Tuesday, September 1, 2015

SETTLING by RACHEL MICHAEL ARENDS --> RELEASE DAY LAUNCH & GIVEAWAY

 
It’s release day for Rachel Michael Arends’ Settling, a fantastic new women’s fiction!! She’s sharing an exclusive excerpt with us, as well as a great giveaway so be sure to check it out and grab your copy!!
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Settling (Medium)
Settling Synopsis:
What if the real you was the one person your husband couldn't ever meet?
Jane Johansen has carefully crafted a seemingly-perfect life. She's blessed with an adoring husband, Edward, two unwavering best friends, a powerful corporate job, and a high-security penthouse.
Then one day, Jane is unceremoniously fired, Edward's father abruptly dies, and Jane's painstakingly-built world starts crashing down around her.
Edward decides that they should move to his North Carolina hometown, to settle into suburbia surrounded by his large, extended brood. Although Jane is fascinated by the world of happy families and movie set-perfect homes, she knows that she can never fit in there. The problem is that she has never explained the facts of her life to Edward.
Jane hopes moving south will allow her to escape the shadows of her past: her time-warped mother, the trauma of her college years that has left her scarred, and her terrifying ex-boyfriend, who has been recently paroled. Most haunting is Jane's oldest and worst friend, who has been trying to track her down with the determination of a bloodhound.
Weaving the defining moments of a woman's past into the suspenseful unraveling of her present, Rachel Michael Arends pens a thought-provoking novel that will have readers enthralled from start to finish.
Exclusive Excerpt:
Jane ordered delivery food for the crew’s lunch and dinner. There isn’t anything to drink in the house except tap water, which runs tepid from the cold tap because the Southern reservoirs heat up in summer along with everything else. Remembering the gift basket Larry brought this morning, Jane goes to the kitchen and rifles through. It’s filled with North Carolina fare, including a six-pack of beer from a local microbrewery, warm, but twist-off.
She sits on the kitchen floor with her back against the pantry door, drinking room-temperature beer with all the lights on. Jane is bone tired, creaky, aching, and deadened from a week of hard labor. She finishes a beer and sets it next to her, hearing a faraway clang, as her heavy hand must have knocked the bottle over.
Her eyelids betray her for longer and longer periods before she manages to force them open again with a jolt and an involuntary jump. She’s fading fast. But she knows it’s dangerous to fall asleep when her thoughts aren’t on her side.
She’s thinking of those damn dusty footprints.
Jane wakes to the sound of her own scream. Realizing where she is, she laughs in a punch-drunk, half-eyed way, but it dries to a dusty whisper. The air conditioner was cranked earlier in hopes of some relief. Now she shivers violently.
But she can’t get up. Not to climb the stairs and fall into one of the beds, not to turn off the lights, not to use one of the bathrooms. There are too many empty doorways to pass, too many blind corners to turn.
Jane stares out to gleam and granite, stainless steel and cardboard. She feels upended, not even sure which direction she’s facing. Everything is so unfamiliar.
Nearby is a moving blanket that protected a tabletop on its journey. Jane reaches out with her foot and inches it closer. That’s as much movement as she’s willing to make. Her back against the wall, a large dish crate to lean on, and the hard wooden floors beneath, Jane makes her bed.
Sitting up higher, she tells herself to focus, but it’s like trying to stay awake behind the wheel. Then she might invite the roaring wind inside, or slap her face, or pinch her leg. She wonders if Amy fell asleep, or got giggling, or if a deer ran into her path.
Jane is tuning out, she’s going under. As her weariness wins the fight against her will, the bumps and lurches of sleep seduce her and she goes off the road. The last thing she’s consciously aware of is a single thought, played over and over in her mind like a hellish mantra:
Whose footprints were they, and where will they lead?
Rachel Michael Arends Bio:
Arends_authorphotoRachel's debut novel, AS IS, was published by Diversion Books in May, 2014. Her second novel, HELP YOURSELF, followed in March, 2015, and her third, SETTLING, was published in September. Rachel has been a public library director, a corporate consultant, and she silently co-owns a successful software firm. Rachel and her family live in Traverse City, Michigan.
Enter Rachel’s fantastic giveaway!
 

Monday, August 31, 2015

YOU'RE IT: A TAG NOVELLA by SHAR J. RYAN --> RELEASE DAY LAUNCH









Our little family has been together for four years, and life has been good, considering my track record. But In the blink of an eye, my ease was suddenly gone when I heard his terrifying words. I knew from the look on Tango’s face and the way he avoided my gaze—all hell was about to break loose. Now it seems like the dangers I spent years desperately avoiding are starting to threaten my happily ever after.



Maybe it’s because I let my guard down. Or maybe it’s because I was starting to trust again. But I can’t even trust the people closest to me, and now I remember why.



Screw with me, that’s one thing. Screw with my family, and we’ve got a problem…







Shari J. Ryan is an Amazon Top 100 Bestselling author, a Barnes & Noble Top 10 Bestselling author, and an iBookstore #1 Bestselling author. She hails from Central Massachusetts where she lives with her husband and two lively little boys. Shari has always had an active imagination and enjoys losing herself in the fictional worlds she creates.



When Shari isn’t writing, she can usually be found cleaning toys up off the floor.



To learn more, visit her at, www.sharijryan.com.



INDECISION by ELISABETH GRACE --> RELEASE DAY LAUNCH, EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY

indecision-rd

Do you love a man in uniform? Us too - and boy, has Elisabeth Grace supplied one for us! Jamie is sweet in the streets and sizzling in the sheets, and you most definitely want to get your hands on him in INDECISION, which is available now!

 

Indecision - Ebook Small


About INDECISION

Jackie Davenport will try anything once, especially in the bedroom. Anything except falling in love. She lives a carefree existence packed full of fun, but free from emotional entanglements and that’s just how she wants to keep it. When she meets the new police officer in town, she’s unable to deny the connection between them. His over confidence and bullish ways grate on her…still she can’t help but find herself falling into his bed AND falling for him.

Jamie McTavish is man enough to admit that he probably didn’t make the best first impression when he met the 911 Operator. That doesn’t mean there isn’t still sizzling sexual tension between them. He’s a man of action and he’s not content to sit on the sidelines until Jackie works out her issues. But trying to tame this tiger might be too big of a challenge for even him.

Add INDECISION to your Goodreads list here!

Get it now: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | Google Play | Kobo


Excerpt

I pulled the cruiser into Jackie’s driveway. What the hell was wrong with me? It was only yesterday that I’d gotten her off and yet here I was, sitting unannounced in her driveway like a stalker.

If I’d thought it difficult to get her off my mind before, what had happened in the wine cellar had made it damn near impossible.

Everyone I’d talked to had said the same thing—that she’d turned down each and every cop or fireman that had asked her out. No one was sure if she was just trying to keep her personal life outside of the work environment or what, but I intended to find out. The insane pull between us didn’t leave me any other choice.

With a sigh, I unbuckled my seatbelt and glanced at the small bungalow. It was cute with white siding and black shutters. Hanging baskets of colorful flowers hung from hooks around the veranda and a kickass bicycle was leaning against the side of the house. That helped to explain why she had such a firm ass.

I opened the door to the cruiser when the front door of the house burst open, and Jackie stood there frozen, her hand held to her chest and such an expression of fear on her face that I bolted out of the car and up the front steps.

“What’s wrong?” I demanded as soon as I was in front of her.

“Wh-what are you doing here?” she asked in barely a whisper.

I relaxed a fraction once it was clear she was okay. “I figured you could use a lift to Don’s place for your car. Didn’t think you would’ve driven home last night.” I shrugged. “It’s been quiet today, so I popped by to see if you wanted me to drive you over.”

She released a pent-up breath and relief washed over her face. “Oh, thank God.”

I frowned and gripped her upper arms. “What’s going on? Everything okay?”

She glanced down at where my hands lay on her soft skin and looked back up to me, blinking twice. “It’s nothing. When I saw the cruiser in the driveway...never mind.” She shook her head.

I studied her for a moment. She was sexy just rolling out of bed with her hair thrown in a messy bun and last night’s make-up still on her face. “You sure?”

She nodded and her eyes flicked down to my hands once more. “Why are you always touching me whenever I see you?” Her voice had come out all breathy, not at all convincing me that she didn’t like my hands right where they were.

I grazed her collarbones with my thumbs, causing goose bumps to form on her skin. “I think you know exactly why.”

Giveaways and Release Festivities

Want to win? Enter via the rafflecopter below!

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Elisabeth Grace isn't giving away just one prize in celebration of INDECISION - she's giving away a ton more! Be sure to keep an eye on Elisabeth Grace's Facebook page this week for more information about a lot of really cool prizes you can win!

Happy Hour Book Bash

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Join Elisabeth Grace with Faith Andrews, RE Hunter, Livia Jamerlan, and BA Wolfe on September 1st from 6pm - 11pm EST for some end of summer fun and giveaways! Click here to RSVP to the event on Facebook!

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Be sure to sign up for Elisabeth Grace's newsletter - she's releasing a new chapter of BUILT TO LAST every two weeks, which will be available to newsletter subscribers only as she writes it!

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If you're US based and you want to receive a text message when Elisabeth has a new book go LIVE, text ROMANCE to 313131!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

FORGETTING AUGUST by J.L. BERG --> COVER REVEAL & GIVEAWAY

We're so excited to be able to share the absolutely stunning cover of FORGETTING AUGUST with you! Take a look:

ForgettingAugustCover

 

 

About FORGETTING AUGUST:

USA Today bestselling author J.L Berg’s FORGETTING AUGUST, in which a woman, who started over, never expected her world to suddenly be turned upside down by the reawakening of the one man who could destroy it all, releases as an e-book in December 2015. More information coming soon!

Add it to Goodreads here!

Preorder the paperback: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Sign up for J.L. Berg's newsletter here!

Want to Win?:

Want to be one of the first people to read FORGETTING AUGUST? Enter below for a chance to be one of the first people to get an ARC when they're available!

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About J.L. Berg

J.L. Berg is the USA Today bestselling author of the Ready Series. She is a California native living in the beautiful state of historic Virginia. Married to her high school sweetheart, they have two beautiful girls that drive them batty on a daily basis. When she's not writing, you will find her with her nose stuck in a romance novel, in a yoga studio or devouring anything chocolate. J.L. Berg is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, LLC.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

HEART-SHAPED HACK by TRACEY GARVIS GRAVES --> RELEASE DAY LAUNCH & GIVEAWAY






When Kate
Watts abandoned her law career to open a food pantry in Northeast Minneapolis,
she never dreamed it would be this difficult. Facing the heartbreaking prospect
of turning hungry people away, she is grateful for the anonymous donations that
begin appearing at the end of each month. Determined to identify and thank her
secret benefactor, she launches a plan and catches Ian —a charismatic hacker
with a Robin Hood complex—in the act.

Ian
intrigues Kate in a way no man ever has. But after learning he’s snooped around
on her personal computer, she demands retribution. Impressed with her tolerance
and captivated by her spirit, he complies and begins to slowly charm his way
past her defenses. Time spent with Ian is never boring, and Kate soon finds
herself falling for the mysterious hacker.

But Ian
has enemies and they’re growing restless. In the hacking world, exploiting a
target’s weakness is paramount, and no price is too high to stop an attack. And
when Kate learns exactly how much Ian has paid, she’ll discover just how strong
her love is for the man who has hacked his way into her heart.










© 2015 Tracey Garvis Graves
Heart-Shaped Hack
EXCERPT



“Oh, hi,” she said.

“Imagine running into you here.”

“This is quite a coincidence.”

“It’s not a coincidence at all. I knew you were following me.”

“You did not.”

“I spotted you hiding behind the plant when I walked into the bank. Plus I could smell your perfume as soon as I stepped out here.”

“Did you”—she used her fingers to make little air quotes—“appropriate money from this bank?” she whispered.

“Of course not. I do all my work from the Batcave. Believe it or not, I actually bank here. I was just signing some papers.”

Kate had never seen a man look so utterly scrumptious while wearing glasses. There was something about the combination of his hair, his scruff, and the semi-rimless designer frames that made him irresistible. “Are the glasses a disguise? Because I totally knew it was you.”

“The glasses are real. I often suffer from eyestrain since I spend so much time on the computer, and I was up late last night, working.”

“They make you look very smart.” She took a moment to imagine how his scruff would feel rubbing against her skin if he were to kiss her.

“I am smart, but I think you mean devastatingly handsome. More so than normal, that is.”

“You’re so humble.”

“Ready?” He walked to the door and held it open for her.

“Yes.”

“Follow me.” He looked at her and laughed. “That shouldn’t be a problem for you.”

They took the elevator to the basement, and when the doors opened to the parking garage, Kate followed Ian to a row of cars. He stopped beside one and pulled a set of keys from his pocket.

She gasped.

Ian smiled. “It’s a—”

“1964 Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe.”

“’65. But color me impressed.”

“My brother Chad was obsessed with this car. He used to have a poster of it on his bedroom wall. There were only six built between 1964 and 1965.”

“A bit rare indeed.”

The last authentic Shelby had sold at auction for around seven million. Ian’s was obviously a replica, of which there were quite a few, but it was still a very notable vehicle with a price tag that started in the low six figures. “Helena called it an old blue car.”

He grinned, looking contemplative. “Technically, that is correct.”

Kate could not resist running her hand lightly over the Guardsman Blue paint and the white racing stripes on the hood. The Shelby was unmistakably race-car-like in appearance with its aerodynamic design and unique body style. Chad was going to be so jealous. “For someone who values his privacy, isn’t this a bit ostentatious?”

“How so?”

“Rakishly handsome playboy who makes grand philanthropic gestures and drives a flashy car. Any of this ringing a bell?”

“Rakishly handsome playboy?”

“Well, if the Prada loafer fits. Wouldn’t you fly under the radar more easily in, say, a Ford Focus?” she asked.

“A Ford Focus? You want me to tool around town in a Ford Focus? Jesus, would I still have my balls?”

“No, they cut them off when they hand you the keys. Of course you’d still have your balls. What kind of question is that? This conversation has gotten way off track.”

“You mean because we started out talking about my car and now we’re talking about my balls?”

“Are we?”

“I believe so.”

“Maybe we should go back to talking about your car.”

“You want to drive it, don’t you?”

“Why would I want to drive your car?”

“Why wouldn’t you want to drive my car? Can you handle a stick shift?”

“Yes, and rather competently I might add.”

“That’s an enormous turn-on. Truly.”

She pretended not to hear him. “This is not a good car for Minnesota winters.”

“Horrible, I agree. My other car has four-wheel drive, but it’s not nearly as fun to operate as this one.” Ian dangled the keys in front of her.

He was right. Kate was dying to drive his car and couldn’t wait to see how it handled. She took the keys, opened the door, and reached over to unlock the passenger side for Ian. They belted up, and she started the car.

“Please note that I’m already making good on my promise, Katie. Because I assure you, driving this car will be the opposite of boring.”


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Tracey Garvis Graves is a New York TimesWall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author. Her debut novel, On the Island, spent 9 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, has been translated into twenty-seven languages, and is in development with MGM and Temple Hill Productions for a feature film. She is also the author of Uncharted, Covet, Every Time I Think of You, and Cherish
Tracey loves to interact with her readers and can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

SECRETS DON'T KEEP by ELORA RAMIREZ --> RELEASE TOUR & GIVEAWAY

It’s release day for Elora Ramirez’s Secrets Don’t Keep! I am so excited about this fantastic young adult thriller, and I’m super excited to be sharing it with you. Elora is sharing an exclusive excerpt with us, and a giveaway, so be sure to check it all out!

Secrets Don't Keep RDL Ban

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Secrets Don’t Keep Synopsis:

My name is Kera Collins, and I would do anything for a golden nod.

At first glance, my life appears perfect: the best friends, the best school, the attention of Dex Albright, the deliciously irresistible grandson to the Headmaster. All I need is the prestige behind La Boheme, an elite secret society formed within the walls of my school, and my life would be complete. Once I’m in, I’ll be the one with all of the secrets.

It’s just…no one told me these secrets could kill.

Amazon

 

Exclusive Excerpt:

I know most people don’t get excited about the beginning of another school year, but I’m not most people, and this isn’t your ordinary school. And somewhere deep inside, I think there’s a tiny glimmer of hope that maybe this will be the year I get a golden envelope.

It sounds hilarious and fake, but it’s legit, and the definition behind Grove’s legacy of A-list alumni.

La Boheme.

A secret society offering immediate acceptance into an Ivy League of your choice. Social proof that lasts for decades. First dibs on societies that are just tiny rumors on our nation’s radar.

Skull and Bones.

Euclians.

From there, the influence is unlimited. The society dates back to our school’s origin and holds roots in the birth of some of the most promising universities. Essentially, La Boheme is the breeding ground for the nation’s elite.

The envelopes come the first week of school. I would do anything for a golden nod. I rub my fingers together in a small circle and daydream about endless funds and absolute power.

We make our way down the cobblestone drive and I watch the lacrosse team, already on campus for practices, run drills on a nearby field. Given the way a few of them keep tripping over their sticks, I imagine this must be the first year team. To their right a few guys throw a football across the quad. Everywhere students are getting situated and carrying boxes into their tiny rooms, now makeshift homes until Christmas break.

A slow smile spreads across my face and I nervously tap my fingers against my bare legs. My phone vibrates and I glance down to read the text. It’s Season.

 

OMG where are you?! Youll never believe the rug I brought back from Bali. Its divine.

 

I shake my head and type in a quick response.



Its about time you texted. I just got here. Be there soon.

 

I shift in my seat with anticipation. This year, Season and I managed to get into Ivy Hall, the building reserved for a select number of seniors. It’s by and large the most striking of the dorms, with stone edifices and ivy that snakes it’s way up and over the walls. For the past three years, we dreamed about living here one day. It rests against the back of the campus and in front of a wooded area that’s a rumored host to many soirees reserved for the third and fourth years. But that’s just a cover. Those parties?

They’re La Boheme.

At least, that’s what I’ve heard.

Just getting into the dorm feels like a transcendent promise.

I gaze out the window and shuffle my feet in anticipation.



Elora Ramirez Bio:

unnamed (22)Elora Ramirez has been telling stories her whole life.

 

It started when she was four, when she taught herself how to read and write as a way to entertain herself while her grandmother kicked and danced in aerobics class. She cut her teeth on books from Dr. Seuss and writing anywhere she could find the space -- including her Fischer Price kitchenette, the pages of picture books, and Highlights Magazines.

 

She's matured a bit since then, now choosing to write in the margins of her books and on the mirrors of her apartment ideas and thoughts surrounding story and what makes us human. You can read more on her blog, eloranicole.com

Links:

Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Author Goodreads

 

Enter Elora’s giveaway!!
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Monday, August 24, 2015

GETTING HOT by MIA STORM ~ RELEASE LAUNCH




Release Day August 17

Blurb:

Rules of engagement:

1) You have the right to use force to defend yourself.
2) Fire may be returned to stop a hostile attack.
3) You may not seize the property of others to accomplish your mission.
4) Detention of civilians is authorized in self-defense.

Delilah Morgan and her older sister Destiny have been on their own for two years, since their parents burned down the family home and went to jail for cooking meth. She’s street smart and tough. Nothing about her says sixteen, and she’s not about to tell anyone, especially Bran, the hot ex-marine bartender Destiny has her eye on. He’s stable and successful and everything her sister needs to keep them off the street. The only problem, something about Bran inspires her and suddenly she’s writing the best music she ever has. About him.

Branson Silo knows what it means to be in the line of fire. Home for a year from his second tour of duty in Afghanistan, he thinks he’s safe…until he meets Delilah. Despite her sharp tongue that makes him want to take cover, he can’t deny the attraction. But when he hires her to play weekends at his family’s saloon, he finds out she’s more than he can handle…which is saying something considering he used to blow things up for a living.
When the grenade finally explodes and the shrapnel flies, will Bran be left standing? Or has he survived years at war only to be taken down by Jail Bait?

GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25610476-getting-hot


About the Author:

Mia Storm is a hopeless romantic who is always searching for her happy ending. Sometimes she’s forced to make one up. When that happens, she’s thrilled to be able to share those stories with her readers. She lives in California and spends much of her time in the sun with a book in one hand and a mug of black coffee in the other, or hiking the trails in Yosemite. Connect with her online at MiaStormAuthor.blogspot.com , on Twitter at @MiaStormAuthor, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MiaStormAuthor



EXCERPT:

I’m blending a pair of frozen daiquiris with one hand and shaking a martini with the other when out of the corner of my eye, I see a solo blonde slide onto the barstool at the end, near the beer taps. I finish what I’m doing and prepare the tray for Carol to pick up before glancing over and seeing its Destiny.

A guy in the middle of the bar makes eye contact and nods at his empty beer mug. I grab it and start filling without really looking up at her. “Didn’t think I’d see you again till closer to closing.”

“Sorry?” she says. “Are you talking to me?”

The voice is off—slightly raspy and a pitch lower than her usual. I look up again and squint at her, wondering if she’s already started drinking. She’s taken her straight hair down from the ponytail she always wears it in and it’s not as long as I remember it from the other night—the only other time I’ve seen it down. There’s also a fading blue stripe cutting through the platinum over her right ear that I’ve never noticed before.

“What can I get you?” I ask her instead of pushing it.

I’m already reaching for the vodka and cranberry to start on a Madras, her drink of choice last week, when she answers, “Rum and Coke.”

“That’s different,” I mutter, shooting her another glance.

She gives me a puzzled look. “Look, I really just wanted to find out if you hire entertainment.”

My face mirrors her puzzlement, I’m sure, as I try to process her statement. “Why?”

She hunches to the side and pulls something up from her feet. I see it’s a battered black guitar case when the narrow end peeks over the top of the bar. “Because I need a gig.”

“Didn’t know you played,” I say, pushing her drink across the bar to her.

That baffled look is back as she pulls it toward her and takes a swallow. I can’t help following the curve of her long neck downward toward a pair of large round tits perfectly outlined by her snug, low-cut T-shirt. She is definitely hot, and if we’re on the same page, then I’ve got nothing to feel guilty about. She wants me to fuck her till she screams? I’m perfectly capable of that. She sets her drink down and catches me staring. She cuts me that wicked smile again, causing my cock to stir. I return the smile, sending the innuendo right back at her.

She props her elbows onto the bar and leans forward, giving me a clear look down her shirt. “Considering that we’ve never met before, I don’t find that surprising.”

I’m so absorbed in images of my face buried in those magnificent tits that it takes me a second to process what she said.
My eyes snap to hers. “Wait…what?”

She reaches across the bar, offering me a hand. “Lilah.”

There’s a full second all I can do is stare, wondering if this is one of those split personality things you hear about sometimes. And in that second, through the dim lighting, I take in all the tiny details—a dark mole at the outer corner of her right eye; her eyes, silver instead of blue; the missing white crescent-shaped scar above Destiny’s right eyebrow; and lips, a little fuller than I remember—which are smirking at me now.

“You’re not Destiny,” I say as it all clicks.

It’s not a question, but she shakes her head. “No. I am most definitely not Destiny.”

“Twins?” I ask.

She cocks her head playfully. “What do you think?”

“You’ve got to be. You’re fucking identical except for the eyes.” I tap my forehead. “And you’re missing a scar.”

Her perfect blond eyebrow raises in amusement. “She’s the pretty one and I’m the smart one.”

I bark out a laugh as I reach across and shake her hand. “Bran Silo. Good to meet you.”

She doesn’t let go of my hand for a second after we’re done shaking—just long enough to send a clear message that she’s interested.
A knot forms in my gut, and I realize it’s guilt. Destiny and I have an understanding, but regardless, I’m pretty sure fucking her sister would be way outside the bounds of gentlemanly behavior. Not that anyone would ever mistake me for a gentleman. “Destiny never mentioned she had a sister.”

“Doesn’t surprise me.” She takes another drink, nearly polishing it off in a few big gulps.

I tip my head at it her glass. “Another?”

“My limit is one,” she says, pushing her glass toward me. “Just Coke this time, thanks.”

Carol sweeps by on her way to the kitchen, dropping an order on my bar. “Thought you left,” she says to Lilah without slowing down. “Careful or your favorite customer might ask for you,” she adds, jerking her head at Mr. Hendricks as she disappears through the swinging door.

I bark out a laugh as I scoop ice into Lilah’s glass and fill it with Coke. “Good to know I’m not the only one.”

Lilah shrugs. “Happens all the time.” She slides out of her chair, lifting the guitar case. “So do you want to hear me play or what?”

I look around the crowded room, loud with chatter, drowning out the background music. “We don’t generally have live entertainment,” I say, which is really an understatement. We’ve never had live entertainment. But for some reason, I’m not willing to shut Lilah down so fast.

When my eyes find her again, annoyed impatience shines loud and clear out of her gaze. “So that’s a no?”

I feel my mouth pull into a cocky half-smile. “I didn’t say that.”

She opens her case and pulls out her guitar, unabashedly climbing through the window I left ajar for her. I watch as she sets herself up on the stool and rests the guitar in her lap, gripping it softly but confidently. She starts strumming, and I expect her to be discrete, since this is basically an audition, but there’s not a shred of self-consciousness or embarrassment anywhere in her disposition as she begins to belt out lyrics—an old No Doubt song that I can’t remember the name of.

The way she plays, as if on instinct; the passion in her voice, and the fact that she’s really fucking good, starts to turn heads at the tables closest to us. As they quiet and listen, more tables still, and soon the only thing she’s competing to be heard over is the Kat Country on the speakers. But she doesn’t decrease her volume. If anything, as eyes find her, she becomes louder, feeding off the attention.

I reach under the bar and click off the stereo, then lean onto the back counter and cross my arms, listening as she finishes one song and launches into the next.

A guy at the bar pulls a five from his pocket and flags me down with it. I grab his beer mug, but he shakes his head. “Is there a tip jar?” he asks with a nod toward Lilah.

I pull a fresh mug from under the bar and he slips the five inside, then I set it at the end of the bar near Lilah. She cuts me a smile and her eyes slide down my body as she sings.

And fuck me. I lean my hands on the bar and press against the lower counter when my dick won’t yield to my will. Without a doubt, everything Destiny has going on, Lilah’s got that and more.