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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

PIECES OF PAISLEY by Leigh Ann Lunsford ♥ Book Blitz

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Title: Pieces Of Paisley
Author: Leigh Ann Lunsford
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 8, 2014
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Synopsis
Paisley Hull fell in love at sixteen; the forever kind of love: unexpected, passionate, consuming - her first. She never thought she could walk away from that kind of passion. Ignoring her heart, guided by her head, she never looked back. Blindsided by the beauty of a tiny, hazel-eyed vixen, Jake Grant fell head over heels in love, vowing to keep her protected and not let his past taint her. He may have been overzealous in his attempts to show her how much he cherished her but he never thought she would walk away without a fight. Nine years later, a now divorced Jake has a chance encounter with an engaged Paisley just a few short weeks before she is set to walk down the aisle. Wondering if they gave up too easily, the two embark on a journey through the jagged edges of their past. Can they overcome the obstacles to finally become one or is it too late for their second chance?
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About The Author
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Leigh Ann Lunsford is a stay at home mom turned author. She writes Romance/New Adult and loves her happily ever after in all books and movies. She lives with her husband, son, and four dogs in Fleming Island, Florida. When she isn’t writing or reading you can find her stuck in front of really bad reality shows or watching Sons of Anarchy. Leigh Ann has a filthy mouth and a huge amount of sarcasm that knows no end. She hopes to give the voices in her head an outlet with many more novels to come.
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****PINK SHADES OF WORDS COVER REVEAL****

★★★COVER REVEAL★★★
PINK SHADES OF WORDS
A FIFTY SHADES OF PINK ANTHOLOGY


Release Date: February 3, 2015

About the Courage Anthology Charity


All proceeds from sales will benefit the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer via the Fifty Shades of Pink team. 
FIFTY SHADES OF PINK team is made up of a group of girlfriends who raise funds annually to participate in the Avon 2 Day Breast Cancer Walk in Santa Barbara, CA. 
For one weekend in September, we wake up before the crack of dawn, dress in as much Pink as humanly possible and prepare to walk for 39.9 miles.
We suffer and laugh through: 
·        Torn muscles which require surgery
·        Blisters that are almost covering your entire foot and body parts you never realize you could get a blister on (ButtCrackGate 2013)
·        Passing out in the triage medical unit
·        Sleeping in a tent on the grass
·        Taking the best mobile showers EVER
·        Limping like old ladies
·        Cursing at the curbs to get onto the sidewalk (Walk 39 miles and you will be cursing at them too).
We do this all in the hopes that no other Mother, Sister, Aunt or Friend will have to deal with Breast Cancer.

***Money raised from the anthology will go towards the 2015 Avon Walk***

Anthology Line Up

★★★

Shanghai Wind by Chloe Barlow
Chloe is a contemporary romance novelist living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband and their sweet dog. She is a native Washingtonian that graduated Duke University with a degree in English and Chinese language. She met her husband at Duke and he brought her to Pittsburgh over a decade ago, which she has loved ever since and made her adopted hometown. She also attended the University of Pittsburgh Law School where she continued to be a book-loving nerd.

Chloe has always loved writing and cherishes the opportunity to craft her fictional novels and share them with the world. When Chloe isn't writing, she spends her time exploring Pittsburgh with her husband and friends. She also enjoys yoga, jogging, and all Pittsburgh sports, as well as her Duke Blue Devils.

She also thoroughly enjoys every opportunity to communicate with her readers. Since the release of her debut novel, Three Rivers, she has enjoyed the honor of meeting and talking with numerous fans, and looks forward to getting to know many more. 

When You Want by Ruth Cardello
Ruth Cardello was born the youngest of 11 children in a small city in northern Rhode Island. She spent her young adult years moving as far away as she could from her large extended family. She lived in Boston, Paris, Orlando, New York--then came full circle and moved back to Rhode Island. She now happily lives one town over from the one she was born in. For her, family trumped the warmer weather and international scene. 

She was an educator for 20 years, the last 11 as a kindergarten teacher. When her school district began cutting jobs, Ruth turned a serious eye toward her second love- writing and has never been happier. When she's not writing, you can find her chasing her children around her small farm, riding her horses, or connecting with her readers online.

Her third book in the Andrade Series, Maximum Risk is now available for pre-order! 
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Alpha Love by Gretchen de la O
By day Gretchen teaches computers, by night she dons the cloak of motherhood, wifehood, and authorship. She is making her way through self-publishing and is truly learning to let go with every curve and bump in the creative process. She enjoys writing about first loves and first times, in the first person. She is a firm believer that anything is possible if you set your mind to it; and what you expect out of life, always finds a way of showing up.

Gretchen happily lives in Northern California with her amazing husband, their three terrific boys, her talented mother, one goofy black lab, two crazy kitties, and seven happy chickens. Even though it sounds like it, she doesn't live on a farm.

The Wilson Mooney Series is Gretchen's 3 book complete series about a forbidden student/teacher romance. The series is a New Adult Romance. Pick it up today! 
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Mr. Online by Jennifer Foor
Jennifer Foor - Author of the Best Selling Mitchell Family Series, The Kin Series, The Bankshot Series, The Twisted Twin Series, Diary of a Male Maid, Hope's Chance and Love's Suicide. 

Kindred by Angela Graham & S.E. Hall
New York Times & USA Today Bestselling author.

Angela knew she found her calling in the world of fiction the moment she began pounding away at the keys for her first short story in 2012. With a baby on her shoulder, she wrote for about a year before deciding to try her hand at an actual novel. It was the best decision she ever made and since then she continues to bring characters to life in her free time snuck away from her first role as mother to her three young children. 

S.E.Hall is the author of the Amazon Best Selling Evolve Series: Emerge, Embrace, Entangled(novella)and Entice as well as the best selling stand-alone NA Romance, Pretty Instinct. She also co-wrote Stirred Up, Packaged and Handled, stand-alone erotic quickies with her CP and friend, Author Angela Graham and Conspire, a romantic suspense with friend and author Erin Noelle. 
S.E. Hall is honored to be a part of the USA Today and NYT Best Selling Devour box set.
She resides in Arkansas with her husband of 18 years and 3 beautiful daughters of the home.


Relinquished by K.A. Hunter
Kimi grew up in the San Gabriel Valley (mostly Alhambra) and still lives in Southern California. She's been married to her high-school sweetheart and prom date for over 22 years and they have two hilarious boys.

When she's not reading or writing, Kimi spends her time in the kitchen trying to come up with vegan meals that don't taste like cardboard. Her family might disagree with this however.

Volunteering is extremely important to her and her family. Together, they work with several local non-profit organizations. A portion of her sales will always go to charity.

Books 1-3 in the Intertwined Hearts series, are available now and book 4, Grafted Vines (Dani & Zachary's story) is anticipated to release in early 2015. 

*** UPDATE BY AUTHOR...I have some EXCITING news. I decided to write a new novel under the pen name, K.A. Hunter (will add links when they become available). I'm not hiding behind the name but this novel, and others that will follow, is more raw and definitely grittier than my Intertwined Hearts series. The first 4 chapters have been written into a short story that will appear in an anthology in February 2015 and I anticipate publishing the full novel around July 2015. Those that have read it confirm that it's nothing like what I've written before and they were blown away. Can't even tell you how happy that makes me :D

Insatiable Hunger & Will You Be My Valentine (Two Stories) by Jade C. Jamison
For years, Jade C. Jamison tried really hard to write what she thought was more "literary" fiction, but she found herself compelled to write what you read by her today--sometimes gritty, raw, realistic stories and other times humorous, light stories--but most of the stories she writes revolve around relationships and characters finding their way through life. While she doesn't confine herself to just one genre, nor is there a nice neat label for what she writes, most of her work could be called erotic romance.

She lives in Colorado with her husband and four children.


Dry Spell by Vi Keeland
Vi Keeland is a native New Yorker with three children that occupy most of her free time, which she complains about often, but wouldn't change for the world. She is a bookworm and has been known to read her kindle at stop lights, while styling her hair, cleaning, walking, during sporting events, and frequently while pretending to work. She is a boring attorney by day, and an exciting New York Times & USA Today Best Selling smut author by night!

Break Down Here by Shayne McClendon
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Shayne McClendon is an indie author who has received rave reviews for her premiere novel "The Barter System." 

Other projects recently released are "Yes to Everything," "Completely Wrecked," "Love of the Game - The Complete Collection," "The Hermit," "Hudson" - the second book set in "The Barter System" world, and "Just a Little - The Complete Collection" with Alexandra Andersen.

Writer, mom, and hermit...Shayne listens to the voices in her head because their ideas are awesome. Those around her have learned not to question the crazy. Coffee consumption is too high, amount of sleep is too low, but the words always feel just right.

She currently lives in Oklahoma wrangling teenagers, opening doors for her pets, and running her content writing company. She dreams of peace, quiet, travel, and always having a viable internet connection.

The Auction by J.B. McGee
J.B. McGee was born and raised in Aiken, South Carolina. She is the mother of two beautiful children and a stay at home mom/entrepreneur. She finished her Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education at the University of South Carolina-Aiken in 2006. During her time studying children's literature, a professor had encouraged her to become a writer.

In 2011, it was discovered that both of her children, she, and her husband have Mitochondrial Disease, a disease that has no cure or treatments. Being a writer allows J.B. to remain close to her family, work on raising awareness for this disease, and to lose herself in the stories that she creates for her fans.

J.B. McGee and her family now reside in Buford, Georgia. She is an Amazon Top 100 bestselling author of her debut series, the 'THIS' Series.

Frozen Fantasy by Nicole Andrews Moore

Nicole lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband, a teenage son and daughter, and Kenna. Every day is new and sparkly...which is why she chronicles them on her blog, Suddenly *Not So* Single Journey. It is a way for her to spread her brand of hope, happiness, and love.

Previously, Nicole has been published by McClatchy News in their syndicated papers. In 2010, she joined the Yahoo! Mother Board, became a Shine Parenting Guru, and has become an award winning dating and relationships expert for Shine. 

After a few bad sailing experiences, the Moores decided they were safer on land. Their boating adventures will be limited to cruise ships. And those cruises are centered around their travel goal of visiting ever Margaritaville. Two down, eleven to go!

Roses Are Red by Liv Morris
Raised in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri, Liv Morris now resides in Manhattan with her first and hopefully last husband. After relocating eleven times during his corporate career, she qualifies as a professional mover. Learning to bloom where she's planted, Liv brings her moving and life experience to her writing.

Cricket by Tess Oliver
Custom Culture #5: Nix & Scotlyn: The Wedding COMING DECEMBER 20th

I write romance for young adult, new adult and those of us past the 'new' stage. My stories take place anywhere from 19th century England to 21st century California. And you can count on a super alpha in each book. 

Tess Oliver is the USA Today and New York Times bestselling author of the Custom Culture Series. She lives in sunny California with her husband, kids and a herd of spoiled pets

The Fantasy by Julie A. Richman
USA TODAY Bestselling author Julie A. Richman is a native New Yorker living deep in the heart of Texas. A creative writing major in college, reading and writing fiction has always been a passion. Julie began her corporate career in publishing in NYC and writing played a major role throughout her career as she created and wrote marketing, advertising, direct mail and fundraising materials for Fortune 500 corporations, advertising agencies and non-profit organizations. She is an award winning nature photographer plagued with insatiable wanderlust. Julie and her husband have one son and a white German Shepherd named Juneau.

Currently, Julie has published The Needing Moore Series - Searching for Moore, Moore to Lose and Moore than Forever, and has works included in Pink Shades of Words and Tempting Fate Boxed Set (Searching for Moore appears in its entirety)

Teasing Destiny by Melanie Shawn
NEW YORK TIMES & USA TODAY bestselling author Melanie Shawn is the writing team of sister duo Melanie and Shawna. Originally from Northern California, they both migrated south and now call So Cal their home.

Growing up, Melanie constantly had her head in a book and was always working on short stories, manuscripts, plays and poetry. 

Shawna always loved romance in any form - movie, song or literary. If it was a love story with a happy ending, Shawna was all about it! She proudly acknowledges that she is a romanceaholic. 

They have joined forces to create a world where true love and happily ever after always has a sexy twist!

Undoing You by Jessica Sorenson
Jessica Sorensen is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author from the snowy mountains of Wyoming. When she's not writing, she spends her time reading and hanging out with her family.

Always on my Mind by Hilary Storm
Hilary Storm lives with her high school sweetheart and three children in Enid, Oklahoma. She drives her husband crazy talking about book characters everyday like they are real people. She graduated from Southwestern Oklahoma State University with an MBA in Accounting. Her passions include being a mom, writing, reading, photography, music, mocha coffee, and spending time with friends and family. She is the international best selling author of the Rebel Walking Series.





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Blog Tour for Brokered Submission by Claire Thompson

Title: Brokered Submission
Author: Claire Thompson
Genre: Adult, Erotic Romance
Release Date: January 9, 2015
Dylan steers clear of vanilla girls, preferring to find his play partners in the BDSM scene. But something about Zoë Stamos whispers to the Dom inside him. As they work together on a complex multi-million dollar investment deal, it is all too easy to imagine her naked and bound, skin glistening with sweat, her hair wild about her face. He can almost hear her breathy cries as he cracks a whip behind her, letting its sharp tip flick over her skin…

When a key investor pulls out of a deal Zoë hoped would make her career, Dylan Hart offers to step in and cover the six million dollar shortfall, but his terms are like nothing she’s ever heard before. “You will spend the next forty-eight hours as my sexual slave. You will be confined to my basement dungeon, and you will be subject to my every sensual whim and erotic torture.”

Zoë, who has a secret cache of dark, edgy erotic romances in her library, never dreams she’d be offered the chance to step right into the pages of one. Fantasy is one thing, real life erotic submission is quite another! But Dylan is waiting for her answer, his self-assured arrogance and intense sexual allure nearly too much for Zoë to handle. Her heart is hammering in her chest, and it’s hard to catch her breath. 

“So,” he says, “do we have a deal?”

Brokered Submission © Claire Thompson

Zoë was an unknown quantity at this point, despite his near-certainty of a submissive nature hidden beneath the accomplished and driven businesswoman persona she presented to the world. In a way, her innocence regarding the scene was a plus. She didn’t come to him with preconceived notions of how a Dom should behave, and what she could expect. It was all shiny and new.
He sensed her tension and her fear, but also her excitement. His initial assessment of her submissive potential hadn’t lessened. If anything, he was surer than ever. The next exercise he had planned would help him gauge the masochistic aspect of her psyche, and just the thought of it made his cock hard.
He regarded her standing before him, the blindfold covering her eyes, her hands hanging loosely at her sides. She fidgeted a little—shifting from foot to foot, her tongue flicking nervously over her lips, but otherwise doing quite well at just doing nothing, especially given her complete lack of training.
He moved slowly around her, admiring her long, lean curves and the high heft of her well-rounded breasts. Her nipples were fully erect and flushed a deep red against the creamy white of her skin where no sun had kissed it. The tailored business suits she had worn during their professional time together, while elegant and flattering, had mostly hidden her lush and curvaceous femininity.
Stepping behind her, Dylan removed the blindfold. Tucking the sash back into his pocket, he moved to face her. She blinked rapidly as her eyes readjusted to the light. Her eyes locked on his, her full lips slightly pursed, as if she were waiting for a kiss.
Distracted by that lush mouth, Dylan had to force himself to focus. “We’re going to engage in some pretty intense scenes over the course of the weekend, and though I will pay close attention to your body and your reactions, sometimes a Dom can miss distress signals, and has to be hit over the head, metaphorically speaking. That’s where a safeword comes in. When you use the word, it stops all action immediately and completely. Just be aware—a safeword shouldn’t be used lightly. It’s like the fire alarm behind the glass—for emergencies only. That said, if you’re panicking during a scene and I don’t seem to be picking up on your cues, you can use the word, and all action will cease.”
Zoë’s eyes had widened as he spoke, her breath quickening, her hands clenching and unclenching at her sides. Dylan put his hands on her shoulders and looked deep into those beautiful, dark eyes. “Hey, calm down. I’ve been in the scene for over a decade. I should tell you, no sub has ever had to use her safeword with me. Ever.”
By the same token, no woman he’d worked with before had signed on for training in exchange for investment money, without any real indication they were submissive. What if he was reading her wrong, and she had only gone along with this whole thing to get the money she needed to complete her deal?
Not for the first time since he’d made the impulsive agreement, Dylan wondered if he was insane. He took the gift of erotic submission seriously, and would never dream of pushing his sexual agenda on a woman who wasn’t one hundred percent willing.
But Zoë could have said no. She could have refused—he’d given her the opportunity to back out of the deal, but she’d steadfastly stuck to her guns. Despite the unorthodox nature of their arrangement, Dylan remained convinced Zoë was a sub in need of a D/s deflowering. And damn if he wasn’t just the Dom to do it.
This mental pep talk took only a few seconds to register and, newly resolved, Dylan continued, “We’ll choose a word together. Something from the world of high finance would be fitting. Do you have a suggestion of a word you can easily remember that has nothing to do with BDSM?”
“Buyout,” Zoë offered without hesitation.
“Buyout it is,” Dylan agreed.
Taking a step back, he reached for the O-ring at the center of her collar and gave it a little tug. “Come on. Let’s go over to the bed. I’m going to sit with my feet on the floor, and you’re going to lie over my lap, facedown. Do you know why?”
“No, Sir,” she whispered, swallowing hard. Her nipples, he noted, were still fully erect.
“Because I’m going to spank you.”
Her mouth opened into an O, matching the sound she made, which was long and drawn out. “Ooooooh.” The response could have been prompted either by fear or desire, or maybe it was both.
She was so fucking hot, and it was all he could do not to throw her on the rug in that instant and plunge his aching cock into her heat.
Instead, his finger looped through the O-ring, he guided her to the bed. Letting her go, he sat. She stood uncertainly before him. “Have you ever been spanked? I’m not talking about parental swats. I’m talking about a lover holding you down and smacking that gorgeous ass of yours.”
“No, Sir!” Zoë replied with such vehemence Dylan had to chuckle.
Dylan patted his leg. “Come on, now. Do as you’re told.”
Zoë held herself tentatively over him. He helped her into position, shifting her body until her sexy little bottom was perched on his thighs, her upper half resting along the mattress.
She held herself tight as a bowstring. Dylan stroked her back. “Relax. I think you’ll find this a very sensuous experience, if you open yourself to it. I’ll start by warming the skin, and I’ll steadily increase the intensity to gauge your pain tolerance levels, okay?”
“Is it going to hurt?” Zoë’s normally low, sultry voice rose nearly to a squeak, and again Dylan smiled, though this time he managed to keep the chuckle at bay. He didn’t want to her to think he was making fun of her, but she was so adorable.
“Yes,” he replied. “That’s the idea, Zoë. It’s supposed to hurt, but the experience isn’t designed just to inflict pain for its sake. This is what we call ‘erotic pain’ and it has a very specific purpose. Actually it serves a lot of purposes at once. One is the giving of yourself over to another person—allowing them the intimacy of using your body in a way you wouldn’t normally allow.
“Then there is the focus on the actual sensations—the feel of my hand on your skin, of the blood rushing to the surface, of your muscles tensing and moving, and then ultimately relaxing as you stop resisting and learn to let go. The goal is to give yourself over to both the experience and your Dom. It can be extraordinarily liberating.”
He was silent a moment as he tried to come up with an analogy she might understand. His hands moved over her soft, supple skin, his cock hard as steel beneath her naked body. “Think about a strenuous hike up a difficult mountain,” he finally said. “By the end, you’re drenched with sweat, every muscle aches, brambles and thorns have scraped your skin. Then you reach the summit, and a new feeling takes over. You experience this incredible exhilaration to have made it to the top, and you can hardly believe the sheer beauty and power of the vista spreading before you. And the difficult journey to that point makes the achievement all the sweeter and more meaningful. That’s what a successful BDSM scene is like, not just for the receiver, but for the giver as well.”
He struck her ass lightly with his open palm, the slapping sound of skin on skin echoing in the air. Zoë stiffened and jerked beneath his touch. “Ouch!” she squealed, though he knew he hadn’t hurt her, only startled her.
“Relax,” he urged, striking her again, just a little harder. “Let yourself begin the journey. Feel the sensations without judgment. Accept the pain.” He struck her once more. “Embrace it.” He kept his other hand on her lower back, both to steady her and to provide the comfort of touch.
At first she continued to squirm and tense. She was breathing rapidly, her breath ragged and shallow. “Breathe,” he urged. “Stop resisting, Zoë. It’s much easier to take when you open yourself to receive. Take this first step with me.” He began to smack her in a steady rain of rapid strokes, alternating cheeks until the skin began to darken to a pretty pink.
After a while, he was very pleased to note her squirming had stopped, though her hands were clenched into tight fists at her sides. “Relax your hands,” he said. “Uncurl your fingers and try to slow your breathing.”
He wasn’t sure she had heard him, but after several long beats, her fingers unfurled. She drew in a long, shuddering breath and let it out.
Encouraged, Dylan drew back his arm, cupped his palm, and gave her the first real smack, smashing down so her groin ground against his. Over and over he struck her with force, giving her the kind of spanking that would send a trained sub flying within minutes.
She tensed again beneath the onslaught, squirming and whimpering, and crying out, “Ouch! It hurts! Stop, oh stop!”
He didn’t stop.
She didn’t say her safeword.
He spoke in a low, calming voice near her ear. “You’re doing great, Zoë. You can do this. You’re almost there.” He continued the spanking, watching her skin darken from pink to red, careful to keep up the intensity without taking it too far, too fast.
And then it happened.
All at once the resistance went out of her. Someone not familiar with the masochistic sensibility might have thought she’d merely given up, but Dylan knew otherwise. Her breathing had slowed, her hands rested easily by her sides, her toes no longer curled, her muscles no longer tensed. He continued the spanking, slowly but steadily easing the intensity until he was merely stroking the heated flesh of those perfect globes. 
Zoë didn’t move or react in any way. She lay limp and heavy over his lap and it occurred to him she might actually be asleep, a not uncommon result at the end of an intense session that culminates in full release.
I knew it, he thought exultantly.
He leaned over her, his mouth brushing the curve of her small, delicate ear. “You were born for this,” he whispered.
She answered with a small, sweet sigh.



Claire Thompson has been writing erotic fiction and romance since 1996. With over fifty novels published, Claire recently established hew own publishing venue, RomanceUnbound.com, where all of her work is available for direct sale. Claire’s novels involve the sensual exploration of D/s and erotic romance, as well as the more intense and edgy side of BDSM. Her D/s romances explore the power and beauty of a loving exchange of power. Her darker works press the envelope of what is erotic and what can be a sometimes dangerous slide into the world of sadomasochism. Ultimately her work deals with the human condition, and our constant search for love and intensity of experience.


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Release of Another Mazzy Monday (Tawnee Mountain #1)

Title: Another Mazzy Monday
Series: Tawnee Mountain #1
Author: Savannah Young and Sierra Avalon
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 6, 2015
When the wealthy and charming Drew Graham walks into the Tawnee Mountain Resort where I work and offers me a lucrative part-time job it sounds too good to be true. I just have to pretend to be his fiancée until he wins the election for Governor and then we can go our separate ways. It seems like an easy way to make a hundred thousand dollars…until his brother, Austin, returns from Europe and moves in with us. And I’m completely overwhelmed by my attraction to my fake fiancé’s rebellious younger brother.

Another Mazzy Monday Excerpt

My brother hasn’t changed very much since I left for Europe. He’s just a little more of everything. Cocky, charismatic, and quite charming. Give him an audience, no matter how small, and he’ll captivate them within minutes.
Not that I haven’t been accused of being cocky myself. Okay, maybe I’ve been called an asshole on more than a few occasions. But charming I am not. My brother is great at telling people exactly what they want to hear. It’s a skill that will serve him very well in politics. I’m more of a say-what’s-on-my-mind kind of guy. I’m always straightforward and honest. I tell people what I think they need to hear even if they don’t want to hear it.
“Austin Graham,” my big brother says when he finally spots me. He excuses himself from the small group of would-be campaign donors and heads in my direction. “The rebel without a cause returns to the roost.”
To my surprise my brother grabs me into a hug. I reflexively look around the ballroom to see if there are any photographers snapping shots of us. That’s the only reason I could see Drew giving me such a warm greeting. We didn’t exactly part on the friendliest of terms when I left the country.
“I take it Dad summoned you back to the States to help with the campaign.”
Help is really a strong word. I get the impression I’m needed for publicity photos. He says he wants to show the press that our family is strong and united. You are running a family values campaign, aren’t you?”
My brother glares at me. Then after a few moments of being at the center of his arctic stare he says, “Nice suit.”
“It should be. You probably paid top dollar for it.”
“I thought it looked familiar.”
“Suits and I don’t really get along.”
“I guess that means Dad hasn’t talked you into getting a real job yet.”
“I’ve had plenty of real jobs all over Europe. Everything from milking cows to fixing motorcycles. Whatever odd jobs people had in exchange for a hot meal and a warm bed.”
Drew shakes his head. “Sometimes it’s difficult for me to believe we’re products of the same two parents.”
“You were there when I was born,” I remind him.
“And you were stubborn and willful from the moment you took your first breath. Some things never change.”
“I need a drink,” I announce. Drew, always being the perfect politician and everything his constituents want him to be wrapped in a picture-perfect package, rarely drinks anything but water and orange juice. I, on the other hand, imbibe on a regular basis.
“Maybe stick with one,” he suggests. “Nurse it for a while.”
“Yes, Sir,” I give him a cheesy little fake salute.
As I approach the bar I see a gorgeous little blonde serving small cups of wine to several middle-aged women wearing matching conservative navy blue suits and single strands of white pearls around their necks. They all have their hair cut short and look like they’ll be absolutely no fun even with a little wine in them.
Once the women of the blue suit brigade have cups of wine in their hands they make their way over to my brother. As I wait for the bartender to acknowledge me I’m a little hurt that she doesn’t even glance up at me when she asks me what I want. Then I remember I’m wearing one of my brother’s stuffy suits and that I probably look just like another one of the conservative jackasses at the fundraising event.
This girl looks like someone who prefers a more down-to-Earth kind of guy. If I had on my everyday attire: leather jacket, well-worn jeans and black biker boots, I think I’d get her attention in a heartbeat.
“Beer,” I say, trying to will the blonde to at least glance at me once. But to no avail. She’s all business, serving drinks then taking the next person’s order.
“We’ve got Miller, Bud, and Coors.”
“Miller.”
She nods and fills up one of the small cups with beer. It’s not even the size of a Dixie cup. Maybe half as large. “Got anything bigger than that?”
She shakes her head. “Sorry. It’s complimentary. You can have as many as you like.”
I hold up the ridiculously small cup. It would probably take about ten of these before I even felt a buzz. “Thanks.”
She nods, but she’s only half paying attention to me. When I glance down at her name tag I see her name is Mazzy. Unusual name. I’m completely intrigued. Not just because she’s beautiful with a smoking hot body to match, but there’s something about her that’s different.
Most girls fall all over themselves to get my attention when they figure out who my family is. Being from a wealthy and well-connected family is like an aphrodisiac for most women. I look down to make sure I’m still wearing my name tag and it’s definitely there. This girl just hasn’t even bothered to take a look at it. 
Two guys are now standing behind me so I know I have to let her serve them, but I don’t want to move from this spot. I just want to look at her for a few seconds more. I like watching the way she moves. She seems so carefree and comfortable in her body. As carefree as I like to pretend to be I know I’m really just a mass of insecurities and compensative tactics.
“Anything else?” she asks.
Your number, I want to say, but what’s the point. I don’t plan on being in New Jersey any longer than I have to. I promised my dad I’d stay through the election and that’s it. Then my backpack and I are off to Asia.
I take my ridiculous little cup of beer and head off in search of someone I might find even remotely interesting to talk to.
As luck would have it I run into my mother and her league of women voters. They’re all wearing the same conservative blue suits as the blue suit brigade who were ordering wine in front of me at the bar and they each have a tiny American flag displayed prominently on their lapels. As soon as my mother spots me a look of disgust overtakes her face. She can’t seem to control it whenever she sees me and I’m not sure she wants to. She’s even less thrilled with me than my father and she usually has no trouble expressing that displeasure to me. My only saving grace is that I know she won’t rail at me in front of her supporters. She’s much too shrewd for that. She’ll do her best to pretend I’m the perfect son in front of potential donors and wait to condemn me in private.
I’m so glad I’ll be staying at the lake house. My mother won’t consider venturing out to Northern New Jersey this late in the season. When it’s less than seventy degrees she has no interest in the lake house.
“Austin,” my mother says as she approaches and places a quick peck on my cheek. “So glad you could make it.”
The other women in her small group are all smiling and eyeballing me, even though they’re all my mother’s age or older.
I down the rest of my beer and stare into the empty cup. “I think I need a refill.”
My mother expresses her displeasure with a harrumph, but then quickly replaces her grimace with a broad smile. Hers isn’t as rehearsed as my father’s or brother’s, but it’s equally phony.
“When you come back, Mrs. Lexington has an opening in her firm that might be of interest to you and she’s already said she’d love to talk to you about it.”
“Great,” I lie as I loosen my tie. I’m already feeling trapped and the stupid material around my neck isn’t helping matters any. I can’t even remember the last time I wore a tie.
As I hurry back towards the bar I’m glad to see that Mazzy doesn’t have any other customers. She’s all mine, at least for a few minutes.
I order two beers and down them both double-fisted. When I look up I imagine that Mazzy will have a look of horror on her face, but all I see is puzzlement. As if she’s looking at a creature from a brand new species.
By the time I order my fourth miniature beer I have just enough liquid courage to actually start a conversation with her. It’s not that I generally have a hard time conversing with women. On the contrary, I’m generally quite smooth with the opposite sex. But I feel different in this monkey suit and a political fundraiser is definitely not my native habitat. I’m used to picking up women at dive bars or neighborhood pubs. The more relaxed and casual the atmosphere the better.
There’s absolutely nothing relaxed or casual about my present circumstances. But at least the beers have taken the edge off. 
“Mazzy is an unusual name,” I say as she hands me my beer.
She just gives me a polite nod in return.
“Do you live around here?” As soon as the words leave my lips I realize it’s a ridiculous question. I’m sure she doesn’t commute very far for a job as a bartender.
“I’ve lived in Old Town my whole life.” Her clipped tone leads me to believe that she has little interest in talking to me. Not that I blame her. If I ran into me in this setting wearing this suit I wouldn’t want to talk to me either.
“Know of any good bars around here.” I hold up the small cup. “These tiny cups aren’t really doing it for me.”
That remark elicits the tiniest of smiles. At least it’s a start.
“Try Haymakers. It’s the only bar in Old Town. Do you like country music?”
I shrug. “I’m more of a rock-and-roll kind of guy.”
“Haymakers is definitely a country bar. I used to work there.”
“Maybe I’ll check it out.” I’ll be staying at my family’s lake house, which isn’t too far from Old Town. I’m sure I’ll go stir crazy after a while and will need some kind of escape. “Thanks for the recommendation.”
“If you tell them that Mazzy sent you they might even give you a free beer.”
“Free is good.” I give her my sexiest smile, but it doesn’t seem to make much of an impact. I realize that maybe she’s just being nice so I’ll give her a good tip. I reach into my pocket, pull out a five dollar bill and add it to the mostly singles lining the tip jar.
“Thanks,” she says and when she finally looks me in the eye I feel a little flash of something. I’m not quite sure what it is, but my entire body reacts to it. I put my beer on the end of the bar for a moment and put my hands in my pockets in an effort to lower the flag that’s starting to rise in my pants.
“Haymakers,” I repeat. “I’m definitely going to check it out.”
“Only bar in town. You can’t miss it.”


USA TODAY Bestselling Author Karen Mueller Bryson writes under four pen names. This is her first novel co-written by two of them.

Savannah Young's stories take place in fictional Old Town, which is very much like the rural Northwest New Jersey town in which she grew up. She is the author of the four-book Wilde brother's Old Town Country Romance series.

Sierra Avalon's stories have a little sass and lots of spice. She is the author of Always Rayne, which is the first book in the Always, Sometimes, Never series.



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