Brynley Bush just released a Novella for her “A Hard Men of the Rockies” series.
Leather and Lace
Brynley Bush just released a Novella for her “A Hard Men of the Rockies” series.
Leather and Lace
MANEUVER BY CHELLE BLISS
A NEW STANDALONE SECOND CHANCE ROMANCE
AUTHOR: Chelle Bliss
RELEASE DATE: October 2016
BOOK INFO: Standalone Second Chance Romance
COVER PHOTO ©: Harry Leonard Imagery
COVER MODEL: Joe Pretty
He promised they’d always be together. She promised she’d come back. He said he’d wait. They thought they’d last forever. …But some promises are impossible to keep.
Smith: I’ve loved Maddy Reed since I was thirteen. She was my first love, first kiss, and first heartbreak when her family moved just before junior year. Six years later, Maddy expects me to let her go again, but I’ll do anything to keep her. Love is a wicked game, and I never play by the rules. Maddy: I’ve never stopped loving Smith Ricci, but some things aren’t meant to be. We’re not kids anymore, and too much has happened. He can’t discover the secret I’ve kept since the day I moved away. I said goodbye once, how hard can it be to do again?
Maneuver will ONLY be available for preorder on iBooks and will release LIVE everywhere else.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chelle Bliss, USA Today Bestselling author, currently lives in a small town near the Gulf of Mexico. She’s a full-time writer, time-waster extraordinaire, social media addict, and coffee fiend. Currently she’s written a dozen books in three different series. She loves spending her free time with her boyfriend, 2 cats, and hamster.
CHECK OUT CHELLE’S BOOKS
STALK CHELLE HERE
The relentless wind cooled his skin as he mustered the courage to jump. It was a long way to fall, and he’d been poised on the edge for nearly an hour. It wasn’t fear that kept him rooted to the spot, but the effort of reaching through time to see what consequences his action might bring. To think of leaving was akin to dropping a boulder in the pool of his own history; there was no way to foresee what the ripples might cause. Or the waves, since this would make waves, not ripples. It was all an undiscovered thing.
No one had done what he meant to do; at least not in the memory of his House.
Under the points of his boots, featureless mist curled away to reveal an enticing glimpse of color and life so unlike his own home. Gray, he thought. I am so very tired of all the gray in these clouds. The longer he looked at the myriad of colors below, the more acute his hunger to see what mysteries rolled beneath him, unknown and vibrant. The land looked like a fairy tale made real, its hills and rivers gleaming like a promise in the early morning light. The sheer distance and appeal of it all clutched at his chest like a physical thing, making him cover his heart. His body fizzed with excitement and fear, and he liked it.
“You won’t go, you know.” His brother’s voice was bored to the point of insolence, a tone he’d perfected from years of practice. Like others who kept their face an impassable mask, he’d lost much of the joy in his life, if ever he knew it. Brother Garrick appeared from the sullen gray mist that hid the secret columns and towers of their home. Walking toward Keiron, a smile quirked at the cruel lips, so unlike his own. “We’ve already been to the edge of the scrying pool. You won’t go. It is known to us.” A look flickered across the impassive face, something ugly and hot. His control was slipping. That was new, as was his belief that he was equal to their parents. Or older siblings, at that.
“Yes. I will.” Keiron’s voice sounded small in the silence. Even the wind died out of respect for what he was about to say, and if his resolve held, what he would then do.
A sad shake of the perfect head said that was a lie. Garrick was beautiful to the point of distraction. His pupils were nearly colorless in a face framed with fine blonde hair that called sunlight to mind, so different from his brother. Garrick was light, while Keiron was dark, with skin golden from the sun and eyes the black of a starless night. A long, aquiline nose gave him a regal quality that Garrick, for all his perfection, could not possess. His hair was curled and ebony to the point of being liquid, a black mass that he pushed back with irritation at Garrick’s verbal assault. Keiron was lean and tall, and in the stages of bloom where men first leave boyhood behind when they are no longer concerned with a young man’s things.
Garrick spoke again, substituting arrogance for wisdom. “No. There is no escaping that which has passed. Even if you were to—”
A swift cut of Keiron’s hand broke the thought. His brother looked shocked, then amused, and then angry.
He didn’t like being spoken to that way. “I can, and I will. I know how to shift the light of days, and I know when to do it, too.”
“Really? A secret of that size, and you, a minor son, have figured it out? Do tell, fledgling.” He loved using Keiron’s youth as an insult, even though he was barely a year older.
“If you paid attention to anything other than yourself, you’d know that there is logic behind the Moondivers. There have been others, you know.” A hint of smugness colored Keiron’s defense, but his brother had it coming.
The reaction was volcanic.
Real anger spat forth from Garrick now, contorting his features into something crude and ugly. It was, Keiron thought, the first honest thing he’d seen of his brother in all these years. It was the face of fear and rage, and he knew why. This entire outburst was about power, or the lack of it. To control time was the province of elders, not some child who thought that he could move the forces of worlds to right a wrong. It was arrogance of a kind unlike anything he’d ever embraced, and his brother’s hate for him grew by the second because he knew that for all his perfection, the younger of them was more pure. The elder boy was ambition personified, but without courage and purity he would never control the clocks. For that matter, Garrick would not even control himself, a fact that dawned on him as he sputtered with rage.
Keiron squared his feet and repeated his intentions like a prayer. “The days will bend for me. I can feel it, and your anger will not change the truth.” His words rang with a kind of surety that made his legs shake, if only briefly.
It was something Garrick would say, and for that he was frightened and proud, since unlike his brother, Kieron meant every word of it and aimed to see it through.
In two long strides, his brother came close enough that he could smell the wind herbs on his breath. They were sour with hate, just like the expression contorting his face. “She’s already dead.”
Keiron went rigid, but fought mightily to gain control of the anger that bloomed in his chest. Heat spread like sunlight, and he took three long breaths to contain his next words. “She is now, but she won’t be when I get there. I told you. I can do it.”
“You think falling through time and distance can save her? Landing in that mud-spattered wallow that they crawl about in like feral swine? You don’t even know why they were driven from the land, let alone if death awaits you. What about you? Who can save you?” His brother barked with laughter, a short noise of jealousy and fear. “What if she doesn’t want to be saved? You’re a child. A favored pet who is loved because of his youth. You’re nothing but an amusement to this family.”
The wind blew harder as spots filled Keiron’s vision. He could not lose control, not now. He worked his jaw to let the words out. The sounds followed each other, chastened by the force of his will. “I have watched. I have learned. And I tell you, I am going, and she is worth saving.”
Garrick shrugged as the boredom returned to his face, now a mask of beautiful disinterest. “You actually care about them, don’t you? Those things down there? Those glorified cattle? Do you think they’re even capable of understanding us? We are not the benign, soft creatures that have been reshaped by their pitiful legends. We were born for war, not love. We are made to hurt, not heal.” He shook his head with a mocking grin. “You’ve always been weak, but this is beyond anything the family expected. It’s practically—”
“It’s decent, that’s the word you’re looking for.” Keiron’s voice was like iron, despite a small quiver at the end of his words. His jaw set again, and for an instant Garrick saw their grandfather’s stern profile there, lurking like a boulder under the surface of a still pool.
“You’re not even worth saving, let alone one of them.” Garrick’s eyes flicked down to the vista that unspooled under their feet, or perhaps it was above. It was difficult to tell with the curving horizon and shifting light. Part of what he saw was green, unlike their home. There were blue rivers, brown and green fields, and stony places worn by wind and weather. It was alien, but enticing. He let a woven cord of animal hide fall into his hand. On either end, a heavy molar prized from the jaw of a Windbeast acted as a weight. The teeth were well worn, and tied in with strands of fine leather. It had been a mature beast, killed to make things that the people of the wind needed. Like teeth. And rope.
“Then I belong with them, don’t I?” Keiron’s question was rhetorical.
Again, Garrick shrugged, this time with one shoulder. His lips peeled back to reveal perfect teeth, but there was no kindness in the gesture. “Fine, but you’ll need to know something first.” The cord spun outward from Garrick’s hand in a blur, spinning around Keiron’s wings with brutal efficiency. The weight of the heavy teeth spun the strand tight to bind him, flightless, as Garrick drew his sword and cut downward in a wicked blow that sent Keiron’s wings spinning away into the clouds below.
Paralyzed by pain and betrayal, Keiron stood swaying as Garrick stepped calmly forward, placing both hands on his brother and pushing him into a chaotic tumble from the ledge of House Windhook. Spatters of blood swept up and away in the swirling winds, the last sign of a boy who had been bound, and cut, and sent into the sky in less time than he had to register the sensation of being flightless and wounded.
Keiron’s stomach raged upward as glare and shadow coursed around him in a never-ending circle of dizzying light, and he began the long, cold fall through layers of sky and time that tore the scream from his throat even as it began.
From above, he heard Garrick’s last words, mocking and fat with poisonous joy. “Let us see if you can truly fly.”
Left-handed. Father of an apparent nudist. Husband to a half-Norwegian. Herder of cats and dogs. Lover of pie. I write books. I’ve had an unhealthy fascination with dragons since the age of– well, for a while. Native Floridian. Current Tennessean. Location subject to change based on insurrection, upheaval, or availability of coffee. Nine books and counting, with no end in sight. You’ve been warned.
He was the one thing I let myself submit too, his touch, the way he slid his knuckles across my flesh, igniting a dangerous spark inside of me.
When Kimberly isn’t writing she is playing superhero for her children.
Claire must marry a rich man or her access to the trust will be denied.
Her childhood crush, Benjamin Lewis, is a twenty-eight-year-old billionaire business mogul and New York City’s most eligible bachelor. When Ben agrees to marry Claire, her financial problems are solved.
But will the price Claire must pay in return be too much for her heart to bear?
Mom breathed a sigh of relief, and I seemed to feel it more than see or hear it.
“Insurance won’t cover it, but I told Dr. Abrams that it wouldn’t be a problem.” I looked back over my shoulder at Mom, confused by the fearful look on her face. Her cropped black hair looked frazzled and worn, while her blue eyes, Amy’s eyes, shifted with terror and panic. “What? What is it?”
“Claire,” she cried, grabbing ahold of my wrist until I sat down in the chair beside her. “We can’t afford that. We don’t have the money.” The tears started up again, and I wanted to slap her for lying to me.
“What are you talking about?” I jerked at her shirtsleeve. “What do you mean we don’t have the money? Daddy left you a fortune!”
“Your father only left me with enough to live on until you girls came of age. That and the house.”
“Came of age?” I crossed my arms over my chest, while she dabbed her eyes with his handkerchief.
“The rest of your father’s wealth is in a trust fund that he set up especially for you girls. He wanted to take care of the two of you, maybe because he knew that I couldn’t.”
Wouldn’t was more like it.
“And why wasn’t I told about this? This mysterious trust fund?”
“Because you can’t access it until you turn twenty-one,” she clarified.
“My birthday’s next week,” I noted, stating aloud what we both already knew.
It was my twenty-first birthday to be exact.
“I know.” Her tears dried immediately, as she reached into her handbag to grab her phone. “I’ll call your father’s attorney. He drew up the contract. I think there were some other stipulations.”
“What do you mean?” My frustration resurfaced, while I watched her dial numbers on the LED touch screen. “What kind of stipulations?”
“In order to access all of the money in the trust…”
“Yeah,” I answered, nudging her on. “I have to be twenty-one. What else?”
“I think you have to be married, too.”
Married? How could that even be legal?
I sat down on the floor and held my head in my hands. Everything had happened too soon, making my world spin out of control. I penned a mental list in my head that summed up the main points of the day.
Amy was sick. And her condition, if not treated, was most likely fatal.
Insurance would not cover the experimental treatments, and Mom didn’t have the money to pay.
Instead, my late father’s wealth had been stowed away in a trust, which I would soon have access to.
As long as I married. As long as I had a husband. And all the while, Amy’s heart could be failing.
Money was the only way to save my sister, and at present, marriage was the only way to get the money.
I needed a husband by next week.
And I didn’t even have a boyfriend.
LINDSAY MARIE MILLER was born and raised in Tallahassee, FL, where she graduated from high school as Valedictorian. Afterwards, Lindsay attended Florida State University and graduated Summa Cum Laude with an English Literature major, Psychology minor, and Specialized Studies in Markets and Institutions.
Lindsay is the author of Mr. Jones & Me, S.I.N.G.L.E., Jungle Eyes, Me & Mr. Jones, and Emerald Green. An incurable romantic at heart, she enjoys writing about strong heroines and the honorable gentleman who claim their hearts, often utilizing elements of suspense, adventure, or even comedy. While the context of her writing is diverse, one factor always remains at the center of every novel: Love.
In her free time, Lindsay enjoys singing, playing the piano and guitar, and writing songs. The author resides in her hometown of Tallahassee, FL, where she is currently working on her next novel.
The favor seemed simple: Keep my new stepsister out of trouble for one summer.
I’ve never met Grace Lee, but Mom tells me she’s a quiet and artsy college student with a troubled past. When I agreed to let her stay with me, I thought it was no big deal. I expected to share my apartment with a sullen girl who’d spend hours locked in her room.
I didn’t expect a walking fantasy determined to make me lose my cool.
I didn’t expect a woman with secrets so dark, so deep, I’d throw away everything if it would save her from the past.
Rushing in to do this favor is turning my life upside down—and not just because Grace needs her ass spanked. Keep her out of trouble? Grace is the trouble. And I want in.
Rushing In Excerpt © 2016 by Lexi RyanChris arches a brow and skims his gaze over my body—correction, my dress and Chucks. “You’re gonna go hiking in that?”
I shrug. “It’s not like it’s full-length and gonna get tangled around my legs or anything.”
His gaze drifts down my body again, this time landing on the thigh visible beneath the hem of my dress. “It’s certainly not,” he mumbles, and the way he says it has my cheeks burning and me reaching for my water.
So damn thirsty.
We finish packing up our lunch together, and after we put the cooler back in the car, I grab the park pamphlet out of the front seat. “Come on,” I say, nodding in the direction of the outlook. “It’s my turn to be in charge.”
The park is beautiful, but as soon as we enter the woods and I see the overlook, my breath catches. From here, we have a view of the ravine below and the creek rushing through the bottom. Mossy rock faces make up the ravine walls, and trees protrude from them. It’s possibly the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.
I head past the overlook and take the stairs down into the ravine. It’s shady back here and feels ten degrees cooler than our picnic table in the sun.
At the bottom of the stairs, the trail splits in three directions, and when I follow the sign with the three, Chris puts his hand on my arm. “Hey, this one has ladders.”
I arch a brow and drop my gaze to my shoes. “I can handle it.”
Something passes over his face I don’t understand, and then he sighs and nods. “Okay, but I’m climbing the ladders behind you. If any creep is going to be looking up your dress today, it’s gonna be me.”
My cheeks heat, and my brain instantly diagrams his words and starts analyzing the nuance of each. Just comedy or more? Stupid brain. “Fair enough.”
He mutters something that sounds like “Dreams really do come true,” but I can’t be sure.
The trail leads down into the ravine and along the creek bed. It’s so much cooler down here, and I love the sound of the creek rock crunching under my feet as we walk along.
By the time we come upon the first ladder, there’s no one else around.
“Ladies first,” he says, gesturing toward the ladder.
“Pervert,” I mutter, but I move forward and begin my climb. The rungs are coated in mud, and when I’m halfway up, one foot slips and suddenly Chris’s hands are there, holding me steady, his hands strong and warm against the backs of my legs.
My breath catches, and I force myself to breathe and find my footing. The feel of his hands against my skin causes something to swirl hot and tight low in my belly.
“Are you okay?” he asks, his voice as thick as the forest beyond the trail.
I’m not okay. I’m afraid to move. Afraid not to move. Trapped by a fear that has nothing to do with a slippery ladder and everything to do with falling.
Then, slowly, his thumbs begin to slide over my skin. His hands inch up my thighs until his fingertips skim the bottom edge of my underwear and slip under to trace the bottom curve of my ass.
I cannot breathe.
I force myself to turn my head and look down at him. His jaw is set tight, a picture of self-control, but when his eyes meet mine, his face relaxes and he shoots me a boyish grin. I attempt my best poker face. “Are you copping a feel, Christopher Montgomery?”
His grin goes wide, putting his dimples on full display. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he says, his Southern accent drawing out his words. “I’m just trying to perform a necessary rescue mission.”
“Do I look like I need rescuing?” I ask. Under the lace edge of my panties, his thumb strokes again, a long, slow motion that makes me want to close my eyes and moan. I resist and hold his gaze.
“Who said you’re the one I’m rescuing? Maybe I’m trying to save myself.” He drops his hands and grabs a hold of the sides of the ladder, then he climbs up behind me so his body is pressed against mine, my back to his front. His mouth hovers above my ear, his breath hot and uneven. “Because I swear if I have to go much longer without touching you, I’m going to implode.”
His lips skim my earlobe, and my eyes float closed. My brain has no room for sight when it’s overloaded with sensations. His lips on my ear. His hard chest against my back. His breath against my neck. “I need to know, Grace.”
I open my eyes and swallow hard. I don’t want to talk. Not right now. I’m too afraid I’ll ruin this moment with my choppy stutter. “What?”
“I need to know . . .” He leans his forehead against my shoulder, and I watch his knuckles turn white as he tightens his grip on the side of the ladder.
On the ground beneath us, someone clears his throat. “You two heading up or down?”
Chris mutters a curse and takes a step down so I have the freedom to move. I scramble up the ladder with him behind me. When we reach the top, I can’t look at him.
“Sorry about that,” he calls to the people below, then he grabs my wrist and pulls me off to the right toward a rocky alcove just off the trail. A wooden sign tells me this is “The Devil’s Ice Box,” and beyond the sign, a thin waterfall drizzles into a pool of crystal-clear water. Chris leads the way, following the rocky edge around to the backside of this semi-secluded space and stopping by the waterfall. I pass him, feigning interest in the rocks and water so I don’t have to meet his eyes. There’s a cavern behind the waterfall, a haven from the falling water.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of emotional romance that sizzles, Lexi enjoys reading, sunshine, a good glass of wine, and rare trips to the beach.
Lexi lives in Indiana with her husband, two children, and neurotic dog. You can find her at her website: lexiryan.com
Tantric yoga practitioner Dash Alexander is Lotus House Yoga’s most sought after sensual teacher. Women flock to him for his unique teaching style, calm nature, and wicked hot body. When he hears of Amber’s plight, he offers to help. The condition? Amber must assist in his couples’ Tantra yoga class as his partner. The sizzling attraction between the two of them is beyond anything Dash has ever experienced…spiritually or otherwise.
Through his teachings, Dash makes love to Amber’s mind and merges with her soul. Physically there’s only one problem, a secret that’s sacred. Amber St. James is a virgin…by choice.
Audrey Carlan is a #1 New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. She writes wicked hot love stories that are designed to give the reader a romantic experience that’s sexy, sweet, and so hot your e-reader might melt. Some of her works include the wildly successful Calendar Girl Serial, Falling Series, and the Trinity Trilogy.
She lives in the California Valley where she enjoys her two children and the love of her life. When she’s not writing, you can find her teaching yoga, sipping wine with her “soul sisters” or with her nose stuck in a wicked hot romance novel.
Least of all, us.
Waking up in Vegas married to the guy of your dreams sounds like a good thing, right? Not when you’re Thea Montgomery and said guy is your brother’s best friend.
Thea and Xander have always avoided the connection between them because her brother would never approve. Now, they’re married— the strongest bond you can have as a couple—and they’re not even a real couple…unless they want to be.
Thea wants an annulment immediately, but Xander’s waited too long to see her become his and he won’t let her go easily.
If she wants a divorce, fine, but he wants the summer to convince her that he’s the one. If at the end of the summer she still wants to end their marriage he’ll sign the papers, but until then…
All is not fair in love and war.
Holy mother of all hangovers.
I’d succumbed to the lure of Vegas and gotten completely wasted. Granted, that’s what everyone did in Las Vegas but I like to think I usually have more sense than the social norm.
I rub my eyes and blink them open. The hotel room comes into formation around me. The walls are a warm golden color and the flat screen on the wall plays some home improvement show. I can see the bathroom from the bed, the tiled walls and large soaking tub.
I roll over onto my side, hoping I can sleep off the hangover, and reel back.
“Oh my God,” I cry, flailing in bed.
My legs kick the sleeping guy beside me.
Not just any sleeping guy.
Xander Kincaid, my brother’s best friend, lays in the bed beside me.
His dark hair tumbles over his forehead and his cheeks are covered with several days worth of scruff. His chest is bare and…holy shit. He’s naked.
I look down.
Oh God, I’m naked too.
“What’s wrong?” He asks, reaching his left hand out to pull me closer to him. That’s when I see it.
“Is that a wedding band?” I scream shrilly.
His eyes narrow. “You don’t fucking remember?”
I shake my head and look at my own hand. A thin silver band rests on my finger. “What did we do?”
He sits up in bed and I try to ignore how adorably rumpled he looks with his hair sticking up.
Everything begins flooding back to me in quick bursts.
Confessions of love and desire.
A wedding chapel.
“We’re married,” I whisper. “Holy shit.” It’s all I’ve ever wanted—to be with Xander, but not like this. Never like this. “My brother is going to kill us.”
I remember the most about that day was that it was completely ordinary.
Then with one stupid decision everything fell apart and nothing was
ever the same.
Micalea Smeltzer is a bestselling twenty-something author. She started scribbling stories before she even knew her alphabet. She currently resides in Virginia with her doggie side-kick Ollie.
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