Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Release Day Blitz: Requiem by TG Ayer




Requiem (Chronicles of the Irin, #2)




T.G. Ayer
Release Date: September 30th 2014
Publisher: Infinite Ink Books
Add To Goodreads
Pre-Order Links: iTunes | Amazon

Her name is Evangeline and she is Nephilim.

Evie is stuck in the Underworld until she can find a way to be released from her newfound role as Hades. And the longer she remains in Hades the more secrets are revealed about her true origins. A confrontation with a Dark Angel brings two revelations to the Evie - the true identity of Daniel, the Master of the Irin's assistant, and who is he to Evie herself.

While a trip into the depths of Hades leads Evie into the fiery depths of Tartarus and eventually to the eternal peace of Elysium, will Evie find the peace she seeks? And what about the smoking hot Julian, god of Hades? How far is he willing to go to keep Evie at his side?





Two weeks to the Ascension Ceremony



Evie stared at her hands and wondered, not for the first time, why they didn't shine with the blood she'd spilled a few days ago. She flexed her fingers, turning her hands over to study them in the light of the blazing fire. Long lean fingers, neatly manicured nails. Elegant hands for a cold-blooded killer. Only the slightly darker calluses on the inside of her fingers hinted at the hours of weapons-practice, hours of using weapons to kill.

She was used to being the executioner, although never guilty of ending an undeserving life. Not until the insidiously evil Marcellus Bactor had taken over as the Master of the Brotherhood of the Irin. As a warrior under the Brotherhood she'd performed missions of charity, missions of freedom, and of course missions of death. But under Marcellus death had become the sole function of the Irin.

Breakfast had not appealed to her at all. She hadn't expected to feel so strange after dispatching Marcellus. He'd been running the Brotherhood, his own needs more important than those of the humans whom they were all meant to protect. And, now she knew he'd killed her guardian, Patrick, and robbed her of the only father she'd ever known.

And yet here she was, feeling as though she ought to receive some sort of punishment for murdering the Master of the Irin. And for the first time she wondered what the Brotherhood and all her fellow Nephilim were doing right now. Choosing another Master? Perhaps Daniel? She shuddered at the thought. What was that saying? Frying pan and fire.

She sighed and shifted in the sofa, moving her cheek away from the warm flames of the fire. Julian's study was warm and cozy, and modern. Unlike anything she'd ever expected to see deep within the bowels of the earth. Dark wood shelves covered the walls filled to overflowing with books from every age, in every language. Comfortable sofas in earthy tones were scattered around the space, convenient spots for curling up with an interesting read. She tossed her dark hair over her shoulder and away from the heat from the fireplace.

She smiled at the memory of Castor's reaction to Marcellus' death just hours ago. He'd barely blinked on seeing the bloody remains of their old Master. Not that she should have expected tears considering Castor had borne the brunt of Marcellus's fury when Evie had left Greylock Estate in search of the Underworld. Evie's stomach tightened when she thought of Castor's little home on the grounds of the estate. A place the half demon had loved, a place now burnt to ash. But Castor's woes didn't seem to worry him too much right now. He was being well entertained by Pollo and his eclectic band of servants.

Julian had gone off on an errand in a bit of a hurry; something about a volcanic eruption in the South Pacific. That left Evie to her own devices, which wouldn't have been so bad if she had not needed to worry about Persephone. Evie was constantly on guard where the cold-hearted goddess was concerned, what with Persephone having already tried once to kill her. But so far she didn't seem to want to repeat the attempt. Maybe she was concerned about what Julian would do to her should she succeed. Evie snorted. No chance she'd let her guard down though.

Evie's skin tingled and she glanced at the shifting letters tattooed into her skin. They seemed alive, twisting and writhing beneath the surface of her pale skin like living things. Something Evie was yet to get accustomed to. She studied the markings then returned her attention to the pages of the ancient book lying open on her lap.

A book of dead languages, scripts from a time long gone. Perhaps a source of information, perhaps a way to undo this curse that she'd brought upon herself. Twelve seals to make a god. Not a bad way to turn an angel into the King of the Underworld.

She suppressed another sigh and rubbed her forehead. Suddenly the room seemed to close in on her and she felt desperate to leave the confining comfort of the study. She'd been on edge for hours now. What she probably needed was a sparring session. Something she wasn't likely to get down here.

She shut the book and left it on the sofa, heading for the door on feet that seemed to think she was in a hurry to be somewhere. Outside, the cool air from the shadowed tunnels teased her overly warm cheeks. She glanced up and down the passage listening for the sounds of approaching feet or hooves. Nothing. Torches shone at both ends of the tunnel, their flickering yellow light dancing and reflecting against the ominous jagged black stone of the tunnel walls.

Evie let her feet guide her, although part of her knew exactly where they were leading her.






RETRIBUTION (Chronicles of the Irin, #1)




  Release Date:
14th March 2014
Publisher:
Infinite Ink Books
Add To Goodreads

PURCHASE LINK

Her name is Evangeline and she is Nephilim.

Evie belongs to the Brotherhood Irin and together with all the other Nephilim of the world she is protector to humanity, protector against evil. But evil has found its way into the Brotherhood. Someone has murdered her guardian and Marcellus, the New Master makes demands of the warriors that go against all they stand for. Demands Evie just can’t carry out.

Evie uncovers Marcellus’ plan to collect a set of special seals, but when a high-level demon reveals the truth behind the Seals of Hades, Evie know there is no way she can allow the Master of the Irin to get his hands on them. But will keeping the Seals from Marcellus cause her to sacrifice more that she should? Will vengeance for her guardian’s death be enough or will she need more to satisfy her Immortal soul?







 I have been a writer from the time I was old enough to recognize that reading was a doorway into my imagination. Poetry was my first foray into the art of the written word. Books were my best friends, my escape, my haven. I am essentially a recluse but this part of my personality is impossible to practice given I have two teenage daughters, who are actually my friends, my tea-makers, my confidantes… I am blessed with a husband who has left me for golf. It’s a fair trade as I have left him for writing. We are both passionate supporters of each others loves – it works wonderfully…

My heart is currently broken in two. One half resides in South Africa where my old roots still remain, and my heart still longs for the endless beaches and the smell of moist soil after a summer downpour. My love for Ma Afrika will never fade. The other half of me has been transplanted to the Land of the Long White Cloud. The land of the Taniwha, beautiful Maraes, and volcanoes. The land of green, pure beauty that truly inspires. And because I am so torn between these two lands – I shall forever remain cross-eyed.

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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sneak Peek Sunday: Out of the Dark by April Emerson


Coming December 4th from The Writer's Coffee Shop....



Out of the Dark by April Emerson

You can view the book trailer here.

Excerpt: 

He pulls a grape from the bunch, and his gaze is glued to mine. “Come here.” I walk toward him. My will to do anything else is nonexistent. I stand just a breath away. “Close your eyes,” he says. My heart rate increases and beads of sweat begin to drip down my back—possibly from the sun, but most likely from Stefan—as I obey. “Open your mouth.” He commands me, and with my eyes closed, his voice sounds so haunting, so suave. Again, I do as he says. The flesh of the fruit is pressed against my lips, and he runs it around my mouth but doesn’t place it inside. Then, he removes it. “Lick your lips.” I do as he says. The flavor is sharp and tart, but there’s a lingering sweetness. I say nothing, but with eyes closed, I await further instructions and am not disappointed. This time his voice is even closer, and I feel his hand on my hip. “Open again.” I part my lips, and the small fruit is placed inside. I let it roll around my tongue before puncturing its flesh, and the sweet, tart flavor overwhelms my taste buds. It’s heaven. As I chew and swallow the fruit, I’m aware of his hand on my body, and though my eyes are closed, I can feel his gaze all over me. His grip tightens momentarily, and he slides his hands up my back and into my hair. “Open your eyes.” As soon as I do, he tugs my head back and touches his lips to mine, sharing in the sweet flavor of the grape. His kiss is slow at first, then our tongues touch, and I taste only him. I slide my arms around his shoulders and pull him into me. I want him to know that I want this. I want him. My neck sways to the side as he forces my mouth open further, and he lets out a moan. It’s a guttural sound filled with desire. His hand slides down my back, over the curve of my ass . . . He stops. “Please,” I beg, but he shakes his head. “I’m finding it very difficult to remain a gentleman around you.” I raise my eyebrow. “So, don’t.”

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Character Profile: Getting to know...Paul Daniels #ContemporaryRomance

Paul Daniels is the eldest of four brothers. Growing up was a lot of fun in his house, but he never forgot that he was the oldest and with that came certain responsibilities. It was his job to watch out for his younger brothers, as well as, to make sure they toed the line.

He met his wife Melissa in high school. Her family moved into the area when she was fifteen, and from the first moment he saw her, Paul was smitten. Their first date was to a high school dance. Both of them were awkward being only sixteen, but it didn't matter. Before walking her to her door after the dance, he asked if he could kiss her. She said yes, and soon they became inseparable...much to the dismay of her parents.

They shared many firsts together, and when it came time for college they arranged it so that they would be going to the same school. Melissa was Paul's best friend. He couldn't imagine his life without her in it, which is why on the eve of their college graduation he asked her to marry him.

Like most couples, they had their struggles, but for the most part they were happy. Even more so when they were blessed with their daughter, Chloe.

All that changed in the blink of an eye when a drunk driver ran Melissa off the road one night. Paul and Melissa had been together for fifteen years. Her death devastated him. He wanted to crawl into a hole and never emerge. But he couldn't. He had a daughter that needed him...a daughter that no longer had her mother.

For almost five years, Paul forced himself out of bed every morning. His daughter and his job as a homicide detective were the only two things that really kept him going. He loved his family dearly, but he could never let them know the pain he was in. Paul was the eldest. It was his job to take care of things. Besides, he didn't want their sympathy. He counted his blessings, and held on to the one piece of his wife that remained...Chloe. He didn't need anything else.

That was until Megan entered his life. Little did he know accepting her offer to help with Chloe would change both of their lives forever.

Read Paul and Megan's story in Crossing The Line (Daniels Brothers #3)

Now available at Amazon, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, and TWCS.


Would you like to see me write profiles for more of my characters? Leave me a comment with who you'd like to see me blog about next.




Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Welcome to Serpent's Kiss: Cover Reveal October 2nd

Welcome to Serpent's Kiss, the highly anticipated prequel to my new BDSM Series has been added to Goodreads. Add it to your TBR list. 

Cover reveal October 2nd. Sign up to post the cover reveal on your blog here.



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tuesday Teasers - Read and Share Excerpts

Welcome to Tuesday Teasers!

This is a weekly post giving authors the opportunity to share a 100 word excerpt from a published work, or a work in progress (WIP).




Just a few simple rules.

2. In the comments below:
- please list the title of the book
- your author name
- genre (This will help readers find excerpts from the books that would be of most interest to them.)
- a buy link
- and an excerpt (Please limit your excerpt to no more than 100 words). 

For example:

Behind Closed Doors (Daniels Brothers #1) by Sherri Hayes
Contemporary Romance
http://amzn.to/1qbK8DO

Excerpt:
Pulling her loose, button-down shirt tighter around her, she got out of the car and went to the trunk. There wasn’t much to retrieve, just two bags. That was all her life consisted of now. All she had chosen to bring with her. The rest of her old life was either in storage, or had been donated to Goodwill. She didn’t need reminders. She had enough of those all on her own.



4.  Authors only 1 excerpt per week, please. 
5. Once you've posted your teaser, feel free to share on social media http://bit.ly/1u2bvUT.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Remembering 9/11

It's hard to believe that it's been 13 years since I sat in my cubical at the corporate office where I used to work, doing my job like it was just another day, when a co-worker stood up and said, 'you have to listen to this.' 

The entire office spent the rest of the day close to radios. Not much work got done, and there was a heaviness in the air that hadn't been there at the start of the morning. 

Even after 13 years I still remember how I felt as I listened to the commentary on the radio. It was a mixture of shock and overwhelming sadness. The world changed that day. Not just the United States, but the entire world.

There is a song by Alan Jackson that asks, "Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning?" That song makes me cry every time I hear it because it brings everything back as if it were still a raw memory and not something that happened 13 years ago.  


One of the things that came on the heels of 9/11 was a sense of American pride and also the need to be grateful for those we love. I think as we reflect on this day and what was taken from us, we also need to count the many blessings we have in our lives as well. Those people who woke up to go to work that day, or got on one of those plans that morning, had no idea their lives were going to be coming to an end. Let's be grateful for what we have and make sure we hug our loved ones a little closer today. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

#ContemporaryRomance On Sale For Only 99 Cents

Behind Closed Doors (Daniels Brothers #1) if on sale now until September 10th for only 99 cents on Amazon, iBooks , and TWCS .


Elizabeth Marshall spent the last nine years doing all the things she was supposed to do. She went to a good college. Married a man with a promising future. Elizabeth even had a nice house in a respectable part of town. There was even the promise of 2.4 kids in her future. From the outside everything looked picture perfect.
Then one night, the world she lived in came crashing down. Six months later with her husband dead and her friends gone, Elizabeth moves to the small town of Springfield, Ohio to start a new life where no one knows who she is or about her past.
Christopher Daniels enjoys the simplicity of his bachelor life. After his divorce three years ago, he swore off women. He has no desire to change that philosophy.
When Elizabeth Marshall moves into the apartment below his in the small Victorian house, she makes him reconsider the motto he’s lived by for the last three years: women are trouble. She is everything his ex-wife is not, and it doesn’t help that she is his fantasy come to life.

He is determined to resist her charms; however, when someone sends threatening messages to Elizabeth, he finds himself in the role of protector. Can he protect Elizabeth and still resist the pull she has on his body and his heart?

Don't miss out on this amazing price. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

New Release: Crossing The Line by Sherri Hayes

Crossing The Line (Daniels Brothers #3)
Release Date: September 4 , 2014
Genre: Romance/Contemporary & Crime ISBN e-book: 978-1-61213-268-6
Available from: Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and TWCS PH
Summary
Detective Paul Daniels has spent four and a half years mourning the loss of his wife. He’s been doing his best to raise their daughter, Chloe, with the help of his in-laws. When they inform him right before Thanksgiving that they’re going to be moving over two hours away, Paul finds himself without anyone to watch Chloe—especially when he’s called out to a crime scene in the middle of the night. Little does he know that meeting his baby brother’s girlfriend and her sister, Megan, will change everything.
Megan Carson has taken a few wrong turns in her life, but she’s doing her best to get back on track. When she meets Chloe, the little girl swiftly worms her way into Megan’s heart. The opportunity to help Paul out and watch his daughter appears to be a blessing in disguise. She quickly volunteers to be Chloe’s live-in nanny.
Everything is working well until the three of them head back to Ohio for Chris and Elizabeth’s wedding. Paul has a little too much to drink during the reception, and he and Megan end up sharing a heated kiss. When he wakes up the next day, he has a pounding headache but remembers nothing.
Megan, however, isn’t willing to forget. Over the past few months since she’s been playing nanny, her feelings for Paul have changed. He is everything she never knew she wanted, and now that she knows there might be something there, she’s going after what she wants—Paul.
 
Praise for Crossing The Line
"I really loved the build up in this story and couldn't read fast enough to find out what happens next. Will Paul let go of his guilt from the past and give a relationship with Megan a chance? Or is Paul bad for Megan and lose her because of another mistake he makes?Read this book if you want a good romance, with a side of suspense, enjoyable characters and some smokin HOT scenes." ~Diane Williams, Goodreads
To read the full review, click here.
Read an Excerpt
Megan looked everywhere she could think of, even walking outside to see if she could spot him talking on his cell or something, but she came up empty. He was nowhere to be found, and after twenty minutes of searching, she decided to head upstairs to her room. She figured he had to come back eventually, right?
As soon as Megan stepped inside her room, she kicked off her shoes. High heels made your legs look great, but they were killer on your feet. Next to come off was her jewelry, and then finally, her dress. She’d dressed up more than usual for Chris and Elizabeth’s wedding—more sophisticated, too. The dress
she’d chosen was knee length, perfectly conservative, and had cute ruffled sleeves. To be honest, she was dressed more like her sister than she was herself. On most days, Megan preferred jeans and T-shirts, although she also liked skirts that showed off her legs. She might only be five foot five, but she had nice legs. Why not flaunt them?
She padded into the bathroom in her bare feet, figuring she’d go ahead and get ready for bed. When she emerged ten minutes later, she found the kitty cat pajamas she’d brought with her—since moving in with Paul and Chloe, she’d had to make adjustments to her sleepwear—and put them on.
Megan was about to crawl into bed and see what she could find on television when she heard what sounded like something crashing to the floor next door. Jumping up, Megan went to the door connecting her room with Paul’s. He’d gotten them adjoining rooms to make it easier for Chloe, but since the little girl was with her grandmother, Megan knew the noise had to be coming from Paul.
“Paul? Are you all right over there?”
No answer.
“Paul?” Still nothing. Without stopping to think, Megan turned the handle on the door. It wasn’t locked, and it opened easily. She peeked inside, and what she saw had her scrambling across the room in a hurry. Paul was balanced—barely—against the dresser that supported the television. He looked as if he’d just come from the bathroom, and he was drunk. Not a little drunk, but can’t-walk-straight-or-talk-withoutslurring-his-words drunk. She’d never seen him like this.
“Meg-Meg-an.” He sighed, and attempted to raise his arm toward her as she wrapped her arm around his waist. He was twice her size, and in his current condition, he was dead weight.
With little help from him, Megan moved him a few feet over to the bed. He plopped down so hard he bounced.
Once she was fairly sure he wasn’t going to topple over, she glanced around the room. That was when she noticed the bottle of scotch on the coffee table. Most of the bottle appeared to be gone, and as there was no one else in the room, she had to assume he’d drunk it all himself.
“Will you be okay for a minute?”
“Su-sure.” Paul smiled up at her, and she felt something flutter in the pit of her stomach.
Stop it, she told herself, as she marched back into her room to get some ibuprofen.
He was still where she left him when she returned with something for the headache he was bound to have come morning. She took one of the glasses provided by the hotel into the bathroom to fill it up with water, before returning to stand directly in front of him. “Here. Take these. If you drank as much as I think you did, then you are going to have one massive hangover in the morning.”
Without comment, or protest, Paul downed the pills like they were candy. She handed him the water, and he drained that within seconds as well.
When he was done, she took the glass from him, and went to refill it. Again, he drained it when she brought it back to him. Once he polished that one off, Megan set aside the empty glass. She couldn’t help but wonder what had brought this on, although she was pretty sure she knew.
Megan was lost in thought when she felt Paul’s fingers brush the outside of her legs. At first, she thought it was unintentional, but then he got bolder and flattened his palms so that they were bracketing her waist. She could feel the heat of his hands through her clothes. Megan knew she should push him away—he was drunk, after all—but she couldn’t. She wanted to see what he would do.
“Always wear . . . most in . . . testing . . . p . . . jamaszzz.”
She swallowed. He noticed her pajamas? Since when? “I like cats.”
~~ABOUT THE AUTHOR~~
37885-sherrihayes1802crp252812529 Sherri spent most of her childhood detesting English class. It was one of her least favorite subjects because she never seemed to fit into the standard mold. She wasn't good at spelling, or following grammar rules, and outlines made her head spin. For that reason, Sherri never imagined becoming an author. At the age of thirty, all of that changed. After getting frustrated with the direction a television show was taking two of its characters, Sherri decided to try her hand at writing an alternate ending, and give the characters their happily ever after. By the time the story finished, it was one of the top ten read stories on the site, and her readers were encouraging her to write more. Seven years later, Sherri is the author of seven full-length novels, and one short story. Writing has become a creative outlet for Sherri that allows her to explore a wide range of emotions, while having fun taking her characters through all the twists and turns she can create. She is most well known for her Finding Anna Series about a young woman rescued from being a sex slave by a wealthy Dominant. Sherri’s eighth novel, Crossing The Line, is scheduled to release September 4, 2014.

 
~~CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR~~
 
Check Out Sherri’s Other Titles (Some With Lower Prices!)
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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Read Chapter 1 of Crossing The Line #ContemporaryRomance #NewRelease


Chapter 1

“Did you see me, Daddy? Did you see me?”
Paul Daniels bent down and lifted his five-year-old daughter, Chloe, into his arms. “I did.”
He gave her his best smile, not that she noticed. Chloe was too excited to pay much attention to anything for long. Paul thought nothing could top the excess of energy his little girl displayed the day Chris and Elizabeth called to ask her if she’d be their flower girl. He’d been wrong. Three months ago, Chloe had been full of questions about the unknown—she’d never been to a wedding before. Today, she was bouncing off the walls, and her smile matched his new sister-in-law’s in pure joy.
It was as if he hadn’t commented at all.
“And Eliz’beth’s dress is sooo pretty. Isn’t it pretty, Daddy?” Chloe didn’t wait for his response this time either, before she continued. “Now she’s my aunt.” She concentrated to make sure she got it right. Megan had been working diligently to help Chloe improve her speech before she started school in the fall.
Paul searched the crowd of people bustling into the reception hall for the woman in question, as Chloe squirmed wordlessly making her desire to be put down known. He lowered her feet to the floor, and watched as she slipped in between two wedding guests while he continued to scan for Megan.
Megan was the younger sister of his baby brother Gage’s wife. Paul had met her when she’d come to Thanksgiving with her sister. Little had he known what a savior she’d turn out to be. She’d brought life back into his house. Life that he hadn’t realized was missing.
She’d rescued him when he’d been in desperate need of someone to watch Chloe. Hours before he’d loaded Chloe into the car to set off for the holiday with his parents, his in-laws had announced they were moving almost two hours away. For four years, they’d lived nearby and were able to take Chloe whenever he was called in to work. His job as a homicide detective meant that he could be called out at all hours, and he couldn’t leave his young daughter alone. Megan had fit the bill by offering to move to Indianapolis and into his house as a live-in nanny. She’d saved Paul from having to spend countless hours searching for an alternative.
As if knowing the direction of his thoughts, Chloe weaved through the people in her path until she was beside her nanny. Megan smiled when she caught sight of the little girl, and she circled her arms around Chloe’s shoulders, lifting her off the ground, and twirling. They were both laughing—happy. The two of them had clicked from the beginning, and his chest clenched almost painfully watching the two of them together. It should have been Melissa standing there twirling Chloe, but he couldn’t be upset that it was Megan. She’d put her life on hold for them—helped them out when they’d needed it most. Paul wished he could be as carefree.
His brother, Chris, wanted to give his fiancĂ©e, Elizabeth, the wedding of her dreams, right down to the ceremony being held in a quaint little church not far from where they lived in Springfield, Ohio—and it was. Elizabeth had walked down the aisle in a long white gown, his brother in a tux. Everyone who meant something in either of their lives was present. It was . . . perfect.
Unfortunately, it brought back too many memories for Paul. Memories that were raw and painful. Almost fifteen years ago, he’d been where his brother was—marrying the love of his life. He didn’t begrudge Chris and Elizabeth their happiness. No, he was grateful. His brother had had a rough time of it after his first marriage fell apart. For Paul, it was a sharp reminder that he no longer had his wife at his side. She’d been taken from him by a drunk driver.
Starting to get choked up, Paul cleared his throat, and made a beeline for the bar. He didn’t drink often, and never when he had to drive afterward, but tonight he didn’t have to go anywhere but upstairs to his hotel room. Chloe was here, of course, so he couldn’t go overboard. He just wanted to numb some of the pain.
Paul leaned his elbows on the bar as he waited for the petite blond bartender to finish with the drink she was making for another guest. He thought the guy standing patiently waiting for his drink was one of Chris’ employees. Paul was also fairly certain that the guy was single by the way he was openly eyeing the young woman from head to toe. She was pretty—Paul wasn’t blind, after all. Unfortunately, there was no spark. There never was. Not since his wife, Melissa.
Six months after Melissa’s accident, he’d tried. He’d left Chloe with Melissa’s parents and gone out to a club. It had been loud and he’d felt out of place, but he’d met a woman he found attractive and went for it. They’d ended up at her place an hour later, clothes on the floor, with him hovering over her.
He hadn’t been able to go through with it, though. As he reached for a condom, he’d seen Melissa smiling up at him, her chest vibrating as she attempted to suppress her mirth while he fumbled trying to roll the rubber down his erection. It was an old memory, from when they were teenagers, but it had stung all the same. He’d gathered his clothes, dressed, and apologized, leaving the woman, whom he only knew as Karen, lying naked on her bed staring after him.
The bartender handed over the drink she’d made, and then turned to Paul without giving the other man a second glance. Looked like he wouldn’t be getting that after-closing booty call.
She turned to Paul and smiled. “What can I get ya?”
“Scotch. Neat.”
Her smile got wider. “Coming right up, handsome.”
Paul glanced over his shoulder, and caught sight of his mom and dad. They appeared to be engrossed in a conversation with two people he didn’t know. His dad looked in Paul’s direction, and Paul quickly turned back around. The last thing he needed was his dad zeroing in on his less-than-festive attitude.
The bartender placed the half-full glass of scotch down in front of him. She made sure to lean in a little closer than normal. “Here you go.”
“Thanks.” Paul picked up the glass and took a drink. It burned as it went down his throat, which was good. Anything was better than the knife twisting in his gut.
“So how do you know the bride and groom?”
Not wanting to be rude, Paul answered her. “I’m the groom’s brother.”
“Older or younger?”
Paul laughed, before backing away. “Thanks again for the drink.”
He made it halfway to the corner he’d scoped out as a decent hiding place, before he was waylaid by his brother, Trent. “Hey, man.” Trent looked down at the drink Paul had in his hand, and raised his eyebrow.
“Something wrong?”
“I was going to ask you the same question. Since when do you drink anything but beer?”
“I like to mix it up sometimes.” Paul didn’t add that those “sometimes” usually involved his wedding anniversary and the anniversary of his wife’s death. Chris’ wedding didn’t fall on either of those occasions, but Paul was making an exception.
“Since when?”
After taking another sip of his scotch, Paul narrowed his eyes at his younger brother. “Did you have a reason for coming over here other than to give me a hard time?”
Trent frowned, but let it go. For now, at least. “Megan and Chloe were looking for you. Chloe wants some pictures of you, Megan, and her together. Chris and Elizabeth don’t have a problem with it, but they wanted to make sure it was okay with you before they agreed to anything.”
The last thing Paul wanted to do was pose for more pictures, but there were very few things he’d deny his daughter. Pictures of the woman she’d grown extremely close to over the last four months weren’t one of them. “It’s fine.”
Again, he saw that look of doubt cross his brother’s face. “Okay . . .”
Paul ignored Trent’s curiosity. “Where?”
“Out in the lobby. The photographer has been taking some pictures in front of the fountain.”
Not waiting to see if Trent would come up with more questions regarding his odd behavior, Paul took off toward the fountain.
Before entering the lobby, he took one last gulp of his scotch, feeling the heat. He could do this. For his daughter, he could do this.
Setting his now empty glass down on a nearby table, he plastered a smile on his face, and went to find Megan and Chloe.

~

Megan Carson held tight to Chloe’s hand as she continued to flutter about without a care in the world. They were in the lobby waiting on Paul. At least, Megan hoped they were waiting on Paul. It hadn’t escaped her notice that he’d been tense all throughout Chris and Elizabeth’s vows. And a couple of times she noticed him getting a look on his face. She couldn’t help but wonder if he was thinking about his wife.
He’d smiled and laughed along with everyone else, but she could tell his heart wasn’t in it. She now knew him well enough to know the difference. And she’d guess his family did, too. Although, technically, Megan was his family now as well—ever since her sister married his brother.
Chloe squealed, and pulled harder on Megan’s arm. “Daddy!”
Releasing the little girl’s hand, Megan stood back and watched Paul scoop up his daughter. Seeing them like this gave her a warm feeling. He smiled at Chloe, and this time it didn’t look fake or forced. Then again, whenever it came to Chloe, Megan didn’t question Paul’s love or willingness to do anything for her. Chloe was the apple of his eye—a tangible reminder of his dead wife.
“I was told there’s a picture that needs to be taken out here.” Paul tickled his daughter’s sides.
She giggled. “Yes, Daddy. I want a picture with yous, and mes, and Megan.”
Paul glanced down at Megan, and she took in his warm brown eyes. She loved when they sparkled with joy, as they did in that moment. No one could do that to him but Chloe. Not his mom or his brothers. Not even her. No matter how much she wished otherwise.
The photographer approached them with his camera hanging from a strap around his neck. “Ah, good. Everyone’s here, yes?”
He quickly corralled them into the correct position, with Megan and Paul flanking Chloe as the three of them sat on the edge of the fountain. To an outside observer, they’d look like a normal family. Appearances could be deceiving, though, and in this case they were way off. Megan was Chloe’s nanny, nothing more. She took care of Chloe when Paul was working, making sure she had everything she needed, and that the house wasn’t a disaster when he came home.
That was where it ended. Occasionally, Paul would allow Megan to cook dinner for them, but it was rare, and usually only on days when he knew he wouldn’t be home until after six. Paul took taking care of his one and only child seriously. She was his responsibility, and while he allowed Megan to take over when he had to leave, he didn’t take advantage of her presence in their life—although sometimes she wished that he would.
With the pictures over, Chloe ran back into the reception with an announcement that she was going to find her grandmother—Paul’s mom—leaving Paul and Megan behind.
“Thank you.”
She looked up at Paul. He towered over her, at just over six feet to her much shorter five foot five. “You know I’d do anything for Chloe.”
He was ultra-serious again. “I know, but you don’t have to. You’re not working tonight.”
Megan frowned. He had that melancholy look she noticed crossed his features all too frequently. “Are you all right?”
It was Paul’s turn to frown. “Of course. Why wouldn’t I be? It’s my brother’s wedding.”
His answer didn’t ease her concern. Paul was a good guy—the best guy she’d ever met in her twenty-three years. He put every other man who’d crossed her path to shame, with the exception of Gage and the rest of his brothers and father. The Daniels men had certainly upped her standards in the opposite sex.
“I don’t know. You just don’t seem like yourself tonight.”
Paul waved off her observation. “It’s been a long day, that’s all.”
Yes, it had been a long day. Megan and all the other Daniels women, including Chloe, had met at the spa a little after eight that morning. They’d all gotten their hair and nails done while the guys did whatever guys did to get ready for a wedding. Since then, they’d all been going strong. Megan didn’t think that was the problem, but she let it go. For now. “It has been a long day.”
In what seemed like an effort to steer her away from any further questioning, Paul held out his arm, and motioned toward the reception. She took a deep breath, and smiled, allowing him to deflect. Whatever was going on with him today, she figured it had to do with his wife. One thing she’d learned about Paul in the four months she’d known him was that he was still very much in love with Melissa. It didn’t matter that she’d been dead for over four years. She was still alive in his heart.
Once back inside, Megan was hijacked by her brother-in-law, Gage. “Would you please talk to your sister?”
Megan laughed. “What’s up, Becca?”
Her sister, Rebecca, gave her husband a disapproving headshake. “Nothing, except Mr. Overprotective here doesn’t think I can do anything on my own.”
“I’m trying to be a gentleman.” Gage huffed his response, but at the same time, he wrapped his arms around Rebecca’s middle, pulling her up against him. It still amused Megan to see how Gage had changed since falling in love with her sister. He’d gone from the cocky playboy to the overprotective husband and daddy-to-be.
Rebecca leaned in to him. “I do not need for you to walk me to the bathroom. I’m not a child.” She paused. “And before you say it, I’m not going to get sick. I haven’t had a bout of morning sickness in over a week.”
Gage kissed her temple and inhaled. “I’m sorry, beautiful, but you know how much I worry about you.”
Megan watched her sister—her sister who could take down a man three times her size with her bare hands—melt in her husband’s arms. “I guess you two don’t need me anymore, then?”
They both chuckled, and Rebecca stood to her full height. “Of course I do. You, I don’t mind accompanying me to the ladies’ room.”
Before she knew it, Rebecca was pushing her toward the bathroom. “Hey, slow down.”
Rebecca stopped and released Megan’s arm. “Sorry. It’s just . . .”
“He’s driving you nuts?” Megan laughed.
“It’s not funny. You’d think I was terminally ill or something, instead of pregnant.”
Although she knew Gage’s attentiveness was probably getting to her overly independent sister, she also knew that Rebecca loved the attention. It was something Megan and Rebecca had lacked growing up—Rebecca especially. “You know you love it.” Megan paused. “And him.”
It took a few seconds, but then a soft smile brightened Rebecca’s features. “It’s sad, but I do. I know I shouldn’t, but to know that he’d drop everything for me and the baby, no matter what, is a pretty amazing feeling.”
“Yeah, I bet. I mean, we didn’t have that growing up. He’s going to be a great dad.”
Rebecca glanced back to where Gage was now talking to his father and Trent. “He really is.”
The talk of dads sent Megan’s mind drifting back to Paul, and she immediately began searching the crowd for him.
“Looking for someone?”
Megan turned back to face her sister. “Huh? What?”
“I asked if you were looking for someone.” Rebecca had a strange look on her face, and Megan knew Rebecca was going into big sister mode. It was the last thing she wanted.
“Not really.”
Her sister frowned. “Is something going on I should know about?”
Now Megan was confused. “Like?”
“I don’t know. I mean you’ve gone four months without chasing after a guy. That’s a record for you.”
Megan rolled her eyes. “Thanks.”
“I didn’t . . . I didn’t mean it like that. I worry about you. I want you to find a nice guy—someone who will treat you well. I don’t want to see you hurt again.”
“I know. And when I find him, you’ll be the first to know.”
Rebecca reached up to brush a strand of hair away from Megan’s face. It was something she’d done since Megan was little—a motherly gesture from the only real female authority figure Megan had ever known. “Come on. Let’s get to the bathroom before I burst. I think I drank way too much water earlier.”
Following her sister, Megan took one last look around trying to spot Paul, but she didn’t see him anywhere. 



The following authors will be stopping by throughout the day with games, giveaways, and fun!

Lori King
Kira Barker
Michelle Birbeck
Brooke Williams
Lissa Bryan
Kayla Ritenour
Lisa Bibrey
Lindsey Gray
Sydney Logan

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