Top 5 Tuesday: January 19th 2021

Hello Friends! I am here today with this week’s Top 5 Tuesday, this is a weekly meme that was created by Shanah at Bionic Book Worm, and is now being hosted by Meeghan reads. This weeks theme is our top 5 books that I will definitely (hopefully) read this year.

What are some books that you would like to read this year? Let me know in the comments below!

Crazy Stupid Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams – I put this on my tbr every month hoping I will get to it. Other books always seem to come first so this one gets pushed back but I REALLY want to read it.

God’s of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – I have already started this one but it is very different from what I normally read so I am taking it slow.

Bitter Fallls by Rachel Caine – Sadly Rachel Caine passed away last year and her upcoming book Heartbreak Bay is her last book in this series. I need to get through Bitter Falls first so I can finish the series.

An Ember In The Ashes by Sabah Tahir – I am trying to expand my reading this year and I hear good things about this series so I would like to try it.

The One by John Marrs – I really tried to get to this one last year but just couldn’t fit it into my reading. Hoping I can this year!

Reading Round Up: January 1st-10th

Hello Friends! I am here today with my first round up for the month. So far my reading is pretty slow this month. I have been in a small slump and it’s been hard to pick anything up. Im hoping the second half of the month goes a bit better but we will see.

Mystery Man by Kristen Ashley -2 Stars The premise for this one was a bit off for me, we have the main character Gwen who has been sleeping with a mystery man for a year and a half. The mystery man only comes at night while she is asleep and she has no idea how he gets in. One day she lands herself in trouble by going to the local Motorcycle Club looking for information on her sister. When she gets home mystery man is there waiting for her, he broke in again! One of my big problems with this story is the insta love all the men have for our main character. We have mystery man who she is sleeping with, then after 5 minutes the MC President wants to make her his and the police officer who is helping her out wants her too. I am not a fan of stories that have the main character wanted by all within so little time, plus they end up throwing in a 4th guy who is her best friend and it was just too much. I will try another book by the author but probably not in this series.

How To Fail At Flirting by Denise Williams – 4 Stars This was a fun romance that had some hard hitting topics mixed in, I like when an author can weave both lightheartedness and seriousness in the book. Our main character Naya has been recovering from a bad relationship for the last three years and her friends finally persuade her to start going out again. While out she meets Jake and the two spend the evening together. Turns out Jake is also involved in some stuff going on with Naya’s job. The two must decide if what they feel for each other is worth it when their jobs are conflicting. I really enjoyed this book and the struggles Naya goes through in trying to get over past. If you are looking for a great romance that isn’t very fluffy then I would highly recommend this one.

Only When Its Us by Chloe Liese – Reread – 4 Stars This was a reread for me and I enjoyed it just as much this time as the first. Chloe writes her characters so real and I love that. Willa is a surly soccer player who is behind in a class and tries to get help from Ryder, the guy who sits next to her in class. Willa thinks he ignores her when he doesn’t respond to her questions but it turns out that Ryder lost his hearing. After the misunderstanding the two form a tentative friendship that ends up growing into more. Ryder’s family is one of my favorites and I love that we get to see so much of them in these books. This entire series so far is great!

Top 5 Tuesday – January 12th

Hello friends! How is everyone’s day going? Things are good here just ready for my kids to be back in school, remote learning is not working great and I don’t want them to fall behind. I am here today with Top 5 Tuesday and our topic today is my most anticipated books for 2021. What books are you excited for? Let me know in the comments below! Top 5 Tuesday was created by Shanah at Bionic Book Worm, and now being hosted by Meeghan reads.

Quiet In Her Bones by Nalini Singh – February 23rd 2021 Nalini Singh is an auto buy author for me and I really enjoyed her first thriller and can’t wait for this one.

Act Your Age Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert – March 9th 2021 First two were great and I would expect this one to be as well.

Isn’t It Bromantic by Lyssa Kay Adams – July 20th 2021 We are finally getting The Russians story and I CAN NOT WAIT!!!!!

A Good Day For Chardonnay by Darynda Jones – July 27th 2021 Darynda Jones’ first in this series last year was a lot of fun and I am looking forward to reading more from those characters.

Heart Principal by Helen Hoang – August 17th 2021 Again the first two in this series were great and I am excited to read Kai’s story!

21 Books I want to read in 2021

Happy Monday Friends! I am here today with a quick post sharing 21 books that I would like to read in 2021. I chose books that I actually think I will be able to read off my shelves. I am hoping to be able to do checkins through out the year to see how I am doing with these books! I also chose these books to help me with my backlist challenge for the year.

  • Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner – Contemporary Fiction
  • A Duke, The Lady and A Baby by Vanessa Riley – Historical Romance
  • A Rogue of One’s Own by Evie Dunmore – Historical Romance
  • The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton – Historical Fiction
  • Bitter Falls by Rachel Caine – Mystery/Thriller
  • A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro – YA Mystery
  • Beartown by Fredrick Backman – Adult Fiction
  • Crazy Stupid Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams – Contemporary Romance
  • Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey – Contemporary Romance
  • Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane – Contemporary Romance
  • Last Tang Standing by Lauren Ho – Contemporary Romance
  • The Lemon Sisters by Jill Shalvis – Contemporary Romance
  • An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir – YA Fantasy
  • A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik – YA Fantasy
  • God’s of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – Historical Fantasy
  • Recursion by Bake Crouch – Science Fiction
  • Horrid by Katrina Leno – YA Horror
  • The One by John Marrs – Science Fiction/Thriller
  • Blacklisted by Jay Crownover – Contemporary Romance
  • This Cowboy of Mine by R.C. Ryan – Contemporary Romance

Six For Sunday – January 10th

Happy Sunday book friends! I am here today with Sunday’s meme Six for Sunday which was created by A Little But A Lot. Today’s topic is bookish wins for 2020. Bookish wins for me is reading books outside my normal comfort, whether this was by genre or representation in the books. so here are 6 of my bookish wins from last year.

Always Only Us by Chloe Liese – Representation for a person with a physical disability.

Ties That Tether By Jane Igharo – Main character of color struggling in today’s society with her parents ideals.

Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade – Positive body representation.

Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall – Characters who identify differently than me.

Marriage Game by Sara Desai – A book about a culture other than my own.

Mexican Gothic – A Horror book, this one made me realize I might like more in this genre than I thought. It also was about a place and time that I know nothing about.

Book Blitz: Unplugged by Sigal Ehrlich

Unplugged
Sigal Ehrlich
(Unplugged, #1)
Publication date: March 10th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

An against-all-odds & forbidden rockstar romance

After surviving the long and excruciating recruitment process, I thought I would end up working for Madonna or the CIA at the very least.
Boy, was I wrong.

Even in my wildest dreams I couldn’t have imagined what I was in for. What my heart was in for.

I couldn’t have possibly fathomed the lifestyle, the responsibility, how much it would take out of me, the inner battles, and mostly, the emotional whirlwind.
I could never have imagined, prepared myself for, or anticipated…

Him.

It was supposed to be a job. Just a temporary job. Just a few months. Just a short stop before the journey I was about to take to follow my dream.

It was supposed to be a lot of things…but not this.
Little did I know it would be the one event that would shape me, would change me, would bring on such a shift in the balance of my world.
Would bring…

Him.

Would bring…

Them.
Both.
Into my life.

*UNPLUGGED is the first part in a two-part series; it has a cliffhanger-ish ending.

Goodreads / Amazon

NOW ON KINDLE UNLIMITED!

EXCERPT:

I hold one of the monstrous fridge doors open, taking inventory of the profusion of goods on display. I twitch my lips, moving them from side to side, as I muse what can best serve as a natural sedative. I stoop slightly forward for the carton and stop dead. More precisely, I find myself being stopped by an iron grip. Instinctively, I suck in a breath as a firm arm slides to wrap around my waist. A warm, hard body presses against me in tandem to someone’s lips nuzzling me right below my ear. A momentary stupor enfolds me as a few things register concurrently. The prickly feel of the scruff on my neck, and the smell hovering near that is a mixture of part masculine, part alcohol. Heavy alcohol. The most tantalizing fact, though, would have to be that the body pressed against my back is very much naked, as I can distinctively feel every part of the firm torso through my thin, cotton tee.

Still utterly startled, I chance a hesitant glance at the strong arm embracing me. Suntanned and large, it could be easily mistaken for a canvas crowded with colorful, detailed illustrations. The other hand, the one not holding me firmly, is another art creation in the form of a human limb extended toward the OJ carton.

“Open that for me, babe,” a raspy, low voice demands. And I do. The carton is lifted above my shoulder, and right after a pause, it is set in my stunned hand. Lightly moist, cold lips, bordered by a prickly beard, kiss my neck next. “Come back to bed, babe,” says the utterly seductive voice. A light smack on the butt jolts me, and I’m left by myself. My heart is beating in my ears, and my lips part in shock. I swallow hard and slowly turn to see who just groped-spanked me. There’s so much to take in. The lion’s head tattoo covering the right shin, the dark hair messily knotted, the toned arms, the musical notes tattooed on the left shoulder blade. But one thing calls for my full attention. A delectable, as in an award-winning, butt.

Author Bio:

Sigal Ehrlich is a bestselling author of refreshing, fun, and sweet romance books. She loves books, cold weather, and the occasional bubbly drink. Living as an expat for most of her life, Sigal has been lucky enough to visit many exotic places and meet some unique people from all corners of the world, while experiencing the sweet triumphs and travails of trying to acclimate to new “homes.” Currently, Sigal calls the Czech Republic home where she lives with her husband and three kids.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Bookbub / Pinterest / Amazon


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Let’s Talk Bookish January 8th

Hello Friends! I took a break in December from most of my weekly memes as I was just not feeling that inspired to write much but I am back in the swing of things in January! The Let’s Talk Bookish Meme is a weekly meme that is created and hosted by Rukky@EternityBooks and Dani@Literary Lion and todays topic is brought to us by Dani and it is What Makes Something Canon?

So I have been thinking this one for a few days and I am not sure what I want to say. The term canon really only means something to me when it comes to comic books and Star Wars. If you do not know what canon means here is the definition for it: In fiction, canon is the material accepted as officially part of the story in the fictional universe of that story. It is often contrasted with, or used as the basis for, works of fan fiction.

When reading comics I especially think about whats canon, Batman has been going for so long that it’s hard to remember what is and is not canon. My problem with this is that it is all fiction, it’s all made up by someone so does it really matter. For so long Clark Kent has been linked to Lois Lane, their relationship is considered canon. However, some years ago DC came out with the New 52 line that had Superman and Wonder Woman as a couple and it is one of my favorite story arcs for this characaters. I personally loved these two together and I do not care if it’s considered canon. Stories are meant to be fun and I think it is ok if they do not always stick to the rules.

This is just my opinion and I would love to hear your thoughts on this as well!

Book Blitz: Bossy Brothers – Luke by J.A. Huss

Bossy Brothers: Luke
J.A. Huss
(Bossy Brothers, #7)
Publication date: January 5th 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Two hot men seeking a fun, flirty girl with a sense of adventure. You in?

My life changed the day Zach Boston walked into it. And we’ve been inseparable best friends and lovers ever since. But he’s almost seven years younger than me and I remember all too well what my twenties were like – A new adventure every day, non-stop partying every night, and a new girl (or guy) whenever I got bored.

That’s why Zach and I always have a third. 

Girls are how we’ve kept it fresh all year. 

We’ve gone through dozens of them since we got serious and I’m not saying I don’t enjoy the dynamic of a threesome, because I do.

But when this cute girl with pink hair comes sailing into our lives and upends everything—I don’t know if we’ll survive it. 

★★★★★
Bossy Brothers: Luke is the final book in the Bossy Brothers series and features a sweet and sexy MMF ménage with two hot, committed men and a pink-haired gossip reporter desperate for a scoop. But when she stumbles into more secrets than she can handle, her boys need to call on all the Boston and Dumas brothers to keep her safe.

Goodreads / Amazon

Grab BOOK ONE, Bossy Brothers Jesse, for FREE!
Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

EXCERPT:

I’m studying the reef below me, trying my best to ignore what’s happening on the other side of the little waterfall lagoon with Luke, Zach, and Bart, but at the same time desperately trying to hear what they are all saying.

Bart is definitely coming on to Zach. And Luke is pissed.

Hell, I’m pissed. Zach is mine. He’s the only reason I’m here. I can deal with Luke. He could turn out to be a big, ol’ sexy bonus, even if he is kind of moody and distant.

But this Bart guy?

No. He was not part of my plan.

Suddenly Luke is below me in the water, his dark hair waving around his face, his finger pointing up.

I stop snorkeling and pull the mouthpiece out, then slide my mask up my face so I can see him better when he pops up in front of me. “What’s up?” I ask.

“We’re going to the party.” Luke nods his head in that direction. “Zach is already over there. With Bart.” He adds a little extra malice to the name Bart.

Luke’s eyes track over to the floating party platform where dozens of people are crowding. We both watch as Luke and Bart come to a stop in the shallows of the sandbar. Bart leaves his Seabob in the water and pushes Zach, making him stumble and laugh as they both wade their way towards the platform.

“Hmm,” I hum. Then I look at Luke. “Are we going to allow this?”

“We?”

“Hey, I wouldn’t be here if he didn’t want me here. And at least I’m on your side. Bart there, he’s just some random rich kid looking to get laid by the first shiny thing that catches his eye. Which would be Zach.”

Luke frowns at me. “You’re no different, Posie. Zach and I are partners. You’re his version of shiny. He’s with me.”

“He’s with Bart, Luke. And like I said, Zach wants me here. So looks like you need a little help in holding onto your man. I’m offering to be that help.”

Wow. I’m not really sure where that came from, but I like it. It’s gonna be a good quote for the article. One of those big ones in the middle of a wall of text. The kind with ginormous quotation marks framing it.

Anyway. Back to reality.

“But,” I continue, “I can just as easily stay on the yacht until we’re ready to go and you can handle things all by yourself, if that’s what you prefer.”

He glances over at Zach again. And Zach is laughing and smiling, like he’s completely unaware of the drama going on over here.

“I like him, Luke.”

Luke’s attention snaps back to me. “So? You’re no one, Posie. Just another girl we picked up in a club. Do you have any idea how many times we’ve done that? Dozens.”

“But I’m still here.”

“For today. Trust me, after we drop you off at home tonight, he’ll forget all about you and just start hunting down another girl.”

“To spice things up? Is he bored with you, Luke? Is this how you keep him?”

I’m pissing this guy off. It’s probably a bad idea. I’m hours away from the mainland, he’s like six-foot-three, almost twice my weight, and he’s my ride home. So it’s a very bad idea to pick this fight with him.

But he needs an ally. And I’m his only option. If I’m gonna position myself as a permanent fixture in Zach Boston’s life I need to jump the hurdle called Luke first.

And this stupid Bart guy is the perfect way to unite us so I can make that leap.

“You have no idea what you’re talking about. Zach and I have a lot more between us than sex. Our families are connected. Our business is connected. There are bigger things on our minds than who we’re sleeping with. This is just Zach being Zach. It’s just a game. But trust me, when it comes time to go home, he leaves with me, Posie.” He pauses. Then points his finger at me. “And I’m on to you.”

I scoff. “Whatever.”

“I see you, Posie. I have seen plenty of girls like you over the past year. You all think Zach is a prize to win. And don’t bother playing dumb. You know his last name is Boston. That’s the only reason you’re here, isn’t it?”

For a moment I panic, thinking Luke knows who I really am. He knows about the contract I have with Buzz Hollywood. He’s figured it out.

But then he says, “You’re looking for status. Money. You want to party with him, and get your picture taken, and use him to get something better. Climb some ladder you don’t have access to. Discard your boring, pathetic life and reinvent yourself a new one.”

“Wow,” I say. “You get mean when you’re jealous.”

“I’m not jealous.”

“Stop it, OK? I’m not here to steal him from you. I just like him. And I like you too. Enough to share. And isn’t that what he and you do? Hm? Share?”

Luke doesn’t react. Like at all. So I keep going.

“If we team up, then Bart doesn’t have a chance. Zach likes you, Zach likes me. He has a life with you—as you pointed out—and I’m the new flavor of the week. One he’s barely had a chance to taste. He wants us. We don’t need to fight over this. Yet.”

I pause to see if he’ll say anything about that. But he holds his words in, so I finish.

“We need to get him out of here. Because Bart over there?” I nod my head towards the crowd. “He lives in Zach’s world. Not ours. He’s one of the ruling class. You don’t need to talk to him to figure that out. He’s dripping with privilege. Just like Zach. They are of the same kind. And maybe Zach does love you, but this is his world, Luke. He’s not Zach, one half of your yacht charter service. He’s a Boston. He belongs here in this exclusive, secret pop-up party for the rich and bored—and we don’t.”

Luke lets out a long breath. Like he was holding it in while I talked. He’s gently waving his arms in the water. And I can feel the slight current his flippers make as we tread water in the middle of this beautiful waterfall cove.

He knows I’m right. Luke has a precarious hold on Zach Boston for now. But for how much longer?

They don’t have much time left by the looks of it. I’m no expert in relationships but I’ve been in enough of them to see the signs of one winding down. The bond between Luke and Zach is based on a lot of things—but it’s not love.

Mutual attraction, sure.

Family ties and all that business junk. Fine.

But that’s not eternal partner type stuff.

So all I have to do is hang around long enough to watch it break and then be there when Zach needs somewhere to turn.

Wow. I’m sorta ruthless when I’m focused.

Who knew?


Author Bio:

JA Huss is a New York Times Bestselling author and has been on the USA Today Bestseller’s list 21 times. She writes characters with heart, plots with twists, and perfect endings.

Her books have sold millions of copies all over the world. Her book, Eighteen, was nominated for a Voice Arts Award and an Audie Award in 2016 and 2017 respectively. Her audiobook, Mr. Perfect, was nominated for a Voice Arts Award in 2017. Her audiobook, Taking Turns, was nominated for an Audie Award in 2018. Her book, Total Exposure, was nominated for a RITA Award in 2019.

Website / Facebook / FB Fan Group / Twitter / Instagram / Bookbub / Audible / Amazon / JA Huss New Release Alert


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End Of Year Reading Survey 2020

This is my second year to do Jamie’s from The Perpetual Page Turner’s End of Year Reading Survey. Below are 33 questions that gives you a glimpse into my reading for 2020. If you would like to see my survey from 2019 you can find it here. I hope you Enjoy!!

1. Best Book You Read In 2020? I can’t pick just one! Romance – Always Only You, Fiction – Anxious People, Fantasy – A Dance With Fate, Thriller – The Sundown Motel and Horror- Mexican Gothic

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t? The Roommate by Rosie Danon or Reborn Yesterday by Tessa Bailey

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  Mexican Gothic

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)? I don’t know, probably a mystery of some sort.

5. Best series you started in 2020? Best Sequel of 2020? Best Series Ender of 2020? I started The In Death series this year, I don’t think I ended a series and for best sequel I love anything in the Psy-Changeling series by Nalini Singh or The Black Dagger Brotherhood by J R Ward

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2020? Jill Shalvis, Chloe Liese and Silvia Moreno-Garcia

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone? Mexican Gothic

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year? The Sundown Motel

 9. Book You Read In 2020 That You Would Be MOST Likely To Re-Read Next Year? Always Only You by Chloe Liese

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2020? Mexican Gothic.

11. Most memorable character of 2020? Frankie from Always Only You

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2020? Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes or The Great Alone by Kristen Hannah.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2020? Educated by Tara Westover

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2020 to finally read?  The Great Alone by Kristen Hannah

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2020? So I reread it in 2020 but I love the line from Well Met “I didn’t choose the wench life, the wench life chose me.”

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2020? Shortest was Coyote Tales and it was 60 pages and longest was Hands Down by Mariana Zapata which was 550 pages.

17. Book That Shocked You The Most. I feel like it’s my answer for most but Mexican Gothic again.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!) . I don’t usually ship couples.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year. I love all the bromances in The Bromance series.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2020 From An Author You’ve Read Previously. Alpha Night by Nalini Singh

21. Best Book You Read In 2020 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure/Bookstagram, Etc.: Like Lovers Do by Tracey Livesay.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2020? I don’t really do this but I enjoyed Frankie from Always Only You, she was grumpy and I was here for it!

23. Best 2020 debut you read? One To Watch by Kate Stayman-London

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year? Mexican Gothic

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read? You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2020? The Great Alone by Kristen Hannah

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year? The Wild series by K.A. Tucker

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul? The Great Alone by Kristen Hannah

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2020? Effin Birds

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)? Make Them Cry, I did not like this book.

Until the next post, happy reading!

Book Blitz: The Ultimate Betrayal by Kat Martin

The Ultimate Betrayal
Kat Martin
(Maximum Security #3)
Publication date: December 29th 2020
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense

To prove her father’s innocence, she’ll have to turn a killer’s sights on herself

When her father is accused of espionage and treason, journalist Jessie Kegan has no doubt the man she looked up to her entire life is innocent. Worse yet, before Colonel Kegan can stand trial, he’s found dead of a heart attack…but Jessie knows it was murder. Forcing aside her grief, she’s determined to use her investigative resources to clear her father’s name. But going after the truth means Jessie soon finds herself in the crosshairs of a killer who wants that truth to stay buried with her father.

Protecting Jessie Kegan is a job bodyguard Brandon Garrett can’t refuse. Jessie isn’t just a client at Maximum Security—she’s the sister of his best friend, Danny, who was killed in Afghanistan. With dangerous enemies gunning for Jessie from every angle, keeping her safe will mean keeping her close, and Bran finds their mutual attraction growing, though being Danny’s sister puts Jessie out of bounds.

With their backs against the wall, Jessie and Bran will have to risk everything to expose her father’s killer—before his legacy dies with his daughter.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

They ordered-in Chinese and Bran turned the TV on in the living room, but neither of them were in the mood to watch.  Jessie knew exactly what she was in the mood for.  She hadn’t thought about sex this much in the last three years.  Now, every time she looked at Bran, having sex with him was all she could think of.

Everything about him turned her on.  The cadence of his voice, the way he laughed, the way he moved.  Just watching him amble across the living room sent a curl of heat into the pit of her stomach. 

What would it be like to kiss him?  Run her hands over all the lean, hard muscles she had seen and couldn’t get out of her head?  What would it be like if he made love to her?

Would she ruin it the way she had when she had tried before?  Start thinking about Ray Cummings and the intimate way he had touched her?  Conjure images of the rape he had planned to carry out the third night if she hadn’t managed to escape?

Fidgety and unable to relax, she headed for the pool, Bran reluctantly accompanying her.  Exercising in the warm water was the perfect stress reliever.  She glanced over to where he paced the deck at the opposite end of the pool, tall and lean-muscled, blue-eyed, and built.  Nothing better than swimming–except for hours of erotic sex with the man of her fantasies.

It seemed so outrageous she found herself grinning as she stroked to the far end of the pool.  She was still smiling when she came up out of the water, dripping and adjusting her swimsuit, just a few feet away from him.

“What’s so funny?” Bran asked, as grumpy tonight as he had been the night before.

She looked into his hard, handsome face and some little devil made her say it.  “If you really want to know, I was thinking what it might be like to have wild, uninhibited sex with you.”

Hunger flashed in his eyes so quickly she took a step back.  “Is that so,” he drawled, his gaze running over her, assessing every curve her orange-striped bikini displayed. 

Her whole body flushed with heat as she realized she wasn’t the only one who’d been thinking about sex.

She swallowed.  “I was imagining what it might be like, but I…  I know if we tried, I’d screw it up.  After Ray, I’ve got, you know, hang-ups.”

His gaze grew more intense.  “What kind of hang-ups?”

She picked her towel up off the mesh table next to a lounge chair and quickly dried off, then slipped on her white terrycloth robe.  Fortunately, the overhead lights began to flash, signaling it was time for the pool to close. 

“Time to leave.”  She started walking back to the room, wishing she’d kept her mouth shut.  By the time Bran opened the door and checked inside to be sure it was safe, she was starting to relax.

“What hang-ups?” Bran he as he closed the door behind them.

Jessie’s stomach instantly knotted.  What had possessed her to mention it?  But Bran had opened up to her yesterday, which meant she owed him the same courtesy today. 

Trying to appear nonchalant, she shrugged.  “You know, kissing’s okay, but if a guy starts touching me, my mind flashes back to Ray Cummings and I-I start thinking about the way he touched me, where he touched me, and pretty soon sex is the last thing I want to happen.”

Bran’s jaw looked iron hard.  “He rape you?”

She swallowed and shook her head.  “On the third day, just before he got home, I managed to get loose.  I couldn’t get out of the basement, so I searched for a weapon.”  Her lips trembled as the memory became all too clear.  “I found a wooden box and pried a board loose.  The board had a nail in the end so I held it like a bat, and I-I waited till he came down the stairs.”

“Go on,” Bran said so softly she felt a chill.

“He always wore this black knit ski mask with a red ring around the mouth, which made him look even more terrifying.  Knowing what he planned to do gave me courage.  The minute he stepped off the bottom step, I swung the board as hard as I could and smashed him in the side of the head.  As soon as he hit the floor, I starting whacking him over and over with the nail in the end of the board.  He was unconscious and bleeding when I took off running.”

“Finish it,” Bran said when she paused, more a demand than a request.

Her voice trembled.  “The woman in the house next door let me in and called the police.  Ray was still unconscious when they got there.  Turned out he was a serial rapist.  He had abducted four other women and locked them up just like me.  Eventually, he released them somewhere, but they couldn’t identify him or the place he had taken them.  I was the only one who escaped.”

She was shaking.  She didn’t realize she had tears in her eyes till Bran pulled her into his arms.

Author Bio:

Currently living outside Missoula, Montana, Kat Martin is the New York Times bestselling author of over sixty-five Historical and Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels. Before she started writing, Kat was a real estate broker. During that time, she met her husband, L. J. Martin, an author of Westerns and high-action Thrillers. Kat is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. She spends her winters in Arizona.

“I love to travel and especially like visiting the places where my books are set,” Kat says. “I love history and enjoy spending time in museums and art galleries. My husband and I often stay in out-of-the-way inns and historical houses. It’s fun and it gives a wonderful sense of a by-gone era.”

To date, Kat has over seventeen million copies of her books in print. She is published in more than two dozen foreign countries, including Germany, France, Norway, Sweden, China, Korea, Bulgaria, Russia, England, South Africa, Italy, Spain, Argentina, Japan and Greece.

Kat is currently writing her next Romantic thriller.

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