Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Release Blitz: Hard to Let Go by Laura Kaye

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We are so excited to bring you the Release Week Blitz for Laura Kaye's HARD TO LET GO! HARD TO LET GO is the 4th novel in Laura's Hard Ink Series, published by Avon Romance. Grab your copy of this sexy, suspenseful book today!!

  Hard to Let Go - cover

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Hard to Let Go on Goodreads

EXCERPT: Taking a deep breath, Beckett knocked on the door. No answer. He turned the knob, and the door opened. “Go away,” came a strained voice. Beckett poked his head through the opening. Kat sat in a ball in the corner, her legs pulled up to her chest, her arms hugging herself tight. “Aw, Jesus, Beckett. Really?” Her face was splotchy and her eyes watery, though he didn’t see any tears. Ten-to-one she was going through some adrenaline letdown right now, too. Which no doubt made it all worse. That shit could fuck you up even when you were used to how it left you feeling drained and shaky, by how all the stress you’d suppressed during the height of the crisis boomeranged twice over after the fact. He came into the room, closed the door, and turned the lock for good measure. And then he crossed to Kat, scooped his arms under her knees and behind her back and lifted her up against him. She smacked his chest. “Put me down.” “No.” He moved to the edge of the bed. “I don’t need this right now, Beckett. Put me down.” “Yes, you do,” he said, sitting on the edge of the mattress. He pulled her face in against his throat and smoothed her hair back from her cheek. She trembled against him, just the littlest bit, her skin hot to the touch. He pressed a kiss to her forehead and hugged her tighter. “You did good, kid.” Every one of her muscles went tight. Her hand fisted in his shirt. And her breath caught as she buried her face against his neck and shoulder. Then Kat burst out crying. And it was like being torn apart and put back together, all at once. He hated her pain, but he adored that she wasn’t hiding herself from him, and that she was letting him be there for her. He didn’t shush her, or try to talk her down, or encourage her to dry her eyes. To be sure, her tears were like daggers in his heart—they hurt like fucking hell. But the only way she was going to feel better was to let this shit out. Ironic realization for him—he did actually see that. But just because you could see what was good for others didn’t mean you had the first goddamned idea how to apply those principles in your own life. And that was a problem for another time anyway. What mattered right now was Kat. What mattered … was Kat. Hard Ink Series Trailer:
About HARD TO LET GO: Beckett Murda hates to dwell on the past. But his investigation into the ambush that killed half his Special Forces team and ended his Army career gives him little choice. Just when his team learns how powerful their enemies are, hard-ass Beckett encounters his biggest complication yet—a seductive, feisty Katherine Rixey. A tough, stubborn prosecutor, Kat visits her brothers’ Hard Ink Tattoo shop following a bad break-up—and finds herself staring down the barrel of a stranger’s gun. Beckett is hard-bodied and sexy as hell, but he’s also the most infuriating man ever. Worse, Kat’s brothers are at war with the criminals her office is investigating. When Kat joins the fight, she lands straight in Beckett’s sights . . . and in his arms. Not to mention their enemies’ crosshairs. Now Beckett and Kat must set aside their differences to work together, because the only thing sweeter than justice is finding love and never letting go.     HTLG Reviews Tease Praise for HARD TO LET GO: “Kaye wraps up her bestselling series with this action-packed story, highlighting her talent for alpha military heroes, hot romance, and an ensemble cast of characters who are unique and engaging. A super sexy, high-octane romantic suspense novel that concludes the popular Hard Ink series in a completely satisfying way.” ~Kirkus Reviews “TOP PICK! Kaye brings her Hard Ink series to a spectacular conclusion that successfully wraps up the overarching mystery and brings closure to her compelling characters. Kaye really nails it with this awesome book and series!” ~RT Book Reviews “HARD TO LET GO will blow you away! Anyone who has been following Laura Kaye’s fantastic Hard Ink series will expect something great for the last book in the series, and to say HARD TO LET GO does not disappoint would be the understatement of the year! Ms. Kaye writes sex scenes like it’s nobody’s business, and the blistering chemistry between Kat and Becket will leave you panting and begging for more! If you expected world-class action in HARD TO LET GO, think again and multiply that by ten! HARD TO LET GO has to be the most explosive conclusion to a series ever! Do not miss it at any cost!” ~Fresh Fiction And don’t miss the other Hard Ink books, now available:

Hard as It gets

HARD AS IT GETS

Hard as You Can

HARD AS YOU CAN

Hard To Hold On To

HARD TO HOLD ON TO

Hard To Come By Cover

HARD TO COME BY

Hard to Be Good - Cover

HARD TO BE GOOD

  Praise for the Hard Ink Series: "TOP PICK! If you're looking for danger, gritty action, and sizzling passion, then Kaye has just the book and the series for you." ~RT Book Reviews Magazine   HTLG Available Now     Author PhotoAbout Laura Kaye: Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over twenty books in contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.        

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Release Blitz: Right Next Door by A.J. Pryor

It’s release day for RIGHT NEXT DOOR by A.J. Pryor. I am so excited about this book, and am thrilled to share it with you! A.J. is sharing an exclusive excerpt with us, as well as a fantastic giveaway!! Be sure to check it all out! RightNextDoor RDL Banner
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  RightNextDoor Final[6] About Right Next Door: My fiancé is officially a married man. The only problem is that he isn’t married to me. . . Addison Peacock has been stuck in the same seaside town her entire life. When her college boyfriend proposes the night before graduation, she can finally see the future she’d always dreamt about. But the sudden illness of her father causes her to put that future on hold, and her soon-to-be husband leaves, with nothing but a promise that one day he’ll return. Now, five years later, he’s kept that promise. There’s only one problem . . . he’s already married. Crushed twice by the same man, Addison needs a distraction, someone to get her back on her feet and mend her broken heart. As luck would have it, Damian Walker has just moved in next door. Having rebuilt his own life after a drunk driver stole his career, his heart . . . everything, Damian knows what it’s going to take to get Addison’s life back on track. But he’s not going to be anyone’s rebound. His life is complicated . . . there’s no room for one-night stands. Until Addison knows what she’s looking for, neighbors are all they’ll ever be. One shared wall, two sun-kissed balconies, and a chance at love...a twist of fate. Could the possibility of a future be right next door?   Amazon | BN| iBook | Kobo RND_5 Excerpt: Barreling out of her apartment in black leggings and a white tank that accentuates those perfect breasts I’m thinking this run, may be the death of me. I already want to trail my hands along the smooth curves of her hips and take those tight black pants right off her body. My breath gets shallow as I near her, my body reacting to what she does to me. She seems tense, worried about something as I approach. Her top lip is securely hidden under her straight white bottom teeth and she’s eyeing me as I walk toward her. “Loosen up, Addison. I’m not going to bite.” Running my hand along her ponytail, I give it a slight tug before heading down the stairs, assuming she’ll follow. “Unless of course you ask me to.” I’m at the bottom of the staircase stretching, and she’s still waiting up top. Where’s the playful girl from ten minutes ago? “You coming?” Whatever had been bothering her seems to vanish as she puts her smile back on and bounces down to me. “Not yet,” she mumbles as she descends the stairs. It’s clear she was talking to herself, not realizing that her double meaning was loud and echoing in my own ears. I instantly get a semi erection at the image of those intense eyes glossing over in ecstasy, her lips parted and my name falling off her tongue. Standing close, she places a hand on my shoulder for support as she grabs her foot to stretch. Her head is right under my chin, her soft scent surrounding me. Gently I hold onto her arms and keep her steady as she changes legs. The urge to lean down and kiss her overwhelms me as I hold her delicate shoulders, her bottom lip secure under her front teeth. She’s stunning; her long dark hair is pulled back, her eyes deep in concentration on what she’s doing. I want to tell her how beautiful she is, caught up in this moment with her. The words are on the tip of my tongue when she steps back and pats my ass, taking off at a slow jog. I smile to myself and watch her from behind. Next time she touches my ass, I’m kissing her, no questions asked. She’s keeping up with me stride for stride as we take off down the beach path. Her breath is coming in gasps, and a sheen of sweat has begun beading on her forehead. I’m barely breaking a sweat, but I’ll get my workout in tomorrow morning at the track, or if I’m lucky, maybe tonight between my sheets. Looking down at her from the corner of my eye, I’m happy to see that she’s now more relaxed. “How’s the girlfriend search?” I almost trip on that damn tree root. “In progress.” “That doesn’t answer my question.” She’s having a hard time talking, winded from our pace and I think I should speed us up further so she can’t talk at all. “I’m working on a few prospects at the moment. If any of them pan out I’ll let you know.” She rolls her eyes and I want to throw her in the sand and kiss her, make her forget she asked me a question in the first place. “Do you always run at night?” she asks between labored breaths. What’s with the twenty questions? “No. I’m a morning person.” Her eyes dart in my direction, as a curious look crosses her face. “You have a dirty mind, Green Eyes.” Bumping into me, she argues the topic, barely getting her words out she’s straining so hard. “How do you know,” she takes in a big breath, “what was on my mind?” “Everything you think is written all over your face. And for your information, yes, I love the mornings.” She stops mid-stride and bends over in laughter, her arms across her midsection as she tries to catch her breath. Suddenly she’s in the sand not even trying to get a handle on the giggles erupting from the depth of her gut. Sand is in her hair and sticks to the sweat that’s covering her skin. Her cheeks were already a rosy color and now they’re turning bright red. I sit down beside her, my arms propped up on my knees waiting for her to calm down. When she finally gets a handle on herself, she lies flat on her back and stares up at the sky, her eyes suddenly far away, looking like they’re searching for answers to some unasked question. “My ex was a morning person too. I loved it. It’s quiet outside, and still dark in the bedroom. It’s like a secret time where you feel like you’re the only two people on the planet awake and you’re sharing a piece of yourself with each other. A silent communication that only the two of you can understand.” Unexpected sadness washes over me listening to Addison long for a situation that clearly doesn’t exist in her life anymore. Whoever her ex is must be a real asshole. She deserves better than an asshole. She deserves me. Lost in his thoughts   About the Author:   IMG_5802A.J. Pryor lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two daughters. If not home writing, you can find her at the beach, the yoga studio or the soccer field with her girls. An avid reader of contemporary romance, new adult and young adult novels, her Kindle is always within reach. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara.     https://www.facebook.com/AJPryorauthor?fref=ts   www.twitter.com/ajpryor1   Www.ajpryor.com   Enter A.J.’s giveaway!!   a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 29, 2015

Reviews: Black Jack Gentleman Series by Liz Crowe

Book Title: Man On. Book 1 in Black Jack Gentleman Series
Author: Liz Crowe
Source: Copy for Review
Release Date: August 10, 2013
Synopsis:

Bad boy of European football, Nicolas Garza is about to hit American shores with a vengeance. Signed by the Detroit Black Jack Gentlemen as lynch pin for their expansion club, Nicco only half believes he’s making the right move. But with a past full of ghosts and rotten behavior chasing him from his homeland, he has no real choice.

Parker Rollings is a college soccer superstar, but his parents’ plans for their only son do not include professional athletics. When the Black Jacks approach him to finalize their roster, Parker leaps at the chance to keep playing, leaving behind medical school, stability and his first and only college sweetheart.

Nicco and Parker face off as bitter rivals for a coveted starting spot at midfield and are forced to channel their negative energy into something positive for the sake of the group—and themselves.

All eyes are on the fledgling team in its debut season. It’s crucial that the Black Jacks prove all the doubters wrong. They must make a good showing in the league and with new fans. But player drama, club dynamics, and misplaced priorities may tear it apart before it even begins.



Book Title: Red Card, Book 2 in Series
Author: Liz Crowe
Source: Copy for Review
Release Date: August 2013
Synopsis:

Free will makes us human.

Choice makes us individuals.

Love makes us unique.
 

Metin Sevim has it all. At the pinnacle of international soccer playing success, he has managed to craft a perfect world for himself along the way.

When fate strips him of free will and the ability to choose his own path, he retreats from everyone and everything, destroying his hard-won career in the process.

Dragged back from the brink by his desperate family, Metin reluctantly agrees to coach the Black Jack Gentlemen Detroit soccer team but remains debilitated by memories and loss. When a surprising friendship emerges, it renews his passion for life, providing much needed solace… and extreme complications.

A saga of family dynamics and gender politics that cuts across cultures and circumstance, Red Card illustrates the human capacity for forgiveness through the life of one man as he attempts to rebuild his shattered existence.






Book Title: Shut Out
Author: Liz Crowe
Source: Copy for Review
Release date: September 2013
Synopsis:

A submissive once, a submissive forever?

A man on the run from the only life he’s ever known, Brody Vaughn is poised to accept the Black Jack Gentleman’s newly vacant goalkeeper’s position. It’s a desperate move, but one he must take to regain his emotional equilibrium. Reeling from his Mistress’s rejection and on the ragged edge of a total breakdown, he arrives in Detroit. Numb with thinly veiled grief, he walks into the club’s front office completely unaware that an encounter with true destiny awaits him.

Sophie Harrison has seen it all--as Domme, sub, and victim. Now that her complicated circumstances have landed her as legal counsel for the expansion Black Jacks team, she holds herself aloof in body and spirit. Nothing and no one gets past her fiercely guarded walls. Until the day she looks up to greet the new goalie standing in her doorway, his raw combination of vulnerability and strength making her breathless.

Two people, horribly scarred by the excesses of the BDSM lifestyle and hiding from their true selves, meet across a desk over a simple contract. All bets are off.
 




Each of these books is a quick read. They all have the same base plot revolving around the Black Jack Soccer team and its players. But each story differs from teh previous with a subplot revolving around one or more of the characters. 



Man On, the first book in the series, introduces us to the team, and also the main characters for the book, Parker and Nicco.  Nicco is the bad boy of Soccer, and found his way onto the Black Jacks because it had become his only option if he wanted to continue the game.  But What Nicco really needs is to figure out his life and work on  himself.  Parker gave up everything in his life to continue with his dream, to be a pro-soccer player.  He's also coming to terms with other things in his life. 

Parker and Nicco had a lot of struggles, both individually and together.  Their story wasn't always easy, but it was real, and it showed a lot of changes and growth for both of them.  There were also a few twists, I did not see coming which added an alternative angle to the overall story and made it richer. 





Red Card, book two in the series, took a way different turn from book one.  First it took us back to before parts of book one to give us the full story.   Red Card is so many things, its a story of second chances, both for people and relationships. It's an emotionally charged story of picking up the pieces after your life has been shattered and you find yourself wondering if there is anything left to live for. 

Metin suffered devestating losses and lost himself to booze and drugs, but an unlikely person finally draws him out of himself and gets him to clean up his act and try to find a way to carry on.  Moving to the states and taking over as Coach is just the start to turning things around. 

Melanie hasn't had an easy life, and she's not always the nicest of persons. But something forces her to put aside her personal feelings and attempt to get Metin back on a respectable path.  It was hard for me to like Melanie because of her behaviors in the book from the past and present parts of the story. It really took most of the book for her to grow on me.  I understood, in a way, why she was the way she was, but it felt a bit excessive at times and things she did just made me mad.  

In the end, Metin and Melanie are able to work things out and I was happy to see him get a Happy ending. 




Shut Out is book 3 in the series. Again we find ourselves with a different set of characters, not just in name, but in personalities and the sub plot changes.  

Sophie is working as part of the legal team for the Black Jacks and in doing so she meets with lots of the teams players while going over contracts or other legal necessities.  She's also got a secret second job.  Sophie has has been through a lot and her past has shaped her into who she is.  

Brody is struggling to get over changes in his life, the most prominent being the loss of his partner, though she was more than that.  He sees something in Sophie though and the two have an almost instant connection. 

Since they've both been through heartbreaking struggles, its takes a while for them to really open themselves up.  There are a lot of things that happened in this story that bothered me, either made me confused, angry, or just left feeling emotionally raw.  I like when a book can pull strong emotions out of me, but I was also happy to find some sort of resolution at the end. 








Saturday, June 27, 2015

Sale Blitz: Braid of Tongues by Monica David


   What if your perfectly contented life was suddenly turned upside down and you were forced to face a decision you never imagined you’d have to? Ariane Reis has a husband who loves her, a young son and a cosy family routine. When she starts a new job, she has no idea she is about to embark on a scorching sensory journey of eroticism and self-discovery that will irrevocably alter her life.

   Luka Volkov is a smart and unnervingly intense Russian on her team. He is young, sharp and insatiable. He doesn’t just seduce her body. He seduces her mind and the very essence of her being. Despite the emotional angst she finds herself in, Ariane must fight to get through the impossible task of untangling love from lust, or risk losing everything she holds dear. 
   A story both delightful and heartbreaking about regular people in unanticipated circumstances. 


   Warning: This book contains explicit sex scenes and should not be read by 

people under 18.





Monica David was born in Zimbabwe but she grew up in Portugal, by the sea.
She has been living in London for nearly two decades, initially on and off in between travels and now permanently with her family.
Monica loves to read, photograph and travel. 
She values kindness, honesty and a good sense of humour.


Some unusual things she's done:

Walked on blazing hot coals with bare feet, walked what was the highest Canopy walk in the world at the time, jumped off a bridge in Victoria Falls, rafted the grade 5 Nile and swallowed half of it in Uganda, did microlighting dressed as a marshmallow, scubadived in Zanzibar, worked with street kids in Angola, drank tea with fishermen in Morocco while her clothes dried after being washed in the sea, crossed the Sahara in a convoy peeing behind the truck in order to preserve her limbs, toured around Europe with a play, trekked to find mountain gorillas in Rwanda, played with lion and cheetah cubs, rode horseback in a water race and skydived in Namibia between the deep blue sea and the red earth.




Friday, June 26, 2015

Blog Tour & Review: Relinquish by M.N. Forgy



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relinquish it's live.jpg


Are you ready to meet Landon Blackwell?


RELINQUISH IS NOW AVAILABLE!
**Can be read as a stand alone**




relinquish cover.jpg


Blurb
***WARNING*** This novel contains explicit language, sex, drugs, violence, and sexual situations that some might find offensive. This book is intended for adults 18+ years of age.


In my world, there is no such thing as love. It is just a lie we whisper into our client’s ear. Love is foreign and hazardous. What I did not expect was to bare my soul to a man who is as egotistical as he is dangerous.
His name is Landon. Despite his blackened soul, he tried to save me, but what he didn't expect was my torturous fate to catch up with me.
To your father, I'm the escort.
To your mother, I'm the whore.
To the legal system, I'm the prostitute.
In the end, I'm just the other woman.
I have no idea if I will continue to survive, if I will ever find my path aside from the gritty streets I know so well. There is a good chance I will wind up in the ditch like most women in my position. Surrendering to my fate is the only choice I have. I must relinquish it all.


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Excerpt #1 (New to Tour)
Following Jayden across the way, I skim the crowd at the café and land on a pair of handsome eyes. So handsome, I stop walking.
Sitting at a table full of sexy men is a short, blond-haired guy, his face hard and chiseled. My God, his arms are pumped with muscle as his hands flex around a brown football. My core blossoms with incredible need as I eye his toned arms, and what I assume is a matching hard chest beneath his jersey.
“Charlie, let’s go!”Jayden yells, making me realize I’ve been standing here like an idiot, staring at a sexy stranger in a café. The guy smirks at me and tosses the football in the air, breaking eye contact.
I tuck my hair behind my ear, giving a small smile in return before walking forward. I suddenly crash into something, the impact throwing me back on my ass hard.
“Shit!”I shout with pain.
“Fuck!”roars a male voice standing above me. My eyes jolt upward to find a broad-shouldered man in a black suit, holding a broken plastic cup in one hand with coffee spilled all down his front.  My stomach tangles into a bundle of tight knots, and my hands tremble from the strength and power this man radiates. Oh, shit.
“I am so sorry!”I stand up and start frantically brushing at the man’s very expensive-looking suit. My God, it’s like rubbing a rock. His body is so toned and strong beneath my palms, which isn’t helping me get a grip on myself. My eyes skirt up his arms, finding the fabric stretched tight around his biceps and causing me to swallow the lump forming in my throat. The knots in my stomach crawl into a fit of butterflies, and my heart races. He’s handsome—intimidating, really. The way his toned body and squared shoulders take up the space takes my breath away. His jaw is chiseled to perfection with scruff claiming it perfectly. I bite my bottom lip to keep from moaning.
“It’s fine, really,”he states, his voice deep as he grabs my wrists to stop me from slapping at his stained shirt pathetically. My body sparks with electricity where he grips me firmly. My mouth parts and my breathing shallows as I slowly trail my eyes from his hold on my wrist to his eyes. They’re green with little brown flecks thrown around them. They’re captivating. His jawline is strong and defined, his nose broad, and his dark hair is smoothed back with just a trail hanging loosely out of place on the front of his forehead from our sudden run-in. He’s fucking gorgeous, and I can’t look away.
“Are you all right?”he questions, raising an eyebrow. His voice is low and rough, making my eyes focus on his mouth.
“I-”I stutter, completely lost in the thought of his luscious lips on mine. These lips are not like any belonging to the guys at my high school, that’s for sure. When you look at them, his lips look like they’re made to make love to a woman’s body. The thoughts of the glorious pleasure they could bring make my cheeks warm, my chest ache.
“Charlie, let’s go!”Jayden hollers, catching mine and Sexy Man In a Suit’s attention.
“That your friend?”he asks, his lips that hold the perfect cupid’s bow turn into a slight smirk.
I open my mouth to speak but a wild hiccup noise escapes instead, caused from the wild beat of my heart against my chest. I close my eyes, humiliated.
He chuckles, releasing his hold of my wrists. The way he laughs causes my skin to rise with goose bumps.
“I gotta go,”I whisper nervously. I look down and stride quickly toward Jayden, praying I don’t bump into any more hot men on the way.
“Lord, give me strength. Vegas is already becoming a bad influence,”I mutter, catching up with Jayden.
relinquish teaser 2 tour.png






My Review:


Relinquish is one of those stories that takes a little while to pull you in, wondering what is coming, and what has happened in the past.  But once you are sucked in, you have to finish the story.  
Charlie hasn't had an easy life, she doesn't quite know what happened to her mother, and she hasn't had the greatest time in foster care so when she strikes out on her own she's sort of in a new world. 
Landon is stuckin a position, he wants but doesn't, trying to make good on a promise he made to his mother.  But its difficult to keep up with the promise when he can't help but feel his connection to Charlie deeply.  Unfortuantely acting on  that connection can blow all things in his life to hell. 
Relinquish has a few twists in store for the readers, though you know something is coming, its hard to grasp exactly what the big reveal is.  The story sort of spirals at one point and you are unsure exactly what is going to happen for all of the characters.  
In the end, Landon and Charlie have much to work out between themselves if they want to make a lasting relationship and they have a lot to settle wtih the people around them too, but they seem to have the holding power to make it work.  










About the Author:
m.n. forgy bio.jpg
M.N. Forgy was raised in Missouri where she still lives with her family. She's a soccer mom by day and a saucy writer by night. M.N. Forgy started writing at a young age but never took it seriously until years later, as a stay-at-home mom, she opened her laptop and started writing again. As a role model for her children, she felt she couldn't live with the "what if" anymore and finally took a chance on her character's story. So, with her glass of wine in hand and a stray Barbie sharing her seat, she continues to create and please her fans.


Stalk Her:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Blog Tour & Review: Dirty Thoughts by Megan Erickson




About DIRTY THOUGHTS


Some things are sexier the second time around
Cal Payton has gruff and grumbly down to an art...all the better for keeping people away. And it usually works. Until Jenna Macmillan—his biggest mistake—walks into Payton and Sons mechanic shop all grown up, looking like sunshine, and inspiring more than a few dirty thoughts.


Jenna was sure she was long over the boy she'd once loved with reckless abandon, but one look at the steel-eyed Cal Payton has her falling apart all over again. Ten years may have passed, but the pull is stronger than ever...and this Cal is all man.

Cal may have no intention of letting Jenna in, but she's always been his light, and it's getting harder to stay all alone in the dark. When a surprise from the past changes everything, Cal and Jenna must decide if their connection should be left alone, or if it's exactly what they need for the future of their dreams.


Where to buy DIRTY THOUGHTS
Google Play: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dirty-thoughts/id945086859?mt=11  


Excerpt:


CHAPTER ONE
Cal Payton sighed and braced himself as the opening guitar riff of “Welcome to the Jungle” reverberated off the walls of the garage. Sure enough, several bars later, his brother, Brent, began his off-key rendition, which didn’t sound much different from his drunken karaoke version.
Which, yes, Cal had heard. More times than he wanted to.
He growled under his breath. Brent kept screeching Axl Rose, and if Cal wasn’t stuck on his back under this damn Subaru, he’d be flinging a wrench at Brent’s head. “Hey!” Cal yelled.
There was a blissful moment of silence. “What?” Brent’s voice came from somewhere behind him, probably in the bay next to him at the garage.
“Who sings this song?”
“Are you kidding me?” Brent’s voice was closer now. “It’s Guns N’ Roses. The legendary Axl Rose.”
“Yeah? Then how ’bout you let him sing it?”
There was a pause. “Fuck you.” His brother’s footsteps stomped away. Then the radio was turned up, and Brent started singing even louder.
Cal blew out a breath and tapped the socket wrench on his forehead, doing his best to tune out Brent’s increasingly loud voice. Cal vowed to buy earbuds and an iPod before he murdered his brother with a tire iron.
He turned his attention back to the exhaust shield he was fixing. The customer had complained of a loud rattle when his car idled. Sure enough, one of the heat shields covering the exhaust system under the car was loose. It was an easy fix. Cal used a gear clamp to wrap around the pipe of the exhaust system to prevent the shield from making noise.
It didn’t necessarily have to be done, but the Graingers were long-time customers at Payton and Sons Automotive. And they always sent those flavored popcorn buckets at Christmas. He and Brent fought over the caramel while their dad got the butter all to himself.
He finished tightening the hose clamp onto the pipe and then banged around the exhaust system with the side of his fist. No rattle.
He slid out from under the Subaru and patted it on the side. He squinted at the clock, seeing it was almost quitting time. Their dad, who owned half of the shop—Cal and Brent split ownership of the other 50 percent—had already gone home for the day.
Cal put away the tools he’d used, purposefully ignoring Brent as he launched into a Pearl Jam song. Cal rubbed his temple, wiping away the bead of sweat he could feel rolling down his face. The back room had a small table and a refrigerator, so Cal made his way there to get a water.
In the summer, they kept the large doors of the garage open, but the air was thick and humid today. The American flag outside hung like a limp rag in the still air.
Cal wore coveralls at work and usually kept them on to protect his skin from hot exhaust pipes and any number of sharp tools lying around. But as he walked back to the lunchroom, he stripped his upper body out of the coveralls so the torso and arms of the clothing hung loose around his legs. Underneath, he wore a tight white T-shirt that still managed to be marked with grease and black smudges from the work day.
In the back room, he grabbed a bottle of water from the refrigerator and leaned back against the wall. After unscrewing the cap, he tilted it back at his lips and chugged half the bottle.
After the Graingers came to pick up their Subaru, he was free to head home to his house. Alone. That was a new luxury. He used to live with Brent in an apartment, and it was fine until he realized he was almost thirty years old and still living with his younger brother. He was tight with his money, which Brent teased him about, but it’d been a good thing when he had enough to make the deposit on his small home. It had a garage, so he could store his bike and work on it when he had free time. Which wasn’t a lot, but he’d take what he could get. If his father would quit dicking him around and let him work on motorcycles for customers here, that’d be even better. But Jack Payton didn’t “want no bikers” around, ignoring the fact that his son rode a Harley-Davidson Softail.
Cal’s phone vibrated in the leg pocket of his coveralls. He pulled it out and glanced at the caller ID. It was Max, their youngest brother. Cal sighed and answered the call. “Yeah?”
“Cal!” Max shouted.
“You called me.”
“What’s going on?”
“Workin’.”
“You’re always working.” Max huffed.
Cal took another sip of water. “That’s what people do.”
“Hey, I work.”
“You play dodgeball with a bunch of teenagers.” Cal knew Max did a hell of a lot more than that at his physical education teaching job at a high school in eastern Pennsylvania, but it was fun as hell to get him worked up. Cal smiled. One of the first times that day.
“Hey, I had to hand out deodorant and condoms to those teenagers this year, so don’t give me that shit,” Max said.
“Condoms?”
“Yeah, they’re kinda liberal here,” Max muttered.
“Huh,” Cal said, scratching his head. They sure never handed out condoms in school when he was a teenager.
“Anyway,” Max said.
“Yeah, anyway, what’dya need?”
“How do you know I need something?”
“Why else do you call?”
“I want to hear your pleasant voice?”
Cal grunted.
“I just wanted to know if you had any plans for your birth—ouch!” There was rustling on the other line, some mutters, and a higher-pitched voice in the background. Then Max spoke again. “Okay, so Lea punched me because she said I’m doing this wrong.”
Cal smiled. Lea was Max’s fiancée, and she was a firecracker.
“We wanted to come visit you and take you out for your birthday. All of us.” Max cleared his throat. “And you can bring a date too. If you want.”
A date. When was the last time he’d introduced a woman to his family? Hell, when was the last time he’d had a date? “The five of us should be fine.”
“So that’s okay? To celebrate? I mean, you’re turning thirty, old man.”
Cal let the old man comment roll off his back. “Yeah, sounds good.” He paused. “Thanks.”
Max seemed pleased, chattering on about his neighborhood and how he was enjoying being off work for the summer. Cal drank his water and listened to his brother ramble. Max hadn’t always been a happy kid. Cal had tried his best after their mom left the family shortly after Max was born. Their dad was pissed and bitter and immersed himself in working at the garage. So as the oldest brother, Cal scrambled to hold the reins of his wild brothers.
He hadn’t done such a great job, he didn’t think. His brothers survived in spite of him, not because of him, he was sure. Brent was still a little crazy, and it had taken Lea to straighten Max out in college. Cal tried not to dwell on his failure and instead appreciated that at least they were all alive and healthy.
It was why he valued his own space so much now. His alone time. Because he’d been a surrogate father at age six, and he was fucking over it.
Although, by the time he hung up the phone with Max and slipped his phone back into his pocket, he had a warm feeling in his gut that hadn’t been there before his brother had called.
He was flipping the cap of the water in his fingers and finishing the last of the bottle when Brent poked his head in the back room. “Hey.”
Cal raised his eyebrows.
“Someone’s asking for you.”
Cal tossed the empty bottle in the trash. “The Graingers?”
“Nope, they just came and got the Subaru and left. This is a new customer.”
Cal threw the empty bottle in the recycling bin, turned off the light to the back room, and followed his brother out to the garage. “We’re closing soon. Is it an emergency? Are they regulars?” He pulled a rag out of his pocket and began to wipe his dirty hands. He thought about washing them first in case this customer wanted to shake hands.
Brent didn’t answer him, didn’t even look at him over his shoulder.
And that was when a small sliver of apprehension trickled down his spine. “Brent—”
His brother whirled around and held his arm out as they walked past a Bronco their dad had been working on. “I think it’s better if you take this one.”
Cal squinted into the sun and when his eyes adjusted to the light, her legs were the first thing he saw. And he knew—he fucking knew—because how many times had he sat in class in high school staring at those legs in a little skirt, dreaming about when he could get back between them? It’d been a lot.
His eyes traveled up those bare legs to a tiny pair of denim shorts, up a tight tank top that showed a copious amount of cleavage, and then to that face that he’d never, ever forget as long as he lived.
He never thought he’d see Jenna MacMillan again. And now, there she was, standing in front of his garage next to a Dodge Charger, her brunette hair in a wavy mass around her shoulders.
Fuck.

Okay, so admittedly Jenna had known this was a stupid idea. She’d tried to talk herself out of it the whole way, muttering to herself as she sat at a stop light. The elderly man in the car in the lane beside her had been staring at her like she was nuts.
And she was. Totally nuts.
It’d been almost a decade since she’d seen Cal Payton, and yet one look at those silvery blue eyes and she was shoved right back to the head-over-heels in love eighteen-year-old girl she’d been.
Cal had been hot in high school, but damn, had time been good to him. He’d always been a solid guy, never really hitting that awkward skinny stage some teenage boys went through after a growth spurt.
And now . . . well . . . Cal looked downright sinful standing there in the garage. He’d rolled down the top of his coveralls, revealing a white T-shirt that looked painted on, for God’s sake. She could see the ridges of his abs, the outline of his pecs. A large smudge on the sleeve drew her attention to his bulging biceps and muscular, veined forearms. Did he lift these damn cars all day? Thank God it was hot as Hades outside already so she could get by with flushed cheeks.
And he was staring at her with those eyes that hadn’t changed one bit. Cal never cared much for social mores. He looked people in the eye, and he held it long past comfort. Cal had always needed that, to be able to measure up who he was dealing with before he ever uttered a word.
She wondered how she measured up. It’d been a long time since he’d laid eyes on her, and the last time he had, he’d been furious.
Well, she was the one who’d come here. She was the one who needed something. She might as well speak up, even though what she needed right now was a drink. A stiff one. “Hi, Cal.” She went with a smile that surely looked a little strained.
He stood with his booted feet shoulder width apart, and at the sound of her voice, he started a bit. He finally stopped doing that staring thing as his gaze shifted to the car by her side and then back to her. “Jenna.”
His voice. Well, crap, how could she have forgotten about his voice? It was low and silky with a spicy edge, like Mexican chocolate. It warmed her belly and raised goose bumps on her skin.
She cleared her throat as he began walking toward her, his gaze teetering between her and the car. Brent was off to the side, watching them, with his arms crossed over his chest. He winked at her. She hid her grin with pursed lips and rolled her eyes. He was a good-looking bastard but irritating as hell. Nice to see some things never changed. “Hey, Brent.”
“Hey there, Jenna. Looking good.”
Cal whipped his head toward his brother. “Get back to work.”
Brent gave him a sloppy salute and then shot her another knowing smirk before turning around and retreating into the garage bay.
When she faced Cal again, she jolted, because he was close now, almost in her personal space. His eyes bored into her. “What’re ya doing here, Jenna?”
His question wasn’t accusatory. It was conversational, but the intent was in his tone, lying latent until she gave him reason to really put the screws to her. She didn’t know if he meant, what was she doing here at his garage, or what was she doing in town? But she went for the easy question first.
She gestured to the car. “I, uh, I think the bearings need to be replaced. I know that I could take it anywhere, but . . .” She didn’t want to tell him it was Dylan’s car, and he was the one who had let it go so long that she swore the front tires were going to fall off. As much as her brother loved his car, he was an idiot. An idiot who despised Cal, and she was pretty sure the feeling was mutual. “I wanted to make sure the job was done right, and everyone knows you do the best job here.” That part was true. The Paytons had a great reputation in Tory.
But Cal never let anything go. He narrowed his eyes and propped his hands on his hips, drawing attention to the muscles in his arms. “How do you know we still do the best job here if you haven’t been back in ten years?”
Well, then. Couldn’t he just nod and take her keys? She held them in her hand, gripping them so tightly that the edge was digging into her palm. She loosened her grip. “Because when I did live here, your father was the best, and I know you don’t do anything unless you do it the best.” Her voice faded. Even though the last time she’d seen Cal, his eyes had been snapping in anger, at least they’d showed some sort of emotion. This steady blank gaze was killing her. Not when she knew how his eyes looked when he smiled, as the skin at the corners crinkled and the silver of his irises flashed.
She thought now that this had been a mistake. She’d offered to get the car fixed for her brother while he was out of town. And while she knew Cal worked with his dad now, she’d still expected to run into Jack. And even though Jack was a total jerk-face, she would have rather dealt with him than endure this uncomfortable situation with Cal right now. “You know, it’s fine. Don’t worry about it. I’ll just—”
He snatched the keys out of her hand. Right. Out. Of. Her. Hand.
“Hey!” She propped a hand on her hip, but he wasn’t even looking at her, instead fingering the key ring. “Do you always steal keys from your customers?”
He cocked his head and raised an eyebrow at her. There was the smallest hint of a smile, just a tug at the corner of his lips. “I don’t make that a habit, no.”
“So I’m special, then?” She was flirting. Was this flirting? Oh God, it was. She was flirting with her high school boyfriend, the guy who’d taken her virginity, and the guy whose heart she’d broken when she had to make one of the most difficult decisions of her life.
She’d broken her own heart in the process.
His gaze dropped, just for a second, and then snapped back to her face. “Yeah, you’re special.”
He turned around, checking out the car, while she stood gaping at his back. He’d . . . he’d flirted back, right? Cal wasn’t really a flirting kind of guy. He said what he wanted and followed through. But flirting, Cal?
She shook her head. It’d been over ten years. Surely he’d lived a lot of life during that time she’d been away, going to college, then grad school, then working in New York. She didn’t want to think about what that flirting might mean, now that she was back in Tory for good. Except he didn’t know that.
“So, you think the bearings need to be replaced?” Cal ran his hand over the hood. From this angle, all she saw was hard muscle covering broad shoulders, shifting beneath his T-shirt.
She shook herself and spoke up. “Yeah, it’s making that noise—you know, that growl.”
He nodded.
The only reason she knew was because she’d spent a lot of weekends and lazy summer afternoons as a teenager, lying in the grass, getting a tan in her bikini while Cal worked on his car, an old black Camaro, in his driveway. She’d learned a lot about cars and hadn’t forgotten all of it. She wondered if he still had that Camaro.
“Want me to inspect it too?” Cal was at the passenger’s side door now, easing it open.
“What?”
He pointed to the sticker on the windshield. “I can do it now, if you’d like. You have to get it done by end of next month.”
She opened her mouth to tell him sure, but then she’d have to give him the registration and insurance card, and then he’d know it was Dylan’s car. “No, no, that’s all right.”
He frowned. “Why not?”
“I just . . .”
He opened up the passenger’s side door and bent inside.
“What are you doing?” She walked around the car, just as he pulled some papers out of the glove box. She stopped and fidgeted with her fingers, because he’d know in three . . . two . . .
He bent and tossed the papers back in the glove box. “I’ll have it for you by end of the day tomorrow.” He started walking toward the office of the garage.
He had to have seen the name, right? He had to have seen it. She walked behind him. “Cal, I—”
He stopped and turned. “Do you need a ride?”
“What?”
“Do you need a ride . . . home, or wherever you’re going?”
She shook her head. “I’m going to walk across the street to Delilah’s store. She’ll take me home.”
His gaze flitted to the shop across the street and then back to Jenna. He nodded. “All right, then.”
She tried again. “Cal—”
“You picking it up or your brother?”
The muscle shift in his jaw was the only indication that he was bothered by this. “I’m sorry, I should have told you . . .”
He shook his head. “You don’t owe it to me to tell me anything. You asked me to fix a car—”
“Yeah, but you and Dylan don’t like each other—”
That muscle in his jaw ticked again. “Sure, we don’t like each other, but what? You think I’m going to lose my temper and bash his car in?”
Uh-oh. “No, I—”
He shook his head, and when he spoke again, his voice was softer. “You didn’t have to keep it a secret it was his car. I’m not eighteen anymore. I got more control than I used to.”
She felt like a heel. And a jerk. She wasn’t the same person she was at eighteen, so she shouldn’t have treated Cal like he was the hothead he’d been then. “Cal, I’m so sorry. I—”
He waved a hand. “Don’t worry about it, Sunshine.”
That name—it sent a spark right through her like a live wire. She hadn’t heard that nickname in so long, she’d almost forgotten about it, but her body sure hadn’t. It hadn’t forgotten the way Cal could use that one word to turn her into putty.
He seemed as surprised as she did. His eyes widened a fraction before he shut down. “Anyway”—his voice was lower now—“we close tomorrow at six. Appreciate it if you’d pick it up before that.” He jingled the keys and shot her one more measuring look, and then he disappeared into the garage office, leaving her standing outside the door, her mind broiling in confusion.
She should have known Cal Payton could still knock her off her feet.






My Review: 

Dirty Thoughts kicks off Megan Erickson's Mechanics of Love series. This particular book is a second chance romance. Cal and Jenna haven't seen each other in ten years, but that's all about to change.

Cal Payton spent his childhood taking care of his brothers after his mother left and his father fell apart. His one happiness during that time was his relationship with Jenna, but that ended badly and then she left town. Cal's put away all hopes of a lasting relationship and starting his own family since then and instead is starting to become a younger version of his embittered father. Jenna's return affects him in unexpected ways though and Cal soon discovers that maybe he has more to give than he previously thought. Cal was rough and tumble and hard, but inside was a real swoon worthy sweetheart, he just needed the right motivation to bring it out.


Jenna was stuck making a horrible choice in high school, young and foolish, she did what she thought was best and let her family take control. Now she's back, to help her family, but being back in town means seeing Cal, and the feelings she thought were long gone come racing back up. This time, she's not going to let anyone stand in her way or force her to turn aside her feelings. She was very determined to do her job well but also to be true to herself.


Dirty thoughts was a wonderful story, Both Cal and Jenna are striking characters and I fell in love with them right away. Their past could have clouded the future, but I loved that they worked through it. It wasn't an easy road for Cal and Jenna, but they both cared to much about the other to fully give up and had never stopped loving the other. This story was full of emotions and I went from laughter, to tears, to a bit of irritation at times and back around again. I enjoyed the family aspect of the story too, it was wonderful too see the love and respect the Payton boys all have for each other.


I look forward to future books in the series.






About MEGAN ERICKSON


Megan Erickson grew up in a family that averages 5’5” on a good day and started writing to create characters who could reach the top kitchen shelf.

She’s got a couple of tattoos, has a thing for gladiators and has been called a crazy cat lady. After working as a journalist for years, she decided she liked creating her own endings better and switched back to fiction.

She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids and two cats. And no, she still can’t reach the stupid top shelf.


Praise for MEGAN ERICKSON
“A super sweet, extra sexy second chance romance that will have you laughing out loud and needing a minute to cool off. Dirty Thoughts is right!”
   — Jay Crownover, New York Times bestselling author

“Megan Erickson ratchets up the romance and sizzle in her sexy new series. The Mechanics of Love will rev readers’ hearts.”
   — Jennifer Ryan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author

“Megan Erickson writes hot, hot, HOT stories packed with emotion and humor. You’re going to want to read everything she’s ever written!”
   — Sophie Jordan, USA Today bestselling author


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