This Life I by Cara Dee

This Life I by Cara Dee

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“Marry me.” He can take her away from a life that’s suffocating her.

“I can’t! You’re a mobster.”

“Allegedly.” He turns on the Irish charm, but not even that can save him from his secrets.

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Synopsis:

Finnegan O’Shea

The Sons of Munster have been living this life for generations. We have our own protocol, our own traditions, dating back to when two families merged and created our syndicate in Ireland. Now, we have our strongholds in Philly and Chicago, and the wrong man holds the highest position. The day my uncle decided to betray us, he signed his own death warrant, and after a five-year hitch in the can, I’m ready to take everything from him. In order to ensure the demise of his management, I have to get close to him. I need to earn his trust and that of his closest associates. I’ll be the top earner he wants me to be. I’ll be the very image of a conventional family man.

For that to happen, this Irish bastard has to find himself a wife. Someone sweet and compliant who will stand by my side and make me look like I have too much to lose to screw over the head of the family.

Emilia Porter

When it rains, it pours, so I guess it’s been pouring for eighteen years now. Being from an old mining town that’s full of drunk cautionary tales, I spend my days juggling—and failing—school, work, and paying the bills so my dad can drink himself into a stupor. Then this freaking guy rolls into town in his expensive sports car and thinks I should marry him. This isn’t the fifties, and there isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell I’ll marry a well-known mobster. No matter how much money he promises me. No matter how intensely the chemistry sizzles between us.

He asks for three years of marriage. Then I’d be set for life, independent and free to start fresh on my own. Free to walk away. Who the hell does he think he is?

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Excerpt I:

Emilia Porter

All the shit I read about the murders, the trials, and the rift between the two families that’d started this behemoth of a crime syndicate made everything even more bizarre. Finnegan belonged in the newspapers, not outside of my house asking me on a freaking date. I shuddered at the thought of his “offer.”

“Miss Porter?”

I squeaked in shock and quickly exited the Wikipedia page, then looked over my shoulder to find a man in a suit there. He didn’t work at my school, and he looked so misplaced in our little library.

“Yes?” I pushed down my nerves and eyed him. Crisp white button-down, black suit, definitely a holster hiding under his jacket. If he was another O’Shea, I was gonna scream bloody murder.

“I’m Kellan Caldwell,” he said and extended a hand. “I’m a federal agent, and I was wondering if we could talk.”

My life was officially over. Finnegan O’Shea had asked me to dinner, and now I was on FBI’s radar. Oh God.

“Can I see some ID?” I shook his hand nervously and stood up.

“Of course.” He retrieved it from inside his suit and flashed his badge just like they did in the movies. “You’re not in any trouble, Miss Porter. In fact, we’re asking for your help.”

*

One dinner.

I hugged myself as a cold wind swept between us, and I stepped a little closer to my door. “Why do I get the feeling it’s never just a dinner with you?”

“You gotta think highly of me, huh?” Finnegan was way too amused, and he leaned forward as if to reveal a secret. “I’m not going to fuck you, Emilia. It’s really just dinner.”

Right at that second, he could consider himself lucky I’d kept at least ten feet between us. Otherwise, I would’ve rammed my elbow up into his chin, and then he probably would’ve killed me. Him fucking me hadn’t even occurred to me. I was more worried about ending up in a body bag. Maybe.

I blew out a heavy breath and reined in the anger. What I wouldn’t give to put him in his damn place! Uh—well. I had the chance. That place could be prison, if he said anything incriminating that the Feds overheard.

And so I was nervous as hell again.

Could I really do it? Could I be brave and help the FBI?

One dinner.

If I had to be honest with myself, I didn’t actually think something would happen after just one date or whatever this would be. Sweet Jesus, a date. With Finnegan O’Shea.

Another cold breeze blew past, causing me to shudder. It prompted Finnegan to give me a once-over before he narrowed his eyes at me. I got it, he wasn’t very impressed. No one was.

“One dinner,” I heard myself say. Agent Caldwell’s card burned a hole in my pocket. Holy shit, this was happening.

It seemed Finnegan was as surprised as I was, though he masked it quickly, and then he smiled. “Are you available tomorrow?”

Weird day to go on a date—a Thursday. Unless he was eager to drag me into a criminal lifestyle, at which he’d fail so miserably.

“Sure.” I was off work, at least. “Just—make it public, okay? No backwoods or ditches.”

He let out a carefree laugh that divided my thoughts. Firstly, he was even more gorgeous when he laughed. Secondly, I couldn’t wait to be the one who got the last laugh.

“You got it, princess. A public dinner.” He chuckled and stubbed out his smoke. “I’ll pick you up at seven.”

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Excerpt 2:

Finnegan O’Shea

“How did your date go, little brother?” Patrick asked.

“Good,” I replied, eyeing the food Ian was cooking. Sampling deli meat and cheese wasn’t enough when the kitchen was starting to smell like a steakhouse. “I’m trying not to think about her too much.”

“Why’s that?”

I shook my head, fingers drumming against the kitchen bar. “I thought she’d be fucking timid.”

Emilia Porter was the opposite. Wary and easily frightened, sure, but that was understandable. Her quick wit and feistiness, however…? I’d had no clue I’d crave it like an addict. I was already looking forward to our next date, which she’d agreed to reluctantly.

I had her in the palm of my hand, though she took every opportunity to bite my fingers.

It was sexy as hell.

Something far less sexy was her comment about her own mother. “She said something weird last night,” I admitted. “She thinks her mother is dead.”

“That’s fucked up.” Patrick frowned. “Did her pop make her believe that?”

“I guess so. I’ll do some digging.”

One way or another, I was going to use this to my advantage.

“Anyway,” I said, “hand me that, will ya?” I nodded at the box farther down the counter.

Patrick complied, and I dug out the new phone. It was a gift to Emilia. I just had to prepare it a bit before sending it to her. For one, I wanted it synced with my laptop so I could access her texts and phone history and see what apps she downloaded. For two, I had to install a call distorter so our friends at the NSA and the FBI didn’t get any ideas.

*

Someone rudely interrupted me by knocking on the door and then entering before I could even tell them to fuck off. It was Patrick and Kellan with snacks and a couple six-packs of beer.

“Have you done anything?” Patrick stared at the state of my living room.

“I’ve been busy,” I said defensively. Closing my laptop, I left it on the coffee table, something I’d actually assembled earlier.

“The plastic’s still on the couch, mate.” Kellan snorted and crossed the living room to reach the kitchen.

“That’s ’cause you spill, Agent Caldwell!” I called after him, and he laughed. Then I faced my brother. “The stalking has paid off again. The girls are texting, and Sarah mentioned being in the mood for Chinese.”

His forehead creased. “So?”

For fuck’s sake. “So take her out, numbskull! Call her and say you want Chinese. Bond or some shit.”

“Good idea.” He nodded firmly and pulled out his phone.

So did I, ’cause I’d waited long enough. At this point, with a phone she’d had less than a couple hours, Emilia had communicated more with her best friend and a fake FBI agent than me, the bloke who’d given her the damn thing.

I wanted some attention now.

 

About Cara:

I’m often stoically silent or, if the topic interests me, a chronic rambler. In other words, I can discuss writing forever and ever. Fiction, in particular. The love story—while a huge draw and constantly present—is secondary for me, because there’s so much more to writing romance fiction than just making two (or more) people fall in love and have hot sex. There’s a world to build, characters to develop, interests to create, and a topic or two to research thoroughly. Every book is a challenge for me, an opportunity to learn something new, and a puzzle to piece together. I want my characters to come to life, and the only way I know to do that is to give them substance—passions, history, goals, quirks, and strong opinions—and to let them evolve. Additionally, I want my men and women to be relatable. That means allowing room for everyday problems and, for lack of a better word, flaws. My characters will never be perfect.

Wait…this was supposed to be about me, not my writing.

I’m a writey person who loves to write. Always wanderlusting, twitterpating, kinking, and geeking. There’s time for hockey and cupcakes, too. But mostly, I just love to write.

Website: https://www.caradeewrites.com/

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Wait With Me by Amy Daws

the wait is over

From Buzzfeed to Babble to Scary Mommy and even network television—the most anticipated social media viral sensation is LIVE!

The story of romance writer Amy Daws’ relationship with a little tire shop in South Dakota is a refreshingly fun tale that ends in an auto shop romantic comedy that you have to read!

Daws’ fans have loved watching this story trend, but more importantly, they are loving this 5-star read about a couple who meet outside of a tire shop…

Its LIVE-flipped

When romance novelist, Kate Smith, finds her long lost writing mojo in the customer waiting area of a tire store, the complimentary coffee isn’t the only things that’s hot. But sexy mechanic, Miles Hudson, is just up for a friendly test-drive of her new book idea.
At least, that was the agreement…

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smut writer

viral sensationIt all began when Daws went to Tires Tires Tires to get a new set of wheels on her car. She was suffering from writer’s block, but apparently the complimentary coffee and cookies cured her. So she decided to bring in cars of friends and family so she could keep writing in the magical waiting room.

Her social media musings had her fans in stitches and it wasn’t long before inspiration struck again. This time…Daws was to write a sexy romantic comedy about a romance novelist who sneaks into a tire shop and gets caught by a hot mechanic. You can imagine where the love story goes from here.

Eventually, the little tire shop opened their arms to Daws, even putting her release date on their marquee sign outside.

It wasn’t long before Buzzfeed got wind of it. Then Scary Mommy. Then InspireMore and several other blogs with followers well into the millions. WGN News in Chicago, Fox 10 in Phoenix and Canada Public Radio are all talking about the adorable feel good story of how inspiration can strike in the strangest of places.

Check out these fun features:
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excerpt

She slaps her hand on her knee and bellows gallantly, “But you know what, Miles, you’re right! I should totally find a random hookup tonight.”
“Whoa, I never said anything about random.”
“Well, you’re doing it, so why can’t I?”
I narrow my eyes. “You don’t seem like the random type.”
“Maybe I should be.” Her eyes narrow when she leans in and whispers against my lips. “Can I tell you a secret, Miles?”
“You can tell me anything, Mercedes.”
She giggles and crooks her finger for me to lean in even closer. I’m so close I can smell the faint scent of her cherry lip gloss, and it’s not helping the half boner having a party in my pants.
Her lips graze my ear when she whispers, “My writing makes me horny.”
I nearly choke on my beer. “I’m sorry, what?”
“My writing makes me horny.” She pulls back and nods her confirmation. “I’m serious. I have a sex toy that works really well and really fast, but I miss the heat of a man, ya know?”
My eyes scrunch together, and I rub my fingers in the sockets to make sure I’m awake and hearing this all correctly. “I mean…I don’t really ever miss the heat of man, so I don’t think I know exactly what you’re saying.”
“Fine, the heat of a woman.” She rolls her eyes dramatically “You know what I’m talking about. The heat.”
I frown and shake my head. “You’re going to have to elaborate because I think of a lot of things when I think of women, but their body temperature isn’t one of them.”
“You asked for it.” She laughs and leans in so she’s speaking low and soft and directly into my ear. “The heat of a woman is so much more than temperature. It’s the soft, sensual curves of the female form. The way your fingers dig into the meat of her thighs when she’s wrapped around you. Her smooth, sunken tummy when she’s on her back, the delicate bumps of her ribcage when she’s throwing her head back in pleasure. Tight little nipples in pillows of creamy softness. The fact that you could fold yourself around her and envelop her body almost entirely and still want more. You’re saying you don’t miss that kind of heat?”
I blink slowly, recovering from what just happened. Her voice was a sensual, verbal caress straight on my cock. Then there was the warm heat of her breath on my ear. The deep husk of her tone. The way her warm palm rests softly on my thigh.
Fucking hell.

AuthorBio13254841_1712669075674776_2966283892361812453_o

Amy Daws is an Amazon Top 100 bestselling author of the Harris Brothers Series and is most known for her punny, footy-playing, British playboys. The Harris Brothers and her London Lovers Series fuel her passion for all things London. When Amy’s not writing, she’s watching Gilmore Girls or singing karaoke in the living room with her daughter while Daddy awkward-smiles from a distance.
For more of Amy’s work check out her social media links below or visit: http://www.amydawsauthor.com

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The Hook-Up Experiment by Emma Hart

1.Hate-screw my high school nemesis.

2.Remember to hate him.

3.Prove my brother wrong.

It should be easy.

It isn’t.

As the owner of Pick-A-Dick, New Orleans’ premier hook-up website, my job is simple. Connect two people for a no-strings, no-expectations hook-up. The plus for my clients is that I’m the one who gets to sift through the dick pics—except this time, they’re required.

My problem? My brother, co-owner of Pick-A-Dick’s sister dating site, doesn’t believe it’s possible to hook up with someone three times and not fall in love.

I disagree. I know it’s possible.

And my disagreement is exactly how I end up reconnected with my high school nemesis, Elliott Sloane. The guy who asked me to junior prom and then stood me up. Who egged my car when I rejected him, and convinced my senior homecoming date to ghost me.

It should be easy to hate-screw him. If only he was still that person, instead of a hot-as-hell single dad, working as a builder to make ends’ meet, fighting for custody of his daughter.

Not to mention packing in the pants department…

Three hook-ups.

One outcome.

Right?

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“Is she okay with that juice?” Peyton watched her go.

I selected the Blu-ray from the cupboard and shot a smirk her way. “Sorry to break it to you, but you’re getting a juice box.”

“I can live with that.”

I turned away and hit the eject button on the player. “You didn’t have to say yes to her, you know.”

“Of course, I had to. Have you seen those eyes? How do you say no to her, ever?”

“I think of all the times she screams and swings her arms like a tiny terrorist, and it’s pretty easy.” I put the disk in and turned around.

Peyton had one eyebrow raised. “See, now, I’d think that’s reason to say no.”

“It depends on the day. Sometimes it results in her being put to bed to calm down, which means she ends up taking a rare afternoon nap, and I get some peace and quiet.”

“That’s a thing around her? She was talking to me for thirty minutes flat about what I did and didn’t like.”

“Only thirty minutes? Lucky you. She has about three hours of material of that.” I took a seat on the sofa, making sure to leave space between us for Bri. “Did she get started on hedgehogs yet?”

Peyton looked a little confused. “Hedgehogs?”

“YouTube is the devil.”

“That…was quite the jump in subject.”

I laughed as the main menu music hit on the TV. “I’m going to preface this by saying kids are weird.”

“Some get that from their parents.”

I blinked at her for a second. She wasn’t wrong if half these people who had a mini-career opening fucking toys on YouTube were parents.

“There are a bunch of stupid videos on YouTube, and apparently, watching people open toys is thrilling.”

Now, she looked really confused.

“And on one of those she watched, the person had a pet hedgehog who wasn’t having the nonsense of her opening a Hatchimal on camera, so it stole the egg.”

She blinked several times in quick succession. “I have no idea what you just said, and if I’m honest… Please don’t explain it.”

I laughed and hit play on the TV.

“Here’s your dooce-box,” Briony said, handing Peyton two. “And das mine. I can’t do the straws.”

“Oh. Right. Okay.” Peyton looked at the two juices that had been thrust at her.

Smiling, I took one from her. I pulled the straw off the back, out of the tiny plastic slip, and poked it through the foiled hole in the top. “There you go,” I said to Briony. “What do you want for dinner?”

She put the straw in her mouth and pursed her lips as she sucked the juice up. Peyton watched her, lips twitching, as she put her straw in place.

“Pizza!” Briony announced.

Oh no. I’d eaten too much pizza lately.

Was there such a thing as too much pizza?

Maybe if the toppings were changed up…

“Peydon, do you want pizza?” Bri asked, leaning right into her.

“I like pizza,” she replied, smiling sweetly down at her. “What’s your favorite?”

“I like spots and cheese.”

“Spots?”

I coughed on my water. “Pepperoni,” I explained. “They look like spots on the pizza.”

Peyton’s eyes met mine for a minute. Silent laughter shone back at me. That really was toddler logic at its finest.

“You know,” she said, looking down at Peyton. “Spots are my favorite, too!”

Once again, Briony gasped. “Reawy?”

“Really, really. I love spots.”

Oh, Jesus.

It might have been a mistake introducing these two. Not only was my daughter becoming increasingly obsessed with someone who seemed to be a brunette, adult version of her…

No, that was the problem. Peyton was the brunette, adult version of Briony, attitude and all—and if there was anything my daughter didn’t need, it was someone who could teach her a thing or ten about sarcasm.

“I’ll order pizza,” I said, going to stand.

“Oh, you got it last time. I’ll go call them.” Peyton put her juice on the side table and tried to move, but Briony stopped her.

“No. Mimi told me that only gentlemen buy dinner. Princesses sit and look priddy.”

Peyton looked down at her. “Sit and look pretty? I like to buy my own pizza sometimes, and that’s okay.”

Without missing a beat, Briony said, “Princesses sit and look priddy so the mens buying dinner don’t know dat we can kick dere butts.”

By day, New York Times and USA Today bestselling New Adult author Emma Hart dons a cape and calls herself Super Mum to two beautiful little monsters. By night, she drops the cape, pours a glass of whatever she fancies—usually wine—and writes books.

Emma is working on Top Secret projects she will share with her followers and fans at every available opportunity. Naturally, all Top Secret projects involve a dashingly hot guy who likes to forget to wear a shirt, a sprinkling (or several) of hold-onto-your-panties hot scenes, and a whole lotta love.

She likes to be busy—unless busy involves doing the dishes, but that seems to be when all the ideas come to life.

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Power Play by Cara Dee

Power Play by Cara Dee

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Title: Power Play

Genre: Gay Romance

Pairing: Daddy Kink

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Synopsis:

I was my own worst enemy. For as much as I depended on order and a structured life to easier manage my bipolar disorder, fire was irresistible and indisputably my favorite toy to play with. On the ice, it turned me into a hotheaded hockey player. In the bedroom, my attitude was my last defense, a front I wanted to see tumbling down. But lately, all I got was burned.

Love sucked. Correction: it sucked when you were in love with your parents’ closest friend and he didn’t feel the same. I admitted my feelings for Madigan Monroe over a year ago, and I was still waiting for a response. Now my balance was gone. My anxiety was all over the place, my fits of rage had just earned me a suspension from the team, I questioned myself at every turn, and being home for two weeks was gonna make it impossible to avoid Madigan.

I used to be his Abel, his sweetheart, his trouble. It’d been the two of us against the world since I was a kid. I’d even discovered we had kink in common! On paper, I was seemingly perfect for him. Maybe that was why his nonverbal rejection hurt so much. Or maybe it was because, recently, he seemed hell-bent on us “being friends” again.

Whatever. I was a loser, and I couldn’t resist him for crap.

(DD/lb-dynamic.)

Shirtless sexy male model lying alone on his bed

Excerpt I:

Family Dinner

 A hand clamped down on my shoulder, and I stiffened. It was Dad.

“Talk to Madigan.” He spoke for only me to hear. “Now that I know there’s an issue, I can see it clear as day. It’s tense and shit.”

“Seriously,” I hissed under my breath. “Are you bored? Why are you meddling?”

He scowled. “Mom meddles. I give a shit.”

“Come on, boys,” Mom said. “Let’s eat.”

I stared at Dad for a beat longer, a match I’d never win, before I averted my gaze and closed the fridge door. To make matters worse, I’d end up sitting next to Madigan. Mom and Lyn always sat next to each other when it was just us, and Dad sat at the head of the table.

I sat down across from my sister, leaving Mad and Mom on either side of Dad.

“I’m gonna watch you eat,” Lyn whispered and bit into a roll.

“That’s creepy,” I whispered back.

“Nuh-uh.” She shook her head. “It’s fun. You eat more food than anyone in the world.”

I snorted a quiet chuckle and filled my plate with rice, vegetables, and pot roast.

Mom took a sip of her wine. “So this is a pleasant surprise, Madigan. It’s not often you show up for dinner anymore.”

“It’s because he doesn’t like us,” I said around a mouthful of vegetables. “He avoids the people he doesn’t like.” Man, it was satisfying to say that. Whoever said passive-aggressiveness wasn’t a good way to deal with heartbreak?

“What the hell?” Madigan let out a chuckle, but his humor was skin-deep. His eyes showed confusion.

“I called you over ’cause you’re never around anymore,” Dad said flatly. “That’s all there is to it. I know you still adore me.”

Mom found him funny, as did Mad. I said nothing and continued shoveling food into my face.

For a while, the “grown-ups” talked about work and life. Madigan talked about the tattoo shop he owned with Jameson, his best friend. Mom talked about the facility she ran for men, women, and children escaping abuse. Dad talked about music and everything that was wrong in the industry these days.

Fun times.

In the meantime, I ate and did my best to focus solely on that. Not on Mad’s voice, not on his movements, not on his laughter. Except, I failed, and my brain was flooded with memories of better times. Like when he’d visited me in Pittsburgh one weekend without telling me first. Just a surprise on a whim. We’d gone to dinner and a comedy show. Or the times he took me to games before we left Detroit. Or when he pressed his forehead to mine and talked me through my panic attacks.

“You’ve got this, sweetheart. Count with me, okay? One…two—that’s perfect, in through your nose. I’m so proud of you.”

The last mouthful of food was nearly impossible to swallow, and I stared unseeingly at my plate as the pressure on my chest grew.

Snap out of it, you useless idiot.

The sound of the doorbell wrenched me out of my state, and I hauled in a ragged breath.

“I’ll get it!” Lyn shouted and bounced off her chair.

“Are we expecting anyone else?” Mom asked, confused.

Dad shook his head, wiped his mouth on a napkin, and followed Lyn to the hallway. “Hold up, baby girl.”

Mom, for some reason, had to set another plate. Most people would dread salespeople. She assumed it was a dinner guest.

“Abel.” Madigan’s hand covered mine, and I blanched. That looked so fucking weird that I couldn’t stop staring. “Is something wrong? You seem anxious.”

He brushed his thumb over my skin. It left tingles and caused a drawn-out shiver, something that was pleasurable as fuck, but the contact was too strange to process.

“I’m fine.” I withdrew my hand and held it in my lap.

“Adeline!” Dad hollered from the hallway. “Someone just called me gorgeous. I’m leaving you.”

What the fuck? I looked at Mom, who snorted and asked who Dad was leaving her for, and then I frowned toward the hallway.

“No, the correct response is ‘I promise to call you gorgeous more often,’” Dad muttered. When he appeared in the doorway, the relief that hit me almost bowled me over. It was Gray. Holy fuck, Gray was here. It felt like I could finally breathe. “Take a seat, kid,” he told my buddy. “You can probably eat.”

“Hi, honey.” Mom smiled at Gray. “Are you sure you wanna be stuck with him?”

“Not even a little,” he replied with wide eyes. “Remind me never to address him as gorgeous again.” At Dad’s scowl, Gray added, “I’m sorry, you’re just a bit too high maintenance for me, Mr. H.”

“I’m easy as fuck,” Dad argued.

“Daddy, you cuss so much.” Lyn sauntered back to her seat too. “Uncle Casey has a swear jar at home. There are lots of dollars.”

That was a discussion Mom was more than happy to get into, so I tuned out and focused on Gray. He sat down in the empty seat next to me, giving me a breather from the man on my other side.

“What’re you doing here?” I asked quietly.

Gray squeezed my hand under the table. “You seemed like you needed me to run interference.” Having no clue how he’d come to that conclusion, I only stared while he filled his plate. “You sent me a text,” he said. “I put two and two together and figured a certain someone was coming for dinner.” He set down the bowl of gravy and retrieved his phone.

All I’d texted him before leaving my room was…something about dinner. I didn’t really remember.

“Here.” He showed me the text, and my eyebrows went up.

Mdgan fr diner and I cant.

“Wow.” I tugged at my ear, embarrassed.

“I assumed you weren’t drunk,” he said, pocketing his phone, “so that left anxiety.”

“What are you two whispering about, boys?” Mom asked teasingly. “A date, maybe? I’d love to bring happy news when I have lunch with Chloe tomorrow.”

I rolled my eyes. Our moms thought we were more than friends, and it wasn’t hilarious anymore.

Dad narrowed his eyes and pointed his fork at us. “If you two are dating, no more sleepovers with the door closed.”

“Jesus Christ.” I scrubbed a hand over my face.

“Sorry to disappoint, Mrs. H, but we have the same taste in men,” Gray said.

“What taste would that be?” It was Madigan, of all people, who asked.

There was no way I was getting into that with him.

Gray had no such qualms. “Older, bossier, definitely not a hockey player.”

“Older?” Dad scowled, then faced me. “Son, you’re not coming home with some old sugar daddy. In fact, give Gray a go. He called me gorgeous.”

“Jesus Christ,” I repeated. “Dinner was great, Mom. Thanks. We’re gonna go to my room.”

“I’m eating, man,” Gray protested. I gave him a look and felt my jaw tensing. “On second thought, I’m still full from my dinner with the family.”

Thought so.

We dumped our dishes in the sink and started leaving the kitchen.

“Abel, can I watch a movie with you?” Lyn asked.

“Tomorrow, okay?” I glanced back at her.

“She makes a great chaperone,” Dad noted.

“They don’t need a chaperone.” Mom glared at him. “They’re adults. Leave them be.”

Thanks, Mom.

Lyn snickered and grabbed her glass of milk. “Abel has penises on his computer.”

“Oh my God, don’t go through my shit!” I widened my eyes, mortification flooding me. My sister’s comment started mayhem in the kitchen between my parents; there was a lecture from Mom on privacy, bitching from Dad, and I couldn’t face Madigan to see his reaction. Instead, I pushed a laughing Gray out into the hallway and toward the stairs.

“Do you wanna watch penises together?” he asked over his shoulder.

“Just kill me.” I took a calming breath and let it out slowly.

Next, I heard Madigan’s voice. “Abel, wait up.”

No, seriously, just kill me.

I paused on the stairs and exchanged a look with Gray. I didn’t know what to do here. My anxiety was getting worse, but I’d never been able to resist that motherfucker.

“I’ll be in your room,” Gray said quietly.

Okay, then. My friend was deserting me. Steeling myself to be alone with Madigan, I waited on the stairs and stuck my hands down into my pockets.

Excerpt II:

A hand clamped down on my shoulder, and I stiffened. It was Dad.

“Talk to Madigan.” He spoke for only me to hear. “Now that I know there’s an issue, I can see it clear as day. It’s tense and shit.”

“Seriously,” I hissed under my breath. “Are you bored? Why are you meddling?”

He scowled. “Mom meddles. I give a shit.”

“Come on, boys,” Mom said. “Let’s eat.”

I stared at Dad for a beat longer, a match I’d never win, before I averted my gaze and closed the fridge door. To make matters worse, I’d end up sitting next to Madigan. Mom and Lyn always sat next to each other when it was just us, and Dad sat at the head of the table.

I sat down across from my sister, leaving Mad and Mom on either side of Dad.

“I’m gonna watch you eat,” Lyn whispered and bit into a roll.

“That’s creepy,” I whispered back.

“Nuh-uh.” She shook her head. “It’s fun. You eat more food than anyone in the world.”

I snorted a quiet chuckle and filled my plate with rice, vegetables, and pot roast.

Mom took a sip of her wine. “So this is a pleasant surprise, Madigan. It’s not often you show up for dinner anymore.”

“It’s because he doesn’t like us,” I said around a mouthful of vegetables. “He avoids the people he doesn’t like.” Man, it was satisfying to say that. Whoever said passive-aggressiveness wasn’t a good way to deal with heartbreak?

“What the hell?” Madigan let out a chuckle, but his humor was skin-deep. His eyes showed confusion.

“I called you over ’cause you’re never around anymore,” Dad said flatly. “That’s all there is to it. I know you still adore me.”

Mom found him funny, as did Mad. I said nothing and continued shoveling food into my face.

For a while, the “grown-ups” talked about work and life. Madigan talked about the tattoo shop he owned with Jameson, his best friend. Mom talked about the facility she ran for men, women, and children escaping abuse. Dad talked about music and everything that was wrong in the industry these days.

Fun times.

In the meantime, I ate and did my best to focus solely on that. Not on Mad’s voice, not on his movements, not on his laughter. Except, I failed, and my brain was flooded with memories of better times. Like when he’d visited me in Pittsburgh one weekend without telling me first. Just a surprise on a whim. We’d gone to dinner and a comedy show. Or the times he took me to games before we left Detroit. Or when he pressed his forehead to mine and talked me through my panic attacks.

“You’ve got this, sweetheart. Count with me, okay? One…two—that’s perfect, in through your nose. I’m so proud of you.”

The last mouthful of food was nearly impossible to swallow, and I stared unseeingly at my plate as the pressure on my chest grew.

Snap out of it, you useless idiot.

The sound of the doorbell wrenched me out of my state, and I hauled in a ragged breath.

“I’ll get it!” Lyn shouted and bounced off her chair.

“Are we expecting anyone else?” Mom asked, confused.

Dad shook his head, wiped his mouth on a napkin, and followed Lyn to the hallway. “Hold up, baby girl.”

Mom, for some reason, had to set another plate. Most people would dread salespeople. She assumed it was a dinner guest.

“Abel.” Madigan’s hand covered mine, and I blanched. That looked so fucking weird that I couldn’t stop staring. “Is something wrong? You seem anxious.”

He brushed his thumb over my skin. It left tingles and caused a drawn-out shiver, something that was pleasurable as fuck, but the contact was too strange to process.

“I’m fine.” I withdrew my hand and held it in my lap.

“Adeline!” Dad hollered from the hallway. “Someone just called me gorgeous. I’m leaving you.”

What the fuck? I looked at Mom, who snorted and asked who Dad was leaving her for, and then I frowned toward the hallway.

“No, the correct response is ‘I promise to call you gorgeous more often,’” Dad muttered. When he appeared in the doorway, the relief that hit me almost bowled me over. It was Gray. Holy fuck, Gray was here. It felt like I could finally breathe. “Take a seat, kid,” he told my buddy. “You can probably eat.”

“Hi, honey.” Mom smiled at Gray. “Are you sure you wanna be stuck with him?”

“Not even a little,” he replied with wide eyes. “Remind me never to address him as gorgeous again.” At Dad’s scowl, Gray added, “I’m sorry, you’re just a bit too high maintenance for me, Mr. H.”

“I’m easy as fuck,” Dad argued.

“Daddy, you cuss so much.” Lyn sauntered back to her seat too. “Uncle Casey has a swear jar at home. There are lots of dollars.”

That was a discussion Mom was more than happy to get into, so I tuned out and focused on Gray. He sat down in the empty seat next to me, giving me a breather from the man on my other side.

“What’re you doing here?” I asked quietly.

Gray squeezed my hand under the table. “You seemed like you needed me to run interference.” Having no clue how he’d come to that conclusion, I only stared while he filled his plate. “You sent me a text,” he said. “I put two and two together and figured a certain someone was coming for dinner.” He set down the bowl of gravy and retrieved his phone.

All I’d texted him before leaving my room was…something about dinner. I didn’t really remember.

“Here.” He showed me the text, and my eyebrows went up.

Mdgan fr diner and I cant.

“Wow.” I tugged at my ear, embarrassed.

“I assumed you weren’t drunk,” he said, pocketing his phone, “so that left anxiety.”

“What are you two whispering about, boys?” Mom asked teasingly. “A date, maybe? I’d love to bring happy news when I have lunch with Chloe tomorrow.”

I rolled my eyes. Our moms thought we were more than friends, and it wasn’t hilarious anymore.

Dad narrowed his eyes and pointed his fork at us. “If you two are dating, no more sleepovers with the door closed.”

“Jesus Christ.” I scrubbed a hand over my face.

“Sorry to disappoint, Mrs. H, but we have the same taste in men,” Gray said.

“What taste would that be?” It was Madigan, of all people, who asked.

There was no way I was getting into that with him.

Gray had no such qualms. “Older, bossier, definitely not a hockey player.”

“Older?” Dad scowled, then faced me. “Son, you’re not coming home with some old sugar daddy. In fact, give Gray a go. He called me gorgeous.”

“Jesus Christ,” I repeated. “Dinner was great, Mom. Thanks. We’re gonna go to my room.”

“I’m eating, man,” Gray protested. I gave him a look and felt my jaw tensing. “On second thought, I’m still full from my dinner with the family.”

Thought so.

We dumped our dishes in the sink and started leaving the kitchen.

“Abel, can I watch a movie with you?” Lyn asked.

“Tomorrow, okay?” I glanced back at her.

“She makes a great chaperone,” Dad noted.

“They don’t need a chaperone.” Mom glared at him. “They’re adults. Leave them be.”

Thanks, Mom.

Lyn snickered and grabbed her glass of milk. “Abel has penises on his computer.”

“Oh my God, don’t go through my shit!” I widened my eyes, mortification flooding me. My sister’s comment started mayhem in the kitchen between my parents; there was a lecture from Mom on privacy, bitching from Dad, and I couldn’t face Madigan to see his reaction. Instead, I pushed a laughing Gray out into the hallway and toward the stairs.

“Do you wanna watch penises together?” he asked over his shoulder.

“Just kill me.” I took a calming breath and let it out slowly.

Next, I heard Madigan’s voice. “Abel, wait up.”

No, seriously, just kill me.

I paused on the stairs and exchanged a look with Gray. I didn’t know what to do here. My anxiety was getting worse, but I’d never been able to resist that motherfucker.

“I’ll be in your room,” Gray said quietly.

Okay, then. My friend was deserting me. Steeling myself to be alone with Madigan, I waited on the stairs and stuck my hands down into my pockets.

Excerpt II:

Guys’ Night

After dinner, the coffee table in the living room quickly filled up with top-shelf alcohol and snacks, the number of bottles enough to give Dad’s rock-star past a solid nod. He still knew how to party. However… They were all fucking talk. In between sips of whiskey, crude jokes, a few shots, and the mandatory topic of “music today,” they mostly discussed their children. They’d clearly not done that enough while we ate.

When Dad said he didn’t get to see Theo—Casey and Ellis’s newborn son—often enough, I took a shot of vodka in hopes that the booze would liven shit up for me. Then Casey got into a discussion with Aiden about makeup for little girls. Casey’s daughter, Haley, was a couple years younger than my sister, and he looked to Aiden for advice since Isla was in her mid-twenties.

“I mean, how do you handle a situation like that?” Casey poured himself another drink, looking completely at a loss. “Ellis and I have decided that nail polish is all right, but unless it’s Halloween, we don’t want her face painted.”

I’d laugh if the topic didn’t bore me. Grabbing the bowl of peanuts, I got comfortable in my chair and flung my legs over the armrest. Madigan was occupying the chair on the other side of the table, and he looked fucking fine manspreading. Not that I was looking at his crotch or anything.

“In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter.” Aiden raised his glass. “Save your energy for when your little girl comes home with a man almost twice her age.” He took a swig of his whiskey. “Damn—he might even be your old college buddy.”

“That won’t happen here,” Dad said. “My baby girl’s never gonna date, and we’re working on fixing up Abel with Gray.”

I rolled my eyes and reached for my drink.

“A bit delusional, don’t you think, Lincoln?” Ellis chuckled.

“What is it with you guys and issues with age differences?” I asked. “Mom married your old ass, Dad. You should be grateful some of us are drawn to whiny curmudgeons.”

“I love you, Abel,” Casey laughed. “Lincoln, he got you.”

“He said us,” Aiden noted.

I winked at him. “That includes Gray. One day, he’s gonna come home with an older guy too.”

“We don’t want those we love and want to keep safe to be exposed or taken advantage of.” It was Madigan who spoke, and I narrowed my eyes at him. “Younger minds are often more impressionable.”

“See? Madigan gets it, and he doesn’t even want kids,” Dad said.

“Sometimes, that’s what we impressionable minds want.” I never once broke eye contact with Mad. “I can’t find what I want among my peers ’cause I want a guy who has more experience. While some look to a lot of places for support or guidance, I wanna look to him.”

In my periphery, I saw Casey watching us like a tennis match. Dad was muttering under his breath about not being an old ass.

“That requires a lot of trust,” Madigan murmured.

I trust you.

The realization that I trusted Mad implicitly, regardless of shit we’d gone through, wasn’t a shock, but it was heavy nonetheless. I swallowed and looked away, quick to distract myself by finishing my drink.

“You’re right, it does.” It was all I could say.

“You’re a smart young man, Abel,” Aiden told me.

“Only time I remember he doesn’t come from my swimmers,” Dad said with a dip of his chin. “He’s a hell of a lot smarter than me.”

“Stop it,” I groaned. Okay, so it wasn’t always I handled praise very well. Besides, he was selling himself short. I’d learned a lot from him.

“You know what?” He ignored what I said and moved forward. “Whoever you bring home, whether he’s old as fuck or jailbait, I’ll be on your side.”

I shook my head and smirked. Shit didn’t work that way.

“I have a feeling that comes with conditions,” Madigan muttered into his glass.

“I’m loving this.” Casey was enjoying the show or whatever. “We need more mixers. Abel, give me a hand.”

 

Shirtless sexy male model lying alone on his bed

About Cara:

I’m often stoically silent or, if the topic interests me, a chronic rambler. In other words, I can discuss writing forever and ever. Fiction, in particular. The love story—while a huge draw and constantly present—is secondary for me, because there’s so much more to writing romance fiction than just making two (or more) people fall in love and have hot sex. There’s a world to build, characters to develop, interests to create, and a topic or two to research thoroughly. Every book is a challenge for me, an opportunity to learn something new, and a puzzle to piece together. I want my characters to come to life, and the only way I know to do that is to give them substance—passions, history, goals, quirks, and strong opinions—and to let them evolve. Additionally, I want my men and women to be relatable. That means allowing room for everyday problems and, for lack of a better word, flaws. My characters will never be perfect.

Wait…this was supposed to be about me, not my writing.

I’m a writey person who loves to write. Always wanderlusting, twitterpating, kinking, and geeking. There’s time for hockey and cupcakes, too. But mostly, I just love to write.

Website: https://www.caradeewrites.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CaraDeeWrites

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/carawrites/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6936449.Cara_Dee

 

Out for the Holidays by Cara Dee

Out for the Holidays by Cara Dee

D02862C1-4EA7-4054-A742-2EAF238F0095

 

Henry and Zach are back! If you haven’t read Out, consider this your spoiler alert to the below. You can read where they started here:

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Title: Out for the Holidays: An Out Novella

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Pairing: Gay Romance

 

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3647398E-A0B4-4EB0-92F2-F7DB3673FD59

Synopsis:

 I’m not saying Henry jinxed us when he chose to send out two hundred holiday cards stating we were going to have a blissful Christmas at home…

Before we knew it, our peace and quiet went out the window, and we were headed to Mexico for a photo shoot my agent had neglected to tell me about. Of course, we had to deal with the man who didn’t want us to be together, and then we ended up back in LA, and we had to figure out what was going on with my brother, and, and… Okay, deep breaths. FYI, Philadelphia is nowhere near our home in northern Washington. Additionally, I wonder how Viagra really works, and what’s it gonna take to get a proposal around here?

Honestly. I’m not saying Henry jinxed us, but I’m writing the damn card next year.

Warning: This story contains more sugar than the cookies you leave for Santa, and it’s chock-full of greetings and updates from other characters written by Cara, titles including Noah, Home, Path of Destruction, Uncomplicated Choices, and more.

B6837870-8A65-4C95-B490-16A7D0E617EB

Excerpt I:

Could I fire someone over a text? I was so pissed that I didn’t know what to do with myself. I’d returned to the first floor and planted my ass at the bottom of the stairs, and I was staring at my agent’s number in my phone.

Lady Mo was in my lap, comforting me like a good puppy.

To my relief, Brooklyn wasn’t angry with me. She knew I took appointments seriously and never showed up late. No, this was on my agent, who hadn’t fucking told me she’d booked me for a whole goddamn week.

I released a breath and rested my head in my palm. Lady nuzzled my cheek.

If it’d been any other person than Brooklyn, I would’ve canceled somehow.

“Can I ask what you’re doing, Zachary?”

Dammit. I looked up, cursing the windows. Even when Henry was in the kitchen, he could see me in the reflection. “Can’t you tell I’m hiding?”

“Poorly,” he noted. Rounding the long bar in the kitchen, he passed the living room and joined me by the stairs. His hands went into the pockets of his slacks. “You have bad news.”

“I’d use the words fucking awful, but whatever.” I forced myself to look up. He’d be so disappointed. “Amanda neglected to tell me about a week-long shoot.”

He sighed, then nodded once firmly. “With Brooklyn, I assume.”

Yeah. She was the only one I had a contract with now, so it’d been a matter of scheduling.

“Tell me what to do,” I pleaded. “I swear I didn’t know. I even told her I wanted December free.”

He waved a hand and sat down next to me. “You’re not on trial, sweetheart.”

“I know, but it’s always my job that fucks shit up for us.” Lady left me, so I leaned forward, resting my elbows on my knees, and rubbed a hand over my mouth and jaw.

“You’re in an industry where things change quickly,” he reminded patiently. “What I do is very different.” True. He sat down with his coworkers and associates twice a year to hammer out details and schedule events and whatnot. It meant he knew his travels at least six months in advance so he could coordinate his schedule between the jobs he was involved in. “Tell me about the shoot.”

Reluctance filled me. I felt spoiled for complaining, but after this year… All I fucking wanted was a quiet month at home with Henry. “It’s for the YouTube crap. Akira, Maliah, and me—we have a week in Mexico, and they’re gonna ‘capture our personalities’ or something. Basically, a small film crew is gonna make a bunch of videos with us in various locations. It doesn’t have much to do with ShadowLight and makeup, so I don’t see the point.” Of course their products would be mentioned, but focus was on us.

“Marketing, darling.” He scooted closer and rubbed my back soothingly. “The clips make you relatable to the consumers. YouTube probably has a far better outreach than billboards. Up there, you’re untouchable.”

I side-eyed him. “Didn’t know you studied marketing.”

Humor flashed in his hazel eyes. “I may have spent some time in Los Angeles in my days. You pick up on these things.”

I huffed under my breath and faced forward again, and my gaze landed on the Christmas tree. It was beautiful, and someone had already put some gifts underneath it.

“We were supposed to stay home, though. Or at least in Washington.” I rested my head on his shoulder. “I wanted to go Christmas shopping in Seattle, go see a movie, take you and Nan for dinner… We were gonna go to a club and dance all night.”

He hummed and pressed a kiss to my hair. “You know where I can take you dancing?”

I shook my head.

“In Mexico.” There was a smile in his voice, and I admit his confirming that he was coming along brightened my mood more than I could say.

“Thank you for coming with me,” I whispered.

He laughed softly. “My beautiful man. I’m not entirely selfless. I trust you with all I am, and I may have gotten over most of my insecurities, but I am not letting you be alone with Joseph anymore.”

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Excerpt II:

“Excuse me for a moment.” Henry wiped his mouth with a napkin before leaning close to me. “I’ve had it with Joseph’s stares. I’ll be right back.”

Wait, so they were gonna talk alone? Without me?

Henry was already gone, leaving me to wrestle irrational jealousy. It wasn’t fair to Henry, whom I trusted with all my heart. Joseph, however? I wouldn’t put it past him to try something. He’d certainly tried with me.

Noah had his eyes on the dancing pairs. “What do you say, sweetheart…?”

Julian pursed his lips and shook his head. “Have you forgotten our wedding? I literally bruised your toe.”

“Weak shoes.” Noah winked.

I drained my glass. Henry was taking Joseph aside, and clenched my jaw when they disappeared from sight around the villa. Needing a distraction, I turned to Noah.

“I’ll dance with you,” I said. “I’ll give it one song before Julian’s all over you.”

Julian gaped at me. “You’re supposed to be my friend, Zach.”

I puckered my lips at him.

Noah smirked and stood up. “He’s being a friend, Julian. I also think he’s right. Let’s go, kid.”

He rounded the long table and met up with me at my side, and I followed him out on the floor as an upbeat song started playing. We didn’t have live music out here; instead, we had a mix CD, and I recognized this one. A Santana collaboration with the dude from Matchbox Twenty.

I placed my hand in Noah’s extended one, and he took me by surprise when he spun me around before hauling me close. “Holy shit,” I blurted out in a choked laugh. “Okay, I guess you know what you’re doing.”

Noah grinned. “My sister taught me when I was little.”

“Good to know.” Yeah, Julian didn’t stand a chance once he interrupted, and I knew he would. “Lead away, prince charming.”

And fuck me if he didn’t. The rock song brought more people to the floor, and soon most of us where having a workout. Noah made it fun with unexpected dips and twirls, and it’d been a while since I laughed so hard.

“We should just form a circle around you,” Akira hollered over the music. “Goddamn, Noah.”

Sweat beaded on my forehead, and I got into it. I had to hand it to Julian; he was more stubborn than I gave him credit for. A second song started, then a third and a fourth. Traditional salsa music mixed with rock and pop, and I followed best I could.

When I glanced at Julian, I could tell he’d reached his breaking point. He sat impatiently and stewed to himself. One final nudge would get him here, where he belonged.

The song morphed into a new one, another Santana collab. I recognized the Nickelback singer. The beat revved up, heavy and hot, and went on about dancing into the night.

“Ramp it up,” I said, breathing heavily. “You’ll get some possessive sex after this.”

“Oh, I intend to.” If he replied to my first or second statement, I wasn’t sure. “So will you. Move with me when I pull you back.”

“Okay.” I sucked in a breath and looked around, finally catching sight of Henry looking like he’d just returned with Joseph. And as I watched him gesture toward me and say things in Henry’s ear, I recognized Joseph for the snake he was. This went beyond flirting and trying to get into our pants.

“Ready?” Noah raised a brow, and I focused on the music. I let it drown me for the moment. I nodded. “Make it hot, kid.”

I smirked, and he yanked me to his chest. His hands on my hips, one of my hands at the back of his neck, and we moved damn well. He led me almost as perfectly as Henry did, our hips moving and speaking of sexual tension that wasn’t there.

“We’re good,” I chuckled breathlessly.

“Fuck yeah, we are.” He grinned, his chest heaving. “Can you see my boy?”

I could. He was moving in the corner of my eye. “On his way.”

He nodded once and eased up. “Next time I wanna get him out on the floor, you’ll be my partner in crime.”

“Count me in.” That was about what I had time to say before Julian tapped me on the shoulder.

“May I cut in?” he asked with a tight smile.

He was too fucking sweet. I released Noah, and wanting to ease the tension from Julian, I gave his cheek a smacking kiss. “All yours, hon.”

The look in his eyes softened slightly, though it had nothing on when he was in Noah’s arms. I smiled as they forgot everyone around them, and then I made my way out of the little crowd and aimed for Henry.

Seeing the brief flash of worry in his eyes fueled my anger toward Joseph. Who fucking knew what he’d been saying to Henry.

About Cara:

I’m often stoically silent or, if the topic interests me, a chronic rambler. In other words, I can discuss writing forever and ever. Fiction, in particular. The love story—while a huge draw and constantly present—is secondary for me, because there’s so much more to writing romance fiction than just making two (or more) people fall in love and have hot sex. There’s a world to build, characters to develop, interests to create, and a topic or two to research thoroughly. Every book is a challenge for me, an opportunity to learn something new, and a puzzle to piece together. I want my characters to come to life, and the only way I know to do that is to give them substance—passions, history, goals, quirks, and strong opinions—and to let them evolve. Additionally, I want my men and women to be relatable. That means allowing room for everyday problems and, for lack of a better word, flaws. My characters will never be perfect.

Wait…this was supposed to be about me, not my writing.

I’m a writey person who loves to write. Always wanderlusting, twitterpating, kinking, and geeking. There’s time for hockey and cupcakes, too. But mostly, I just love to write.

Website: https://www.caradeewrites.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CaraDeeWrites

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/carawrites/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6936449.Cara_Dee

 

 

Miss Fix-It by Emma Hart

One handywoman.

One single dad.

One set of twins.

And the wall isn’t the only thing being drilled…

I learned the hard way that being a handywoman isn’t easy. The questions, the stares—the assumption I’m the proud owner of a cock and balls. Not that it matters. I’ve proven over and over that I’m ready for anything the judgmental asses throw at me.

Except the hot, single dad of twins who just moved to town.

Brantley Cooper gets the shock of his life when I show up on his doorstep to fix up his kids’ new rooms. His son is confused why ‘the pretty lady has a drill,’ and his daughter has a new obsession—me.

On paper, my job is easy. Go in, do their bedrooms, and leave.

In theory, I’m spending eight hours a day with a guarded, sexy as hell guy, and I’m staying for dinner more often than I’m eating it alone, on my couch, with Friends re-runs.

I shouldn’t be staying for dinner. I shouldn’t be helping him out with the twins. I shouldn’t be falling in love with tiny toes and dimpled cheeks.

And I most definitely should not be kissing my client.

Oops.

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“I swear, messing with me is your new favorite hobby.”
“It is,” he admitted, eyes sparkling. “You’re so easy to mess with, I don’t even have to try.”
I rolled my eyes. “And to think—I let myself be guilt-tripped into this.”
“More fool you. I warned you about her, and you obviously didn’t listen.”
“That’s so not fair. I did listen, I just don’t have freaky skills to avoid the guilt like you do.”
“I don’t avoid the guilt. I pretend.”
“Would you have pretended if you were me, knowing you’d leave a poor guy to be lonely?”
He raised his eyebrows. “I wouldn’t have been lonely. I’d have watched TV with my pants off.”
“You don’t get to use my plans as an excuse,” I scoffed. “And unless your daughter is a master manipulator, you would have been lonely.”
“She’s four. All four-year-olds are master manipulators. If kids came with manuals, that would be the title of the chapter that talks about age four,” he said.
“There are technically manuals. They’re these wonderful, futuristic things called books.”
“None of which are geared toward a single dad,” he pointed out. “The last time I Googled something, I diagnosed Eli with a rare, deadly disease, learned that there are way too many styles of braid for any human being to master, and also found out how to get the kids out of the door by eight and have time to do my make-up.”
I paused. “I can see how that last one would be of use to you. Your mascara looks wonderful today.”

emma

By day, New York Times and USA Today bestselling New Adult author Emma Hart dons a cape and calls herself Super Mum to two beautiful little monsters. By night, she drops the cape, pours a glass of whatever she fancies—usually wine—and writes books.

Emma is working on Top Secret projects she will share with her followers and fans at every available opportunity. Naturally, all Top Secret projects involve a dashingly hot guy who likes to forget to wear a shirt, a sprinkling (or several) of hold-onto-your-panties hot scenes, and a whole lotta love.

She likes to be busy—unless busy involves doing the dishes, but that seems to be when all the ideas come to life.

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Out by Cara Dee

0ADCD72B-CFD1-4372-822B-65C62A2384F2

Out by Cara Dee

“I guess I always figured coming out was something you did for friends and family, and maybe it is, but it’s personal too, you know? The person I was last night is new. I wanna get to know him.”

Title: Out
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Pairing: Gay Romance

Amazon US: http://a.co/1gmT7J0
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Amazon UK: https://goo.gl/io2gz8
Goodreads: https://goo.gl/Y2fB4U

Synopsis:

I had two things on my list when I arrived in Los Angeles. One, track down Henry Bennington, the uncle and guardian of my little brother’s best friend, and tell him to get his ass back to Washington. He needed to do something about his nephew, who was turning into a douchebag. And two, figure out just how non-straight I was. For the past two years, I’d had all these fantasies, and now was the time to explore them, far away from my sleepy little town.

Nowhere on this list did it say, “Get Ty’s uncle into bed and fall for him.” I wasn’t supposed to fall in love with another city either. But between brunch, making new friends, and discovering the man I was meant to be, I lost sight of the future that had once seemed pretty damn vivid. How the hell was I supposed to merge my old life and who I used to be with the new dreams Los Angeles and Henry had awakened in me?

Teaser:

“I have a question, Zach,” Martin said.
“You can’t buy me new pants, man,” I replied.
The two men shared a stunned expression before amusement took over, and I felt bold. Comfortable, most of all. I smirked and shifted in my seat, then dug back into my food.
After the chuckles had died down, Martin faced Henry with a serious look. “I want to keep him. Don’t tell me I can’t.”
Even Henry smiled at that.
“But no, you rascal, that wasn’t what I wanted to ask,” Martin told me. “Although, I’ll certainly try again later. My question is about next week. Will you be doing any sightseeing?”
I hadn’t really thought about that. I was here to explore something else. That said, it would be cool to see some of the stuff I’d watched on TV. The Hollywood sign, Santa Monica Pier, and Venice.
“Maybe some.” I chewed slowly, guessing this was an opportunity to try some of that honesty. My stomach did a somersault, and my hunger faded momentarily. I had to jump, though. I’d regret it if I didn’t. “Ehm, the thing is…” I cleared my throat and reached for a wineglass. Condensation had fogged the surface, and I took a big gulp of it. I wasn’t much of a wine drinker, but it did the trick. “I was wondering…um, what’s West Hollywood like?”
I’d heard it was a neighborhood with a strong gay culture. A gayborhood, if you will.
You learned the weirdest terms online. I still wasn’t sure what the difference was between twinks and twunks.
Henry had grown still, and he put down his lobster roll and wiped his mouth with a napkin. He didn’t look super comfortable.
Martin eyed me up and down, a small smirk playing on his lips. “So perhaps you don’t have a girlfriend at home.”
I shook my head no.
Looked like all I had to do was mention West Hollywood and they knew where I was going with this.
Martin patted my hand. “Hon, is this new to you?”
“Very.” I managed a weak smile, and my heart pounded. “I don’t want to suppress it, though. I’ve had these thoughts for two years. I wanna find out.”
If I didn’t know any better, he looked proud. It didn’t make sense. With their obvious surprise settling, they started eating again. At least Martin did. Henry seemed more interested in his wine.
My guess was it was a sensitive topic for him because of how he’d been treated when he came out.
I didn’t know Martin’s history.
“How old are you?” Martin asked. “Twenty-two, twenty-three?”
I nearly balked. I didn’t look that fucking young, did I? “I’m twenty-seven!”
He waved a hand. “Semantics for me.” Thoughtful and chewing, he looked at his friend. “What do you think, Henry? We can’t in good conscience send him to WeHo clubs.”
“Definitely not.” Henry’s voice was quiet, yet firm. As if the idea was ludicrous. “They’ll eat him alive.”
“Do you go there? To the clubs there, I mean.” I glanced between the two.
Henry’s mouth twisted up.
Martin laughed outright. “Oh no, dear. We’ve aged out of the system.”
I wanted Henry’s take on things. Despite his evident discomfort, I looked at him in question. Teach me. Or hell, kiss me if you won’t tell me where to go. Okay, perhaps that would make him more uncomfortable.
He surrendered with a sigh, and he put down his food once more. “West Hollywood’s clubs might be too much if you’re just testing the waters and want to take things slowly. Their scene is a meat market. Not that I’ve been there in ages. As Martin pointed out, we’re not part of the demographic anymore.”
“We’re too old,” Martin supplied.
Henry shot him a frustrated look. “Thank you for reminding me.”
“You’re very welcome,” he replied, and I couldn’t help but grin. “Henry’s right, Zach. If you want sexy go-go boys and a round of Dude, Where’s My Car when you wake up not knowing where you are, those clubs are perfect.” He made a dismissive gesture with his hand. “Of course, you can find low-key bars as well, and many of my friends have settled down in domesticated gay heaven there, but we can probably find you a nice gay bar on the westside, too.”
West Hollywood wasn’t west enough?
Henry inclined his head. “There’s no need to dive straight into the club scene.” He paused. “You haven’t visited any gay-friendly bars at home?”
I shook my head. “I’m not…hiding, per se. But I haven’t been comfortable yet.”
If I came home with a boyfriend, I didn’t believe I’d face many problems. My nana was open-minded and accepting, and Mattie had friends who were already out. I just…I guessed I was one of those guys who liked to process things on my own first, and this was the option with which I was most at ease. I wouldn’t be on my own, but I would be away from everyone I knew.
“So a chill bar or something,” I said, getting us back on track. “Will you guys go with me?”
“Abso-fucking-lutely, darling.” Martin nodded and licked filling off his finger.
“Thank you.” I was relieved.
“Wait for it,” Henry muttered.
I frowned in confusion, and Martin’s eyes landed on me, his expression gleeful.
“You can’t go to a gay bar like that,” he said.
Goddammit.
“You’re talking about shopping, aren’t you?” My shoulders slumped. I didn’t know squat about fashion, and I wasn’t very interested.
“I am, yes, and it’s nonnegotiable.” He was too smug.
I agreed with his terms, though. I wanted to experience as much as possible. Even if it meant shopping.
“Can we go today?” I asked.
Martin laughed softly. “Boy’s eager, Henry.”
Henry merely hummed and took a swig of his wine.

About Cara:

DI’m often stoically silent or, if the topic interests me, a chronic rambler. In other words, I can discuss writing forever and ever. Fiction, in particular. The love story—while a huge draw and constantly present—is secondary for me, because there’s so much more to writing romance fiction than just making two (or more) people fall in love and have hot sex. There’s a world to build, characters to develop, interests to create, and a topic or two to research thoroughly. Every book is a challenge for me, an opportunity to learn something new, and a puzzle to piece together. I want my characters to come to life, and the only way I know to do that is to give them substance—passions, history, goals, quirks, and strong opinions—and to let them evolve. Additionally, I want my men and women to be relatable. That means allowing room for everyday problems and, for lack of a better word, flaws. My characters will never be perfect.

Wait…this was supposed to be about me, not my writing.

I’m a writey person who loves to write. Always wanderlusting, twitterpating, kinking, and geeking. There’s time for hockey and cupcakes, too. But mostly, I just love to write.

Website: https://www.caradeewrites.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/caradeewrites/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CaraDeeWrites
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/carawrites/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6936449.Cara_Dee