I knew her as the sultry voice blowing up my phone for late night chats about Proust and Hemingway interspersed between the best phone sex I never knew I could have.
We’d never met.
Until the day she walked into my office, her cherry lips wrapped around a candy apple sucker and an all too familiar voice that said, “They said you wanted to see me, Principal Hawthorne?”
Rounding the corner by the front office, I’m making a beeline for drinking fountain number six when the door swings open and out walks Kerouac.
Or rather, Principal Hawthorne.
We both stop so as not to bump into each other, though he’d be so lucky.
I saw the way he looked at me in his office this morning, the way his body responded to my voice. I knew the instant he started talking that it was him, though it took all the strength I had to ignore his chiseled jaw, dimpled chin, thick, dark hair, and hooded, honey-brown eyes.
Principals are supposed to be old with gray hair, glasses, and dad bods.
They’re not supposed to look like fucking supermodels.
Our eyes lock, and I smirk. To think, all those times I was talking to this.
This is what was on the other end. That stock photo doesn’t even hold a candle to the striking Adonis standing before me. No wonder he doesn’t want to commit. For a man like that, the world is one giant, all-you-can-eat buffet of beautiful women.
“Excuse me,” he says, stepping out of my way like a gentleman.
God, that voice. That gentle, low rasp of a voice. I about creamed my pants when he did the overhead announcements earlier. Almost had to excuse myself from class so I could finish the job in an empty bathroom stall.
It doesn’t help that all anyone can talk about lately is how fucking hot the new principal is. I overheard a group of senior girls earlier making a wager to see who could sleep with him before they went off to college. The winner was to get a thousand bucks.
Ha. Stupid girls.
If they only knew who they were dealing with.
But I’m no better than they are. I know the man that lies beyond the carefully crafted exterior, behind those dark, hooded eyes and that confident stride. The man on the inside is a million times sexier than any of them could begin to imagine.
“You’re excused.” I make my way to the fountain, press the button, and lower my mouth to the jet stream of fresh water. His stare is heavy, weighted, and I’d give anything to know what he thinks when he looks at me.
The halls are empty and quiet. It’s just the two of us.
Across the way a male teacher drones on about World War I and the Lusitania, and when I glance into the classroom, I spot Bree sitting in the front row, gnawing on the tip of her pen as her eyes wander in our direction.
I move out of her line of sight. Ford follows.
“I’d like to talk to you sometime,” he says. “About—”
I rise, turning to him. “About what? Nothing happened.”
He squints, studying me. He must think I’m planning to blackmail him, but he’d be mistaken. While his rejection stung at the time, I’m over it and I’ve got bigger fish to fry—specifically a bottom-feeder by the name of Bree.
“I tried to reach out to you after we last spoke,” he says, keeping his voice down. “I wanted to make sure you were okay. Couldn’t find you on the app.”
“I deleted it.”
His lips press, and he nods. All those long phone calls and messaging sessions this summer, and the man can’t find more than a handful of things to say to me now. He must still be in shock. I can’t say that I blame him. He’d have a hell of a lot more to lose than I would. The stakes are higher for him. I might be legal and an adult, but there isn’t a single red-blooded soul in this entire school district who’d be okay with a principal striking up a sexual relationship with one of his students.
On paper, it would seem atrocious. Scandalous. Disgusting.
But it doesn’t keep me from wishing we could’ve made it work, as insane as that is.
“You know, we’re going to be seeing a lot of each other around here, so let’s do ourselves a favor and get the fuck over what happened,” I say, arms folded as I maintain my icy demeanor. My ego may be bruised, my heart may be longing for him, but I’ll be damned if I run away with my tail tucked like some rejected schoolgirl. “If you’re going to look at me like that every time you see me—”
“I’m sorry.” He won’t stop staring. “I just … I can’t believe it’s you.”
“Believe it.” I begin to walk backwards, distancing myself from him.
He may have closed the door a few weeks ago, but I’m the one who locked it.
When I saw there was a new book coming I checked on the blurb and I was like “yeah count me in” I mean I loved her writing style so far so it was a no-brainer for me. But now that I read the book I think / I guess I am the odd one out there when it comes to Absinthe by Winter Renshaw.
I still like the plot idea and her writing style was good. But the plot development really did not go over that well with me. This is supposed to be a romance right ?
It is ok that it is forbidden and kind of darker than her previous books but why do I feel like I read a travel report ?
From the beginning on I felt kind of disconnected from the leading characters and I could have worked with that, but a certain point on (not going to say which point) the whole romance became the story of two individuals. They had nothing to do with each other and were working at nothing to get closer to each other. Adding the location changes it felt like a travel report. So nearing the end the sudden outburst of romance felt not believable to me. I actually found myself in a “wait did I miss something” moment.
My rating is still 3.something stars because I truly love this author and I will also recommend this book to other readers because I think this really might be only my very personal issue – but please be aware that this is not a fluffy smooth running romance with the usual setup.
Colorado Veterans #3
by Tiffani Lynn
Publication Date: August 17, 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Military Romance
Javier Suarez left the Marines four years ago after experiencing the ugliest facets of war. He’s been to hell and back but now he feels that his life is complete. He runs his own private investigative firm, spends time with his family and volunteers for local charities. He doesn’t need anything else.
Valerie Larinsky has spent the last 18 years fighting for the lives of her patients as a naval combat surgeon. But now that she’s returned to civilian life she has a new fight on her hands; her husband has left her, taking their only child with him.
Javier’s life is turned upside down when he takes Valerie on as a client. He’s drawn to her in ways he doesn’t want to be. The two do their best to ignore the fire igniting between them as they forge a working friendship. When Javier’s old issues resurface, it’s Valerie’s turn to figure out how to help him before he loses the battle of life.
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
5 Stars from Two Darlin’ Dolls and a Book Review – “This book picks up right where we left off, shocked and on the edge of our seats.”
5 Star review from Amazon Customer Renee Bird – “I’m hooked, I couldn’t stop reading”
5 Star review from Amazon Customer – “J.L. Drake really knows how to keep you in the edge of your seat!”
“Dash and Willow, what a great ride.”
“I don’t know how she does it but Piper has managed to inject the sweet with just enough spice.”
“This book was freaking awesome. Such a twisted storyline with bikers and religion.”
Auctioning off my innocence isn’t the craziest thing I’ve ever done. Well, it was, until the high bidder turned out to be not one, but TWO billionaire brothers.
One’s a smooth devil in a business suit, and the other is a devil-may-care bad boy. Their smirks, their voices, their touches make me feel intense, unfamiliar urges, conjuring up wild fantasies that shouldn’t make me shiver–but they do.
So… in for a penny, in for a pounding, I decide!
Dominic and Jacob Stone will pay off my crippling student loans (and then some), but there’s a catch. They want to catch me, and start a family!
This is a steamy, first time, MFM menage, BBW and billionaire, military single dad, marriage of convenience, not-so secret baby romance novella, with a happy ending and no cheating.
Mister Stone—Dominic—had insisted we meet first in the lobby, as a kind of show of good faith and safety. Meeting in a public place, he’d written, was a good idea for all parties concerned in this potential transaction. With dozens of people floating in and out of the elevators of the thirty-story building, it couldn’t be much more public.
With a sigh, the guard reached for the phone. “Have a seat.” He gestured towards a leather bench.
No, thank you. I needed to stand. I needed to move. My nerves were getting the better of me, my hands cold and a little shaky despite the summer heat. If I stood, my sleeveless red sheath dress wouldn’t wrinkle. When I got up that morning, I had no idea what one wore to an interview as a… what? Mistress? No—that sounded too committed. Hymen vendor? Ugh. In the end, I decided to dress as though going to work, which was kind of true.
My heels clicked on the polished stone floor as I walked over to an abstract metal sculpture on display. It stretched nearly twenty feet in the air, shining in the morning sun bending through the floor-to-ceiling windows.
“What do you think?” a man asked behind me.
It was a beautiful piece. “Kind of delicate.” It looked like it could fall over any minute, like metal pick-up sticks piled up dangerously high.
“There’s over a thousand wire coat hangers there.”
I looked closer. “Huh.” So there was.
“You’re Evie, correct?”
Swallowing hard, I turned to the voice. And looked up.
Dominic Stone stood before me, his tall, dark and handsome figure like a shadow in the sunlit lobby.
He was even hotter in person. Even if his charcoal suit came from a discount store—which it clearly didn’t—his attitude would be enough to command my attention. All those fanciful words, like charismatic, magnetic, and imposing, were all very appropriate when describing Dominic Stone.
My three-inch heels barely took me to his shoulders, and I wobbled a little as his gaze ran over me. Just when I was about to turn my ankle, his hand shot out. The feel of his muscular forearm under my fingers had the exact opposite effect of steadying me.
“Thanks.” My face burned, but I forced myself to look him in the eye. His eyes were rich, dark brown, as heady as strong coffee and gave me a similar jolt. When he tilted his head and his lips curved at the edges, I couldn’t tell if I amused him or he was just being polite.
“You are Evie, right?” His eyebrows came together in a frown.
“Yes!” I squeezed his arm, like subconsciously I thought he’d run away. But instead of shrugging me off, he used his other hand to tug my fingers down his wrist to end in a warm, tingling handshake. Both his hands were around mine, and he didn’t let go. I didn’t mind.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” he said smoothly. “Shall we?”
Shall we what? I blinked at him.
“Go up to my office?” He nodded toward the elevator bank. “Unless you’d feel better staying here? Or we could go get a coffee or something.”
I stared at him, the ridiculousness of this dawning on me. And then my big smart mouth got ahead of my brain. “Coffee? Does my virginity come with an espresso and a muffin?”
His laugh sounded like a sharp bark, echoing off the stone floor. My face probably matched the crimson of my dress by then. With his hands still wrapped around mine, he pulled me closer. I shivered as his warm breath caressed my bare shoulders.
“No, Evie, I’ll pay extra for the coffee. But I like it sweet and milky, not dark and bitter.”
It could have been five minutes or fifty before the car finally stopped. His ravenous kisses had depleted me of oxygen; his caresses stripped me of sense.
I looked out the window at the underground parking lot. Fluorescent lights glinted off luxury cars and allowed for no dark corners.
The car door opening startled me, piercing our hazy bubble of backseat lust.
Jacob Stone leaned his head in, his arm braced against the roof of the limo. “We’re here,” he echoed his brother’s announcement.
My mouth fell open. “Were you there the whole time?”
He smirked at me, his blue eyes blazing. “Define ‘there.’”
“Or ‘the whole time,’” Dom muttered, making my head whip around to look at him. “Out you get, Evie.”
My gaze swiveled from Dominic to Jacob. What did this mean? Both of them? Again? My insides flipped at the idea, but not in a bad way. “Out I get,” I repeated faintly.
I focused on getting out of the car without flashing anyone, before realizing that it was immaterial. The butterflies in my belly fluttered wildly as I walked between them to the elevator bank. As we rose, the weightless sensation in my body was not just due to the speedy ascent. I squeezed my thighs together. The heat of the brothers’ bodies on either side of mine both stifled and comforted me.
We were all silent as the elevator door opened directly into a massive apartment. Dom took my hand and led me into the marble-floored foyer.
“Shoes, Jake!” he reminded his brother. Jake rolled his eyes before toeing off his shoes.
I stepped out of my heels, my feet immediately soothed by the cool, hard floor.
Immediately I felt more delicate, uncertain—as though my shoes had boosted my confidence as well as my height. When I tilted my head back to look up at Dom, his large hand cradled my jaw, brushing my apprehension away with every sweep of his thumb.
Tingles. Sizzles. Vibrations. I felt them all inside me, like a fizzing candy dissolving on my tongue. Then, when Jake’s hand landed on my lower back, I reflexively arched into it.
“We got you,” he assured me as he swept my hair off my neck and dropped a kiss there.
Oh my god. I stumbled forward a little. “I can’t—not for the first time—”
There was crazy, and then there was just outright insane. No matter what secret fantasies I might have, or what smutty stories I might read in secret, I never expected my first time to be with more than one person. In the back of my head, I thought to myself, “If my daughter asks someday about my first time, I can’t tell her I got a two-for-one special!”
Jake clapped his hand over his mouth as he barked out a laugh. Oh crap. I said that part out loud. Dom glared over my head at his brother and took my hand. “You don’t have to.”
My head spun.
“Look at me, Evie.” I did. “It’s just us right now, okay? No expectations.” At my raised eyebrow, he chuckled and added, “Okay, there are some expectations, but I will never hurt you. I promise you that.”
I believed him.
Thirteen steps took us into a cavernous living room, where Jake flopped onto a modern leather couch. With my hand still in Dom’s, another seventeen took us down a hallway to a large bedroom filled with dark wood and creamy fabrics. The massive bed was unmade, and the curtains wide open to let the starlight in.
“I left the bathroom light on,” Dom murmured to himself. The strip of light from his ensuite stretched across the light carpet like an arrow pointing to the bed.
“Do you want to turn it off?” I asked shyly, hoping for a little more darkness to hide my body.
“Not a chance, beautiful.” He squeezed my hip. “If I had my way I’d put on every light in the place so I could see every inch of you.”
A squeak escaped me.
“But I won’t, because I want you to be comfortable.” We both smiled as our eyes met. “Well, as comfortable as this situation allows, anyhow.”
“Then keep touching me, Dom. Please touch me.” His hands made me nervous but his gaze excited me, his admiration swelling my confidence.
“Oh baby, this is just the beginning.”
“Come back to me,” I finally plead.
She looks into my eyes and there’s so much pain I can’t stand it. “I don’t know how.” Her voice is strained as she tries to hold back the tears.
“Let me help you.” I cup her face and she leans into it.
“I just want to stop feeling this way and I can’t.” A tear falls down her cheek.
She pauses and says, “Empty.”
Cover Design: SK Designs
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S. Van Horne was born and raised in the small town of Belton, Missouri, which is a part of the Kansas City metropolitan area. She’s from a very large family and is the oldest of six. Growing up, she didn’t have the easiest life. She learned quickly that family means everything, even if it’s the type that you get to pick for yourself.
She met the love of her life at the early age of twenty and was married just after nine months of meeting him. Shortly after marriage, her husband rejoined the U.S. Navy and they moved from Kansas City and started their journey together. Currently they have two amazing children, a boy and a girl, and are still enjoying the Navy life.
She spends her days being a wife, mom, reading books, writing her latest novel, watching her beloved Kansas City Chiefs or Kansas City Royals, watching movies, hanging out with family and friends and having girls’ day at least once a month.
Riann C. Miller lives in southeast Kansas and writes steamy contemporary romance stories. When she’s not reading or writing, she spends time with her friends and family or you might catch her watching a baseball game with a beer in her hand.
Winter Travers is a devoted wife, mother, and aunt turned author who was born and raised in Wisconsin. After a brief stint in South Carolina following her heart to chase the man who is now her hubby, they retreated back up North to the changing seasons, and to the place they now call home.
Winter spends her days writing happily ever afters, and her nights zipping around on her forklift at work. She also has an addiction to anything MC related, her dog Thunder, and Mexican food! (Tamales!)
Surviving on caffeine most days, Tracie Douglas lives in Southern California with her husband, two children, two dogs and one really fat cat. She spends her days chasing children and fur babies, all while maintaining the illusion of sanity.
Her nights are spent toiling away at the keyboard, creating a world filled with hot men and strong women. She loves to read and write all types of book but tends to lean on the darker side of the spectrum. She’s pretty handy with a crochet hook too.
Tracie loves to hear from her readers!
Gwyn McNamee is an attorney, writer, wife, and mother (to one human baby and two fur babies). Originally from the Midwest, Gwyn relocated to her husband’s home town of Las Vegas in 2015 and is enjoying her respite from the cold and snow. Gwyn has been writing down her crazy stories and ideas for years and finally decided to share them with the world. She loves to write stories with a bit of suspense and action mingled with romance and heat.
When she isn’t either writing or voraciously devouring any books she can get her hands on, Gwyn is busy adding to her tattoo collection, golfing, and stirring up trouble with her perfect mix of sweetness and sarcasm (usually while wearing heels). An admitted shoe whore, Gwyn’s closet rivals Carrie Bradshaw’s and is constantly expanding.
Gwyn loves to hear from her readers!
Trinity Rose (AKA Jamie Cercone) was born and raised in southwestern New York. Never in her wildest dreams did she see herself become an writer, but with one sentence you read that shit some much you should just write it!” from her hubby the rest is history. Now this devoted wife, mother of two awesome kids and RN writes about alphas, strong willed women and badassery. When she’s not writing, playing mom, performing her wifey duties or saving lives you can find her surviving on Nutella, Halloween, purses and reading.
Go and stalk Trinity Rose at the follow social media and drop her a line:
I’ve always been an avid reader and writer, so when my best friends (three males who drive me closer to insanity daily) dared me to publish, in fact triple dared with no returnseys, I couldn’t say no – the forfeits are always painful. Deciding to shelve all of the work I’d ever done and to start with a new project was my best idea though, at least I think so. After being on the brink of insanity many times, I’m delighted to confirm that I came out of it with my dignity still intact…just!
I’m the daughter of diplomats who has lived all over the world and you’d be hard placed to figure out where my accent was from – it’s a Heinz 57 variety accent. My poor child has also picked up my accent and vocabulary, which is predominantly American I guess. We should really be classed as having United Nations accents.
My projects so far are a contemporary romance series called the Providence Series, an MC series which I love called Luther’s Vengeance and also a paranormal series. In Luther’s Vengeance, I’ll be using my background to make it as ‘real life’ as possible, never let it be said my childhood was boring.
For now though, it’s going to mainly be about the romance…lots of romance!!
A proud Texan, ML Rodriguez resides in Bavaria, Germany with her husband, two children, and their dog–Bolt. When she’s not writing, she loves to drive her husband crazy, laugh at the hilarious things her children come up with, or enjoys curling up on her couch with her Kindle.
Sarah O’Rourke is actually TWO besties who live three states apart and write at all hours of the day and night! Born and raised in the Southern United States, they are overly attached to their one-click accounts, can’t make it through the day without copious doses of caffeine, and spend way too much time on the phone with each other.
Between them, they have four children and eighteen years of marriage…one to a super soldier and the other to egomaniac engineer. They hate empty chocolate wrappers and writer’s block, love to talk to readers…and oh, by the way, they write about strong, kick-ass women and hot alpha heroes!
The possibilities of death and dismemberment have never stopped him before.
Inside Scoop: This book has a small taste of female/female fun—as well as scenes of abuse that are decidedly not fun.