Hit Hard: Book Blitz
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Hit Hard: Book Blitz

I put all my strength into my next forehand. The ball torpedoed over the net, not even bothering to bounce within the court. Nope, that sucker was headed for the fences. If this was baseball, it’d be time to break out the peanuts and Cracker Jack.

Too bad this wasn’t baseball.

“Ahh!”

A figure in the distance went down, knees to the court. A crowd of students suddenly appeared, gasping and rushing over.

“You hit him!” someone shrieked.

My breath lodged in my throat. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry! I jogged over, terrified to breathe until I knew my accidental victim was okay.

Caleb directed a dirty scowl at me. “You really are the worst, Maxwell.”

I angled to see the fallen student. “I’m so sorry!”

“Oh, Maisie.” Nia mumbled, now beside me.

“I’m okay,” the guy on the ground said, attempting to stand despite the crowd. His head emerged, sun-bleached brown hair unkempt and curling over a tanned forehead. That perfectly shaggy hair some guys could get away with. He wasn’t a returning student. The face turning toward me could easily belong on a clothing website, the kind with ninety-dollar T-shirts with holes in them for a distressed look. Basically, he was very attractive.

A swath of blood streaked across that very attractive face.

That part was definitely my fault.

Sorry floated across my tongue, but my lips couldn’t form the word under the pressure of so many glaring classmates. Any hope of being an admired senior this year shriveled and burned like a tissue set aflame.

He accepted a clean towel and pressed it to his nose. “I expected I might not be welcome here, but your forehand really confirmed it.”

“Way to go, Maxwell,” Caleb said with a sneer. “You just nailed Shane Wagner in the face.”

Oh. Wait, what? “You’re … you’re—”

“Shane Wagner,” the bloody-faced model boy said through the towel.

Shane Wagner. The Shane Wagner. I just nailed the face of the number one-seeded player in junior boys’ tennis.

Burlesque Please: Book Blitz
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Burlesque Please: Book Blitz

tat-tat.
“Who in hell …?” Ginger got up and opened the door.
Annie Fannie stood there in all her hoity-toity glory.
Ginger glared up at the tall, svelte woman, her shock evident. “What the fuck are you doing here?”
Dressed in a designer outfit that no doubt cost more than Ginger’s entire wardrobe, hell, probably her entire apartment, the uninvited guest pressed the back of her hand to Ginger’s shoulder to nudge her aside. “Let me in. The heat out here is insufferable.” She came to an abrupt halt just inside the door, leaving Ginger stuck in the open threshold to deal with the heat. “Well, well, well. Look … at … this,” Annie snarled as she sauntered into the room and stood like a queen looking down her nose at her peons. “The whole gang is here. Hello, girls. It’s been a long time.”
Dolly huffed. “Not long enough.”
“Aren’t you going to invite me to sit down?”
“No, Annie, we’re not,” Ginger stated flatly.
“I haven’t gone by Annie since I quit performing. It’s Anastasia now.” She patted her dyed blond hair, making certain they noticed she had a chichi coif.
“I’m guessing you’ve never quit performing, one way or another.” Dolly stood up to face the interloper mano a mano.
Merry hopped up to join the line of defense.
“My, my. What hostility. What did I ever do to make you all so rudely hostile toward me?”
“Gee, Annie, I’m surprised you ask, because we know you don’t give a rat’s ass what we think.” Dolly balled up her fists and ground them into her hips, at the ready.
“As for the hostility,” Ginger seethed, thirty years of hot anger boiling up unexpectedly, “how about the fact that you lied to my boyfriend about me and stole him away? Huh? How about that?”
“Pfft. Please. He wasn’t worth having. I only dated him a few times. You could have had him back. Oh wait. I remember now. He went on to Pussy Willow after me. I guess he liked her … willow.” She smirked, amused at her supposed wit.
“You treated us like shit,” Dolly growled. “You insulted our costumes and our acts and even our bodies. Like you thought you were so much better than us.”
“Well …” Annie made the mistake of throwing her arms out wide and looking around the room. “I’ve certainly never lived in a hovel like this.”
That did it. Ginger flung herself at their tormenter, clawing at the viper’s haute couture dress and tearing it down to her waist.
“You little bitch!” Annie Fannie, once the most elegant of exotic dancers, turned out to be a formidable foe. She grabbed a handful of Ginger’s hair and with that they hit the floor, rolling around and throwing punches as best they could. Arms and legs flailed about at random, like a game of Whack-a-mole gone bad.
Dolly and Merry jumped into action, each snatching a brawler and yanking her away. Everybody got roughed up in the process. The Women’s Wrestling Association had nothing on them.
“Girls! Girls!” Dolly hollered. “This isn’t going to change anything.”
“Stop! Stop!” Merry yelled at the same time. “You’re both acting like Neanderthals.”
Once separated and on opposite sides of the room, the brutal enemies tried to kill each other with laser stares.
“Look at what you did to my dress. It’s ruined.” Annie slung the comment across the room. Her pink, embroidered, lacy, padded, underwire bra poked out at them.
“Yeah. Well, that’s nothing compared to what you did to my life. I loved Harold!” Ginger’s lower lip quivered as she shook a quaking finger at her nemesis.
Annie frowned, paused, then said, “His name was Howard.”
“No, it wasn’t! He was my Harold.”
“Ah, Ginger, honey.” Dolly’s gentle tone caused Ginger to look at her friend. “I remember him.”
They watched as awareness clicked in on Ginger’s face.
“As much as I hate to admit that Annie is right, his name was Howard,” Dolly reminded her.
Ginger looked to Merry for support, but all Merry could offer was a helpless shrug.
“Oh. Oh. Well. Yeah, sure. Now I remember.” Ginger straightened herself, patted her mussed up hair, casually sat down at the table, and calmly clasped her hands. “I knew that.”
“Now that we’ve done a brawling bump and grind down memory lane,” Annie chided, stuffing the torn edge of her dress up into her bra straps, “I’d like to get to the reason for my visit and then get out of this dump as quickly as possible.”
“Do tell,” Dolly said. “Why in hell are you here?”

Whose Honesty? Book Blitz
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Whose Honesty? Book Blitz

“I didn’t go all out with dessert,” Gian said, jarring him back to the present. “I’ll do that next time.”
Next time. He could get used to this. To all of this.
“I just made a chocolate cake and I’ve got some ice cream to go with it.”
There was that word again. Just. Gian had no idea how much all this meant to him.
Gian stood and took their plates to the sink, rinsed them off, and then placed them into the dishwasher. A few seconds later, he brought out a glass cake stand and raised the glass dome top.
Warren closed his eyes and took a deep breath, inhaling the mix of sweetness and chocolate filling the air. Something foreign inside him swelled and had him standing. He walked over to Gian and took the knife from his hand and set it aside.
“What’s going on?” Gian asked.
He slid his arms around Gian’s waist and held him close.
It was the million little things this man did that threw Warren off-balance. How he knew giving Warren a code for entrance to the community would put him more at ease than handing over his ID to a guard. How he never pushed. The way he paid attention to every minute detail. How he listened for the sake of understanding, not for the purpose of waiting for that precise second to interrupt. He cared about others, what they thought, and how his actions affected them. He was a good man. With good intentions. And a kind heart.
The opposite of what he had grown accustomed to expecting from others.
“If I had known I’d get a hug out of this, I would have made you two cakes.”
Warren smiled.
He couldn’t forget adding Gian’s use-of-humor-to-ease-the-tension-in-the-air to the list.
He rested his head against Gian’s shoulder when strong arms wrapped around him. This…this was where he wanted to be. A place where he felt welcomed and happy.

Singing out: Book Blitz
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Singing out: Book Blitz

There, less than a hundred yards away waited the reason for his heart rate to suddenly increase.
There she was.
His mermaid.
Lying near the water’s edge, her sparkling reddish-orange tail rested in the water. His eyes traveled upwards to her flat belly and then to her full, lush breasts. His mouth involuntarily started to water a bit as he stared at the chocolate-tipped mounds. She was breathtaking. With dark, wavy hair spread out around her on the sand, and the sound coming from her rosebud-shaped mouth, Jason seemed lost. Not a song, but a soulful sweet hum came from her lips drawing him in closer. Sad, but beautiful.
Jason inched forward again, and then the sound stopped.
Abruptly she sat up, her ebony hair whipping around as her attention focused on him. Her wide amethyst eyes pinned him in place as if the weight of the world held him there. They were at a standstill, of sorts. Him watching her, marveling at the wonder she was and her watching him as if he were the wonder between them. As if she were seeing him for the first time. Jason took a step towards her, but she moved faster. Crawling back into the water and away from him.
She was trying to get away from him.
“Please.”
Barely a whisper, but if she heard it, she didn’t slow her escape. Using her upper body, she propelled herself into the water, becoming one with the sea. If she left now, he was certain that he’d never see her again.
And that he wasn’t ready for.
Without another thought, Jason ran towards the water and dove in after her. His vision wasn’t the best without his glasses, but it didn’t matter. He had to go after her, or at least try. The waters enveloped him, as he prepared to dive down after her like he, too, was a creature of the sea. She was ahead of him, almost out of his eyesight if not for the shimmering of her tail that, like a beacon, drew him to her. He swam as fast and as hard as he could, but it didn’t matter. She was too fast for him to catch up.
And then an ocean current had him, pulling him out deeper to sea.

Craving: Book Blitz
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Craving: Book Blitz

Motherfucker. What was this horseshit?
Aleah bounced over to me and flung her arms around my neck. “You’re early! Good, this gives you and Emma time to catch up before your photoshoot. I knew she’d be perfect for the job. You two have always been comfortable with each other.”
Clenching my teeth, I watched as Emma posed with her cunt of an ex. He had his hands all over her as they posed for the pictures; I wanted to rip his arms off. “You failed to mention any of this to me,” I huffed.
“Hey,” Aleah said, squeezing my wrist. I tore my gaze away from Emma and focused on her. Aleah’s smile faded as she glanced back and forth between the three of us. “Am I missing something? Why are you mad? I thought you’d like working with Emma.”
My attention went back to Emma, and I couldn’t tear my eyes off her. Her bare skin shimmered in the sun, and her dark hair now had caramel wisps that weren’t there before. I could almost remember how it felt to touch her and have her nails rake down my back as she screamed out my name. I have always wanted her, and now she was right in front of me in another man’s arms, the arms of someone I knew had been with her the way I had. And now, I had to watch him touch her as if she was his.
“Carter, talk to me,” Aleah demanded, her voice low. “I’ve never seen you this angry. What’s going on?”
The photographer directed Ryan and Emma to change positions, and Ryan moved even closer to her. I had to force myself to look away before I lost my shit.
“I wasn’t expecting Emma to be here, much less with that prick,” I hissed.
Aleah stepped in front of me. “Ryan’s not that bad. He wants Emma back and thought this would work.”
“He’s a fucking tool. He doesn’t deserve her,” I fired back.
Aleah pinned me with her honey-toned stare, crossing her arms over her chest. “And who does? You?”
“That’s not what I’m saying,” I spat out quickly.
A slow, wry smile spread across her face. “It’s not what you’re saying but how you’re acting.” She peered over at Ryan and Emma again. “I mean, correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re seriously giving off the jealousy vibes right now.” When I didn’t respond, her eyes widened in understanding. “Oh my God, you have a thing for Emma. I had my suspicions years ago but never saw anything happen.”
My jaw muscles hurt from clenching my teeth so hard. “That’s because we didn’t let anyone see it.”
Aleah sucked back a gasp. “Have you two like …” She waved her hands in front of her as if she was trying to find the right words. “Gotten close?” she finished. Again, my silence was her answer. Her mouth gaped, and she grabbed her chest. “Holy shit, you have. And here I am flaunting her in front of you with another guy. I’m so sorry.”
She couldn’t be blamed for this.
I shrugged. “Emma left for New York, and I went my own way. It’s fine. We haven’t spoken in a long time.”
Groaning, Aleah shook her head incredulously. “First off, I’m going to kill you for not telling me any of this. And second,” she griped, holding up her hands, “I got this. I’m team Carter all the way.”
“What are you going to do?” I wondered.
Aleah winked. “Getting you what you want. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know what that is.”

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