Saturday, March 7, 2015

Saturday's Series Spotlight: Men of Smithfield by LB Gregg

Mark and Tony #1
Coming home from work to find my boyfriend banging our hairy, married landlord -- in our bed -- was bad enough. Discovering Jamie had also cleaned out my bank accounts made it officially the worst day of my life. I think I can be forgiven for wanting revenge, even if a few little laws (and possibly Jamie's nose) got bent in the process.

Fortunately, the law is on my side in the form of my oldest friend, Tony Gervase. I've tried to deny my attraction to the sexy trooper for years. After all, he made it clear long ago that he wasn't interested in me that way. But if the hot encounter in his kitchen is any indication, he is now. At least the day is ending a whole lot better than it began...

But the morning after, the Jamie situation goes from bad to seriously messed up. The jerk's in more trouble than I could have imagined. And as it turns out, I don't know Tony as well as I thought I did either...

Max and Finn #2
When I walked out of his office after the hottest sex of my life, I thought I’d left Max Douglas behind me forever— along with my favorite argyle socks and my self-respect. The last thing I need is the too-serious, too-sexy former Marine living across the hall from me while he acts as a bodyguard for one of my students. Especially since he fired me from my job tutoring his brother—after we hooked up.

I shouldn’t want him. I should despise him after the way he treated me. But he’s exactly my type: older, experienced, in control—and it’s obvious the lust is still mutual. While I may not be able to keep our relationship strictly professional, I’m determined to keep it purely physical. But when the stalker threats escalate, it looks like Max is going to be sticking around the school for a while—and the more I get to know him, the more I’m in danger of losing my heart.

Seth and David #3
He's everything I've never wanted -- too young, too weird, too wild.

I wasn't impressed that I had to get my weekly massage from a guy with a toe ring. But when I discovered David Cooke's skills as a masseur were literally orgasmic, I couldn't stop thinking about him and his amazing hands, day and night. Especially at night.

He's full of surprises. And despite my bad behavior, David's just as eager to explore this chemistry between us. Turns out, there's a lot more to him than hemp pants and tattoos. If he's so wrong for me, why does being with him feel so right?

Adam and Holden #4
They were star-crossed lovers from the start.

Former television sensation and renowned world explorer, Holden Worthington, is held prisoner by crippling agoraphobia. When a sexy young laborer arrives to set his property to rights, a ray of light begins to glimmer in Holden's dark and narrow world. A grisly discovery throws the two men together, and Holden finds his world turned inside out-- by his inappropriate longing for his awkward, young employee, Adam Morgan, and by a threat growing around them both. All of Smithfield believes Holden has something to hide, and Adam is determined to bring everything--including Holden Worthington--into the open.

Sam and Aaron #5
A never-before-published Men of Smithfield book

With our family's legacy, Meyers B&B, in the flailing hands of me, Sam Meyers, and my sister Wynne, we're determined to revive the place. We've started a series of blind-date cooking classes, and taken on our first boarder. Granddad is even now rolling in his grave.

Signed up for the class is our new guest, Aaron Saunders, a Californian transplant who's distractingly handsome and clearly up to no good. I can't quite figure him out. He blew into town and has been relentless in his search for…something.

The sexy sneak is intriguing. And we've had a steamy moment. Or two. But now I can't stop wondering why he's searching in secret. From the library, to the historical society, to my own backyard, Aaron leaves no stone unturned or record book unopened. He's definitely gotten my attention. But that might not be the only thing he's after.

Mark and Tony #1
I stormed into St. Joe's at the height of the Noon Ash Wednesday Mass. Still dressed in my scrubs, I blew through those massive chapel doors like a gust of bitter February wind. I'd just seen Jamie's pretentious car parked in front of the church, and I figured he'd come to this penitential mass hoping for absolution. He sat in the third row, head bowed, his gloriously tousled mass of golden hair gleamed like a beacon of innocence next to the shining helmeted updo of his repressed, miraculously blonde mother.

I bypassed the ushers, ignoring the hello from Mrs. Banks, my seventh grade math teacher and the folded program she tried to place in my hand. Failing to genuflect or splash myself with holy water--it would have sizzled on contact--I marched straight down the center aisle. My red rubber Crocs squeaked my progress through the hushed, echoing chamber of the sanctuary. Heads turned as I passed, no doubt wondering who dared to clop down the tasteful Moravian tile in the midst of this somber service. It was officially the kickoff to Lent, and the house was packed with the well-dressed, good citizens of Smithfield.

Faces I'd known my entire life surrounded me, but I blocked them out. I'm sure that even Christ's eye was on me. The priest, Father David, droned the glum litany and looked my way for half a second, before dismissing me, as if he was the voice of reason and I, little Markie Meehan, needed to sit my ass down and get with the program.

Not happening.

I found a place in the pew behind Jamie and slid in. Glaring at the back of his head, I struggled with an overwhelming violence. Never in my life had I felt that kind of rage. I wanted to destroy him, not engage in some hissed conversation and exchange of keys. Fuck that. I was beyond civility. And Jamie DuPree wasn't stepping one Gucci-clad toe in to my apartment. Ever again. The prick.

As I clenched the book rack, my fingers brushed against the Bible proudly displayed there. Eyeing the curls that hugged Jamie's rough jaw, I slid the Good Book from its safe haven. The cracked leather felt worn, but the bulk was reassuring. Encouraging, even. So fueled by a boiling rage, I hauled back and gobsmacked that bastard as hard as I could in front of God and everyone.

The Bible hit the back of Jamie's head with a resounding thwack! and Jamie pitched forward. His beautiful face collided with the pew in front of us with a sick smack. He hit the wooden lip hard, the sound like a puck getting whacked by the high-priced stick he valued far too much, and he dissolved onto the tile.

My follow-through sent me into an awkward nosedive over the back of the pew and onto the maroon cushion. Legs kicking, ass high, my face came perilously close to landing in Mrs. Dupree's lap. I clambered to my feet, spewing outrage and fury and maybe a little filth.

"In our bed, you fucking bastard!" The words rang through the congregation as the entire community froze.

At least I assumed they were frozen. I wasn't paying attention to anyone except Jamie and his stiff mother. I had nearly landed on top of her when the cushion shifted under her skinny ass and she rose to her perfectly clad feet and clutched her pearls. Her sour-lemon lips pursed, and she stared me down with--and perhaps I imagined this--the glowing eyes of demonic satisfaction. "How dare you?"

Max and Finn #2
"Stop by my office before you leave."

I glanced up from the table I shared with a gum-snapping sixteen-year-old Kyle Douglas who, to date, was one of the most underperforming students I'd ever known, and met Max Douglas's sober gaze. "Sure, Max."

Kyle took the half-second my attention was focused on his older brother to check his phone. "Put it away."

"Yes, Mr. Finn." He sighed.

I nodded to Max. "We'll be done here in a minute. Kyle is just finishing his essay."

No response. Max had dismissed me at my nod, expecting nothing less than full compliance. I watched the back of his head as he moved purposefully through the office on to his next vitally important task. No one in the office spoke to him as he passed.

Kyle shot a wad of paper at his brother and Max, in true soldier style, didn't so much as flinch as it bounced off his shoulder. Max entered his office and clicked the door shut.

"Two points, right?" Kyle popped his gum against the back of his teeth.

I'd give him five points for acting like a thoughtless douche and then detention. "He pays for your tutoring, and you disrespect him. He's been decent to you all summer. He's given you a job. Way to say 'thank you.'" He shrugged and I knew enough about teenagers to change the subject. Besides, Kyle's essay had improved. He'd shown some progress under my tutelage. His relationship with his brother had nothing to do with me. Still, I couldn't help but add, "I can't believe he lets you get away with that."

"Nah, he doesn't. He'll make me clean the entire office tomorrow morning when we come in. Like with a toothbrush or some shi--thing. And that's after we run five miles and hit the gym."

"That sounds character building, at least."

"He wishes. So Mr. Finn, can we peace it? I'm done for today, right? I can pack my stuff and head out."

"Nice try. You have five minutes. Get busy."

Kyle clicked his pen and frowned at his essay. I couldn't blame him--he had his work cut out for him. I wondered again how he and Max could possibly be related, although the twenty-three year difference made Max more like an uncle than a half brother.

Max Douglas. Quiet, commanding, older, experienced, employed, gay--the man entered a room and my entire body perked up and took notice. And as the summer days turned into weeks, my casual interest in Max had become downright excruciating. I had a crush. An honest-to-God, sweaty-palm, man-on-man crush. I knew Max returned my interest at least a little, because when his hot gaze locked on mine, he held on until, flustered and red to my hairline, I was the first to look away.

He hadn't looked at me that way today, because of Kyle, but there were times when Max zeroed in on me with such unfaltering precision, I didn't know whether to run and hide or chase him down.

Years ago, back when I had no pride at all, I might have walked into his office and stripped--like, the ultimate icebreaker. No inhibitions, just unfettered sex free for the taking. No strings. No bullshit.

Of course, I wasn't eighteen anymore.

"Mr. Finn?" Kyle slid his essay across the table to me.

I blinked back to the present. "All set? Great." I used my most encouraging tone. "Next week we focus on math. Do your homework. You need to bring that score up by eighty points. You need to clear five hundred."

"Oh man, I'm going to have to say a novena."

"Nonsense. You'll just work harder."

Seth and David #3
I slid naked between the nubby flannel sheets, amazed anyone would bother to heat a table in the middle of summer. I appreciated the air conditioning, although I didn't appreciate the new age music piped through the ceiling. Or the cloying fragrance of lavender that permeated the entire spa. The soapy smell made the inside of my nose tickle and I sneezed loudly into the empty room.

I'd been in here so many times I could see the room with my eyes closed. The entire place was done up in somber gold and unthreatening sage green. Swaths of amber silk hung from slender rods and pooled in designer heaps on the floor. And like the glass of water they'd given me, with its fancy slice of cucumber floating on the top, the spa had no flavor yet I was supposed to be impressed. Quinn would have loved the place. He'd have enjoyed the hushed footsteps of the massage therapists and estheticians as they wafted down the carpeted hallways, careful not to disturb their next paying customer.

I waited for Linda and stifled another sneeze. 2:00 p.m. every Friday. Two o'clock. P.M. Standard. Weekly. No exceptions. How difficult could it be for a therapist to arrive on time?

My watch read 2:04.

Linda should already be here working on my shoulders and neck. For the last eight months she'd tried to ease the strain of my job and all the other disasters this year had wrought. Nikki's death. Quinn taking off for the Keys and making me buy out his half of the house.


I flipped onto my stomach, shifted around to find a comfortable spot, adjusted myself and then shut my eyes. My forehead rested on a scrap of cotton toweling. It, too, reeked of lavender. Why did everything in the goddamn room have to stink of flowers? I breathed through my mouth. I always meant to complain about the smell, but by the time Linda finished working the kinks out of my back, lavender didn't seem so important. It shouldn't seem important now.

But it was 2:07 and still no sign of Linda.

And who chose the music? Birds warbled along with Celtic fiddles, bagpipes and penny whistles. A little Dave Matthews would have been appreciated.

Tired, tense, and whining to myself, even I didn't much care for me right now. I rolled my shoulders again. Maybe that relaxation technique Linda always blathered about would help me. I began a slow tensing and releasing of each muscle group in my body in an effort to find my inner tranquility. Tranquility wasn't likely, but her technique would help pass the time.


I started with my toes. Squeeze. Release. Breathe. Try not to choke on lavender. Squeeze, release, breathe-- I worked up my legs. Squeeze. Release. Breathe. I tightened my thighs and clenched my ass hard.

The door to the massage room opened with a soft click. I relaxed, letting my ass deflate under Linda's scrutiny. No matter. I wasn't here to impress her. I was here to pay her for services rendered.

"Mr. Weston?" A soft masculine voice caught me by surprise and I jerked from the cushion to take a look. Just inside the room, a very attractive young man stood. His dark hair floated around his head in curls that fell to his shoulders. His light eyes--a pale, crystalline blue in this light--were framed by thick, soot-black lashes. He waited politely for me to respond. I tore my gaze from his and took a gander at the rest of him.

Adam and Holden #4
It was a bright, shiny Monday morning and I should've at least been trying to act like a productive member of Smithfield society. Instead, I sprawled on a rattan chaise lounge on the sun porch, a dying laptop hiding my erection, and I tracked the new lawn boy as he labored to tame the wilds of my backyard. A yard I had conveniently, purposefully, shamefully neglected for two full years.

I liked to think of the grounds as a sanctuary, an overgrown jungle for wildlife to find safe harbor. In truth, they were an eyesore. The roses, which had once bloomed under my meticulous mother's green thumb, were a tumble of sharp briars and deep thickets. And because I'd been so mired in disgrace when my mother died, it had been easy to let the rose arbor rot.

Besides, I couldn't go outside to garden.

The boy bent, muscular thighs tensing. He gripped a bag of mulch and slung it over his strong shoulder. I admired his sleek hind end covered in filthy, work-worn Carhartt jeans. His waistband dipped, his shirt rode high and a sweet patch of winter-white skin peeked above his plaid undershorts. I couldn't take my eyes off that strip of flesh, feeling dirty enough to smack my lips as I leered from the relative privacy of the sun porch.

A few weeks ago my brother Porter had come to stay and demanded I do something about our mother's legacy. At first, I thought he referred to the pair of us. Forty-ish and neither one of us functioning as well as one would expect given our heritage, wealth and education. But no, he meant the blasted roses.

Then Mr. Tindell sent this interesting new hire to help tidy the lawn. The gardener had pulled into the driveway in a rattletrap Ford pickup and he'd enchanted me, though I'd yet to speak with him. The kid came to mow the broad expanse of lawn that reached nearly five acres from South Street down to Meadow and he remained here on the job--coming to work at the house a few times during the week. Today he toiled with a wheelbarrow and a shovel. Sunlight warmed the cool spring air and he'd taken off his jacket.

I squirmed but I didn't look away. I couldn't. I kept him in my sight and watched as he moved effortlessly with pounds of cedar bark balanced on his shoulder. His gait loose, he radiated youthful confidence in his ability to lift that bale and tote that barge in the great wide out-of-doors.

The lucky bastard.

I should write some of this down. Vitality was exactly what my writing lacked these the past six months, which was why I'd recently turned my sorry focus to a culinary memoir.

The lawn boy's shirt dropped into place and that pale flash of lean flesh disappeared from view.

My computer ponged a warning as the three hundredth unread email landed in my inbox. I wasn't interested because finally, my muse had arrived. If the porch walls and ceiling were made of anything other than sheer, spotless glass, I might have touched myself. It had been a long time since I'd felt such interest in another man.

That thought would have depressed me if I weren't so altogether turned on.

From inside the house the whirl of my thousand-dollar vacuum cleaner crept nearer. I sat straighter and crossed my legs, adjusting the crotch of my Levis and hoping to hell Mrs. Henderson wouldn't catch me in a moment of depravity again. As it stood, she spent each Tuesday morning at St. Joe's saying her rosary for me. I wouldn't want her to add Wednesday as well.

Author Bio:
LB Gregg (Lisabea) writes fun, fast-paced contemporary male/male romances for a variety of publishers including Riptide, Samhain, and Carina Press. Her wildly successful Men of Smithfield books feature hot, hunky men looking for love in small town New England.


Mark & Tony #1

Max & Finn #2

Seth & David #3

Adam & Holden #4

Sam & Aaron #5

Ward Sisters Box Set by Lucy Gage

Author: Lucy Cage
Series: Ward Sisters #1-4
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: January 12, 2015
Back to December #1
Only One #2
Right Here Waiting #3
This Year's Love #4
Bonus Content

Welcome to the world of the Ward Sisters, Emily, Anne and Charlotte. Get to know them, their friends and the new people who have come into their lives.

Start with Emily's story, Back to December, where you'll meet the oldest Ward daughter, and the movie star, Rob Deacon, who sweeps her off her feet.

Then, in Only One, you'll get to know Emily's bodyguard, Liam Neely, who happens to be Rob's best friend. You'll also meet Jenna Ackerman, Rob's assistant and his other best friend, the woman with whom playboy Liam falls in love.

In Right Here Waiting, you'll learn about Emily's lifelong best friend, Meghan Miles, and meet the soldier who steals her heart, Captain Neil Murphy.

And then, in This Year's Love, you'll hear middle sister Annie Ward's story of how she fell for her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh Ricker.

Additional glimpses into the lives of these characters – in the form of deleted scenes which didn't make it into the published narrative – are included at the end of each story. For any fans of the series, these are peeks at the characters you won't want to miss.

Back to December
     Emily looked at Rob and couldn't read what he was thinking. She could tell there was something on his mind, but she had no clue what it was.
     “Care to share?” she asked, curious.
     “Can I kiss you?” he replied, his voice steady.
     Em was stunned. She didn't know what to say. It had been over five years since she had been asked to be kissed. She nodded slowly, so as not to appear too eager, though she was, in fact, dying to kiss him. She had been looking at his mouth quite a bit these last few hours, and it always seemed so kissable.
     Rob leaned toward her, and she met him halfway. That heady forest scent invaded her nostrils more thoroughly now and her brain swam. He looked at her with a sweet smile, just a little grin that said he was looking forward to this. She met his eyes and his smile with one of her own, though she suspected that, as soon as he'd asked, he'd known what her answer would be by the expression on her face.
     His lips brushed against hers, gentle at first, with just a little bit of pressure. The gesture implied respect without stifling the desire that raced through Emily's blood. Her skin heated and the dampness between her thighs, which had been present since dinner, bordered on embarrassing. How could she want someone so much from just a simple kiss?

Only One
     They walked back to the car, hand in hand, in an unusual silence. Jenna started to step around the car to the passenger's side, and Liam tightened his grip on her hand so she couldn't let go. Her expression said she was curious as he drew her toward him and leaned against the car hood. She let him guide her until her body was pressed against his and their faces were inches apart.
     His heart raced again, which Liam found odd – he hadn't felt nervous before he kissed a girl since junior high. Swallowing hard, he brushed the hair from her face like he'd done earlier. Her breath hitched, and he knew she wanted him to kiss her as much as he wanted to do it. He looked at her mouth, then into her eyes. They leaned in at the same time, crushing their lips together in a long-overdue kiss.
     Heat rushed through his body and his dick hardened before she even slid her tongue into his mouth. As their tongues danced, one hand found her ass and pulled her pelvis to his, while the other threaded into her hair, bringing her mouth closer, and deepening the kiss. She whimpered and gripped his neck.
     The kiss lasted a few minutes and then they needed air. They leaned apart, touched foreheads, their breath labored.
     “Wow,” Jenna whispered.
     “Yeah. I agree,” Liam said.

Right Here Waiting
     Meghan stared back at him as intently. Finally, she said, “What's going on here, Neil?”
     “What do you mean?
     “This. What's happening between us? Am I reading you wrong? Are you not interested in me?”
     Neil couldn't let her think that. No. Never. He'd wanted her for too long to let her ever believe he wasn't interested, even for a moment. He pulled back, stood still and looked at her. He looked at her mouth. He wanted to kiss her, but if he waited until they were alone, she might give up on him. Danny was right, he had to stop sabotaging this.
     Neil threaded his hands in her sun-kissed hair. In her eyes, he saw a desire to kiss him as powerful as his own. He leaned in, pressed his lips to hers and a wave of heat washed over him. Meghan leaned into the kiss, opening her lips, and as he slid his tongue into her mouth, Neil had to use every ounce of restraint his military training had afforded him to keep it from getting indecent.
     Meghan pulled away and saved Neil from himself.

This Year's Love
     “Are you okay?” she asked.
     He nodded slowly and swallowed.
     “Uh huh,” he muttered.
     His dilated pupils said he liked what he saw. She grinned. In two strides of his long legs, he was right next to her and it was Annie's turn to gasp – he towered over her.
     He looked at her, shook his head, then he crushed her to his body, his face a breath away. She opened her mouth and his tongue plunged inside. Unlike the other morning, he knew this was her and not Em. Yet, he kissed her with even more passion, stealing her air.
     Before she knew what was happening, he lifted her off the ground, wrapped her legs around his waist and carried her to the bed. They collapsed onto the mattress, and when his pelvis pressed into her core, they moaned in unison.
     “God, you're beautiful,” he breathed around her lips.

Author Bio:
As a child, Lucy Gage relished time to use her imagination, whether it was playing with her siblings - dolls, cars and trucks, make believe, LEGOs - or reading a book. That still translates today, as she writes the stories bouncing through her head, or reads the work of others. Her two imaginative children play the same way she did in her youth and love to read. She considers this her greatest accomplishment to date.

Married for the past dozen years, she and her family live in rural Maine. When not at the keyboard, she most enjoys gardening, hiking, amateur photography, the beach, dancing, crafts, ice skating, snow shoeing, boating and of course, reading.



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Cover Reveal: Rafe by Jo Raven

Title: Rafe
Author: Jo Raven
Series: Inked Brotherhood #5
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Erotic Romance
Expected Release Date:  End March/Beginning April 2015
Cover Design: Jo Raven
Model: Matt Sallis
Photographer: Gilles Crofta

His name is Rafaele Vestri, Rafe to his friends.

He’s tall, strong, handsome. Distant. He often comes to the cafĂ© where I work, but we don’t talk much. He looks at me, though. Stares at me, his gaze heated, and I can’t help but stare back. I want him, I won’t deny it. I’ve never seen anyone that beautiful, anyone that powerful, in my life.

But he’s growing more withdrawn by the day. Something’s up, and he won’t tell. I know about his past – the murder of his family when he was fifteen. I can imagine how much it must have cost him. So much violence contained in that strong body, waiting to be unleashed. What is he seeking? What is he training so hard for? Why is looking at me like he’s dying to touch me, but won’t dare?

Even as I try to stop thinking about him, get interested in other boys, I realize I can’t. I’m caught, body and soul, just like that. And I tell myself, Megan, girl… What have you gotten yourself into this time?

This is book 5 in the Inked Brotherhood series which started with Asher. It is a stand-alone work. No cliffhanger.

The expected publication date is end March/beginning April 2015, on all of your favorite e-book websites.

     I’m staring at Rafe’s hand. Big, strong, callused. A scar runs from his thumb to the index finger.
     He’s looking at me, waiting. What does he want?
     I lift my hand, place it in his. It fits on his palm, smaller, darker, thinner. He seems as entranced by the contrast as I am. His fingers slowly curl, closing around mine. His lips part, but no sound comes from his mouth, and his gaze remains fixed on our entwined hands, pale lashes hiding the gold of his eyes.
     Now I’m the one caught, transfixed. His mouth looks soft, vulnerable, at odds with his strong, angular features and the broad set of his shoulders. The need to touch his face is overwhelming, and I step closer, so close I can sense his scent. Not a cologne, but the deep scent of his skin, like musk and warm metal. I can see the rise and fall of his chest underneath the black Deathmoth T-shirt he’s wearing under his open jacket, see the outline of his strong pecs.
     We’re standing so close our breaths mingle, and our bodies touch in places as we shift, feathery brushes that send fire across my skin, into my belly, making me ache. He places his hands on my waist and I grip his thick, sinewy forearms. My stomach drops as if I’m standing at the edge of a precipice, on the edge of a moment that can change everything.
     What’s happening? It’s as if in the hollow darkness, the barrier between us is crumbling, the wall he’s set between himself and the world is falling.
     His hands tighten on my hipbones and his lashes lift, his gaze moving to my mouth. His breathing is ragged. He tugs me against him, his fingertips digging painfully into my flesh, his arms flexing with barely controlled strength.
     His arousal presses into my stomach, hot and thick, caught sideways in his jeans.
     My mind fills up with static. Rafe wants me. There’s the solid proof of his desire. The heated gaze I’ve felt so often on me is translated into a physical reaction, and it makes me feel so hot I might burst into flames. He’s so handsome, I can’t help myself. I want to stroke his square jaw, drag my fingertips over the golden stubble on his cheeks, kiss those damnable dimples.
     I whimper, the sound coming from deep inside me, and he freezes, goes so still I’m not even sure he’s breathing.
     Then he jerks back, releases me so fast I’m left reeling.
     “Fuck,” he hisses. He buries his fingers in his short blond hair, pulls, his mouth now hard like the rest of him, pressed into a flat line. “This is a mistake.”
     A knot is gathering in my throat, in my chest, cutting off air.
     I want to be mad at him, but his hands are trembling, and his amber eyes so full of pain I forget my anger before it even forms. He’s like mist, here and suddenly gone, lost into thin air. I have to touch him, touch his bare skin, prove he’s real.
    “Wait.” I lift my hand to his face, fingertips skimming over the smooth skin of his cheekbone. Warm. Satin soft.
     A pang goes through my chest, an ache that feels too much like sorrow, and I’m not sure if it’s mine or his.
     He jerks away, his eyes wide on his pale face. He reaches up, his hand hovering over the spot I touched. Then he turns and rushes off into the crowd.
     My hand is still hovering in midair. I don’t know for how long I stand there, staring at my splayed fingers, trying to figure out what happened. Or maybe trying to find another explanation for his reaction, desperate for him to be different to any other handsome, arrogant guy. Maybe I imagined the pain in his gaze – or maybe that pain is real but doesn’t make a difference. Traumatic past or not, he’s sorry he touched me, sorry he desired me. Big surprise. Why would he desire me, of all girls? There are so many vying for his attention. Girls who have witty, sexy things to say, and who don’t go stiff like cardboard when he touches them.
     The thought of him touching other girls shouldn’t hurt quite as much as it does. And this is a bad sign. Very bad sign, Megan, I tell myself and lower my hand that touched him. I feel as if my fingertips are numb, burnt by the feel of his skin.

Author Bio:
Jo Raven writes New Adult erotic contemporary romance. She loves sexy bad boys and strong-willed heroines, and divides her time between writing and reading. When not cooking up plots, she putters in her cluttered kitchen and dreams of traveling to India and Japan.