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Matter of Time (Heat Wave #5)
Some might think the phrase, “you complete me” is a just cheesy line from the movies, but Lizbeth Sanders knows better…
In MATTER OF TIME, Lizbeth has spent the past fifteen years desperately searching for someone to fill the void left by Logan Steele’s disappearance from her life. However, rather than finding love and happiness, all she’s found is disappointment, heartache, and an ever-present longing for the man she can never have.
Fifteen years ago, Logan Steele left the woman he loved to marry his high school sweetheart and be a father to the child he didn’t know he had. He’s always tried to do the honorable thing, to be a good husband and a great father, but despite his sacrifices and best efforts, the shaky foundation of his marriage crumbles and falls apart.
When his identical twin surprises him with a reintroduction to Lizbeth, Logan feels like he’s been given a second chance—at life and love. But a lot can change in fifteen years, and after hurting her so badly the first time, building trust isn’t just hard, it’s nearly impossible—especially when duty and obligation pulls him away again.
This is the first book that I have ready by Allanah Lynne and I have to say, I am now going to go back and find the rest of the books in this series. It was an unexpected surprise and I fell in love with the writing, the passion and all of the messy in-between.
Logan and Lizbeth were meant to be together. They knew that they were at their best when the were together. But when Logan breaks things off with Lizbeth to do the right thing where his ex-girlfriend and child were concerned, Lizbeth is left completely broken hearted and Logan will never be the same, but doing the honorable thing is the right way for him to handle this.
Fifteen years later, Lizbeth still hasn’t found anyone that can complete her the way Logan did. She has tried, but she has never been able to find the one. Perhaps because she knows that Logan is the only one that can ever be him. Fifteen years of looking back and holding on to the memories of what should have been. She still hasn’t moved beyond Logan.
Logan left and did the honorable thing. Married, raised a family… but he never found the love in his heart. Now 15 years later and he has been given the chance of a lifetime. He gets to see her again. To make things right. To become the man he always wanted to be for her. But 15 years is a long time. So many doubts bubble up but one thing remains. He still loves her with everything he has and everything he is.
Oh… but the decisions that were made all those years ago are trying to come back with a vengeance. Can these two see beyond the hurt and pain and find their way to happily ever after again or will seeing each other after 15 years, be the end of anything they ever thought they had?
Beautifully flawed characters with hearts so big. This book just kept me enthralled. It is not a super long read, and it can be read as a stand alone (thank goodness because it is the first one I have read in the series). The characters had their flaws, but they were both strong people with a deep kindness that you just don’t find in a lot of books. They were brave and scared, hurt and healed. They were the perfect combination.
I loved this story though I must say I was a little nervous of the direction of the story when Lukas (Logan’s brother) takes her to his bar. That seemed to show a shift in dynamic of the story that I was certainly not expecting. BUT… It made for one hell of a storyline.
I really did enjoy this book and I cannot wait to go back and read other books in the series!
She couldn’t logically think through something that was ninety-nine percent emotional, but what if she took the emotion out of it? What if she reduced them to a baser, primal level, like animals circling each other in the wild?
A dog in heat didn’t study the neighbor’s Doberman and wonder if he would be around the next day. The bitch rolled over, allowed him to take what he wanted, and enjoyed the hell out of it. Comparing her and Logan to dogs seemed ridiculous, but that was the only way she knew to cope with the overwhelming magnitude of the situation.
Swallowing the lump in her throat, she slowly, tentatively reached out to him. With a barely-there touch, she pressed her index finger to the edge of his forehead, drew it across the unfamiliar scar at his temple, then down to the one intersecting his upper lip. He closed his eyes and moaned as a shudder shook his torso and his head fell back on his neck.
Seeing him respond to her touch as strongly as ever gave her the courage to continue her exploration. Using a whisper-soft touch designed to drive him crazy, she traced the outline of his upper lip, then pulled a long, slow sweep along the bottom one.
Her breath caught in her throat and she gasped in surprise as his lips parted and his teeth latched onto her finger, capturing her in the velvety heat of his mouth. His tongue wrapped around her and he sucked once… twice… a third time. The force of the suction shot through her arm, into her chest, and dropped into her sex with the heat and intensity of an atomic bomb.
Good, so freaking good, just as always with him. Simple caresses and touches were more powerful and intimate than full-on sex with anyone else, and she closed her eyes and allowed the carnal energy swirling between them to carry her away.
As the room spun and she grew lightheaded, like being caught in a massive vortex, a terrifying thought jumped into her brain. What if the past fifteen years hadn’t been a nightmare, but this was nothing more than a dream?
If so, it was the best, most realistic dream she’d ever experienced, and she prayed she never woke up.
She cracked her eyes open and watched his nostrils flare as the heat continued to build between them. She needed to be closer. To taste him. To feel him pressed against her. Scooting to the edge of her seat, she pressed her knees between his legs and smiled as his eyes flashed hotter and his chest rose and fell rapidly. His mouth was masterful, and while the suction on her finger did crazy things to her entire body, it wasn’t enough.
When she tugged on her hand, drawing him closer while also indicating she wanted him to let her go, he released her finger with a loud pop. The sound was like a starting gun, and in the next instant, his lips crashed down on hers, hot, hard, and demanding. Logan had always been sexually dominant, but this… this was unlike anything she remembered.
One hand slid through the hair at her temple, then wrapped around the back of her head and held her in place while he angled his head and deepened the kiss. His tongue thrust in and out of her mouth, harsh and nearly punishing, and when he nipped on her bottom lip, both of them groaned with the pleasurable familiarity.
The past fifteen years melted away, and she was a twenty-year-old girl again, standing in his bedroom, getting ready to crawl into his bed for the first time. They’d kept their relationship platonic for a year, respecting the boundary constraining them because of his off-and-on relationship with Bobbi Jo. But the night he came back to school and told Lizbeth he and Bobbi Jo had broken things off for good, it took less than thirty minutes to ditch their friends at the restaurant and make their way back to his condo.
His hands tangled in her hair and held her head in place as he ravished her mouth. She clawed at his shirt, trying to get to the hard muscle and soft skin beneath. She couldn’t get close enough, fast enough, and desperation had her whimpering into his mouth.
When he drew back to grab a breath, she latched onto him to keep him close. “More. I need more.”
Alannah believes there’s nothing more magical than finding the other half of your soul, experiencing fiery passion, and knowing you’ve found happily-ever-after.
She loves going to work each day (in sweats and a T-shirt) and writing about hot heroes and feisty heroines who torment each other in the most delicious ways before finding their happy ending.
She lives in the coastal region of North Carolina with her husband, who also happens to be her best friend and biggest fan. They have two sons, a dog, and two cats.
Find Alannah Online
Series: The Life of Anna
Do not read this if you are under the age of consent in your country. Do not get angry if the subject or actual book upsets you. If you’re reading this, you’ve been warned.
At dinnertime, Anna settled onto the couch with a sandwich she’d bought at a deli on the way home. She was laughing at the sitcom she’d flipped on when there was a knock at the door. She jumped at the sound and cautiously walked to the door and opened it.“Tommy?” she asked with astonishment.Tommy grinned sheepishly. “Hey Anna. I just…wanted to see how you were settling in.”“Oh, well, come on in.” She stepped aside and Tommy walked in and looked around.“Nice place,” he commented.“Thanks. I live with Aaron.”“Yeah.” Tommy nodded. “Is he here?”She shook her head. “No, he’s flying to the Netherlands. He’ll be back next week.”“Oh.”Anna looked at his handsome face and smiled tenderly. “How are things with you?”“Good.” He blew out a breath and shoved his hands into his pockets. “Found out that Kim’s pregnant.”Anna blinked and tried to ignore the stabbing pain in her heart. “Oh, that’s…that’s great, Tommy.” She smiled weakly. “Are you happy?”He shrugged. “Yeah. I mean, it’s good. It’s time to start the family. I just….” He sighed. “It’s just weird, knowing I’m gonna be a dad.”“I bet you’ll be a great dad,” she whispered, struggling to keep her emotions in check.Tommy stepped closer to her and she could smell his cologne, bringing so many memories to the forefront of her mind. He ran his knuckles gently across her cheek. “I miss you,” he whispered. “It kills me, knowing you’re in the city and…not with me.” He sighed. “I wish I’d waited for you.” His blue eyes filled with emotion as he stared intently into her eyes.Anna’s lips parted and she trembled at his words. “Me too,” she whispered.He slowly slid his hands around the back of her head and bent his head down to hers. His lips brushed hers lightly, waiting for permission to kiss her. Anna hesitated. She wanted him to, oh so much, but….“We shouldn’t,” she said in a hoarse voice as she leaned forward slightly.His lips enveloped her bottom one gently. “I know.” His tongue traced her bottom lip as his thumb caressed the sensitive spot behind her ear.“Tommy…,” she whispered, pleading for him to continue; pleading for him to stop. She didn’t know what she wanted.“Anna….” He stepped even closer and captured her lips with his, holding her head gently with both hands. Her hands slid up his hard chest and over his shoulders. His tongue slipped between her parted lips and past her teeth, stroking, caressing, dancing and taking her breath away. His arms wrapped tightly around her, holding her close.She clung to him as if he were a life vest in the middle of the ocean. His kisses became more insistent, his embrace, tighter. He slid his hands down her back and pressed his fingers into her ass, her hips against his.“Tommy,” she moaned softly as she felt him hard against her.“Where’s your room?” he asked against her lips, his voice husky.She pointed down the hall and he picked her up and carried her around the corner and to her room, placing her gently on her bed. He stretched out next to her and pulled her close to kiss her again. His kiss was deep, passionate, loving. He caressed her back, her ass, her hips and finally moved his hand up to cup her breast gently. She broke the kiss to gasp as he thumbed her nipple over her cotton camisole. The heat from his hand scorched her skin.He kissed her neck when she leaned her head back, sucking on the skin above her collarbone. She moaned softly as he kissed her nipple over the soft material and sucked on it through the fabric. It puckered under his skilled mouth and she arched her back to press her breast deeper into his mouth.She cried out softly as he pulled the camisole away, exposing the sensitive skin and softly bit her now engorged peak. Her hands got lost in his hair as he swirled his tongue around and around, the nipple ring being jostled with the movements.She caressed his cock over his jeans and he moved his hips in rhythm against her hand.“Touch me,” he rasped.Anna quickly unfastened his jeans and wrapped her hand around his cock. She caressed his piercings and smiled at the throbbing hardness. They quickly disposed of their clothing and Anna knelt next to his hips and took him into her mouth, moaning at his taste.“Oh, God, Anna!” He pulled at her hips and adjusted her legs so that she was straddling his head.He held her hips and buried his tongue into her swollen pussy. She gasped against his cock as he sucked her clit hard, kneading her ass and brushing his fingers against her asshole.He knew her body well. Knew how to make her moan and scream in passion. And he did both. She tried to concentrate on his delicious cock, but his tongue lapped at her clit as he sucked on it. She felt herself tingling and then she leaned her head back as her orgasm rushed through her body.“Tommy!” she cried, trying to pull away, but he held her firm until he sucked every ounce of pleasure out of her.Tommy pushed her to her side and moved quickly above her, her head at the foot of the bed. In one swift move he was inside her and kissing her. His tongue mimicked the movements of his cock, thrusting slowly in and out. Anna moaned loudly and met his rhythm enthusiastically. His movements were deep and deliberate, making her moan with each deep thrust. Her fingernails dug into his back as she felt another orgasm building.“God, Anna!” he shouted and cursed as his cock throbbed deep inside her. She followed quickly and her muscles clenched around him.He held her tightly and kissed her as he softened inside her. He nuzzled her neck and then rolled to his side, stroking her arm as he gazed lovingly into her eyes. “You’re amazing, you know that?”Anna grinned and turned to face him. “I think you’ve learned some new moves.”He chuckled. “Maybe.” He kissed her again, sliding his hands down her back and hips. “Perfect. Absolutely perfect.”She ran her hand slowly over his chest and abs, loving every inch of him. She’d missed him so much.Music sounded loudly, making them both jump.“Fuck,” Tommy said, sitting up and reaching for his jeans. He pressed the screen and stood, running his hand through his hair. “Hey, baby,” he said in a gentle tone that wrenched Anna’s heart. “Yeah, just getting some air…yeah…I can do that…okay…yeah, be home soon…love you, too.”Anna sat up and stared at her blanket. His wife. She swallowed back tears and blinked rapidly.Tommy shrugged his clothes on. “I’m sorry, Anna. I have to get home.”Anna nodded, but didn’t trust her voice to say anything. He paused after he’d dressed, standing next to the bed.“I’m sorry,” he whispered. He leaned down to kiss her head and then left the room. She heard the apartment door open and close a moment later and she kept staring at the blanket, trying to understand how she felt. To put words to the pain in her heart.Used. She felt used. She was a cheap prostitute for him to use and then go home to his wife.No, Tommy truly cared for her. He helped her escape.But he had a wife and a child on the way. A family to go home to. Anna was a distraction from his responsibilities.She rubbed her face. Confusion filled her heart. She’d never felt like this before. Intellectually, she knew she’d been used for years; since Devin first touched her after her parent’s funeral. Maybe even before then. Why did it bother her now?She was an Elder-Mistress. Her body was to be used as the Elders pleased. She was trained to please their every desire.Then why did she feel so empty? Was it the illusion of freedom? Was her freedom just an illusion? Or was it real? Did pretending something was true make it true? Was she a prostitute? After all, wasn’t that what they all really were? Slaves. Sex slaves. Unpaid prostitutes.What was she? Was she a Mistress or a free woman? As an Elder-Mistress, what just happened shouldn’t bother her. As a free woman, what just happened broke her heart. Katrina was the free woman. Anna was the slave. Was she Anna? Or was she Katrina?Who did she want to be? Did it matter what she wanted? The reality was that she was Anna. Katrina was an illusion to keep Devin from finding her.Part of her wanted to embrace Katrina. To find out what it was really like to be “free.” But could she? Could she dare try to be something she’d never been before? And what did that mean anyway? Saying no to men? She didn’t know if she could do that.What did it mean to be free?The answer eluded her and made her head hurt. She was too tired to think about it right now. She went into her bathroom to take a shower and then watched TV until she couldn’t keep her eyes open and fell asleep on the couch.*****Devin stared out the window of his downtown office. Where the hell was Anna? How was she eluding his search? Someone, somewhere, had to know where she was. Someone had to be helping her. There’s no way she could have done this on her own.Who was helping her? Surely Wilhelm had something to do with this, but his activities showed nothing suspicious.Damn Ian for his betrayal.If Anna was hiding, he had to get her to reveal herself. But how? What could compel to her to come out of hiding?
Other books in the series
The entire series is together for a limited time. This box set includes the complete Love Series – Let Love In, Let Love Stay, Let Love Heal, Let Love Shine, Let Love Be, and Let Love Live. From New Adult to M/m Contemporary Romance, there’s something in here for everyone. Laugh, cry, and fall in love with the couples of this bestselling series.
EXCERPT FROM LET LOVE BE
After knocking on his door, I wait patiently and just hope that he’s not too busy. His truck is in the parking lot, so I know he’s here, but after two minutes, he still hasn’t answered. I knock again, but still no answer.
I try the knob and it’s unlocked, so I crack the door open slightly and peek into his living room. He’s not there, but I hear music buzzing through the space. I step inside and pinpoint the loud bass of Pink Floyd pounding out from his bedroom. He’s singing along, loudly and horribly off key, but it’s genuine and full of life. Hearing the words of “Wish You Were Hear” fall from his lips makes them sound even sweeter − the rhythm more sensual, the beat more erotic.
I drop the bags next to my feet, lean up against the doorframe and watch him as he pulls a plank for hardwood flooring out of the box next to him. The floor is bare except for the small area he’s completed in the corner. There’s a small table saw set up and tools scattered all over the sub flooring. Completely void of furniture and a rug, the sound fills the room harshly, echoing off the walls and bare floor. How he still hasn’t heard me, I’m not sure. It probably has something with the sheer volume of the music, but I am thoroughly enjoying the show without him noticing me just yet.
With his shirt off, I see every rippled plane of hard muscle gracing his back. Watching him feed the flooring carefully through the guide on the saw, makes my mouth dry. His biceps flex and pull; his ass looks like a work of art shifting under his threadbare jeans. They slide down his narrow hips slightly and he just lets them hang there, unknowingly letting me enjoy the show.
When the song comes to an end, and he’s done trimming the plank of dark, maplewood flooring, he grabs a bottle of water and chugs down half of it in one large gulp.
“Hi,” I mumble, my voice all breathy and filled with lust.
He turns at the waist, swiping his chorded-with-muscle forearm across his mouth. “Hey,” his word holds a moment of surprise, before licking his lips seductively. “You look breathtaking, love.” He scans my outfit − a tight black skirt that falls in a cute ruffle right above my knees and a pale pink shirt with pearly buttons down the center. I’ve come to realize he has a thing for legs so I purposefully chose a pair of shiny, black three and a half inch heels to wear today.
Strutting over to me, he reaches into my hair and pulls out the clip that’s holding it up in a messy knot. “There, that’s better.” He kisses my cheek as he inhales the vanilla-scented cloud that my falling hair provides.
Pressing my hands to his chest, I stretch up on my toes a little, pressing my lips right next to his ear. “No. You look…” Words escape me, so I trace the tip of my tongue in a steamy, hot line around the outer shell of his ear. I move my hands from his chest, enjoying the feel of his chest hair under my fingertips, and coil them around his neck as I assault his skin with my lips. A groan of pleasure rumbles in his throat as I lace my fingers into his hair, pulling his neck to the side. Lightly grazing my teeth over his skin, I nip gently. “You are absolutely edible.”
His mouth attacks mine, roughly and passionately. The velvety slide of his tongue against mine sets a pulse of desire coursing through my body. A small flicker of pain erupts at the nape of my neck as he grabs a fist full of my hair, holding me in place as his tongue plunges hotly into my willing mouth. The pain vanishes quickly and he licks and nips along my jawline and down the exposed skin of goose bump covered neck. Mumbling against my skin, he asks, “What are you doing here? I thought we were meeting later?” He reaches down and grabs my ass, hitching my leg over his hip.
“You don’t seem too upset,” I rasp as I grind my hips against his rock-hard erection. His only response is a low groan that I feel vibrating against my chest, pebbling my nipples even more than they already are. In two long strides, he moves us to the wall, sandwiching me between him and it.
“God, you’re so fucking hot,” he says in between sensuous kisses that leave my skin feeling as if it’s been licked by a flame. Holding both of my wrists in one hand above my head, he stares fiercely into my eyes as his other hand works the buttons of my shirt. He pulls it out of the waistband of my skirt and gazes down at my breasts as they threaten to fall out my sheer lace, pink bra.
My nipples press against the thin fabric and his hungry stare makes them harden even more − almost to the point of being painful. “Please, Evan,” I beg, but all he does is lick his lips and lean his forehead against mine.
“Please, what?” he challenges before moving his mouth across my neck and collarbone. Arching my back, I shove my breasts into his face, hinting at what I want.
“Real subtle, love,” he chides as his fingers dance across my ribcage, coming close to, but never touching me where I want him to. “But if you want something, you’re going to have to tell me. I want to hear you.”
The moan that flies out of my mouth and reverberates through the empty room is one born out of desire and frustration. We haven’t made love in weeks and now he wants to test me, to make me beg. Turned on and beyond annoyed, I arch my back again.
He simply tsks at me as he licks his lips. “I don’t want anything between us this time, or ever again.” He holds my chin in his hand, angling my head to his. “Now, tell me what you want,” he demands, sending shivers of desire racing throughout my overheated body.
Melissa Collins has always been a book worm. Studying Literature in college ensured that her nose was always stuck in a book. She followed her passion for reading to the most logical career choice: English teacher. Her hope was to share her passion for reading and the escapism of books to her students. Having spent more than a decade in front of a classroom, she can easily say that it’s been a dream.
Her passion for writing didn’t start until more recently. When she was home on maternity leave in early 2012, she read her first romance novel and her head filled with the passion, angst and laughter of the characters who she read about it. It wasn’t long before characters of her own took shape in her mind. Their lives took over Melissa’s brain and The Love Series was born.
He’s a flawed perfectionist…
I can read women better than any blueprint. I understand their thoughts and feelings, their secret desires and insecurities, and I know how to get rid of them once I get off.
But all bets are off when Tiel Desai slams into my life. She redefines what it means to be friends, and she makes it sound like the filthiest thing I’ve ever heard.
I can’t read the gorgeous conservatory-trained violinist, but she’s the only one keeping me from shattering by small degrees, and I can’t let her go.
She’s wildly independent…
My past—and New Jersey—are far behind me, and now my life is blissfully full of music: playing, teaching, and lecturing, and scouring Boston’s underground scene with an annoyingly beautiful, troubled, tattooed architect.
I’m defenseless against his rooftop kisses, our nearly naked dance parties, the snuggletimes that turn into sexytimes, and his deep, demanding voice.
I have Sam Walsh stuck in my head like a song on repeat, and I’m happy pretending history won’t catch up with me.
The one thing they have in common is a rock-solid disregard for the rules.
They find more in each other than they ever realized they were missing, but they might have to fall apart before they can come together.
It’s the wrongs that make the rights come to life.
The Walsh Family has struck again. I a still unsure how such a structurally sound (ahem) family, could get so much wrong when it comes to relationships. But it doesn’t really matter, the fact is these books are fabulous. Each architect, each sibling, each lawyer, each engineer… the Walsh family knows what it takes to make the building perfect, but they seem to have a severe disadvantage when it comes to relationships. Why should Sam be any different?
You do not have to read the first two books in order to read this one, however, I will say the background is helpful for Sam’s story. His parents, his siblings, his past are a part of the first two books and it does make it a little easier to understand the people and the places, but it is not necessary to read this book, just helpful for a little more background.
This book was touching and powerful. It starts off with a powerful punch, you know trapped in an elevator that seems to be free-falling to their death and he could have avoided the whole situation if he would have just taken the stairs. But he didn’t and so it begins.
They started as friends, an accidental meeting in an elevator and Sam knew his life would never be the same. Of course, I am pretty sure Tiel never saw it coming either. It was a bizarre and heated friendship, but when push came to shove, there is no where else Sam wanted to spend his time with than with her. So opposite in every way, but so completely perfect for each other.
Their biggest battle would be their own pasts. His head was living with the past pain… the loss of his mother, the haunting images of his father. He was never going to overcome those things, except, Tiel just made it so easy to get lost in something else, her. Tiel was the odd one in her family, the one they didn’t understand. She was a free spirit and she knew what she loved. Music was her life and her big overbearing family could never get over that. So she avoided them. She lived her life exactly how she wanted and she was content with it. But something shifted the moment that Sam walked onto that elevator with her.
Both hiding from their pasts, both looking for their future, bot scared and alone in their own lives, together are content and happy. But will the haunting of their pasts be too much to find something meaningful in their future?
This book was a book of self discovery. Sam had so much grief and anger he needed to deal with and he wanted to do all those things with Tiel, but her past was preventing her from doing the one thing she needed to do to find happiness… trust.
Their friendship will be tested, their hearts will break, families will interfere and the past will continue to haunt them both. The big question is, can they overcome all of this and move on into the future?
I loved this journey through finding a great love and losing it all. Moving forward without tripping on the past. I loved the characters, I love how music was such a focal point as much as I loved the nature side of it. It is a touching story of finding out who you really are and finding a way to the future. Touching, moving and spiritual. It is a great book with a lot of heart that I would happily recommend over and over again.
I never thought I’d die in an elevator.
I always figured it would have something to do with my brother Riley leaving the gas stove on all night, killing us softly in our sleep.
Or gin. Chances were good that my liver was well on its way to pickled.
Or doorknobs. Touching those things was like licking the goddamn plague.
But today was headed for the fires of hell, and it was all Shannon’s fault.
“Hi, you’ve reached Shannon Walsh. Leave me a message and I’ll get back to you soon.”
Fucking voicemail. Again.
“I don’t know where the fuck you are, Shan, but I’ve been waiting at the Commonwealth Avenue property for a goddamn hour. I thought we were trying to make a cash offer today, but I can’t very well do that without you here.”
Ending the call, I wet my lips and wiped the sweat from my brow. This heat wave was in its ninth day, and if I had even a lick of common sense, I would have hitched a ride to Cape Cod with my brother Matt and his wife Lauren for Labor Day weekend.
But no, I wanted to see the unit that just came available in the one-hundred-and-thirty-year-old French Revival hotel-turned-condo building in Boston’s Back Bay. Specifically, I wanted my sister Shannon—the one who held the firm’s purse strings—to buy that unit. I wanted to spend the long weekend drafting plans to demo it down to the studs and then restore the unit to its original beauty. I wanted to lose myself in lines and materials, things I could control.
And I wasn’t up for third-wheeling it with the newlyweds.
I also wanted to be alone.
I could handle industry crowds and clients any day of the week and twice on Sundays, and I did it so fucking well they were willing to drop unreasonable amounts of money for my services. I was beginning to think I could finger-paint my designs and still collect six-figure commissions.
But I hated small talk. Bullshit conversations about weather or sports or politics held no appeal for me. I mostly stared at tits and asses until I was getting head in a coatroom or a drink thrown in my face.
And I was in a strange place these days. It was an odd in-betweenness; I wasn’t sick but I certainly wasn’t well. Not suicidal, but far from happy.
I’d been sliding further into this rut for months, and letting my work keep me too busy to notice. But while I was restoring everything I could get my hands on, the bottom was falling out on me. It was gradual, an evolution too small to notice without stepping back and examining from a distance. It was better this way. I didn’t want anyone noticing.
So I was flying solo this Labor Day.
To me, alone didn’t mean hunching over my drafting table all night, or skulking around the ancient Fort Point firehouse I called home.
No, alone meant drinking myself numb while some nameless young thing sucked the stress right out of me. There was nothing one hundred dollars pressed into the palm of the right maître d’ and a good cocksucking couldn’t soothe.
But let’s be clear: blowjobs didn’t solve problems.
If we were talking solutions, we were talking about my dick in someone’s ass, and I didn’t have the enthusiasm for that right now.
I needed a steady stream of gin, a blonde who knew her place was on her knees, and an otherwise interruption-free evening.
Go ahead: call me a manwhore.
For all the disgust packed into those words, they were always tied with a fine, shiny thread of admiration. I did what everyone else wished they could, and I made it look good.
And I’d heard far worse. Someone always had some name to call me, and some of those names were hard to shake. For the better part of this year, I’d been replaying my last conversation with my father. The record was stuck on repeat in my mind, scratching and skipping back to the raw, awful parts.
My younger brother, Riley, had been leading a walk-through at a property in Bunker Hill—a string of decent row houses that my miserable bastard of a father Angus bought and dumped on us to restore—with Patrick, Matt, and me.
We were almost finished when Angus showed up, and I knew the minute he walked through the door that he was drunk. He’d been various shades of drunk since my mother died, and that day, he was cruel drunk.
And that was the day I refused to ignore his bullshit. I didn’t want to walk away that time. It wasn’t rolling off my back. I’d absorbed decades of his hatred, and that tank was long since overflowing.
He attacked everything that I was—my sexuality, my work, my relationship with my mother and my sister, Shannon—and told me I was a mistake. That I was too fucked-up to be alive. That I shouldn’t have been born.
That was Angus’s gift. He could hear every dark, twisted thought I had, and he knew how to sharpen them into daggers. Ten months later, I couldn’t stop hearing those words.
I walked through the unit one last time, photographing what was left of the original design elements and noting restoration ideas. In the hallway joining the twin penthouse units, I texted Shannon to reiterate my annoyance. Then I hit up the manager at the new whiskey bar in the South End to reserve my preferred booth.
Tapping the corner of my phone to the elevator call button, I watched a woman emerge from the other unit. I stared at her, all summery and happy in her long yellow skirt and sleeveless magenta top, with a face like sunshine and a jingling ankle bracelet announcing her approach.
No one was allowed to look that pleased with life when it was too hot to exist.
“Hi,” she said with a smile, her thumb beating a rhythm against the call button. Dark, shoulder-length hair fell across her face as she leaned forward. “This thing being slow again? It was slow last week, too. I guess that’s part of the deal with old buildings, right?”
She was too much and too loud, and I dug in my pocket for some hand sanitizer. I’d come in contact with enough germs for one afternoon. I glanced up from her ankle and stopped attempting to extrapolate a good reason why any civilized person would wear a noisemaker, and shrugged.
She laughed, and said, “Okay then.”
She started humming, and then shaking her ankle with the tune, and I looked for the stairwell. I couldn’t stand in this hall with a chattering music box much longer, and sharing an elevator with her would require a sedative.
Despite my penchant for the high-end bar scene, I preferred quiet. Growing up with five siblings who made Attila the Hun’s crew look like a chill group of guys who enjoyed churning their own butter meant I had to find that quiet for myself. Noise-canceling headphones, soundproofed insulation in my office, and enough space so that my brother Riley and I could go weeks without seeing each other in the firehouse we shared.
Noticing a doorway at the far end of the hall, I gestured for her to step aside. A humid stairwell was a reasonable price to pay for serenity.
“Hey,” she said, her hand grabbing my elbow. “It’s here.”
I met her eyes for the first time since she jangled into my personal space, and as much as I wanted to scowl at her invasion, her smile was too warm, her hazel eyes too bright. She was pretty in a way I couldn’t comprehend—maybe it was her shortage of rail-thin, blue eyed blondeness, or the fact she wasn’t made up, blown out, or put together, or that she wasn’t simply looking at me but she was seeing me—and her smile transformed her whole face. Soon, I was smiling too.
Like a fucking lunatic.
Then I felt the first spasms of panic stirring my stomach, squeezing my lungs, making my skin too tight.
My instincts told me to walk away from Miss Music Box, pop some pills to cage the ugly green anxiety monster, and hike down eleven flights of stairs.
I always listened to my instincts. Beyond my siblings, they were the only things I could trust in this world.
But I stepped into that elevator anyway, gazing at her light eyes, and within ten seconds of the door closing, I was hurtling to my death.
Kate Canterbary doesn’t have it all figured out, but this is what she knows for sure: spicy-ass salsa and tequila solve most problems, living on the ocean–Pacific or Atlantic–is the closest place to perfection, and writing smart, smutty stories is better than any amount of chocolate. She started out reporting for an indie arts and entertainment newspaper back when people still read newspapers, and she has been writing and surreptitiously interviewing people—be careful sitting down next to her on an airplane—ever since. Kate lives on the water in New England with Mr. Canterbary and the Little Baby Canterbary, and when she isn’t writing sexy architects, she’s scheduling her days around the region’s best food trucks.
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Let the sin continue… Cole Sterling racks up plenty of frequent flyer miles in his sinful style behind closed doors with the women and men of LA. Night after night, he dulls the stress of being the lead Sterling by getting lost in his own desires. His favorite number is three, and he doesn’t discriminate when it comes to partners. Pleasure is pleasure, and his drug of choice to distract him from Made To Sin being behind schedule and his brothers’ debauchery.
Cole called it the West Coast curse as an inside joke, but when he realizes he’s made the biggest mistake of his life and may lose his best friend, not to mention the woman who stole his heart, he becomes a firm believer in the curse.
-This is a four-part erotic serial.-
Not suitable for readers under 18.
I’m just a simple girl who loves the country life.. .oh yeah! & a good corn dog! Throw in a little Vanilla Ice, and shits bound to get crazy! Be brave…
-Loves country life & music
-Gets the case of the “eff-its” often
-love corn dogs & candy…. & (sex & candaaay)
-My heart is happy writing!!!
Alex Thompson is the daughter of a wealthy US Ambassador. Several weeks overseas with an exchange program is just what she needs to get out from under her over-controlling parents.
They only have five weeks before they go back to their homes.
They have completely different lives.
The last thing either of them want or need is to fall in love.
I fell in love with the writing of Charles Sheehan-Miles a few years ago when I first read A Song For Julia. I followed up that book with Just Remember To Breathe. But A View From Forever is actually where that story begins. Before he broke her heart, this is the story of where it all started and I fell in love with Charles Sheehan-Miles work all over again.
You do not need to read Just Remember To Breathe before reading A View From Forever. This is Alex and Dylan’s story, but this is the beginning of it.
Dylan was not in her league. He didn’t come from wealth, he wasn’t vain, and his GPA wasn’t phenomenal. But he had a passion. He wanted to be on this trip. He wanted to see the world. He was getting a second chance and he was going to take it.
Alexandra knew one way of life. She was the daughter of an Ambassador. She has lived in various places around the world. She was well bred and well schooled, but she wanted something different from her life. She wanted to be something other than what her parents had in mind. Being right in the middle of her group of sisters left her in a predicament. Her older sisters didn’t do what their parents wanted. One married a rock star, one went into biology… and now it was her turn for her parents to shape and mold her into the next US Ambassador. But she didn’t want that. But what she did know was that this boy from Atlanta was going to change her world.
There was an immediate attraction between Dylan and Alex. They came from two different worlds and they are here with two different futures in mind. But they can’t fight whatever it is that is staring them in the eyes. They have a connection. But how can they possibly think about a relationship on a trip like this. She is from San Francisco, he is from Atlanta. This trip is not a long one. They live in different worlds. But they both feel it.
Will his past and future be too much for him to overcome? Will her family be the end of them? Will their moment in time be ruined because they can’t move beyond their differences or will what they feel be enough to see them through it all?
You think you know Dylan and Alex, but that was after… this is where it all started and true to his wringing, Charles Sheehan-Miles has completely touched my heart with their story, their beginning.
This is a beautifully written story and touching too. It is about more than these two people in this place in time. It is about politics, religion and war, all of the things that can make or break any relationship, whether it be between countries or people. It all comes full circle This book made me step back and think of how much I have in my own life that I don’t pay much attention to. How those with so much less, appreciate so much more and how the power of our beliefs can change so much of how we view the world.
This is a powerful book, but for me it was more than a cute love story. It was reality, religion, tourism and trust. It is so much more and as all of his books do, it touched my heart, caught my breath and moved my soul.
About the Author
Charles Sheehan-Miles has been a soldier, computer programmer, short-order cook and non-profit executive. He is the author of several fiction and non-fiction books, including the indie bestsellers Just Remember to Breathe and Republic: A Novel of America’s Future.
Title: Wine & Whiskey
Author: Nikki Belaire
Series: Surviving Absolution
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 7, 2015
No longer controlled by her mother, manager, or former fiancé, pop star Shae Armstrong steps out on her own and into the path of Nick DeMarco, a wealthy investor with alleged ties to organized crime and real childhood scars to overcome. She wants to take it slow. He needs her now, in his life and in his bed.
Nick’s enemies threaten her career, her friendships, even her sanity, but not her heart – the one thing Nick holds precious. He proves his love is real, and she stops running. Until everything around them falls apart, including him. He swore he would never hurt her. Instead, he almost destroys them both.
Buoyed by her new-found confidence and strength his love instills in her, Shae makes a dangerous choice, sacrificing her happiness for his, just like he always does for her. Unable to let her break the connection between them, Nick accepts the trust she places in him, the depth of her love giving him the courage to try again.
Now that she’s found her own voice and helped him see who he really is, can Shae survive the challenges of living in Nick’s world?
This book is the exact reason why I never close a book after opening it. I will be the first to admit, I wasn’t in love with it in the first few chapters. But sometimes you can only find the true gems, when you dig a little deeper. But this book is also the reason why I know that not everyone is going to agree as to what makes a good book.
There was lot of confusion surround the characters at the beginning, but once you learned about them and their lives, it was easy to admire their strengths and admonish their weaknesses. But the more I read the deeper I became entangled in their world. I had a hard time with Nick in the beginning. I didn’t understand his life, I didn’t understand his apprehensions, but there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that he was dangerous and mysterious and delicious. He had so much in his life and he didn’t have a lot of reasons to keep doing what he was doing until he sees her in that gym. In that moment all bets are off.
The moment Nick sees Shae, he knows that his life will never be the same. He knows that she is the only one that has ever affected him this way. He knows that she is everything he has ever wanted and everything he will never be able to keep. But it is his fears of reliving the past that scare him the most. But he falls hard and fast for this woman.
Shae has her own secrets that she is trying to keep. She is in the public eye and she knows what it takes to be on top of her game. But deep down she is terrified to have a real life of her own, too many eyes are on her at all times. And here she is looking at the one man that could make or break her entire world.
She has spent so much of her life not allowing herself to be happy and not allowing her heart to be consumed by one person that when the attraction is undeniable, she doesn’t know how to handle it. It is all consuming and Nick makes it hard to deny.
As I said I felt like this book had a slow start, but once I got past that I found myself enthralled in this book. I couldn’t put it down for fear of what would happen next. There was surprise, surrender and complete mystery to it. Just finding the end seemed like a dangerous journey but I couldn’t pry myself away from it. I had to know what was going to happen and if these two were ever going to find their ultimate happiness or even if they could. It seemed the world was against them, but maybe love was on their side.
In the end, I couldn’t put this book down. It was a great read and I am glad I turned the page!
As the jet begins its descent, Shae turns from the window and looks at him. “Now are you going to tell me where we are?”
Nick holds up his finger. “Patience. I said when we land.”
His breath catches as she rolls her eyes and laughs, soft and silky, warming him in the cool cabin. He didn’t think it was possible for her to be more beautiful than she already is. Her face flushes and eyes sparkle with excitement, matching the hint of glitter across her bare shoulders completely exposed with her hair in loose curls behind her head. He would take a beating just to taste the soft, sweet skin at the base of her neck.
At the bump of the landing gear rolling across the runway she looks back at him again. “We’ve landed. Tell me!”
“We’re slightly northeast of wine country. I read an article in one of the business journals about a man from Indiana re-opening his grandfather’s winery. I thought we could check it out before he launches.”
“Oh, I love it. I can’t wait.”
Once the pilots open the door and disembark, Max and the two security men accompanying them file out. She starts to stand up, but he puts his hand on her arm. Loathe to rouse any uncertainty, he attempts a casual tone. “Just a minute, sweetness. Let Max take care of things first.”
Two black SUVs sit on the tarmac with a young woman wearing a navy blazer standing next to them. Max talks to her as the other two men open the doors and inspect the interiors. A slight frown darkens Shae’s angelic face, his stomach clenching at her anxiety.
“Is everything okay?”
“It’s just a precaution. I don’t want anything to ruin our day.”
Her lips curl into a smile, and she squeezes his hand, releasing some of his tension. “Nothing will.”
After the inspection is complete, Max signs the woman’s clipboard and takes the keys from her. Nick pulls Shae up from her seat and leads her down the steps. “Let’s go.”
They drive along the countryside with Max and his team following behind. Tall trees border farm fields, separating them by owner or crop. A few stray clouds float above the distant mountains, no barrier to the abundant sunshine.
Resting her head against the seat, she turns to him. “How did you arrange for us to have such beautiful weather?”
“I’m good at charming angels.”
She laughs and shakes her head. “You’re still as slick as the day I met you.”
He brings her hand to his mouth and kisses each knuckle. Somehow she saw past his arrogance and gave him chance. And, somehow he’s lucky to earn more even when he fucks up. “You’re still as beautiful.”
“What am I going to do with you?”
Nikki writes contemporary romantic thrillers and admits to a weakness for alpha males and bad boys, especially ones who can’t live without the strong women they love. She spends more time in her characters’ lives than her own. But, when she’s in the real world, her passions include reading, wine appreciating, running, and spending time with her husband and daughter.
The first book of Nikki’s Surviving Absolution series is Wine & Whiskey, which launches in April 2015 through Secret Cravings Publishing. Heat level: three flames.