Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Dirty Blonde

The Dirty Blonde (Vic Fallon book 3)

by Tim Smith

Genre: Romantic Mystery

Former cop Vic Fallon is content to live in Sandusky, Ohio on his disability settlement and take the occasional private eye job when he isn’t fishing. He doesn’t really want to get involved in a missing persons case, but when Amy Bergen comes to town from Tennessee looking for her estranged husband who's avoiding divorce court, Vic is instantly taken in by her southern charm and agrees to help her. His search brings him in contact with a local gangster wannabe, a crooked cop and a gambling syndicate. When another woman shows up claiming to be the missing man's wife, the case takes a bizarre turn. Can Vic find the wayward husband before all of his wives catch up with him? Will his feelings for Amy develop into something more than professional?

Meet Tim Smith

Tim Smith is an award-winning, bestselling author whose books range from romantic mystery/thrillers to contemporary erotic romance. He is also a freelance photographer. When he isn't pursuing those two passions he can often be found in the Florida Keys, indulging his passion for parasailing between research and seeking out the perfect Mojito. His website


Blog - “The Dirty Blonde” PG

I’m pleased to announce the release of my newest romantic mystery from eXtasy books, “The Dirty Blonde – Vic Fallon Book 3.” This is a noir-ish crime caper in the style of Chandler, Westlake and Parker but in a contemporary setting. All of the elements are here – tough wisecracking private eye hero with a soft spot for the ladies, a femme fatale client who may or may not be telling the whole truth, some shady supporting characters, vivid atmosphere and snappy dialogue filled with sexual tension. The only thing missing is a cool jazz score by Henry Mancini or Quincy Jones, but we couldn’t format that into the book.

“Former cop Vic Fallon is content to live in Sandusky, Ohio on his disability settlement and take the occasional private eye job when he isn’t fishing. He doesn't really want to get involved in a missing persons case, but when Amy Bergen arrives from Tennessee looking for her estranged husband who’s avoiding divorce court, Vic is taken in by her southern charm and agrees to help her. His search brings him in contact with a local gangster wannabe, a crooked cop and a gambling syndicate. When another woman shows up claiming to be the missing man’s wife, the case takes a bizarre turn. Can Vic find the wayward husband before all of his wives catch up with him? Will his feelings for Amy develop into something more than professional?”

This is the third story in the Vic Fallon series, following “The Bundle” and “Lido Key” but the books don’t need to read in order. For the uninitiated, Vic Fallon was about to be let go from the Police force for making his point with his fists until he was wounded in the line of duty. He became a private eye but with a twist – he doesn’t really have to work and only takes a job when he’s bored or something intrigues him. He also gets involved with a different woman in each story, which keeps it interesting.

Here’s an excerpt showing his first up-close-and-personal with the heroine du jour:

Vic slowly swirled his glass of wine. “I just realized I haven’t been a very good tour guide.”

“How do you mean?”

“This is your first time up here and I haven’t offered to show you around. How would you like to take a trip to one of the islands tomorrow?”

Amy gave him a coy smile. “I’d like it fine, but is this strictly good will on your part?”

“Maybe not totally. I think we’ll find the answers to a few of our questions on Kelleys Island and I’d rather take you along than go alone. Simple enough?”

Her expression took on a bit more warmth. “Simple enough and you just got yourself a date for tomorrow.” She brought his hand to her mouth then planted a soft lingering kiss. “In fact, you may just have yourself a date for tonight. How does that sound to you?”

“It sounds like someone who’s on spring break and looking for a fling before they go back to the real world.”

She gently massaged his hand. “Now that’s what I’d call a skeptical observation. Would it offend your sense of order if I wanted to get to know you better?”

“No, it wouldn’t.”

He took another sip then looked at the darkening sky. Vic wanted nothing more than to get up close and personal with Amy, and she had been occupying a prominent place in his mind since they met. His initial qualms were now somewhat relieved after the spin she put on her situation. Apparently she wasn’t feeling inhibited, so why should he?

Vic stood, took Amy’s hand and prompted her to her feet. He led her into the living room, pulled her close and began dancing to the ballad Miles Davis was playing. Amy rested her head on Vic’s chest, wrapped her arms around him and sighed. He softly caressed her back with his open palm and inhaled her scent. He finally identified it as lavender, but with a musky quality. He also discovered that it was having an effect on his libido. He closed his eyes and enjoyed their closeness. 

He tilted Amy’s face to look into her eyes and lightly brushed her hair from her face. He kissed her softly, and Amy kissed him back, making a brief exploratory mission with her tongue while Vic ran his hands along her shoulders and back. Amy pulled him closer. He brushed her soft lips with his, breathed in her heady scent. His erection pushed hard against his pants and Amy pressed her hips against his, undulating in time with the music.

She put her hand on his cheek and lightly traced his jaw with her fingertips. Her eyes had taken on a dreamy glow. They continued slow dancing while gazing into each other’s eyes. Vic slid his hand down Amy’s back, rested it on her ass and gave a firm squeeze, making her giggle. She kissed him again and put her hand on his groin, fondling his hard-on through his pants.   

Vic guided her to the bedroom. He slipped his hands under Amy’s top, unfastened her bra then moved to caress her breasts. Amy pulled his face to hers to kiss him again and resumed fondling his groin. She slid down his body to her knees, unzipped his pants and freed his hardening prick. She wrapped her hand around the shaft and stroked him to full hardness, then took him into her mouth, sucking him so slowly it was pure torture. Vic inhaled sharply and closed his eyes as Amy steadily took his entire length into her mouth and massaged the swollen head with the back of her throat. She started humming Battle Hymn of the Republic while she sucked him.

I always liked that song. 

                                                                        * * * *

If you’re in the mood for a blast from the B-movie past with a contemporary twist, pour a glass of whiskey, prop your feet on the desk, tip back your fedora and enjoy “The Dirty Blonde.” It’s the stuff dreams are made of.

                                                                        * * * *

Tim Smith is an award-winning, bestselling author whose books range from romantic mystery/thrillers to contemporary erotic romance. His website is


Saturday, August 30, 2014

A Roads to Menage

A Roads  To Menage 

by Ashley Beckem

A couples journey into sexual exploration together.

For years Jeff has been talking about having a threesome. The thought of this left his wife Holly fearing the worst. Believing her husband wanted another woman or worse; a divorce. Holly tests the waters by sharing a fantasy of her own. Seeing how turned on Jeff gets she decides to continue on this new found sexual exploration. Together they explore and test the boundaries of their relationship.

In time she discovers her husband greatest fantasy just might be hers too.

Meet Ashley

Ashley Beckem grew up in the frigid northern part of Chicago. At the tender age of eighteen moved to South West Florida for college. Ashley is presently chasing after an elusive MBA. Current hobbies include spending reckless amount of time on the beach, boating with friends, and loves being active (biking, golf, running, or tennis). Ashley is never far from the trusted Galaxy to keep in touch.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Office Slave

On Her Knees

The Office Slave Box Set

by Opal Carew

Genre: Erotic Romance

From New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Opal Carew.

Four irresistible executives. One powerful boss. Can she surrender to her ultimate sexual fantasy?

Sylvia loves to read erotica, and after her latest read, she's developed a sizzling fantasy about submitting to the sexual whims of four incredibly hot business partners. Never in her wildest dreams did she think she'd have the opportunity to live out her fantasy... until her friend decides to make it happen. Now she's about to become an office slave to four irresistible executives…

Just when she thinks that her ultimate sexual fantasies have been brought to life, the fifth partner -- the boss -- intervenes and offers her complete domination.

Can she give up total control to the man behind the voice?

Books 1 & 2 of The Office Slave series.

Length: 20,000 words 

Blurb for ON HER KNEES

They brought her ultimate sexual fantasy to life...
Now it gets real.

Her friend had arranged for her to live out her sexual fantasy of being office slave to four hot hunky business partners, and at the end, their fifth partner had called to ask if she wanted to be dominated… for real. His deep, domineering voice had elicited the most compelling and intense sex dreams she'd ever known. Then when she gave up control to him, she was totally hooked.

Now she is exploring what it means to be in a Dominant/submissive relationship with a man who seems to gain more pleasure from watching her with other men rather than giving her what she really wants. Him. 

Mr. Grant has never experienced a submissive as willing and desirable as Sylvia. Everything about her makes him want her, threatening the steadfast control he keeps over himself when mastering a woman. No submissive has ever broken through his carefully erected barrier of indifference. Until now. 

Can Sylvia break through his self-imposed walls to touch the man beneath? 

Hi. I'm Opal Carew, a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. I write erotic romance for St. Martin's Press and Samhain Publishing, and I self-publish stories. I also write romance as Amber Carew.
So why do I like writing erotic romance? I like being able to push beyond traditional boundaries. I like dealing with a female character who is growing and evolving - questioning her sexual boundaries and pushing past them. My stories usually include menage a trois. It is great fun to write a heroine choosing between two equally appealing heroes... or more.
These aren't women who just jump into bed with anyone. They find themselves in an unusual situation - something exciting and erotic - but a situation where they have to push themselves beyond their comfort level. As a result, they grow as a person. So often fear holds us back - of what others will think of us, of what we will think about ourselves - and we don't follow our hearts. These women push past that fear.
To learn more about me and my books:


Nook   - 
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 Since Mr. Grant own's her she does what ever he tells her to do, and he often offers her up to his business partners but with certain rules. This book is all about Mr. Grant and Sylvia who are master and slave.  The author wrote a very good story with a strong characters and wonder out come to the story. I love  a fantasy to a Dom/Sub relationship  that is created in this series. It is a must read the whole series. I give this book a 5/5 and will want to read more in this series when it comes available.

Murder at Chipmunk Lake

Cover for Murder at Chipmunk Lake attached, and blurb, excerpts (2-one hot, one less so) & bio below. I'll send Assassins Bite separately :)

Murder at Chipmunk Lake
Nixie's lost her mojo!
A Nixie and Julian Story. *Paranormal. Hot.*

Nixie Emerson, punk rock musician and first-time mom-to-be, has a stalker. Her band Guns and Polkas has gone national after their big stage debut, but the price of fame is the stalker trying to scare her into leaving the band.

Her husband, master vampire Julian, whisks Nixie away to the Wisconsin north woods--where they meet the stalker on the pier of their cabin and he again threatens Nixie.

Julian punches him out and the couple walks away thinking the problem is over. But when the next evening the stalker is found dead, they find out the trouble is only starting.

Warning: contains a cranky pregnant lady trying to control her swearing, a master vampire appeasing his wife with food and creative sex, murder, mayhem and several arguments over what to name the baby.


Amazon UK:






The fang-plucking action had finally gotten through, and my husband Julian was up for a round of bed bingo.

But between pregnancy, the stalker, and dealing with my apex-predator hubby, I was both keyed up and too tired. “I want to, but…well.”

He smiled. “While I am always ready, willing and able, I actually didn’t mean sex. How about a massage?”

Every aching cell in my body jerked to attention. I blinked. “Foot rub?”

“And back rub and thigh rub, plus I’ll massage oil into your belly.”

I put my hand in his. “Baby Jayden would be grateful.”

“We’re not naming him Jayden.” He drew me to my feet then picked me up and glided with me into the bedroom. “What kind of name is Jayden? No history to it. Now John, or William, or Peter—”

“A potty, a willie and another willie? Uh-uh.”

He sighed as he laid me gently on the bed. “Open your jeans.”

“Don’t you want them off?”

“This is a non-threatening belly rub. But feet first.”

As I fumbled with the maternity jeans’ fastenings, he pulled off my shoes and socks, picked up the lotion, pumped a handful, and warmed it with a brisk rub of hands. Taking my foot, he worked the lotion into the ball.

I groaned. “I love you.”

“This is to make sure that you keep loving me.”

“This is to make sure I keep functioning.”

“That too.” He knuckled the sides of my foot, rubbed the heel, then massaged each individual toe, pulling more ecstatic groans from me.

I managed to get my pants open but my blood pressure was dropping by the minute and my fingers were lovely relaxed noodles. “That’s sooo wonderful. Don’t stop.”

“I value my life, so I wasn’t planning to.” He did the other foot then massaged up my calf.

My tension dropped a level with each circle of his warm, strong fingers.

So by the time he got his hands on my jeans-covered thighs, my fatigue was gone and my tension had turned to something warmer.

I wrestled to my elbows. “How about you help me off with these pants?

He continued to knead muscles, smiling slightly. “In a minute.”

That smile meant he’d expected my change of heart. I love it when he knows me better than I know myself. Being six-plus of jaw-dropping gorgeous doesn’t hurt. “How about now.”

“As you wish.” With one smooth tug he depantsed and depantied me, and with another, slid off both my smock top and bra.

“Dang, you’re good. Practice?”

“Motivation. My lovely wife.”

“And practice.”

“And motivation to practice on my lovely wife.”

“Okay, you win.”

Hot Excerpt:

I spread my legs, expecting his agile tongue.

He surprised me by standing. “Let’s start with a warmup.” He unbuttoned his shirt, his eyes a heated blue on me, sizzling toward vampire violet. He exposed his hard muscles and bronzed skin inch by inch.

I squirmed. Yum. I quirked a couple fingers at him, a “come here” so I could palm those hard mounds, feel those acres of silken skin under my lips.

He only smiled.

“What are you doing? The band’s already warmed up. Get on the bed.”

“Not yet. There’s an opening act for the audience first.” He turned and shrugged the shirt off his shoulders. It made all sorts of lovely ripples across that broad, muscular expanse.

“Don’t need an opening act.” I panted it. “Ready for the main show.” I slid a hand between my thighs to prepare the stage. My fingers skidded on hot moisture. I was ready and then some.

He shot me a hot look over one shoulder, his fangs extending between his lips, his eyes shading toward red. “Not even this?” He spun front and unzipped his trousers, revealing the trail of black hair, leading from his dent of a navel to the top of Mr. Big Gavel which was expanding rapidly and trying to tear free.

“Oh. Okay.” My heart was pounding a Sousa march. “Loving the opening act.”

He turned away again but before I could protest he dropped trou, revealing roped, cuppable glutes. A pang of need hit me, so sharp I started rubbing myself, trying to relieve the worst of it.

“Hands off.” He growled it. “That’s my job.”

“How can you tell what I’m doing? You’re turned the wrong way. Speaking of, turn back so I can see.”

“I can hear you stroking. Stop it. I want you screaming for me. Stop it, or the show stops.”

I took my hand off myself so fast my arm flung onto the bed with a whump. “Stopped. Turn now. Wanna see.”

He stepped out of his pants and slowly turned. His jutting cock hove into view, bobbing as if it was nodding, happy to see me.

I whimpered.

“Is this what you want?”

I nodded and licked swollen, throbbing lips.

He smiled with masculine satisfaction. “Now, what do you say?”

I reached for it, waving my hands in the air at him. “Gimme.”

“Not what I had in mind.” He stalked toward the bed, eyes glowing red, fangs straining. His chest rumbled with a vampire purr. “Try again.”

“Gimme now.”

He laughed through his purr. “Good enough.” He climbed onto the bed between my legs.


As a girl, I spun romantic, happily-ever-after stories to get to sleep. A husband, two degrees, a blackbelt and a family later, I'm delighted to spin them for readers.

I’ve lived with love and loss, in bright times and dark, and learned we can all use a break from reality every now and then.

So join me for action, sparkling wit and red-hot love. Strong men. Stronger women.

To learn more, please visit or write

I’m on Facebook and Twitter and would love to hear from you!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Imperfect Mate Cover Reveal

                                                       COVER REVEAL

For tiger-shifter, Samira Anderson, leaving home for the first time to attend Harmony University should unnerve her. She’s never submitted to the fear of a challenge and doesn’t plan to start now. Meeting her dorm mates and touring the campus excites her and her cat. Although when she meets Gavin Stone, she’s not only nervous around him but fears she might lose the tight control she has over her tiger.

After a bad break up with his high school sweetheart, Gavin has no intentions of repeating past mistakes. Or so he thought until he sees the beautiful, smart, Samira at the dorm welcome party. Drawn to her like no other, he can’t stay away or shake the feeling Sam isn’t telling him everything.

When he discovers her secrets, a whole new world opens to him, filled with danger, unknown possibilities, and a passion so intense it could last many lifetimes.

Coming October 20th

The Lilith Scroll

The Lilith Scroll
Author: B.L. Marsh

Genre: Urban Fantasy / New Adult

What if you discovered there was time before time began? What if everything you thought was true, was not? What if there was a beginning before, “In the beginning”? What if another story was unfolding within our time? A story steeped in loss, love, betrayal, and secrets?
On her twenty-third celebrated birthday, Lilith arrived in Scotland, following clues she had secretly collected about her past. Little did she know that her arrival at the Rosslyn Chapel would reignite one of  the oldest wars of all time- The Fall. Sides will be chosen, lives will be lost, and the secret kept all this time by the Illuminati will be exposed.  
Welcome to Eden. The place where magic was born, trees are gateways to other realms, and Angels aren’t what you think they are. Meet Lilith. A young woman with an incredible story; one she isn’t supposed to know, much less tell. Meet Sam. A man with an unknown past and powers that rival Lilith’s. 

Go back in time. Back to the garden. Experience the magic of creation, the wonder of nature, and the betrayal that destroyed it all.

“Did you sense the pain from within the child?” Declan asked.

“It was greater than anything I have ever experienced. What was done to her is unforgivable. Her strength in not giving into the Shade is unfathomable. Normally, I would say the child has much to learn, but in this case, I fear we have much to learn from her.” Alaric answered with reverence.

Turning toward the pool Declan responded, “Emzara will know what to do. I will call for her as well.”

Looking into the water, he saw the fair-skinned child lying at Adela’s feet, her long copper locks strewn across a perfectly round face. Declan, the great black unicorn, whispered, “Happy birthday, little one. We will find out who or what has awoken you. You will be safe. No harm shall befall you. This is my solemn vow.”

“It is time dear friend.”  A voice shook him from his thoughts.

The Dragon and Unicorn Knights cast spell after spell into the pool.  Runes in ancient languages long since forgotten began to glow on her skin weaving a glowing web of magic around the sleeping girl. A faint orange light caught the Unicorn Knight’s eye. Amongst the glowing runes on her body, a faint symbol appeared on her wrist. Adela watched as the sleeping girl accepted the magic from the knights -- and strengthened it.

“She bears the mark of the Great Sacrifice. The myths are true. I knew she someone important when she came to the cave, but never in all these millennia did I think she was the Taken.” The Knights looked at one another as the reality of who the young girl’s identity became clear.

B. L. Marsh has been writing and telling stories her entire life.  She is a music teacher, guest lecturer and runs Master Classes.  Her academic research is focused on the L’homme arme tradition, the Dead Sea Scrolls, chant transmission in the Medieval and Renaissance, and Gnostic and Kabbalah history.  Her passion for spirituality, mythology and developing her relationship with God are parts of her Rule of Life.  In her reading of the Bible and other extra-biblical texts however, she began to daydream about the characters, about how life was back then, and how cool it would have been to walk in the Garden with God.  Her stories weave a new mythology revolving around Genesis.  
When she is not writing or teaching, she spends her days hanging out with five of the coolest boys on the planet and at night can be found doing completely ridiculous things like reading Joseph Campbell and Jane Austin and watching the same 3 movies on TV.

Lilith Scroll takes you to a different place of Fantasy romance with all kinds of paranormal. The romance o this story is heart warming. Sam and Lilith need growth as individuals so that their relationship can grow with them. This book is very well written but sometimes confusing so looking forward to the rest of series to see if they grow as individuals and if there realtionship will grow. I give this book a 4/5.  

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hard as A Rock

Hard as a Rock

Iliona's had a rough day, so the last thing she wants is a whiny ex on her doorstep throwing accusations about which of her co-workers she's sleeping with. When he starts throwing punches and one of her hunky gargoyle co-workers rushes to her rescue, Iliona is more interested in what exactly he's been doing on the ledge outside her bedroom window...and whether he's interested in more than watching.

Hard as a Rock

“What’s the matter, Iliona? A mere human not good enough for you now?”
I sighed as Kenneth’s shrill voice echoed along the seemingly empty corridor of my apartment block. I say seemingly empty, because there was no way Mrs. Robertson in twenty-one was going to miss any gossip, never mind anything as juicy as a domestic breakup. Hell, even though she had to be pushing ninety-something, she wasn’t above leaning so far out of her bathroom window to hear what was going on in the flat below I thought she’d somehow rewritten the laws of gravity. No doubt she’d cracked her front door open as soon as Kenneth had stepped out of the lift.
I say breakup, but that’s not entirely correct. Kenneth and I broke up a month ago, after he’d decided my “comfort” level with paranormals tweaked his “squick” radar. Kenneth hates paranormals with a passion. So, since they’d all “come out of the closet” so to speak ten years ago, he’d been shit out of luck. Now there are all sorts of rules…forget racism, there are whole new laws going through parliament about speciesism. Me, personally? I think anything that gave the human race a kick up the backside and got us all playing along nicely in the sandpit was a bloody good thing.
Right now, though, I really wished I hadn’t opened the door. My fault, I’d thought he was the pizza delivery guy. Anticipating a large Hawaiian with garlic bread on the side, I hadn’t checked the peephole first. Just grabbed my purse and opened up.
“Kenneth, I’ve had a long day and it’s late.”
I didn’t bother to moderate the sharp tone in my voice. I wasn’t lying. I’d been up at the crack of dawn and down in the office sorting a fuckup of monumental proportions. Since I was a case manager for a personal protection company, problems meant a high likelihood of someone dying. Needless to say, I didn’t like problems.
I also didn’t like ex-boyfriends showing up when they weren’t welcome. Folding my arms, I leaned against the door jam and gave him my best “I don’t want to have this conversation now” look. Like seriously. I’d rather eat razor blades and gargle bleach than rehash why we’d split up.
The dumb fuck just stood there, all neatly pressed suit and tie. His banker uniform, I called it, and I hated it. I hated suits, even though I wore one on a regular basis. Actually, that’s a lie, I just hated suits when Kenneth wore them.
“So are you going to answer the question?”
His voice rose in volume now as his carefully tanned face took on a hint of red. Kenneth was naturally pale with dark brown hair. He used sun beds and bleached his hair, terrified someone would mistake him for a vampire. Didn’t matter I’d told him vampires tanned really well and that Rupert, our in-house vamp, loved garlic chicken pizza, the stupid twat insisted on frying himself on a regular basis.
I massaged the bridge of my nose and fought down the urge to murder him with one of my high heels. Since I didn’t wear stilettos, it would have to be blunt force trauma. Fortunately for Kenneth, until I’d had my pizza I really didn’t have the energy.

Dare to Submit by Carly Phillips

Shame Cover Reveal

Synopsis: Release day 10/6
Everything done in darkness, will eventually be brought into the light.

I ran, but all it did was keep me one step ahead of my past. I tried to start over; new name, new identity. But you can't change your soul.
A fresh start at college was just what I needed. For a while, it worked. I was the party girl, the one that seemed confident, but it was a lie.
When guys kissed me--I felt only pain. 
When they touched me--Nothing but fear.

Deep inside, every girl wants to be the beauty in the story, to find someone that will see you as their world. 
But the truth? I was the beast. And as much as I wanted redemption, I wasn't fool enough to think I'd ever get it. 
Until he walked into my life.

I wasn't prepared to fall for someone. My scars were too deep, the wounds too raw. But he offered me peace, he offered me security. I should have known it was just another lie--I should have known that falling in love with my professor was a bad idea.
But I was powerless to stop myself from falling. 
And he was powerless to catch me.

Because the darkness finally caught up to me, and as fate would have it, a cruel twist almost bled me dry. But I'm stronger than I knew. I'm stronger than you think.
You think you know my story, but you don't....after all everyone has Shame in their lives-- and I'm no longer afraid to show you mine.


“Just hold still!” I yelled, holding up my phone while Gabe gave me the finger. I grimaced and dropped the camera away from my face. “Nice, thanks for that.”
“I’m a giver.” He smirked.
Saylor, his wife, smacked him on the arm and rolled her eyes.
I scrunched up my face when he leaned in and took Saylor’s mouth with his, kissing her senseless in the local Starbucks like they were doing a romance scene in a movie. I coughed.
They didn’t pull apart.
So I took a picture.
I earned another finger, but Gabe still didn’t dislodge from his wife.
“Whoa!” Wes’s voice sounded from behind me. “They been at it long?”
“Are all newlyweds disgusting?” I voiced aloud.
Wes moved around the table with his wife, Kiersten, and gave me a goofy shrug. I wanted to roll my eyes, but Wes was too nice and hot. Let’s not forget the hot part. Both he and Gabe were like walking poster boys for GQ. Both blond, now that Gabe had decided to dye his hair back to his original color. It was like staring at two really bright superstars.
Hating them was like hating the Easter bunny. Try all you want, but you’ll eat every piece of chocolate in the basket, just you wait.
“So, classes?” Kiersten leaned forward. “I heard you got stuck with that hot new psych prof.”
Wes growled low in his throat.
“Down boy.” I braced my hands on the table and laughed. “Besides he’s not that hot.”
“A girl passed out.” Kiersten’s eyebrows shot up. “Like in class.”
“Dehydration?” I shrugged, taking a sip of coffee.
“Or…” She leaned forward. “…the rumors are true.”
“Rumors…” Gabe backed away from Saylor, his lips swollen. “…are always based on truth.”
“So you really did do a naked dance in your underwear last week after getting drunk downtown at Pike Place Market?” I tilted my head and waited while Gabe rolled his eyes and popped his knuckles. “Exactly.”
He opened his mouth.
I took a picture.
With a grimace, he snatched my phone away from me. “Never thought I’d have to tell you to lay off the pictures, Miss Paparazzi.”
I slumped in my seat. “It’s for an assignment with that hot professor.”
“Aha!” Kiersten jabbed her finger at me. “I knew it.”
I pinned her with a look. “Sarcasm, friend, sarcasm.”
“Boys get girls pregnant,” Gabe offered, while Wes choked on the coffee he’d just stolen out of my hand.
Serves him right!
“Don’t date them.”
“You’re going to be a great dad.” I smiled sweetly. “What? You’re just going to lock your girls in their rooms and go—” I mimicked his voice. “—uh, you see boy parts are bad, they make girls have lots of babies, like rabbits, and you know how rabbits make dad nervous and—”
“Hilarious,” Gabe’s eyes narrowed. “And please don’t talk about kids yet…”
Saylor laughed quietly next to him then squeezed his arm.
My heart dropped.
A very long time ago, I’d wanted to be that for Gabe, then Taylor happened and well… I shuddered, blocking out the painful memories, the things I’d done, the things he’d done, the things we’d done.
“You okay?” Wes asked, his voice soft. He was way too perceptive for my taste. If I’d wanted to share, he’d be the guy I’d talk to, but I was a vault. Sharing meant admitting my guilt, and admitting meant I’d probably go insane just like he had.
“Yeah…” I straightened in my seat. “…I just don’t want to fail my class, and I need to write down nonverbal cues and take at least one picture. And pretty sure I need to ace this first assignment on account that I was late to my prof’s class, and I got in trouble.”
“He spank you?” Gabe’s eyes mocked across his coffee.
“Yes, Gabe,” I said calmly. “Because that’s how they punish bad students here at UW — with a yardstick and a smile.”
“I wish.” He whistled. “What I wouldn’t give to have Saylor—”
I plugged my ears.
He threw his head back and laughed while Saylor turned bright red and put her hand over his mouth to shush him.
“So…” Wes ignored Gabe as was his usual and leaned across the table. “…why don’t you take pictures of people here in the coffee shop? I mean, ask permission, but most people here are super interesting, right? Studying? Stressed out? Tired?” He pointed to a guy in the corner. “He looks like he’s running on five cups of coffee and one hour of sleep. Go ask, take the picture, make some notes, project done.”
“You make it sound so easy,” I grumbled.
He grinned. “I’m Wes Michels.”
I hung my head lower and grimaced.
“Phone.” He held out his hand and stood.
Within minutes, not only had he snapped two pictures for me but had taken notes on two pre-med students who had stayed up all night cramming for what they’d assumed would be a pop quiz, only to find out that they’d been in the wrong class on the wrong day.
“And that’s why I'm not pre-med.” Gabe shuddered.
“Really?” Kiersten asked. “I thought it was because big words scared you?”
“Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. What now?” He nodded. “Keep talking, Kiersten, or keep walking.”
“Spell it.” She smirked.
“So this professor…” Gabe changed the subject. “If he tries anything, use the Mace or the rape whistle.”
“Right.” I nodded. “I’ll be sure to do that. In class. With a hundred other students. When he looks at me cross-eyed.”
“Good,” he huffed.
“I was kidding.”
Saylor patted Gabe’s shoulder. “Gotta let the baby birds out of the nest someday, Gabe.”

About Rachel Van Dyken:

Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she's not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.
She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband and their snoring Boxer, Sir Winston Churchill. She loves to hear from readers! You can follow her writing journey at