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Featured Book ~ Better than Cake, by Lisa Carlisle

Better than Cake

Lisa Carlisle

Better-than-cake(1)After the worst fight of their relationship, the last place Stephanie wants to be is a wedding reception. She still can’t get over what happened. Could their five years of marriage be destroyed after a blast of heated words? Johnny suggested separating. Separating! Now with her marriage on the line, she has to put on a brave face and pretend love is grand.

Johnny doesn’t know why he’d freaked out the way he had and is left with one emotion. Regret. He doesn’t want to lose Stephanie. He must find her and make things right.

Stephanie enters the reception, fearing the end of her marriage. Johnny has something else in mind—a much more decadent proposal that will turn her friend’s wedding into an event they’ll never forget.

A short erotic romance for only 99 cents! Perfect for a beach or summer read.

Buy Now at:   Amazon   B&N   Kobo   ARE

Excerpt

Who gets ditched at a wedding? Stephanie paused and took a deep breath before walking into her friend’s reception. Something like this could only happen to her.

Ditched wasn’t a strong enough description. “Maybe we should try separating.” Johnny’s words echoed in her mind, lashing her psyche raw with repetition.

Separating! She closed her eyes. Unthinkable.

It’s okay. You can do this. Stick it out for a couple of hours and then you can deal with the mess.

How would she explain her husband’s sudden absence? He was at the ceremony, but wouldn’t be at the reception. What would be a reasonable explanation? They were spending the weekend here in Cape Cod so it would be tough to feign a work or family excuse.

Illness. Yes, something about seafood. That would be plausible at a seaside resort. Food poisoning. She had an excuse—but it didn’t make her feel any better about the situation.

Beyond the Sea wafted out from the ballroom, appropriate for this Cape Cod seaside resort. She glanced up at the imposing exterior of the multi-level hotel. Her hand trembled so she clutched her silver purse tighter. She raised her chin to steel herself and entered the hotel.

Stephanie scanned the place settings to find hers. Mr. and Mrs. John Silvio. Table nineteen. She dropped her purse to her side, but her fingers still clenched it. The last place she wanted to be after a killer argument with her husband was a wedding. She forced herself to enter the reception area, squeezing through all those decked in suits and evening gowns. Searching the table numbers for nineteen, she followed them to the back of the room. She guessed she’d be furthest from the head table, since she was neither family nor close friend, but an old college roommate of the bride. She made her way to the back of the room, braved a smile, and introduced herself to the couples already seated.

“Hi. I’m Stephanie.”

“Elaine,” a heavyset woman with puffy blond hair said. “You’re alone?”

Great. Just fantastic. Starting right with the topic she wanted to avoid. “Yes. My husband couldn’t make it tonight. Something he ate earlier,” she babbled. “Probably the shellfish.” She shrugged.

The others introduced themselves as she sat down and peppered her with questions about where they bought the seafood. A few shared their stories of food poisoning.

It was going to be a long night.

Once the attention was off her, she replayed the fight for what had to be the fortieth time since it happened. After a ripple of snide comments evolved into a tsunami of a fight, she stormed away from Johnny and ended up talking to herself like a crazy person as she pounded through the surf.

“Separating? Why does he take a small argument and blow it up into something like this? How could he do this to me at my friend’s wedding? What the fuck!”

A couple of miles later, she had calmed down. It wasn’t all his doing. She was the one who’d dragged them here when he had other plans. Her fury decreased as the sun sank lower in the sky, replaced by a cloak of sadness.

She didn’t want to split up.

Her eyes began to water. How the heck would she make it through the night without breaking down? Her marriage could be over. How long could she sport a brave face before it dropped?

“Excuse me,” she said and hurried into the ladies room. She barely made it through the door before her eyes pooled with tears.

She grabbed tissues and blotted them, fixing her smudged makeup the best she could.

“You can do this,” she told her reflection in the mirror.

As much as she dreaded being at a wedding while her own marriage hung in jeopardy, she had to put her feelings aside for the sake of Caryn. She’d only get married once.

Hopefully.

* * * * *

Johnny caught glimpses of the ocean from the cab and couldn’t help but brood on what he had said to Stephanie down the beach this afternoon. A cold black cloak had surrounded him since, fastened with shackles of regret. The same question echoed in his head ever since.

Why?

Why had he freaked out the way he had? Said the things he had? The day had started out great. They woke up at the bed and breakfast and had the morning free before the ceremony. They’d rented bikes on the Cape Cod Rail Trail and had ridden past sand dunes and shacks, cranberry bogs and duck-filled ponds, villages and pine forests, and even a couple of lighthouses. The scenery was one thing, his beautiful wife riding alongside him something else. He could barely keep his eyes off her lithe body and on the trail.

When they’d stopped to buy sandwiches from one of the beachside shacks and had a picnic lunch on the beach, things were still good. It wasn’t until after the seaside wedding ceremony this afternoon that he’d opened his mouth and all kinds of stupid fell out. And for what? Something trivial, not something to throw away a marriage over.

Their argument had stirred weeks before. He resented her for dragging him to a wedding when he’d already had plans for his monthly camping trip with his buddies, He had stormed about it for days, but downright exploded on the beach earlier. Telling her she was too controlling, she shouldn’t speak for him and make him cancel his plans to do something she wanted. How his outdoor trips were how he decompressed from work and if she didn’t get it by now, she didn’t get him. She’d countered, saying he used the same justification for his softball games, and sometimes he had to suck it up and act like an adult. Snide comments had escalated into verbal jabs. Past grievances were drudged up as their defenses rose. Accusations flew, growing uglier, and digging up past perceived injustices, until finally, he had suggested a trial separation.

He still wasn’t sure why he’d said it. A heat of the moment incident, blurting out something to end the fight with something he didn’t even mean.

Her shocked expression had turned to one of hurt as she blinked back tears. Then she’d lashed back at him. “If you’re so shallow and selfish that you consider a weekend away from your buddies such brutality, then yeah, maybe we should.”

When she had stormed away from him across the beach, he had turned away thinking to hell with her and pounded through the sand in the opposite direction. It wasn’t until he had turned back several minutes later to see she was gone that he realized he might have made the biggest mistake of his life.

About the Author

Lisa loves stories with dark, brooding, isolated characters and tough, independent, caring heroines. Her reading tastes very widely and she’ll read almost anything—especially mysteries, romance, and non-fiction on any new topic of interest.

She is thrilled to be a multi-published author writing since she’s wanted to write since the sixth grade. Her travels and many jobs have provided her with inspiration for novels, such as serving in the Marine Corps in Okinawa, Japan, backpacking alone around Europe, or working as a waitress in Paris. Her love of books inspired her to own a small independent book store for a couple of years.

Lisa lives in New England with her husband and their children. She spends her days writing for corporate clients and her evenings writing stories and novels.

Visit her website for more on books, trailers, playlists, and more:

Lisacarlislebooks.com

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Lisa loves to connect with readers. You can find her on:

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New Release! Hot Fighter Romance In Your Corner by Sarah Castille @sarah_castille

New Release! Hot Fighter Romance In Your Corner by Sarah Castille

In Your CornerBLURB:

“You have to go. I won’t be able to control myself. I’ve wanted you so bad for so long and after I’ve been in the cage…I can’t think straight.” He gives a guttural groan and his fist clenches on my hip.

Primitive. Primal. His need speaks to me. I tighten my grip on his neck and rock up to kiss him. He takes over. His kiss is hard and demanding.

“Mine.” His voice is raw, savage and for a moment I truly believe he may lose control.

He rules in the ring

Two years ago, Jake and Amanda were going hot and heavy. But when Jake wanted more, Amanda walked away. Jake immersed himself in mixed martial arts, living life on the edge. But that didn’t dull the pain of Amanda’s rejection-until a chance encounter throws them together.

A high-powered lawyer, Amanda was a no-strings-attached kind of girl. But two years after her breakup with Jake, she still hasn’t found anyone who gets her heart pumping the way he did. And then he shows up in her boardroom, hot as sin and needing help…

But can he rule her heart?

Jake is darker, sexier, and impossible to resist. As their chemistry builds, Amanda’s not sure if she can stay in control, or if she’s finally willing to let him claim her body and soul.

BUY LINKS

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00I80E5TQ/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00I80E5TQ&linkCode=as2&tag=lucyfelt-20

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/in-your-corner-sarah-castille/1116882625?ean=9781402296239

Books-a-Million: http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Your-Corner/Sarah-Castille/9781402296239?id=5851429099981

IndieBound: http://www.indiebound.org/hybrid?filter0=in+your+corner+by+sarah+castille&x=27&y=13

Chapters/Indigo: http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/in-your-corner/9781402296239-item.html?ikwid=in%2520your%2520corner%2520by%2520sarah%2520castille&ikwsec=Home

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00I80E5TQ/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creative=19450&creativeASIN=B00I80E5TQ&linkCode=as2&tag=lucyfelthouse-21

Excerpt: In Your Corner

“Don’t move.”

Totally immersed in painting the cupboard, I freeze mid–paint stroke at the sound of Jake’s deep voice behind me.

“What? Am I doing something wrong?”

He closes the distance between us and runs his finger along the back waistband of my gym pants, sending delicious tingles up my spine. Then he slides his hands around my waist, bared by the rise of my T-shirt as I stretch to reach the top of the cupboard with my paintbrush.

“Yes. You look too damn sexy. Do you know what it does to a man when he catches a glimpse of something he isn’t meant to see?”

“I hope it makes him tell the woman she can call off the panic attack and drop her arm,” I mutter as I do just that. “I also hope it makes him decide his hands might be of better use somewhere other than around her waist.”

Jake slides his fingers around to my stomach, resting them just over my mound and his voice drops to a low growl. “I could make use of them here.”

“So says the man who turned down a good offer just the other night at Redemption.” I remove his hands and turn to face him, putting on a brave face while inside I seethe. Who does he think he is coming on to me after brushing me off?

“No games, Jake. You made your position clear. I got that. I’m not interested in being screwed around.”

He presses his hands against the cupboard on either side of my head, caging me with his body. “What are you interested in?”

“Moving on,” I say honestly.

His pulse throbs in his neck and his eyes harden. “With whom?”

“No one right now.”

He gives a satisfied grunt as if I had just cleared up a question in his mind. “Everyone is out back having a good time. You should be there too.”

“There’s a lot of work to do. I want to get it done. The faster I open shop, the faster I can start my lawsuit against Farnsworth.” I slip under his arm and edge along the counter.

“You’ve been working since six o’clock this morning.”

Grabbing a clean cloth from the counter, I make an effort to wipe the grease off my face. “I’m used to working twenty-hour days. I’m not afraid of hard work.” But I am afraid of mercurial fighters who run hot one minute and cold the next.

His face softens, and he takes the cloth from my hand and holds it under the tap. The pipes gurgle when he turns the rusty faucet and water gushes out, skimming over the cloth and trickling into the sink below. Without warning, he lifts me and settles me on the counter.

“You don’t have to work like that anymore.” His voice is calm, soothing. I am momentarily lulled out of work mode and into heat mode as he eases his hips between my legs and reaches to turn off the faucet. “It’s Saturday night. Time to relax and have fun.” With a firm hand, he cups my jaw and then wipes the cloth gently over my nose, forehead, and cheeks.

His gentle touch, the warmth of his hand, his breath, minty and sweet, and his hard body nestled between my thighs all converge in an unbearable rush of sensation. I grab his wrist, forcing his hand away.

“Jake…I’m good. Really. There’s so much to do. I’ll come out when I’m done and I’ve cleaned myself up.”

“I like you this way,” he murmurs. “You look…cute. Real.”

“Real?”

He brushes his thumb over my cheek. “Amanda without the armor. Your clothes, hair, makeup…nothing is perfect. It’s just the real you. I never got to see the real you before.”

Torn between being mortified and pleased, I reach for another cloth. “Real Amanda is covered in dirt and has holes in her sweats.”

He traces a finger down my throat to rest in the hollow at the base of my neck. The room heats to one hundred degrees, and if I’m not mistaken, I hear the sound of my blood boiling.

“I like holes in sweats.” His voice drops, husky and low, and his finger continues its downward journey into the vee of my shirt.

“Jake…”

He traces lightly over the crescent of my breast. “I like dirty girls,” he whispers, his voice thick with desire. “I can’t stay away.”

Oh God. Every bit of warmth rushes to my center as his deep, sensual voice ignites one of my dark fantasies. Jake, straddling my bound body, growling commands, telling me what he’s going to do to me in the filthiest language I know. A soft moan escapes my lips and we’re back on the roller coaster again.

“This game you’re playing confuses me.” His heart beats strong against my palm when I lay my hand over his chest.

“Me too.”

“Then what are you doing?”

His eyes take on a feral gleam and my breasts tingle.

“Playing dirty,” he growls. Tangling his hand in my hair, he tugs my head back, exposing my throat to the heated slide of his lips. “Sometimes you have to stop thinking too much and just go with it.”

My breath comes in short pants as he sucks gently on the pulse at the base of my throat. Barely able to form a coherent thought for the pounding of blood in my temples, I scramble for sanity. “There’s too much between us to just go with it. We need to talk…”

His hand closes in my hair, twisting roughly. “Lawyers talk. You don’t look like a lawyer now. You look fucking sexy, and your mouth is all lush and pink and needing to be kissed. You want to talk, Amanda, or you want that kiss?” He nips the hollow at the base of my neck.

Pleasure and pain meld together and I whimper as a heated rush of sensation floods my veins. “Kiss.”

Jake smiles. “My dirty girl wants a dirty kiss.” Holding my face, he slants his mouth over mine and kisses me.

Soft kiss. Sweet kiss. Warm, firm lips tasting faintly of coffee. His five o’clock shadow brushes my chin as his tongue eases my lips open to stroke against mine. My body melts against him as he explores my mouth, leaving nothing untouched. Tongues wind and tangle. Two years of fantasies coalesce in a single rasping breath.

“’S not so dirty,” I mumble against his lips.

“Oh, you don’t know how dirty I can be.” Jake grips my hair and tugs my head back with a firm, hard yank, sending little bolts of lightning straight to my core. Then he kisses me hard and fast. Rough. His teeth scrape my bottom lip as his tongue dives deep, filling me, taking what I have to give and demanding more. The pounding of my heart shifts from lust to fear as he consumes me, and for a moment I worry he has forgotten I need to breathe.

When he breaks the kiss, I draw in a long, ragged breath. “You never kissed me like that before.”

“You were never like this before,” he murmurs, his fingers easing up my shirt, his thumb tracing over the crescent of my breasts. “Raw and open, vulnerable, needing my help. So fucking real.”

My breath catches in my throat as he explores, cupping and squeezing my breasts and then teasing my nipples through my lace bra until they are tight, aching peaks.

“My clothes. Take them off.”

Bio

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author, Sarah Castille, worked and traveled abroad before trading her briefcase and stilettos for a handful of magic beans and a home near the Canadian Rockies. She writes erotic contemporary romance and romantic suspense featuring blazingly hot alpha heroes and the women who tame them.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Website http://www.sarahcastille.com
Sign up for Sarah’s Newsletter for info on new releases: http://bit.ly/LgFZlb
Facebook: http://www.facebook/sarahcastilleauthor.com
Twitter (@sarah_castille): http://www.twitter.com/sarah_castille
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6920675.Sarah_Castille
Amazon Author: http://www.amazon.com/author/sarahcastille

Other books in the series:

The first book in the series (all standalone stories), Against the Ropes, was a Publishers Weekly Top Ten Pick for Romance & Erotica for Fall 2013 and was also a #1 Erotic Romance Best seller on Amazon. It also won the JABBIC contest for sexiest cover. http://www.amazon.com/Against-Ropes-Sarah-Castille-ebook/dp/B00DDWIT3M

 

 

Get Hooked by The Heist #MFRWAuthor

Welcome to Book Hooks, a Wednesday offering by members of Marketing For Romance Writers to share a little taste of our work and entice you into wanting more! Click on the graphic at the end to travel to other Book Hook posts, and enjoy!

Hubs and I are excited to announce our upcoming release, The Heist, due out at Amazon July 15. Cover reveal will be this Friday – watch my Facebook Page for the announcement! I’ll give you a hint: the marvelous Scott Nova is our cover model :), and we’ll be giving away cover flats signed by both Scott and myself on our upcoming blog tour!

Here’s the blurb and a short excerpt for your enjoyment:

The Heist, by Adriana Kraft
Romantic Suspense
80,000 words

BLURB

A heist? A murder? It’s villain’s choice.

A special-order art theft? Tedious, but seamless – until small town museum director Kara Daniels calls in the experts. Furious her favorite trio of priceless impressionist paintings has been stolen from its traveling exhibit on her watch, Kara is determined to save not only the paintings, but her future in the art world. She’ll stop at nothing to entrap the thief.

Ted Springs knows the underbelly of the criminal world a little closer than he might like—but he’s turned it to good advantage, first as a police officer, and now as detective for the Upper Midwest Arts Council. His job? To guarantee the security of the valuable paintings in the Council’s traveling exhibits.

Heat sizzles when Ted and Kara collide—can they work together, before it’s too late?

EXCERPT

Ted matched Kara stride for stride. “I seem to remember you bumping into me once. Pleasantly so.”

“I’m sure you do. The drive should give me an opportunity to answer any general questions you may have about the museum. I trust you had an opportunity to read all the material we faxed and e-mailed to you yesterday.”

“That and much more.” He gasped as the parking garage heat hit them. “It must’ve been quite a shock discovering the museum’s security was breached.”

Kara scowled at him as she popped the trunk of her sporty car open and watched him plop his stuff in. “I guess that’s technical jargon for breaking and entering.”

He slid into the passenger seat and admired how Kara’s dress worked halfway up her thigh. She must’ve seen him staring, because she yanked it down without commenting. He waited until she’d paid the parking fee and they were away from the airport before adding, “Didn’t sound like the police were treating what happened yesterday as breaking and entering.”

Shaking her head, Kara didn’t take her eyes off the road. She gripped the steering wheel as if it was in danger of falling off.

He smiled. Was it only the break-in that had her uptight? “We can call it a break-in, if you like. But you were breached—that’s what led to someone strolling uninvited through your entrance.”

MFRW Authors Blog

 

 
© 2014 Adriana Kraft. All Rights Reserved.