10 Books by 10 Rising Stars
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When love calls, it’s rarely easy but always memorable, and definitely worth turning the pages. Recapture the thrill, the delicious anticipation of finding your happily ever after in these 10 unforgettable, hot stories by some of today’s brightest names:
Her Knight in Black Leather – J.M. Stewart
Destination Wedding – Robyn Neeley
Drawn to Jonah – Jennifer DeCuir
On the Fly – Katie Kenyhercz
Wildly – Debra Kayn
Falling for You – Heather Thurmeier
Beginning Again – Peggy Bird
Spiraling – Rachel Cross
Save My Soul – Elley Arden
Sweet Gone South – Alicia Hunter Pace
Wildly by Debra Kayn
Grayson moved forward, making her retreat, walking with that lazy long stride that had the ability to hypnotize her. His gaze was so intent, her breasts hardened and she forgot why she was wasting her time arguing. His hair lay over his forehead in a sexy I-don’t-give-a-damn way that tempted her to reach up and sweep it back. But she didn’t. She couldn’t get that close.
The back of her thighs hit against the car, her breath barely coming through the constant throb of her body. “What are you doing?”
“I’m going to take what’s mine.” He lowered his head, hovering inches from her mouth. “I don’t care if I get it here, in the middle of Main Street, or if you come over to my house and let me have you there. But I’ll be damned if we’re gonna pussy foot around this subject any longer.”
“But … ”
He shook his head. “I’m done fighting, Shauna. I want you. You hear me? I want you as much as you want me. For as long as you want me.”
Oh my God. She forgot to breathe. She’d waited forever to hear him admit his feelings toward her, to confess it wasn’t her overactive imagination dreaming up a future with him. She sucked in air, filling her lungs. Everyone had thought her crush was one sided, but she knew better.
Top-selling romance author Debra Kayn lives with her family in the beautiful coastal mountains of Oregon where she enjoys riding motorcycles, gardening, playing tennis, and fishing.
On the Fly by Katie Kenyhercz
With a sigh, she glided over to where he waited. For good measure, she stuck out her arms and feigned a wobble. Can you ice skate? That was something of an understatement. Her father had gotten her a pair of ice skates as soon as she could walk. Carter didn’t need to know that.
“You gonna make it?”
“I think so.” She came to a stop against the goal post and turned around to mimic his stance.
“Tell you what, I’ll give you a head start.”
She just smiled.
“Down and back, okay? Ready, set, go!”
She took off like a shot, arms pumping, knees high, just digging into the ice with the sides of her blades. Behind her, shocked laughter echoed. Then it was replaced by the sound of his own skates. At the other goal, she skidded sideways in an awkward hockey stop and tried to regain momentum, heading back for the other end, but Carter had the experience, and he turned in two seconds. He passed her and pivoted to skate backward, adding insult to injury. She squinted at him and surged forward. Amusement played openly across his sharp features until he stopped and she didn’t.
Jacey hadn’t really considered the consequences of hurling herself at him. It seemed like a good idea at the time. And before she could reverse it, she collided against him with a solid thump. They spun in a circle, their legs tangled, and Carter fell backward. She had no choice but to follow.
Katie married the military man of her dreams, so home is wherever the Air Force sends them. She loves hockey and writes about hockey love. Her fictional team is the Las Vegas Sinners, and her real-world team is the Pittsburgh Penguins. She likes strong, capable heroines who bring out the vulnerability in their tough guys.
Her Knight in Black Leather by JM Stewart
A beat of silence passed, and Michael let out a heavy exhalation behind her, a sound of acceptance, defeat, dejection. He stepped up behind her, his warm, solid body pressing against her back, pinning her where she stood. Reaching around her, he opened a cabinet door, revealing a shelf full of glasses and mugs. “Because I was afraid.”
His words and the truth behind them settled into her core. She knew that feeling. Too well. “Of what?”
“What did you need from me last night, Cat?” His hot breath teased her neck, the sensitive skin below her earlobe, and images invaded her mind. Of his mouth latching on there, leaving his mark. The possessive look in his eyes when he plunged inside her body, claimed her as his. How simultaneously wrong and right it felt to be claimed that way. They were strangers, yet deep down, she couldn’t deny she gave him a piece of herself last night.
“I wanted the fantasy. You were a little wild, a little dangerous. A Harley-riding bad boy in black leather with a wicked gleam in your eye who challenged anyone to try to judge you.”
A faint chuckle sounded behind her, so infectious one corner of her mouth curled in response.
“You were everything I wanted to be and exactly the type of man I never go for.”
J.M. writes what she likes to call sweet and spicy contemporary romance. She’s a stay-at-home mom who lives in Seattle Washington, with her husband, two boys, and their two very spoiled puppies. She’s been devouring romances for as long as she can remember.
Spiraling by Rachel Cross
“Am I being played here?”
“I’m not going to try to take naked photos, if that’s what you’re asking,” Amy said.
He ignored the dig. “Why did you agree to go out with me?”
“You’re hot,” she said, playing with a strand of hair, blinking up at him with her best princess smile.
“I think you’re here with me for the same reason I’m with you.”
“Publicity,” he said.
She stilled. “Is that why you asked me out?”
“My agent encouraged it. He’s in the throes of panic over my image,” he stated.
“He’s the one who set up the . . .” she glanced around furtively, “lessons.”
“I need the lessons, obviously, but he’s trying to kill two birds with one stone here.” Shane said.
So he was using her the same way she was using him. “Why me?”
“You have to ask? Amelia Astor, princess, New England blue-blood. You’re the ideal woman to rehab my image.”
It was the way he said it. As though he would never in a million years be seen with her otherwise.
“And here you are just in time to resuscitate my contract with Enchanted Ice.” Amy raised her glass. “Cheers,” she said, without the slightest bit of pique reflected in her tone.
Goaded, she stretched out a hand and laid it, palm down on his rock hard, jean clad thigh, one finger tracing a pattern on the soft cotton. She leaned in and whispered, “I’m not incorruptible.”
He tilted his head back, and she watched his throat work as he finished his drink in one swallow and scooted closer. “No?”
“It doesn’t have to be fiction, but I don’t do fidelity,” he said as his long fingers tucked a strand of her blonde hair behind her ear and he shot her a half-smile that sent a throb of excitement through her traitorous body.
Fueled by black jelly-beans and Pinot noir, Rachel Cross writes contemporary romance with brave heroines and sexy heroes. She lives in coastal California, with her surfer/pilot husband and two daughters. Her past includes stints as a firefighter, paramedic, clinical manager and Weekly World News tabloid model.
Beginning Again by Peggy Bird
“What the hell are we doing?” Liz Fairchild didn’t bother hiding her irritation from her ex-husband. “When I agreed to have lunch with you, I expected food and a martini, not a tour of Northwest Portland.”
“Bombay Sapphire is good gin but pouring it over a few ice cubes doesn’t make it a martini,” Mason Fairchild said with a grin, “even if you do throw in a couple olives. Although I’ve always been pretty sure you know that.”
“Po-ta-to, po-tah-to.” Dismissing his comment with a wave of her hand, she persisted. “Answer the question—where are we going?”
“You’ll see in a minute. We’re just about there.” After maneuvering his Mercedes around a streetcar stopped to pick up passengers, he pulled into a small parking lot behind what looked like a row of townhomes, nosed the car into a parking space and cut the engine. “This is it.”
“And what would IT be?”
“A live/work space a client of mine has on the market for a very attractive price.”
“If I knew what a live/work space was, that might impress me. But since I don’t, I’m back to asking why I’m not sitting at your favorite restaurant with a martini in front of me.”
“Patience has never been your virtue, has it?”
She pursed her mouth and cocked her head. “You of all people should know just how patient and understanding…”
“I apologize. You’re right.” He unfastened his seat belt and leaned over to do the same for her. “Just extend your understanding for another fifteen minutes and I promise there’ll be gin in your very near future.”
Peggy Bird is a writer and glass artist who lives and works in Vancouver, Washington across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon where most of her stories are set and where her three daughters, four grandchildren and two granddogs live.
Falling for You by Heather Thurmeier
“Stay still, Corona,” she pleaded, patting the horse on the shoulder. She swung her leg over the horse, determined to successfully complete one dismount before the challenge ended.
Her arms shook as she lowered herself carefully from the saddle, finally giving up their fight part way down. Gravity took her the last few feet and she hit the ground with both feet, stumbling backward a step before bumping into something solid.
“How, Cassidy? How do you always end up in my arms?” Evan’s voice rumbled in her ear, his warm breath on her earlobe making her girly bits tingle.
She found her footing and turned in his arms. She could see the dust and dirt clinging to his five o’clock shadow, his brow beaded with sweat. He desperately needed a shower and there was nothing she could have fantasized about more than being in one with him. Instead, she pushed herself back from him and swallowed her urge to climb him like a jungle gym.
“What can I say? I guess I just keep falling for you,” she said, before her brain caught up to her mouth and she was able to censor herself.
Heather Thurmeier is a lover of strawberry margaritas, a hater of spiders, and a reality TV junkie. Her passion is contemporary romance—writing stories filled with laugh out loud moments, uber-hunky heroes, feisty heroines, and always a happily ever after.
Drawn to Jonah by Jennifer DeCuir
Jonah was standing at the sink with his back to Quinn. Or rather, with his backside to Quinn. She paused for a moment, enjoying the view. Until she realized that Jonah was looking at her reflection in the kitchen window. If she weren’t so mortified, having been caught checking out the handyman’s butt, she might have noticed the fact that he seemed to enjoy the attention.
“Um,” she gestured at the gurgling coffeemaker.
“Yeah, I’d like some. Thanks.” Jonah grinned.
He peeked in on Lily, who was curled up on the couch, wrapped in Nanny’s crazy colored afghan. They sat down at the table, the silence awkward. Jonah looked agitated.
“There’s something I’ve been meaning to ask you,” he blurted.
There it was. Her instincts were spot on. She nodded.
“I’ve been trying to come up with the right way to ask this.” Jonah drummed his fingers on the tabletop, his expression sheepish.
He was going to ask her out! She had to tell him no. It wouldn’t work. But he was so good looking, such a loving father. He made her feel things she had no business feeling. Oh, what the hell—she’d go out with him. Just this once.
“Okay, here’s the deal.” He breathed deep and leaned in close. “I was hoping that you would…teach me to read.”
Wow, it must have been the paint fumes coming off his speckled T-shirt, because Quinn could have sworn that Jonah just asked her to teach him to read.
Jennifer DeCuir is a busy mom still trying to figure out how to balance carpooling, volunteering and homework with writing time. Coffee helps … a lot.
Save My Soul by Elley Arden
Jordon didn’t stop at the end of the cart. He came around and grabbed her by the hips. “We’re done with this conversation. I’m not going to let you push me away because of your misguided notions and over analysis.”
Her mouth opened at his absurd insults. Before she could say a word, his fingers rested on her chin and he closed her jaw.
“Maggie, transference is bull shit. Freud was a flake. You shrinks like to wield power over weak-minded patients. I’m not weak, and I’m not your patient.” He slid his thumb across her bottom lip. “I do…feel exactly the way I said I do, but I won’t say it again until I’m damn sure you’re going to say it back. Until then, keep your shrink wrap away from my head. There’s enough going on in there without you digging around.”
Despite the hypnotic sensation of his thumb stroking her lip, she couldn’t keep quiet anymore. “I find you offensive.”
“No you don’t.”
Jordon leaned his face closer, and she swallowed. Her tongue reflexively brushed over her lip, tasting the tip of his thumb. He stepped into her, and she swallowed again, knowing his mouth would be covering hers in the middle of a busy supermarket. But the minute his arm wound around her waist, she didn’t care where they were. She wanted him to take what he wanted and leave her begging for more.
Elley Arden is a proud Pennsylvania girl who drinks wine like it’s water (a slight exaggeration), prefers a night at the ballpark to a night on the town, and believes almond English toffee is the key to happiness.
Destination Wedding by Robyn Neeley
“Kate, I was expecting you.” He chuckled and pointed to her side. “Do you need some help with that?”
Kate looked down in horror. She had forgotten to zip up her dress! Her lacy blue bra and matching thong strap were visible. She yanked up the side zipper. “You have something of mine,” she said icily.
“Your dress from last night. Here it is.” He pulled back the closet door and handed it to her. “Looks like they were able to get the tomato juice stain out. Good as new.”
“Thank you.” She clutched the dress and turned to leave. On impulse, she spun back around. “You know. You’re an ass.”
He smiled down at her. His smile was just as warm as it had been last night. “I’ve been called worse. Listen, Kate, we need to talk. Let me get dressed real quick. Why don’t you come in and have some champagne.”
Kate peered in. Next to him was a bottle of champagne chilling in an ice bucket and a glass plate of chocolate covered strawberries.
“I sent those to you and Lauren. There’s nothing to say. You, Drew Cannon, are my client. I don’t know what last night was about, but we will not be clinging champagne flutes unless it’s at your wedding!”
“Kate, you’ve got this all wrong. This isn’t what you think.”
“You commandeering my dress and posing as my boyfriend isn’t what happened?”
“Well, yes, but come in. I’ll explain everything. I think you’ll find it quite amusing.”
“There is nothing funny about my client being a lying, cheating schmuck.” She turned and headed back to her room.
The door slammed behind her.
“Kate, please stop. If you would just listen—”
She put her hand up to block his words. “Don’t follow me. I am only going to pretend to be nice to you because you are my client, and your wedding is going to catapult me to partner. I need this wedding to go off without a hitch.”
He swore under his breath.
“You don’t have to get nasty.” She pushed her keycard in and unlocked her door.
“No, it’s not you. I locked myself out.”
“Not my problem.” Kate entered her room and slammed the door.
“Kate. Come on,” he pleaded from the hallway. “At least let me borrow your phone to call housekeeping. You can’t leave me out here in a towel.”
“Consider it payback!” she yelled and peered out of the peephole. He had turned around. His beautifully sculpted backside was exactly as she had imagined. No tattoos, no scars. Pure perfection. Her nails would have a heyday…
Frustrated, she turned around and leaned against the door. So he has to go to the lobby in a towel to fetch a new key. He’d probably get some suggestive looks from women anxious to find out what was underneath it. That’s not payback. Her lips turned up in a devilish smirk. “But this is.” She gripped the door handle and flung it open.
“Thank you, Kate.” He started to enter. “I knew you wouldn’t leave me out here. I’ll only be a minute.”
“Not so fast.” She rested one hand on his chest and yanked off his towel with the other, leaving him naked. “I’ll just have this dry cleaned for you.”
She slammed the door and rolled up the towel, shoving it in the wastepaper basket. Now that was payback.
Robyn Neeley is an East Coaster who loves to explore new places; watches way more reality TV than she cares to admit; can’t live without Dunkin Donuts coffee and has never met a cookie she didn’t like. If you have a must read romance suggestion or a fabulous cookie recipe, she wants to know. Visit her at robynneeley.com.
Sweet Gone South by Alicia Hunter Pace
Feeling a little giddy, Lanie held her left hand in front of her face. “I am shallow, Luke Avery. Shallow, shallow, shallow. I love this ring. I never thought about having something like this but now that I do, I’m keeping it.
“I hope so.” He turned on his side and propped up on his elbow. “That was the idea.”
“I thought of giving it back and telling you it was too much, to get me something plain, but I decided I don’t care.” She licked a drop of champagne from the rim of her glass.
“I’m glad you like it.”
“I took a shower in it.”
“It ought to be able to withstand a little soap and water.”
“I might go swimming in it.” She turned her glass upside down and let the last drop fall in her mouth. Then she ran her tongue around the rim.
“You might?” He took her flute, set it on his bedside table, and clicked the TV off.
Oh, no. The night was ruined now. She was about to be found out.
“Could your turn off the light?” she asked.
“I can, though I’d love to see you. I’ve wanted to see you ever since that night I had to sign a warrant and you came bouncing down the stairs in those shorts.” But he turned off the light.
She braced herself. She had expected the kisses but not for them to last so long and be so sweet that she almost forgot the bad part was coming. He tasted like Champagne. His tongue even felt a little fizzy. Was that possible? This was so nice, his lips trailing up her neck and across her bottom lip, his tongue sparkling against hers. But it didn’t last. He reached for her breast and she turned to concrete. This is how it went. Breasts, impaling, and, then, blessedly done. She concentrated on the done part.
“Lanie,” he whispered against her ear. “I know you’re nervous, but I promise you don’t need to be.” Alexander had always said that too. “Try to relax.” But she couldn’t. Soon he would be hurting her, pulling at her nipples, followed by his demanding mouth and teeth. He would leave her breasts bruised and sore because that’s the way it worked.
But he wasn’t doing it yet. He continued to kiss her and even when he untied the ribbons on the front of her gown and reached inside, his caresses were still gentle and pleasant. Against her better judgment, she began to relax. With his hands gently squeezing and lifting and the Champagne washing through her, it was easy to convince herself to enjoy it while it lasted.
About Alicia Hunter Pace – The Writing Duo
Stephanie teaches third grade and wishes for a bigger bookstore in her small town. She likes Civil War history, and people who follow the rules. She is happy to provide a list of said rules to anyone who needs them.
Jean is a former public librarian who lives with her husband in a hundred-year-old house that always wants something from her. She likes to cook but has discovered the joy of Mrs. Paul’s fish fillets since becoming a writer.
Being cradle to grave avid fans of Alabama Crimson Tide football, Stephanie and Jean are doubly elated to be part of the Crimson Romance family.
Visit them at their website, http://aliciahunterpace.com/