EGO MANIAC by Vi Keeland

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The night I met Drew Jagger, he’d just broken into my new Park Avenue office.
I dialed 9-1-1 before proceeding to attack him with my fancy new Krav Maga skills.
He quickly restrained me, then chuckled, finding my attempted assault amusing.

Of course, my intruder had to be arrogant.
Only, turned out, he wasn’t an intruder at all.

Drew was the rightful occupant of my new office. He’d been on vacation while his posh space was renovated.
Which was how a scammer got away with leasing me office space that wasn’t really available for rent.
I was swindled out of ten grand.

The next day, after hours at the police station, Drew took pity on me and made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. In exchange for answering his phones while his secretary was out, he’d let me stay until I found a new place.
I probably should have acted grateful and kept my mouth shut when I overheard the advice he was spewing to his clients. But I couldn’t help giving him a piece of my mind.
I never expected my body to react every time we argued. Especially when that was all we seemed to be able to do.

The two of us were complete opposites. Drew was a bitter, angry, gorgeous-as-all-hell, destroyer of relationships. And my job was to help people save their marriages.
The only thing the two of us had in common was the space we were sharing.
And an attraction that was getting harder to deny by the day.

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Sometimes what you’re looking for comes when you’re not looking at all.

                                                                       -Unknown

 



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DREW

I hate New Year’s Eve.

Two hours in traffic to make it not even the nine miles home from LaGuardia. It was after ten o’clock at night. Why weren’t all these people at a party by now? Whatever tension two weeks in Hawaii had relieved was already back to coiling tighter and tighter inside me as the town car inched its way uptown.

I tried not to think about all the work I was coming back to—the endless string of other people’s problems to compound my own:

She cheated.

He cheated.

Get me full custody of the kids.

She can’t have the house in Vail.

All she wants is my money.

She hasn’t given me a blowjob in three years. Listen, asshole, you’re fifty, bald, pompous, and shaped like an egg. She’s twenty-three, hot, and has tits so young they almost reach up to her chin. You want to fix this marriage? Come home with ten Gs in fresh, crisp bills, and tell her to get on her knees. You’ll get your blowjob. She’ll get her spending money. Let’s not pretend it was ever more than it really was. That doesn’t work for you? Unlike your soon-to-be ex-wife, I’ll take a check. Make that out to Drew M. Jagger, Attorney at Law.

I rubbed the back of my neck, feeling slightly claustrophobic in the back of the Uber, and looked out the window. An old lady with a walker passed us.

“I’ll get out here,” I barked at the driver.

“But you have luggage?”

I was already exiting the back of the car. “Pop the trunk. It’s not like we’re moving anyway.”

Traffic was at a dead stop, and it was only two blocks to my building. Tossing a hundred-dollar tip at the driver, I grabbed my suitcase from the trunk and took in a deep breath of Manhattan.

I loved this city as much as I hated it.

575 Park Avenue was a restored pre-war on the southeast corner of Sixty-Third Street—it was an address that gave people preconceived notions about you. Someone with my last name had occupied the building since before the place was converted into overpriced co-ops. Which is why my office was allowed to remain on the ground floor when other commercial tenants were tossed out years ago. I also lived on the top floor.

“Welcome back, Mr. Jagger.” The uniformed doorman greeted me as he swung open the lobby door.

“Thanks, Ed. I miss anything while I was gone?”

“Nah. Same old, same old. Peeked in on your construction the other day, though. Looking good.”

“They use the service entrance down Sixty-Third like they were supposed to?”

Ed nodded. “Sure did. Barely heard them the last few days.”

I dropped my luggage inside my apartment, then headed back downstairs in the elevator to check things out. For the last two weeks, while I was screwing off in Honolulu, my office space had been getting a total renovation. Cracks in the high, plastered ceilings were to be patched and painted, and new floors installed to replace the old, worn parquet.

Thick plastic remained taped over all of the interior doorways when I walked in. The little furniture I hadn’t put in storage was also still covered with tarps. Shit. They aren’t done yet. The contractor had assured me there would only be finish work left by the time I returned. I was right to be skeptical.

Flicking on the lights, I was happy to find the lobby completely done, though. Finally, a New Year’s Eve with no horrible surprises for a change.

I took a quick look around, pleased with what I found, and was just about to leave when I noticed a light streaming from under the door of a small file room at the end of the hallway.

Thinking nothing of it, I headed to turn it off.

Now, I’m six foot two and a half, two hundred and five pounds, and maybe it was just my frame of mind, my not expecting to see anyone, but when I opened the door to the file room, finding her there scared the living crap out of me.

She screamed.

I took a step back through the door.

She got up, stood on the chair, and began yelling at me, waving her cell phone in the air.

“I’ll call the police!” Her fingers shook as she dialed nine, then one, and hovered over the last one. “Get out now, and I won’t call!”

I could have lunged for her, and the phone would have been out of her hand before she realized she hadn’t dialed the final digit. But she looked terrified, so I retreated another step and put my hands up in surrender.

“I’m not going to hurt you.” I used my best soothing, calm voice. “You don’t need to call the police. This is my office.”

“Do I look stupid to you? You just broke into my office.”

Your office? I think you took a wrong turn at the corner of Crazy and Nutjob.”

She wobbled atop the chair, holding both arms out to regain her balance, and then…her skirt fell to her feet.

“Get out!” She crouched down and grabbed her skirt, tugging it up to her waist as she turned her back to me.

“Do you take medication, ma’am?”

Medication? Ma’am? Are you joking?”

“You know what?” I motioned to the phone she was still holding. “Why don’t you push that last one and get the police over here. They can drive you back to whatever loony bin you escaped from.”

Her eyes widened.

For a crazy person—now that I was really looking—she was pretty damn cute. Fiery red hair piled on top of her head seemed to match her firecracker personality. Although from the looks of her blazing blue eyes, I was glad I’d held off on telling her that.

She pushed one and proceeded to report the crime of entering one’s own office. “I’d like to report a robbery.”

“Robbery?” I arched an eyebrow and looked around. A lone folding chair and crappy metal folding table were the only furniture in the entire space. “What exactly am I stealing? Your winning personality?”

She amended her complaint to the police. “A breaking and entering. I’d like to report a breaking and entering at 575 Park Avenue.” She paused and listened. “No, I don’t think he’s armed. But he’s big. Really big. At least six feet. Maybe bigger.”

I smirked. “And strong. Don’t forget to tell them I’m strong, too. Want me to flex for you? And maybe you should tell them I have green eyes. Wouldn’t want the police to confuse me with all the other really big thieves hanging out in my office.”

After she hung up, she stayed standing on the chair, still glaring at me.

“Was there also a mouse?” I asked.

“A mouse?”

“Considering you jumped up on that chair.” I chuckled.

“You find this funny?”

“Oddly, I do. And I have no fucking idea why. It should annoy the crap out of me that I come home from a two-week vacation and find a squatter in my office.”

“Squatter? I’m no squatter. This is my office. I moved in a week ago.”

She bobbled again while standing on her chair.

“Why don’t you get down? You’re going to fall off that thing and get hurt.”

“How do I know you’re not going to hurt me when I get down?”

I shook my head and contained my laugh. “Sweetheart, look at the size of me. Look at the size of you. Standing on that chair isn’t doing jack shit to keep you safe. If I wanted to hurt you, you’d be out cold on the floor already.”

“I take Krav Maga classes twice a week.”

“Twice a week? Really? Thanks for the warning.”

“You don’t have to ridicule me. Maybe I could hurt you. For an intruder, you’re really kind of rude, you know.”

“Get down.”

After a full minute stare-off, she climbed off the chair.

“See? You’re as safe on the ground as you were up there.”

“What do you want from here?”

“You didn’t call the police, did you? You almost had me there for a second.”

“I didn’t. But I can.”

“Now why would you go and do that? So they can arrest you for breaking and entering?”

She pointed down at her makeshift desk. For the first time, I noticed papers all over the place. “I told you. This is my office. I’m working late tonight because the construction crew was so loud today that I couldn’t get done what I needed to. Why would anyone break and enter to work at ten-thirty at night on New Year’s Eve?”

Construction crew? My construction crew? Something was going on here. “You were here with the construction crew today?”

“Yes.”

I scratched my chin, half believing her. “What’s the foreman’s name?”

“Tommy.”

Shit. She was telling the truth. Well, at least some of it had to be the truth. “You said you moved in a week ago?”

“That’s right.”

“And you rented the space from whom, exactly?”

“John Cougar.”

Both my brows shot up this time. “John Cougar? Did he drop the Mellencamp, by chance?”

“How should I know?”

This wasn’t sounding good. “And you paid this John Cougar?”

“Of course. That’s how renting an office suite works. Two months’ security, first and last month’s rent.”

I shut my eyes and shook my head. “Shit.”

“What?”

“You got conned. How much did all of that cost you? Two months’ security, first and last month? Four months in total?”

“Ten thousand dollars.”

“Please tell me you didn’t pay cash.”

Something finally clicked, and the color drained from her pretty face. “He said his bank was closed in the evening, and he couldn’t give me the keys until my check cleared. If I gave him cash, I could move in right away.”

“You paid John Cougar forty thousand dollars in cash?”

“No!”

“Thank God.”

“I paid him ten thousand in cash.”

“I thought you said you paid four months.”

“I did. It was twenty-five hundred a month.”

That did it. Of all the crazy shit I’d heard so far, thinking she could get space on Park Avenue for twenty-five hundred a month took the cake. I broke out in a fit of laughter.

“What’s so funny?”

“You’re not from New York, are you?”

“No. I just moved here from Oklahoma. What does that have to do with anything?”

I took a step closer. “I hate to break the news to you, Oklahoma, but you got ripped off. This is my office. I’ve been here for three years. My father the thirty before that. I was on vacation the last two weeks and had the office remodeled while I was gone. Someone named after a singer scammed you into giving him cash to rent an office he had no right to rent. Doorman’s name is Ed. Walk through the main building entrance, and he’ll verify everything I just said.”

“That can’t be.”

“What do you do that you need office space?”

“I’m a psychologist.”

I held out my hand. “I’m an attorney. Let me see your contract.”

Her face fell. “He hasn’t brought it by yet. He said the landlord was in Brazil on vacation, and I could move in, and he would come back on the first to collect the rent and bring me the contract to sign.”

“You’ve been scammed.”

“But I paid him ten thousand dollars!”

“Which is another thing that should have tipped you off. You couldn’t rent a closet on Park Avenue for twenty-five hundred a month. Didn’t you find it strange that you were getting a place like this for next to nothing?”

“I thought I was getting a deal.”

I shook my head. “You got a deal alright. A raw deal.”

She covered her mouth. “I think I’m going to be sick.”

 

 

★★★★

 

We hope you enjoyed this extended preview!

 

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author-photoVi Keeland is a native New Yorker with three children that occupy most of her free time, which she complains about often, but wouldn’t change for the world. She is an attorney and a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, & USA Today Best Selling author. Over the last three years, eleven of her titles have appeared on the USA Today Bestseller lists and four on the New York Times Bestseller lists.

In 2013, she released her first romance novel and never looked back. To date, she has thirteen novels released, with PLAYBOY PILOT also releasing in 2016.  Her novels have appeared on #1 on Amazon and are currently being translated into German, Polish, Portuguese, Korean, Hebrew, French and Italian.

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Review: NO TRESPASSING by K.D. Robichaux

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This is a book that came out fairly recently, but I hadn’t had the time or chance to read it. Well, over the holidays I found the time to read some of those I’ve been dying to read. No Trespassing by K.D. Robichaux. Here is the review I put on Goodreads, Nook, Kobo & iBooks. If I missed any K.D., I’m sorry. (FYI – Amazon won’t let me review ANY book)

“I know this is KD Robichaux’s first fictional novel. But I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Emmy is lovably nerdy, but finally stepped out of her comfort zone to try to beat that dastardly Dean (her words for him are even worse). Dean is wonderfully alpha, but yet romantically sweet (I wish my husband was more like Dean, but don’t tell him I said that). Loved this book from beginning to end. Didn’t want to put it down! Can’t wait to see what KD comes up with next!”

INTO THE BLOOD by BT Urruela

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Into the Blood by BT Urruela

Book 2 in The Broken Outlaw Series

RELEASE: December 20, 2016

COVER DESIGNER: @Marisa-roseShor / @CoverMeDarling

MODELS: @Tessi.Conquest, @SamAshley, @GideonConnolly, @GoldenCzermak, @RobSomers, @BTUrruela

PHOTOGRAPHER: @FuriousFotog

Synopsis:

Being released from prison, Xander Evans needs to find the sister he hasn’t seen in years. She holds the key to healing a past he hasn’t come to terms with. That desire has him making the difficult decision of leaving Paige behind. When he discovers just how much trouble Gabriela is in, he fears even he can’t help her survive.

After an ugly separation from the Army, Gabriela Michaels fell in with the wrong crowd. With a drug deal gone wrong, she now has a month to pay back more money than she ever could… or see her life come to a swift end.

Her former flame, Shane Presley, must unite a band of Broken Outlaws to save the woman he’s always loved.

Buy Link

Amazon US: http://a.co/bDAfdTh

Amazon UK: http://amzn.eu/6ytjeBV

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Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2hPrKWt

**PAPERBACK LINKS**

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My Review:

This book picks up where Into The Nothing left off. It’s certainly not a happy-go-lucky romance. I’m not even sure how i would classify this. It’s raw and gritty and will pull at your heartstrings a time or two. I hate what Gabi had to endure, that is something i would wish on no one. But Shane will do anything, and I mean ANYTHING, for Gabi. And that is an amazing thing. My favorite new character though has to be Jimmy. The things that man says is unpredictable to say the least and the toys, surprising.

This may not be the book for everyone, so please read the warnings. But it is a great continuation to the series. Can’t wait to see where this will go next!


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About the Author:

BT Urruela is a combat wounded amputee, Purple Heart recipient, contemporary author who has written both independent and traditionally published books. He is a USA Today Bestselling Author of ‘A Lover’s Lament’ which he co-wrote with KL Grayson. He is a RARE under 40 award recipient, Rockwood Summit High School and Rockwood School District Hall of Fame inductee, Co-founder and Brand Ambassador for VETSports, Ambassador for Tampa Sports Academy, People Magazine Tribute for Heroes winner, Cover Model, Motivational Speaker and Philanthropist.

He released his first solo novel, ‘Into the Nothing’ Summer 2016 ‘Wicked Little Words’ with author Stevie J. Cole, Halloween 2016 and is releasing an Anthology, Alphas & Fairytales: A New Year’s Eve Anthology, on December 19, 2016 with proceeds benefiting VETSports. He lives in Tampa with his dogs, Kiko and Scout and is writing full-time.

Follow BT Urruela:

Amazon – amazon.com/author/bturruela

Facebook – facebook.com/bturruela

Instagram – instagram.com/bturruela

Twitter – twitter.com/btuarmy

Website – bturruela.com

Goodreads – goodreads.com/…bturruela

JADED HEARTS by Harper Sloan

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jadedhearts_frontcover_loresSigning with Brighthouse Records was supposed to be everything we ever wanted—our better life. Our chance at everything we never had but always wanted. All our dreams would finally come true and we were on top of the world. It was our chance at the happiness we never had in life.

Our every desire was at our fingertips and the power of that feeling was all consuming. But then it took every dream we thought would come true and it slapped us in the face with the cold hard reality.

Dreams were just that…something that floated on the cusp of untouchable, taunting you with every graze of your fingertips before slipping even further away.

Happiness…that feeling is a joke.

In the end it became painfully obvious that each of us would always have each other, but we would forever be alone.

 

 

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Goddamn, that smile is dangerous.

Who am I kidding?  He is dangerous.

I do my best to ignore him, but it’s impossible.  The steady brush of his arm against where mine is resting on our shared armrest constantly reminds me how much my body wants his touch.  The scent of his delicious cologne hits my senses, making me want to climb in his lap and rub my face over his chest to get a potent lungful of it.

I can’t even remember the last time I was this horny, which is pathetically sad, since it was probably around the same time I actually got laid.  Years.  I think.  Close to three.  Maybe that’s why I’m a hot mess lately.   I turn my head to study the side of his face and wonder if I can use this situation to my advantage.  I mean, after all, we are in a ‘relationship’ now.

He turns and gives me a questioning arch of his dark brows, but I brush it off in favor of playing Disney Emoji Blitz on my phone.

By the time we had hit cruising altitude, I could hear the other men around me snoring away but not Chance.  He’s fiddling with his phone, completely ignorant of the fact I’m about to start humping his leg.

“Excuse me,” I breathily say, unbuckling my belt and standing to move around him.  I stand there, my head bent slightly because of the overhead, and wait.  He doesn’t move, though.  Instead, he drops his phone to his lap and gives me his complete attention; his eyes even dance a little like he’s finding this whole damn thing funny.  “Excuse me,” I repeat, no longer breathy, and seconds away from coming.

No, that’s a lie.  I’m still breathy and very much seconds away from soaking my panties even more than they already are.

His large hands grab my hips, and he guides me down on his lap with no resistance from my treacherous body.

“Not what I meant,” I say through clenched teeth, trying to sound harsh and offended, but I just sound dazed and turned on.  I wiggle in his hold, trying to get free, but he’s too strong for me.

He leans up in his seat, his chest hitting my back and buries his face in my neck.  I’m sure anyone who saw us would see a loving couple who just can’t keep their hands to themselves.  He’s playing a dangerous game, though, because the second the solid, hard length of him presses against my backside, I forget this is supposed to be a game and squirm a little more.  His teeth nip at my shoulder at the same time his groan hits my ears.

“Stop moving, Wren,” he demands, tightening his fingers on my hips.

“You’re the one who put me on your lap.”  I curl my fingers over the empty seat in front of me and squeeze my eyes shut when I feel him growing harder under me.

“Yeah, because the flight attendant who just walked by had her phone out and pointed right at us.  She’s doing a shit job of making it look like she’s doing something with her paperwork.”  His hand comes off my hip, and he cups my jaw, turning my head to the side just when I was about to look up at where I last saw the attendant, forcing me to shift until all it would take is me throwing one leg over his body to be face-to-face.  “Do not look at her,” he stresses; the sudden movement of twisting my body makes me bounce slightly in his lap, rubbing my legging-clad ass against his erection.  His eyes drop to my mouth where I pull my bottom lip between my teeth and groan.

“Give me a reason not to look,” I dare him.

“You don’t want to go down that road, Wren.  I’ll protect you from the world, but you need to protect yourself from me.”

“No one is asking you to.”

Not even knowing if we’re still being watched, I twist my torso the rest of the way, pulling my legs up until they’re bent at his stomach between us.  Now that I’m facing him completely, I bring my hands up to curl them both around his shoulders before dragging them up to wrap around the corded muscles at the sides of his neck.  His nostrils flare, but he doesn’t stop me.  I give him the chance, but it never comes.  Dropping my head, I press my lips to his.  I explore his lips with small pecks and little licks of my tongue, learning his mouth before pressing more firmly.  He sucks in a breath when I open my mouth and slowly drag the tip of my tongue over his bottom lip.

And then his control snaps.

His hands—still at my hips—lift me effortlessly until my legs are no longer folded between us, but now digging into the hard armrests with my knees pushing into his thighs, my back hitting the seat in front of me.  His mouth opens, and his tongue meets mine, no hesitation whatsoever, as he deepens the kiss.

Our breathing echoes around us, making it sound like everyone on this plane could hear us, but I know it’s just because our faces are so close.  I let out a moan, one that he swallows, that turns into a whine when he pulls back.

“That can’t happen again,” he softly scolds, just as breathless as I am.

What the hell?  I might not have been into this whole fake-boyfriend-slash-bodyguard thing before, but I’ll be damned if I’m not going to take advantage of the situation.  Especially now that I know how alive he makes me feel.  Three years since I had pleasure from anything other than my own hand, and if that kiss is anything to go by, what Chance could make me feel is ten times more powerful than anything I’ve ever felt in my whole life.

I’m not passing that up.

Nope.

No fucking way.

“We’ll see about that.”

 

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harper1Harper is a NEW YORK TIMES, WALL STREET JOURNAL and USA TODAY bestselling author residing in Georgia with her husband and three daughters. She has a borderline unhealthy obsession with books, hibachi, tattoos and Game of Thrones. When she isn’t writing you can almost always find her with a book in hand.

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