Damien and Nikki reconnect in ‘Please Me’ by J Kenner

From New York Times Bestselling author J. Kenner comes PLEASE ME, a new novella in her Stark Ever After Series, brought to you by 1,001 Dark Nights! Be sure to grab your copy today!

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author J. Kenner comes a new story in her Stark Ever After series…

Each day with Damien is a miracle, each moment with our children a gift. And yet I cannot escape the growing sense that a storm is gathering, threatening to pull me away, to rip us apart. To drag me down, once again, into a darkness to which I swore never to return.

I have to fight it—I know that. And I am waging the battle with of all my heart. But it is Damien who is my strength, and we both know that the only way to push away the darkness is for him to fold me in his arms and claim me completely. And for me to surrender myself, once again, to the fire that burns between us.

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Review

In this new installment of Damien and Nikki’s story as Nikki is trying to see if she can have it all. A career, a family, and a happy marriage. As we get to see in this story that it’s not all as easy as one would like it to be. She takes him on a getaway to try and reconnect but when they are away, they only learn that where they really want to be is home with their family.

I love any time we can meet back with Damien and Nikki. They are a couple that we have fell in love so many years ago and to see that they are able to find to make it work, makes you believe that love can truly exist. While they the ‘it’ couple, we also see that they still have a lot of things to work on. I’m glad that while they have their HEA it shows that it doesn’t mean that you stop working on making sure you don’t lose it.

The story is in Nikki’s POV and I like that we see that while she is happy with her life with Damien and her family, she still struggles with the relationship with her mom and the demons that still haunt her. Being happy doesn’t mean that everything else gets forgotten. What it means is that you aren’t always tormented by them, but when something happens, you are stronger to say ‘no’ to them.


Julie Kenner (aka J. Kenner and J.K. Beck) is the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of over forty novels, novellas and short stories in a variety of genres.

Praised by Publishers Weekly as an author with a “flair for dialogue and eccentric characterizations,” J.K. writes a range of stories including super sexy romances, paranormal romance, chick lit suspense and paranormal mommy lit. Her foray into the latter, Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom by Julie Kenner, is in development as a feature film with 1492 Pictures.

Her most recent trilogy of erotic romances, The Stark Trilogy (as J. Kenner), reached as high as #2 on the New York Times list and is published in over twenty countries.

J.K. lives in Central Texas, with her husband, two daughters, and several cats.

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J. Kenner’s latest novella for the Stark series ‘Please Me’ is now available

 

From New York Times Bestselling author J. Kenner comes PLEASE ME, a new novella in her Stark Ever After Series, brought to you by 1,001 Dark Nights! Be sure to grab your copy today!

 

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author J. Kenner comes a new story in her Stark Ever After series…

Each day with Damien is a miracle, each moment with our children a gift. And yet I cannot escape the growing sense that a storm is gathering, threatening to pull me away, to rip us apart. To drag me down, once again, into a darkness to which I swore never to return.

I have to fight it—I know that. And I am waging the battle with of all my heart. But it is Damien who is my strength, and we both know that the only way to push away the darkness is for him to fold me in his arms and claim me completely. And for me to surrender myself, once again, to the fire that burns between us.

 

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Download the Free Kindle App

 

 

EXCERPT:

I’ve just popped a cube of Wisconsin Cheddar into my mouth when my phone chimes, signaling a call from Damien. “Hey,” I say through a mouthful of cheese. “Are you in the car?”

“Actually, I’m stuck here. It’s been one of those days.”

“Oh.” Disappointment crashes over me, along with the fear that my plans for a long weekend are going to be swept away in a flood of work crises. I draw in a breath and catch Jamie’s eye, her expression sympathetic. “Well, Jamie’s here. She can watch the kids, and I could come stay the night at the Tower Apartment.” Stark International is based in Stark Tower, one of LA’s downtown high rises. Damien’s private office takes up half the top floor, and his—now our—private apartment takes up the other half of the space.

“That’s tempting, but no. I need…”

As he trails off, that knot of worry in my stomach starts to tighten. “What?” I whisper, hoping that now, finally, he’ll tell me what’s the matter.

“I need to deal with this.”

“Damien, please—”

“I’ll be home as soon as I can. I promise. I love you. Kiss the girls for me. And I’ll see you later tonight.”

I hesitate, waiting to hear those familiar words: Until then, imagine me, touching you. But there’s only silence, and I swallow rising tears. “I love you, too. Do you want to talk to La—” I begin, but he’s already clicked off.

I draw a breath and stare at my phone before lifting my head and meeting Jamie’s eyes.

“I’m sorry,” she says. “But honestly, Nicholas, the man pretty much runs the entire known universe. Of course there’s stuff on his mind.”

She’s right, and I draw in a breath, suck it up, and force myself into a good mood as we change into swimsuits, then take the kids onto the back patio.

 

 

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Julie Kenner (aka J. Kenner and J.K. Beck) is the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of over forty novels, novellas and short stories in a variety of genres.

Praised by Publishers Weekly as an author with a “flair for dialogue and eccentric characterizations,” J.K. writes a range of stories including super sexy romances, paranormal romance, chick lit suspense and paranormal mommy lit. Her foray into the latter, Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom by Julie Kenner, is in development as a feature film with 1492 Pictures.

Her most recent trilogy of erotic romances, The Stark Trilogy (as J. Kenner), reached as high as #2 on the New York Times list and is published in over twenty countries.

J.K. lives in Central Texas, with her husband, two daughters, and several cats.

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Noah gets a second chance of love in ‘Wicked Torture’ by J Kenner

Outwardly, Noah Carter is riding high as the tech world’s hottest new genius. Inside, he’s still reeling from the abduction of his wife and baby daughter eight years ago, and then the devastating discovery of his child’s body. For years, he kept up hope that his wife was alive, but now that she’s been declared legally dead, he’s thrown himself even more deeply into his work, cutting himself off from emotional ties because they just hurt too damn much.

Then he meets Kiki Porter, an eternal optimist with a killer work ethic and dreams of fronting a band. And everything changes. Even though he tries his damnedest to fight it…

Sexually, they are combustible together. But their true fire is emotional, though it is a slow to burn. But once it lights, it is all consuming. The relationship grows emotionally, the sex is hot, things are good.

But just when it’s looking like they might have a real future together, the past comes back to haunt them. And Noah’s going to have to decide what he’s willing to give up for love …

All Wicked Novels Stand Alone

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Time to heal.

Somehow, though, he never found the enthusiasm. Or maybe that was just an excuse. Another way of punishing himself for walking away from the woman he loved in favor of the woman he’d owed.

And since he’d never have either of them again, he needed to kick his own ass, pick up the pieces of his life, and start building something real. After all, there wasn’t a tech gadget he couldn’t design, build, or repair. So why was he so clueless when it came to his own damn life?

It was time, and it would be easy. Painless even, because God knew Evie embodied everything he admired in a woman. Strength. Intelligence. Ambition. Humor. Beauty. She was as desirable as Lyle had promised and obviously enthusiastic.

In other words, he was all out of excuses.

He stood up, intending to tell her to lead the way. But the words that came out of his mouth shocked them both. “I’m sorry, Evie,” he said. “You’ve been wonderful, but I have an early meeting, and I should probably get home.”

“Oh.” He’d surprised her as she was rising, and now she teetered awkwardly on her heels, as if his unexpected words would physically topple her.

He reached out a hand to steady her, and for the briefest moment, he considered pulling her close and fighting his way past his hesitation. She was everything he should want in a woman—with the unfortunately insurmountable problem that she wasn’t what he wanted at all. Or, rather, she wasn’t who he wanted.

Goddamn him.

Goddamn his stupid, unrealistic fantasies.

And while he was at it, goddamn Kiki, too.

He was being an idiot and unfair, and he knew it. An idiot, because he’d made his choice to walk away from Kiki long ago, and he knew damn well that he’d shattered her in the process. Even if he could have seen his way clear to look her up after all these years, he’d forfeited his right to come crawling back.

Unfair, because not ten minutes ago he’d been ready to take the plunge with Evie, and yet here he was, dodging and shifting like a damn coward, trying to swim up out of the deep black ocean of loss and pain. A familiar pain that wrapped him like a blanket, so cloying it was almost comfortable. And he knew damn well that there was only one way to fight it—he needed to take the girl to her room and try to fuck the darkness out of him.

The way he’d done with countless other women.

The way that never worked like it should. That only dulled the sharp edges of his pain, but added no light to the darkness.

That wasn’t what he wanted. Not anymore. One of the reasons he’d moved to Austin was to heal, after all. To heal, and to break bad habits.

Still, it was tempting, and it took more strength than he expected to shake his head again and say very gently, “I really am sorry. I’m not … ready.” She’d been polite enough not to mention the tragedy in his past, but he was certain that Lyle must have at least told her that he’d lost his wife and daughter. Hopefully, that softened the blow of rejection.

She’d regained her footing, and now she stepped back, her forehead creased as her eyes flicked over him, expertly assessing him as she would a witness. “It’s been almost nine years, I’m told.” The sharp edge of her voice sliced his heart. So much for softening the blow. “If you don’t get ready soon, I can’t help but think you’re going to end up sad and alone.”

With a thin, sympathetic smile, she turned and walked away, leaving him to watch her go and wonder at her perceptiveness. Because she was right.

He was going to end up sad and alone.

Hell, he already was.

J. Kenner (aka Julie Kenner) is the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, Wall Street Journal and #1 International bestselling author of over seventy novels, novellas and short stories in a variety of genres.

Known primarily for her award-winning and international bestselling erotic romances (including the Stark and Most Wanted series) that have reached as high as #2 on the New York Times bestseller list, JK has been praised by RT Bookclub for having “cornered the market on sinfully attractive, dominant antiheroes and the women who swoon for them.” A five time finalist for Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA award, JK took home the first RITA trophy awarded in the category of erotic romance for her novel, Claim Me (book 2 of her Stark Trilogy). Her books have sold over three million copies and are published in over twenty languages.

In her previous career as an attorney, JK worked as a clerk on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and practiced primarily civil, entertainment and First Amendment litigation in Los Angeles and Irvine, California, as well as in Austin, Texas. She currently lives in Central Texas, with her husband, two daughters, and two rather spastic cats.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | YouTube | Amazon Author Page

Don’t need to torture yourself anymore with anticipation, ‘Wicked Torture’ by J Kenner is available now

Outwardly, Noah Carter is riding high as the tech world’s hottest new genius. Inside, he’s still reeling from the abduction of his wife and baby daughter eight years ago, and then the devastating discovery of his child’s body. For years, he kept up hope that his wife was alive, but now that she’s been declared legally dead, he’s thrown himself even more deeply into his work, cutting himself off from emotional ties because they just hurt too damn much.

Then he meets Kiki Porter, an eternal optimist with a killer work ethic and dreams of fronting a band. And everything changes. Even though he tries his damnedest to fight it…

Sexually, they are combustible together. But their true fire is emotional, though it is a slow to burn. But once it lights, it is all consuming. The relationship grows emotionally, the sex is hot, things are good.

But just when it’s looking like they might have a real future together, the past comes back to haunt them. And Noah’s going to have to decide what he’s willing to give up for love …

All Wicked Novels Stand Alone

BUY NOW

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Time to heal.

Somehow, though, he never found the enthusiasm. Or maybe that was just an excuse. Another way of punishing himself for walking away from the woman he loved in favor of the woman he’d owed.

And since he’d never have either of them again, he needed to kick his own ass, pick up the pieces of his life, and start building something real. After all, there wasn’t a tech gadget he couldn’t design, build, or repair. So why was he so clueless when it came to his own damn life?

It was time, and it would be easy. Painless even, because God knew Evie embodied everything he admired in a woman. Strength. Intelligence. Ambition. Humor. Beauty. She was as desirable as Lyle had promised and obviously enthusiastic.

In other words, he was all out of excuses.

He stood up, intending to tell her to lead the way. But the words that came out of his mouth shocked them both. “I’m sorry, Evie,” he said. “You’ve been wonderful, but I have an early meeting, and I should probably get home.”

“Oh.” He’d surprised her as she was rising, and now she teetered awkwardly on her heels, as if his unexpected words would physically topple her.

He reached out a hand to steady her, and for the briefest moment, he considered pulling her close and fighting his way past his hesitation. She was everything he should want in a woman—with the unfortunately insurmountable problem that she wasn’t what he wanted at all. Or, rather, she wasn’t who he wanted.

Goddamn him.

Goddamn his stupid, unrealistic fantasies.

And while he was at it, goddamn Kiki, too.

He was being an idiot and unfair, and he knew it. An idiot, because he’d made his choice to walk away from Kiki long ago, and he knew damn well that he’d shattered her in the process. Even if he could have seen his way clear to look her up after all these years, he’d forfeited his right to come crawling back.

Unfair, because not ten minutes ago he’d been ready to take the plunge with Evie, and yet here he was, dodging and shifting like a damn coward, trying to swim up out of the deep black ocean of loss and pain. A familiar pain that wrapped him like a blanket, so cloying it was almost comfortable. And he knew damn well that there was only one way to fight it—he needed to take the girl to her room and try to fuck the darkness out of him.

The way he’d done with countless other women.

The way that never worked like it should. That only dulled the sharp edges of his pain, but added no light to the darkness.

That wasn’t what he wanted. Not anymore. One of the reasons he’d moved to Austin was to heal, after all. To heal, and to break bad habits.

Still, it was tempting, and it took more strength than he expected to shake his head again and say very gently, “I really am sorry. I’m not … ready.” She’d been polite enough not to mention the tragedy in his past, but he was certain that Lyle must have at least told her that he’d lost his wife and daughter. Hopefully, that softened the blow of rejection.

She’d regained her footing, and now she stepped back, her forehead creased as her eyes flicked over him, expertly assessing him as she would a witness. “It’s been almost nine years, I’m told.” The sharp edge of her voice sliced his heart. So much for softening the blow. “If you don’t get ready soon, I can’t help but think you’re going to end up sad and alone.”

With a thin, sympathetic smile, she turned and walked away, leaving him to watch her go and wonder at her perceptiveness. Because she was right.

He was going to end up sad and alone.

Hell, he already was.

J. Kenner (aka Julie Kenner) is the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, Wall Street Journal and #1 International bestselling author of over seventy novels, novellas and short stories in a variety of genres.

Known primarily for her award-winning and international bestselling erotic romances (including the Stark and Most Wanted series) that have reached as high as #2 on the New York Times bestseller list, JK has been praised by RT Bookclub for having “cornered the market on sinfully attractive, dominant antiheroes and the women who swoon for them.” A five time finalist for Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA award, JK took home the first RITA trophy awarded in the category of erotic romance for her novel, Claim Me (book 2 of her Stark Trilogy). Her books have sold over three million copies and are published in over twenty languages.

In her previous career as an attorney, JK worked as a clerk on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and practiced primarily civil, entertainment and First Amendment litigation in Los Angeles and Irvine, California, as well as in Austin, Texas. She currently lives in Central Texas, with her husband, two daughters, and two rather spastic cats.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | YouTube | Amazon Author Page

J. Kenner announces her new book series ‘Man of the Month’

Who’s Your Man of the Month?

You can find out starting on January 16th, 2018 when New York Times, USA Today,Wall Street Journal and #1 International bestselling author J. Kenner releases the sexy new series MAN OF THE MONTH, these books are guaranteed to be your next binge read!

Who’s Your Man of the Month?

When a group of fiercely determined friends realize their beloved hang-out is in danger of closing, they take matters into their own hands to bring back customers lost to a competing bar. Fighting fire with a heat of their own, they double down with the broad shoulders, six-pack abs, and bare chests of dozens of hot, local guys who they cajole, prod, and coerce into auditioning for a Man of the Month calendar.

But it’s not just the fate of the bar that’s at stake. Because as things heat up, each of the men meets his match in this sexy, flirty, and compelling binge-read romance series of twelve novels releasing every other week from New York Times bestselling author J. Kenner.

“With each novel featuring a favorite romance trope—beauty and the beast, billionaire bad boys, friends to lovers, second chance romance, secret baby, and more—this series hits the heart and soul of romance.” — New York Times bestselling author Carly Phillips

FOR MORE DETAILS AND BUYING OPTIONS CLICK HERE

All Night Long

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In Too Deep

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Light My Fire

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Walk the Line

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J. Kenner (aka Julie Kenner) is the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, Wall Street Journal and #1 International bestselling author of over seventy novels, novellas and short stories in a variety of genres.

Known primarily for her award-winning and international bestselling erotic romances (including the Stark and Most Wanted series) that have reached as high as #2 on the New York Times bestseller list, JK has been praised by RT Bookclub for having “cornered the market on sinfully attractive, dominant antiheroes and the women who swoon for them.” A five time finalist for Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA award, JK took home the first RITA trophy awarded in the category of erotic romance for her novel, Claim Me (book 2 of her Stark Trilogy). Her books have sold over three million copies and are published in over twenty languages.

In her previous career as an attorney, JK worked as a clerk on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and practiced primarily civil, entertainment and First Amendment litigation in Los Angeles and Irvine, California, as well as in Austin, Texas. She currently lives in Central Texas, with her husband, two daughters, and two rather spastic cats.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | YouTube | Amazon Author Page

J Kenner, Dee Davis and Kathleen O’Reilly team up for a sexy new book ‘Tempting Fate’

These bad boys are going to raise a little hell …

Jack. Nick. Marcus.

Sexy, seductive, and so good looking it’s practically a sin.

They’re the baddest of the bad. The illegitimate sons of Satan, who have managed to make love, raise hell, and milk life in a manner worthy of their heritage. Until the day the devil himself needs to name his heir, and crafts a series of tests to see which one is worthy to be the next ruler of Sin City.

The mission? Each son must complete a task that is designed to stretch his mental, physical, and emotional powers to the limit. The prize? The Keys To Hell. The problem? Three strong, enticing women who are just as determined to ensure that the men fail.

And at the end of the day, Jack, Nick, and Marcus may learn that it’s not the key to their father’s kingdom they want … but the key to a woman’s heart.

AMAZON

Bad girls need love, too…

Lucia. Jezebel. Lola.

Three bold, beautiful and sexy women who just happen to be Lucifer’s daughters. And daddy dearest is desperate to retire. On the heels of their brothers’ failures, the devil is putting his faith in his daughters. All they have to do is successfully complete the challenges he sets before them.

Surely one of his daughters will win the keys to the Kingdom.

But even the most devilishly determined women can find themselves thwarted by that most debilitating of weaknesses. The single most powerful human emotion of all—love…

AMAZON

julie-j-kenner-author-photoJ.Kenner (aka Julie Kenner) is the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, Wall Street Journal and #1 International bestselling author of over seventy novels, novellas and short stories in a variety of genres.

Though known primarily for her award-winning and international bestselling erotic romances (including the Stark and Most Wanted series) that have reached as high as #2 on the New York Times bestseller list, JK has been writing full time for over a decade in a variety of genres including paranormal and contemporary romance, “chicklit” suspense, urban fantasy, and paranormal mommy lit.

JK has been praised by Publishers Weekly as an author with a “flair for dialogue and eccentric characterizations” and by RT Bookclub for having “cornered the market on sinfully attractive, dominant antiheroes and the women who swoon for them.” A five time finalist for Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA award, JK took home the first RITA trophy awarded in the category of erotic romance in 2014 for her novel, Claim Me (book 2 of her Stark Trilogy). Her Demon Hunting Soccer Mom series (as Julie Kenner) is currently in development with AwesomenessTV/Awestruck.

Her books have sold over three million copies and are published in over twenty languages.

In her previous career as an attorney, JK worked as a clerk on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and practiced primarily civil, entertainment and First Amendment litigation in Los Angeles and Irvine, California, as well as in Austin, Texas. She currently lives in Central Texas, with her husband, two daughters, and two rather spastic cats.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | YouTube | Amazon Author Page

Dee Davis has a BA in Political Science and History, and a Masters Degree in Public Administration. During a ten-year career in public relations, she spent three years on the public speaking circuit, edited two newsletters, wrote three award winning public service announcements, did television and radio commercials, starred in the Seven Year Itch, taught college classes, lobbied both the Texas State Legislature and the US Congress, and served as the director of two associations.

Her highly acclaimed first novel, Everything In Its Time, was published in July 2000. She’s won the Booksellers Best, Golden Leaf, Texas Gold and Prism awards, and been nominated for the National Readers Choice Award, the Holt and two RT Reviewers Choice Awards. To date, she has written twenty-two books and five novellas, including the Random Heroes Collection and the A-Tac series. She’s lived in Austria and traveled in Europe extensively. And although she now lives in Connecticut she still calls Texas home.

It’s such a strange twist of fate that I ended up as a writer. I swore up and down that I would never write, but everyone always shook their head and said, “Kathleen, you’re going to be a writer.” As fate would have it, they were right, and I wasn’t (don’t you hate that?)

My favorite part of writing is creating my characters. I fall in love with everyone in each book, and it’s pure magic when it all comes to life.

Lyle makes a desperate move to save his career in ‘Wicked Dirty’ by J Kenner

Sometimes bad isn’t good enough…

On the outside, Lyle Tarpin is a clean-cut Hollywood actor whose star is on the rise. Inside, he’s battling his own demons, shunning relationships and finding solace in the arms of a string of anonymous women paid very well for their discretion.

But when he’s photographed in a compromising position by an over-eager reporter, the only way to save his career is to say that the woman he was with is his fiancée. And now Lyle has to play a very public game with the only woman who’s ever managed to get under his skin.

Struggling waitress Sugar Laine agrees to spend one night with Lyle—but only because she’s desperate to save her family home. She never expects that a night of passion will turn into a pretend engagement … or that the heat between them will blossom into love.

But sometimes love has a price.

And now the only question is—can Lyle and Sugar afford to pay it?

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Review

That Hollywood life is one that many people in life strive for. Its all glitz and glam but it can come at a price. Lyle Tarpin learned that the hard way. Sugar Laine has her own world of problems with trying not to lose her house. She thinks she has a solution with Lyle.

 

Both Lyle and Sugar have their own issues with their past and the question will remain whether or not they will be able to over come them. Lyle’s issues are deep rooted and that guilt that rides him hard is something that we could understand what he is going through. As the story progresses you wonder what happened to him and whether there is something greater that connects Sugar and Lyle. The truth far surpassed what I was expecting and I love that Kenner can still surprise me no matter how many books of hers that I read.

 

The book takes place in the world of Stark International so we some familiar faces. I love diving deeper into this world and seeing how they intertwine with one another. Like the other ones, this book has some of those steamy scenes that you love from J. Kenner books and she doesn’t hold back with Sugar and Lyle. They have a combustion romance that takes the book and brings it to a whole new level.

 

The book ends with a HEA and set up the next book nicely. I am very excited to see what’s going to happen in the next book.

Rating: B

My blood pounds through my body, my heart beating so hard that I can feel the pressure not only against my ribs, but against the wall behind me. My lips are parted, my breath coming in shaky gasps.

He’s only inches away, so close I could reach out and touch that famous, gorgeous face. His eyes, as deep and blue as the summer sky, roam over me. He eases closer, moving slowly, his face reflecting a hunger that sends shivers through me.

Once again, my mind conjures the image of a hungry wolf. Only now I’m thinking that maybe getting eaten wouldn’t be so bad after all.

Besides, I’m here. Might as well enjoy it.

Then, of course, I remember exactly what it is.

Oh, God.

His fingertip brushes my forehead, and I almost jump out of my skin. I meet his eyes, see something that looks like irritation, and want to kick myself. I need to focus, dammit.

“You were somewhere else.” He speaks flatly, as if he’s working to keep all emotion out.

I shake my head, conjuring a lie. “I’m right here.” And then, because I’ve seen movies with call girls, I put my hand flat on his chest, trying to seem seductive. He’s wearing a gray T-shirt, and I can feel his heart beating beneath the planes of his muscled chest.

I read somewhere that he was getting in shape to play a superhero in an upcoming movie. And kudos to whoever’s orchestrating that transformation, because this guy is rock solid.

He’s still looking at me, and I fist my hand in the material of his shirt, needing an anchor against the storm of emotion I see playing out on his face. Desire. Hunger. Longing. Regret.

And pain. I see so much damn pain that I have to fight the urge to cup my palm against his cheek and tell him that whatever it is, it’s going to be okay.

Instead, I simply whisper, “Lyle?”

I’m not sure if it was the wrong thing or the right thing to say, but I know that it was unexpected. And before I can apologize or cover or say anything else at all, he is on me. One hand at my throat, the other hard on my breast. I’m pinned against the wall, helpless, as he claims my mouth again. Wildly. Brutally.

I try to think what I’m supposed to do—try to respond. But I’m trapped. I’m not Sugar. I’m not Laine. I’m not anyone. This isn’t about sex. It’s about pain and need and that storm of horrors I saw on his face. I might as well not even be here. And as his hand squeezes tight on my breast—as his mouth clashes so hard against mine that he draws blood—my only thought is that I shouldn’t have come at all. That this was stupid. Foolish. And that this night is going to leave me scarred.

I squeeze my eyes shut, trying to be what he wants. A warm body. An anonymous female.

But I can’t do it. I can’t do it at all.

All I can be is me. A woman desperate enough to have sex for money. A girl trying anything and everything to save her house. To protect her family’s memory.

I can be that girl.

But I can’t be nothing. I can’t be no one.

And as his hand tightens in my hair—as he kisses me violently—as his body presses hard against mine and I feel the steel of his erection—I know that I’ve made a terrible, horrible, awful mistake.

Stop!

Julie - J Kenner Author PhotoJ.Kenner (aka Julie Kenner) is the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, Wall Street Journal and #1 International bestselling author of over seventy novels, novellas and short stories in a variety of genres.

Though known primarily for her award-winning and international bestselling erotic romances (including the Stark and Most Wanted series) that have reached as high as #2 on the New York Times bestseller list, JK has been writing full time for over a decade in a variety of genres including paranormal and contemporary romance, “chicklit” suspense, urban fantasy, and paranormal mommy lit.

JK has been praised by Publishers Weekly as an author with a “flair for dialogue and eccentric characterizations” and by RT Bookclub for having “cornered the market on sinfully attractive, dominant antiheroes and the women who swoon for them.” A five time finalist for Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA award, JK took home the first RITA trophy awarded in the category of erotic romance in 2014 for her novel, Claim Me (book 2 of her Stark Trilogy). Her Demon Hunting Soccer Mom series (as Julie Kenner) is currently in development with AwesomenessTV/Awestruck.

Her books have sold over three million copies and are published in over twenty languages.

In her previous career as an attorney, JK worked as a clerk on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and practiced primarily civil, entertainment and First Amendment litigation in Los Angeles and Irvine, California, as well as in Austin, Texas. She currently lives in Central Texas, with her husband, two daughters, and two rather spastic cats.

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