favouarte London Hale story ever! it was sexy  , fun  and filled with all  those little   moments  that  make it a signature London Hale  book .This story was so good I found my  self  rereading parts of  it  just  to stay in those moments . Knocked Her Up  was fantastic and I cannot wait to get my hands on the next London Hale  books. If you are wondering if you should pick this book up the  anwser is yes do it as soon as you can .

RATING
5/5 STARS



sensual heterosexual couple making love

About London Hale:
London Hale is the combined pen name of writing besties Ellis Leigh and Brighton Walsh. Between them, they’ve published more than thirty books in the contemporary romance, paranormal romance, and romantic suspense genres. Ellis is a USA Today bestselling author who loves coffee, thinks green Skittles are the best, and prefers to stay in every weekend. Brighton is multi-published with Berkley, St. Martin’s Press, and Carina Press. She hates coffee, thinks green Skittles are the work of the devil, and has never heard of a party she didn’t want to attend. Don’t ask how they became such good friends or work so well together—they still haven’t figured it out themselves.
Follow London online:
Goodreads → http://bit.ly/2tY7vxA


Blog Tour - The Duke By Katherine Ashe


Katharine Ashe continues her lush and sensual Devil’s Duke series with a sweeping story of unbreakable love.
Six years ago, when Lady Amarantha Vale was an innocent in a foreign land and Gabriel Hume was a young naval officer, they met . . . and played with fire.
Now Gabriel is the dark lord known to society as the Devil’s Duke, a notorious recluse hidden away in a castle in the Highlands. Only Amarantha knows the truth about him, and she won’t be intimidated. He is the one man who can give her the answers she needs.
But Gabriel cannot let her learn his darkest secret. So begins a game of wit and desire that proves seduction is more satisfying—and much more wicked—the second time around…




About the Book


The Duke
by Katharine Ashe


Series
Devil’s Duke #3


Genre
Adult
Historical Romance


Publisher
Avon Books


Publication Date
September 26, 2017

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EXCERPT
He saw her for the first time ever in a storage cellar with rain slashing at her face, standing atop a crate, struggling to fasten a window, and the first words he heard from her lips were, “Damn and blast it to Hades!”

Before he could duck his head beneath the lintel and move forward, she turned to him eyes the color of cloverleaves
and lit like lightning.

“Don’t gape, you big column of shark bait,” she shouted. “Help me!”

A blast of wind struck the building and the shop above them shuddered. Her grip slipped over the window latch.
Gabriel shoved his shoulders through the narrow doorway and in three strides crossed the room. The wind blew
hot and punishingly hard through the opening, but she did not release the latch. Covering her hand with his, he drove
the frame shut.

The building moaned, and Gabriel found himself looking down upon a nose both freckled and wet, lips both lush and damp, lashes both long and dripping, and cloverleaves that had gone entirely round. Her features were English, fine, and not unattractive. After five months at sea, he would have been one sailor in a million to resist following the trail of rainwater down her pale throat in which her pulse beat visibly to the gown laced tight around her collar, sodden, and clinging to her curves.

Sweet curves.

“Remove your hand from mine and your eyes from where they have fallen out of your head,” she said in such
an altered tone that he barely heard it below the groaning of the walls and the pounding of the rain. Rather, the
pounding of his pulse.

Too long at sea.

He removed his eyes and then his entire self. Stepping back, he offered his hand for her descent from the crate.

She lifted a single brow.

“I beg your pardon,” he said roughly, withdrawing his hand once again.

She grasped her sodden skirts and climbed nimbly down. “You are pardoned, Shark Bait. This time.”

“Lieutenant,” he corrected.

Swiftly scanning the room with those eyes that even in the murky light of this day were like the green of Highlands
mountains, she untied the ribbons at her throat, removed her dripping bonnet, and tossed it atop a barrel.

“Have you got a handkerchief?”

He reached into his waistcoat and proffered the square of linen. She glanced at his outstretched hand, then at his
face, then at his hand again, and did not move forward.

“You are a giant beast of a man, aren’t you?” she said.

“So I’ve been told.” He set the linen on a crate and backed away, curling his fingers into his palm that had
easily encompassed her whole hand. Taking up the kerchief, she unfolded it with trembling fingers and wiped the rainwater from her face. Wind and rain battered the building in frenzied fury, filling the tiny space with sound.

“I wonder how you go along aboard a ship.” Her gaze passed up and down him anew. “The crown of my head
is barely to your chin yet I found the quarters aboard our ship frightfully cramped. Unless naval ships are much
more spacious, you must spend every day bent over.”
“Aye, but only the part o’ the day belowdecks.”

The lush lips twitched. When she withdrew her gaze to look about the room, he felt the loss of that reluctant smile in his chest like the loss of air.

Nonsense. He was muddled with exhaustion from preparing the Fairway for the storm. This storage room beneath the shop was minuscule, heavy with heat, and packed with sacks of rice and grain, barrels of sugar and ham, wooden parts for furniture, skeins of silk, boxes of nails and other tools, and even one small keg of gunpowder. She strode the circumference of it, rounding him, and then halting where she had begun.

The wind blasted against the shop above and she tilted her face upward to peer at the ceiling that hung an inch above
his head. Biting her lips between her teeth, she drew a hard breath, and then looked at him again.

“I suppose you have experience with storms of this sort,” she said.

Not of this sort. But spots of pink sat upon each pale cheek now. She had tucked her hands into her soggy skirts
to hide their quivering. She was making a valiant effort to conceal her distress—more valiant than many a sailor
he’d known.

“ ‘Twill blow over soon enough, lass.”

“That was a lie,” she said, a dart forming between her brows. “Why did you lie to me?”

“I didna—” He bit back his retort. But his patience was frayed. There had been no sign of the Theia entering the harbor, though he had stood in the downpour until the swells were rising so suddenly and steeply over the quay he had finally been obliged to shelter here. And now this: a sharp-tongued English girl with the manners of a stevedore.

Gabriel didn’t care much for social niceties. But a man wasn’t made First Lieutenant of a ship of the line at twenty-three by failing to mind his tongue.

Minding his behavior was another matter entirely.

He bent his head and a stream of water cascaded from his hat brim. He glanced at her through the waterfall. “Would you be fretting if I remove my hat?”

The cinnamon spots that trailed over the bridge of her nose and across her cheeks crinkled together to make one big cinnamon blotch. “Why on earth should I?”

He set his hat upon a crate. Wrapping her arms about herself she watched him closely.

“Well?” she said. Some of her hair had escaped the knot at the back of her head and clung wetly to her brow
just as the fabric of her gown clung to her hips and legs.

Copper hair striated with gold.

Softly rounded hips.

Long legs.

The damn pulse in his head was a snare drum. He knew men whose cravings for feminine flesh got the best
of them when they finally came into port. He had never been one of those men. Women weren’t to be enjoyed
like a randy stallion taking a mare, rather with as much appreciation as a man savored a tumbler of fine brandy,
or a sublime piece of music, or a painting by an Italian master—a Michelangelo or Botticelli.

Sweet curves.

Her garments were fine, her speech cultivated, and she was old enough to know that her damp gown was not in
the least modest at present.

The stallion was winning.

“ ‘Twill be some time before the storm passes,” he said in too husky a voice. “ ’Tis miles wide.”

The brilliant cloverleaves popped round again.

“Miles?” Beneath the freckles and agitated flush, her skin was smooth—cheeks, brow, hands. She had not been
in the islands long, and she was little more than a girl.

After nearly a decade at sea, Gabriel could barely remember boyhood.

“You’ve just arrived?” he said.

“Two days ago on the Camelot.”

Gabriel knew it. As first officer on one of His Majesty’s finest ships of the line, it was his responsibility to know
the merchant vessels that docked at English ports.

“No one warned you o’ hurricanes?”

“No.” She had remarkable features: mobile and bright and expressive. “Should they have?”

“It’ll be hours still.” And it would leave a mighty mess of destruction.

“How many hours?”

“No’ till morning.”

With a long inhalation, she released her arms from about her chest. “Then we should make ourselves comfortable,” she said with newly crisp decision and swept him with another perusal, lingering ever-so-briefly on the medals pinned to his coat. “If you can. You are as wet as I, yet you look like a toy soldier, standing there so erect and unbending. I suppose sailors are accustomed to being soaked through, of course.”

“If they’re bad sailors, aye.”

Pleasure flared in her eyes. “Now, make yourself useful and help me search these crates for a woolen shawl or blanket. For I am soaked through.” She set to her task on the nearest crate, but the lid was nailed shut and her fingertips strained at the wood.

He went to her side. Scent arose from her damp hair and skin. She smelled like a memory. He withdrew the knife from his coat and pried open the lid.

“It seems that you are useful after all,” she said with a half grin that abruptly turned something very sharp in
his gut and made him want to tell her the truth. Urgently. All truths. Truths about the hurricane and truths about the
depths of the sea and the stars in the heavens and every one of the sins that made him a beast indeed.

“Lass, ’tis as likely as no’ that before this night is o’er, the sea will top the wharfs an’ swallow this building.”

“And we in it.”

“Aye.”

“I see.” For a moment she said nothing. “After we find blankets we should look for a deck of cards or a backgammon board in these crates. For if we are to die tonight, we had better enjoy our final hours on earth, hadn’t we, Shark Bait?”

“Lieutenant.” He could not look away from her eyes. Black clouds without blotted the tropical sun, allowing
only the most reluctant light into this room, yet her eyes sparkled.

Backgammon. She had the body of a siren and the innocence of a girl.

“You’ve a disliking for sailors, it seems,” he said.

“The officers aboard the Camelot confined me to my quarters for the entire duration of the journey. They said it was not suitable for me to be atop, but I think they simply did not want me to witness them drinking the day away every day.”

More than likely they did not trust themselves with the pretty little siren wandering about.

“I think you are trying not to smile, Shark Bait. Will you attempt to deny that sailors drink excessively?”

“No.”

“So, you understand the reason for my dislike.”

“Because hardworking men are fond o’ spirits?”

“Because they refused to share their spirits with me.”

They found blankets woven of soft wool and tins of biscuits. They had no lamp, which Gabriel said was for the better, and she accepted that without comment. As the storm lashed the shop above and water trickled through the seams of the window, and darkness fell, they found a cask of new rum. She said that she had never tasted rum, and asked if, being a Scot, he preferred whiskey. He replied that he did, but that any grog in a storm would do.

She smiled so readily, as though her lips were more accustomed to smiling than not. Despite her obvious breeding,
there was no maidenly modesty in her frankness. It was on the tip of his tongue to say that over both whiskey and
rum he already preferred her.

She discovered sugar, which he added to the rum to make it more palatable for her, and she sipped warily. As
the daylight waned and she explored the contents of crates and barrels, she darted glances at him—frequently.

She spoke with ease but she came no nearer to him than necessary. When the black night consumed every last wisp of light she ceased speaking. As the hurricane shook the walls, Gabriel settled onto the ground with his back against a crate. Closing his eyes, he made himself picture the Theia bobbing violently at anchor in some nearby port, its decks flooded in foam but its crew and officers tucked into some terrestrial haven.

No time left for repentance. He had thought he and Jonah would have plenty of time. Sailors perished every day at sea, but somehow he had believed them untouchable.

Invincible, Gabe. That’s what the storytellers will say of us someday. Invincible.

In the heavy darkness, her scent came to him again. Like home. Not the mossy grass of the mountains of Kallin, nor the wildflowers that carpeted the hills of Haiknayes. She smelled of woodland fir: crisp and warm and rich.

The room rattled and he felt her settle silently at his side.

“How did you come to be here in this cellar?” she said very quietly. She was close to his shoulder, closer than he
had anticipated.

“I was watching for a ship. You?”

“I walked to post a letter and got caught up with exploring. Everything here is so different and interesting. I
was far from the hotel before I thought to turn around.” She made a sound that might have been a sigh. “I failed to heed the warnings.”

“Dinna fear, lass. ‘Twill be morning before long.”

“You are lying again, Shark Bait.” Then he felt the pressure of her body against his arm, her shoulder leaning
in. “But this time I don’t mind it.”

He did not move. He could not move. He wanted her bone and flesh pressing against his so simply. Perhaps in
these final hours that had come far too soon in his life, God was offering him mercy, a moment of innocent pleasure
after all the moments of sinful pleasure he had seized.

Something bumped against his leg. Then her fingers slipped beneath his hand. Her clasp was unhesitating, her
fingertips brushing across his palm then pressing tight against his knuckles. Palm to palm with her, he strove to
breathe and his heartbeats flew at twelve knots.

“You are lying to comfort me,” she said, “so that I will not dwell on how we are about to die.”

“Am I?” Only thin wooden walls and ceiling separated them from death, and yet the touch of a girl’s hand was all
he cared for now.

“You are,” she whispered clearly and softly beneath the storm’s scream. “It seems that I will be obliged to reconsider my poor opinion of sailors. One sailor, at least.”

Blindly he turned his face to her. He was in fact a beast of a man, and she was a little thing that he could crush
with a single arm, and he knew he should not be holding her hand, not even in this circumstance.

He bent his head closer. “Aye?”

She did not reply and her hand remained snugly in his and the night raged on.




About Katharine Ashe

KATHARINE ASHE is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of historical romances reviewers call “intensely lush” and “sensationally intelligent,” including her acclaimed Devil’s Duke Series, and My Lady, My Lord and How to Marry a Highlander, 2015 and 2014 finalists for the romance industry’s most prestigious award, the RITA®.
Katharine lives in the wonderfully warm Southeast with her beloved husband, son, dog, and a garden she likes to call romantic rather than unkempt. A professor of European History, she writes fiction because she thinks modern readers deserve grand adventures and breathtaking sensuality too.




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