A self-proclaimed reader enthusiast, Kristy started her writing journey back in 2009, reading and writing when her daughter was napping. Establishing her place in Corporate America (because something had to pay the bills), writing became her dirty, late-night secret.
After eight long years, she released her debut novel, Commander. It was a long road, but she can honestly say, the road less traveled had the most beautiful sights.
The only thing Kristy Marie loves as much as reading and writing is sports! Especially those that require muscles and a nice ass. Her favorite is, and always will be, baseball. She’s such a fan, that she even married her small town’s high school’s centerfielder where they still live with their three badass kids.
SICKO by Amo Jones
Release Date: September 1st
Add to Goodreads:
He was my foster brother.
He swore to protect me.
They all failed.
I’m an open box of passé photographs, snapped in chaste daylight, but filtered in sepia. I’m the past that he tried to forget, and he was the future I needed. When he left six years ago, I screamed for him every night. But then it all stopped. My screams were suddenly muffled by cruelty, and further coaxed by pain.
But he has come back. He’s not the cute big brother I had a furtive crush on, or the bad boy, rich brat that I hated to love.
He’s the ruthless vice president of Wolf Pack MC, and he doesn’t answer to Royce Kane anymore.
He answers to Sicko.
I weep loudly from the pain. His other hand comes to the back of my neck as he presses me further into the blankets. “Cross your fingers together at the back of your head.”
Oh god. I do as I’m told, mainly because I don’t think I want to fuck with this side of him, but another part of me wants to see just how far I can push him. He flicks on the bedside lamp, but it’s dim. Too dim. Offering a soft sepia shade to room.
“You let go, and you feel this?” Cold metal slides down the crack of my ass and I tense.
About the Author:
Amo Jones is a USA Today & Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, totally winging this author thing (she’s probably doing it all wrong). She likes cake, loves wine, and her religion is magic (Slytherin). She’s a profound work-a-holic, but when she’s not writing, you can find her chilling with her kids & Husband at the nearest beach, with a cocktail in her hand.
New Zealand is not a state of Australia and rugby is the best sport ever played.
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/10114
Release Date: September 1, 2020
I push the button, and the music starts. The girls dance as they have been, in perfect sync. But this time, Darius is here. He changes everything. His muscles flex as he lifts Roshan, and she slides from his waist, downward, her body pressed against his until she’s on her knees before him. Suddenly, she pops up with the music, twirling as his hands move to her behind, sliding across her slim hips. His hands are so large that they surround her entire waist. Roshan spins around again and again before dropping down to the ground, this time into a perfect split.
I gasp because I can’t help it. Luckily, no one notices or hears. I’ve seen beautiful dancing. But this? This is something else entirely.
She rises, and their chests touch. His eyes stare directly at hers. I can’t help but touch my own chest with my hand. Darius and Roshan are mere inches apart, seemingly so entwined that even their breathing is in sync. I feel a pressure tugging into my soul. Watching this is … hurting me. Is there something between them? They are perfect together.
I look down at my own brown clothes, the sack for potatoes. Where I grew up, these differences between people were never possible. We all wore the same clothes. We slept in similar homes. We farmed. We worked. We helped each other. But here is a true hierarchy, like animals. And I’m at the lowest rung.
Darius is a man with power and control.
As a child in the Mumbai slums, living among lethal street gangs, all he cared about was his safety and where he would find his next meal.
That is, until the Madam of the most famed brothel in India finds him, offering him a life he can’t refuse.
As an intelligent, beautiful woman raised in a small mountain village, Gini never would have imagined a place like The Mansion exists.
Stolen by Darius into a dark underworld where the famed Mullah Omar arranges pleasure marriages to the highest bidder, Gini fights for survival.
At first frightened by the dangerous man who keeps her prisoner, Darius slowly becomes the one light in her dark world.
Who will win when money reigns supreme and power is everything?
TELL ME PRETTY LIES by Charleigh Rose
Release Date: March 18th
Add to Goodreads:
“Shayne!” Thayer’s voice breaks through the heavy rain. I cross my arms and continue toward my house.
Thunder rolls and lightning follows again, much sooner this time, telling me the storm is moving closer. I push wet hair out of my face, squinting to see through the rain.
“What the fuck, Shayne,” Thayer booms, running up behind me. I turn to face him, his dark, wet hair falling in front of his eyes. “Are you crazy?”
“You told me to leave!”
“Well now I’m telling you to get your ass back inside the barn!”
I shake my head as the thunder booms once more. I know I’m being unreasonable. Now is not the time to hold anything against him. But I can’t help it. I turn back around, heading for the house. We’re only slightly closer to the barn anyway, and I’d rather get somewhere warm. But then Thayer’s hand is gripping mine, pulling me back toward him.
A loud crack splits my ears as another flash of light appears, interrupting us. Thayer and I both look over to see a bolt of lightning hit a tree only feet away. It blazes down the tree in a straight line, chunks of bark flying off. I stand there wide-eyed, staring at the smoke that follows.
“We need to leave.” Thayer grabs my hand again. When we touch, I feel a jolt shoot through my thumb and down wrist, and I drop his hand like it’s on fire.
“What was that?” It doesn’t exactly hurt, but I definitely felt something.
Thayer frowns, bringing a hand up to grip his bare shoulder, but he doesn’t respond. He felt it too.
“What the fuck are you guys doing?” Holden calls out, running up to us from the direction of the house. “The old man’s about to lose his shit.” He looks between the two of us, Thayer shirtless, his belt buckle still undone, and me, shoeless, looking more like a wild animal than a girl.
I freeze, not knowing how I’m going to explain, but Thayer’s quick on his feet, even three sheets to the wind.
“Pretty sure she just got hit by some ground lightning,” he says, gesturing to the tree that’s still smoking. “She should probably get to the E.R.”
“What? No, I’m fine,” I insist, shaking my head.
Ground lightning? Is that what that was? I barely felt it.
Holden rushes over to me and Thayer takes off, giving me one last look over his shoulder as Holden inspects me for damage. I can’t pry my eyes away from him, standing there in the pouring rain with his bare, tan chest heaving, perpetual frown in place. Somehow, I know that for the second time this week, everything is about to change. I feel it in my bones.
And I can’t shake the feeling that Thayer just said goodbye.
Three things my mother acquired when she became engaged:
1. A brand new Tiffany’s ring.
2. A lavish home on Heartbreak Hill.
3. Three privileged stepsons.
The last thing I expected was to fall for one of them, least of all Thayer Ames.
Beautiful, brooding, and untouchable.
I knew it was a bad idea. He warned me himself.
But he was a thunderstorm, and I never could resist the rain.
It was perfect…
Until it wasn’t.
One night was all it took for our world to crumble around us, leaving only secrets and lies between us.
Now, I have to face him again, and the boy I used to know has become the man who loves to hate me.
About the Author:
Charleigh Rose lives in Narnia with her husband and two young children. She’s hopelessly devoted to unconventional love and pizza. When she isn’t reading or mom-ing, she’s writing moody, broody, swoony romance.
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/charleighsangels
NL Signup: http://bit.ly/2S6qwsO
Want a peek inside The Guy in the Middle by Kate Stewart? Check out this jaw-dropping excerpt! Don’t forget to add it to your TBR!
Designed by QDesign
I was born to play and bred to win.
My priorities were instilled in me early on—family and football. Those ideals led me to TGU and a coach whose ironclad principles mirrored my own.
With one last college season to play, my goal was singular—get drafted. By realizing my NFL dream, I could save my family, our ranch, and the only home I’d ever known.
Two birds, one ball.
Playing hard was my only option, but there’s always a wild card.
For all of my planning and hard work, I never anticipated falling for the coach’s daughter. Harper was a fair catch, but who knew loving her could be the one play to throw my career before it started or that the weight of our secret would change the game.
*The Guy in the Middle is a stand alone novel in the Underdog Series. This is Lance’s story.
“I’ve missed you, you know? More than you can imagine.”
“Can’t imagine it at all,” he says, picking through a book he’s not reading.
“Can I help you two?” One of the store sales associates asks, and I shake my head and smile. When she takes her leave, I look over to Lance who stands fuming on the other side of a table filled with loose items. We’re in a mismatch shop full of mostly cheap junk, and I can’t imagine him finding anything for his mother here.
“Lance, I have missed you. Horribly.”
“Could have fooled me.”
I can only take so much. Irritated, I lift a designer coffee mug from the table.
“You like this for your mom?”
“How about this?”
“Nope.” He’s not even looking at what’s in my hands.
“You sure? It’s a hide purse. Cute for a rancher’s wife, don’t you think?” This gets his attention, and stormy eyes lift to mine.
“Would you buy that for you?”
I look it over and shake my head. “Not really my style.”
“Bet it’s not.”
I can feel my ears reddening. Fuming, I eye a box on the shelf, snatch it and shove it into his chest. “How about this giant fucking purple dildo and matching anal plug!? Think mom will like that?”
He looks up completely unaffected, “Nope.”
“I don’t think we’re in the right place,” Tossing the box down, I stalk out of the cluttered shop and into the department store next to it. He’s hot on my heels.
“Got that fucking right.”
I turn back to see he’s spoiling for a fight and release a stressed breath. Fighting with him is the last thing I want to do. “Look, lets, just…” I search around and pull a sweater from the closest rack. “How about this? Simple, elegant.”
“You think Mom’s simple, huh? I’ll give her your regards.”
“That’s it.” I hook the sweater back on to the rack and close
the space between us, forcing his eyes to mine. “God, you’re still a brute, aren’t you? You haven’t changed a bit. Still pig-headed as hell.”
“Pig-headed?” He opens his mouth in mock shock and covers his chest with his hand. “How dare you.”
I’m in between fight or flight, but I’ve been dodging this long enough. My heart can’t take more confrontation. I missed him too much. His eyes flare with satisfaction at my irritation. “Misery loves company, right, Lance?”
“Never said I was miserable.”
“You don’t have to. Did you come to New York just to torture me?”
“Rub it in on what I’m missing out on?”
A voice sounds from next to us. “Is there something I can help you find today?”
We both turn to the woman with lasers in our eyes, and she swallows. I clear my throat. “We’re fine. Thank you.”
Lance winks at the woman, his eyes scanning her form. “Maybe you can help me?”
“You son of a bitch,” I hiss, before walking away from the table. His voice rings out next to me as I rip through a rack of scarves.
“Good to know you care, Priss, gotta admit, it’s surprising.”
I reel on him. “Don’t you dare! Leaving you was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I had to make a clean break. I had just lost everyone that mattered to me. I was losing my mind.”
“I got pissed for one day, and you went off the grid.”
“And you let me go because you knew no matter how much we wanted it to work, it couldn’t. You have no idea what I went through!”
“What you went through? Do you know I spent six months ranting to an Uber driver named Dave because everyone on my team hated me when the truth came out?” He stomps after me as I pull sweater after sweater off the rack. “Troy jumped ship after he got drafted. I had no one but Tony and those fights.”
I turn to him with twenty sweaters in my arms. “Jenner? When did y’all get so tight?”
“When shit got tough, and my fucking girlfriend bailed!” He glares down at me, his breaths coming out fast.
“Guys, we’re going to need you to take this outside.” A woman whom I assume is the store manager approaches us cautiously.
I look around the store and see all eyes are on us, especially the women sizing him up. “He’s available ladies,” I snap, laying the sweaters on a nearby table, “I’m willing to bet he comes really cheap.” He’s on my heels as I push through the glass of the department store.
“Oh, was I supposed to wait for you? Must have missed that memo. That’s it, you must want a saint. That’s why you didn’t stay.”
“I was twenty years old and alienated from a place I didn’t want to be anyway.”
“Good to know.”
“That’s not the way I meant it. And you know damn well until you, I was only there to appease my Dad, who I barely speak to now.”
“I’m sorry about that, I am, but that’s on him. And what in the hell are you talking about ‘alienated’?”
“Forget it.” I pull on my gloves as heavy snow starts to come down. “I think we’ve concluded our tour for today.”
He glances around the sidewalk. “Well, no need to show me more, I hate this fucking place!”
“And why is that? Not enough free-range chickens?!”
His eyes flare. “You digging on the ranch now, Priss? I saw a fucking rat the size of a cat on my run this morning!”
“Probably has better manners than you, shit head.”
“Pulling out the big guns now, huh? There’s that backbone. I was wondering where it went.”
“Go home, Lance, you hate it here. And you obviously hate me.”
“Just the opposite. It’s impossible, and believe me, I’m trying!”
“Well, I hope you succeed! Thanks for stopping by, Mary Poppins. Best Christmas ever! Make sure to bulldoze the nativity scene on your way out!”
“Fuckthis.” He throws his hands up and eyes me warily before turning and walking away.
“Merry Christmas to you, too!”
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The sign ups are open to bloggers, and we would love for you to join us for the upcoming release events!
Teasers: Feb 4, 11, 18, 25
Excerpt reveal: Feb 12
Release day: Feb 29
Review tour: Feb 29-Mar 7
About the Author:
USA Today bestselling author and Texas native, Kate Stewart, lives in North Carolina with her husband, Nick, and her naughty beagle, Sadie. She pens messy, sexy, angst-filled contemporary romance, as well as romantic comedy and erotic suspense. Kate’s title, Drive, was named one of the best romances of 2017 by The New York Daily News and Huffington Post. Drive was also a
finalist in the Goodreads Choice awards for best contemporary romance of 2017. Her works have been featured in USA TODAY, BuzzFeed, and translated in five languages.
Kate is a lover of all things ’80s and ’90s, especially John Hughes films and rap. She dabbles a little in photography, can knit a simple stitch scarf for necessity, and on occasion, does very well at whiskey.
Release Date: 11/05/2019
A Contemporary Romance Novel
New York Times Bestselling Authors Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward
The small dining room table had a pile of mail. I’d had Dad’s mail forwarded to my house, so mostly it was just catalogs and junk. Once a month, Mrs. Cascio sent me everything that arrived, even though I’d told her it wasn’t necessary. I mindlessly fingered through the pile, not expecting to see anything worth keeping. But I stopped at an envelope addressed to me—well, not me, but Luca Ryan. That was a name I hadn’t heard in a long time. In second grade, my teacher, Mrs. Ryan, started a pen pal writing program with a small town in England. We weren’t allowed to use our real last names for safety reasons, so the entire class used her last name—hence I was Luca Ryan. I checked out the return address for the sender’s name.
Wow, really? It couldn’t be.
I squinted at the postmark. It was from a PO box in California, not England, but I didn’t know any other Quinn other than Griffin. And the handwriting did look pretty familiar. But it had been close to eight years since we’d exchanged letters. Why would he write now? Curious, I ripped it open and scanned right to the bottom of the letter for the name. Sure enough, it was from Griffin. I started at the beginning.
Do you like scotch? I remember you said you didn’t like the taste of beer. But we never did get around to comparing our taste in hard liquor. Why is that, you might ask? Let me remind you—because you stopped answering my letters eight damn years ago. I wanted to let you know, I’m still pissed off about that. My mum used to say I hold grudges. But I prefer to think of it as I remember the facts. And the fact of the matter is, you suck. There, I’ve said it. I’ve been holding that shit in for a long time. Don’t get me wrong—I’m not obsessive or anything. I don’t sit in my house thinking about you all day long. In fact, there have been months that go by when thoughts of you don’t even enter my brain. But then some random thing will pop into my head out of the blue. Like I’ll see some kid in a pram eating black licorice, and I’ll think of you. Side note—I’ve tried it again as an adult, and I still think it tastes like the bottom of my shoe, so perhaps it’s that you just have no taste. You probably don’t even like scotch. Anyway, I’m sure this letter won’t find its way to you. Or if by some miracle it does, you won’t answer. But if you’re reading this, you should know two things.
1. The Macallan 1926 is worth the extra cash. Goes down smooth.
2. You SUCK.
Later, traitor, Griffin
What in the hell?
Amazon Print ➜
Sign up for Vi & Penelope’s mailing list now and be the first one notified when it goes live! ➜
I’d never forgotten him—a man I’d yet to meet.
Griffin Quinn was my childhood pen pal, the British boy who couldn’t have been more different from me. Over the years, through hundreds of letters, we became best friends, sharing our deepest, darkest secrets and forming a connection I never thought could break.
Until one day it did.
Then, out of the blue, a new letter arrived. A scathing one—one with eight years of pent-up anger. I had no choice but to finally come clean as to why I stopped writing.
Griffin forgave me, and somehow we were able to rekindle our childhood connection. Only now we were adults, and that connection had grown to a spark. Our letters quickly went from fun to flirty to downright dirty, revealing our wildest fantasies. So it only made sense that we would take our relationship to the next level and see each other in person.
Only Griff didn’t want to meet. He asked that I trust him and said it was for the best. But I wanted more—more Griff, in the flesh—so I took a big chance and went looking for him. People have done crazier things for love.
But what I found could change everything.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Vi Keeland is a #1 New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author. With millions of books sold, her titles have appeared in over a hundred Bestseller lists and are currently translated in twenty-five languages. She resides in New York with her husband and their three children where she is living out her own happily ever after with the boy she met at age six.
VI’S SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:
Facebook Fan Group:
Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author of contemporary romance.
She grew up in Boston with five older brothers and spent most of her twenties as a television news anchor. Penelope resides in Rhode Island with her husband, son, and beautiful daughter with autism.
With over two million books sold, she is a 21-time New York Times bestseller and the author of over twenty novels. Her books have been translated into over a dozen languages and can be found in bookstores around the world.
PENELOPE’S SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:
Facebook Private Fan Group:
OTHER BOOKS BY VI KEELAND AND PENELOPE WARD:
Park Avenue Player:
THE RUSH DUET:
Rebel Heir (Rush, Book 1):
Rebel Heart (Rush, Book 2):
OTHER BOOKS BY VI KEELAND
All Grown Up:
The Naked Truth:
Sex, Not Love:
Life on Stage series (2 Standalone Books)
Worth the Fight:
Worth the Chance:
Worth It All (Complete Fighter Series):
Belong to You:
Made for You:
Left Behind (A Young Adult Novel):
By:Vi Keeland & Dylan Scott
OTHER BOOKS BY PENELOPE WARD:
The Day He Came Back:
When August Ends:
Jaded and Tyed (A novelette):
Amazon Print only:
Sins of Sevin:
Jake Undone (Jake #1):
Jake Understood (Jake #2):
Who needs some more Nate Malum to hold us over until June??? Amo Jones has just what you need! Check out this short excerpt and make sure you add Malum Part 2 to your TBR!
TBR: MALUM Part 2 by Amo Jones: https://
I nudge my head. “What the fuck are you doing?” I had a feeling the whole Tillie thing would get to him, but this is next level. He looks deranged and unhinged. Maybe he cares more for her than I thought…
“Shut the fuck up with your thoughts, Nate. It’s not about her.”
My brain is buzzing from the alcohol, turning my limbs numb, but I’d rather feel the cool buzz of nothingness than the molten lava of Tillie fucking Stuprum blazing through my veins. I slide down the wall opposite him and watch as he continues to pace back and forth like a caged lion protecting his prey.
“So what has gotten into you. Never seen you like this before. Should I be worried? Has our dark prince fallen in love?”
He pauses, snarls at me and then takes a long swig of the amber liquid before continuing his pace in front of the door. Figuring he’s not going to answer me, I kick my leg out and hang my arm on my knee. “You think Tillie will forgive me one day?”
I snort, licking my lips. “Yeah, you’re probably right.”
👉The remainder of THE ELITE KINGS’ CLUB series is now on Goodreads: https://bit.ly/2HQ6YqD
The Legend, an all-new steamy, second-chance romance from Dylan Allen, is available now!
The love of a lifetime deserves a million chances.
Remington Wilde had heartbreak written all over him.
He was the most beautiful boy I’d ever seen.
When I looked into his midnight eyes,
I saw a happy ending I’d never dared to dream of.
I was seventeen the first time he asked for my heart,
I didn’t hesitate to hand it over.
In exchange, he gave me the best summer of my life.
He was my first everything.
Falling in love felt written in the stars…
But our legend, it turns out, was all a lie.
And when our story ended, all I had was a broken heart.
Now, he wants a second chance.
But this time, I’ve got more to lose than just my heart.
When the lies that pulled us apart, threaten again, it will take more than sweet words from his sinful mouth to convince me.
He says the love of a lifetime deserves a million chances,
But am I strong enough to fall again?
Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!
Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/TheLegendDA
Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/2U1W0zL
Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2QB383S
I can see the heat in her eyes and right away I know.
“You watched me?” I ask.
Her dark eyes widen, but she doesn’t look away.
“Yes.” She swallows hard.
“Did you like it?” I ask her.
“Remi,” she admonishes sharply, but I don’t miss the way she shifts her stance. She liked it.
“I want to hear you say it.” I ask again.
She nods and sucks her fat lower lip into her mouth.
I want to suck it, too.
“You know you could have gotten in and watched up close. You could have helped if you wanted.”
I circle her wrists and hold her hands in front of my face.
“They’re a little small, they wouldn’t fit all the way ’round.”
She draws in a big gulp of air and takes a step closer to me.
“Really?” she whispers her eyes flit down to my pants.
“I would have covered your hands with mine. We could have done it together.”
I let go of her wrists and slide my hands up so that we’re palm to palm.
Skin to skin.
It’s not nearly enough.
I’m this close to crossing a line I shouldn’t. But, when it comes to Kal, I can’t seem to help myself.
“Remi…we shouldn’t.” Her voice is husky and her fingers flex a little against mine.
“Yeah, probably not,” I agree, but I see the reflection of my own disappointment flash in her eyes and it emboldens me.
I know I should stand down. Even if it feels like it, we aren’t a good idea.
But she’s so tempting. And when it comes to her, I can’t seem to get a grip on my control.
I link our fingers and bring her hand to my lips for a kiss. She inhales sharply and looks up at me through the inky fringe of her lashes.
Her gaze lingers longingly on my mouth and I smile.
“Oh, Kal. We have a dilemma.” I drawl.
“Really? Then why do you sound amused? A dilemma isn’t generally a good thing.” The corners of her mouth turn up in a small smile.
“It’s a very good thing…because even though you don’t want to be, and I absolutely shouldn’t be, we’re interested in each other.”
“Well, that’s the perfect recipe for an unhappy ending, if I ever heard one.”
About Dylan Allen
Dylan Allen is a Texas girl with a serious case of wanderlust.
A self-proclaimed happily ever junkie, she loves creating stories where her characters chase their own happy endings.
When she isn’t writing or reading, eating or cooking, she and her family are planning their next adventure.
Connect with Dylan
Stay up to date with Dylan by joining her mailing list: http://bit.ly/2OcDm8M
We’re celebrating the release of Warrior Undone by Jessica Ruben! Check out this excerpt and one-click this
“heart pumping, terrifying, beautiful” books today!
Cover by: Okay Creations
NA Contemporary Romance
From Amazon Bestselling Author Jessica Ruben comes the latest Contemporary/New Adult Romance….
I have no intention of finding happily-ever-after.
At least, not anymore.
Fighting for my country was an honor,
returning home is a curse.
My demons need to be fed.
How else can a shattered man stay afloat?
When a wild night in Las Vegas with the sexiest woman I’ve ever met turns into hell, she attaches to me as though I’m her savior.
But what happens when a woman hangs her hands on broken glass?
*Warrior Undone is a stand alone spin-off from the Vincent and Eve series. This is a full length novel.
Before I can think it through, I tell her, “Let’s sit together and watch the sunset. It’s going down soon.”
“You want to sit. With me?” She purses her lips. “The girl you have nothing in common with?”
“Come on. You know that shit wasn’t true.”
She takes a hard swallow. “But you said it.”
“Come on.” A cushioned bench lines the perimeter. “No one here but us.” I gesture to the couch.
She rigidly sits down, raising her legs in front of her before invitingly opening them. She taps the space between her knees. The sun lowers, casting an orange glow over the boat.
Hesitantly, I sit between her legs. I twist my torso to face her. “You’re not going to strangle me, right?”
“I considered it.” She raises her brows at me. “But, no, I won’t.”
She pulls me back by the shoulders, so I’m resting my head in the juncture between her thighs. Part of me wants to jump upward, but her fingers move into my hair, and it feels so damn good.
“You aren’t a materialistic bitch either,” I add. “I know you’re not.”
“Thanks.” Her voice drips with sarcasm. “I know who I am. Now, straighten your head so I can massage your face. Lord knows you need something to calm your domineering ass down.”
She drops her thumbs on the bridge of my nose, pushing down and out over my cheekbones. I let out a sigh.
“Am I allowed to ask you what it’s like in Afghanistan, or are you going to chew my head off?”
I tilt my head up to see her. “Lots of good people. Some bad.”
“On the way to Utah, I ordered a book on my Kindle about Adam Brown. The Navy SEAL. I’ve been reading it.”
I melt from her hands. “Did you now? Adam was a good man.” I close my eyes and try not to smile at the fact that she’s trying to learn more about me. Shaking off my attempt to keep her away, I find myself in a warmth I can’t fight. I don’t deserve it, but fuck if it’s not the best feeling I’ve ever had.
“You knew him?” She sucks in a surprised breath, her fingers pausing.
“Knew of him, yeah. We all do. Total badass.”
Her hands continue to rub up and down my face. “You’re a good man, too, Slade. When you aren’t being a huge asshole, I mean.”
I chuckle. “I’m all right. And I’m sorry, okay? I said fucked up shit that wasn’t true. I just wanted to be firm and make sure we were clear, but it wasn’t necessary. You didn’t deserve that.”
“I should just ask for no bread, so I don’t waste. You’re right about that, and I—”
“Oh no.” I put my hands on her, stilling her words. “You don’t have to finish everything you eat. It’s a weird thing I have after the shit I’ve seen. You don’t have to take it on.”
“No. You’re right. I should ask for less, so I waste less.”
When I let go of her hands, she continues her ministrations. I let her take care of me. I’m not sure why I was being so difficult. Sure, she’s a sweet girl who deserves more than me. But she isn’t a child who can’t make her own choices either. Best part is that she isn’t planning on staying here; it’s just for a short time. I need to cool off and calm down, stop fighting everything and let it all ride. She knows the score now—of this, I’m absolutely positive. My body sinks between hers, and for the first time in what feels like ages, I feel peace.