Sunday, April 23, 2017

Cover Reveal: Forsaken



Title: Forsaken 
Authors: B. B. Hamel & Willow Winters 





They tempted me with her. And I couldn’t resist.
I’m not a good man. I’m a hired killer and damn good at what I do. Raised to be ruthless and forced into this life, I never had a choice.

Until she’s thrown into my lap.
 I didn’t want to take the hit. It’s too dangerous and I can’t afford these kinds of risks. I turned my employers down, but they sweetened the deal.
 Gifting her to me.
She’s scared, beautiful and all mine.
She gazes at me with her gorgeous baby blues and I can hardly resist taking her. She makes me want to break my rules… all because of the desire hidden in those stolen glances.
I’m addicted to her seductive curves and the soft moans that spill from her lips. She’s tempting in ways she doesn’t even realize. I’m practically obsessed.
They’re going to want her back, but I’ll kill them all to keep her.










B. B. Hamel
My books are steamy contemporary new adult romances, featuring heroines in college or just graduated, and range from stepbrothers to billionaire fantasies to alpha male fighters. Each book is a standalone and they always feature a HEA!

I'm a long time reader, writer, and lover of romance! Writing is my dream and my passion, and I'm so excited to share my stories with you. As an Indie author, your support means everything. Thanks so much for reading!

Willow Winters:  I like my action hot and my bad boys hotter. And I don't hold back on either one in my writing.  I'm so happy to be a #1 Contemporary Bestselling Romance Author. I'm so grateful and honored!  I actually started writing after having my little girl, Evie, December 2015. All during my pregnancy with her I read. I only wanted to read romance, and I read EVERYTHING. I would read a book a day — sometimes two.  In January 2016 I was staying up late with her and just thinking of all these stories.  They came to me constantly. And I finally sat down and just started writing. I always wanted to do it so I figured, why not? I never thought I would reach this point of success, to be honest. It’s insane to me that I have so many fans. And I love each and every one of them for all of their support.





B. B. Hamel 







Willow Winters 


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If you would like to order signed paperbacks, you can do so here: Paperbacks




Saturday, April 22, 2017

Release Day: On the Edge of Death from Author @CiaraBallintyne #excerpt

Epic Fantasy
Date Published: 22 April 2017
Publisher: Evolved publishing

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All the Left Hand of Death wants is something to call her own, but is the price too high?

Ellaeva, the fated avatar of the death goddess, is desperate to track down her missing family but the trail is decades old. Instead, she discovers her battered and bloodied sister priestesses driven across the Jerreki border on pain of death. Ellaeva must turn aside from her personal quest to investigate the murders, only to find her parents have been taken into the heart of the conflict.

Lyram Aharris, favoured son of the royal line of Ahlleyn, is the only living person she trusts to help her infiltrate the enemy stronghold and uproot the horror they find there, but their chequered past threatens the mission. Accompanying him is his crown prince, the one man Lyram wants dead above all others.

Now Ellaeva must face down the darkness in her soul before a dark god is brought into the world.

At the boundary of life and death, all oaths will be tested. 



EXCERPT

Lyram leaned on the window casement, scouring the bustling courtyard of the royal palace of Ahlleyn below. Servants in the black and purple livery of the clan Gaylbrath strode confidently about their tasks, and his gaze skipped over them, looking for someone obviously out of place—looking for the crow amongst the sparrows. From this high, picking individual faces out of the crowd was impossible, but that didn’t stop him searching. He didn’t need a face to find the person he sought.
Despite his failure to note anyone out of place, he knew there was at least one person in the palace who shouldn’t be there. He could feel it in his bones.
“Lyram, you’re not listening to me.”
Sighing, he turned, leaning back against the wall with his arms folded over his plaid. He regarded the duchess. “No, Narrawen, I’m not. I do apologise. What were you saying?”
The Duchess of Kinrothen narrowed pale-blue eyes at him. She stood in the centre of his sitting room, an inner sanctum furnished by his late wife, and a place of solitude and reflection where he’d usually not permit the duchess. But, short of his bedchamber, this was the only room in his suite with a window. He needed to see the courtyard, and she’d insisted on speaking with him.
“Never mind. You clearly have something else on your mind.” Then her voice grew teasing. “Perhaps something I could help with?“
Lyram swallowed a long-suffering sigh. Narrawen, standing with her head cocked and one hand on a hip, was a fine figure of a woman, but she was also a schemer. Her kirtle, though made of expensive linen, was woven in the red, yellow and green tartan of her clan; she took every opportunity to wear it, as though reminding everyone she was their clan leader. Though women were accepted as equals in Ahlleyn, a woman heading a large warrior clan could experience certain… troublesome elements, and she carried a bow slung over her shoulder. A woman who would lead warriors must be a warrior, and she had the temperament to match the flaming red hair tumbling down her shoulders in unruly curls. Everything she did was calculated and planned, and there was no way he’d be sharing what was on his mind.
“It’s nothing to trouble yourself over,” he said.
“Oh, it would be no trouble to take a burden from your shoulders.” She stepped forward, closing the distance between them to place a hand on his arm.
The heady aroma of eastern tuberose assaulted his nostrils, rich and sensual. She was tall, the top of her head on a level with his nose, and her breath tickled his clean-shaven chin. Her gaze held the resolute intensity of a woman accustomed to getting her way, sooner or later. She was beautiful, and in a way that went beyond her face and figure: she was fierce, determined, and intelligent.
But when he looked at her, he saw only Ellaeva.
Her brow pinched, as if reading something in his face, and he smoothed his expression.
“You’ve been too long a widower,” she said.
He started. “Eighteen months! That’s hardly too long.”
She met his gaze with an intense expression, ignoring his protest. “And I’ve never married. We both need heirs.”
He shook his head and tried to draw away, but she had him pinned between her wide skirts and the window. “You would merge two of the kingdom’s most powerful and influential duchies into one? The aristocracy will never stand for it. You already know my answer, Narrawen. I’m not interested in marrying—you or anyone else. It’s not personal, you understand?”
She snorted in a most unladylike fashion and tossed her hair, like a wild horse tossing its mane. “You pay too little attention, Lyram. You’d be surprised what the aristocracy will allow now, after the fall of Traeburhn. Everyone’s been made nervous by his treason, especially the stripping of lands and titles. Besides, we need not merge the duchies. We could agree on a division of heirs.”
“The risk of civil war—”
She leaned closer, until only inches separated their faces. The heady smell of her perfume was almost intoxicating.
“There are any number of men in this kingdom, and without, who would marry me,” she said. “Most for the wrong reasons. Few of them have my respect and admiration, but you do. What I need is a husband. What I want is you.”
The door burst open, thumping against the wall.
Narrawen jumped back, her bow clattering against the side table. A faint blush stained her cheeks.
Lyram’s pulse quickened. This was it, the moment he’d been waiting for.
Everard stood framed by the sitting room’s doorway, his posture perfectly erect as he folded his hands neatly in front of his sporran. As always, he was clad in scrupulous court attire, his rank pinned to the shoulder of his white shirt and his kilt falling in perfect pleats. His thinning grey hair had been meticulously combed, and his wire-framed glasses perched precariously on his nose. He kept his face blank, but a small twitch beside his eye betrayed his displeasure at the duchess’s presence. “Sir.”
Though Everard’s tone was even, Lyram read the tension and urgency in him. “I know, Everard. I’ll come.”
“A prior engagement, Lyram?” Narrawen said. “Whatever it is, reschedule it. We’re not done.”
Lyram opened his mouth to countermand the order—though she outranked him, how dare she presume to order his aide-de-camp?
But Everard’s gaze flickered to her with that same inscrutability, and in his perfectly deadpan aide’s voice he said, “Is Your Grace still chasing a husband? Perchance I can suggest a better hunting ground.”
Narrawen grew rigid, and Lyram suppressed a grin.
“The duchess and I can finish our conversation later,” Lyram said. “I’ll come, Everard.”
“No, sir—” Everard blinked, jerking aside as though pinched, and Ellaeva stepped into the room.
The shock of seeing her thrilled through him, like the mixed pleasure of an unexpectedly warm spring day, tainted by fording a stream running with snowmelt. Though he’d felt her jump suddenly from the far east to well within Ahlleyn borders several days ago, though he’d felt her drawing nearer by the day, he hadn’t realised she was here, outside the room. And no amount of time could have prepared him for this moment.
Their gazes locked. Her black eyes were flat and cold. In his head, the sense of her abruptly clenched into the hard glass ball that said she was trying to control or hide her feelings. That connection was the unintended legacy of his resurrection at her hand, but she’d grown better at controlling it. Then her gaze flickered to Narrawen, standing so close alongside him, and the glass ball shattered into a thousand shards with an impact so visceral he gasped and sat down. The chill in the air deepened.
She switched her stare back to Lyram. Finally, she spoke, in a voice cold as iron. “I have come to see Alagondar.”


About the Author

Ciara Ballintyne grew up on a steady diet of adult epic fantasy from the age of nine, leaving her with a rather confused outlook on life – she believes the good guys should always win, but knows they often don’t. She is an oxymoron; an idealistic cynic. Her debut work is Confronting the Demon, and In the Company of the Dead is her first book to be published with Evolved Publishing. She holds degrees in law and accounting, and is a practising financial services lawyer. In her spare time, she speculates about taking over the world.

Contact Links

Twitter: @CiaraBallintyne


Purchase Links


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Friday, April 21, 2017

Blog Tour: Daddy Ever After





Title: Daddy Ever After (a Billionaire Romance)
Author: Emilia Beaumont











Once upon a Daddy…

I entered the beast’s lair and begged the billionaire recluse to keep my mom’s job safe while she recovered from her fall. But what Gareth Fiori offered me in exchange was nothing I could have ever prepared myself for.

One thing was for certain; turning him down was not an option.

Trapped inside a mansion with a man I barely knew, on hands and knees I scrubbed his floors and did everything he commanded. 

He was cruel. He was kind. Some days he blew hot, but mostly he encased his heart in cold, rock hard, ice. And although Gareth was no prince, he became my everything.

My new daddy has secrets. Ones he most definitely does not want to be freed into the world. However, little does he know that I’ve been a bad girl, I’ve deceived him too. My motives weren’t as pure as he thought.






















Emilia Beaumont is a USA Today bestselling author (under her paranormal romance pen name). She loves writing contemporary, taboo, and steamy romance with plenty of twists and turns that you won't see coming. But above all she is a sucker for a happy ending! 

Emilia originally hails from the north of England but has put down roots in the south of Ireland, living with her husband in a house full of happy fluffy cats. Surrounded by peaceful emerald fields she always has a pen and notebook to hand ready for when the next saucy idea strikes.Emilia is also an avid comic-book reader and wildlife advocate.





Twitter // @emiliabeaumont





New Release: Morrow's Horizon

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Morrow’s Horizon, the first in an all-new series of standalones from Sierra Kummings is now LIVE!

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Morrow’s Horizon by Sierra Kummings

Cover Reveal: April 7th, 2017 Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blood, and love for a special little girl, bind the five Morrow sisters in an unbreakable way. Yet the family-devoted Sara Morrow yearns for more.
And that “more” looks a lot like the irresistible Jacob Ramírez.
For years, Sara’s contented herself with toe-curling fantasies about the CFO of the bank that employs her – all the while promising herself she’d never fall for the type of passion that destroyed her parent’s marriage. But when the one and only Latin six-foot-four god accepts her offer of help and turns her fantasies into reality, she’s forced to decide if it’s worth finding out if her boss is everything she’s dreamed of, or just the manifestation of all her fears.
Jacob has his own set of fears. Right out of high school, he joined the Marines, only to come home six years later with night terrors that haunt even his days. Now, at thirty-three, rudimentary techniques keep his secret hidden.
Until a chance meeting with Sara Morrow coincides with a deception that rocks him to his core.
When Sara’s faith is tested, her sisters’ love gives her the courage to believe in someone else. When Jacob’s is tested, he has to learn how to believe in himself.
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Read Today!

Add to GoodReads: https://goo.gl/XZfKYk
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About the Author:

Sierra Kummings is a writer of contemporary erotic romances. Her three loves are her family, writing, and chocolate–though not always in that order. She discovered creative writing in high school, but set her dream aside to pursue a master’s degree in professional counseling. She now puts her degree to good use strengthening characters that have been in her head since her teens. In addition to penning hot romances, she also proudly claims the title of mother to an incredible little girl who inspires her every day.

Connect with the Author:

Twitter: @SierraKummings
Stay up to date with Sierra by signing up for her newsletter:

Blog Tour: Biker's Libaraian by @shylacolt #review and #giveaway



Contemporary Romance
Date Published: Re-Releasing March 2nd
Publisher: Hot ink Press

Recovered from an abusive relationship, Juliette Moore is ready to live life on her own terms. Successful, intelligent, and slightly timid, she makes a pact with her best friends to seize the day. She gets more than she bargained in the tall, dark, and dangerous biker Shooter.

Drawn to her purity and charm, Shooter, finds himself smitten before he knows what’s happening. With his claim firmly placed, he’s ready to go to war when she’s threatened by a madman from her past. Together they weather life’s storms and find common ground as they merge their two very different worlds.



 Review

A biker and a librarian.... opposites attract?

Shooter, you are hott as hell, but you have a major potty mouth mister.

There is a great chemistry and connection between these characters and I believed in it from the beginning.

I loved how headstrong and confident Juliette was. Especially after what she had been through.

I liked how much the story flowed effortlessly. The transitions were very well written.

Sweet Moments and Sarcasm and Wit. Perfectly balanced with drama and suspense. 


Shyla Colt is the sassy international bestseller of the popular series Kings of Chaos and Dueling Devils M.C. This genre-hoppers stories feature three of her favorite things: strong females, pop culture, and alternate routes to happy ever after. Listening to her Romani soul, she pens from the heart, allowing the dynamic characters, eccentric interests, and travels as a former flight attendant to take her down untraveled roads. 
Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, this mid-west girl is proud of her roots. She used her hometown and the surrounding areas as a backdrop for a number of books. So, if you’re a Buckeye, keep an eye out for familiar places. 


As a full-time writer, stay at home mother, and wife, there's never a dull moment in her household.
She weaves her tales in spare moments and the evenings with a cup of coffee or tea at her side and the characters in her head for company.

You can interact with Shyla Colt online via her website
Facebook and Twitter: @shylacolt

Purchase Links



Book Blitz: Soul of Toledo from Edward D. Websiter #historicalfiction


Historical Fiction 
Date Published:  January 2016

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Thirty years before the Spanish Inquisition, the seeds of hatred have sprouted in Castile. Suspicions fester. Rage churns beneath the surface. Viçente Pérez—a man who wields enviable power but harbors a shameful past—is the only one who can keep the tension from exploding out of control.

As the Christian son of secret Jews, Viçente is in a hopeless position—charged with keeping the peace, but always suspected by the city’s Old Christians, unwilling but duty-bound to help the increasingly persecuted Jews, and to aid his king whose rule is threatened.

When Viçente crosses the ruthless, power-hungry lawyer Marcos García de Mora, he makes a formidable enemy. García’s plan: to rally the common men, attack Jews, and purify Toledo by purging suspected heretics—the Christian descendants of Jews, converts like Viçente.

As war breaks out between the king and his cousins, and García and his madmen rise to power in Toledo, Viçente falls in love with the mysterious Francesca and finds himself faced with impossible choices: love or duty, respect or intolerance, reverence or disdain for his ancestry.

From the courts of kings in Naples and Castile to the chambers of Pope Nicholas and the torture cellars of Toledo, this gripping novel brings to life an era of little-known history in fifteenth-century Spain, a time when a rogue inquisition threatened to destroy the very soul of Toledo.



About the Author


Edward D. Webster has had an eclectic mixture of careers, ranging from teaching Navajo students to managing transit operations. And he’s the author of a diverse collection of books. Webster admits to a fascination with unique, quirky and bizarre human behavior, and he doesn’t exempt himself from the mix. His acclaimed memoir, A Year of Sundays (Taking the Plunge and our Cat to Explore Europe) shares the eccentric tale of his yearlong adventure in Europe with his spirited blind wife and headstrong, deaf sixteen-year-old cat. His historical novel, Soul of Toledo recounts a diabolical moment in history, when madmen took over the City of Toledo and tortured suspected Jews, 30 years before the Spanish Inquisition. And his 2014 novel, The Gentle Bomber’s Melody, explores what might happen if a nutty woman, bearing a stolen baby, landed on the doorstep of a fugitive bomber hiding from the FBI. The result: irresistible insanity. From the happily unusual of A Year of Sundays to the cruelly perverse in Soul of Toledo, Edward D. Webster shines a light on offbeat aspects of human nature. Webster lives in Southern California with his divine wife and two amazing cats.

Contact Links


Purchase Links



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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Release Day: Revelry

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Revelry by Kandi Steiner Cover Reveal Date: April 3rd Genre: Contemporary Romance

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Revelry, an all-new standalone from Kandi Steiner is now LIVE!!!

From the bestselling author of Weightless and A Love Letter to Whiskey
Wren Ballard is trying to find herself.
She never expected to be divorced at twenty-seven, but now that the court date has passed, it’s official. The paperwork is final. Her feelings on it aren’t.
Spending the summer in a small mountain town outside Seattle is exactly what she needs. The peaceful scenery is a given, the cat with the croaky meow is a surprise, but the real kicker? A broody neighbor with nice arms, a strange reputation, and absolutely no interest in her.
Anderson Black is perfectly fine being lost.
He doesn’t care about the town’s new resident — he’s too busy fighting his own demons. But when he’s brought face to face with Wren, he can see her still-fresh wounds from a mile away. What he doesn’t see coming is his need to know who put them there — or his desperation to mend them.
Sometimes getting lost is the way to find yourself. Sometimes healing only adds a new scar. And sometimes the last place you expected to be is exactly where you find home.

Excerpt:

I had just grabbed my oversized hat and slipped my sunglasses on when I spotted Anderson walking up the drive with a large trash bag slung over his shoulder. He wore a simple, black V-neck and distressed jeans, an outfit way too dark and hot for the heat. A light sheen of sweat gathered on his neck as he made his way toward my cabin, his eyes hidden behind all-black sunglasses. "Change your mind?" I asked, not even fighting the grin on my face as I walked outside and leaned against the banister. Anderson squinted up at me, his boots heavy as they hit each stair. "About?" "Tubing?" I asked. That was why he was here, right? "Oh." He shook his head as he hit the top stair, shrugging the bag off his shoulders to hold it by the neck in one fist. "No, I have somewhere to be..." His voice trailed off, and even through the tinted shades of his glasses I felt his eyes on my chest. I'd strapped on my favorite boho print bathing suit and paired it with a dainty gold chain that wrapped around my neck once before dipping between my chest and crossing over my ribs. He sniffed, holding the bag out toward me. "I just came to drop these off. My clothes. Well, the ones that could probably use a little TLC." My eyes lit up and I reached for the bag, but Anderson snatched it back, brows shooting up into his forehead. "No frills, Wren." I threw my hands up in surrender. "I promise." He smirked, just slightly, and handed the bag over, tucking his hands in his front pockets. "Are you sure you don't want to come?" I asked, peering into the bag at my project before setting it just inside the cabin and locking the door behind me. "I can't," he said, lips pressed together. He was tense, the muscles on his forearms tight as he glanced around at pretty much everything but me. I opened my mouth to ask why but was cut off by the sound of a truck flying into my drive, tires sliding against the gravel. Tucker was in the driver's seat with Davie in the passenger. Sarah and Yvette sat in the back, laughing with their hands up as the truck skidded to a stop. They were both sprawled out on a pile of tubes, wearing bathing suit tops and tiny shorts. All of their faces froze when they saw Anderson. "Hey, you ready, Wren?" Tucker asked warily, his eyes moving from where Anderson stood in front of me, to me, and back again. "Yeah, one sec!" I called back. I turned to Anderson, but his eyes were hard on Tucker, jaw ticking under his skin. When he faced me once more, an anchor fell from my throat into the pit of my stomach, immobilizing me completely. Because even though I 'd tried to convince myself I was wrong, I recognized the look in his eyes. Possession. And when his nose flared and he took one big step toward me, our chests brushing, his hand reaching out to rest almost imperceptibly on my hip, the anchor in my stomach exploded into flames, burning a desire so fierce I inhaled a toxic breath and didn't let it go. "Be careful, okay?" His eyes locked on mine just before he leaned in and swiftly kissed my cheek. He turned on his heel and jogged down the stairs and past the truck. Sarah called his name, but he didn't acknowledge her, just kept his gaze forward until he'd disappeared from view. And then everyone looked at me. Available Now-01

Read Today!

(Free in Kindle Unlimited)
Add to GoodReads: https://goo.gl/nWojG3
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About the Author:

Kandi Steiner is a Creative Writing and Advertising/Public Relations graduate from the University of Central Florida living in Tampa. Kandi works full time as a social media specialist, but also works part time as a Zumba fitness instructor and blackjack dealer. Kandi started writing back in the 4th grade after reading the first Harry Potter installment. In 6th grade, she wrote and edited her own newspaper and distributed to her classmates. Eventually, the principal caught on and the newspaper was quickly halted, though Kandi tried fighting for her “freedom of press.” She took particular interest in writing romance after college, as she has always been a die hard hopeless romantic (like most girls brought up on Disney movies). When Kandi isn’t working or writing, you can find her reading books of all kinds, talking with her extremely vocal cat, and spending time with her friends and family. She enjoys beach days, movie marathons, live music, craft beer and sweet wine – not necessarily in that order. KandiSteinerAuthorPic

Connect with the Author:

Twitter: @KandiSteiner
Stay up to date with Kandi by signing up for her newsletter here: https://goo.gl/TLsut8

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Book Blitz: Santino the Eternal @sjd_hunt read an #excerpt

Paranormal Romance
Date Published:  3/28/2017

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Santino the Eternal has never craved the forbidden - until now. As a blood-thirsty serial killer hunts the glitzy streets of Las Vegas, Santino collides with a young college student - can she make it out alive?

Clara Denton’s life is flung into chaos when she discovers a drained corpse in a posh hotel room on the Strip. And as if her life wasn't already spiraling out of control, her reclusive boss has taken a disconcerting interest in her. Unable to resist the dark pull, she is drawn further and further into the murky world of the undead - as well as just the dead, too. When the handsome Matthew Hunter arrives with his sights set on Clara, she is thrown into one final eternal struggle of good versus evil.

Can love truly be eternal?


Excerpt

 “Be free, my darling,” he said to the languid corpse.
With the back of his hand, he wiped away the last drops of the precious nectar he’d drained from her fragile veins. “You have served me well.” He watched as the ghost of his young victim fled her empty body.
He felt crushing remorse that he’d killed her. Her death was kind, painless, and he needed her blood, he convinced himself as he glanced around the darkened hotel room. The warm fluid rushing through him caused the sensation of a post-orgasmic high—so similar was the feeling that he craved the cigarette he usually only smoked after sex.
“No, not here,” he said aloud to himself, his agile fingers placing the pack of cigarettes back into his designer suit coat.
The door to the hotel room opened—a swath of light from the hallway burned into his eyes and his hand instinctively reached up to shield himself from it.
A young housekeeper burst in, her eyes only glimpsing his form for seconds as he moved from the room with such preternatural swiftness that he was just a mere blur to her mortal eyes.
It was several more minutes before his perfected ears heard her scream in terror.

Chapter One
“C’mon, baby, don’t run out of gas on me now.”
Clara Denton reached over and turned off the air conditioning in her 1986 Ford Escort. The fuel needle, pointed at the letter E, seemed to mock her as she irrationally turned off the radio, as if those minor efforts would have any effect on the amount of gas her old car would burn on her way to work.
“One more mile,” she said aloud to the vehicle. “One more mile and I promise to feed you after work. I can’t be late again.”
In her worn Fossil hobo purse her last ten dollars sat crumpled. Clara hoped it would provide enough fuel to get her back and forth to school that week as well as to her job cleaning rooms at the newest and classiest hotel on the Las Vegas Strip—the Roman.
Her stomach growled as she flashed her employee badge and pulled into the dark parking structure at the rear of the sprawling resort hotel and casino. At the place she’d worked before the employee facilities, those parts the guests didn’t see, were austere. Here, however, even the employee parking garage was glamorous.
As she fled the car, terrified of punching in late again, she thought about how she’d never once seen the reclusive owner of the Roman—his name was Marchetti, she couldn’t recall if she knew his first name. She assumed he was Italian, and rumors floated around that he was handsome, in his thirties, but even though he lived in the sprawling penthouse suite, no one she knew had ever seen him.
Clara’s first three rooms were easy cleans, and in the second one she was able to nibble on an unopened bag of potato chips—she hadn’t eaten since the night before when her roommate, Landon Miller, brought home scavenged baked ziti from the pizzeria he waited tables at.
The fourth room of her shift, however, was the one that changed the course of her life forever. As she flipped on the lights and walked in with her cleaning basket—maids at the upscale Roman weren’t allowed to push carts into the rooms—she saw it. A foot poking out from the crisp white sheet of the king sized bed. “Oh, sorry ma’am, I thought the room was…” She felt a rush of cool air blast past her, maybe even the faint hint of smoke, and then she saw it.
The foot protruding from the Italian 800 thread count Frette linens was not an alive foot. It was ghastly white, the red painted toenails a grotesque contrast to the paleness of the skin. A prank, she thought as she approached it, waiting for something to jump out at her. The air in the room changed, became oddly stagnant, as she sheepishly tugged at the sheet. Clara heard herself scream, as if a bystander, as her body crumpled to the floor.
“The police,” she finally managed to mutter, as she reached for the phone on the mahogany desk. She stared at the phone, unable to remember how to get an outside line for several moments before deciding instead to press the button that was labeled Emergency.
Within minutes, several large men in dark suits blew into the room. One lifted her to her feet and asked if she was okay. As she nodded, he glanced at her nametag and said, “You may have the afternoon off, Clara. Thank you.” He turned to look at the body as the other men donned latex gloves.
“Uh, we should call the police. This is the serial killer. It’s got to be another of his victims—you know, the Blood Lust Killer.”
The dark suited man in charge flung his body toward hers, his hands braced on his hips. “I believe it’s time for you to go.”
“No. You can’t touch anything until Metro comes,” she argued, her voice fighting to sound strong. These men were tampering with a crime scene—her roommate, Landon, when not serving greasy pizza and pints of beer—was in the police academy. Clara had helped him study enough to know these men were breaking the law.
“Steven, please escort the former employee from the premises.” He turned to face her once more, and with a sneer said, “We’ll mail your final paycheck. Your services here at the Roman are no longer required.”
She stood in shock, unable to process the dramatic turn that afternoon had taken. “You’re firing me?” she finally choked out through her tears. The man never answered her, and she followed him to the central housekeeping department to return her uniform. The dark-suited stoic presence stood outside the changing room and walked her to her car, reminding her that security cameras would watch her exit the grounds of the casino.
In her hot car, with guards staring at her, she reached for her cell phone. Despite the glare of the suited Steven approaching her, she dialed 911 and switched it to speaker as she sped down the exit ramp. “Yes, at the Roman,” she clarified to the dispatcher. “Room 80231—she was bloodless! White as a ghost.” She paused as the dispatcher read back the information, then as Clara began to ask about the serial killer her phone went dead. Damnit! Out of minutes!
Moments later, she was fighting her way through traffic. “That jerk-off, how dare he fire me,” she hissed into her empty car as she battled the throng of cabs down the small section of Las Vegas Boulevard that was known as the Strip. In shock, fuming and terrified, she barely remembered to make her left on Flamingo when her car started to sputter. “Not the transmission again,” she groaned before her eyes set on the fuel gauge. “Shit!” She covered her mouth with her hand—Clara rarely swore, and when she did, she shocked even herself. “I forgot to get gas!”
*****
Flamingo was his least favorite place to drive. Stop after stop, he could rarely pick up the kind of speed he craved. When finally he was able to swoop around yet another annoying billboard truck, his designer-shod foot mashed the accelerator down as hard as he could. The Maserati lurched, pressing him back into the buttery leather seats that had been custom made to fit his tall, lean body. And then he nearly ran over her.
She fell backward into her battered old car, smashing into the dented frame and falling face down onto the dirty black pavement of Flamingo Road. “Fuck,” he howled, the nimble car coming to a screeching stop as those behind him blew their horns and struggled to maneuver around him. He was able to stop his car at the side of the busy road, in front of the small frame of a young woman lying in the street.
“I didn’t hit you, Miss, did I?” He sprang from his car toward her. She’s moving, that’s good, he thought as she placed her palms on the pavement, pushing her lean frame up.
“Um, no, I just, I thought you were going to hit me, I jumped and tripped.”
“That is a relief,” he sighed. He reached for her hand and helped her to her feet.
“I-I’m fine now,” she said with a quick tug of her hand to remove it from his. But he couldn’t let go. He held onto her hand as a sensation so foreign, so odd, washed over him.
“Well, thank you for even stopping,” she said with a smile, tugging her hand from his once more. This time he let her soft hand fall from his, but he continued to look into her eyes. They were brown, chocolate brown, he thought. She was young, twenty-one was the number that popped into his head as he stared at her mutely.
She ran her hand through her hair as she turned to face her car. “Do you need me to call a car service for you?” he asked as she lifted the rear hatch and pulled out a red gas can. “No, thank you, I’m out of gas. It’s only a few blocks to the station.”
“I would never let you do that. Please, I’ll drive you.”
She stared at the car—clearly he was a rich businessman, a local, and, she had to admit, breathtakingly handsome. But still, she was no idiot. She wasn’t going to get into his car, or any stranger’s car, with a blood-sucking serial killer roaming Las Vegas murdering young women. “I’m fine, I’ll walk.” She took a few steps and heard him speak again.
“No, Miss, you will not. I cannot let you do that.”
“Let me?” She spun around and glared at him, empowered by the safety of the heavy traffic swirling around them like angry hornets.
He held up his hands in apology. “I didn’t mean it like that, I’m sorry. What I meant was it would be ungentlemanly of me. I can call road service, or perhaps go retrieve your gas for you while you wait in the air conditioning of my car?”
“I’m sorry to snap. I’ve had a terrible day. I was fired from my job and, well, it’s just been a rough one. I’d rather walk than wait, but thank you.” She set off again, with the man only steps behind her.
He caught up to her, his suit coat removed and tossed over one arm in the oppressive heat of summer in Las Vegas. “My name is Santino, by the way, and it is a pleasure to meet you, despite the circumstances of our introduction,” he said, positioning himself between the heavy street traffic and the young woman. “Miss…?”
“Clara Denton,” she answered with a smile. This drop-dead gorgeous rich guy is also a gentleman, she thought as he reached to carry the gas can.
At the gas station, his phone buzzed. With a quick glance at it, he looked to Clara. “I’m sorry, I have to take this. I apologize for my rudeness.” She nodded as he walked to the side of the gas station.
“Wait until I tell Landon about this guy,” she said under her breath as she walked into the building to prepay for the gas.
Walking out, can in hand, the man, Santino, had his back to her. He was talking into his phone. She could hear him as she walked by toward the pumps. “Yes, Don, you did the right thing to have it cleaned. A mess like that in my home I would never tolerate.”
Too bad he’s a neat freak, she thought as she pumped the gas into the can, not that it matters.
*****
An hour later, Clara was back in her apartment digging through her empty refrigerator. “No one ever buys milk,” she said to the empty apartment. The foil pan of leftovers was the only palatable food she could find, so she finished it off while working on her paper for class the next morning. Her third year at UNLV was going well academically—she was a top student in the English Department, but financially she was in trouble. Student loans were piling up, and her passion was literature rather than a career field that would result in a lucrative job. Even if she taught, she knew her living conditions would be austere at best for the next decade.
As she looked at the research she’d done on a Word document on her MacBook, a spoonful of greasy baked ziti perched at her lips, there was a knocking at the thin door. “Landon, take your key once in a while,” she shouted toward the door.
But Landon was not at the door. As she opened it, four members of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, or Metro as it was referred to locally, stood there. “Oh come on in,” she said. The police are finally here about the dead body, she thought.
“We had a report of a crime from a resident at this address—a Clara Denton. Is that you?”
She nodded in relief. “Yeah, that’s me. Is she related to the serial murders?”
“She?” The suited detective looked at his notes before making eye contact with Clara again. They followed her inside.
“The woman—the dead body I found at work today.”
“Miss Denton, there was no body at the Roman. Not at the room number you reported, or any other room. Have you been following news coverage of the killings?”
“Well yes, but—wait a minute, there was a body, drained looking, white. The head of security and a few other men saw it, too.”
“Miss Denton, I understand the stress you’ve been under. However, calling 911 with a made up story is a serious crime. If we chased every baseless tip we’d be—”
“Baseless? I saw her!”
“You were fired today, were you not?”
“Well, yeah, because I insisted they call the police.”
“According to management at the casino, you were fired for being late too many times. As you were leaving the resort premises, you called 911 from your prepaid cellphone and made up a story about finding a body in order to inconvenience the hotel.”
Clara shook her head, the blood draining from her face. Was this really happening?
*****
Santino paced on the priceless rug that graced the polished marble floors of his penthouse suite high atop the Roman. His trusted head of security, Donovan Salerno, sat on the cognac leather wingback chair and glanced over the notes in his small notebook. The afternoon had been stressful, but Don thought he’d done well.
“And the maid? She won’t talk? Let’s make her happy,” Santino said as he rubbed his stubbly chin.
“Well, sir, we fired her, it was necessary that—”
“What the fuck did you just say? You fired her?”
Donovan took a deep breath and willed himself to stay calm. The boss was mad—deadly mad. He stood up and explained. “She demanded we call the police. That one, she was too smart. That young chick wasn’t like the Mexican maids that most—”
“I swear to God that if you say one ignorant bigoted thing you will regret it for the rest of your short life.” Santino had no tolerance for small-mindedness.
“Um, no, it’s just this housekeeper was not going to be deterred from alerting Metro to the mess in your house, sir.”
“So now she’s out there, with no loyalty whatsoever to us, no incentive to stay silent. That is a problem, Don.”
“Yes, sir. We’ll take care of her. I apologize for letting her go.”
“I don’t want her harmed, I merely want her silent. What is her name?”
Santino’s pale eyes focused on the man as he stopped his pacing. The words his head of security spoke caused him to grow cold, colder than his usual soulless body.
“Clara Denton.”

 About the Author


Sam JD Hunt resides in Las Vegas with her husband, the inspiration for the young Thomas Hunt character, as well as her two children. Her debut trilogy, The Thomas Hunt Series, put a fun and unique spin on the popular BDSM genre. She followed up with the highly successful DEEP: A Captive Tale--a dark BDSM erotic captor/captive story about a pirate and his lady that spans time and space. Her fourth novel, the full-length standalone The Hunt for Eros is an erotic art adventure that combines spicy romance with a cultural adventure based on true life events. It has been described as being like The Da Vinci Code, but with lots of heat added.
Hunt's next release was co-written with her husband. Dagger: American Fighter Pilot is a steamy contemporary romance, which follows a squadron of fighter pilots as part of the American Fighter Pilot read-in-any-order series. Following the release of Dagger, Hunt released the much-anticipated MMF/Bi/Ménage erotic adventure, Taken by Two and then its sequel, Torn from Two. Next, Hunt plans to release DEEPER: Capture of the Virgin Bride as a follow-up to DEEP. When not writing, Hunt enjoys travel, community involvement, spending time with friends and family, and hiking. She spends her days writing and trying to answer the age-old question: is it too late for coffee or too early for wine?


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