Cover Reveal

COVER REVEAL: Ransom by Sandy Alvarez & Crystal Daniels

Title: Ransom
Series: Gray Wolf Corps Texas #1
Authors: Sandy Alvarez & Crystal Daniels
Genre: Bounty Hunter Romance
Cover Design: Crystal Daniels
Photo: Golden Czermak
Model: Andrew Flanagan
Release Date: May 26, 2021
Former military man Ransom Rockwell joined forces with his two best friends, becoming bounty hunters, and forming Gray Wolf Corps.

Ransom is dedicated to hunting down the lawless and bringing them to justice.
You run, he will find you.
When Ransom isn’t chasing a bounty, he’s busy being a single father.
He doesn’t have time for distractions.
All that changes when Genesis McKenna moves to town. His attraction for her is instant. She’s wildly beautiful and strong. Making Genesis his becomes Ransom’s mission.
Her husband died nearly two years ago. Now Genesis McKenna is looking to start over.
Packing up her two children and the only life she’s ever known, Genesis moves to the small town of Graystone, Texas.
A new Town.
A new life.
Genesis is focused on healing her family and their future. The last thing she expected was to have Ransom Rockwell waltz into her life. He’s a single father and ridiculously handsome. The attraction between them is intense.
Genesis is torn between her feelings toward Ransom and the love she still has for her late husband.
It doesn’t take long for Ransom to break through her defenses and help piece together her broken heart.
The men of Gray Wolf Corps take on a high-profile case. The new bounty sends them on the hunt for a known cold-blooded killer with a vendetta against the team.
Tracking down the criminal and bringing him to justice becomes personal when the killer sets his sights on Genesis.
Sandy Alvarez and Crystal Daniels are the powerhouse writing duo behind the widely popular MC series Kings of Retribution MC Montana and Louisiana. 

Some of their other books include, Demetri and Nikolai The Volkov Empire, Leather and Mistletoe, Love above Law, Keeping Denver, Bayou Christmas, and Whiskey Holiday.
Cover Reveal

COVER REVEAL: Sully by Penelope Black

Title: Sully
Series: The Brotherhood #3
Author: Penelope Black
Genre: Reverse Harem Romantic Suspense
Release Date: April 7, 2021
“Do you believe in the butterfly effect?”

There comes a time in your life when you’re faced with a choice. One that has the potential to alter the course of your life. I answered my mother’s call that day and everything changed.
The path I chose was a turnpike masquerading as a meadow, and the tolls I paid have been grave.
So I made a promise to myself that I will have my vengeance.
And with my dark Irish gods at my side, I will wreak havoc on everyone who had a hand in the destruction of the girl I used to be.
I was remade in the cabin in the woods. And I was forged in the warehouse fire. And like a phoenix, I will rise anew.
By the time I’m done, my path will be littered with the heads of my enemies.
But not before I claim what’s rightfully mine.
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Free in Kindle Unlimited
Penelope lives in the Midwest with her husband, two tiny humans, and fluffy furball and enjoys over-the-top action movies, iced chai lattes, and soaking up the sun in her backyard.

TRAILER REVEAL: A Dark & Dirty Sinners’ MC Series by Serena Akeroyd

Series: A Dark & Dirty Sinners’ MC
Author: Serena Akeroyd
Genre: MC Romance
Trailer Producer: Bookshelf Productions
Song Credit: Howling at the Moon, D Fine Us
They’re dark.

They’re dirty.
They’re SINNERS.
But for all their sins, once they’ve met the women they claim as theirs, no hurdle is too small, no battle too large, as they ride into hell itself to protect those they love.
Welcome to West Orange, NJ.
Things are about to get nasty…
Nyx (Book 1) is 99c for a limited time!
All free in Kindle Unlimited
Releasing March 25
Born in England, Serena Akeroyd is a true romance bookaholic. As a reader she will not touch a book unless she knows it has a happy ending, which makes her write the endings that your heart craves! This addiction made her want to craft stories to suit her voracious need for steamy, sexy romance. She loves to write stories with plots twists, alpha sexy men, dark humor, and hot AF love scenes. Some are darker than others as she has a taste for the weird and the unexpected.

She writes MF, MM, Menage and Reverse Harem (also known as Why Choose romance) in both con-temporary and paranormal. But she has recently decided to concentrate more on contemporary MF stories, mainly with A Dark and Dirty Sinners’ MC Series and The Filthy Feckers Series.
Release Blitz

RELEASE BLITZ: Her Dirty Soldiers by Mika Lane

Title: Her Dirty Soldiers
Series: Men at Work #9
Author: Mika Lane
Genre: Contemporary Reverse Harem Romance
Release Date: March 17, 2021
Three hot special ops guys are more than willing to help me search for my brother. But they’re expecting something in return.

My brother’s best friends have got to be the hottest military hunks I’ve ever seen.
Brave. Burly. Brutal.
One makes my heart race with his dirty… mouth.
Another sets me off with his firm… gaze.
And the last lights my imagination on fire with his hard… body.
When I met these guys, the last thing I thought was that I’d have to ask them for help.
But it turns out they’re willing to kill for me.
And when I find out why, I’m in more trouble than I ever knew.

Free in Kindle Unlimited
FREE for a very limited time!
Always free in Kindle Unlimited
Free in Kindle Unlimited
Free in Kindle Unlimited
Free in Kindle Unlimited
Free in Kindle Unlimited
Free in Kindle Unlimited


Free in Kindle Unlimited


Free in Kindle Unlimited
Releasing April 30
$2.99 for a limited time!
Releasing May 30
$2.99 for a limited time!
Releasing June 30
$2.99 for a limited time!
Please join my Insider Group and be the first to hear about giveaways, sales, pre-orders, ARCs, and most importantly, a free sexy short story:

Writing has been a passion of mine since, well, forever (my first book was “The Day I Ate the Milkyway,” a true fourth-grade masterpiece). These days, steamy romance, both dark and funny, gives purpose to my days and nights as I create worlds and characters who defy the imagination. I live in magical Northern California with my own handsome alpha dude, sometimes known as Mr. Mika Lane, and an evil cat named Bill. These two males also defy my imagination from time to time.
A lover of shiny things, I’ve been known to try to new recipes on unsuspecting friends, find hiding places so I can read undisturbed, and spend my last dollar on a plane ticket somewhere.
I have several books for you to choose from including perennially favorite Billionaire and Reverse Harem romances. And have you see my Player Series about male escorts who make the ladies of Hollywood curl their toes and forget their names? Hottttt…. And my Anti-hero/Mafia books are now out in audio.
Check out my latest series, The Men at Work Collection, about hot men and the professions that make them successful masters of the universe… and the women they love.
I’ll always promise you a hot, sexy romp with kick-ass but imperfect heroines, and some version of a modern-day happily ever after.
I LOVE to hear from readers when I’m not dreaming up naughty tales to share. Join my Insider Group so we can get to know each other better, or contact me here:
Release Blitz

RELEASE BLITZ: Bail Out by Suzanne Winslow

Title: Bail Out
Series: Smoke and Fire #2
Author: Suzanne Winslow
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 17, 2021
Once he made up his mind, there was no changing it back …

At sixteen, Rachel Miller fell in love with her brother’s best friend. Eleven years her senior, Nate Doyle never gave her a second look. Nine years later, nothing’s changed—the handsome firefighter still keeps her at an arm’s length.
Raised in a traditional Irish family, Nate respects commitment. So much so that he has no intention of going down that road again. His relationships are measured in weeks or months, which makes his best friend’s sister off limits.
After watching Rachel get her heart broken again, Nate is no longer willing to stand on the sidelines. It means he must become a different man, if only Rachel can see the changes he’s made. This time, it’s too important to bail out.
Free in Kindle Unlimited
As the band played, the dance floor filled. Nate looked over the top of his beer bottle as Rachel asked Grant to dance. It was shaping up to be a line dance and Grant, not looking like the cowboy boogie-type, begged off a second time.

She flashed Caroline a hopeful grin. “Do you want to dance?”
Caroline’s eyes darted to the dance floor. “I don’t know how to do that.”
Rachel set her hands on her hips. She cocked her head toward the line forming behind them. “Come on. I’ll teach you.”
Caroline shot Nate a pleading look as if asking him to save her. He bumped her shoulder instead. “Go ahead. Knock ’em dead.”
And damn, if she didn’t. She picked up the steps quickly, laughing every time she turned the wrong way or kicked out the opposite foot. It wasn’t long before she was rocking the arms and rolling her hips, but with an ethereal quality Nate had never witnessed in a country line dance before. Beside her, Rachel moved to the music a little differently, more seductive, less inhibited. Side by side with Caroline, he began to suspect Rachel wasn’t as innocent and naive as her older brother wanted to believe. Nate continued to watch her dance, enthralled. He’d just as soon imagine his sisters naked as he would Caroline, but Rachel? She conjured up fantasies even he’d never imagined before.
Grant paid no mind to Nate. His eyes were locked on Rachel’s long lithe body on the dance floor. She had a type, and this guy was it—tall, fair-haired, destined for a corner office. Nate brushed a hand over his scruffy face. Rachel could look him square in the eye when she wore heels. The only office he hoped to get was a concrete box with a pushout window.
Jealousy spiked in his chest before he finally pushed back from the table and headed back to the bar.
Faces flushed and smiling, Rachel and Caroline wove their way back to the table after he returned. He set a glass of water in front of Caroline, relieved to see Rachel drinking water, too.
Good. He preferred her date tonight ended with her sober.
Grant looked down at his phone as the band took a break and then leaned sideways to say something to Rachel. Nate sent her a curious look after Grant passed the bouncer and went outside.
Rachel shrugged and set down her glass as recorded music started to play over the loudspeakers. “He said he had to take a call for work.”
Caroline touched Nate’s shoulder. “Do you know which way is the toilet?”
Rachel smiled when he pointed to the far end of the bar.
Caroline stood. “I’ll be right back.”
“It’s just called the toilet in Ireland,” Nate explained after Caroline disappeared into the crowd. “Tell me more about Kieran. How does he like his new home?”
Rachel leaned her elbows on the table, her expression turning all sweet and sappy. “I think he’s happy. He meets me at the door every day when I get home and he likes to sleep in bed with me at night.”
“Hmmm,” was the best Nate could do.
She dropped her chin into her hands. “Can I ask you something?”
“How much Irish do you speak?”
He grinned, assuming cussing didn’t count. “I only know a few words that my father taught me.”
Rachel’s lips twitched.
“Your accent. You’re starting to sound a little bit like your girlfriend.”
He could tell she was teasing him, but he still felt the color rising in his cheeks. “I told you, Caroline and I are friends.”
She sat back and laughed as Lonestar’s “Amazed” began to play. “Matt’s right. Your Irish does come out when you’ve been drinking.”
Nate just shrugged. His accent was a byproduct of parents born and raised in Ireland. His father was proud of his thick Irish accent. His mother tried not to speak with any accent at all, but sometimes it would sneak out when one of her four kids got her riled up. It snuck out on him, too, sometimes, and not just while he was drinking. Times Matt didn’t know about. Moments Nate wished Rachel did.
Leaning closer, enough so that he could feel her warm breath on his cheek, she looked at him. “I have to ask you…did that kiss mean anything at all to you?”
He didn’t know how to answer. He thought about lying or twisting the truth. Or just brushing her off altogether. But he couldn’t do it. “Of course it meant something to me. But it can’t happen again.”
She let out a short laugh. “Then it didn’t mean much at all, did it?”
He stared at her, his throat so tight he could barely breathe. He told himself to keep his mouth shut. Put her first. Forget her.
But no, he looked over his shoulder for Caroline instead and then damn near lost his head. “Rachel, I’m crazy about you.” I love you! He clenched his jaw, determined to salvage the big fat mess he’d made. “But be realistic. I’m not the right guy for you.”
She eased back with defiance. “Who says?”
“How about we start with your brother?”
Her lips pinched together. He’d hit a nerve. “Who says I’m looking for Mr. Right?”
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“It means I’m not looking for a ring, Nate. I want to go out, have fun, blow off a little steam. That doesn’t work for you, so I won’t bother you again.”
Free in Kindle Unlimited
Suzanne Winslow writes the kind of stories she loves to read—contemporary romance with relatable characters, unsung heroes and heroines, and true-to-life stories. Nurses, teachers, firefighters, and Marines top her list of champions. Give her a book about strong, brave characters with hidden vulnerabilities and a secret passion, and she’ll binge read to the end!

Suzanne and her husband, along with their rescue dog, Murphy, call Upstate New York home. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s often planning a road trip, or if it’s summertime, hanging out at the lake. Connecting with readers through Instagram, Facebook, and newsletters is a favorite pastime.

Release Blitz

RELEASE BLITZ: Breathe by Lucinda Race

Title: Breathe
Series: Crescent Lake Winery #1
Author: Lucinda Race
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 17, 2021
Romance and fine wine both need time to breathe…

Her family’s successful winery business in Finger Lakes New York should have gone to Tessa Price. She’d always dreamed of running the winery, but when the “prodigal son” returns to take up the reins, she boldly strikes out on her own, purchasing Sand Creek Winery—a cash-strapped competitor—right out from under her family. She can forge her own destiny, using her marketing skills and big plans to bring new life to the winery. But first she has a proposition for the sexy previous owner. And he’s likely to hate it.
Kevin “Max” Maxwell would never have willingly sold his winery to anyone named “Price.” Family always comes first, and if paying for his sister’s cancer treatment cost him his business, it was worth it. But when the new owner offers him a one year contract to stay on as general manager, with a possible bonus, he really can’t afford to turn it down. He can ignore the effect her deep brown eyes and heart-shaped face have on his senses for a year, can’t he?
Relationships, like slowly ripening vineyards, take time. But Max has been keeping a secret from Tessa, one that could destroy her hopes for their future. Will a terrible accident force Tessa and Max to face how much they have to lose, or tear apart their budding relationship forever? Sometimes a romance is like a fine wine. To be its best, it just needs time to breathe.



Releasing May 19
Award winning author Lucinda Race writes about family, love and happily ever afters.

A life-long fan of romance books she is surrounded by books she wants to read. It all started as a young girl when she spent countless hours reading novels and dreaming of, one day, becoming a writer.
As life twists and turns, she found herself writing nonfiction but longed to turn to her true passion, romantic fiction. After developing the story line for The Loudon Series, it was time to start living her dream. With fingers flying over computer keys, she does her best to bleed on the page.
Lucinda lives, with her husband Rick, and their two little dogs, Jasper and Griffin, in the rolling hills of western Massachusetts. When she’s not writing romance novels Lucinda still reads everything she can get her hands on.
Blog Tour

Blog Tour: Unbroken by J. Haney & S.I. Hayes


Unbroken by J. Haney & S.I. Hayes


Series: Devil Dogs; Book 1
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Follow the Authors

J. Haney

S.I. Hayes

Fight for freedom, for country, and for love. That was my MO but after the ultimate betrayal, I put my life on hold.

My name is Joshua McLaren and between being a Hospital Corpsman, EMT, and father, I have no room in my life for relationships. Women weren’t even on my radar. Work, eat, and sleep. That’s it.

It was just supposed to be another answered call. Routine in its entirety. Then, I held that little girl in my arms. Saw the damage done at another’s hands. Felt the pull to my soul. I can’t let them go. I can’t leave Magnolia Gossett alone. The protector in me needs this. Needs to do something, make it right.

In helping her I’m finding that love matters, and some promises may have to be broken.

Release Blitz and Book Review: The Irresistible Irishman by MJ Fields & Jessica Ruben


𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐈𝐫𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐈𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐡𝐦𝐚𝐧 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐒𝐭. 𝐏𝐚𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐜𝐤𝐬 𝐃𝐚𝐲 is LIVE! Get ready to see what’s under our sexy Irishman’s kilt! 

Purchase 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐈𝐫𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐈𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐡𝐦𝐚𝐧 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐒𝐭. 𝐏𝐚𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐜𝐤𝐬 𝐃𝐚𝐲: 

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Add to your TBR:



A new and steamy Romantic Comedy from USA Today Bestselling Author MJ Fields and International Bestselling author Jessica Ruben

Minding my own business on St. Patrick’s Day with a beer in my hand and Shamrock panties beneath my skirt

I sat on a sticky barstool next to my best friend.

I was expecting to chat about my latest read, but she had other plans…

A “surprise” introduction to a tall, tatted, and utterly irresistible Irishman.

One night stands were totally not me, like, not at all, until she reminded me that it was time

to stop spreading pages and begin spreading…

yeah, she went there.

And guess what? I took her advice.

One crazy and wild night later, my libido was officially jumpstarted.

Since then, everything has changed for the better- or so I thought.

I had a great new job and my own cozy apartment.

What I didn’t expect? That same irresistible Irishman to become my new boss.


Meet The Broody Brit for FREE here—>

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Cover Reveal

COVER REVEAL: Kansas by K.L. Savage

Title: Kansas
Series: Ruthless Kings MC: Atlantic City #2
Author: K.L. Savage
Genre: Dark Romantic Suspense/Organized Crime
Cover Design: Lori Jackson Designs
Photo: Wander Aguiar
Model: Clayton Wells
Release Date: April 6, 2021
Instincts are all we have to rely on.

And mine were spot on.
There are a few things I don’t like to talk about in life.
My father.
And Kansas.
I hate him, and I hate that godforsaken state.
To this day, I haven’t loved because there’s a fear.
An inkling.
An instinct that I will be just like him.
I convinced myself our blood was rotten, tainted, and sour.
I believe I didn’t have the ability to be faithful or loyal.
But then after a blizzard, a sailboat washed to shore.
And she was there.
She’s here at the clubhouse now.
Violet Winston.
A name that matches the fields of lavender of her eyes.
I have no right to want her.
I can’t love her.
I’ll ruin her.
The more I get to know her, the harder I fall.
Usually, there’s a calm after the storm.
But not this time.
Between her father being a drug dealer.
The drugs hidden in the boat.
And the man that wants his drugs.
We are about to feel the havoc of a hurricane.
Truths hit us out of nowhere and they hurt worse than a lie ever did.
Love tests us and rips us open. Friendships are lost. Loyalty is damned.

I’m not in Kansas anymore.
But Jersey hurts just the same.
I wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of whimpering. For a second, I don’t know where I am, but then I hear a soft beep of a monitor and realize I’m with Springs. I glance down, and my nose gets buried in the bush of her unruly, wild, curly hair. I’ve never seen hair like this before. It’s how I came up with the name Springs. Each strand of hair looks like a tightly wound coil or spring.

Since I don’t know her name, I’ve been calling her Springs.
She quiets down and settles against me again, and I do something weird, something I’ve never done before, and I’m glad she’s asleep for it.
I inhale the scent of her hair, and my eyes roll to the back of my head when I smell peaches. I have to hold back a groan and many, many other things that are not appropriate right now.
I’m such an ass.
She rolls away from me, and blood rushes through my arm. Static tingles my fingers, and I slide my arm out from under her and then fix the sheet as it slides down her shoulders. She has a small tattoo right under her collarbone, simple, delicate, and sophisticated. It’s a simple flower, a rose. The line work is thin, which gives it a feminine, elegant appearance. I want to lean down and kiss it so badly, but it’s selfish thinking, considering everything she’s been through. I shouldn’t want her like I do. I have no right.
There are a few things I tell myself to stay away from.
And hate.
I like to be balanced. Being right in the middle means nothing can go wrong. There are no expectations to be met. No promises can be broken. No disappointment can be felt. No love can be lost.
I live life in the middle for the most part. Personally, I think it’s worked out pretty well, minus being whipped and strung up like a pig for standing up for what I believe in.
Keeping my desires close to my heart saves me, even if what I want suffocates me every day.
Even though I want love, even though I want more, and I don’t want to slide between the legs of a club whore, I’m scared.
What if I’m just like my father? What if what I have isn’t enough, and I’ll want another life, another family? What if his bad blood runs through my veins, and I’m just this piece of shit human being? Maybe I try too hard to be a decent man because inside I know just how rotten I am.
My stomach growls, yanking me out of my pity party. I rub my hands over my face and look at the time. It’s four in the morning. No wonder I’m hungry. I missed dinner, and that means she did too.
I sit up and swing my legs over the bed as I stretch my neck left, then right, getting the cricks out. My boots hit the floor with a soft thud, and I look over my shoulder to make sure I didn’t wake her. Her curly hair looks like a huge cotton ball on the pillow. Her body is covered by the sheet and all I see are those curly coils. I chuckle to myself and fight the urge to reach up and run my fingers through her hair.
Free in Kindle Unlimited
K.L. Savage decided they were tired of looking for the kind
of books they wanted to read. They had an itch that needed to be scratched, and
as every girl knows, nothing scratches better than an alpha.

They write about gritty, alpha males, sometimes their dark sides, and the women
they love.

If you have the same itch, their alpha males should fix that.
Chapter Reveal

CHAPTER REVEAL: Fighter’s Best Friend by A. Rivers

Title: Fighter’s Best Friend
Series: Crown MMA Romance #2
Author: A. Rivers
Genre: Sports Romance
Release Date: March 18, 2021
He’s my best friend. Emotionally unavailable. Falling in love with him is the worst idea ever but try telling that to my heart.

As a doctor who aced her way through medical school, I should be too smart to fall for Gabe Mendoza, a man who’s married to his MMA career.
For years, I’ve patched his wounds and cheered him on, but I’m tired of hoping he’ll wake up and see what’s right in front of him. I’m ready to find someone who will put me first.
The last thing I expect is for Gabe to scare off my dates and tell me all the dirty things he wants to do to me. He asks for a chance, but with the fight of his life on the horizon, his attention is divided, and I’m scared that when push comes to shove, I’ll be left alone and heartbroken.
Can I trust Gabe enough to fight for our happily ever after? Or was our end written before it even began?

He’s not coming.
I’m starving, and exhausted from a twelve-hour shift at the hospital. The mouthwatering aroma of Italian cuisine surrounds me, but I’ve held off for fifty-eight minutes, waiting for Gabe to show up. At this point, I’m pretty sure he won’t. It’s not the first time he’s become caught up in training and forgotten about me. Probably won’t be the last, either. But I’ll give him two more minutes. Maybe he’ll text or call to say he can’t make it. That’s not too much to ask, surely?
My phone pings. Heart in my throat, I glance down, but it’s Lena. My stomach plummets. I like Lena perfectly fine. In fact, she’s one of my closest friends these days, but she isn’t Gabe. Moreover, she has a man who’s crazy about her, which only serves to remind me that I’m being stood up by the only man in my life. Again. And yeah, technically Gabe is my best friend and not my boyfriend, but we’ve known each other for most of our lives and have always been closer than many people are comfortable with. Deep down, I’m a little bit in love with him. Not that I’ll ever admit as much.
Gabe trains out of the same MMA gym as Lena’s boyfriend, Jase, and they’re both professional fighters. But while Lena is apparently—according to her message—eating Mexican takeout and about to have mind-blowing sex, I’m sitting alone in a booth like a pathetic loser, hung up on a guy who barely manages to return my calls anymore. Is it too much to ask for a bit of respect? Or at least to be treated like my time matters? Like I matter?
My glumness grows and becomes hotter. More angry. I’m sick of this. Sick of being alone at a restaurant after spending a day in the ER, waiting for someone who might never show. I don’t want to be achingly lonely. I dedicate far too much emotional energy to Gabe, and just-a-friend or not, I deserve more than that. There was a time when he’d do anything for me. Hell, the first time we met, he saved me from a bully who was pulling on my braids. But our relationship doesn’t go two ways anymore. It’s always me giving and him taking. How much longer until I have nothing left to give?
I summon the waiter, Marcel, who gives me a sympathetic look. “Can I get the pumpkin ravioli to go, please?”
“No problem, Syd.” He makes a note, then asks, “I take it Gabe is a no-show?”
“Seems that way.”
He pats my shoulder. “Sorry, sweetheart.”
This isn’t the first time Marcel and I have had this talk. It’s not even the first time this month. Moretti’s is a favorite place for Gabe and me to eat, but lately I’ve been studying the checkered wallpaper and chatting with the staff more than eating.
Scrubbing a hand over my carefully restrained hair, I close my eyes and picture the future stretching out before me, a series of evenings spent by myself, slowly becoming more bitter and disappointed by life. God, I don’t want that. I’m only twenty-six, I should be out partying and kissing dozens of frogs before I find my Mr. Right.
I can’t let things carry on this way, but if I don’t get over my fixation with Gabe, nothing will ever change. I need to let him go and go after what I want: a person who will always be there for me. Always put me first. Never leave me waiting and wondering.
Checking my phone, I see he’s an hour and five minutes late. As soon as my food comes, I’m out of here. I’m not even going to text to remind him he missed out. I’m tired of his stumbling apologies and complete lack of awareness of my feelings. I love him, but enough is enough.
The restaurant door opens, and a cold breeze blows through. I glance up. There he is. All six feet three inches and 200 pounds of Gabriel Mendoza. He’s not smiling—he rarely does—but his eyes crinkle at the corners when they land on me. I don’t smile back, even though he steals my breath. It’s unfair how hot he is, with thick, dark hair, melting brown eyes and golden skin, courtesy of his Argentinian parents. Some would call his face brutal, with sharp cheekbones and a nose that’s been broken more than once, but to me, it’s fascinating.
“Sorry I’m late,” he says, sliding into the seat opposite me. “You ready to order?”

That’s it?
He’s over an hour late, and all I get is one half-ass “sorry”?
No, I don’t think so. I deserve better than his casual thoughtlessness.
“I’ve already ordered,” I tell him. “For myself. Takeout.” In case he’s unclear about how pissed I am, I add, “You’re an hour late.”
He winces. “Yeah, sorry about that. The Ruby Knuckles fight is coming up in a few weeks and I needed to get in some extra rounds on the pads.”
The Ruby Knuckles event is a big deal for Gabe. He’ll face off against Leo “The Lion” Delaney, another scion of boxing royalty. But the opponent isn’t what makes it so important. The Ruby Knuckles is an elite mixed martial arts elimination tournament, and it famously marked the end of Gabe’s dad’s career when he was knocked out in the last round of the finals. Gabe is determined to win where his dad—now manager—failed. He’s defeated five other fighters to get to the finals, and now he’s really feeling the pressure. I get that. But as far as I’m concerned, it’s no excuse not to take twenty seconds to send me a message.
I cock my head. “So Seth asked you to stay later?”
Seth Isles is his coach, and the owner of Crown MMA Gym, where he trains. It’s one of the best martial arts gyms in Las Vegas, if not the best.
“Uh, no. He didn’t.” He scratches the back of his neck. “Dad did.”
He holds up a hand. “I know, I know. Seth is in charge of training. Dad is supposed to butt out and manage the other stuff, but you know how he is. I couldn’t say no. I’m here now though, and I’m hungry as fuck.”
A sharp pain pricks my heart. I understand how hard it is to let a parent down—I feel like my life is one great big let-down to my mom—but does he actually think so little of me that it didn’t cross his mind to, say, get his dad to text me while he was busy training? And does he not see how unacceptable that is? If he respected my time and feelings at all, I’d be at home in bed. My stomach growls, cuing my anger higher.
Oblivious to my hurt, he continues, “Give me a minute to order and we can take it back to your place.”
I stand. “You know what? Don’t bother. I had a busy shift, I’m tired, and I just want to go home.”
He stands, too. “We could watch a movie and blob out on the couch.”
I shake my head. He isn’t getting it. “Gabe,” I say, heart heavy, “I just want to be alone.”
* * *

Dread creeps up my spine. Sydney never wants to be alone. She lives for contact with people—both physical and emotional. It’s what makes her such a great doctor—well, that and her brilliant mind. Something is seriously wrong. Perhaps something happened at work today. She’s in an emergency room rotation, and it can’t be easy seeing some of the things she does.
“Bad day at work?” I ask.
“You’re an hour late,” she repeats through clenched teeth.
Uh-oh. This isn’t good. Her attitude is directed straight at me, but I’m not sure exactly why she’s reacting this way. I mean, yeah I’m late, but I’ve been late before. I have the fight of my life coming up, and time gets away from me. Usually, if I tell her I’m sorry and offer food or to spend time with her, she doesn’t make a big deal of it. But I can tell from the stubborn set of her mouth that she’s willing to make a fuss this time.
“You’re angry.” I state the obvious.
“No shit, Sherlock.” She sighs and runs a hand over her tightly-bound black curls. “I just can’t do this tonight. I need some time alone.”
“You want to be alone,” I repeat dumbly. Something feels different about this. Different and wrong. Like if I don’t say what she wants to hear, I could be in trouble. I don’t know how to handle her when she’s like this. She’s typically so easygoing and eager to hang out that I’m confused and wary of what to do or say next. Should I try to sweet talk her so she comes around? I’m not really a sweet guy, but I can give it a try.
“What about if I buy us dessert on the way to your place?” I suggest. “That brownie you love from the cafe near your apartment?”
She just looks at me, her dark features solemn. “They’ll be closed. So no, thank you. I’m not in the mood, anyway.”
I wince. From Sydney, this is practically a slap in the face. She doesn’t know how to be mean, but she’s being distant and snarky, and that’s almost worse. She’s supposed to be my best friend. The person I get to see once or twice a week, and who always, always makes me feel better and brings a smile to my face. She’s the person I most look forward to seeing. Now I deflate, beginning to realize I’m not going to get my dose of Sydney today.
Marcel arrives, and hands her a package that smells amazing. He sends me a look, and it’s not friendly. “That all, sweetheart?”
“Yes, thanks, Marcel.” Without a word to me, she pays him and heads to the exit. I follow, both because I’m not willing to let her leave without talking this through, and because the neighborhood around her apartment isn’t the best and I need to make sure she gets home safely.
Outside, she whirls to face me. “What are you doing?”
Shrugging, I shove my hands in my hoodie pocket. “Walking you home.”
“No, you’re not.” She clutches her takeout to her middle like it’s a guard between us. Man, I hate that. Since when has she needed protection from me? “I already told you—”
“I’m just keeping you safe, Syd.”
To my astonishment, she rolls her eyes. Usually a statement like that would have earned a soft smile.
“I don’t need a guard.”
She continues walking, and I fall into step beside her. She speeds up, but despite her sensible work shoes, her legs are significantly shorter than mine and there’s no way she can out-pace me. She’s determined though, so I drop back and slink along behind her like a fucking stalker because she clearly doesn’t want me next to her.
My gaze falls onto her lush, rounded ass. Bad mistake. There isn’t much I wouldn’t do to grab fistfuls of that butt. Except hurt her. And therein lies the reason I haven’t made a move on her in many wonderfully torturous years of being friends—I would hurt her. It would just be a matter of when.
My dick stirs in my pants. It likes Sydney’s curves a little too much. I’ve fantasized about running one hand over her lush hips while gripping her ebony hair in my other hand and kissing a path down the column of her throat. Tearing my attention from her ass, I toss a nasty scowl at a guy in a stylish jacket who looks at her for too damn long. He glances away rapidly. Wimp.
I dog her footsteps all the way to her apartment building, giving myself permission to be fascinated by the tendril of hair that caresses the bronze skin of her shoulder.
When we arrive, she gives me the first hint she knows or cares I’m there, calling over her shoulder, “I’m safe, you can go now.”
Isn’t she going to invite me in? I’d been sure she’d cool off and change her mind on the way over. Sydney doesn’t have a temper, which means I was right: something is seriously wrong. I’m beginning to think I’ve screwed up. I should have tried harder not to be late. Even if I couldn’t take a break because Dad was spurring me on from the sidelines, I should have got Jase or Devon—my training buddies and the closest thing I have to brothers—to send her a text. But surely she isn’t like this just because I was running behind for dinner?
“Syd…” I trail off when she doesn’t look around. “I’m sorry.”
“Yeah? Well, so am I.” With that, she enters the building and shuts the door behind her. The click of the lock is soft but it echoes like a gunshot in the night. Like a fucking moron, I stare at the door for a good long moment before processing what it means. She’s angry at me, and I won’t be seeing any more of her tonight. Brooding over what to do next, not accustomed to being cut off like this, I backtrack to the diner and approach Marcel.
“Gabe,” he mutters when he sees me.
“Did something bad happen to Syd?” I demand, desperate to understand what’s going on, and furious at the thought of anything upsetting her. “Was someone rude or unpleasant to her?”
Marcel rests his forearms on the counter and looks me in the eye. He’s one of the few people who’s not afraid to do that, because he’s known me since I was a kid. “Nothing happened,” he says. “Except that she sat there for an hour looking miserable and lonely.” He shakes his head. “You’re a good guy, but I’m sick of seeing her wait on you. A girl like that should be cherished.”
Cherished? Yeah, she fucking should be. But not by me.
“We’re not a couple.”
Marcel raises a brow. “If you want it to stay that way, you’re going about things right.”
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Releasing June 24

A. Rivers writes romance with strong heroes and heroines who kick butt and take names. She loves MMA fighters, cops, military men, bodyguards, and the protective guy next door who isn’t afraid to fight the odds for love.