Contemporary Romance / NOVELLA
Date Published: July 31, 2014
No shirt, no shoes, no … problems?
Hemi Ranapia isn’t looking for love. Fun, yes. Love, not so much. But a summer fishing holiday to laid-back Russell could turn out to be more adventure than this good-time boy ever bargained for.
Reka Harata hasn't forgotten the disastrously sexy rugby star she met a year ago, no matter how much she wishes she could. Too bad Hemi keeps refusing to be left in her past.
Sometimes, especially in New Zealand’s Maori Northland, it really does take a village. And sometimes it just takes a little faith.
NOTE: This 36,000-word (120-page) novella begins about six years before the events of Just This Once, and yes, it gets a little steamy at times, because Reka and Hemi are just that way. It can be read as a stand-alone book, even if this is your first escape to New Zealand.
She’d noticed him even while she’d been walking down the aisle in the wharenui, wearing the stupid strapless dress of blood-red satin that Victoria had chosen, a dress she was definitely not going to be wearing again, a dress that had “bridesmaid” written all over it. She’d been supposed to be paying attention to her pace, and instead she’d been looking at the man sitting at the end of the row, up there to her right. A man who was looking right back at her. A mate of the groom’s, she knew, because Victoria had told them all he was coming.
Hemi Ranapia, the starting No. 10 for the Auckland Blues, one of the year’s new caps for the All Blacks, and about the finest specimen of Maori manhood she’d ever seen. His dark, wavy hair cut short and neat, his brown eyes alive with interest as he watched her. A physique to die for, too, his shoulders broad in the black suit, his waistline trim, the size of his arms and thighs making it clear that the suit hadn’t come off any rack, because that had taken some extra material.
She’d stood in her neat row to one side of the bride throughout the service, had done her best to keep her attention on the event, and had felt his gaze on her as surely as if he’d been touching her. She’d had to will herself not to shiver, and the look he sent her way, unsmiling and intent, when she walked back up the aisle again told her she hadn’t been imagining his interest.
She’d still had what felt like hours of photo-taking to come. Standing around endlessly, smiling in the sunshine, arranging and rearranging herself according to the photographer’s instructions, being flirted with by one of the groomsmen, with Hemi in and out of her view all the while. His suit coat off now, his tie loosened, white shirt stretching across chest and shoulders. A beer in his hand and a smile on his face, having a chat with the other boys, being approached, at first shyly and then with enthusiasm, by the kids.
And by the girls, she saw with a twinge of jealousy that made no sense at all, as one after another of them smiled for him, touched her hair, touched his arm. It looked to her like every unattached woman at the wedding, and more than one of the partnered ones as well, was going out of her way to chat him up. And he wasn’t exactly resisting.
But he was looking at her all the same. Every now and then, she glanced across and his gaze caught hers, and she saw an expression on his face, an intensity and a heat that were making her burn.
By the time the photography was done and she was released at last, the wedding party moving into the wharekai so the eating and drinking and dancing could begin, she was well and truly warmed up, and tingling more than a little in every single place she could imagine him touching with those clever hands, the hands she somehow knew would handle a woman as deftly as they handled a rugby ball.
The band began to play, the bride and groom stepped into their first dance, and she saw him edging his way around an animated group towards her, a glass in each hand. He reached her side, handed her the flute of champagne with the flash of a smile.
“Think you earned this,” he told her.
She took it, and he touched his glass to hers.
“Cheers,” he said with another white smile, the heat in his gaze unmistakable at this range. He tipped his brown throat back and drank, and she mirrored his action, felt golden bubbles popping against her tongue, the cool liquid sliding down her own throat. Drinking together like that somehow felt as intimate as kissing him, and the tongues of flame were licking every secret spot now.
“Took your time, didn’t you?” she asked him with a cool she wasn’t even close to feeling.
He laughed. “Didn’t want to seem too eager. Doing my best to be smooth here, but it’s hard going.”
Another long drink, another long look as Victoria and Mason finished their dance and the band began another number, a fast one, and couples started filling the floor.
“Think I can get a dance?” he asked.
“Mmm, I think you could,” she said. “Maybe so.”
Meet the Author:
Rosalind James, the bestselling author of the Escape to New Zealand and Kincaids series, is a former marketing executive who discovered her muse after several years of living and working in paradise--also known as Australia and New Zealand. Now, she spends her days writing about delicious rugby players, reality shows, corporate intrigue, and all sorts of other wonderful things, and having more fun doing it than should be legal.
Rosalind’s website: http://www.rosalindjames.com
On Facebook: rosalindjamesbooks
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Book: Facing The Music
Author: Andrea Laurence
Publisher: Pocket Star
Release Date: September 15, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Ivy pressed her hands against Blake's shoulders, pushing him gently until he was lying back on the blanket.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
“Whatever I want to.”
Blake arched his eyebrow at her, but he didn’t complain. He held perfectly still as her nimble fingers moved down the front of his shirt, undoing each button and exposing the expanse of skin beneath it. Her palms ran over his skin, relishing the feel of his chest hair tickling her hands. She leaned forward, letting her tongue glide along his collarbone, and then she crept down his body to the button of his jeans.
“Your hair tickles,” he said.
Ivy gathered up the long, wavy strands of her hair into one hand and swept them over her shoulder. “Do you want me to stop?”
“Not on your life,” he said between tightly gritted teeth as her fingertips brushed the edge of his waistband.
“That’s what I thought,” she said with a smile. “Now, stop complaining.”
Ivy settled between his legs, resting on her knees as she unbuttoned his jeans. She tugged at his back pockets, pulling his jeans down the length of his legs and throwing them out of her way. She moved back over him doing the same with his underwear, which thankfully, this time, were a pair of charcoal-gray boxers. They slid easily out of her way, leaving nothing between her and her goal.
She leisurely traveled back up his legs. Her fingertips gently brushed along the puckered pink scars of his calf and across his kneecap. By the time she reached his upper thigh, he was nearly trembling. Ivy wasn’t sure if it was with anticipation, emotion, or pain.
His hand reached out and snatched her wrist as she moved higher. “This hardly seems fair,” he said. “You’re wearing entirely too much clothing for me to be wearing so little.”
“Who’s doing this? You or me?”
Blake acquiesced and released her hand. He crossed his arms behind his head, giving himself an excellent vantage point for overseeing her activities. “You are, ma’am.”
“That’s right. Now are you going to keep critiquing everything I do, or do I need to put something in your mouth to shut you up?”
A wicked grin crossed Blake’s face as he looked at her. “May I offer a suggestion?”
“I have several ideas of my own,” she said.
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Meet the Author
Andrea Laurence has been a lover of reading and writing stories since she learned to read at a young age. She always dreamed of seeing her work in print and is thrilled to finally be able to share her special blend of sensuality and dry, sarcastic humor with the world. A dedicated West Coast girl transplanted into the Deep South, she's working on her own "happily ever after" with her boyfriend and their collection of animals including a Siberian Husky that sheds like nobody's business.
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Synopsis: Shana Wilde has always had a blind spot for boys. Can she trust the one who’s right in front of her?Shana is officially on a Boy Moratorium. After a devastating breakup, she decides it’s time to end the plague of Mr. Wrongs and devote herself to her true passion: photography. Enter Quattro, the undeniably intriguing lacrosse player who slams into Shana one morning in Seattle. Sparks don’t simply fly; they ignite—and so does Shana’s interest. But just as she’s about to rethink her ban on boys, she receives crushing news: Her dad is going blind. Shana and her parents vow to make the most of the time her father has left to see, so they plan a photo safari to Machu Picchu. But even as Shana travels away from Quattro, she can’t get him out of her mind. Love and loss, humor and heartbreak collide in this new novel from acclaimed author Justina Chen (North of Beautiful).
About the Author
If there’s one thing Cleo Reynolds knows, it’s that she’s not into Adrian King.
The son of a model with the looks to prove it, the experienced author of her school newspaper’s sex advice column, the cocky playboy with a hint of darkness. That Adrian King.
Nope. Nuh-uh. No way.
The problem is, he’s very into her.
After accidentally flashing him, and slightly-less-accidentally-but-still-totally-unintentionally making out with him in front of the whole class, she expects to be called crazy. Instead, he asks her out.
Cleo’s determined not to end up as another notch on his bedpost. Except she hasn’t done…you know…it in a while. (Read: ever.) And as a girl who pays her tuition by writing all the sex scenes in her roommate’s bestselling romance series, the lack of inspiration has served up a fat slice of writer’s block.
Until her roommate proposes that Cleo and Adrian act out all the steamy scenes in her book.
It’s just research. No feelings involved.
“Christ,” Adrian finally mutters after a good half minute of staring at my body. He runs his hand through his hair.
I’m not saying my grand plan is to make him so worked up he’ll have to satisfy me. And then I can move on with my life.
I’m not saying that’s my plan, but if it were, I’d be an evil genius.
“You too,” I smirk, trailing my fingers down my bare waist. “That shirt looks expensive. Wouldn't want to mess it up.”
Not taking his eyes from me, he pulls his shirt off, back over front in that casual way boys have. I gasp. Doves zoom overhead, sprinkling golden confetti. A chorus of angels sing. Okay, not all that actually happens, but it’s the first time I’ve seen him shirtless.
And that chest deserves some fanfare.
His torso is tan, lithe and strong, the hard contours of a six-pack-verging-on-eight-pack begging to be licked. Every ounce of him is sculpted, refined. Just looking at him floods my abdomen with tension. There’s a swirling tattoo on the left side of his ribs, but I’m too busy thinking about how I want to mount his torso on my mantelpiece like a serial killer to dwell on it.
My roommate looks between us, her eyes narrowed. “You two seem to be getting along much better today.”
If by ‘getting along’ she means ‘staring at each other with enough sexual tension to hoist the Titanic from the bottom of the sea’ then yes.
“Remember, guys,” she says. “Last time was more about the romance between the characters. Their first kiss. This is purely sexual.”
At the words ‘purely sexual’, a shiver grips my spine. I think Adrian might be similarly affected, because he hardens all over. And I mean all over.
“Come on, then,” I muster up the courage to say, fingering the lacy edge of my panties. “Inspire me.”
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About the Author
L.A Rose recently made it out of college alive and with an English degree. She's a habitual beach bum and a not-exactly-recovered romance addict. She's also plucked up the courage to become an indie author! ADRIAN LESSONS, a New Adult contemporary romance to be released on August 25th, is her first book - if you don't count the ones she wrote before she finally came up with something publishable. (She prefers not to.)
Release Date: September 8, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Bree Simpson has her dream job at the family company. However, recent events have turned that dream into a nightmare. Bree has learned to tolerate a lot as one of the few women in an executive position in the construction industry. But when the normal bullying tactics turn aggressive and threaten her project in Atlanta, Bree decides to go on the offensive. Convinced an architect is out to destroy her project, Bree decides it's time to give Logan Ward a piece of her mind.
Despite being thousands of miles away in London, successful architect Logan Ward finds himself on the receiving end of "B. Simpson's" angry messages from across the pond. Deciding to handle B. Simpson’s demands himself, Logan heads to Atlanta only to discover things are not what they seem, starting with the sexy woman he rescues after an accident on the job site.
Only time will tell if a case of mistaken identity can turn hate into love—but time may not be a luxury they can afford. Can Logan and Bree discover their real selves and true love in time or will everything be torn down around them?
“I’m done waiting, Bree. There are things we need to discuss. And we will . . . in the morning. Tonight you’re mine.”
He bent his head and captured her lips in a fiery kiss. Bree responded, threading her fingers through his hair. Logan pressed his body against her. His erection throbbed with need as he ran his hands over the curve of her hips.
The elevator stopped and the doors opened, but Logan paid no attention as they tugged and pulled at each other. Managing to get out of the elevator by sheer luck, Bree decided to take control. She pushed Logan against his door and began to unbutton his shirt as he fumbled with the key. The sight of her small hands on his bare chest had him shoving the door open and pulling her inside. The door slammed at the same time his shirt fell to the floor next to hers.
He never broke their kiss as he stripped Bree of her clothes. His hands moved up her ribs and cupped her breasts. They fit perfectly in his hands, and when he rolled her nipples between his fingers, she moaned into his mouth before wrapping her hand around his length, leaving him hissing out his breath.
Bree’s body vibrated with excitement as Logan moved his lips down her jaw to her neck. He felt her pulse leap as he continued to kiss his way across her collarbone before he dipped his head lower and pulled a hard nipple into his mouth. He strained to control himself as Bree let out a slow moan of pleasure.
He cupped her most sensitive area and teasingly ran his finger lightly across her wet lips. She thrust her hips forward, seeking fulfillment to her growing need. Logan grinned against her breast. Bree had finally had enough teasing and pushed him back onto the bed.
“I think I’ve let you play long enough. It’s my turn now.”
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Meet the Author
Kathleen Brooks is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author. Kathleen’s stories are romantic suspense featuring strong female heroines, humor, and happily-ever-afters. Her Bluegrass Series and follow-up Bluegrass Brothers Series feature small town charm with quirky characters that have captured the hearts of readers around the world.
Kathleen is an animal lover who supports rescue organizations and other non-profit organizations such as Friends and Vets Helping Pets whose goals are to protect and save our four-legged family members.
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