Tuesday, December 24, 2013



Fractured Innocence 
(IFICS #2Freak of Nature)
By Julia Crane
Release Date: December 24, 2013

Blurb/Synopsis

*Warning 17+ due to sexual gritty topic and language

Kaitlyn and Erik are sent on a mission to track down Vance Dasvoik, a ruthless monster. His latest thrill—abducting and selling young women.

Vance's current victim: Aaliyah, a seventeen-year-old who never imagined walking her brother home from school one evening would change her life forever.

The mission quickly turns personal for Kaitlyn when she finds Aaliyah beaten, her mind and soul fractured from abuse of the worst kind. Kaitlyn knows firsthand what it's like to be haunted by the past and resolves to bring justice to the elusive Dasvoik.

Book Link:

Author Bio

Julia crane is the author of the Coexist: Keegan’s Chronicles. She has a bachelors degree in criminal justice. Julia has believed in magical creatures since the day her grandmother first told her an Irish tale. Growing up her mother greatly encouraged reading and using your imagination.She currently lives in Tennesee with her husband and three children.

Author Links:

To follow the Release click below

Fractured Innocence by Julia Crane Excerpts 

  
    This couldn’t be reality. Had they really been abducted? No! No! No! Please let this be a dream. A 
nightmare. Please let me wake up and find myself in my own bed. Things like this didn’t happen, not to 
her. Not to her brother! Certainly not in America 
     Her family didn’t have money, so she knew this wasn’t about ransom.  
     Without moving she scanned the room trying to gain her bearings. She was curled up on the floor in the 
corner of a small room, that much was obvious. Her body ached. She tried to straighten her legs out but 
they remained bent. She couldn’t even push herself up to sitting. 
     The walls were white and metal filing cabinets lined the walls. A large wooden desk sat off to the left with 
a computer. No windows. No pictures or paintings on the wall. Nothing personal whatsoever.    
     Her eyes continued to dart around the room, finally settling on the men. They were large, wore dark suits 
and looked scary. One was tall with a hook nose and curly blond hair, the other was short but muscular 
with a bald head. They were not the same men from the car.  
     Desperately she tried to fight the panic that rose in her chest once she realized her brother was not in the 
room with them. Where was he? At least she knew he was alive from their comments. Too young? For 
what? So many questions and no answers. Maybe if she could figure out where they were they could 
escape.  
#2  
     In the dead of night their boat went unnoticed by the sentries as the current tossed the boat around. If they 
were like most guards they were probably dozing on the job. But she had to assume they were heavily 
armed and dangerous. Erik hit the throttle and veered off at the last second bringing the boat back around 
again, getting as close as possible. 
     Dim lights glowed from some of the portholes, but most were dark.  
     Kaitlyn analyzed the wind and gauged the waves before leaping forward, she grabbed ahold of the ladder 
rung and pulled herself up quickly, climbing with ease. Erik was close on her heels.  
     Silently Kaitlyn dropped to the floor, and simply stood there watching, listening. Her mind went cold, 
analytical. She could hear muted voices, footsteps scraping, water dripping, the hum of fluorescent lights. 
     In the distance someone coughed. No one was aware of their presence. 
     The ship was old, rusty and large. It was 965 foot long and had almost 3,000 shipping containers on it.  
     The captives could be anywhere. Mentally she went over the blue prints seeking out the largest rooms 
where Dasvoik would most likely sleep. She vectored in a couple of locations. 
     The stench was overwhelming—rotten food, feces and urine to name a few mixed with the salty air. While 
her sensors were busy sorting out the different scents, sounds and possible scenarios they could encounter, 
     Kaitlyn panned back and forth scanning the area, taking in the heat sensors.  
Several different caution symbols illuminated on her internal screen. Nearby an armed guard stood off to 
her left. The man was completely unaware he was a breath away from death— if he made the wrong move.  



Giveaway

For your chance to win an ecopy of Fractured Innocence by Julia Crane, please leave a comment on each Blog Page participating in the Release.




Sunday, December 22, 2013

Title: Unusual Awakening

Author: S.M. Knowles        

Genre: Young Adult
Tour Host: Lady Amber's Tours

Book Description:

With tears and a tight hug, Rylee Everley’s dad left for Afghanistan with the Army Reserve. Since his deployment, her mom has been distant, her sisters are constantly fighting, and Rylee, at only thirteen years old, has to be the glue to keep them together. While her mother stays locked in her room, Rylee has been forced into the role of parent.

Now, two years later, a freak accident involving a bus at school promises to restore some normality to her family. In spite of not knowing how their father is, her mother is happy and her sisters don’t seem to fight as much as they used to. Rylee herself is seeing more of her friends and is even trying to sort out her own feelings about Brock Parker. However, something dark threatens to disrupt that normality for personal gain, and that darkness is willing to break every rule to get what it wants.



Author Bio:


S.M. Knowles was born in Elmira, New York where she was swept away in a whirlwind to the Land of Oz—Independence, Kansas. Her parents were relocating for working opportunities and decided that this would be the perfect place to start new roots. Little did she know that this place would contribute to the inspiration for the first book she wrote in her Rylee Everley Series.

While growing up, S.M. would travel the roads around her house while imagining she was somewhere else. Her imagination would take her everywhere, making the long hot summer days seem shorter throughout her fantasies.

At the age of twelve, she decided to write her first book. Filled mostly with dialog, she filled up one-hundred pages, front and back. After taking the book downstairs to show her mom, and persuading her to buy her more paper, she excitedly ran back to her room. As she barreled through the door, S.M. tripped over items left on her floor, and her papers came raining down in her room. Discouraged, she stood there in tears, picking up her papers and throwing them in the trash. Her work had no organization, no numbers on her pages, just a child fulfilling a joy that she would put down and not pick up again.
When she became older, she joined the military for something different. In that time, she was able to explore many places and even met her husband in Iraq. After coming home, she started her family in Arizona and went back to school, earning a Master’s degree in Adult Education and Training.

 
Excerpt:



Getting up, I walk over to the tree line. I don’t see anything around, so I grab a rock and throw it to scare off any animals. Walking in further, I call out, “Hello?” Everything is quiet. I wait a few more seconds. Something feels off. Walking in a little further, I hear a branch break. I know I didn’t step on anything, so something’s unquestionably out there. “Who’s out here?” I yell. A big oak tree stands directly in front of me, right next to him. “No, no, no, no,” I beg.

Song:

            http://www.youtube.com/embed/5y_KJAg8bHI : Avicii, Wake me up

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IigRv6B763k : Eric Clapton, My father’s eyes



Saturday, December 21, 2013


Blurb:

What if to save the ones you love, you had to unlock the key to a different reality?

Generations of mystery smash together when a seemingly traditional family must shatter their illusions of normality to confront themselves and their friends, leaving no possibility unexplored in order to rescue—well, who exactly? Watch the Ross family, the High Five Gang, and multiple generations dig into an innovative explosion of imagination where they must confront numerous realities, real-world danger, and worst of all—their own teenage hormones!

In a place where nothing is as it seems and shocks are around every corner, even the people you thought you knew may find themselves strangers in this moving and provocative reality-bender. With breathless pacing and psychological intrigue, Erasing: Shadows and the High Five Gang will keep you guessing until the very end.


Links galore:

Website for the Erasing Series: http://kdroseworld.com/
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00830RFC0

Blog: http://www.kdroseauthortales.com/

Twitter: @kdrose1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/K.D.RoseWriter

Lycaon Press: http://www.lycaonpress.com/ (A good place to get Erasing besides Amazon)

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6038789.K_D_Rose ( Put Erasing on their To be read shelf- its on goodreads now)

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=184204909&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile
-----------
https://www.facebook.com/pages/HK-Sterling/426989014069244?ref=hl

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HKSterling

Blog: http://hksterling1.blogspot.com/
KD Rose, Author
On Amazon NOW:
KDs newest book,
Erasing: Shadows
Author for Lycaon Press
Website: http://kdroseworld.com/
Twitter- @kdrose1
Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/kdroseauthor

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Erasing-Shadows-K-D-Rose-ebook/dp/B00HE60MPG

Lycaon Press: http://www.lycaonpress.com/index.php?main_page=product_free_shipping_info&cPath=4&products_id=29

All Romance e-books: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-erasingshadows-1370684-344.html?referrer=5148b13c78ae0

Bookstrand: http://www.bookstrand.com/erasing-shadows

Thursday, December 5, 2013



 
Book Synopsis:

Grace Carter spent most of her life caring for her two younger sisters since the day her mom left. After her boyfriend of three years breaks her heart when he leaves her for a tourist passing through town, Grace gives up on love until Tyler Reese moves to Bar Harbor Maine to mend his own broken heart and finds himself wanting to get close to Grace. Breaking down the walls around her heart one kiss at a time making Grace question her plans for giving up on love.




Author Bio:

Jaclyn Marulanda is an avid reader and recently discovered her love for writing. Jaclyn always enjoyed writing since grade school but has recently begun sharing her work with the world by publishing two romance novels. In her spare time when she is not writing she spends her time with her four children and her family. Every day is a new journey and a crazy, fun experience in her house and it’s the only way she would ever have it.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013



Paranormal Pantry
by Belinda Boring, Julia Crane, L.P. Dover, Lizzy Ford, Mia Fox, Cambria Hebert, Cindy Mezni, Melissa Pearl, Alexia Purdy, Cameo Renae

Published by Evatopia Press

Description:
The Paranormal Pantry is a unique collection of first chapters from your favorite romance authors. Here, you’ll get a “taste” of their most popular books. Following each chapter, the author will give you a peek into their own pantry with a dessert recipe and their reason for choosing it. Some of these recipes are in keeping with the theme of their first chapter, others are simply a family favorite. Regardless of the reason, we hope that they’ll become a long time favorite of yours as well.

Adding to the sweetness of this book is the fact that 75% of proceeds are donated to Get-Lit, a leading nonprofit presenter of literary performance, education, and teen poetry programs. Their goal is to inspire teens to read, thereby leveling the playing field between rich and poor, mainstream and marginalized, and bringing previously unheard voices to the forefront.

The authors of this anthology thank you in advance for doing your part to support this important literacy program.

Add it to your Goodreads TBRList!

Purchase Links:


Tuesday, November 12, 2013


   Celebrating the end of a trilogy is bittersweet. I love all the characters in the Whisper Cape series, but Cael and Addison own my heart and always will. Without them, I don't think I would have become an author. At least not a published one. A Secret Fate, book three is now available.
 The New Release: A Secret Fate (Whisper Cape Book 3)
Author: Susan Griscom
Publisher: Amber Glow Books
Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance/Suspense


October 31, 2013 is the official release date for the digital format. You can find your copy at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The print book will be available November 14, 2013. If you'd like to know a little bit more about Cael and Addie, here is a link to an interview with them back in 2011 shortly after their first book was published.

 
The Whisper Cape Trilogy
Author: Susan Griscom
Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance/Suspense
Publisher: Amber Glow Books

Whisper Cape (Book 1)
Publication Date: October 10, 2011

A Steamy Paranormal Romance/Suspense

5 Stars Phenomenal Book!!! Top Pick Review
- Night Owl Reviews

A powerful woman, an extraordinary man, and a maniac who wants to destroy them. Fate has brought them together, but will it make them stronger or destroy them all in end?

Escape to a world where the impossible becomes possible and sparks ignite.

WHISPER CAPE is a town of secrets and Addison MacKenna soon becomes tangled in a web of them. Plagued with nightmares of her father's sudden and brutal death, Addie struggles with her anguish and refuses to believe his demise was accidental.

Fighting to shake off one of those devastating early morning nightmares, Addison finds it even harder to escape from the vision of a man lying on the side of the road--a man she may have just killed. When she frantically tries to locate him, he seemingly disappears, just the beginning of strange occurrences in her life. She also cannot ignore the weird sensations in her own body. Suddenly, the impossible seems possible, but is that a blessing or a curse?

Believing that her continual and worsening nightmares are both the key to her own new abilities and the clue to her father's death, Addie knows she will not rest until she has the answers she craves. As she strives to cope with her new remarkable talents, someone else learns of her abilities--a disgruntled maniacal psychopath with his own agenda that involves eliminating Addie. The only one who can protect her, instruct her in the use of her powers and teach her how to destroy the murderous monster is the same man who makes Addie's heart race and her blood heat with passion. The same man she'd left for dead.

Cael Sheridan may be arrogant and mysterious but he's also undeniably gorgeous. A member of a secret society, he is sworn to protect the woman he believes to be the daughter of his recently murdered mentor. In the process, he finds it impossible to resist her magnetic sensuality, complicating his efforts to shield and guide her as she learns to manage her newly acquired skills. At the same time, Addison has much to teach him about trust and commitment. Will fate win in the end? You be the judge.

Purchase Whisper Cape
Amazon (Links to both US & UK)
Barnes & Noble
Add it to your read list on Goodreads
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Reflections (Whisper Cape book 2)
Publication Date: October 8, 2012

Book 2 in the Steamy Paranormal Romance/Suspense, Whisper Cape Series
What if you heard a voice whispering warnings while you coped with a frightening pregnancy?
Knowing the future has its advantages...or does it?
Can love survive the reflections and memories lost?
Welcome to Maia's world.
Gerry has loved Maia from the very first moment he laid eyes on her and now that she's pregnant with his child, he's over the moon with happiness. Likewise, Maia is overjoyed about having Gerry's baby, but when she starts seeing and hearing an old woman who warns Maia about the pregnancy, Maia starts to think she is losing her mind. But Maia's nightmare has only just begun...

A beautiful woman, the talented lead singer in an up and coming rock band, sets her sights on Gerry determined to rekindle an old flame. But murder befalls the sleepy town of Whisper Cape once again, creating suspicion and betrayal, and a love once considered invincible, begins to crumble and fall apart.

Excerpt from Reflections:

Gerry sat up and rubbed his shoulder. “Thanks, Addie.” He followed her gaze to the place where they had last seen Cael. It pained him, but finally he said, “Addie. Maybe he can’t get back.”

“You don’t think Finn shot him, do you? Cael is strong.”

Gerry shook his head but wasn’t sure if she noticed. “No.”

“Once he got him away from here, I’m sure he used his skills,” she said. “I mean, Cael could take Finn in a fight anytime.”

“He might not be able to come back.” Gerry brushed a strand of hair out of Addie’s face.

“What? What do you mean?” She stood and Gerry got up with her. He moaned a little from the pain and stood next to her.

“I don’t think he got shot. I’m not sure exactly what happened to Cael. When the bullet hit me, I lost balance. He might have received some of my …”

“What? No!” Her face paled and she fought to take in air.

“Breathe,” he said, stroking her back as Maia walked up and stood by her other side.

“I don’t understand.” Her voice was barely a whisper. She walked to where Cael had wrestled with Finn. “What sort of memory were you sending?”

“That’s the problem.” Gerry shook his head. He didn’t want to have to tell Addie that she might never see Cael again.


Purchase Reflections:
Amazon (Links to both US & UK)
Barnes & Noble
Add it to your reading list on Goodreads
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A Secret Fate (Whisper Cape book 3)
Publication Date: October 31, 2013

Description:
"Well, fate was cruel, wasn't it?"

Cael and Addison’s fate has taken an unexpected turn.

Gerry, Addie and Cael almost captured Careen’s murderer only to lose Cael in the battle—a battle that nearly cost him his life. But despite his survival, he faces a new challenge, thanks to Gerry's handiwork: will Cael remember Addie or is their love lost with him?

Addie’s family and friends think she should keep the relationship a secret from Cael so he isn't forced into feelings he can't remember. Just what she needs, more secrets and on top of everything else, someone stole the crystal. How is she supposed to get over the loss of her lover, a lover she'd barely had for only a few short months and deal with the secret of the lost crystal at the same time?

Aiden wants nothing more than to help Addie overcome her grief and get over Cael. Or is that all he wants? What happens when too many people know the secret and someone slips up?

Teaser Excerpt from A Secret Fate


He lay half on top of her, their legs tangled together on the sofa as their rapid heartbeats slowly returned to normal. He didn’t want to move or let her go, but he’d have to. He needed to get up and leave. How would he ever look Aiden in the eye again? What a mess he’d gotten himself into this time.

She sighed. “That was amazing.” Resting her head on his chest, she leaned her face to his and kissed him, gently, softly, then closed her eyes and rested her head. They stayed that way, silent, for a while.

Purchase A Secret Fate
Amazon (links to both US & UK)
Barnes & Noble Link
Add it to your reading list on Goodreads

About Susan
I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania, spending most of my time daydreaming or playing around in the mud. I grew out of the mud play, well, most of the time, a good soak in the mud is always fun. I still daydream often and sometimes my daydreams interrupt my daydreams. So I write to remember them. If I didn't write, I think my mind would explode from an overload of fantasy and weirdness. To the annoyance of my friends and family, my characters sometimes become a part of my world. During my childhood, I would frequently get in trouble in school for daydreaming. Eventually, my vivid imagination paid off and I had the privilege of writing and co-directing my sixth-grade class play—a dreadful disaster, though not from my writing, of course. I'm pretty sure it was the acting.

I enjoy writing about characters living in small quaint towns and tend to lean toward the unusual and edgy.

My paranormal playing field delves into a different milieu, abandoning vampires and werewolves, but not discounting them. Someday I might like to write a novel about vamps and those furry creatures. But for now I like the bizarre mixed with romance. A strong hero or heroine confronted with extraordinary forces of nature, powers and capabilities gets my blood running hot as does an steamy contemporary romantic suspense.

Author Links:

Blog | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

THE GIVEAWAY!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to follow along the tour for some more excerpts, interviews and reviews.

Oct. 31 Susan Griscom - Excerpts
           Reading For Fun – Review/Spotlight
           Amber Garza – Review/Spotlight
Nov. 1    Books and Hooks - Guest post
Nov. 2  Reading By the Book - Spotlight
           Angels on Earth -Review
Nov. 3  Literal Addiction – Review/Spotlight
           As You Wish Reviews - Except
Nov. 4  Yesterday & Tomorrow's Reads - Spotlight
Nov. 5  Crazy Beautiful Reviews - Spotlight
           Rockin & Reviewing - Interview
Nov. 6  Writing With Kristine Cayne – Review/spotlight
Nov. 7  Ravenz Reviews – Review/Spotlight/Interview
           Fab Fun and Tantalizing Reviews – Spotlight/guest post
Nov. 8  Out There Reviews – Review/Spotlight
Nov. 9  The Book Diaries - Spotlight
            Writer's Refuge – Review/Guest post
Nov. 10 Page Princess - Review
Nov. 11 I Pimp MY Authors - Spotlight
            vernalovesbooks - Review
Nov. 12 Beacon Street Books – Character Interview
            I heart Books  - Review/Spotlight
Nov. 13 Lady Amber Reviews - Review



Wednesday, October 16, 2013


~Synopsis~

Book 2 in the Steamy Paranormal Romance/Suspense, Whisper Cape Series
What if you heard a voice whispering warnings while you coped with a frightening pregnancy?
Knowing the future has its advantages...or does it?
Can love survive the reflections and memories lost?
Welcome to Maia's world.
Gerry has loved Maia from the very first moment he laid eyes on her and now that she's pregnant with his child, he's over the moon with happiness. Likewise, Maia is overjoyed about having Gerry's baby, but when she starts seeing and hearing an old woman who warns Maia about the pregnancy, Maia starts to think she is losing her mind. But Maia's nightmare has only just begun...

A beautiful woman, the talented lead singer in an up and coming rock band, sets her sights on Gerry determined to rekindle an old flame. But murder befalls the sleepy town of Whisper Cape once again, creating suspicion and betrayal, and a love once considered invincible, begins to crumble and fall apart.


~My Review~
In this second installment of (Whisper Cape, Book 2)Regan Walsh takes us on a new journey with Gerry and Maia. Uncle and Aunt to Addison. We still get all the right doses of Addie and Cael, but a bigger focus is put forth on Gerry and Maia. Gerry decides he wants a platform built in his bar for a music entertainment group. He hires his buddies from his past. No one is prepared for the fiery woman from his past. Careen Faraday is now the girlfriend of Gerry's buddy and the lead singer in the band. Careen has no intentions of leaving Gerry alone.... she wants him back! This leads to many problems and forces Gerry and Maia to be on their toes. This woman is NOT to be trusted.

Gerry and Maia are expecting twins and are deeply in love. Maia starts seeing an old woman that begins warning her about her pregnancy. Maia will discover as to why this woman keeps showing up at the craziest times. She will discover some new found truths.

Addie still struggles with the idea of having a baby with Cael. He wants this more than life its self, but Addie is still so unsure. There is a turning point in this paranormal romance. Once you almost lose it all.... will Addie have to face the undeniable... WHAT IF?

I was thrown for a major loop readers. Regan Walsh threw an ending in there that I actually did NOT see coming. It made my stomach knot up and my mouth hanging wide open.
She brings the best suspense and emotionally raw feelings to life. I am hooked on this amazing series and in dire need of book three! 


Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Kim Carmichael
 
Kim Carmichael began writing eight years ago when her love of happy endings inspired her to create her own. 
 
A Southern California native, Kim's contemporary romance combines Hollywood magic with pop culture to create quirky characters set against some of most unique and colorful settings in the world.
 
With a weakness for designer purses, bad boys and techno geeks, Kim married her own computer whiz after he proved he could keep her all her gadgets running and finally admitted handbags were an investment.
 
Kim is a member of the Romance Writers of America, as well as some small specialty chapters.  A multi-published author, Kim's books can be found on Amazon as well as Barnes & Nobel.  From alcohol to makeup to infrared cameras and even scientific lasers studying the atmosphere, Kim has worked in some aspect of sales and marketing for over twenty years.
 
When not writing, she can usually be found slathered in sunscreen trolling Los Angeles and helping top doctors build their practices.
 
·      Hands On Me – Keith Publications – 9/12 – Part of the Tramp Stamp Line
·      Closure – Hot Ink Press – 11/12 - Explores a second chance at a first love.
·      Eternity – Keith Publications – 1/13 - My fallen cupid story.
·      The Promise – Hot Ink Press – 2/13 - My sexy demon story.
·      Trifecta – Hot Ink Press – 7/13 - A typical Romance that just happens to have three people.
·      Interchangeable – Decadent Publications – 7/13 - Part of Decadent's 1Night Stand Line.  Explores a M/F/M love story.
·      Permanent – Book One of the Indelibly Marked Series – 10/13.   Permanent was chosen as a finalist in the Assent Publishing Great Romance Contest.
 
@kimcarmichael4
 

 
Blurb
 
An accountant's calculated attempt to fit in entangles her with Hollywood's hottest tattoo artist who thrives on standing out.  Worlds collide as the two decide what is truly permanent.
 
What is Permanent?
Always on the outside looking in, accountant, Lindsay Stevens, has calculated her transformation from a small town, nerdy bookkeeper to a sleek, high-powered accountant down to the last penny.  With all her checks finally in balance, she moves to California to start a new life free of her embarrassing past she never wants revealed.
As Hollywood's hottest tattoo artist, Shane Elliott thrives on standing out.  Charismatic and free of commitments, he travels through life with a wink and a smile, hiding the letters he receives from the IRS as if they don't exist.  Now with bills to pay and tax collectors breathing down his back, for the first time in his life Shane can't charm his way out of his situation.  However, when his new neighbor literally falls into his life, he knows he has struck gold once again.
Though Lindsay tries to keep her distance, she suddenly finds herself trying to hide her true self as she thrust into a world she doesn't think she belongs, but can't resist.  In his good-time life, Shane must discover there is more to life than a party if he wants something more.
With their lives intertwined, the two must learn accept each other, themselves and their love.
Worlds collide as they decide what is truly permanent.
Permanent is the first book in the Indelibly Marked Series that follows the lives and loves of those surrounding Permanent Tattoo. 
 

 

 
Excerpts
 
Unable to stop herself, she opened what he called accounts receivable, jumping back when more papers poured out onto the floor. “You never thought of using a file folder?”
 
“I thought about it.” He picked up the papers, forced them back inside the cabinet and kicked the drawer closed as if trapping an animal. 
 
“Out of curiosity, what happened to that thought?” 
 
“I knew I wouldn’t do it, so I just kept this system.” 
 
“At least you didn’t set yourself up for failure.” 
“Exactly.” He furrowed his brow and turned away from the cabinet. 
 
“What have you done in the past to file your tax returns?” If he said he guessed, no doubt a vein in her brain would blow. 
 
“I estimated with my old accountant.” 
 
She moved her hand to her temple, pushing her vein back in. “You had an accountant?” 
 
“Yep, he’s out of business now and relocated.” 
 
Speechless, she paced for a moment. Part of her wanted to dig into the cabinet, tear it apart and take over. Another part of her wanted to run and tell him she didn’t sign up for this. This wasn’t her, not anymore. She was a corporate accountant who didn’t take on homespun businesses. And she didn’t play with bad boys because they were bad. She shoved her pencil in her mouth and spun back to face her new nemesis, the filing cabinet of horrors. 
 
His phone rang. “Is the car fixed? Yeah, I know it’s only been a few minutes.” 
 
All she needed was a strategy. When she observed his bill paying attempts, she knew this wouldn’t be an outpatient job. But this wasn’t her, she shouldn’t be there, and she stomped her foot. 
 
While Shane talked about her car, she crept over to the cabinet and opened the top drawer. 
 
More papers and a shoebox greeted her. She chewed her lip, and unable to stand the suspense she knocked the lid off the box. 
 
For at least a full minute she stared at the contents while the shudder running down her backbone subsided. She bit the end of her pencil hard and the eraser came off in her mouth. 
 
“If you’re hungry, we can go down to Pete’s and get some rations.” Shane returned and took the pencil. With a fast examination of the writing tool he held his hand out. 
 
She spit the eraser into his palm and covered her eyes. Was there nothing she wouldn’t do in front of the man to embarrass herself? She sucked in a breath when he glanced down at the eraser, tilted his head and popped it in his own mouth. 
 
He chewed a moment, nodded and swallowed. “I think I would rather have some sushi.” 
 
***
 
An entire entourage, including a few people she didn’t know had joined in her search party, but she could only focus on Shane as he guided her into the driveway and sprinted to her car. 
 
She barely threw the transmission in park before Shane opened the door and practically got inside with her. Though she wanted to protest, or tell him he was making too big of a thing out of it, her body disobeyed and she wrapped her arms around his neck. This time she denied herself nothing and purposely leaned in and took a big long whiff of his soap. She was done for. “Oh God.” 
 
“We’re never going to do that to Shane again, are we?” He leaned in and kissed her lightly on the cheek, grazing the corner of her mouth. 
 
She didn’t realize she’d held her breath until her lungs demanded air and she gasped and grabbed Shane’s leg. When her hand grazed across his jeans, she swore she’d never felt anything quite so supple and pliable, a well-worn fine nap not unlike the most expensive velvet beneath her fingertips. Beneath his jeans she could clearly make out the definition of his toned thigh. The contrast of textures overloaded her senses.  “Did you know the 5 freeway and the Golden State freeway are the same?” 
 
He chuckled but didn’t move away from her. In fact, his dark blue eyes stared so intently that she studied his arm tattoos. One thing about Shane was that every part of him was interesting to look at. 
 
“Why were you on the 5?” 
 
“I was trying to get back from Orange County.” She admitted it like she’d committed a felony, and stared at his forearm. His smooth skin gave him the perfect showcase to display his personal artwork. Without really thinking, she touched his arm and used her nail to trace one of the leafy vines that trailed and curled around his forearm. “I’m sorry, it was for work.” 
 
“What did you think of it?” 
 
“I thought it was very repetitive.” She took in a black panther’s paw. The tattoos were all part of him and her mouth dried, causing her voice to sound strained. “Why was Orange County off limits?” Her finger made it around the back of the panther, and then almost as if she awakened from her trance, she stopped. 
 
Shane put his hand over hers. “Finish.” 
 
“Why didn’t you want me to go to Orange County?” She looked up at his face, his focus clearly on her hand and she allowed her finger to resume its trek. 
 
“I didn’t want you to like it there.” 
 
Her hand made it back to where it started and she shook her head. “Everything there was too much the same.” 
 
“It’s good to like things that are a little less conventional.” His voice lowered. 
 
She licked her lips to impart any moisture she could into her arid mouth. With Shane in her car in front of a tattoo shop in downtown Los Angeles, she doubted her problem was being conventional. Her problem was that she didn’t have the data to deal with the unconventional. 
 
***
 
“What does a good girl like little Lindsay prepare big bad Shane for lunch?” Ivan picked up the cooler. 
 
“Hey.” He reached for it, but Ivan held it out of his reach. 
 
“This is pretty heavy. She must think you’re a pig.” 
 
“Give it.” He set his jaw. 
 
“Either you open it, or I do.” Ivan put his finger on the button latch. 
 
“You’re an ass.” He reclaimed his cooler and opened it himself. 
 
They peered inside. 
 
“I think that’s Tupperware.” Ivan pointed. 
 
Everything in the cooler was neatly packaged and Shane hated to disturb it. 
 
“You can’t lose that stuff. Women hate it if you lose their Tupperware, and if it’s Lindsay’s it’s all brand new.” 
 
“I know. I’m not going to lose it.” He prayed he wouldn’t lose the Tupperware and pulled out the first plastic square. 
 
Ivan leaned in as Shane lifted the lid. “Wow.” 
 
“It’s a salad.” Her precision cutting technique had all the vegetables uniformly sliced and diced. 
 
“And not just lettuce, there’s a good representation of different vegetables in there.” Ivan nodded. “She even put the dressing off to the side so it wouldn’t get soggy.” 
 
Shane took a breath. Lindsay was all about the details and watching her work was fast becoming one of his favorite spectator sports. One second she was quiet and going through her papers, the next she was sternly giving him a lecture on finances. Half the time he didn’t understand what she said, but he loved watching her get all riled up. However with his money situation slowly being wrangled, she seemed to soften. Maybe it was time to plan an outing with her that didn’t involve business talk. With Lindsay, timing was crucial. 
 
“What’s your second course?” 
 
He blinked as Ivan interrupted his thoughts and retrieved a round container from the cooler, opening it to reveal a sandwich on a circular piece of bread that fit the Tupperware perfectly. 
 
“That’s cool how she did that.” Ivan pointed. “What kind is it?” 
 
He lifted the bread. “Turkey.” 
 
“Healthy. She must not want you to die.” Ivan rubbed his hands together. “Keep going.” 
He dug through the rest of lunch. A rectangular tub contained fruit salad, and a smaller square had cookies. Finally he pulled out a triangle one with a piece of cheese and some crackers. 
 
“How does she do that?” 
 
The lunch was as amazing as the woman who made it. His mouth watered. “What?” 
 
“How does she make all those shapes fit together?” Ivan motioned toward all the containers. 
 
“It’s so the food doesn’t get wrecked.” 
 
“Only girls know how to do that.” 
 
Shane pursed his lips. “Yeah, it’s pretty cool.”