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Lina's Reviews : A Book Blog

Hoarding book boyfriends for life.

Cover Reveal BAD PENNY by Staci Hart

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Bad Penny, an all-new romantic comedy standalone from Staci Hart is coming June 15th!

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Title: Bad Penny

Author: Staci Hart

Cover Designer: Quirkybird Designs

Photographer: Lauren Watson Perry

Synopsis

Nothing good comes after the third date.

See, date three is the crucial point when things get real, which is exactly why I bounce out the door, twiddling my fingers at whatever poor boy I’ve left behind. Because if I stick around, one of three things will happen: he’ll profess his undying love, he gets weird and stalky, or I’ll go crazy. Like, Sid and Nancy crazy. Like, chase-him-through-the-streets-begging-him-to-love-me crazy.

Seriously, it’s better for everyone this way.

So when I meet Bodie, I figure it’ll be the same as it ever was. It doesn’t matter that he doesn’t put a single string on me. Doesn’t matter that he’s funny and smart and jacked and can play my body like a grand piano. Because even though I’m built for love, love has only carved me up like a Christmas ham.

Resistance is something I can only hang on to for so long, and he has persistence in spades. But my heart isn’t as safe as I want to believe, and neither is his. And the second I ignore my cardinal rule is the second I stand to lose him forever.

Add to GoodReads: https://goo.gl/pVXrzF

About the Author

Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life — a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can’t forget that. She’s also been a mom, with three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She’s been a wife, though she’s certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She’s also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she’s been drinking whiskey.

From roots in Houston to a seven year stint in Southern California, Staci and her family ended up settling somewhere in between and equally north, in Denver. They are new enough that snow is still magical. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, sleeping, gaming, or designing graphics.

 AuthorPics

Connect with Staci:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2hv5OA5

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stacihartnovels

Twitter: https://twitter.com/imaquirkybird

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/imaquirkybird/

Website: http://stacihartnovels.com

Newsletter: http://stacihartnovels.com/get-the-newsletter/

Join Her Reader Group Here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/stacihart/

Release Blitz for The Way Back Home by Carmen Jenner

 

Title: The Way Back Home
Author: Carmen Jenner
Genre: Military Romance
Release Date: May 29, 2017

 

Blurb

 

August Cotton shouldn’t be here. When a tragic accident
calls him home to Magnolia Springs, this returned Veteran adds his parents to
the list of things he’s lost in recent years, right along with his IED
detection dog and his left leg. As the sole guardian of his four-year-old
sister, August must rely on his Marine training in raising a tiny hellion who’s
as stubborn as he is. But the Corps could never prepare him for this. Nor could
they prepare him for Olivia Anders, a woman who’ll stop at nothing to get her
way.
 
As owner of Paws for Cause, Olivia is no stranger to the
broken men and women who return home from war. She’s no stranger to broken dogs
either. In fact, she’s made it her mission to pair the two and enrich both of
their lives, but pairing ornery and aloof August Cotton will take some work.
The last thing August wants is some pushy southern woman occupying his parents’
bed and breakfast and forcing him to open up about the hell he narrowly
escaped, but that’s exactly what Olivia intends.
 
They complete one another, and yet they can’t stand to be in
the same room.
 
Can Olivia make this hardened Marine feel again and finally
show his heart the way back home?

 

 
*** Intended for a mature 18+ audience only. This book may
contain triggers for some readers.

 

Purchase Links
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

 

Free in Kindle Unlimited

Excerpt


“You know, if you want to see me naked and sweaty, all you have to do is
ask, darlin’.”
“I do not . . . I wasn’t . . .” My words are stolen from me as he stalks
forward with a maddening smirk on his face. “What are you doing?”
“Getting tired of waiting for you to be okay with this.”
“August, we talked about boundaries.” I press my hand to his chest
because he’s too close, and I can’t think straight with the heady scent of his
sweat and sandalwood soap distracting me. It wasn’t my intention to run my hand
over that sweat, to feel the hard-won muscle beneath, but here I am, petting
him as if he’s my favorite kitty.
“No. You talked about boundaries. I told you I was gonna fight, and I
ain’t above fightin’ dirty.”
“How dirty?” I breathe.
August’s lips curl up into a smile. “So dirty.”
Both hands snake around my waist and he lifts me onto the counter,
wedging his hips between my thighs. He hooks a finger in the sash and unties my
robe as if he were opening a gift made just for him. I wrap my legs around his
hips to pull him closer, and that’s all the admission he needs. He threads a
hand through my hair and pulls my neck back to expose the tender flesh to his
mouth. I close my eyes and whisper his name as my whole body turns to flame,
starved for the oxygen that only his touch can bring. His hot mouth trails down
my neck, his hands cup my breasts, squeezing, kneading, and I slide a hand
between us, into the waistband of his shorts. I take his hard length in my
hand, stroking him from base to tip. August grunts as he pushes my negligee out
of the way with frenzied hands. His fingers find me bare and exposed with no
panties.
“So fucking’ dirty,” he groans, wetting his lips.
 

Author Bio

 

 

Carmen Jenner is a thirty-something, USA Today and international bestselling author.Her dark romance, KICK (Savage Saints MC #1), won Best Dark Romance Read in the Reader’s Choice Awards at RWDU, 2015.

A tattoo enthusiast, hardcore makeup addict and zombie fangirl, Carmen lives on the sunny North Coast of New South Wales, Australia, where she spends her time indoors wrangling her two wildling children, a dog named Pikelet, and her very own man-child.

A romantic at heart, Carmen strives to give her characters the HEA they deserve, but not before ruining their lives completely first … because what’s a happily ever after without a little torture?

PUBLISHED TITLES TO DATE:

Welcome to Sugartown (Sugartown Series #1)

Author Links

 

Release Blitz for Plight by K.M. Golland

Title: Plight
Author: K.M. Golland
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Release Date: May 29, 2017


Blurb
Plight
[plahyt]
Noun: a difficult, or otherwise unfortunate
situation.
Verb: pledge or solemnly promise. Be engaged to be
married.
I promised
myself to a man. Well, technically, I promised myself to a boy. We were eight
years old. Neighbours. He gave me a Cheezel, pushed it onto my finger, and
asked me to marry him.
I ate the
Cheezel.
I also
said, “Yes” but that we’d have to wait until we were thirty.
It was my
thirtieth birthday last week and now he’s calling in that promise.
Seriously,
Elliot Parker is insane if he thinks
that an out of the blue private Facebook message stipulating the binding law of
an oral contractual agreement is going to seal our twenty-two-year bullshit
engagement.
Insane.
I wonder if
he really does look like his profile picture, though.

 

Purchase Links

$2.99 for a VERY limited time!

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU 

B&N / KOBO / iBOOKS

Author Bio
“I’m an author. I am married. I am a mother of two adorable
little people. I’m a bookworm, craftworm, movieworm, and sportsworm. I’m also a
self confessed shoe-aholic, tea-aholic, car-aholic, and bridge-aholic.”
Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, K.M. Golland is a
best selling hybrid author, and a ranty, married mother of two with a very
healthy high heel obsession.
 
Author Links

Release Blitz for LaClaire Nights by Dori Lavelle.

 

Title: LaClaire Nights
An After Hours Novel
Author: Dori Lavelle
Genre: Steamy Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 29, 2017

 

Blurb
Some marriages last
a week, a month, or a year. Others last a lifetime. Mine ends on my wedding night,
ten hours after the exchange of rings.
Our marriage vows shatter when Dustin Cardwell, the man I saved myself for,
looks me in the eye and tells me I failed between the sheets.

Our marriage ends before the ink dries, before the scent of my bouquet fades,
before the candles in our honeymoon suite burn out.

Three months later, I’m divorced and working as a massage therapist on the
LaClaire Cruise Ship, headed for the Caribbean. I’m desperate to get away, to
lick my wounds in private. I’m not looking to be another man’s disappointment.

Until Bryant LaClaire invades my space and makes my panties melt. The moment
our eyes meet, he makes it clear I’m his girl of the moment.

Drawing me in with his charm and good looks, he promises to repair my sexual
self-esteem while satisfying his own needs. A few LaClaire nights is all he can
give. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s an offer my body can’t resist.

But when my heart lures me into the heart and world of a man who carries a
devastating secret, I know I’m in danger of returning home with more pain than
I’d left with.

LaClaire Nights is a steamy full-length,
standalone novel with a happy ending.

**WARNING: Due to sexual situations and adult content, this book is not
intended for readers under the age of 18. **

 

Purchase Links
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Free in Kindle Unlimited

 

Author Bio
Dori Lavelle, is a mother, wife, and a sucker for happy-ever-afters and mint chocolate.Growing up, Dori read a lot, and when she wasn’t happy with a particular ending, she wrote a different one, just for herself. Before long, she was writing stories when she should have been doing homework. The time has come for her to share the stories she cooks up in her head.

Author Links

 

RELEASE BLITZ & REVIEW : Disgraced by Natasha Knight

 

Title: Disgraced
Author: Natasha Knight
Genre: Dark Romance
Release Date: May 26, 2017
Blurb
Disgrace: the condition of one fallen from grace.

She is my forbidden fruit. The one temptation I cannot resist.

The first night…

I rescued her from an attack in the seedy underground of New York City.

The second night…

She told me the first of many lies.

She thinks she can keep me out of her world, but she’s in over her head.
Watching her, being near her, it gives breath to something dark inside me.
Something primal and forbidden. Forbidden to me.

Because in six months, I’ll be an ordained priest.

And she complicates things.

She thinks she is my disgrace. Truth is, my fall had begun the moment I’d laid
eyes on her.

Purchase Links
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

OUR REVIEW

Disgraced is an erotic romance novel that has all the elements of a successful spanking romance: an alpha hero, a feisty heroine, hot spankings, and a solid plot and writing. This book is a yummy treat. It has a good storyline and is seriously HOT!!!!

This steamy taboo romance tells of the romance between Lina, who is battling her own demons from her past, and Damon who wants nothing more than to heal her and save her. Damon, in six months, will be an ordained priest. Lina wasn’t supposed to fall in love with him. Everything about it was wrong. Damon is flirting with temptation and his faith is tested. Their story is so intense and you’re always on the edge of your seat, but when it finally gets to its HEA it’s so explosive, uplifting and emotional!

“Our attraction was electric, the sex intense, but it was more than that. Being with him, I felt safe. I felt…at home. But we were on borrowed time. I knew my heart would break after Florida. I’d known it going in. Damon wasn’t mine, not to keep at least.” ~ Lina

This story really gets you to thinking about love and relationships. And helps you to understand that you can’t run from your troubles, you have to confront them even if you think it’s hard for you. You get to see Lina and Damon’s internal battles, their angst, their sorrow, and finally their acceptance. It’s heartbreaking and beautiful all at the same time.

“Nothing to do but walk back to the church, chaos raging in my head, guilt squeezing my heart in a vice-like grip, blinding me, deafening me. Because I did love her. After all this, I did love her. Even as I walked away from her, I loved her.” ~ Damon

The build-up is incredible, the journey is amazing, the story is heartfelt, sexy and it includes excellent scenes of contemporary consensual spanking, elements of BDSM, and more. The twists and turns are well placed, always interesting, and never disappointing. I love this author’s writing style… will read anything she writes!

In short:
Hero 5/5 | Heroine 5/5 | Plot (Point, Originality) 4/5 | Writing Style 5/5 | Steam 5/5 | Romance 4/5 | Angst-Suspense 4/5 | Darkness 3/5 | Humor 0/5 | Secondary Characters 4/5 | Drama-Conflict 5/5 | Mystery 0/5 | Twists 4/5 | Pacing Steady | Action 4/5

ARC KINDLY PROVIDED IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW
RATING: 5 / 5 STARS!!!
Author Bio
USA Today Bestselling author Natasha Knight writes dark romance as well as spanking romance in a variety of genres including contemporary, paranormal, post-apocalyptic, science-fiction and fantasy. She is a #1 Amazon Bestseller in multiple categories forever searching in every story for that single most important element of love. All of her stories contain at least one kinky Alpha male, lots of dirty talk and a well deserved happily ever after.
Author Links

RELEASE BOOST: The Bad Guy by Celia Aaron

 

Title: The Bad Guy
Author: Celia Aaron
Genre: Dark Romance
Release Date: May 21, 2017

 

Blurb
My name is Sebastian Lindstrom, and I’m the villain of this
story.
I’ve decided to lay myself bare. To tell the truth for once
in my hollow life, no matter how dark it gets. And I can assure you, it will
get so dark that you’ll find yourself feeling around the blackened corners of
my mind, seeking a door handle that isn’t there.
Don’t mistake this for a confession. I neither seek
forgiveness nor would I accept it. My sins are my own. They keep me company.
Instead, this is the true tale of how I found her, how I stole her, and how I
lost her.
She was a damsel, one who already had her white knight. But
every fairy tale has a villain, someone waiting in the wings to rip it all
down. A scoundrel who will set the world on fire if that means he gets what he
wants. That’s me.
I’m the bad guy.

 

Purchase Links
$2.99 for a limited time
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Free in Kindle Unlimited

 

Author Bio

Celia Aaron is a recovering attorney who loves romance and erotic fiction. Dark to light, angsty to funny, real to fantasy—if it’s hot and strikes her fancy, she writes it. Thanks for reading.

Author Links

REAL SEXY by Meghan March

 

 

 

 

 

Real Sexy AMAZONIn Nashville, country stars are a dime a dozen.

I swore I’d never get caught up with one, but Boone Thrasher made a liar out of me.

I said I’d never put my heart on the line, but he didn’t ask before he stole it.

Now we’re facing my worst fears, and we’ll see if this country boy is tough enough to see it through.

Girls like me don’t get happily ever afters… but maybe he’ll prove that wrong too.

 

Amazon | iBooks  | BN | Kobo | Google Play

 

 

 

 

Real Dirty AMAZONI have everything a guy could want—a new single burning up the charts, more money than a simple country boy could spend, and a woman I’m planning to marry.

Until she doesn’t show up for my proposal.

The life I thought was so perfect, isn’t.

The guy who thought he had everything, doesn’t.

I’ve got my heart on lockdown, but life sends me straight into the path of a mouthy bartender who puts me in my place.

Now the only place I want to put her is under me.

I thought I was done with love, but maybe I’m just getting started.

 

Amazon | iBooks | BN | Kobo | Google Play

 

 

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Meghan March has been known to wear camo face paint and tromp around in woods wearing mud-covered boots, all while sporting a perfect manicure. She’s also impulsive, easily entertained, and absolutely unapologetic about the fact that she loves to read and write smut. Her past lives include slinging auto parts, selling lingerie, making custom jewelry, and practicing corporate law. Writing books about dirty talking alpha males and the strong, sassy women who bring them to their knees is by far the most fabulous job she’s ever had. She loves hearing from her readers at meghanmarchbooks@gmail.com.

FACEBOOK | WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE | TWITTER | PINTEREST

Blog Tour 100 PROOF by Shanora Williams

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100 Proof, an all-new taboo STANDALONE romance from Shanora Williams is available now!

100 Proof

100 Proof by Shanora Williams

Release Date: May 18th, 2017

Genre: Contemporary Romance

I was the low life.

The screw up.

The hopeless one with no future.

He was the rich guy. The smart one. The one who had it all.

My parents admired everything he did, while I was known for being their greatest disappointment. I didn’t follow the path they paved for me.

I drank and partied and did whatever the hell I wanted. The buzz was something I couldn’t live without – the fire that filled my veins after each sip always kept me running back for more.

But then I met her, and suddenly the drinks didn’t matter. The parties weren’t as fun. That fiery buzz came second for once.

I drowned only in her, wanting her more than I wanted to exist.

But even with her, I screwed things up.

Now, he’s with the woman I love. And he may have her, but what he should know is that even with all of his money, that nice house, and his expensive cars, her mind, body, and soul will always belong to me.

And I’m not sorry about it, brother, ’cause she was mine first.

Excerpt:

Breakfast was supposed to be happening in less than thirty minutes. I couldn’t bail on Vin. He would have taken it personally. I figured filling him in in person would be okay.

I wouldn’t even eat with him. I’d let him know what was going on and tell him he should schedule a flight back home as soon as he wanted to.

I collected my keys and my clutch before I could process my thoughts, but as I climbed into my car and started it up, driving away from our two-story brick home, I realized I wasn’t doing this for Vin’s benefit.

I was doing it for mine.

I wanted to see him again.

I wanted to know what was really going on with him.

I wanted updates on him and Zay. About California, period. I wanted to see if he’d changed at all—or if he was just giving the impression of it to try and win me over again. Not that he could, but he would try.

I knew this was stupid. I should have cancelled, like Lloyd said. By going to meet him—alone—I was asking for something to happen. I was secretly hoping to feel a connection again, but in the heat of the moment, I wasn’t exactly sure what that something was.

I drove with racing thoughts, wondering what I’d say—what I’d do. Do I hug him when I first see him? Do I shake his hand and pretend to be formal? Do I treat him like my future brother-in-law or as my former love?

I had no clue, but, still, I didn’t stop. I kept going until I was pulling into the parking lot of the busy restaurant and parking the car.

I didn’t fully breathe as I climbed out, didn’t stop moving as I walked towards the entrance. I didn’t fill my lungs with air until I saw him standing in the waiting area, wearing a navy blue T-shirt that clung to his firm upper body, dark wash jeans sitting low and snug on his hips, and his hair a beautiful, chaotic mess. The veins bulged on his arms, the very ones I used to have no problem tracing with the tip of my tongue.

My pulse roared.

And then it hit me.

This was exactly what I wanted to feel.

The electricity between us—the fire that could torch anything that stood in its way. I wanted to witness his smoldering eyes drinking me in, like I was the most beautiful woman in the world.

Lloyd had never given me this look. He had never stared for so long, like he would tear my clothes off right where we stood, no matter who was watching.

My throat tightened.

My core clenched.

But I pretended none of it was happening to me as I walked forward to meet him.

SBPR-SW-100proof-AN-99cent

Read now FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2rqMlF7

Amazon UK: https://goo.gl/raO9lJ

Amazon CA: https://goo.gl/ssP4wc

Amazon AU: https://goo.gl/3u4v15

Add to GoodReads: https://goo.gl/sXLP4b

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About the Author:

Shanora Williams is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who loves writing about flawed heroes and resilient heroines. She is a believer that love outweighs all, but doesn’t have a problem making her characters fight for their happily ever after.

She currently lives in Charlotte, North Carolina and is the mother of two amazing boys, has a fiercely devoted and supportive man, and is a sister to eleven.

When she isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her family, binge reading, or running marathons on Netflix while scarfing down chocolate chip cookies.

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Connect with Shanora:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ShanoraWilliamsAuthor/

Twitter: @shanorawilliams

Instagram @reallyshanora

Stay in touch with Shanora by signing up for her newsletter:

https://authorshanorawilliams.com/contact-info/

https://authorshanorawilliams.com

Nudes by Sarah Robinson

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NUDES: A Hollywood romance standalone from

bestselling author Sarah Robinson!

ONLY $0.99!

**limited time**

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2qbiIqc

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2qJdh4Q

Amazon Paperback: http://amzn.to/2r62Vxl

iBooks: http://apple.co/2ppZMTV

Nook: http://bit.ly/2oV0Enx

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2oUT0cz

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2nuMBkd

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Blurb

Ben Lawson is making a comeback…

After a few tabloid headlines, they think they know me. They don’t know a damn thing.  As CEO of a movie production company, I’ll show them who I really am when we hit it big at the box office. My ex thought her smear tactics would ruin me, but I’m unbreakable. Rising from the debris, I swore I’d never let a woman distract me like that again. But then, my leading actress walked on the set and changed everything.

 

Seductive, sexy, and unapologetic, Aria Rose could break me. I wanted to help her, protect her…love her. Instead, I destroyed her.

 

Aria Rose is baring it all….

I knew better.  I knew not to trust another Hollywood heartthrob with a reputation like his. He was my boss and became my ruin. I should have stayed far away from him. Ben Lawson promised me the world.  He even promised me his heart.

But he destroyed everything–my heart, my career, us.

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Excerpt

“Aria?” A deep voice cut through the crisp nighttime air.

She turned to see Ben approaching her, the shadows from the upper deck of the yacht moving across his face as he came closer. “Oh. Hi, Mr. Lawson.”

“Please, like I said, call me Ben,” he reiterated, leaning against the railing next to her.

“Right. Ben. Sorry, the last exec wasn’t quite so…”

His lips curved into a smile. “So, what?”

She wasn’t sure what to say, because her honest answer wassexy. That didn’t seem like the best thing to a man who now funded and controlled her film. “Approachable?”

Ben laughed—a deep chuckle that she felt vibrate through her bones. “I hope that’s a good thing.”

“It definitely is,” she assured him, placing a hand on his arm. The moment she touched him, she pulled back, immediately embarrassed.

He. Is. My. Boss. Get it together, Aria.

He didn’t chide her, or look uncomfortable, which she took as a good sign.

Aria returned to her original position beside him, and they stared out at the darkened water lapping the sides of all the boats docked around.

“Want to hear something funny?” Aria finally broke the silence, but kept her voice low. So low, he had to lean in to hear her.

“Tell me.”

“My parents met in this very marina. She was a caterer and he was a deckhand—still teenagers. Barely old enough to know who they were, let alone what they wanted out of life. Still, they knew what love was when they stumbled upon it, and they knew enough to never let go.” Aria’s heart beat a little faster, warming at the memories.

“Wow. Are they still together?”

Aria nodded. “Barely spent a day apart since. My mother is actually my manager, and she works insanely hard for me, but my father always comes first. He’s the love of her life.”

“Love like that is special. Rare.”

“Is it?” Aria tilted her head to the side. “I’m not sure it’s as rare as it is a choice, a commitment, and the strength to follow through each and every day. There were times they could have given up—maybe lived an easier life with someone else—but they made a decision that this was the love they wanted, this was the life they wanted, and in that choice comes a confidence, a happiness, that most people deny themselves.”

Ben was quiet for a minute. Finally, he inhaled loudly, then blew it out in one long breath. “That’s really beautiful, Aria. Hits a bit close to home, I have to admit.”

“I’m sorry.” Aria frowned, turning to face him and just leaving one elbow on the railing. “I didn’t mean—”

He shook his head. “No, it’s fine. I just finished going through a divorce about six months ago, though we’d separated the year before that. I think you’re right—love is a choice. Making love work is a choice. And yet…if it’s not with the right person, then it’s the wrong choice.”

“Soul mates.” Aria raised one brow. “You believe in that?”

Ben stared at her for a moment…a long moment. The kind of moment that made her shift her weight from one leg to the other, her skin heating under his gaze. “Yes. I believe in soul mates.”

She tilted her chin up ever so slightly, going for lightheartedness. “Well, we all have our flaws. You couldn’t be entirely perfect.”

Ben laughed again. “Believing in soul mates is a flaw?”

“Buying what you’re selling is definitely a flaw. You’re a movie producer, so you sell fantasy to the world.”

“I think we can have the fantasy.” His eyes danced, but his smile was gone. “Don’t you want the fantasy?”

Aria turned back to the ocean, looking out at the waves. This was too much, too real, too soon with a man she barely knew. A man who was pretty much her boss. “Who wouldn’t want the fantasy?” she said dismissively. “Some would say I’m already living it.”

“That’s certainly true. Everyone on this yacht, everyone in this city…Hollywood. It’s all a fantasy of some sort.” Something in his tone sounded so…sad? A small ache pulled at her heart, and she felt like they’d opened the door to something different. Something different than studio exec and actress. Something more than strangers who just met today.

Her humanity connected to his, and they were just two people standing on a boat wishing it could float them away from their picture-perfect lives.

“Do you know why I love Scarlet’s Letters?” she said softly, her voice barely above the whistle of the wind around them.

He stepped closer, his elbow pressed against hers on the railing now. “Why?”

“It’s something I can be proud of. A story I’m proud to tell. The strength of a woman in wartime, a French woman saving innocent people during the Holocaust…a woman picking her truth over a man, over love. Have you read the script?”

Ben nodded. “I have. Two years ago, when it was making the rounds. It’s powerful, and from what I’ve seen, you do an amazing job in it.”

“Thank you. When I first saw this script—or rather, read the book it’s based on—I knew I had to play this part. No matter what I had to give up. This was mine.”

She’d never connected to anything more than she had this script. It was empowering, and taught courage in the toughest of circumstances. It was a tiny snapshot of a much larger scale event, showing the decisions and atrocities suffered at such a human, personal level. It was a woman denying her own privilege and luxury to help fellow humans who didn’t have that reach.

“The way you talk about it…I’m jealous,” Ben admitted.

That got Aria’s attention, and she turned to face him. “Jealous? Of what?”

He pushed off the railing, looking up at the stars before settling on her gaze. “Passion. Excitement. Purpose. You know what you want. You know who you are and what your goals are.”

“And you don’t?” He had to be nearly thirty, if not over. Striking and fresh faced, but his features still said experience. Aria was only in her twenties, but at times she felt decades older.

Ben shook his head. “I thought I did. I built a life. Got married. Worked my way up in Maguire Industries. Everything was mapped out. Everything was…easy.”

The ache from earlier was back, the sadness in his voice. Aria placed her hand on his forearm, a comforting gesture. Partly for him, but mostly for her. She needed a physical connection when they were connecting on so much more.

“What happened?” she pried, squeezing his arm ever so slightly.

Ben looked down at her hand, his eyes lingering. He didn’t move or pull away, and when he lifted his head to face her again, there was a need in his eyes that made her insides heat. “The woman I trusted with all my secrets? She sold them to the highest bidder the moment I wasn’t able to be a stepping stone for her career.”

Aria didn’t reply, sensing there was more.

“She used every connection she had to get me blacklisted. Took everything. Now Maguire Industries acquired Shepherd Films, expecting me to fail. Pushing me out.”

“Not many would call being the CEO of a film studio a demotion,” Aria pointed out.

“When you’re used to being the landscaper, it’s hard to become the rose.”

Aria laughed, letting go of his arm. “First, soul mates. Now, roses. You’re a poetic man, Ben Lawson. A true romantic.”

Suddenly, his fingers intertwined with hers, pulling her to him. Pressing her body to his, chest to chest, heartbeat to heartbeat. His eyes never left hers, and she watched him wrestle with something…doubt, uncertainty. As if he didn’t know why he’d just hugged her to him, but then need. Pure need darkened his eyes as something deeper pushed the rest away.

Her breath was lost as she concentrated on standing, her knees already threatening to buckle. She’d taken every second of the journey with him, and now she wanted more. Something about the way he smelled ignited every nerve ending in her body. The way he held her, one arm wrapped around her back, was so secure, so comfortable, so protective, so intimately. No one had ever held her like that in her entire life.

She didn’t want him to let go.

He was fire. She wanted to leap into his flames.

“And what are you, Aria Rose?” Ben’s fingers tipped her chin upward, her eyes finding his. “Who are you?”

The words rumbled in his chest, vibrating against him as he spoke. There was a genuineness to it that terrified her, unnerved her, and completely overwhelmed her. Their souls were laid bare and he was asking for more.

A perfect stranger. A moment of truth. An absolute mistake.

She couldn’t do it. Her walls shot up and she let go of him, fear coursing through her. “I’m an actress, Mr. Lawson. Just an actress.”

And just so much more.

About the Author

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Sarah Robinson is a native of the Washington, DC area and has both her Bachelors and Masters Degrees in clinical and forensic psychology. She is married to a wonderful man who is just as much of an animal rescue enthusiast as she is. Together, they own a zoo of rescues, as well as volunteering and fostering for multiple animal shelters.

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