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Make or Break

Lori Whitwam

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense

Length: Long Novel

ISBN: 978-1-936751-61-7

A writer, a musician, an unexpected love… and a killer who wants to destroy it all

Abby never dreamed she’d meet her rock-n-roll fantasy, Seth Caldwell, by crushing his guitar under the wheels of her Jeep. Twice. Seth wants to strangle her, but soon the snarks turn to sparks, and he revokes his longstanding rule against getting involved with women on the road.

But when an attempt is made on Seth’s life, everyone’s a suspect. Abby’s determined to hang on to the tenuous ties they’ve developed, but Seth’s determined to keep her safe… even if he has to push her away in order to do it…

Excerpt

Entering town, she was so distracted she barely took note of the 1920s-era brick storefronts or the concrete planters overflowing with pansies courtesy of the Pioneer Garden Club. She decided before she went to see Monique, she would drive by Dash’s, the venue for the concert. Maybe she could get a glimpse of the band, and, if she were lucky, even Seth Caldwell, their lead singer and guitarist. But she had to hurry because Monique was expecting her.

On Buchanan Street, she spotted the tour bus parked on the left side in front of the club. She thought she could see figures moving around through the windshield and squinted, trying to determine who they might be.

Her attention focused on the bus, she suddenly caught something entering her frame of vision on the right. She only had an instant to register a man with familiar long, golden-brown hair stepping from in front of the equipment trailer she had failed to notice. An unformed expletive on her lips, and she slammed on her brakes as he leaped back, narrowly escaping impact with her Jeep.

The guitar case he was carrying, however, was not so fortunate. Abby’s fender caught it, ripping it from its owner’s hand, and it disappeared under her right front wheel with a nauseating crunch. Stunned, Abby tried to pull to the curb behind the trailer, but after throwing the Jeep into reverse she realized the flaw in her logic. Nope, definitely not one of her smoother moves. The guitar case, once again victim to her right front tire, reappeared after another small bump and an oddly lyrical grinding sound.

Holy shit. I just ran over Seth Caldwell’s guitar. Twice.

Abby maneuvered the Jeep into the general vicinity of the curb and hopped out, too shocked to know whether to throw herself to the pavement in remorse or run for her life. On unsteady legs, she made her way to the scene of the crime. Seth crouched at the edge of the street, picking through the shattered remains of what had recently been an acoustic guitar.

She dropped to her knees beside him. His hair fell forward, blocking her view of his face, but he pushed it back and turned to look at her. His blue eyes might as well have been laser beams, the way they bored into her. Was it possible to be simultaneously thrilled and terrified? Apparently so.

“You killed it,” Seth rasped. “You fucking killed my guitar.”

There was no way she could argue. She’d never seen a deader guitar. “I’m so sorry! I was looking at the bus and didn’t see you. I was irritated, and sort of distracted…”

“You were irritated? So you flew down the closest thing to a main street this town has, and ran over my 1997 Taylor Cujo, which I’ve had for not even three weeks?” Seth began scooping the remains of the instrument back into the mangled case, his gray T-shirt stretching across his shoulders with the effort. He somehow managed to maintain the full force of his glare the entire time.

Abby stretched out a hand to help, but Seth shifted his body to block her. “Don’t. You’ve done enough,” he snapped.

This did not strike Abby as a gracious acceptance of her apology. In fact, he was being kind of an ass. Her Irish temper began to kick in, which was something like the Hulk’s, but without the green skin and purple pants. “Look, it was an accident, OK? And what the hell are you doing stepping out into traffic anyway?” She stood and scowled back at the angry musician.

“Traffic? What traffic? About three cars drove by in the last twenty minutes.” Seth tried to close the lid on the case, failed, and shoved the whole thing toward the curb.

“Stop yelling at me!”

“I’m not yelling.”

“You are definitely yelling.” She caught a glimpse of something at his neck and did a double take. “Are those ear buds? You were listening to music? That’s why you didn’t hear me!” Her voice rose about three octaves.

“I could hear fine. And it doesn’t have anything to do with your shitty driving.” He ripped off the buds and stuffed them in his pocket. The angry lowering of his brows lessened the impact of his glare, but not by much.

Abby shook her head, walked to the open door of her Jeep and grabbed a business card from her purse. “Here. Get your guitar fixed…”

“Fixed? It’s fucking mulch!”

“…or replaced, and send me the bill. And for the last time, stop yelling!”

“There are only a hundred and twenty-four of these guitars on the planet, and it took me six months to find this one. You think I can just replace it?” His voice, she noted, had a certain amount of anguish somewhere beneath the fury. Seth stood, and Abby tried not to flinch as he snatched the card from her hand.

“I said I was sorry. It was an accident. I’ll pay for it or not. It’s up to you. And now, I have to go.”

“That’s the first smart thing you’ve said so far. Out of my sight is a real good place to be right now,” he spat.

Suppressing a shriek of frustration, Abby turned toward her Jeep and tossed back over her shoulder, “I can’t believe I finally meet you, and we end up squatting in the gutter yelling at each other.” She slammed the door and pulled away from the curb. Her last glimpse of Seth as she headed down the block showed him standing by the equipment trailer, eyes wide, and a puzzled expression on his face.

Call of the Moon

Loribelle Hunt

Lunar Mates, Book 4

Cover Art: Valerie Tibbs

Genre: Erotic Romance/Paranormal/Shifters/Werewolves

Length: Novella

ISBN: 978-1-936751-59-4

Heat Level: 4

Warnings: This book contains sexual content that some readers may find objectionable: light BDSM, spanking.

A new mate, a second chance…

Since the death of her mate, Chloe has run fast and hard. She knows how difficult it is to be mated to the wrong werewolf, and she has the scars to prove it. When the annual meeting of Chiefs brings to town the one wolf who could prove a danger to her, Chloe refuses to hide—or to submit. But try as she might, she can’t resist the chemistry that flares between her and the man who threatens her independence.

Billy let Chloe go once, and he’s regretted it ever since. Now that he’s in town, he’s got a weekend to prove to her that the past is behind them—and that he’s not like her previous mate. What will he have to do to convince her they’re destined to be together—for life?

Excerpt

Billy wandered around Chloe’s living room, taking it all in before sitting on the long leather couch. She stood just inside the doorway, her body language a tangle of confusion. He saw nervousness in her hands, fear and interest in her eyes, and caught a faint scent of arousal on her skin. The wolf in him wanted to pounce on her and take her to the floor where she stood, fuck her and mark her as his. He forced himself to sit still.

He’d come to the council meeting with one mission. To convince her to accept his bond and come home with him. He couldn’t take much more of the distance she’d put between them. For at least the ten thousandth time, he wished Wyatt was alive for him to kill all over again. It wouldn’t make him any more dead, but it would give Billy a great deal of satisfaction. The werewolf had stolen his mate and even in death kept them apart. He took a deep breath, willing his hammering heart to slow and reaching for the calm for which he was so well known.

“Why don’t you sit down?” he asked Chloe.

She stepped into the sunken living room and dropped her bag on a side table. Then she surprised him by perching on the far end of the couch, when he’d expected her to choose one of the chairs out of his reach. Her hands fisted in her lap, and she looked down at them.

“How have you been?” he asked.

Her head jerked up. He was glad he had her attention, but he wasn’t sure if he could take the scared look in her eyes.

“Fine. You?”

“I’m good.” He shook his head. “No. That’s a lie. I’m miserable and irritable and apparently such a nightmare to work with that Jackson keeps threatening to…well, never mind.”

She stared at him like he’d grown an extra head, and stood, the movement abrupt and jerky.

“I can’t do this,” she said, attempting to pass him.

He couldn’t let her escape so easy and grabbed her hand. “Chloe. Wait.”

She looked down at him and tried to tug free of his grasp. Her eyes brimmed with tears. Ah, hell. He wished more than anything that she’d let him pull her down onto his lap and kiss them away. He sighed. Another time.

“Let me go, Billy. Please,” she whispered.

The word please almost killed him, almost made him abandon his mission. Before he could talk himself into it, he shook his head.

“I can’t, and you know it,” he answered softly. “I can’t stand to see you upset like this. You know I’d never hurt you.”

She snorted a laugh, but quit trying to pull away. “You want to take over my life. You want me to submit.”

He couldn’t deny the domineering nature of a werewolf and nodded in agreement. “That doesn’t have to equal pain. I’m not here trying to pretend to be something I’m not.”

He took a deep breath, biding his time, unsure how to convince her to give them a chance. He could tell her how much he loved her, but she wouldn’t believe him. So he might as well fall back on the physical needs of his species. That she understood, and since he could already smell her arousal on her skin, the scent faint but definitely there, he thought it might be his best shot. So, giving in to temptation, he tugged her down onto his lap and wrapped his arms around her. She felt so good there he almost forgot his plan.

“Give me this weekend,” he demanded, meeting her startled gaze. “Anything I want, anything at all, and I give you my word I won’t bind you to me. Not unless you ask me to.”

Gasping, she stiffened and tried to move off his lap, but he held on tight. “That’s crazy,” she said. “You don’t have that kind of control.”

He arched an eyebrow.

“Well, you don’t.” She swallowed. “No werewolf is able to do that.”

“I’m not just any werewolf.” He smiled. “I can handle it. But maybe you can’t. Or maybe you’re going to latch onto that as an excuse to keep living in fear.”

Chloe’s eyes narrowed and flashed as her anger sparked, and some of the weight lifted from his heart. He’d drag her back to the world of the living by keeping her pissed off if that’s what worked.

“I’m not afraid of you.”

He grinned. “No, I don’t think you are.”

She cocked her head to one side. “You did that on purpose.”

“Yeah, Chloe. I’m not letting you go. I gave you as much time as I could, and now I’m asking you to give me time. Let me show you how good we can be together.”

“Just for this weekend?”

“Yes.”

“And you won’t bite me?”

Billy paused. This was the tricky part. “This weekend I won’t bite you.”

Swept Away

Diana DeRicci

Cover Art: Annie Melton

Genre: Erotic Romance/Gay Romance, M/M

Length: novella

ISBN: 978-1-936751-60-0

Heat Level: 4

Warnings: This book contains sexual content that may be offensive to some readers: gay sex (male/male), anal sex

A broken engagement, a kiss with a stranger, and now he might be…gay?

Luke Fletcher’s engagement with Sandy has gone bad, and it was all his fault. He’d kissed a guy. And he’d liked it. Luke thinks he can move on and write it off as the drunken, bachelor-party prank it was meant to be, until a virtual clone of Kissy-Face Guy shows up on his doorstep.

Seth Rusko has been a friend of Sandy’s brother for ages, so when he’s asked to drop off a box of Sandy’s ex’s stuff, he figures the least he can do is help the girl out. But he hadn’t planned on Sandy’s ex being so tongue-tyingly, breath-catchingly hot. Of course, being hot is irrelevant—the guy is clearly straight.

At least, he seems straight… until he tells Seth just what he did to cause the breakup… and until Seth remembers the last time he lost his heart to a straight guy who didn’t know what he wanted…

Excerpt

Moonlight flared across the low tide waves, a long sword of gossamer silver on an inky black canvas. Luke stood on his rear deck, able to hear the quiet shush of the rolling waves echoed by the sucking of the tide as they returned to the Gulf. With his hands braced around the railing, he tilted his chin upward, his eyes closed, breathing in the calm of the summer breeze, the scent of the sea and sand. These moments soothed him like very little could anymore.

His phone rang inside the house behind him, but he ignored the jarring interruption. He was sure it was only his mother. He was proven right when the answering machine picked up.

“Luke, it’s your mom.” She sounded agitated. Her normal state. “Please call home. Sandy misses you. We miss you.”

He snorted. Sandy would be the last person to miss him. Obviously his mother was still clinging to the delusion that they were getting married.

“Not happening, Ma,” he groused coldly, gazing out to the beckoning sea. And for the record, he was home. Luke wasn’t going back. Not to have his heart eviscerated by his ex-fiancée all over again. He ignored the rest of his mother’s pleading, or whatever it was she was saying. By the time she’d hung up, he’d lost himself in the swaying constant of the ocean.

* * *

Seth Rusko slid from his car to stand at the edge of the sidewalk, checked the address on the note in his hand against the numbers on the house and mailbox, then shrugged. Taylor wouldn’t send him to the wrong house. He hefted the box from the back seat, then bumped the rear door with a hip. It was midafternoon on a Saturday. The guy might be home. If he wasn’t, Seth would leave the box on the porch by the door. The stuff inside would likely explain who’d sent it.

Bracing his delivery between a hip and the wall, Seth rang the doorbell and waited.

“Whoa,” Seth breathed when the door was yanked open abruptly. Startled to be greeted by a half-naked guy, he shook himself mentally. “Hi. Are you Luke Fletcher?” Damn. Sandra had good taste. If he was going to open the door naked, Seth wasn’t above looking.

“On most days.”

Seth cleared his throat. It was difficult to not ogle the man’s damp chest. Considering he probably stood a good three inches taller than Seth, he was at eye-level standing on the last step. Sculpted pectorals were lightly dusted with short brown hair. Luke was tight, on his way to a six-pack. Sandy had mentioned at some point that her ex-fiancée liked to work out. It showed, and the view made Seth’s mouth water. Short swim trunks molded to his body. The scent of the ocean clung to him and his dark brown hair looked disheveled, like he’d toweled it dry.

“Can I help you?”

It wasn’t exactly a bark, but it was a definite prod.

“Oh! Right. I’m a friend of Sandy’s—”

Luke’s eyes narrowed a fraction, his expression shutting down, becoming considerably less welcoming.

Seth swallowed. Maybe not mentioning that would have been better. He went with a different tack, their mutual friend. “Taylor asked me to deliver this to you. I think it’s stuff from Sandy’s place. I don’t know,” Seth finished, his voice wavering with uncertainty. The longer he stared, the harder it was becoming to speak at all…

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