Tag Archives: Teaser Tuesday

Release Day Teaser Tuesday Exclusive Excerpt: An Indecent Invitation by Laura Trentham

Hey friends – more misadventures and misfortunes abound, so expect even more oddly timed posts and playing fast and loose with time. However, not today! This was a long ago scheduled post with Laura Trentham! It’s Tuesday, and time for an exclusive excerpt so we can all bask in the comfort of regularly scheduled programming, and a lovely tease of an upcoming romance. And as you see, today is release day! So everyone enjoy the excerpt, and remember to congratulate Laura on her newest book being available to the world! Whee!

An Indecent InvitationKeeping her safe is difficult, keeping a proper distance from her is downright impossible.

Lady Lily Drummond understands only too well the danger of spy work. Her father, a preeminent master spy, has been missing for months, and her brother barely survived his final mission for the Crown. Lily is still determined to help find her father, no matter how hard her brother and his best friend try to keep her in the dark.

Busy trying to untangle the web of deceit surrounding the Earl of Windor’s disappearance, Crown spy Gray Masterson also has to ensure Lily Drummond, the gangly, awkward child who was his constant shadow growing up, doesn’t get herself ruined at her London debut. But the girl with scraped knees and elbows has evolved into a lush, sensual beauty surrounded by a bevy of suitors.

Realizing Lily is going to investigate on her own if he doesn’t let her join the hunt for her missing father, Gray assumes he can give Lily a few minor tasks to pacify her, but he quickly learns she is a valuable asset. Moreover, she fairly crackles with life and warmth—things he craves after his dark years in service.

Warning: This book contains spies, scandals, naughty liaisons in houses of ill repute, men who think they know everything and women who know they do not.

Gray offered his arm with a slight inclination of his head, and Lily tentatively laid her hand on his forearm, glancing up at him under her lashes. His faint smile seemed sly and had her biting her lip.

He guided her out the doors before her waffling conscience had a chance to protest. Instead of staying on the balustrade, safe with the other couples and smoking gentlemen, he led her down the steps and into the greenery, his hand clamped over hers, barring protest.

“Now then, a bit of privacy. Tell me, my lady, you never answered my question, has a gentleman won your favor?”

She snatched her hand away and withdrew a few paces. With only dim light cutting the shadows, Gray loomed. An innate fierceness, masked by the pomp of the ball, distilled into the darkness and surrounded her with ominous intent. Did she really know him after so long?

“An offer has been made but my brother is set to decline on my behalf.”

He stroked his bottom lip, and her eyes followed as if he were a mesmerist. “Have you enjoyed your introduction to the ton?”

“It’s been…entertaining.”

“That was a mere platitude. Tell me the truth.” He flipped her words, a smile playing behind his finger.

“The truth? It’s been disappointing. Most of the gentlemen have been like Montbatton, obsessed with horses or carriages or cravats. Do they think I give a jot about such things?”

“What do you give a jot about?” he asked with a hint of derisive amusement. “Embroidery? Balls? Dresses?”

“I care about the war. How men come back maimed everyday—body and spirit. How women are left widows to care for their children on almost nothing. How no one here—” she gestured back to the ballroom with her fan, “—seems to notice. Or care.”

Her words wiped the amusement from his face. He took a step forward, close enough to touch, but neither of them made a move. “You speak from experience.”

The darkness was now her friend, offering welcome camouflage. “My brother was horribly wounded.”

“He’s better now.” It was more statement than question.

“Is he? He drinks too much, wakes with nightmares too often, becomes angry with little provocation. He works himself into exhaustion every day to keep from falling into melancholy. I worry about him. What happens if I’m not there to bully him back to life?”

He squinted at the hedge as if it held deep wisdom. “Your brother is lucky to have you.”

“You’ve been in the fighting, haven’t you?”

His gaze travelled back to her face, and the moment stretched. “Yes.”

“Have you been injured?”

Again, he paused before whispering, “I have my share of scars.”

Now she did touch him, laying a hand on his forearm. He covered her hand with his, and for a mad moment, she wished neither of them wore gloves, wished she could entwine their bare fingers. Solid ground beckoned. This talk made her too vulnerable, and didn’t she have a part to play?

She pulled her hand from under his and forced out a false, jarring laugh. “I need to return, sir. My chaperone will surely have missed me by now, and there will be a list of gentleman I’ve disappointed.”

“Of course, let me escort you back inside.” He backed into a shaft of moonlight and waited with an outstretched hand. His hair shone black and he stood straight and strong. He had always been the stalwart port in the violent storm that was her father.

She took his hand, and he tugged her forward too quickly. Her toes tangled in the hem of her dress. She grabbed at his biceps for balance, the thick ropes of muscle flexing. His hands spanned her waist and then slid down to where her hips flared. The sensation set off a fine trembling in her knees.

Their faces were inches apart. Firm lips above a squarely masculine jaw caused her to worry her bottom lip with teeth and tongue. His nostrils flared, and in answer, she inhaled, his scent clean and woodsy. He had never smelled quite so appealing when she was a child.

He moved closer, and she parted her lips. Her brain held no sway. Her body completely ignored its instructions to push away, escape. Instead, her back arched, her face tilted up, and her hands roved over his shoulders. Her heart beat against the tight confines of her stays, trying to escape.

Was Gray going to kiss her? Did she want him to?

Her lungs pulled in much needed air, and on the exhale, she breathed his name.

The intimacy of his name disintegrated his befuddlement. Christ, had he lost all commonsense? First to pull her into him and then to almost kiss her? His body was charged for a full-out sensual assault, his hands ready to explore the too-tempting soft curves pressed into him. He thrust her away and snatched his hands back as if she had the plague.

He covered his confusion with menace. “Lily Drummond. Rafe would spank your bottom if he knew you’d accompanied a man to the gardens.”

“If he knew the man who lured me out was you?”

Her well-made point pierced like an arrow. “I was trying to teach you a lesson,” he said with pompous undertones.

“Perhaps I was trying to teach you one as well.” She sniffed and adjusted her gloves.

“What was that, pray tell?”

“Never steal a lady without first making sure you know her name.” She swept by and tapped him on the chest with her fan.

They walked side by side to the balustrade, but he didn’t offer an arm this time. “Obviously I’m a fool, but you’ve changed dramatically from the little girl I left at Wintermarsh.”

“It’s referred to as growing up,” she said pertly, but then sadness and accusation wove through her words. “If you had come to visit, my changed appearance wouldn’t be such a shock. Rafe needed you. Last autumn was horrid.”

Guilt was not an emotion he allowed lest it overwhelm him. It rose like bile just the same. “Do you not think I wanted to be there? To get Rafe home, I indentured myself to Sir Hawkins. The last eight months weren’t enjoyable for me either.”

She cut her eyes to him, her voice small. “Are you angry with me?”

He had to think on it. In disbelief, flummoxed, shocked, yes. But amused, entertained and fascinated as well. “Devil if I know why I’m not. You led me on quite a merry chase.”

Copyright © 2015 Laura Trentham
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication

So what’d you think? 😀 You can read another excerpt here or buy a copy here. Happy newest release, Laura, and congratulations on the newest Spies and Lovers book!

Teaser Tuesday Exclusive Excerpt: An Unsuitable Duchess by Carolyn Jewel

Dancing in the Duke's ArmsAn Unsuitable Duchess by Carolyn Jewel The duke of Stoke Teversault has well earned his reputation for bloodless calculation. Indeed, recently widowed Georgina Lark has no idea he’s loved her since before her late husband swept her off her feet. Stoke Teversault means to keep it that way. The cold and forbidding duke and the blithe and open Georgina could not be less suited in any capacity. And yet, when Georgina and her sister arrive at his home, his ice-bound heart may melt away. Georgina Lark has never thought of the duke of Stoke Teversault as a man capable of inducing passion in anyone. He’s long disapproved of her, but she will be forever grateful to him for his assistance after her husband died. It’s been a year since she’s realized he’s not the man she thought. Can she convince him to open his heart to her?

An Unsuitable Duchess– excerpt from Chapter 12 by Carolyn Jewel, from the Anthology Dancing in the Duke’s Arms.

George tensed when she saw Stoke Teversault walking the path to the pond. She wished she hadn’t decided to come here, but she had and now it was too late to hide. She could be as cool as he could be. She would be.

It was her plan to pretend she’d not seen him, and then, when he saw her, he could decide to walk away. He would return to the house, and no one need admit that there was no repairing the break between them that had existed since the day she’d told him she was not in love with his brother.

She was prepared to have him avoid her as he had these past two days. He continued walking. Why? Why hadn’t he taken the chance when he’d had it? He was a clever man. He would know he could turn away. It wasn’t too late yet. She kept her eyes forward, but she could hear him coming nearer. Now, she thought. Now, he must realize he was at the very limit of where he could retreat with their pretense of ignorance intact.

Mrs. Lark.”

She did not love Lord William but that had not been enough to fix whatever had gone wrong. She would rather go back to his disdain of her than endure knowing she had made this painful for him. She hid the rest of the bread she’d cadged from the duke’s chef in her reticule. “Good morning, Your Grace.”

He stood on the path, unmoving.

She steeled herself, but the words she’d rehearsed a dozen times flew out of her head. “I wish I could fly or turn invisible. Or could travel back in time to never make a fool of myself.”

I beg your pardon.”

But I have. Made myself foolish to you, I mean. We shouldn’t have come. Kitty and I.” She sank into the drama that had overwhelmed her these past days. “I should never have let Lord William convince us to come here. I did so want Kitty to have a chance to meet fashionable people. With Hugh away, we don’t see many gentlemen worthy of her. I was selfish for I so wanted to see Teversault for myself. I ought to have known you would prefer we not come here.” She drew breath. “Therefore, I’ve decided that we shall leave.”

Mrs. Lark. There is no reason for you to leave. You have not troubled me in the least.”

She stared across the water, then looked at him, determined to make things right between them. “Except when you feared I meant to marry your brother.”

He held her gaze, and her stomach swooped. “I am a difficult man to know and more difficult to befriend, I’m told.”

I can’t think who’d dare tell you something like that.” The birds had stopped singing, as well they must. What creature would risk displeasing Stoke Teversault?

His smile was pained. “You needn’t leave on my account, unless what you mean to say is that you cannot tolerate me.”

She dug her toe into the gravel then realized she oughtn’t. “I did not say that.”

If you leave, I will think you believe it.”

She stared at him, perplexed. He was serious. She narrowed her eyes at him and then smiled and extended her hand to him. “Good morning, Your Grace. How delightful that you should decide to walk here at the same time I did.”

For the space of two heartbeats, he did not react. Then, he took her hand and bent over it. “A happy coincidence, indeed.”

Lovely morning, don’t you agree?” she said when he’d released her hand.

Yes.” He stood beside her and watched the water with her. The swans and several of the ducks had swum away one she’d stopped throwing them treats. “Not too warm.”

Not yet. Perhaps later, though.” She was going to learn how to behave with the duke if it killed her, and she thought it would. “I do prefer cooler weather. Don’t you?”

His arrival brought the birds to the edge of the pool, with the ducks being quite vocal.

Yes.” He drew a hunk of bread from his pocket. The noise from the birds increased. “Better for the nerves, one hears.”

Yes. Nerves.” She didn’t want to look at him but she did. He looked especially fashionable today, with his beaver hat and a greatcoat of chocolate wool. “One does wish to avoid a case of the nerves.”

He tore off bits of bread and tossed them onto the water. The swans floated close, necks arched gracefully. He turned his head to her, and she froze, and then hated herself for being caught in his gaze. His nose was too long and too boney, his cheeks too sharp, and his mouth was as hard as his heart. “Greedy beggars.”

Yes, they are.” She forced herself to reply when she’d rather stare at his face and ponder why she found him so attractive. “Beautiful, greedy beggars.”

He tore off more bits of bread and extended a handful to her. “Would you like to feed them?”

George opened her reticule and took out the bread she’d shoved inside. She held it up. “I came prepared.”

Chef muttered something about nice fat ducks this morning.” He laughed and tossed his handful of crumbs onto the water. “When I am in residence, I cannot bear to think of not bringing them something in the morning.”

Why don’t you instruct the staff to make sure they get something?”

He hesitated, then said, “I do.” His features returned to hard nonchalance, while she took her turn tossing bits of bread. “I believe you’re wrong about my brother.”

What do you mean?”

He is fond of you.”

As I am fond of him.”

More than he is of any other.”

You’ve no cause for worry.” She put a hand on his upper arm, and he glanced at her, one eyebrow arched. “It’s very odd to me, but nevertheless true, that though Lord William is handsome, unfairly so, I should say, I feel no spark of…” How frank should she be? Enough, she understood, to put his fears to rest. “There is no attraction between us. I believe I ought to feel something in that nature, for what woman would not find in him much to admire?” She lifted her hands in a gesture of her helplessness in the face of such facts. “Yet…”

Teaser “Tuesday” Exclusive Excerpt: Sacrifice by Kate Pearce

Hi friends! So, I know it’s not Tuesday – everything was pushed back a bit and you know how it goes. The fifth Tuesday of the month belongs to Riptide Publishing! I think it’s especially fitting, considering the recent Supreme Court decision – this Teaser Tuesday spot was just perfect! Also, that we have an excerpt of Sacrifice, an upcoming title from the fabulous Kate Pearce. You can actually read chapter one on Riptide’s site right now – and come back to read chapter two below!

SacrificeAwaiting execution on a foreign planet, Anna Lee has nothing left to lose—until Commander Rehz Akran offers her a chance to escape her fate. Anything is better than death, but when her training for Akran’s mysterious mission begins, the brutality is hard to take . . . especially since Anna has no idea what the workouts, beatings, and endless sexual demands are preparing her for.

Rehz Akran doesn’t deal with failure. He’s determined that his last trainee will survive her immersion in an unimaginably alien world and return alive—even if it means she’ll hate him forever. He needs to stay detached, but his new recruit makes that impossible. Soon he’s willing to defy his own training for a chance to forge a true connection with Anna.

It’s Rehz’s job to teach Anna to survive as a Tribute. And if she does, it’s his task to help her overcome the trauma of the experience. But this time he isn’t doing it to save his planet. This time he’s doing it for love.

Read Chapter 1 here.
Chapter 2

“Do it again.”Anna set her jaw and raised the heavy practice sword to meet Akran’s.

“You’re not trying.”

They were in the training complex, in a circular arena that reminded her of a round pen they’d used to school horses they’d had on the ranch. There were other pairs of trainers and . . . whatever she was, dotted around the space. All of the trainers—nine men and one woman—had wandered over to stare at her, and all of them, without exception, had put their hands on her.

At least her tits and ass were covered in the stretchy black bikini-type outfit Akran referred to as workout clothes. Of course, he could still put his hand up her skirt or slip it under the thin bandeau wrapped around her chest. And he did. Way too often for her liking. She was still sore from the lesson he’d given her the day before and the cock-sucking session that would now, apparently, start every day.

“Lee!” She gasped as his sword met hers and knocked her clean off her feet. Within a second he crouched over her, his razor-edged blade biting into her throat.

“You need to concentrate.”

“I’ve never fought with a sword before. It’s not part of my culture.”

He sighed, his breath warm on the back of her neck, and hauled her to her feet. “Don’t talk back to me.”

“How am I supposed to defend myself if I’m not allowed to talk?” She glared at him. “I have no idea how to use this weapon!”

“I don’t care whether you’re a fucking expert with a blade. I want you to be fit enough to take on anything I throw at you. You tire way too quickly.” His gaze fastened on her mouth when she started to argue. “Either shut up and listen, or you’ll regret it.”

She raised her chin. “What are you going to do? Rip out my tongue?”

He reached for her and flung her over his shoulder like a sack of flour. Her breath whooshed out, and she tried to wriggle away. His palm met her backside with a resounding slap that made her eyes water. He jogged through what seemed like miles of tunnel, his breathing regular, and his arm an iron band around her waist.

She quailed as he eventually upended her in the same room with the white plastic gurneys. He dumped her on top of one, which immediately closed around her.

“Stay there.”

For once, she was too dizzy to argue with him. He returned a second later with the man she’d met the previous day, who was nodding at whatever Akran was saying to him.

“Yes. I can do that. For how long?”

“From now until end of day.”

“All right. Where do you want me to put her when I’m done?”

“In the mess hall.”

“Oh, an object lesson, then.” He studied Anna, who glared back at him. “There shouldn’t be any permanent damage. I’ll keep the power level low. We don’t want her losing sensation.”

“No, we do not, Prof. We want her to experience every single moment.” Akran nodded at Anna. “That’s another half day of training you’ve lost me. I’ll see you later.”

She didn’t dare answer him. She already had a feeling that shooting her mouth off in this facility was not going to work out well.

*******

“She’s a tough one, Rehz.”

Rehz glanced over at Kai. “The females are hard to condition. Having less body mass means they don’t do well without nutrition, which means they don’t tend to survive as long.” He sighed. “That’s probably why our overlords don’t seem to request many females.”

“Lucky them,” Kai grunted. “Do you think she’ll make it?”

“I have no idea. If sheer stubbornness is a criterion, then she’s going to be the best I’ve ever trained. I just have to come down hard on her right now so that she stops fighting me. If she doesn’t, high command will eliminate her anyway.”

“Where is she now?” Rehz shot Kai a glance. “You’ll find out shortly.”

They paused at the doorway of the mess hall, and Kai let out his breath. “Greez, she’s here already?”

“She won’t stop answering me back.”

“So we’re going to give her mouth something else to do all night.” Kai grinned. “I’m game for that.”

Rehz watched his friend walk toward the raised dais in the center of the room. There were two naked figures kneeling there. A male—who in Rehz’s opinion wouldn’t make the final cut—and Anna Lee, a real troublemaker. Even from the door he could see the glint of the gold circle the professor had installed in her mouth, making it impossible for her to close her lips. Two chains ran down from the side of the ring to her nipples and were clamped there. Another chain ran down to her clit and another clamp. Her hands were locked in the small of her back. She couldn’t change position even if she wanted to.

He followed Kai and watched from the side where Lee couldn’t quite see him.

Kai smiled and slowly unbuttoned his pants. “You must want cock.”

He guided the head of his dick toward the circle of gold and leaned in until he was completely inside.

“Nice.” Kai started to move his hips, and Rehz knew, because he’d been the one to plan and order the mouth ring, that each slam of a cock set off tiny shocks that traveled down to Anna’s nipples and her clit. Small shocks at first, but as she’d find out after servicing all the cocks in the dining room, cumulatively unpleasant and wearing. She’d have to come eventually, and that wouldn’t feel too good either.

He was partly sickened by what he had to do and partly aroused. He wanted his cock in her, making her jerk and come for him. Recently, he’d started to hate the lengths he had to go to in order to enforce his will on the trainees as quickly and as harshly as possible. They didn’t know what was facing them. Rehz did. He supposed it was a version of cruel-to-be-kind.

Kai came and finally withdrew from Lee’s mouth.

“Nice. I’ll come back for dessert.” Kai winked at Lee, but she wasn’t looking at him. She was trying to look down at her clamped nipples and clit. Rehz strolled past her and nodded before taking his place at the dining table, where he could watch everyone else stopping to avail themselves of her mouth.

By the time dinner was finished, her skin was glowing from a combination of sweat and the come that some of his colleagues had allowed to trickle down between her breasts, or which had filled her mouth so fast that she hadn’t been able to swallow it. Rehz’s dick was hard and aching. He gently cupped his balls and considered her, waiting until everyone else had left.

She didn’t look at him as he approached, so he crouched in front of her.

“Let’s go through this again. I ask the questions. You don’t. You answer me promptly, preferably by doing whatever the hell I’ve told you to do. If I want your opinion, I’ll ask for it. I don’t have time to waste explaining greez to you. I need your absolute and complete attention, and your total obedience.”

He waited a beat and then shoved a hand in her damp blonde hair and raised her head. “If you prefer it this way, we can keep the ring in your mouth on a permanent basis. And if you still defy me, I’ll add one in your cunt and another in your ass so you can’t stop me doing whatever the fuck I want whenever I want it.”

She met his gaze and held it.

“Nod your head if you agree to keep your mouth shut unless I give you permission to use it.”

She slowly lowered her head and then kept it down. He was aware of a huge sensation of relief sweeping over him.

When had he got so soft? Why wasn’t he just striking her off the list and sending her to the executioner?

“Come on, then.”

He attached her leash and disconnected her wrists and ankles from the structure behind her.

“Come.”

He took her back through the echoing passageways to his quarters and had her kneel on the floor by his chair. Watching her the whole time, he slowly unzipped his pants and wrapped a fist in her hair.

“Suck me.”

She made a small, desperate sound, but he didn’t call her on it. Her mouth was sore. He knew how it felt. When she’d taken his cock deep, he detached the two gold chains that ran from the sides of her mouth to her breasts and threaded them through the loops of his pants and around the back of her head, anchoring her firmly in place between his thighs.

“Keep me hard while I work.”

He turned his attention to writing up the daily reports he submitted to headquarters and collating and reading everyone else’s. Some of the trainees were doing well. The male who’d been with Lee in the dining hall would have to go . . .

So what’d you think? 😀

Teaser Tuesday Exclusive Excerpt: The Enforcer by Kele Moon

Hi friends! Today we have Kele Moon sharing an exclusive excerpt with us from the upcoming book three of her Untamed Hearts series! The Enforcer! We al know it’s Tino’s book WHOO! (Although goodreads says book four is The Boss which one would think is Nova’s book … but I’m pretty sure book four is Brianna’s book … anyway.) It’s clear I’ve read the books in this series and enjoyed them. The first series is the Battered Hearts series, and the “spinoff” is the Untamed Hearts series. While Kele wasn’t explicit about this, I want to say it’s a raw excerpt – and this is so exclusive the book doesn’t even have a cover or blurb yet!

***FLASHBACK SCENE.***

“That’s my sister that motherfucker brought with him!”

Tino didn’t really have to say any more.

Meilei tossed his bag at him, and he stormed into the crowd, shirtless, with his gun showing. Not too many people were paying attention anyway. It’d been about an hour since he got there, which meant everyone was already rolling their asses off.

He snatched a glow pen out of a party girl’s hand, because she’d been writing on her boyfriend. Then he walked right up to Carina and grabbed her arm.

She gasped, clearly in full defense mode for about two seconds before she yelled over the music, “Tino! What’re you doing here?”

He was dealing for their father, but he didn’t explain it to her.

Tino just leaned down and wrote on his sister’s forehead in big block letters that glowed under the black light.

MORETTI

“If it says moron, I’m gonna be really fucked off!” Carina shouted at him. “Why are you coloring on me?”

“Why are you here?” he screamed and then pointed to Dominic. “With him?”

“Cause he said he knew the location!”

“You’re not allowed to go to raves!”

“Since when do I only do what I’m allowed to?” Carina shouted back at him.

Well, yeah, there was that.

He turned around and grabbed Brianna, making her gasp. She was wearing one of those low cut, v-neck shirts that Tino was sure Dominic really enjoyed. So he wrote it across her chest, from the slope of her left tit, up to the right side of her collarbone.

MORETTI

In big, bold letters that glowed blue under the black light.

Brianna stared down at it and then looked at him. “What does this mean?”

“It means private property!” Tino looked at Dominic when he said it. “You’re leaving! Step out right now or I’ll have you thrown out!”

Dominic shrugged. “Then you owe me twenty bucks.”

“For what?” Tino followed his line of sight to see him staring at the water bottle in Brianna’s hand. “Oh, you motherfucker.” Tino pulled his gun out and pointed it at Dominic. “Get out! I will fucking kill you! I swear to god!”

People screamed and backed up, but Carina and Brianna jumped forward and caught his arm, which was a really dumb, extremely naive thing for them to do. Fortunately, Tino had been practicing with Carlo for the good part of two years and he wasn’t one to misfire on accident. In fact, he was pretty fucking sure he could put a hole right through the center of Dominic’s forehead.

“It’s okay!” Carina screamed at him. “We asked him to bring us! This is our fault!”

“Did you ask him to drug you?” Tino shouted at his sister without taking his eyes off Dominic.

“I took it!” Carina was still holding onto his arm. “I’m the one who took it! I wanted to.”

“You took Molly with Dominic Brambino around.” Tino cast a side glare at Brianna for that one, just quick enough to let her see how fucking disappointed he was in her. “He gave it to you so he could fuck you! He told me that’s why he gave it to you! He said he brought his own pussy! Who do you think that is, Bri? ‘Cause it’s not Carina!”

“I didn’t take the Molly he bought,” Brianna assured him. “I’m not stupid. I just came to dance and make sure Carina stayed safe.”

“Who gave you the water bottle then, if you’re so fucking street smart!”

Brianna looked at the mostly empty water bottle in her hand and glanced back at Tino with wide eyes.

“I’m gonna fucking kill you,” Tino told Dominic and he was dead serious about it, because the Brambino’s had taken so much from him. Now that motherfucker was going to drug and screw Brianna just to piss him off. That felt like a murder worth going down for. “I just want to kill you. I want to put a bullet in your brain.”

“You know what will happen if you do that?” Dominic didn’t even look nervous about it. Like he was so fucking secure in his family’s control over Tino he was fearless in the face of Tino’s gun pointed at his head. “Is that a risk you’re willing to take?”

“What the fuck is going on?” Nova shouted before Tino could decide. “Valentino!”

“He drugged Brianna’s water,” Tino explained without lowering his gun. “And he gave Carina Molly.”

“Holy shit, why would anyone do that?” Nova made it sound like that was the worst possible combination he could think of. “Get him out!” Nova pointed at the door when the bouncers came up. “You let my sister in! The Don would lose his fucking mind!”

“We didn’t let her in!”

“Well, she’s in here!” Nova threw up his hands in disbelief. “And this puttana tricked Tino into selling him Molly for her. I can’t even fucking conceptualize what Carina is gonna be like rolling on ecstasy. Now thanks to you motherfuckers, I get to find out!”

“You sell drugs?” Brianna asked him.

“I–” Tino put his gun back, because the bouncers grabbed Dominic real fast once the Don was mentioned. “Yeah, sometimes. I sell them sometimes.”

“For the Borgata?” she whispered in disbelief. “Do you like selling it?”

“This situation is awesome on so many levels.” Nova looked a little manic. “We have to leave. Right now.” Then he leaned down and got in Carina’s face. “Thanks for ruining my buzz, princess! This was my last weekend!”

“You ruined my buzz!” Carina shouted back at him. “I can’t do anything!” She pointed to her forehead. “This is my life! I’m never gonna have a boyfriend! NEVER! I’m gonna die a virgin because my family is psychotic and everyone knows it!”

“Oh my God, is she fucking for real.” Nova grabbed Bobby’s arm and shoved him at her. “Here you go. There’s an approved boyfriend for you.” He turned around and walked towards the door shirtless. “I can’t deal with her princess problems.”

So what’d you think? Have you read any of the previous books? For The Battered Hearts you have Defying the Odds, Star Crossed, and Crossing the Lines. Those books lead into the Untamed Hearts which kicks off with The Viper followed by The Slayer.

Oh and OF COURSE Kele is offering a giveaway too! Cuz it’s BIRTHDAY MONTH! Maybe you’ll win a signed copy of one of her books. Or a giftcard. Winner’s choice? We’ll see! 😉

Teaser Tuesday Exclusive Excerpt: Dare to Rock by Carly Phillips

Hi friends!!! Today I’m so excited to share an excerpt from Carly Phillips with you! Not only is this an exclusive from Dare to Rock, it’s still a WIP, so it’s rough – but that means you’re getting a first look at it! Raw! Rawr! 😉 I have to say I’m excited about this book as well because I quite enjoy rockstar romances. What I like about the “Dare to Love” series is that each book can be read as a standalone.

Dare to RockAvery Dare lives a quiet life in Miami as an online fashion/makeup video blogger. She has good friends, a close, large family and if her love life is lacking, she likes it that way. But when she receives an invitation to one of her ex’s concerts along with an invitation to meet him back stage, she decides to take the risk… and comes face to face with the reality of his rock star lifestyle – the press, the crowds, and the half naked groupies.

At eighteen, Grey Kingston left everything he knew and loved behind to seek fame and fortune as a rock star, and he found it as the lead guitarist and singer for the band, Tangled Royal. Fans adore him, women throw themselves at him, and he can afford everything he couldn’t growing up. Yet at the height of his career, he’s ready to walk away and return home to a simpler life… and the woman he left behind, if he can convince her to give him another chance.

Except moving on isn’t as easy as Grey would like. When Avery is threatened by a stalker, it becomes evident Grey’s fans not only don’t want him to retire, they don’t want Avery in his life either. And Avery isn’t sure she wants the pressures that are part of Grey’s life… but she doesn’t want to lose him again, either. Can their recently renewed love survive the fallout?

With his hand on the small of her back and tremors of awareness rippling through her body, they walked to the end of the dock where The Lola sat, the name clearly scripted along the side.

I’m not up on terminology, so I’ll just say welcome aboard,” Grey said, as he pulled off his shoes.

She did the same and soon she found herself on a deck with beautiful furniture, wooden frame with a beige and white chevron patter, and a bucket of champagne in ice waiting for them.

She blinked in surprise. “They set this up so quickly?”

Told you. Full service crew.” He gestured to a love seat where they could sit side by side.

She dropped her shoes to the floor and lowered herself into the cushion. He joined her, his hard thigh touching hers and an electrical shock jolted through her. Her body flushed with heat, her nipples tightened and she bit back a sigh of pleasure. Not quite fast enough because his eyes darkened at the sound that escaped.

He tore his gaze away and with expertise, he opened the champagne and poured them each a glass.

She accepted hers, grateful for something to do with her hands. “Thanks.”

To new beginnings.” He touched his glass to hers.

To old friends,” she said, attempting to put things into perspective, more for her overheated body than for him.

Awareness flickered in his gaze. He was clearly aware of her attempt to put distance between them. Still watching her, he took a long sip.

She followed suit and moaned at the bubbly taste.

His gaze heated up at the sound that rippled unbidden from her throat and she just knew a heated blush stained her cheeks.

I always was a sucker for champagne,” she murmured.

I remember. You were a light weight too.”

She shrugged. “I still am.” It didn’t take much alcohol to give her a buzz.

He placed his glass down on the table in front of them. She preferred to hold onto hers for security. Now that she was alone with him, butterflies had taken up residence in her stomach.

I needed this. Needed to be alone with you.” He reached out and wrapped a section of her hair around his finger and rubbed his thumb back and forth over the strands.

She felt the caress between her thighs, arousal and need alive and well inside her, an ache only Grey seemed capable of creating. “I’m glad we’re here too.”

Could have fooled me,” he asked in a gruff voice. “You tried damned hard to get out of it.”

He looked and sounded like a hurt little boy and she felt compelled to explain. “That was my rational side reacting. The part that reminds me of how different we are, and how we like and want different things.”

She met his gaze, needing him to understand. “I want this time with you now, to catch up and get to know each other again.” And that’s all she’d admit to wanting, Avery thought.

Good because I want the same thing.” He eased closer, his arm snaking around behind her, the closeness and warmth of his body arousing her in a way she hadn’t felt in years. Or maybe ever.

He took the glass out of her hands and placed it on the table. “I’ve moved here for good.”

His words took her off guard. “I thought you’d end up back in L.A.”

He shook his head. “We have plenty of time for details another time. Right now I think we should move on to other things,” he said, the sexual innuendo in his tone clear.

And so very welcome. “What things?” she asked in a husky tone.

This.” He leaned in and pressed his lips to hers, sliding his tongue over her lips. “Mmm. Champagne and you. Nothing sweeter,” he said, his voice a deep rumble, a sweet, seductive promise of things her body craved badly.

Her sex spasmed and she shifted in her seat, unable to ease the sudden ache between her thighs. Her hands drifted as she fought an inner battle, give in to what she wanted or let fear of losing again consume her.

He licked the corner of her mouth and slipped his tongue inside. Battle lost. She moaned, wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him back, all the pent up years of need and longing gone the instant she gave in.

He swept one hand into her hair, wrapping the long strands around his fist, the tug drawing a direct line to her sex. Dampness coated her panties and her nipples hardened, aching for his touch. But he held her in place, taking his time, his lips devouring hers, his tongue thrusting in and out, sweeping through the deep recesses of her mouth. She was lost in sensation, lost in Grey.

Thunder sounded closer but at this point she couldn’t distinguish between the arousal rumbling through her brain and body and the weather outside. He kissed his way down her neck, her throat, his teeth grazing her skin, pausing at her collarbone to find the sensitive spot he’d always favored.

She curled her hands into his shirt as her head fell back and she gave into sensation.

You taste like vanilla,” he muttered, licking his way across her chest, following the line of her shirt where it crested over her breasts.

It was the very best kind of tease and she couldn’t do more than sigh his name. “Grey.”

Missed you, sugar.”

She trembled in his arms. “I missed you too.” The admission hurt because he’d left her and the knowledge was always there, burrowed in her heart, next to the crack her father had left before him.

She pushed the thought away, reaching for him, her hand cupping his cheek. “It’s still there, isn’t it?” she asked, needing to know the intensity was as strong for him as it was for her.

His darkened gaze met hers and he stroked her cheek with his knuckles. “Stronger than ever.”

He braced her face in his hands and kissed her again – and again it went on, two people relearning and lost in long forgotten and reawakened sensation. She thread her fingers into his hair, running her palms over the shorter sides, tugging on the longer pieces on top.

He groaned and pulled her astride him, her pussy now in direct contact with the heavy, thick bulge in his jeans. She arched her back and rocked lightly, the cresting waves inside her body as powerful as those surrounding the boat below.

Another crack of thunder sounded, this one louder, startling her and she flinched at the noise. A streak of lightning lit the sky soon after.

Grey swore. “Inside. Now.” He helped her to her feet. She grabbed the glasses and he picked up the champagne but the skies had already opened. Before they could make their way below deck, the first droplet was followed by torrential sheets of rain.

You can read more about the Dare to Love series here. And because it’s my birthday month, Carly has very generously offered a giveaway! One lucky commenter is up for a $25 gift card! So what’d you think of the excerpt? Do you like rockstar romances? Friends to lovers? Have you read any of the previous books in the series?

Carly Phillips Giveaway

SAPAHM Guest: Courtney Milan Shares a “Teaser Tuesday Exclusive” Vignette of Adam Fucking Reynolds

Hi friends!!! As you see we’ve got Courtney Milan here today! Well … kinda. Instead of writing a post post … I mentioned to her today also happens to be a “Teaser Tuesday” spot … and what with the popularity of Trade Me … and Adam especially, she decided to send me this scene. Adam is the father of the hero in Trade Me – Blake Reynolds. It’s not exactly like father like son. However, for some, the father stole the show. Trade Me is the second NA book I’ve read – and 82% of it was because of the teaser Courtney posted that included Adam Reynolds. If you haven’t read Trade Me yet, you can find out more about the Cyclone series here, and Adam’s upcoming book here.

Fair warning, if the subject wasn’t enough of a clue, Adam does not care about clean language. He does not believe in the “you’re better than that” when it comes to not swearing. (And really – why would anyone? >.>) So without further ado … a little peek into a day with and working for A.F.R.

Trade Me

Adam

April, 2012

The sun spills into the cafeteria via floor-length glass windows. It’s three, and I’ve just finished the quarterly earnings call. This means I’m ravenous—there’s something about talking to analysts for an hour straight that burns through my energy stores—and also, that I’ve spent a good sixty minutes doing my level best not to say anything off-color. That takes a lot more fucking work for me than answering analysts’ shitty questions about the projected future margin of our goddamned cloud computing services.

I actually don’t intend to do a drop-in. Not at first. Not until I’m walking to the checkout with a sandwich and a salad and a liter of water, and I hear someone say, “Shut up! He’s right here.”

I look around. Cyclone’s central cafeteria is open and sunny, and someone has opened the windows to the outdoors so there’s a bit of a breeze. In theory, the open space is supposed to encourage collaboration and/or trash talking, whichever happens to be the word of the day.

Still, there are ways to hide. Behind other people, for instance, although this late in the afternoon, it’s mostly people stocking up on coffee. I let my gaze sweep over the mostly empty tables with narrowing eyes.

Strangely enough—ha!—nobody meets my eyes. There aren’t many problems with being me. Here’s one of them: everyone looks fucking guilty if I glare at them.

That’s why it takes me a mere three seconds for me to identify the guilty party—or, in this case, the guilty parties. They’re seated at a table about ten feet away, nestled among potted baby palm trees. I identify them because unlike everyone else in this place, they’re all looking at me like they have nothing to hide.

Everyone has something to hide. Anyone who pretends otherwise is a lying bastard.

I would have known it was them anyway. If someone were to put together a team of the people at Cyclone who were capable of managing Adam Fucking Reynolds, it would be these three. Them and Peter, but Peter is still stuck upstairs. He claims to be answering a few urgent emails post earnings call, but come on—this is Peter, he’s decompressing.

George, my assistant, doesn’t look one fucking bit guilty. He’s had too many years of practice, and butter would not dare undergo a phase transition in his mouth if he didn’t want it to. He adjusts his glasses and calmly meets my gaze with a look that says, Hi, Adam, nothing to see here.

Sai, the head of programming, gives me a diffident wave. Anyone who glanced at her might initially think she was shy, perhaps even timid. She’s short, just over five feet tall, and she looks around her with sharp, crisp movements that are almost birdlike in nature. As I raise one eyebrow in her direction, she reaches up and adjusts her colorful headscarf.

Looks are deceiving. She’s been with Cyclone for over almost as long as George has, and there is nothing remotely fucking shy about her.

Martin, the head of our PR department, wouldn’t know how to look guilty if his wife caught him with two whores and a hard-on.

Yu is the only one who almost-winces when I turn to them. Underneath the table, not exactly hidden from my view, I see Sai shoving a sharp elbow in his side. Poor motherfucker.

I scan my card for the sandwich and carry my lunch over to them. There is no chair free at their table, but I appropriate one from nearby—the other table seems surprisingly grateful that I only want to steal their chair—and sit down.

Drop in time,” I say. “What the fuck is going on?”

There is an exchange of glances.

Why, nothing,” Martin says jovially. “Honestly.”

There’s nothing inherently wrong with Martin, but as a PR person, his natural instincts run completely counter to mine. He hasn’t met a simple, declarative statement that he doesn’t itch to weasel out of. Also, I make his life hell—and if you’re wondering why, maybe I should mention that during today’s earnings call, where I was questioned by a slew of important analysts and major Cyclone investors, I only dropped two fucks. That made it a good earnings call for me.

Martin and I see each other as necessary evils, except sometimes I’m not sure he thinks I’m necessary.

Here’s the fucking thing, Martin.” I lean forward. “If you use the word ‘honestly’ to mean ‘I’m telling you lies at this very moment,’ you can’t complain that I never believe you.”

Martin sighs. “I didn’t mean that it was literally nothing. You’re a busy man. We all just want to respect your time.”

Which you do by not answering a goddamned question when it’s put to you?”

Oh, don’t bother.” Sai interrupts. She has a hint of an accent, one that at this point is more a matter of inflection and tone than pronunciation. “Do you really think you’re going to put him off? That he’s going to say, ‘Oh, well, never mind then,’ and walk away?”

It worked that one time,” Yu puts in. “When… Ah… Um.”

I look at him and shake my head. “You think you’re going to distract me that easily? Let’s start this conversation from the fucking beginning. What’s going on?”

I’m not a complete idiot,” Martin says to Sai a little stiffly, completely ignoring me. “I was buying time to think of a good explanation.”

By explanation, Martin means falsehood. Typical fucking public relations jackassery.

It’s all over the internet,” Sai says. “What were we going to do, keep him from getting online the rest of the day?”

George looks suddenly—strangely—innocent. I make a mental note not to trust George for the next five hours.

But the truth is, if this were actually serious, whatever this is, they would have told me right away. My people don’t fuck around about serious shit. Whatever has knotted their collective panties into a rope is probably not urgent. It’s also something, judging from their expressions, that will make me flip my lid.

I uncap my water. “On a scale of one to fucking shark attack, this qualifies as…?”

It’s a three,” Martin says placatingly. “A gentle three.” Slowly, he slides a tablet toward me. “It’s a parental setting application that someone has made for the tablet. It went live in the store three days ago. Now kids can surf the web without encountering…er, dangerous material. It has led to some, um, very spirited discussion online and in the tech sphere, much of it centered on amusing and unintended applications of the filter.”

I now understand the source of their wariness. I just spent the last hour trying not to think the word fuck, and public appearances are about the only times I make an effort to practice self-censorship. My views on swearing—or, rather, on not fucking swearing—are legendary. Legendary enough that my nickname among Cyclone employees is AFR—standing for Adam Fucking Reynolds. It’s seeped out into the wild, a fact that gives Martin heartburn. My views on swearing are so legendary, in fact, that two of the motherfuckers sitting at this table maintain the documentation on it.

You mean,” I say, “it’s a fucking censor-bot.”

Er… Yes. It costs $2.99.” He adds the last as if that price point somehow makes it better.

We’re selling a fucking censor-bot in our goddamned store, so that we can indulge shittacularly stupid parents who think their kids can be saved from hell and fucking damnation for $2.99?”

Martin swallows. “That is one way to put it. I actually don’t think that it’s so terrible—”

Cheap,” I say scornfully. “Eternal salvation should not cost less than a fucking cup of coffee.”

There is a long pause.

You know,” I say thoughtfully. “That gives me an idea. We should write an app that sells indulgences.”

Yu looks at me.

Come on, Yu,” I say. “You and I can throw it together in our spare time. It won’t take much. We just need a Deposit Cash Here button. We’ll cut Martin in—he can write the copy. We’ll split it three ways, and we’ll all get rich.”

Adam,” Sai says thoughtfully, “what did I tell you about making fun of other people’s religions?”

To be fair,” Yu says, “that’s offensive only to sixteenth century Catholic priests, and they’re a very small demographic for Cyclone. As a general rule, if you ever ask me to go into business with you, I’m there. But this one…” He shakes his head.

What, were you a fucking Catholic priest in your prior sixteenth century life?”

No,” Yu says.

You can’t do it anyway,” Martin points out. “I’m pretty sure that stealing key Cyclone employees for a new business is a breach of your fiduciary duties. So, since we’re done here…” He reaches for his tablet.

Right. The censor-bot. I set my hand on top of the device. “I haven’t forgotten, Martin. Eternal salvation. $2.99.”

He tilts his head.

Well? Show me how it works. Search for porn.”

Sai picks up a piece of broccoli and throws it at me. I don’t even have a chance to react, and her aim is remarkable. The vegetable bounces off my forehead in a splat of brown sauce. I frown at her and reach for my napkin.

You are a terrible person,” she tells me. “Nobody else here wants to look at what Martin thinks of as porn, and he doesn’t understand that you’re joking. Let the poor man alone, or I’m telling Peter.”

I wince. It’s a fucking effective threat, because I actually care what Peter thinks.

You are terrible,” Sai repeats. “Say you’re sorry.” Her fingers twitch in the direction of another piece of broccoli.

As I said: There is nothing shy or diffident about Sai.

I’m sorry,” I say to Martin in flat tones. “I am a terrible person.”

You see?” She shrugs. “He’s like a dog. Terrible manners, but he’ll pretend to behave if you say no firmly enough and keep a close eye on him.”

This characterization would be offensive, except it is also entirely accurate. I decide not to call attention to it by disputing it. I unwrap my sandwich instead.

Here,” Sai continues. “You want to see how it works? I’ll show you. Controls are enabled, yes?”

Martin nods.

Good. Let’s pull up a copy of the Fuck Me to English Dictionary.”

This is what I mean: It’s Sai, for God’s sake. For the last seven years, Sai and George have been the keepers of the Fuck Me to English Dictionary. They not-so-secretly pass on copies to Cyclone employees who are likely to encounter me. I’ve been told that the dictionary is hilarious, although if it’s funny, it’s only because I’m funny.

At this point, the file has grown to a multi-hundred-something page searchable document written in our help file mark-up language. One of these days, someone is going to accidentally—or not so accidentally—ship it with a product release, and Cyclone is going to have some explaining to do.

And that explains why we all need Martin.

The guide comes up on the screen.

**** ME

TO

ENGLISH

v. 5.4

A DICTIONARY GUIDE TO ADAM ******* REYNOLDS

The automatic versioning software has helpfully added the contact information of the guilty parties.

Keepers 1995-2003: pg, gwalsh

Keepers 2003-2005: gwalsh, blake

Keepers 2005-2006: gwalsh, blake, saint

Keepers 2006–present: gwalsh, saint

That’s how this piece of shit censors?” I say. “The stars?”

Yes,” Sai says.

That’s fucking original.” I roll my eyes. “Are they charging $2.99 for a basic swap algorithm?”

Probably.”

Nice work if you can get it.” I shrug and scroll on.

AARDVARK, ***********, the first entry reads.

*********** AARDVARK is a phrase that can have dual meaning (see Appendix 2.1) and must be determined from context. The expression “*********** aardvarks!” used as an interjection is an indication of frustration with excess bureaucracy, and often specifically with SEC regulations regarding forward-looking statements. When directed at a person however, as in the phrase “Aren’t you just a *********** aardvark?” it has positive connotations, praising the person’s adroitness in evading bureaucratic headaches.

Shit,” I say, “that’s crap censorship. Anyone can tell from the context that it’s supposed to be a cocksucking aardvark.”

Of course,” Sai says. “The point of censorship has never been to obscure what is being said, but to make sure everyone knows that you’re too righteous to think it.”

Martin stirs uncomfortably beside her.

AARDVARK, *************, starts the second entry.

Only one person has been designated a ************* AARDVARK: Former SEC Commissioner William H. Donaldson. If you are called a ************* aardvark, then you are William H. Donaldson, and we all really want to know why you’re reading this. No, actually, we don’t. Go away, William H. Donaldson.

I sigh. “Ah. Now I see the problem. This is a fucking pisser. Cyclone employees won’t be able to decode my fucking intent if they put parental controls on their devices.”

I slide the tablet across the table.

New Cyclone policy: No parental controls on employee devices. There. Problem solved.”

Martin’s mouth drops open. Yu frowns at me like I’ve turned into a motherfucking crocodile at the table. Even Sai seems surprised. George, however, is nodding his head as if he knew better. And he probably did; he’s spent more time with me than the rest of them combined.

What?” I say. “Am I supposed to go on a rampage because some fucking idiots out there think their children’s eardrums are made of 14 carat marshmallows? A stupid find and replace isn’t going to stop the kids from discovering the internet. It might, though, make their parents feel safe enough to let the kids read shit without further fucked-up supervision. Win/win.”

The search and replace is not entirely stupid,” Sai says. “It gets all the usual variants and some unusual ones. We have been testing.”

So kids have to get creative in response,” I said. “I have no fucking problem with an app that encourages creativity. It won’t stop anyone. I bet I could come up with three statements in the next three minutes that would belong in the Fuck Me to English Dictionary and would also get through the filter.”

George takes out his wallet and slams a dollar bill on the table. “I take that bet.”

I look at my assistant and put a hand over my heart in a stabbing motion. “Et tu, Walsh? After all these years? Fuck me. You, of all people, should have more faith than that.”

George looks hurt. “Adam. Adam. Nobody on this planet could have more faith in your foul mouth than me. It’s just worth a dollar to hear you do it.”

Martin sighs and looks up.

I grin. “You’re on. First—”

Wait.” Sai holds up a hand. “Let me bring up a separate document. We have to make sure that these get past the filter… Okay. Start the clock, George.”

First,” I say. “French-kiss a donkey’s cloaca.”

Martin winces.

Donkey’s cloaca,” Sai says, typing. “That one got through. One for Adam.”

Fucking fantastic.” I steeple my fingers. “Second. Make a five-course meal from Grandma’s menstrual blood.”

Jesus, Adam.” Martin looks away.

Hey,” I say. “I’m just running through the standard social taboos here. It’s not like this is fucking hard or anything.”

Martin just shakes his head.

I grin. “More taboos… Hm.” There aren’t all that many taboos, honestly. Fewer and fewer every day. “Son of a syphilitic rattlesnake.”

Son of a…” Sai shakes her head. “No good. ‘Syphilitic’ stars out.”

Are you fucking kidding me? How are kids supposed to get on WebMD to find out which STDs they’ve acquired? What a piece of shit.”

I think the parents are hoping their children don’t get STDs in the first place.”

Denial.” I snort. “The least effective form of birth control.”

Thirty seconds left, Adam,” George warns.

Fuck. If they’re censoring syphilis, they’ve probably got necrophilia covered. Corpse…intimacy…shit, not dirty enough. Let’s just go with the tried and true. Choke on my semen.”

I don’t know.” Sai is typing. “That’s a pretty bold move on your part… no, you’re right. Semen goes through. Semen, but not syphilis? Who wrote this?”

Doesn’t matter,” I say. “If semen didn’t work, I had enough time to switch to a synonym. Like ejaculate. This piece of shit can’t distinguish between ejaculate, the verb meaning to exclaim, and ejaculate, the noun meaning jizz. If they were smart enough to detect context and parts of speech, they wouldn’t be wasting their time with fucking censorship. They’d be data-mining with the best of them.”

Okay. You have your three,” Sai says. “Time?”

George glances down. “He got it with fifteen seconds.”

I pick up George’s dollar and take out my wallet. “Eat shit and die, George,” I say. “I hope it was fucking worth it.”

Adam,” says a voice behind me. “What are you doing?”

I don’t turn. I don’t have to. I know precisely who is talking to me—and I know precisely why he has that note of warning in his voice.

What does it look like I’m doing?” I say. Now it’s my turn to pretend innocence. “I’m swearing up a shitstorm and taking money from Cyclone’s most loyal employees. That’s fucking obvious, asshole.”

Peter Georgiacodis pulls up a chair next to me and sets his soup on the table. “I answer three lousy emails,” he says with an aggrieved shake of his head. “It takes me ten minutes, and this is what I find? I can’t leave you alone.”

I look over at Peter. Someone who didn’t know him as well as I did would think that he was mad. He’s tapping his spoon against his bowl, shaking his head, and giving me a severe look. I, however, have seen him fucking angry, and when he’s enraged, his skin turns pale—well, paler—and he gets really quiet.

Right now, Peter is amused.

He’s been CFO at Cyclone for… well, not as long as George has been my assistant, but it’s up there. Along with Sai and George, he’s one of the few people at Cyclone who will actually tell me when I’m full of shit. He’s the only one I always listen to. If I’m the necessary evil at Cyclone, he’s the necessary good.

Aw, Georgiacodis,” I say with pretend sheepishness. “I know I’m not supposed to swear at Cyclone employees, but in my defense, I spent all afternoon on the earnings call and also in my defense, it was Sai and George and Yu. They hardly count.”

Your excuse is pitiful,” he says. “I got asked more questions on the earnings call than you did, and you didn’t have to answer that annoying guy from Deutsche Bank who wanted me to project currency issues over the next years. You don’t get to complain. As to the other, Martin is here, and he counts twice.”

Thank you,” Martin says.

I ignore this.

Besides,” I say in conciliatory tones, “I wasn’t really swearing at them. I was swearing with them. You know that’s a crucial distinction.”

The corner of his mouth tilts up, but he catches himself before he actually smiles. “Not good enough. Try again.”

And,” I say, playing my trump card, “I wasn’t even swearing. That was the whole fucking point. I was explicitly saying things that would pass through a family-friendly child-safe filter.”

Peter finally laughs. “Adam, nothing you say could ever be child-safe.”

It’s true,” Sai says, holding up the tablet. “I only had to throw food at him once. George bet Adam that he could come up with three Fuck Me to English entries in three minutes. They had to get past the child filter.”

Peter takes the tablet from Sai and reads through my efforts, shaking his head sadly.

He’s not sad, whatever fake mournful shit he’s putting on. He’s on the verge of cracking up.

He gets to the end and then looks up at us. “Are your three minutes up?”

Long ago,” George says, checking his phone.

Peter sets the tablet down. “You lose, Adam.”

What? No fucking way! There are three statements there. They got past the child filter. They could go in the Fuck Me to English dictionary.”

No, they couldn’t.”

Fuck me,” I say. “Do you think those aren’t dirty enough?”

Oh, they’re bad. But they’re not all you.”

What?”

You might tell someone to french a donkey’s cloaca, but you would never tell someone to choke on your semen. I invented the Fuck Me to English Dictionary. And you know what? It’s the Fuck Me to English Dictionary, not the Fuck You to English Dictionary. You say a lot of terrible crap, but you’ve never—once—said anything with that level of aggressive nonconsensual sexuality. Your filthiness has standards. Well, one of them, anyway.”

George slaps the table. “You’re right. You’re motherfucking right.”

I consider this for a long moment. “Fuck me,” I finally say. “That’s what I get. I let the clock get to me. I should have worked the necrophilia angle.”

Sai gets out her phone. “Overheard at Cyclone,” she narrates. “Adam Reynolds: ‘I should have worked the necrophilia angle.’ And… Tweeted.”

She didn’t actually tweet that. I think. I ignore her, and then I hand George back his dollar and fish in my wallet for a one.

But when I take it out, Peter shakes his head. “Are you kidding? George bet against you on a matter of dirty language, and you’re giving him one-to-one odds? That’s cheap, and you know it.”

He didn’t negotiate for better.”

He didn’t have to. Properly-calculated odds are the default in any bet.”

Fucking accountant.” But I take a twenty from my wallet and hand it over.

Peter picks up his spoon. “Speak to me with the respect I deserve. That’s motherfucking accountant to you.”

And it is. It’s even in the Fuck Me to English Dictionary.

ACCOUNTANT, MOTHERFUCKING. An expression of annoyance after being corrected on mathematical matters, directed at the person who is doing the correction so long as that person is Peter Georgiacodis.

It’s the only definition in the entire thing that I wrote myself. It’s also the only one that is dead wrong.

But that is another story entirely.

So what’d you think? 😀 I LOVED IT. Of course. If you haven’t read Trade Me yet have you been enticed into giving it a try? 😉 Remember – Adam is a secondary character in Trade Me. Book one is about Blake and Tina. Blake just happens to be Adam’s son – an interesting, and great relationship.

If you want more of Adam, Courtney wrote another short where Adam time travels and meets Frederica Marshall-Clark.

Teaser Tuesday Exclusive Excerpt: Eagle’s Honor: Banished by Sandra Schwab

Tuesday! Teaser Tuesday! Sandra Schwab! You know what’s up!

In just a few days I’m going to launch an exciting new series of steamy historical romances set during the time of the Roman Empire. Eagles’s Honor will follow the story of one family across 300 years, from Caesar’s Gallic Wars to the fall of the Germanic Limes. In Eagles’s Honor: Banished you will meet Lia and Marcus:

Eagle's Honor: BanishedA proud warrior.

A brave woman.

A forbidden love that is tested by the intrigues of ancient Rome and the hostilities at the northernmost edge of the empire.

Centurion Marcus Florius Corvus has a splendid career in the legions ahead of him. Yet a visit to Rome and a chance encounter with an old friend change his whole life: He falls in love with one of his friend’s pleasure slaves and thus becomes entrapped in an evil scheme designed to destroy him. And yet—he cannot help risking everything for the woman he loves, even if it means he will be banished to one of the most dangerous places in the Roman Empire: the northern frontier of Britannia.

What I have been wondering, centurion,” she whispered against his ear, each word a warm, slightly damp puff against his skin.

Yes?” He was almost certain that she was now performing again, falling back into her role as a pleasure slave. Regret sliced through him.

He wished he could have the woman back.

Indeed, he was surprised by the intensity of his regret, the depth of his yearning.

I’ve been wondering…” She licked his ear.

Hmm?”

If you’ve ever fucked a girl with your vine staff.”

What?” He reared back and stared at her.

She threw him an innocent look from underneath her lashes, biting her lip. “It is entirely possible, I assure you.”

Oh, I’m sure.” Marcus chuckled, then as the absurdity of the whole situation struck him, he burst out laughing. “I swear half of the time the things you say are either meant to shock or provoke.”

The mask slipped. She frowned.

Marcus noted it with satisfaction. He did not want the damn pleasure slave.

He wanted her.

But the next moment, she pursued her role. Hands on his chest, she leaned forward and licked his ear. Again. “Hmm. And you are not a man easily shocked or provoked?”

No,” he said firmly. “Except by lice. I am extremely provoked by lice.

This time it was her who reared back.

At her incredulous expression, Marcus grinned and cheerfully proceeded to tell her of that time when he had been a young recruit and his whole legion had become infected by lice—centuria by centuria and cohort by cohort. The legate, losing his patience with the lice and his men, had ordered everybody to shave their heads. When that hadn’t helped all that much, he had brought in the epilators from the bath houses near the fort and from the town and gave them orders to denude the legion.

Marcus chuckled. “For days, the fort rang with the screams and yells and obscenities of us poor sods who got every last hair on our bodies cruelly ripped out.”

He looked at the woman who now sat beside him on the daybed. Her slender frame was shaking with helpless giggles.

The whole legion—as smooth and nude as babes,” he said reflectively.

Her giggles became louder.

He added gently, “And as red as lobsters.”

She threw her head back, giving in to full-blown laughter—and Marcus’s heart turned.

What a silly thing, a heart, to focus all its striving and all its yearning on the most unlikely woman.

His chest expanded on a deep breath. He reached out a hand to cup her cheek, to brush a stray strand of hair out of her face.

What a beautiful laugh you have,” he said softly.

He was a fool, of course, for nothing was more designed to make her laughter die.

She stared at him, her eyes so very, very blue.

Despite the dart of pain in his heart, he made himself smile. “It is a delight.”

Frowning, she shook her head. “My laugh?” she asked in mocking disbelief.

Yes. That…” He smiled a little, his hand stroking over her hair. He loved touching her hair, loved touching her.

His eyes sought her gaze. “And you, of course,” he told her matter-of-factly. “You are a true delight.” His hand slid over her shoulder, down her arm until he could thread his fingers through hers.

He looked at their intertwined fingers—his large and blunt and burnished by the sun, hers dark and slender, a fine tremor running through them.

The latter made him quickly glance up.

There was a vulnerability in her expression that cut into his heart. “May I kiss you?” he asked and gently squeezed her fingers.

The question seemed to steady her, for her mouth twisted into a taunting smile. “You didn’t ask the last time.”

He tugged a little at her hand. “I’m asking you now.”

The smile vanished. She stared at him.

He rubbed his thumb over the back of her hand. Such delicate skin. He could still feel the slight trembling of her fingers, and he wanted nothing more than the wrap her in his arms and protect her from the world outside this room.

You can buy a copy here.