Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sunday's Safe Word Shelf: Chess by Sean Michael

Can a working threesome find a fourth to help them balance their lives? Rook, Knight and Bishop believe so.

The happy threesome know there's something missing and when they find Jason, they're pretty sure he's just what they need.

Join these four sexy men as they explore the dynamics between them and work toward finding a happy ending of their very own.

Opening Moves #1
Threesome Rook, Knight and Bishop make Jason an offer he can't refuse. Can the four of them be exactly what they each need? Find out in this Opening Move.

Rook, Knight and Bishop have been searching for a fourth man to join their threesome for quite a while when Knight meets Jason, the live model in the art class he's auditing. He thinks that Jason is the perfect man for them and his lovers Rook and Bishop quickly agree. The trick will be convincing Jason...

Join these sexy men as they make their Opening Moves.

Middle Game #2
Can Jason be with three amazing men and not lose his heart in the process?

Living with and being the play toy of three men is more rewarding than Jason could have imagined. Bishop, Knight and Rook each have their own way of loving on him. In Bishop he finds a work-out partner, friendship, and good solid lovemaking. He isn’t sure what to make of Knight, but the man is a brilliant artist and there are worse things than being Knight’s subject for his latest series of paintings. And the kinky things Knight does to him blow his mind on a regular basis.

It’s Rook who Jason is falling in love with, though. The bright, loving, sexy man has him head over heels and Jason’s beginning to worry that he’s getting himself in way over his head. Can he continue to be with these men without losing his heart?

En Prise #3
Just when things seem to be at their best, disaster strikes. Will all the men of Chess survive?

It’s the holiday season and Jason is having the best Christmas he can remember in a long time. He’s in love with Rook and settling in with Bishop and Knight, figuring out where he fits and learning to love their appetites. He might even be feeling like he belongs.

Holiday bliss is followed by disaster, though, when Knight is involved in an accident and is hospitalized. Will Jason, Bishop and Rook be able to rally around their lover and each other? Or will the strain put on their relationship tear them all apart?

Follow the moves made by the men of Chess and find out…

Helpmate #4
Knight is home from the hospital, so everything should be back to normal, right? Things are never that easy, though, and the men of Chess must fight to get their lives back.

Knight has returned home from the hospital, but is far from recovered. Things seem to be going well, but depression slowly winds its way around Knight, and he spends all his time in bed sleeping, slipping farther and farther away from his lovers and life.

Rook just wants everything to go back to normal now that their lover is home and Bishop is out of his depth when it comes to Knight's depression. Can Jason figure out what's wrong and take the steps needed to help Knight find himself again?

The struggle has just begun in Knight's recovery—are the men of Chess up to the task? Find out in this fourth installment of the Chess series.

End Game #5
Things are changing again for the foursome. Knight has bought a cottage outside of the city and Jason is going back to school. Can they weather the changes as they do everything else—together?

Things are changing again for Bishop, Knight, Rook and Jason. Not only is Jason going back to school, but Knight has bought a cottage on a lake several hours away, and none of them are quite sure what it all means for their family of four.

As Knight loses himself in his art at the cottage and Jason begins the hard work needed to keep up with school, Rook and Bishop call each other often to stay in touch, but it isn’t the same thing as all four of them being together.

Could this be the beginning of two couples and the end of their foursome just when Jason was settling into being a part of this weird but wonderful family? Or will they find a way to make it work just like they have everything else?

The Piercer's Game #6
Luke sees a lot in his job as a piercer, but for all that, he’s shy and lonely. Can live-in-the-moment Temple open his eyes to life’s pleasures?

Luke’s a piercer and owns a successful business with his tattooing partner. Despite his job and his inked and pierced appearance, Luke is actually quite shy and lonely, not to mention inexperienced. An event from his past has left him unable to open up completely to anyone and it’s easier for him to just keep to himself.

Temple is a cancer survivor, coming up on five years cancer free. He’s travelling across North America on the back of his motorcycle, just going where the wind blows him. Ever since first being diagnosed, he turned into a true believer of living in the moment.

When Temple first turns up at Luke’s shop, Temple is immediately drawn to the quiet piercer. First he’s going to have to convince Luke that there’s something between them…then he’s going to have to work his way past Luke’s defences.

Reader Advisory: This book is best read in sequence as part of a series but can be read as a standalone.

Chess: Volume One
Opening Games #1 & Mind Games #2 Paperback

Chess: Volume Two
En Prise #3 & Helpmate #4 Paperback

Chess: Volume Three
End Game #5 & The Piercer's Game #6 Paperback

Opening Moves #1
     Rook bounced as they headed toward the Z'va coffee house, walking between Knight and Bishop, his two favourite people in all the world. "He was a stud, Knight. He really was."
     "I told you." Knight winked at him, goosed him gently. "O ye of little faith and large penis."
     He jumped at the goosing and rounded on Knight, his ire fading as he played the words back. "His was pretty impressive, too. You think it was just a shower? Or a grower, too?"
     "That I don't know. He's never sprung wood in class." Knight winked.
     "That's a damn shame." Rook stepped back between them and looped a hand each through Knight's and Bishop's arms. He loved touching them. Hell, he loved them, plain and simple. "So. I know I'm not the only one who wants to do him six ways to Sunday."
     Bish snorted. "Or get done by him."
     "Sure. I'm easy." He was. As both his lovers well knew.
     "He might say no... You do realise this, dear boys." Knight could be such a turd.
     "You wouldn't have suggested it if you believed that."
     Knight nodded, hips bumping his. "He's got a great ass and the rumours are he's unattached. A little gym bunny."
     "I didn't get a good look at his ass, but the rest of him was vavavavoom!"
     "I saw his ass," put in Bishop. "It was great."
     "I need a cup of coffee. I told him where we'd be. We're sticking with the original plan, boys?"
     They'd made similar offers before-four times. No one'd ever said yes. Of course, Knight hadn't picked before.
     A boy. A man. A lover. Someone for them to play with at will. They'd started talking about it late one night-the three of them naked and lazy, sprawled. Knight had been teasing Bish about getting a houseboy, someone they could touch, drive crazy. Boss around a little. Play with.
     That had been Knight's phrase. Play with.
     Rook nodded eagerly and Bishop grunted an affirmative.
     Rook tried not to get excited, but damn. It wasn't easy.
     They piled into the shop, waved at Rick and Les. "The usual, boys?"
     "Please. You and Bish go sit, I'll get it." He pulled his wallet out and sauntered up to the counter.
     Rick grinned at him and Les made the black coffee, the mocha latte, and the triple espresso with a shot of caramel. "We haven't seen you three in almost a week. I was going to send a search party."
     "If you promise it'll be full of studs, it'll be another week before we're back."
     "Shit, I can't afford that! Knight keeps me in business!"
     He pouted. "Too bad. I guess we'll have to keep finding our own studs."
     He handed over a twenty and waved away the offered change. Grabbing the tray, he headed to the table Knight and Bishop had chosen. Knight was straddling a chair backwards, Bishop's hands on his lean shoulders, rubbing hard. Knight looked tired, but each touch seemed to make that sexy body to relax. Rook licked his lips. Who needed a search party of hotties when he had his two very own personal studs to love on?
     The look on Knight's face was pure bliss-lips parted, surrounded by goatee and moustache, the hair black as pitch.
     "No orgasming in the coffee shop-they'll throw us out again," Rook teased, putting their coffees down on the table.
     "Shh. He's rubbing. Don't distract him." vHe grinned at Bishop, who just smiled back. "I'll do you when we get home."
     It was probably for the best-he'd never met a massage he didn't want to turn into more. Especially when Bish was the one dishing out the massage—you could feel the love in every touch.
     Knight moaned, the sound like liquid sex. "Bish has the best hands."
     "He does." Rook was getting hard. Between the look on Knight's face and the memories of what exactly those hands could get up to...
     He sat down and pulled his chair up to the table. Bish could make you beg, make you scream, make you hurt in ways that felt so fucking good after... And after... He never ever doubted that Bish loved him.
     He tried not to whimper-he already had a reputation for being easy, so the last thing he needed was to get all hot and bothered by memories.
     Knight met his gaze, near-black eyes dazed. "Tell me when you see him."
     Not if.

Middle Game #2
     Jason had been watching the snow falling for hours, mounding up around the window sill, white and fluffy. The studio wasn’t cold, not at all, but a part of him felt a little chilled just from watching the ice crystals build.
     Jason shivered, making sure the motion was tiny, not moving on the lounge chair in the least.
     "Be still, Jase. I’m almost done." Knight was painting furiously.
     "I am." He was naked, except for a soft, silken drape over his thighs.
     The front door opened and closed, Rook’s voice singing out, reaching them even here in the studio, "Hello, honeys, I’m home!"
     Jason smiled. The sound of Rook’s voice made him happy every time he heard it.
     "Don’t move!" Knight spoke loudly enough that Rook no doubt heard it from the front of the house because it was followed by the sound of his laughter and he appeared at the door.
     "Look at this! Two of my favourite people in the whole world, both together." Rook draped himself over Knight and kissed Knight’s cheek.
     "Working, Rookie." Knight did smile, though, which Jason had learned over the past month was rare.
     "I know." Rook’s eyes wandered over the canvas, and he licked his lips. "God, you’re a talented asshole, aren’t you?" Rook gave Knight another kiss, then backed off, blowing a kiss at Jason. "So how long before we can puppy pile?"
     "Ten minutes, tops." Knight growled the words, eyes dragging over Jason’s body.
     "Does he need fluffing or anything?" Rook asked, voice hopeful.
     "No touching. You’ll destroy my view."
     Rook pouted and sighed loudly. "I’ve been working all day long."
     "You’ve been playing with dildos, Rookie." Knight sighed, then set his brushes down. "Go on, Jase. I’m done."
     He pushed himself off the chair towards Rook. The man fascinated him, so pretty with his blond hair, his bright blue eyes. So different from Knight’s slender darkness.
     Rook stuck his tongue out at Knight but gave the man a proper kiss even as he held out his arm to Jason. Jason went to them, moving carefully, suddenly painfully aware of the plug inside him.
     Rook’s hand slid over his skin as soon as he was close enough and the kiss with Knight ended noisily. Then Rook’s mouth covered his, tongue pushing in. A sweet hum sounded, Rook’s blue eyes staring into his own like he was the most fascinating thing ever.
     It was Knight’s hand, though, that slid down his back, moving to jostle the plug. He jerked away, cheeks burning. Knight shook his head. "Still so shy?"
     Rook’s eyes widened, his lips pulling up into a grin. "A plug? Knight, you naughty, naughty man."      Rook slid a hand down his back just like Knight had done, heading right for his ass.
     "I wanted to make sure he stayed awake."
     Jason groaned. He’d stayed awake.
     Rook laughed, the sound happy and sweet. "Can we play on your couch, Knight? Or should we find a bed?" Rook found the base of the plug and began to tap it.
     "Let’s go upstairs. Bish will be back soon."
     Rook bounced happily and grabbed Jason’s and Knight’s hands, leading the way like a naughty Pied Piper.
     "I need to clean up, Rookie!" Knight was laughing, though. Rook was the only one who made the man laugh.
     "We’ll help. After." Rook shook his ass, making it very clear what came before the after. Jason was given a sweet smile. "I think someone needs some help with that plug up his ass..."
     "Rook..." His cheeks heated, but his cock jerked, filling.
     Rook grinned and squeezed his hand, moving faster.
     "Horndog. I love the way Jase walks when he’s full." Knight’s voice had a sexy, husky note to it.
     "And you call me a horndog?" Rook laughed and took a half step behind him. "Knight is right, though, honey, you move like magic with that plug."
     His cheeks were burning and he ducked his head then shook it.
     "You should have seen him take it in for me." Knight’s fingers slipped over his skin.
     Oh. Oh, God. He... He still wasn’t used to being a...plaything for these three men.
     Rook moaned and rubbed against Knight. "I wish I’d seen that."
     "I’m sure we can revisit after we play...with a bigger plug."
     Rook beamed. "That would be perfect." Rook wrapped his arms around Knight, giving the man another one of those kisses. And then Rook’s attention focused on him, mouth latching on.

En Prise #3
     That was the biggest tree he’d ever seen.
     Jason stared at Bish and Rook. “You’re not serious, guys? It’s like…eighty feet tall.”
     Two blond heads turned towards him, and suddenly he knew how Knight felt sometimes, with people looking at him like he’d just spoilt a party.
     Rook slinked over and wrapped around him, not caring that they were in the middle of the tree lot.      Rook never did and if people didn’t like it, they could lump it. “Don’t you like it? It’ll fill the living room perfectly!”
     Rook was so warm and Jason hated being the spoilsport, but sometimes he felt like he had to be the voice of reason. “It’s huge. Knight said…”
     Knight had thrown a fit about even leaving his studio. He’d been…almost ugly about the whole holiday thing. Jason hated to give him more ammunition to make a fuss, especially this time of year.
     Bishop snorted. “Knight is being bitchy. He’ll get over it.”
     Rook nodded and looked at Bishop. “He needs a spanking and a good hard fuck.”
     “I know what he needs, Rookie. Don’t worry, he’ll be sweet for the holidays.” Bishop sounded sure. Bishop always sounded sure.
     Jason shivered, partially from excitement, partially from nerves. “I’ve never had a tree so big. Are there enough decorations?”
     “If there aren’t, we’ll buy more!” Rook squeezed him tight and beamed at him. He swore he could feel Rook’s hard-on through the layers of their coats. He made a note—Christmas made Rookie horny. Of course, everything else did—why not the holidays, too?
     “Careful, he’ll bring even more perverted balls from work,” Bishop warned, giving him a wink.
     “Oh, God. Tell me there aren’t porny ornaments.” Why did he think it was a vain hope?
     Rook let go of him to bounce. “There so are!”
     “Oh, man…” He shuddered to think. “Tell me there are rainbow lights at least?”
     Bishop chuckled. “There are. And it’s a huge tree, so if there’s anything you want on it that we don’t have, all you need to do is speak up.”
     Rook nodded and bounced some more. “I love Christmas!”
     Rolling his eyes, Bishop teased, “You love every day, Rookie.”
     “I do.” Rook grinned and winked at Jason, slipped a hand in his. “What’s not to love?” he asked gently.
     Jason couldn’t help his smile, at all. Rook was… How could anyone on earth not adore this man? Rook was like Christmas every single day.
     “Come on, I’ve already paid for this thing. Let’s drag it home.” Bishop got them moving.
     “How on earth are you ever going to get it anywhere?” Eighty feet tall, at least. It was insane. He wasn’t sure it was going to even fit in the house. Sure, the ceilings were high, but this tree was like the ones you put in front of a town hall or somewhere. Outside.
     “We’ll tie it to the top of the car. No, Rookie, don’t unwrap it until we get home or it’ll be impossible.” Bish growled a bit as Rook pouted, but Rook stopped trying to undo the twine holding the tree branches against the trunk. “Jase, if you grab the bottom end, I’ll get the top.”
     “You got it.” Between him and Bishop, they could lift a lot of weight, easily.
     They got the tree to the car and Rook grabbed a blanket from the trunk, laying it on the roof so they could hoist the tree up there without scratching the shit out of the paint job. There were bungee cords, too—it looked like Bishop had thought of everything—and in short order, they had the tree affixed to the top of the car. The only drawback was they couldn’t completely close the windows.
     “See?” Rook made ‘ta da’ motions with his hands.
     Jason stared at Rook. “It’s huge.” There was easily three feet of tree hanging over the front and back of the car.
     “I like my trees like I like my men.” Rook glanced down at Jason’s crotch and rubbed against his hip. “Huge.”
     Bishop laughed. “Get in the car, Rookie.”
     Jason’s cheeks were burning, and he slipped into the car before his lover. Rookie sat next to him, resting his hand on Jason’s thigh, squeezing as Bish started the engine and headed carefully onto the road. It felt good—Rookie always did make him feel that way.
     “I… Do you guys have a Christmas meal tradition?” He wasn’t sure he could cook a fancy meal.
     “Uh-oh.” That was from Bishop up front and Rook actually blushed.

Helpmate #4
     One hundred and nine. One hundred and ten.
      Jason stopped halfway up on his inverted sit-up, abs screaming. His legs were hooked over the bar, his thighs trembling as he fought to hold himself up.
     Come on.
     Come on.
     Come on.
     He grunted and let go, head swinging toward the gym floor.
     “Careful, baby boy.” Bishop came in, catching his shoulders. “You don’t want to bang up this pretty head.”
     “Bish.” He was breathing hard, sweat pouring off him. “Ab. Ab work. Should have…” He should have waited for a spotter.
     “You know better than that.” Bish put an arm under his shoulders and the other under his knees next to the bar, picking him up, then laying him flat on the ground.
     “Sorry.” He’d just become engrossed in it and had forgotten his own rules about working out on one’s own.
     Bish crouched next to him, big hand warm on his belly. “You got something you need to talk about?”
     “Just got into the rhythm, you know?” Things had been so harsh, for months, after Knight had been hit by a snowplow. All that time with Knight out, then in the hospital. Jason didn’t think anything was going to be normal again. At least they were home now, right? All of them.
     “Yeah?” Bishop didn’t look like he entirely believed him.
     “Yeah. How’re you?” Jason had it easy compared to Bish and Rook, really.
     Bishop shrugged and rubbed his face. “Glad I’m not at the hospital today.” They’d brought Knight home yesterday, which in and of itself felt like some kind of miracle.
     “Me too.” Impulsively, he sat up, pushed into Bishop’s arms and took a hard hug. As tough and stoic as Bish was, he was the best friend Jason had.
     Bishop hugged him right back, not hesitating for a moment, and they stayed right there, holding on for a long time. They just breathed together, clinging and supporting each other.
     “Did he have a decent night?” Jason asked. Knight was in Bishop’s room, while Jason had moved his stuff in with Rook. It just made the most sense under the circumstances.
     “Yeah.” Bishop let him go slowly and leaned back against the apparatus. “Knight did. I woke up every twenty minutes to check that he was still breathing.”
     Jason nodded, chuckled. “I bet. Rook was up at least four times, just to go check on you two.”
     “I know.” Bishop sighed and stretched, turned his head from side to side and rolled his head on his neck, clearly trying to work out kinks. “It’ll get easier, right?”
     “Yes. We just have to find normal again. At least normal for now.” Jason sighed. In the time he’d been with the guys—how long had it been? Seven months? Eight?—they’d changed ‘normal’ a lot.
     “Yeah.” Bishop snorted. “Like we were ever normal. You thought we were a bunch of pervs when you first met us.”
     “You are a bunch of pervs.” He fought his grin.
     Bishop chortled. “I’m not taking offence at that only because it’s true.”
     “You want to work out?” he asked, knowing it was something he could give Bishop.
     “Yeah, I could use a good hard workout.”
     “Yeah, me not so much right now, huh?” At least not his abs.
     “You can spot me, baby boy.”
     “Anytime.” He stood on shaky legs, grabbed a towel and his water. Hydration, hydration.
     Bishop shook his head. “Don’t force me to make a rule that says you can’t work out alone anymore.”
     “A rule?” He blinked over, surprised. They were still doing that, even after…everything?
     “I don’t want to, but you could have seriously hurt yourself today, Jason. We can’t lose you.”
     “You won’t.” He was young, healthy. Strong.
     “Then no more working out on your own, okay? If I’m not available, get Rookie to spot you.”
     “I will.” At least the hard workouts.
     “Good.” Bishop kissed him, hard. That wasn’t helping the weakness in his knees. “Maybe there’s better things to do than work out.” Oh, it was delicious, having Bishop’s attention turned on him.
     Bishop wrapped an arm around him, hand on his ass, to pull Jason up against his hard body, and Bishop’s second kiss took no prisoners. It made him breathless, made him arch back over Bishop’s arm and moan. God, he was in good shape, but Bishop could make him feel, not dainty, but not big either.
     Bishop slid his free hand along Jason’s chest and belly, leaving behind a trail of warmth. Jason’s prick jerked, pushing against his sweats. Bishop kept moving his hand downward, only stopping at Jason’s waistband to tease his fingers in beneath it.
     Jason tried to suck in, to give those questing fingers more room, but his abs really were shot. Totally shot.
     Bishop’s kiss got harder and the wandering hand slipped into his sweats to wrap around his prick.

End Game #5
     Knight had bought a lake house.
     Knight had bought a lake house.
     Knight had bought a lake house.
     Jason looked into his glass of bubbly, trying to process things. How big was the lake house? Who was going to live there? What did this mean for their family? What was the lake house for? Why hadn’t Knight said anything? Jase knew that Knight was impetuous and a little nuts and Jase knew that the accident had been brutal, the recovery harder, but… Knight had bought a lake house.
     This on top of finding out, like ten minutes ago, that he’d been accepted to the physiotherapy program at the university. Knight had bought a lake house and Jason was going to be a student. Neither one seemed quite real, actually. Like someone was playing a big joke on them all, randomly throwing these new things at them to see how they coped. Except, unlike Knight’s accident, these were both good things, right? Well, his getting into the program definitely was. He’d just have to hope the other one was, too.
     Rook was babbling away, but it didn’t quite sound natural and Jase wanted to give him a big hug and tell him everything was going to be okay. Luke, the piercer, was going to be ringing on the doorbell any second, too. They were going to give Knight his rings back. That’s what this evening was supposed to be about—a celebration of Knight’s recovery. And then his letter of acceptance had come. And Knight had bought a lake house. Just like that. Jase honestly didn’t quite know what to think.
     “Okay, everyone. One glass of champagne and that’s it. Luke won’t do the piercings if he thinks we’re all drunk.” Bishop got them moving into the living room with its low lighting and the big, comfy couch that could—and often had—hold all four of them comfortably.
     “Aren’t we just doing Knight?” Jase asked as he followed along, mind whirling about his acceptance letter, school, the lake house. It was like they were on one of those wheels you spun to see where it would stop, only they were just all going around and around and around in his head.
     Knight shrugged. “I suppose it’s up to Rook, huh?”
     That made Jason blink and focus on the task at hand—if Rook wanted more rings, they could discuss it.
     “I don’t know. Tonight’s for Knight, right?” Rook’s hand slipped into his and it might have been Jason’s imagination, but it felt like Rook was holding on just a little bit tighter than usual.
     “Right.” He leaned in, speaking just to Rook. “Knight bought a lake house?”
     Rook shrugged. “I guess?” Then his lover gave him that smile he loved so much. “And you got into your program.”
     “I did. Scary, huh? Me, going back to university. It’s the right decision, though.” He hoped.
     “I’m so proud of you, honey. Like really.”
     “Thank you.” He was a little proud of himself, to be honest.
     Rook tugged his head down, giving him a good, hard kiss. The caress was delicious, sweet from the champagne, tickly almost.
     The doorbell rang and Bishop chuckled. “I’ll get it.”
     “Just ignore it.” Knight was laughing though, the man looking almost whole again. Almost.
     “You’re getting my jewelry back, baby.” Bishop could growl when he wanted to.
     “Maybe. If I feel like it.” It was clear Knight needed this, was relishing getting his rings back, despite any protests he might make.
     “No maybes. No discussions.” Bishop shot the words back over his shoulder as he went to the door. “Luke! It’s so nice to see you.”
     “Bish! Man! It’s been forever!” The big voice boomed in.
     “Oh man, he makes my nipples tingle.” Rook pressed close to him.
     Knowing Rook didn’t mean that Luke himself did it for him, Jase chuckled, pinched one nipple hard, then tugged on the ring there. Gasping, eyes going wide, Rook rubbed against him.
     “Is that okay? Too hard?” Jason wasn’t into causing pain, but he knew Rook liked a firm touch sometimes. Okay, a lot of the time.
     “No, honey, it was wonderful.” Rook’s grin was contagious. “Surprising but so good.”
     “You two are gooey. Awful.” Knight was lounging on the sofa, watching them.
     “Are you jealous?” Rook dragged Jason over to where Knight lounged on the couch and they sat on either side of him. “We can be gooey with you too.”
     “Ew. No. Shoo.” There wasn’t any heat at all behind Knight’s words.
     Rook leaned in and laid a sloppy kiss on Knight’s lips. Knight gagged and struggled, but he was laughing hard. He liked to pretend to be all hard and cold, but they all knew better. Especially when it came to Rook.

The Piercer's Game #6
     Luke finished doing his orders and the taxes, then rolled his head on his shoulders. Tired. He was tired and ready for a beer and a burger. He headed out of the little office he shared with Donny, waving at his best friend and partner as he passed by.
     “I’m going to bail. You need anything?”
     Donny shook his head. “No, I’ve only got another ten minutes or so left and Armen is picking me up. Turn the sign to closed, though, will you?”
     “Totally. See you tomorrow?”
     “Yeah. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.” Donny winked at him.
     The bell over the door jangled as the door was opened, a tall, skinny, bald man in leather walking in.
     He and Donny looked at each other, wincing. No one was going to want to start something new this late in the evening.
     “I’ll handle it,” Luke offered. It was probably just a question anyway, right?
     He headed to the door, offered the dude a grin. “What can I do you for?”
     “I’d like a tattoo, I think. Are you the tattoo artist?” The man had a gravelly voice, like he’d swallowed glass or something, and his eyes were so brown. They seemed huge, too, probably because of the bald head.
     “No. I’m the piercer. Would you like to make an appointment?”
     “I’d like to talk to someone first. Can I talk to you?”
     Donny was swamped and about to leave anyway, Bill and KT were both working on big pieces that were going to take them until well past closing, so no one else was currently available. “Absolutely. Talk away.”
     Those brown eyes took him in. “Yeah, I think you can help me.”
     “Well, I’m the co-owner, so I hope so.” Just look at those pretty eyes. Luke could happily spend some time thus occupied.
     One big hand was held out to him. “Temple Garrison.”
     “Luke. Pleased.” He shook Temple’s hand, a jolt of electricity passing between them. Wow, he’d never felt anything like that.
     Temple’s nostrils flared. “Oh. Hi.”
    “Hi.” They were just standing there, holding hands like that zap had fused their flesh. “Jesus, sorry.      Sorry, man.” He let his hand drop, feeling like a bit of an idiot.
     “No, no apologies necessary. You felt it too, eh?”
     “I…” What did he say to that? “How can I help you?”
     “There somewhere around here we can sit? Have a bite to eat?”
     “I…” Okay, that was odd. Intriguing, though. Surprisingly. “Jack’s Diner is two doors down.”
     Wait. Had he just agreed to eat with a stranger? At least it would be in public.
     Temple smiled, looking pleased as punch. “Okay, let’s do it.”
     “Let me grab my phone.” He headed to the office. “Going to Jack’s, having a bite with a customer.”
     “What? Why?” Donny demanded.
     “He asked.”
     Donny gave him a glare. “A repeat customer?”
     Donny sighed, rubbed his face. “You’d better be careful.”
     “I’ll have my phone, man.” And Jack’s was practically next door and there was that whole ‘in public’ thing. Still, Don was a good guy. A genuinely good guy.
     “Okay.” Donny repeated it, “Okay. You’re a grown man.”
     “I know, right? Weird.” He gave Donny a smile and headed back out, turned the sign around on the door. “You ready, man?”
     Temple straightened from where he’d been leaning against the counter. “I am.”
     “Cool. It’s a decent place—burgers, fries, pancakes.”
     “They do a salad?”
     “I’m sure they do.” Even if Luke thought a salad was a weird choice for a tall, bald guy dressed all in leather, he tried not to make judgments like that, but this guy screamed biker and he had yet to meet one who was into salads.
    “Cool.” Temple walked along next to him, long legs just eating up the pavement.
     The walk didn’t take long enough to even talk, the well-lit diner inviting in the late summer night.

Author Bio:
Often referred to as "Space Cowboy" and "Gangsta of Love" while still striving for the moniker of "Maurice," Sean Michael spends his days surfing, smutting, organizing his immense gourd collection and fantasizing about one day retiring on a small secluded island peopled entirely by horseshoe crabs. While collecting vast amounts of vintage gay pulp novels and mood rings, Sean whiles away the hours between dropping the f-bomb and persuing the kama sutra by channeling the long lost spirit of John Wayne and singing along with the soundtrack to "Chicago."

A long-time writer of complicated haiku, currently Sean is attempting to learn the advanced arts of plate spinning and soap carving sex toys.

Barring any of that? He'll stick with writing his stories, thanks, and rubbing pretty bodies together to see if they spark.


Opening Moves #1
B&N  /  KOBO  /  ITUNES  /  ARe

Mind Games #2
B&N  /  KOBO  /  ITUNES  /  ARe

En Prise #3
B&N  /  KOBO  /  ITUNES  /  ARe

Helpmate #4
B&N  /  KOBO  /  ITUNES  /  ARe

End Game #5
B&N  /  KOBO  /  ITUNES  /  ARe

The Piercer's Game #6
B&N  /  KOBO  /  ITUNES  /  ARe

Volume 1 Paperback

Volume 2 Paperback

Volume 3 Paperback

The Bad Boys of Eden Anthology

Title: The Bad Boys of Eden: Billionaires, Alphas, Bikers, and Doms 
Authors: Adriana Hunter, Avery Aster, Cathryn Fox, Daire St. Denis
Eliza Gayle, Mari Carr, Opal Carew, Roni Loren, Sharon Page
Steena Holmes, Tawny Stokes, Elena Aitken, CC MacKenzie, Lauren Hawkeye
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Release Date: March 10, 2015
Includes New York Times and National Bestselling authors
99 cent Mega Romance Bundle Sale. Limited Time Only!

The INVITATION TO EDEN series was hailed by book bloggers as “sexy as hell”! Grab this set of 14 EDEN stories in one single volume and at one amazing price.

Do you want to totally to fall in love, get naughty, and be good at being bad with a bad boy? If so, get whisked away to an exotic island where anything and everything is possible with THE BAD BOYS OF EDEN mega romance bundle. We’ve packed the box with the best in new adult, erotic romance, sweet contemporary, and wicked paranormal all set in the mysterious, dangerous, and romantic world of Invitation to Eden.
14 Eden Stories:
INTRODUCTION by Lauren Hawkeye
MASTER OF THE ISLAND by Lauren Hawkeye
WILD RIDE by Opal Carew
BREAKING FREE by Cathryn Fox
ROUGH DRAFT by Mari Carr
SECOND GLANCES by Elena Aitken
IVY IN BLOOM by Tawny Stokes
HOW TO TEMPT A TYCOON by Daire St. Denis
HOLD ME CLOSE by Eliza Gayle
SWEET RETURN by Steena Holmes
FIGHT FOR ME by Sharon Page

Yours Truly, Taddy by Avery Aster (The Undergrad Years #2)
Jetting to Martinique for a modeling assignment with three of Europe’s hottest magazine photographers—Gustave, Fabian, and Leon—should’ve been easy, breezy beautiful. Never did I expect to look up and see a hole in the ceiling of our plane that was bigger in size than my Birkin bag.
Shit! We’re nose-diving toward Eden Island. I pictured how my New York Times obituary might read when I’m gone, “Taddy Brill, Manhattanite, dethroned descendant of the Austrian House of Brillford royalty, dies at age eighteen, penniless, unloved, and a virgin.” I swear this crap only happens to me. Suddenly, Leon pulls me with Fabian and Gustave. Adrenaline racing through me, our bodies clung as one. We prepared to…crash.The Undergrad Years is a New Adult contemporary miniseries about first loves, independence, and everlasting friendships.

Wild Ride by Opal Carew (Ready to Ride)
Her friend told her dreams come true at Eden, but this is more like a nightmare.
Marissa is shaken when her bad-assed biker ex-boyfriend begins to stalk her.  After receiving an invitation to an exclusive resort called Eden, she jumps at the chance to get away. But even in paradise, she can’t escape the man from her past. As he’s closing in on her, a passing stranger on a motorcycle pulls up and orders her onto his bike. Frightened and willing to take any chance to flee her dangerous ex, she does as he says. Her knight in supple leather manages to lose her ex and take her to a secret hideaway, but now she finds herself overwhelmed by his potent masculinity and submitting completely to his authoritative commands. Killer didn’t want to be her saviour.  He had problems of his own.  But once Marissa’s under his protection, he will do whatever he can to keep her safe.  Even force her to face her deepest fears.

Rough Draft by Mari Carr (Big Easy, Book 4)
Capture, bondage and fantasies fulfilled. It’s all fun and games until someone gets killed.
 Bestselling crime novelist Jett Lewis is stumbling over a wicked case of writer’s block, his fast-flowing words having run dry. His publisher’s screaming “deadline”, the fans are ready to riot, and Jett just wants to disappear. His friend Carissa suggests he get away, clear his head…get laid. And she has just the ticket. Literally. Two passes to Eden, an exclusive island paradise. Recently sans girlfriend, Jett convinces Carissa to go with him, and the resort is more than either of them bargained for—especially when the simple beach trip turns to murder. Thrust into a plot sinister enough to rival Jett’s books, the couple embarks on a search for the killer. The most shocking revelation of all might be their mutual attraction…and how much Jett and Carissa love working undercover.

Breaking Free by Cathryn Fox
Spring Break at college is  supposed to be a time of fun and parties, but Alaska Rossi, AKA Jane Smith, is on lockdown thanks to her father’s mafia dealings. She wants only to  party down with the  rest of her classmates.  At least her hot, darkly mysterious bodyguard—deep undercover as her dorm’s resident  assistant—gives her something to fantasize about during her boring nights in  confinement. When she wins a campus radio contest, and is gifted with  a special invitation to an exclusive island, she knows it’s her  chance to break free. After all, it’s a place where no one knows her name, so  what danger could  possible come to her? But when danger appears in the form of a masked man who takes control  of all her pleasures, tapping into her darkest fantasies, she begins to wonder  if her undercover lover, and the mysterious bodyguard who’s deep undercover, are one in the  same…

Hold Me Close by Eliza Gayle (Purgatory Club  #6)
Sometimes you need to cut and run and sometimes the ties run too deep to abandon. Bonnie’s job at Purgatory keeps her on edge in more ways than one. Every day the pain of her grief over losing her Dom threatens to consume her. Her only escape comes at the hands of the resident tattooed  bad boy who likes to keep things light and loose with a variety of women. He may not be the Dom of her dreams, but he chases away the darkness if only for one night… Dex is used to unattached submissives coming to him for a chance to feel the kiss of his flogger or the sting of his whip until they find their own Doms. With his busy life of ink and kink he likes keeping his women at arm’s length. Except one night a month when Bonnie shreds him every time she asks him to hold her close.
When a secret invitation to an island resort arrives, is it the answer to their problems? Or their worst nightmare?

Return to Sender by Steena Holmes (Return to Sender trilogy #1)
Lauren Summers is the stable sister, the one who runs the family company while her sisters take off and travel the world. One weekend a year she hides herself away and mourns a love she lost six years ago. That weekend is now, except she’s being whisked away to a mysterious island despite her protests. After being pampered with luxury, massages and the best chocolate a girl could taste, she starts to realize that its time she left the past behind and moved forward with life, and maybe with love. What she doesn’t know, is that someone from her past has other ideas…

Escape From Reality by Adriana Hunter
When curvy single and struggling romance author Leila Connors  receives a  mysterious invitation to spend an all-expense paid week on a tropical island, it simply seems too good to be true.  Who is responsible  for sending the invitation?  Why does the envelope smell of dominant  male  possession?  And most importantly, why her?  With a string of   failed relationships and a career on the down-slide, Leila feels she has nothing to lose and agrees to the trip. But when she arrives at her destination, far away  from everything she knows, she can’t help but wonder if she made a  mistake. That is until she comes face to face with the incredibly  handsome Sebastian Phillips, a tortured stranger with dark secrets, and a man  who will take without asking. With just one touch he awakens a  desperate need within her. Before too long Leila finds herself caught up in a game of  irresistible obsession, where truths are exposed, and the dangerously  blurred line  between fantasy and reality threaten to drive her to the  point of no return.

Blurring the Lines by Roni Loren
A year has passed since Gretchen lost her fiancé, but she still can’t sleep. Or paint. And her new home in New Orleans is either haunted or she’s finally going crazy.
Her bet is on the latter.
So when her best friend, Burke, offers to sweep her away to a private luxury island for a break, she can’t say no. Maybe if she can be someone else for a few days, the ghosts of the past will quiet. At least for a little while.
Burke knows what she’s going through. She lost her fiancé, but he lost family. He gets her in a way no else can. But lately she’s noticing things she shouldn’t about her former fiancé’s younger brother—his sexy smirk, that spicy Cajun accent, and the way he looks at her when he thinks she’s not paying attention. A week alone with him? Dangerous. If she blurs the lines between them, she could ruin the only friendship that means anything to her. She could ruin it all.
But the island of Eden has its own agenda. The island knows what you need. That’s what the invitation says. She just never imagines it will grant her the one wish that could destroy them both.

Fight For Me by Sharon Page (Yardley College Chronicles #3)
I had to drop out of college to raise my son after his dad, notorious MMA fighter Ryder King, and I broke up. Ryder is so haunted by demons he won’t let anyone touch his heart. Fame, fortune, and fighting didn’t bring him any peace, and I knew, for the sake of our baby, that I had to leave him. That’s when I met Ryder’s best friend, Xavier Malone, a former fighter who built a billion dollar empire. Xavier is gorgeous, sweet, and wonderful with my son. I’m falling for him—but I’m scared to commit. Then I receive an invitation to the island of Eden, a luxurious resort where I can live my every sensual fantasy. I’m certain Xavier sent it. But after I leave my son with my mom and fly to Eden, I discover I’m in the middle of a grudge match between Xavier and Ryder. They are going to fight for me: inside the ring in a televised match, and outside it—where they both plan to seduce the pants off me. But I have a surprise for them too.

How To Tempt A Tycoon by Daire St. Denis (Savage Interactives #5)
Tessa Savage has traveled all over the world but she has never been to Eden. So when she receives a personalized invitation to this enigmatic island location, there’s no way she can refuse. She’s been told that Eden will fulfill her every fantasy but instead Tessa is faced with the choice of overcoming one of her two greatest fears; total vulnerability or total submission. To Tessa there is very little difference between these two things…except that the choice means she must make a decision between two very special men from her past. Help Tessa decide what to do in this smokin’ hot and emotionally charged interactive tale.

Ivy in Bloom by Vivi Anna writing as Tawny Stokes (Hothouse series #3)
After getting out of a bad relationship and dropping out of university, Ivy Watts decides she needs some much needed stress therapy so she tags along with her parents to a luxury island resort called Eden.  She expects to laze around on the beach with a drink in her hand and figure out what she wants to do with the rest of her life, but what she doesn’t expect is to learn a few life lessons from the tall, dark handsome man in the penthouse suite.

Second Glances by Elena Aitken (The Springs)
When Kylie Wilson receives a mysterious invitation for an all expenses paid trip to a tropical, all inclusive resort, there’s no doubt in her mind who it came from—Marcus Stone, the only man she’s ever really loved. The same man who’d promised her forever and then promptly left town to pursue his dream without so much as a backward glance. Kylie owes it to herself to take a chance, and despite her conflicted feelings, she decides to risk her heart again and is soon jetting toward the island of Eden and the man she hopes will finally fill the void in her life. But when she arrives, all is not as she expected it to be. More to the point, he is not who she expected him to be. And on an island that is supposed to ‘know exactly what you need’, can Kylie open her body, mind, and more importantly—her heart to someone and something, she’s never considered?

Delicious and Deadly by C.C. MacKenzie (Ludlow Hall #8)
Emma Ludlow’s temperature is rising and it’s not because of the sweltering Florida sun. Her lucrative business is bloodshed and slaughter. All she wants is peace and quiet in Eden to plot her latest murder. However, a much-adored celebrity chef is in Eden, too. The man is insufferable with an overblown ego she’s dying to kill. His slow smile may be ‘Delicious’, but she won’t taste it, not again. Being famous and wealthy isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be. Oscar Zamani learned that life lesson the hard way when he let the seductively mysterious Emma slip through his fingers. Now an Invitation To Eden has given him another chance to show her that this time he can be trusted. But little does Oscar know that Emma has a dark secret. A secret that might be ‘Deadly’ to his heart.

Master of the Island by Lauren Hawkeye
When his life takes a dark turn, billionaire Theodosius Vardalos purchases a deserted island in the Bermuda triangle. It's accessible only by plane- the better, he thinks, to hide his scars from the rest of the world. What Theo doesn't know is that the island has an incredible secret, one that gives him hope... hope of future happiness, despite the horrible scars that make him a recluse. Hope to be had in the arms of a mysterious blonde he hasn't yet met...
Delicious and Deadly by CC MacKenzie
The head chef stood in the castle of Eden’s state-of-the-art kitchen, long legs spread, muscled arms folded, a stony stare pinning Mika to the spot.

It was eight-thirty in the evening and the young waiter felt as if he was about to pass out.

A trickle of cold sweat slid down Mika’s back.

His heartbeat hammered too fast against his ribs.

On the whole being part of the service crew and working for Oscar Zamani was a pretty good gig. Chef might be one big scary bastard with hands the size of a dinner plate, but he was a cool guy, usually. Chef was also passionate about food reaching dining tables and rooms piping hot. Customer satisfaction was key. So how the hell was Mika going to explain the return of not just one, but two trays, untouched, from a suite in the tower?

"Just to be clear, Mika. You are telling me that the trays were simply left in the hallway?" Oscar wanted to know, his deep voice no more than a growl. His inflection was pregnant with disbelief, as if Mika had left a newborn unattended among a pride of lions. The tone had Mika's knees knocking.

"Chef, the... the note on the door said, 'Please knock. Leave the tray in the hall.' So I did. Twice."

"Note?" Mika jumped as Oscar barked the word, held out his hand.

Thanking sweet baby Jesus that he'd had the bright idea to bring the note with him as proof, Mika dug his hand into his vest pocket. Placed the folded piece of paper onto Oscar's huge palm.

Eyes never leaving Mika's, Oscar opened the paper, flicked his eyes down to read.


With great care he folded the note and tucked it nice and safe in the top pocket of his crisp white chef jacket.

Dark eyes rose and pinned Mika to the spot.

"Name?" Oscar asked in a soft voice.

Because his black bow tie felt too tight, Mika cleared his throat.

"E.J. Byron."

Oscar frowned.

The name rang a very distant bell.

"Man, woman?"

"No idea, sir. Never seen him."

Oscar turned to survey the staff manning a kitchen gone too quiet, all that could be heard was the steady drip, drip, drip of a tap.

He raised his brows in silent query.

Everyone shook their head.

Oscar moved over to a tray, lifted a heavy lid of solid silver. He's never... never had an untouched plate returned to his kitchen. With a righteous fury burning his gut, he surveyed the congealed mess on a delicate plate of white china. His teeth ran over his top lip at the thought of how much planning and effort had gone into making sure the rack of melt-in-the-mouth lamb had been seared to a light pink... perfection. How the broccoli spears had been steamed to al dente... perfection. How the delicate reduction, using the finest claret from Eden's vast cellars and black currants flown in at great expense from the mainland, had excited the palate... perfection. The bowl of now limp green salad seriously annoyed him, too. But it was the mini baked Alaska, meringue made with handmade marshmallow scented with distilled rose water, that lay in a gooey mess of melted double cream ice-cream, which pressed his hot button.

Under the wide-eyes of a staff holding their collective breath, Oscar untied his pristine white apron, folded it carefully, placed it on an immaculate stainless steel worktop.

He removed his chef's hat.

Placed it on top of the apron.

Turning on his heel, Oscar marched out.

"Omigod," Mika whispered.

The sous chef crossed himself.


A distant drumbeat boomed out, like thunder, and then echoed from far, far away.

What the...?

The struggle to open heavy lids made her groan out loud as Emma tried to kick-start her foggy brain.
It sounded as if the heavy door to her suite was vibrating in its frame.




Emma stood, swaying on her bare feet.

Stumbling just a little, she shoved her hair from her face.




A mix of irritation and worry began to simmer in her stomach.

She tripped over a pair of abandoned flip flops and nearly fell flat on her face.

Sheer temper had her kick one out the way as she stalked through the disaster zone that was the sitting room.

She yanked opened the door.

"What the hell?" she yelled.

The clenched fist in her face had her body react, arms lifting in defence, before her brain could compute. The trembling started in her feet, by the time it reached her knees, her legs couldn't hold her weight. The only warning she got was the roaring in her ears before Oscar was moving into her.

The world went black.

Ivy in Bloom by Tawny Stokes
Chapter One
The last thing I expected as I walked across the Glendale campus to my economics class  with a Venti Moccachino in my hand was to be completely humiliated and embarrassed in front of a bunch of strangers. But that was exactly what happened at 10:24 that morning.

It was a gorgeous day and I loathed spending it indoors, but in California almost every day was gorgeous, so it wasn’t like I was never going to have another day like this to spend working on my tan.  I walked quickly across the center quad because as usual I was going to be late for class. It was quite possible that I had set a college record for the amount of tardies in the first year. In high school I had gotten that honor.

I was just about to open the door to the west hall, when I heard my name.

I turned to see Derek, my boyfriend of the past three months, strutting up to me. And the boy did strut much like a peacock. The cock of the walk. At six foot two he pulled it off tremendously. I put up with it because he was extremely cute. He even had dimples in his cheeks when he grinned.

His two douchey friends, Brett and Rico, stood off to the side to wait for him. Neither of them liked me much because I didn’t put up with their immature bullshit. I had questioned Derek 
many times on why he was friends with them.  He never really gave me a definitive answer. Just mumblings about having been friends since high school.

I still had friends from high school, Violet and Dahlia, but they were awesome. Although I hadn’t seen either one of them in a few months. Dahlia was across the country at a design school and Violet was still trying to get her life back together after some horrible shit happened to her. We texted and talked on the phone though.

“Hey baby.” I wrapped a hand around his neck and pulled him down for a kiss. I missed him as we hadn’t hooked up the night before like we usually did. He said he had some test to study for. Which I thought weird since I had never seen him study for anything since I’d known him. He was in his second year of aviation, and all I’d ever seen him do is fly more beer and weed into his mouth.

I pulled back and looked him over. He tasted like coffee and the one cigarette he allowed himself every morning in an effort to kick the habit and, surprisingly, cherry lip gloss. My stomach lurched. I didn’t wear cherry flavored anything.

“Did you study for your test?” I asked, although by the way he was looking at me, I didn’t think he wanted to talk about studying or school.

He took my hand. “We need to talk.”

“Look, you are really pretty and stuff, but…”

“Are you breaking up with me?”

He looked down at his feet.

“You’re screwing someone else, aren’t you?”

“What’s it like then? Huh?” I pulled my hand out of his.

Others who mingled around in the quad started to look our way. It was highly possible my voice was a few octaves higher and louder than normal.

“I’m sorry, but it’s just not working for me anymore.”

“What’s not working? The sex we have all the time? The blowjobs you beg me to give you? The time I tied you up and spanked you? Huh? What?”

There were some giggles from the other people in the quad.

“What way? Mad?  Because you stuck your dick in someone else BEFORE you broke up with me. Why on earth would I be mad about that?”

He shook his head and ran a hand through his mop of dark hair. “This is exactly why this ain’t working.”

I raised my eyebrow and tilted my head to say “Go on motherfucker tell me what’s wrong with me. I know you want to.”

“You’re so damn controlling all the time. And bossy. And I can’t do anything without asking for permission.”

“You wanted permission to fuck some other chick?”

“No!” He threw up his hands. “Jesus, you’re so damn irritating.”

“Well whatever.” He took a few steps away. “We’re done. Your shit is in a box on my porch. Collect it today or it’s going in the garbage.” He walked back to his friends, who were 

“I’m surprised you had the stones to even do this in person.”

“I told him to just text you,” Rico said. “Since I thought that’s all you’re worth.”

I flipped him the middle finger. “Fuck you Rico. Good thing I didn’t tell him about all the secret texts you were sending me trying to hook up behind his back.”

Derek gave Rico a sidelong look as they walked away. I knew it wouldn’t amount to much. In his mind, it would be my fault about Rico. That I had somehow encouraged him just by being a girl.

I turned around so I didn’t have to watch him walk away from me. The tears were welling in my eyes, but I really didn’t want to let them go here in public with ten strangers watching with avid interest.

I adjusted my purse strap on my shoulder, then instead of going into the school I started back the way I’d came.  There was no point in going to class today. I wouldn’t have been able to concentrate anyway. So I figured a good long cry and forty minutes on the elliptical was in order.  

I liked to sweat when I was upset. I was a size 2 because I got upset a lot.  Some girls would be jealous of me because of my figure, but they had no clue how much I suffered emotionally for it. 

Dahlia and Ivy didn’t really know either.  I had always put on a carefree façade, especially when it came to guys, but deep down I had battle scars all over my heart and soul.

I always picked the wrong ones. Guys who only wanted to know my outsides and not my insides. Any time I ever even hinted that I might be more than my C cup and pouty pink lips, guys got spooked and looked for a way to break up with me. And that way usually involved another girl. It was so typical.

When I returned to my apartment near campus I immediately went into my bedroom. I grabbed an old plastic bag I sometimes used for garbage and opened my closet door. I tore an old chambray shirt from a hanger and shoved it into the bag. It was one of Derek’s. I slept in it sometimes because it had smelled like him, a combination of CK One and man.

Turning, I snatched up the stick of deodorant on my dresser and the spearmint chapstick beside it and tossed both in the bag. Then I made my way to the bathroom and tossed in the razor I had bought him and the toothbrush. I was about to leave when I stopped and faced the toilet.

Angry tears were rolling down my cheeks now. I didn’t want to shed them over him but sometimes a girl just has to have some release. And some pay back.

I reached into the bag and took out the toothbrush. I opened the toilet lid and peered into the bowl. The water wasn’t dirty, I used an automatic cleaner inside the tank, but I hadn’t scrubbed the inside of the bowl in a week or so. Until now.

I crouched and vigorously rubbed the bristles of the toothbrush inside the bowl. I dipped it in the water and scrubbed the stained porcelain. It was stained when I moved in, but still it made me feel better to do it. I scrubbed and scrubbed until my arm was sore and the tears on my 
cheeks had dried. Satisfied, I straightened then tossed the dirty wet toothbrush into the bag.

In the living room I set the plastic bag on the table and plopped down onto the sofa. I felt a little better. Ruining his toothbrush gave me some joy. It kept the tears at bay for now and  sometimes that was all a girl could hope for in a situation like this.

I took out my phone and texted my friends, Dahlia and Violet.

Me: So, another one bites the dust

I waited a few minutes. I knew Dahlia might be in class but Violet usually answered right 

Violet: Why did you break up with this one?

Violet: Oh crap babe, I’m sorry. What happened?

Me: Dumped me for some other chick

Me: Says I’m a control freak. Can u believe that?

I didn’t text her back. I couldn’t believe she was agreeing with Derek. I mean, she was 

supposed to be my best friend. Best friends had each other’s back no matter what. I didn’t judge her when she hooked up with weirdo Devon.  Well, I guess maybe I did say a few hurtful things about him even after I’d realized she really did like him and it wasn’t just a brief dive into the dark side.

Violet: Sorry hun. I wish you were here so I could hug you

Violet: If you want to talk, call me. I’m here

I did want to talk but in person. I hated that I was here, and Violet was there, and Dahlia was all the way across the country. I needed my girls. Especially now.

I set my phone down beside me and looked around at my apartment. It was a decent place. Bigger than what the majority of the students lived in. My parents paid for it, as well as the bills. I was lucky that my parents were wealthy and could afford to pay for my education. 

This was one of the reasons I had agreed to go to Glendale.  My dad especially wanted me to get a college degree.  He didn’t care what it was in, as long as I got it.  I had tried to argue with him about it, insisting that it would be a huge waste of money, but he was stubborn and was used to getting his way.

But I was stubborn too. And now seemed like the perfect time to prove it.

I got up and went into my bedroom. I grabbed the suitcase from under the bed, opened it and started to pack up my clothes. I was going home.

Escape from Reality by Adriana Hunter
He bent his head, his lips moving along her collarbone, dipping lower, sliding along the edge of her gown for a moment, then kissing the valley between her breasts. His hand rose, cupping one breast, kneading her flesh with firm fingers. Leila gasped with pleasure as he slid his thumb across her nipple. The exquisite sensation as it drew up hard changed her gasp to a low moan. There seemed to be a direct line between his circling thumb and a very specific spot deep between her hips. 

She made a small noise as his thumb stopped its erotic circle around her hardened nipple and she heard an answering chuckle, low and deep. His lips moved from her skin, his breath hot through the satin. 

Leila cried out as he slowly licked her nipple and she clutched the sheets, not out of tension, but in ecstasy. At the touch of his wet tongue over the satin, the friction of the material against her sensitive skin, she arched against him, her hips rising from the bed.

The wet satin molded to her as he repeatedly licked her nipple, occasionally nuzzling his cheek against her breast. Her body moved on its own, hips undulating from side to side, her back arching against his mouth. When he slowly pulled the wet satin aside and blew across her damp skin, she cried out, her nipple puckering even more, a wash of goose bumps prickling her skin.

He pulled her breast into his mouth, sucking hard, almost greedily. Leila felt his body moving in time with hers, the hip resting against hers pressing against her as she rose. 

His hand moved to her other breast, pulling back the gown, fondling her briefly before he moved to suck that breast. 

Leila’s body was suffused with a liquid heat, coursing through her, pooling deep inside her. Her fingers found their way back to his hair, winding through the thick strands. 

Finally he looked up at her, his eyes meeting hers. He sat up, took her hands, and pulled her upright. 

“This comes off.” His voice was rough with passion and he tugged impatiently on the gown. Leila rose to her knees and he helped her slide the gown over her head. Before she could lie back, he wrapped his arms around her, burying his face between her breasts, turning his head, kissing her softly. He held her and she held his head gently to her body.

After a moment, he let her go and she sat back, hands reaching for his shirt. 

He watched her in the dim light as she undid the buttons with trembling fingers. As she reached the last button, her hand brushed across his lap, across the bulge of his erection. Leila hesitated, resting her hand on him, feeling the heat and hardness his jeans concealed. He drew in a sharp breath, grabbing her hand.

“Lie back.” He stood, removing his shirt, dropping it to the floor as she lay back on the sheets.

His eyes never left hers as he undid the button and zipper on his jeans. Leila tried to hold his gaze, but her eyes slid over his chest, past the flat stomach and taut navel, then lower as he began tugging his jeans over his narrow hips. This was exactly what she’d described in her assignment, every detail—almost every detail. He was perfect.

As his jeans slid lower, the dark line of hair she’d written about appeared, the line that extended below his navel, growing thicker as he lowered his jeans. Leila’s breathing was shallow and fast, practically panting, eyes widening in anticipation. He tugged the jeans a fraction of an inch lower and Leila’s breath stopped. Slowly, he leaned over Leila, rested a hand beside her, and blew out the candle.

For a fraction of an instant, there was silence and then Leila cried out in frustration. 

He laughed from somewhere nearby, and she heard the sound of his jeans hitting the floor. The mattress dipped with his weight and she felt the heat of his body a moment before his hand slid across her stomach. He leaned close and she drew in his scent, rich and spicy, deeply masculine.

There was no moonlight, and for an instant Leila cursed the darkness. But the hand on her stomach moved lower and she forgot about what he looked like, only able to focus on where his hand was going. 

Fingers slid between her legs as his mouth found hers. He claimed her again with a powerful kiss, and she instinctively wound her arms around his neck, holding him close. 

Her legs moved on their own accord, hips rising, thighs falling open at his touch. 

And then his touch moved lower, further, feather-light strokes deepening as his kiss deepened, fingers probing deeper as his tongue took possession of her mouth. Her moans were muffled against his lips, his throaty growl against hers.

He shifted his weight, one long leg moving over the top of hers. His hip pressed against her body and she felt his erection, hard and hot, rubbing against her skin. But that wasn’t enough contact. She craved more, much more. Wiggling beneath him, she pulled and guided him until he rested between her legs, his hips pinning her to the mattress.

Lifting his head, he broke their kiss. She felt his breath against her cheek, his open mouth brushing against her neck. He shifted his weight again and she drew her legs up his body, over the hard muscles of his thighs.

He brushed against her, hotter than she could have imagined, and his hips shifted slightly, the muscles of his thighs tensing beneath her legs as he braced himself. Leila moved her legs further up his body, bringing her hips up to meet him, opening herself to him.

There was a long moment where he held himself, poised, just touching her, moving slowly, lightly, teasing her with a hint of what was to come. She bit her lip, aching to feel him inside her, the anticipation almost overwhelming. With one movement, she knew, he’d be there, filling her completely, totally. All she needed to do was wait. Waiting was agony, but a delicious agony nonetheless.

He lifted his head and she wished for light, to see the look on his face, the passion in his eyes, the passion that matched what raced through her own body. His hips flexed as he pulled back slowly, just a little, enough to let her know he was ready. And she was more than ready for him. 

Then he was there, thrusting into her, slowly, seemingly forever. Leila let out a long, low moan as he drove himself forward, her hips rolling upward, her body accepting everything he had to give her.

Finally he stopped, exhaling against her neck, holding himself inside her for a moment. Raising his head, he braced his forearms on either side of her, his fingers playing over her face, finally coming to rest in her hair, tangling themselves in the long strands. His breath moved across her forehead, and then his lips pressed against her skin.

Her hands skated over the hot skin of his back, playing over broad shoulders, down the ridge of his spine, lower, to the small of his back, and then up the sharp slope of his buttocks. She dug her fingers into firm flesh and as if spurred on by her touch, she felt the muscles beneath her hands clench, his hips driving forward even further, as impossible as that seemed.

And then he was moving, hard and fast, Leila matching him stroke for stroke, as if all the anticipation and pent up longing had been released. He buried his face in her neck, his breath rasping harshly against her skin.

Leila tipped her head back, sounds she never realized she could make coming from her parted lips as every thrust drove her toward some unimagined plane of pleasure. 

Every inch of her body was alive like it had never been before. The core of her, where he lay claim to her, where they were joined, felt like a molten pool.

She lost track of time, focusing only on the movements of their bodies. At some point he slid a hand beneath her ass, fingers digging into her flesh, lifting her, his body flexing and twisting, as if there were some way he could consume more of her, or she more of him.

His sounds had deepened, moans becoming growls, growing louder, more urgent. 

Leila’s arms were flung wide now, fingers twisting in the sheets, her body speeding toward what could only be oblivion.

He drew back from her, his chest rising from hers, and her body instantly arched upward, taking on a life of its own as his hips drove into her at a relentless pace. 

Something deep and powerful welled up inside her and she writhed beneath him, head thrashing from side to side. The world went soundless for a moment and then she heard herself, from a distance, then louder, clear, cry after cry as her body shuddered and twisted in his grasp. Finally the tremors slowed and she drew a shaky breath. 

His arms were still wrapped around her, holding her loosely, and he thrust slowly, but not as deeply. She relaxed in his arms, letting his momentum carry her for a moment. 

Gradually his thrusts became shaper, harder, more aggressive, each one accompanied by a deep grunt. Leila drew her legs higher along his body, wrapping them around his waist. Her movements triggered something in him and his arms tightened around her again, his body wrapping around hers.

With a sudden powerful thrust, he sank himself deeply, completely, holding himself still inside her. Every muscle in his body was taut, his arms like iron bands around her. 

She held her breath, not wanting to break his concentration, waiting for him, for what she felt certain would be his climax.

Then beneath her hands he began to move, his hips pumping hard and fast into her, each thrust accompanied by a noise so primal it sent a shiver through Leila’s body. 

She was unprepared for the intensity of his climax, for the power of his thrusts, the animalistic noises. 

Leila was swept up in his passion, in his release, her body responding to his, a fresh cascade of sensations sweeping through her. She found herself answering his cries with her own, her body alive again with ecstasy. 

They held each other for a moment, arms and legs relaxing, slowly moving apart. 

He rolled onto his back next to her and she curled against him, hand on his chest as his arm encircled her. The soft breeze from the window played across her skin, a delicious counterpoint to the heat that spread across her body. 

Leila had never felt so complete. Not just happy, but as if for the first time, something clicked inside, some connection had been made. It went beyond the physical sensations in her body. Granted, he’d saved her life, but it went deeper than that. She’d had sex before, had even had what she’d considered making love, but there had never been this connection with those men, even men she thought she’d been in love with. And yet this man was a stranger.

Leila was content, drifting into sleep, her head on his shoulder. Almost asleep, she roused herself to ask the one question she had of the man beside her.

“You never told me your name.”

He shifted on the bed, his arm pulling her close, lips brushing across her forehead.

“I can’t, Leila. You haven’t given me one yet.”

Author Bios:
Avery Aster
Avery Aster pens The Manhattanites, a modern erotic romance series of juicy melodramas multilayered on love, friendship, scandal, and drama to the hilt. As a resident of New York’s Upper East Side and a graduate from New York University, Avery gives readers an inside look at the city’s glitzy nightlife, socialite sexcapades and tall tales of the über-rich 
and ultra-famous. “I write about what I see in my metropolis that never sleeps–beautiful people on the quest for a passionate thrill,” Avery says. By and large, Avery’s characters are ripped straight from the headlines, speak their minds and always get what they want. Each novel may be read as a stand alone and is free of any cliffhangers.

Opal Carew
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.

Mari Carr
Writing a book was number one on Mari Carr’s bucket list. Now her computer is jammed full of stories — novels, novellas, short stories and dead-ends. A New York Times and USA TODAY bestseller, Mari finds time for writing by squeezing it into the hours between 3 a.m. and daybreak when her family is asleep.

Cathryn Fox
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author, Cathryn Fox is a wife, mom, sister, daughter, and friend. She loves dogs, sunny weather, anything chocolate (she never says no to a brownie) pizza and red wine. She has two teenagers who keep her busy with their never ending activities, and a husband who is convinced he can turn her into a mixed martial arts fan. Cathryn can never find balance in her life, is always trying to find time to go to the gym, can never keep up with emails, Facebook or Twitter and tries to write page-turning books that her readers will love. Cathryn also writes Young Adult novels under Cat Kalen and co-writes paranormal romance as Taylor Keating.

Eliza Gayle
Eliza Gayle lives a life full of sexy shapeshifters, blood boiling vamps and a dark desire for bondage…until she steps away from her computer and has to tend to her family.
She graduated Magna Cum Laude (which her husband translated into something very naughty) from college with a dual degree in Human Resource Management and Sociology.  That education, a love of the metaphysical and a dirty mind comes in handy when she sits down to create new characters and worlds.  The trick is getting her to sit still.
…Join her in her world.  The door is always open and the next red hot adventure is just a page away.

Steena Holmes 
I’m Steena Holmes. A wife, a mother of three daughters, and I live in Calgary, Alberta. I’m an author and a chocoholic. I love to read, write, and bake.
Welcome to my world of passions—chocolate and writing! Pull up a chair, fill your plate with sweet delicacies as we learn together how to become stronger writers. We’ll discuss books, indie publishing and passions—not always in that order!
Growing up as a small town Canadian girl, there wasn’t much to do but ride your bike, hang out with friends on the beach and daydream. I always wanted to write but never dreamed it was something I could do as a career. I love to travel and fell in love with the sheep covered hillside, old castles and romantic history of Scotland and England. I dream about waking up in Tuscany and touring small town shops in the south of France with my husband, of placing my toes in the ocean and experiencing history first hand. As a mother with three daughters, I’m learning that teaching them to pursue their dreams is a lasting legacy. I love to wake up to the Rocky Mountains, will forever enjoy the taste of coffee and chocolate and can’t imagine the day when a story doesn’t unfold in my heart. Living a life with passion and pursuing dreams is a life well lived.

Adriana Hunter
New York Times & USA Today Bestselling author Adriana Hunter wrote her very first novel at only thirteen years old, by hand, in an old lined scribbler and she hasn’t stopped since. Her contemporary and paranormal romance stories feature irresistibly powerful alpha heroes and the beautifully curvy heroines that love them. 

Roni Loren
Roni wrote her first romance novel at age fifteen when she discovered writing about boys was way easier than actually talking to them. Since then, her flirting skills haven’t improved, but she likes to think her storytelling ability has. Though she’ll forever be a New Orleans girl at heart, she now lives in Dallas with her husband and son.
If she’s not working on her latest sexy story, you can find her reading, watching reality television, or indulging in her unhealthy addiction to rockstars, er, rock concerts. Yeah, that’s it.

She is the National Bestselling Author of The Loving on the Edge series.

Sharon Page
USA Today Bestselling author Sharon Page sold her first book in 2004. Since then, she has published more than 20 novels and novellas, both traditionally through NY publishers and on her own through self-publishing.
Sharon writes: Erotic historical romance (Sin, Deeply in You) Erotic paranormal romance (Blood Red, Blood Curse) Sensual historical romance (The Club) New adult contemporary erotic romance (The Yardley College Chronicles series).
Sharon’s books have won many awards including two RT Bookreviews Reviewers Choice Awards, two National Readers Choice Awards, the Colorado Award of Romance, and the Golden Quill.  Sharon was nominated by RT Bookreviews in 2013 for Career Achievement in Erotic Romance.
Sharon graduated with a degree in Industrial Design (School of Engineering) and worked for years in the structural engineering field. Married, with two children, Sharon now writes almost full time.

Daire St. Denis
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Daire St. Denis is an adventure seeker, an ancient history addict, a seasonal hermit and a wine lover. She writes smoking hot, contemporary romance where the pages are steeped in sensuality and there’s always a dash of the unexpected. The best way to spice things up is to check out her new series of interactive tales, WICKED WAY INTERACTIVES, a fun new format in sexy storytelling

Tawny Stokes
Tawny Stokes aka Vivi Anna is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author in paranormal romance, urban fantasy, scifi, young adult and new adult.  Since 2003, she’s written and published over 40 books for New York publishers and indie published.

Elena Aitken
Like a lot of my readers, I’m a busy mom. It often feels like life is pulling us in a million different directions, which is why I love to write romance! There’s nothing better than knowing you have an escape waiting for you at the end of a long day in the form of a good book.
I’m lucky enough to live in the shadow of the Canadian Rocky Mountains in the foothills of Alberta, where I can write the stories I love. Whenever I get the chance, I escape into those amazing mountains and I can usually be found sitting with my feet in the lake, working on my next book.
As well as contemporary romance novels, I also like to write women’s fiction and my collection of stand alone novels are all part of the Escape Collection. I’m always trying something new, so stay tuned to see what’s next!

CC MacKenzie
CC MACKENZIE is the author of three completed contemporary romances due out this year. Reckless Nights in Rome, A Stormy Spring.  Run Rosie Run is due out before the end of 2012.  She released a vampire romance novella Big Trouble in China  in September 2012 the first of three in a series.  Capturing Coco’s Heart another contemporary romance  is out in early 2013.
A born storyteller, she creates a fast paced blend of humour, poignancy and a deep sensual warmth that speaks directly to her readers. The eldest of two children, Christine lives in South Cheshire, United Kingdom. She has two daughters and one son.

Lauren Hawkeye
New York Time and USA Today bestselling author Lauren Hawkeye never imagined that she’d wind up telling stories for a living… though when she looks back, it’s easy to see that she’s the only one who is surprised. Always “the kid who read all the time”, Lauren made up stories about her favorite characters once she’d finished a book… and once spent an entire year narrating her own life internally. No, really. But where she was just plain odd before publication, now she can at least claim to have an artistic temperament.
Lauren lives in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, Canada with her husband, toddler, pit bull and idiot cat, though they do not live in an igloo, nor do they drive a dogsled. In her nonexistent spare time Lauren can be found knitting, reading anything she can get her hands on, or sweating her way through spin class. She loves to hear from her readers!

Adriana Hunter

Avery Aster

Cathryn Fox

Daire St. Denis

Eliza Gayle

Mari Carr

Opal Carew

Roni Loren

Sharon Page

Steena Holmes 

Tawny Stokes

Elena Aitken

CC MacKenzie

Lauren Hawekye

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