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Friday, November 30, 2018
Brody O’Donnel doesn’t believe in happily-ever-afters—at least, not for himself. But he wants the best for his vivacious, beautiful friend Gwen Danes, and he’s tired of watching her pine for a clueless man. Figuring a little bit of jealousy will motivate the guy, Brody proposes a fake relationship. It’s an outrageous plan, but Gwen figures there’s no harm in it—until they share a passionate kiss she never saw coming.
Suddenly, Gwen’s fighting a growing attraction to a man she knows she can’t have. After all, he’s just faking it…isn’t he?
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USA Today bestselling author Mira Lyn Kelly grew up in the Chicago area and earned her degree in fine arts from Loyola University. She met the love of her life while studying abroad in Rome, Italy, only to discover he’d been living right around the corner from her. They live in rural Minnesota.
“If you want anyone to believe you're considering Team Brody, you can't look too surprised when you hear someone say something good about me. Tell me about my finer qualities. And keeping in mind the holiday weekend and your preexisting plans tomorrow, let's keep the list limited to five. Pretend a friend wants to know what you like about me. What are you going to tell them—so they believe you’re interested?" Brody asked, resting his forearms on the small circular table, taking up most of it, and making the breadth of his shoulders stand out even more.
This was going to be cake.
Gwen reached for her drink and took a long dawdling sip. Then after an even breath, she straightened in her seat. Holding up one finger, she began.
"First, you're very nice." She closed her eyes and nodded for emphasis. "And second, incredibly funny."
She paused. Brody's chin had pulled back, his smile slipping from his lips.
"Nice and funny?" he asked, sounding like she just issued him two insults, instead of the complements they'd meant to be.
"Yes, those are good things.” Important things. Things that matter to her.
"When you're shopping for a new best girlfriend, maybe." Bringing his pint of Guinness to his mouth, he took a deep swallow. Shook his head and set it back on the table. "Gwen, you have to do better than this. No one, least of all Ted, is going to believe for one second that I'm getting under your skin if all they've got to work with is nice and funny."
Fair enough. But she had other points as well. "Well obviously, there's the whole body business."
And there was the overconfident smile and gleam in his eyes she'd come to expect from this man. He sat forward, the corner of his mouth pulling up. "Now we’re talking. This whole body business... Explain."
"Explain?" she asked on a laugh. He was priceless. "Are you that desperate to feed your ego? Because I can't believe you don't know exactly what I mean."
"I'm going to take it on faith, that pretty blush means you don't think I'm hideous. But remember what we're doing here. We're selling a growing interest. Which means that you need to be able to tell someone what you like about me. And that whole body business, doesn't really do it. Especially on the heels of nice and funny. But this one is important, because this whole body business is so different from Ted’s business. He's lean, naturally skinny but not super athletic. Where as I'm built more like a—"
"Lumberjack." She supplied waving her hand in his direction. "You know, with how big you are all over."
One red-brown brow rose in question as his jaw shifted to the side giving him a crooked smile to match the gleam in his eyes.
"Some places even more than others, but Gwen, I'm surprised you noticed."
And now she was fairly certain that pretty pink blush he'd mentioned, was more like a blazing red burning across her face.
"You know what I mean," she chided once she was able to meet his eye again. "You're so tall and broad and muscley.” Especially the way he was sitting, leaning forward on his forearms like that, his shoulders and arms were massive. “And it’s not just for show. I mean, I know first hand how strong you are, and I’ve to got to say it’s pretty hot how easily you could carry a woman with as many curves as I’ve got. We should move that to number one."
If her eyes weren't deceiving her, it was Brody with the pretty blush. And now she understood the appeal. Because that was something she could see herself working for again.
Brody shook his head, before looking up at her. "Glad to hear you think so. Because you're the one who needs to sound impressed. In fact, if it'll help, I'd be happy to offer a repeat demonstration."
For an instant, she let her eyes roam over his shoulders and arms, remembering the ease with which he’d handled her.
She shook her head to clear the thoughts.
"Very generous, but I’m good." Then it was back to business. "Okay, four, your cocktails are unparalleled. And five, you're very handsome. There. Five selling points for Brody O'Donnel. Satisfied?"
His expression was lukewarm at best.
Crossing her arms, she sat back in her seat. "Seriously? What's wrong with my list?"
She’d thought it was pretty good.
"Let me show you how it's done."
She couldn’t wait.
"One, that laugh." He closed his eyes, giving his head a slow shake as he rubbed a hand over the center of his chest, the motion drawing her attention to both. "There's nothing like the sound of it. And damn, it gets me right here, every time."
His eyes opened, one brow raised in what she could only assume was some kind of I-told-you-so fashion. And yeah, that was definitely different from what she'd given him.
"Two," He leaned in even closer. "Her mouth. When she smiles, man, it's like the whole room lights up or something. And her lips... she wears this light berry gloss that keeps me up nights wondering if she'd taste as sweet as she looks."
The lips in question parted on a breath, and she blinked.
"Three, her eyes are like whiskey. This warm brown... And I swear, when I look in them too long, I get a little drunk. Four, she's a teacher. A kindergarten teacher. And every time she talks about the kids in her class, you can just hear how much she cares about them. How much she loves her job. You know those are the luckiest little kids in the world. Except for maybe the boys, which brings me to number five. Because the curves on this girl.” He raised his hand to his mouth and bit his knuckle before letting out a short laugh. “I'd bet Belfast that fifty percent of that class is already in love with her and will be through time eternal."
For a moment Gwen just sat there, staring at the man across from her. Too stunned by his list to move. But when she did, she had to concede, "That was amazing. Quality lines and very convincing." She took another swallow sip of her drink and then licked her lips, tasting the lingering berry sweet of her gloss mingling with her cocktail.
Maybe a little too convincing.
Her eyes narrowed. "Are you some kind of player?"
Brody slid off his stool, straightening to his full height and stretching out his shoulders for a moment before stepping over to her chair and helping her up.
"No. I'm just observant. And for the record, I noticed all that before."
Gwen stumbled, her eyes cutting quick to his. "When?"
Throwing his big arm around her shoulders, he drew her in, ducking his head so he was speaking just above her ear. "Before I figured out you were hung up on that pencil neck Ted."
Thursday, November 29, 2018
A beloved Regency romance from Jane Ashford, now available after over 25 years!
Who needs a knight in shining armor when there’s an earl at your side…?
Gwendeline Gregory doesn’t know what to think when she encounters the dashing Alex St. Audley, Earl of Merryn. She’s in over her head in London Society, trying to fend off a scoundrel who will stop at nothing to ruin her. On the brink of a devastating scandal, the earl arrives just when she needs him most. But are his motivations trustworthy? And can he avert ruin for both of them?
“But you must allow me a few moments of conversation, Miss Gregory,” protested Mr. Blane, retaining his grip on her arm. “We’ve had so little chance to get acquainted since you came to London. I feel ashamed to have neglected the daughter of old friends in this shabby way.” He seated himself and pulled Gwendeline down beside him. “Ah, that’s better. Now we can talk comfortably.” He turned toward Gwendeline and surveyed her with hooded eyes. “Tell me your impressions of London, Miss Gregory, now that you are an established resident.”
“I… I like it very much,” faltered Gwendeline. “Everyone has been very kind.”
“Particularly Lord Merryn, I should say.”
“Yes. And his mother also.”
“Ah yes, his mother. Are you happy staying with the countess? How long do you remain?”
“I’m not sure.” Gwendeline felt no inclination to tell him about her own house.
“So like and yet so unlike,” Mr. Blane mused. “It scarcely seems possible.”
“B-beg pardon,” said Gwendeline.
“Forgive me. But I cannot see you without thinking of your mother. Is it true that you never knew Annabella at all?”
“I rarely saw either of my parents. They were always busy elsewhere.”
“Sad. Very sad. Your mother was one of the most spirited, delightful women I’ve ever met. You might have learned much from her.”
“Perhaps, sir,” Gwendeline said stiffly. “Many people seem to think it is better I didn’t. And I must say I’m inclined to agree. My parents certainly didn’t care about my happiness or my future. If it hadn’t been for Lord Merryn and my father’s other friends, I’d be destitute.” She raised her chin.
“Ah yes, these unknown friends,” Mr. Blane replied. “Do you know, I have made a few inquiries among your father’s friends and acquaintances. None of them knows anything about a provision for you, though many would be delighted to make one, I’m sure. Strange, isn’t it?”
Gwendeline felt cold. “Lord Merryn knows who they are. He has promised to take me to thank them all.”
“Has he?” Mr. Blane sounded interested. “How charming for these mysterious benefactors. If only I’d known in time, I too might have had the pleasure of being thanked by you.” His smile made Gwendeline even more uncomfortable. “Another odd thing. You know, it never seemed to me that Lord Merryn liked your father above half. Your mother now, that was another thing. But your father? They never appeared to get on at all.”
“I’m sure…” Gwendeline stopped, not wishing to explain anything to this man or add to his alarmingly broad knowledge of her circumstances.
“It’s very strange,” Mr. Blane said reflectively. “Now what could Lord Merryn…”
“What of Lord Merryn?” said a lazy voice at Gwendeline’s side. “I’m flattered to be the subject of your conversation.” Gwendeline looked up to find the earl standing beside the sofa; she felt a great relief. “This is our dance, I believe, Miss Gregory,” he said. “You haven’t forgotten, surely?”
“Yes, I… I did,” said Gwendeline, rising. “I mean no, of course not.”
“Miss Gregory is tired,” put in Mr. Blane. “She doesn’t wish to dance again this evening.”
“Indeed?” The earl raised his eyebrows. “But it’s the last dance and a waltz. You promised it to me.” He looked at Gwendeline.
“I feel much better after sitting down for a while,” Gwendeline replied. “And I must keep my promise.” She took Lord Merryn’s proffered arm.
Mr. Blane stood. “I bow to necessity, but I am desolated. We must continue our delightful conversation some other time, Miss Gregory.”
Lord Merryn looked at Gwendeline as they walked onto the floor.
“You’ve rescued me once again,” she said a little breathlessly. “Thank you.”
“You didn’t enjoy your talk with Blane? Many women find him charming.”
“Well, I don’t. I find him extremely unpleasant. In fact, I would be happy never to see him again.”
“Such heat.” The earl smiled. “What has Mr. Blane done to earn your scorn?”
“I don’t like the way he speaks to me or looks at me. And he talks continually of my mother.” She looked up at the earl. “Was he in love with her, Lord Merryn?”
For the first time in their acquaintance, the earl looked genuinely and completely startled. “What makes you ask me that?”
“He talks of her in such an odd tone. I really can’t describe it. But it makes me believe that he felt something for her.”
The earl was looking at her with a new expression that Gwendeline couldn’t identify. “I really cannot tell you what Mr. Blane feels,” he answered. “We are not well acquainted.”
“That reminds me of something else he said,” Gwendeline interjected. “He has asked my father’s friends about the money provided for me, and none of them knows anything about it. You’ve never kept your promise to take me to thank them, Lord Merryn.”
The earl smiled down at her as they whirled across the floor in the waltz. “Your tone is absolutely accusing. What is it you suspect me of? Stealing the money? I assure you I did not.”
“No, of course not. But I can’t seem to learn anything about the people who helped me, and Mr. Blane said that you and my father didn’t, that is, were not good friends at all. I’m confused.”
“Mr. Blane seems to have said a great deal. Whom do you prefer to believe, Gwendeline? Mortimer Blane or me?”
“You, of course,” she answered. “But I should like to find out…”
“Then you will accept my word. There is nothing wrong or mysterious about your situation.”a Rafflecopter giveaway
Jane Ashford, a beloved author of historical romances, has been published in Sweden, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Russia, Latvia, and Spain, as well as the United States. Jane has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews. She lives in Los Angeles, California. Follow her at www.janeashford.com.
In THEIRS EVER AFTER Theo, Galen, and Meg's journey continues as they navigate the new realities of their relationship. Fans of Laura Kaye’s THEIR’S TO TAKE or Sierra Simone’s AMERICAN QUEEN will devour this cinderella-esque ménage.
Start reading the series for FREE! Download THEIRS FOR THE NIGHT, the novella that introduces you to Theo, Galen, and Meg for FREE at:
Add THEIRS EVER AFTER, FOREVER THEIRS, and THEIRS FOR THE NIGHT to your TBR pile on Goodreads then keep reading to get a sneak peek excerpt and your chance enter the giveaway to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card!
Author: Katee Robert
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Thriller/Menage
Release Date: December 3, 2018
Series: The Thalanian Dynasty
Page Count: 62K
Sometimes happily ever after isn’t all it’s cracked up to be…
Theo Fitzcharles thought he’d put the worst behind him when he became King of Thalania and named his two lovers, Meg Sanders and Galen Mikos, as his Consorts. Unfortunately, the realities of running a country have worn on all of them, individually and as a triad. Theo has every intention of making things right, but first he has to deal with an old enemy who’s closer than anyone could have dreamed.
Meg Sanders never wanted to be a princess. Now that she’s one of two Consorts to the King of Thalania, she knows why—it’s work. Every time she turns around, she’s misstepping and struggling not to screw up the careful political maneuvering required for her new position. But her struggles with the new position are the least of her worries she’s attacked in the palace.
Theo, Galen, and Meg must race to identify her attacker and neutralize them before they can make another attempt to hurt her. There’s plenty of people who want Meg out of the palace—and at least one isn’t picky about whether she’s breathing or not when she goes.
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Theirs Ever After Excerpt
Copyright © 2018 Katee Robert
Theo opened his eyes to see his best friend, his lover, his Consort, standing over him. Galen looked as tired and worn out as Theo felt, though where Theo had lost weight, Galen had gained muscle. No telling where he found the time to work out, but the evidence was in the way his T-shirt stretched tight across his shoulders and chest and the clear definition in his legs. He couldn’t even appreciate the new changes for fear of what they indicated. Are we going to war, Galen?
Some days it certainly felt like it.
He finished up his set slowly, drawing in the burning of his muscles as he strained against the weight of the bench press. In this moment, he was perfectly present. It wouldn’t last. It never lasted. But he had right now, and it would have to be able to shore him up for the coming conversation.
Theo wiped his face with his towel and stood. “Okay, I’m done. What’s wrong?”
“Would you like a list?”
Fuck, something was wrong. Theo glanced at the door to the gym, instinctively looking for the audience they had for most of their waking hours. The door remained closed, which didn’t mean no one was listening, but it lessened the likelihood. Even with the cameras blinking in the corners of the room, they were as close to alone as they were likely to get. “Galen, talk to me.”
“Not tonight. Not like this.” Galen started for the door. “Meg had a hard day, Theo. We all did.” Subtle comment, less subtle bite. If he concentrated, Theo could almost see things unraveling around him. He’d known life wouldn’t be simple once he retook the throne, but the freedom of exile had gone to his head and he’d forgotten just how easy it could be to drown in this world.
It sure as hell seemed like all three of them were a few short breaths from doing exactly that.
And he didn’t know how to fix it.
This wasn’t the time or place to get into it. Darkness had fallen while Theo was preoccupied, and most of the palace staff had gone home. It didn’t leave the halls empty—they were never empty—but there were fewer people to bow and murmur greetings as he and Galen stalked toward their private suite. Theo managed to nod in response, but he schooled his expression to discourage actual conversation. In his current mood, he couldn’t guarantee what he’d say if someone tried to stop him now.
They slammed into their suite and Theo grabbed Galen’s arm before he had a chance to leave the sitting room. “What’s going on?”
“No. Fuck that. You don’t get to play the concerned partner now.” Galen shot a look toward the main rooms and lowered his voice. “You got what you wanted, Theo. You got your cake and you’re eating it, too. The first King of Thalania in history to name two Consorts. Congratu-fucking-lations.”
Theo rocked back on his heels. This conversation had been a long time in coming, and even knowing it bore down on him with all the subtly of a runaway train, he still wasn’t prepared. “You knew—”
“No. I don’t need to hear that I went into this with eyes wide open. I know I fucking did.” Galen dragged a hand over his face. “Meg has three months before school starts up again. She’s fucking miserable, Theo. She puts on a brave face for you, but underneath she’s messed up.”
And what about you?
Theo didn’t voice the words lodged in his throat. He’d learned a long time ago not to ask questions he might not want answers to, and this numbered among them. He didn’t point out that he’d given both Galen and Meg a chance to leave six months ago, and he sure as hell didn’t point out that they could leave now if they were so inclined. He might be an ass sometimes, but not about this.
Not when they’d already sacrificed so much.
He couldn’t fix this. Not yet. Things would calm down once he got the Families in line and brought his siblings around. Camilla was happy to see him, of course. Even with their father’s death, his baby sister had been kept from the worst of the political bullshit. At sixteen, she was just starting to dip her toes into the water, and he’d do whatever it took to ensure she remained safe while she figured out her own path.
Their brother was another story altogether. For just under a year, Edward had thought he’d be king. Having that taken away, rightfully or no, created a divide between them that Theo didn’t know how to fix. Especially when Edward announced his intentions to attend Oxford for university, and left within weeks of Theo’s coronation. There were a handful of nobles who’d jump at the chance to use that separation for their own ambitions, and he needed to fix it before things got worse.
But not tonight.
Tonight, he had to fix this.
Theo snagged the back of Galen’s neck. His friend resisted for a second, but then he exhaled harshly and let Theo pull him closer until their foreheads pressed together. Tell me what you need. Theo closed his eyes. Galen didn’t have to tell him. He knew what Galen needed—what they all needed. “Where is she?”
Good. She’d be nice and relaxed. He tightened his grip on Galen’s neck. “The food?”
Good boy. Sex wouldn’t solve any of the undercurrents in the long term, but it would help release the tension that had been growing with every passing day. Trapping the two people he loved was never part of the plan, but Theo couldn’t shake the feeling that was exactly what he’d done. He released Galen and stepped back. “Strip.”
Theo turned and walked deeper into the room without bothering to make sure Galen obeyed, knowing it would piss his friend off, and knowing that anger was exactly what he needed to purge the festering feeling beneath. At least for tonight. Tomorrow, they would talk and further clear the air. Open communication was the only way this would work, and they hadn’t spent enough time alone together to get to the heart of things in the last couple weeks.
His fault. He knew that well enough.
He’d fix it. He’d find a way to fix all of it.
Theo pulled off his shirt and tossed it over the back of the desk chair. He kicked off his shoes and then walked into the bathroom. Steam fogged the mirrors and Meg had turned off all the lights, leaving only the trio of thick candles lit on the half wall between the tub and the sinks. It gave the room a dark, intimate feeling that he approved of. He stalked to the edge of the tub and took a seat near her head. She had her eyes closed and the water licked at her breasts as if determined to offer him teasing glimpses.
“Thought you weren’t working late tonight.”
“I wasn’t planning on it. Things didn’t go well with Lord Huxley, and I didn’t want to come back here with that frustration riding so close to the surface. I needed some time to cool off.” He smoothed a hand over her hair, tangling his fingers in the dark strands. She looked good. The decadent meals the staff insisted on putting together had filled out her curves, and he couldn’t count her ribs the way he’d been able to when they first met. Theo kept stroking her hair and used his free hand to urge her onto her stomach. The new position freed him up to work at the knots of tension lining her shoulders and upper back. Tension that was his fault. “Let me take care of you tonight, princess.” Galen walked naked into the bathroom and leaned against the counter, crossing his arms over his chest. Theo met his gaze steadily. “Let me take care of both of you.”
Other books in The Thalanian Dynasty series
In FOREVER THEIRS an exiled prince, his bodyguard and the woman they can’t seem to leave alone, must return home to clear his mother’s name and reclaim his crown.
Theirs for the Night
THEIRS FOR THE NIGHT is a novella. Theo, Galen, and Meg's story continues in the novel FOREVER THEIRS.
About Katee Robert
New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Katee Robert learned to tell her stories at her grandpa’s knee. Her 2015 title, The Marriage Contract, was a RITA finalist, and RT Book Reviews named it 'a compulsively readable book with just the right amount of suspense and tension." When not writing sexy contemporary and romantic suspense, she spends her time playing imaginary games with her children, driving her husband batty with what-if questions, and planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.
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