Friday, April 20, 2018

Blog Tour Author Interview with Giveaway: Sons of Gods by Arthur J. Gonzalez


Book info:
Title:  Sons of Gods
Author:  Arthur J. Gonzalez
Publication date: January 25th, 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Mythology, Young Adult
Synopsis:
Long ago, the wrath of the three God brothers marked the onset of the Great War. The other Gods watched in horror, until they, too, were forced to take sides. Their beloved Mt Olympus collapsed, ruin was brought to all Divine, and the Age of Darkness gripped the world in its clutches. But a group of Gods was wise, and before their impending deaths, they had crafted a pact, committing to one day rebuilding the Territories – the Heavens, Seas, and the Underworld. It would usher in the world they protected and honored out from its darkness. And from it would rise the new Greats: the Sons of Gods.
Cienzo has always had an affliction for metal and fire; never did he anticipate it would one day translate to wielding dormant powers. It is during a journey to fulfill a promise to his dying sister, that he is plunged into a dark and magical world, and where great responsibility is bestowed upon him.
Is he worthy of assuming the throne of the Territories? Can shattering steel and splitting fire change his mind?

Author Interview:
1.  What does your writing process look like? Do you know the whole story when you start?  Or do you just start writing and go with it (seat of the pants writing)?  If you plan it out, how do you do that?  Outline, notecards, post-it-notes, etc.?  Are you part of a writers group that gets together and helps each other with their writing?
 
 I have a journal with favorite words. I tend to skim through this first and get those buzz words flowing in the back of my brain. I start with a rough outline, for sure. It organizes me. I also constantly pull from my phone’s notepad. I have a pretty organized folder for each story in my Notepad on my phone. Once I map this out, I come to terms with what I want to write…sort of a realistic goal. Then I will visually map it out on paper.
Then I will pop on some jams—maybe some Odesza—plug in my head phones, and get to writing. Also, I should add, that coffee is a must! 


2.  How do you come up with your ideas for your stories?  Based on what your story is about, do you have a favorite Greek god or Greek mythological character?

 
I have always been captivated by Greek Mythology. My first major introduction was in 7th grade, when I was tasked to play Hades in a class revival of the Kidnapping of Persephone. The parallels between seasons and pomegranate seeds would breed a major revolution of creative thinking for me. It would stay with me forever. 


3.  How long have you been writing?

 
Every Mother’s Day, since Kindergarten, I would write my mother a poem. It was my gift to her. They weren’t small poems either. I would get very elaborate and poetic. Every year they would evolve quite a bit. My poetry evolve to writing songs, which then evolved to short stories, which then evolved to full-length novels. 


4.  What tips do you have for aspiring writers?

 
 Don’t stop. Dedicate time and write relentlessly. You will tear apart stories, but some of the ‘faliures’ might become pieces to a larger future story. It has happened to me. So never, ever let a writing opportunity leave you. 


5.  What are your favorite:

 
Books/authors/genres:  Leigh Bardugo can do no wrong. 


Movies/TV Shows: Right now I am into Riverdale pretty hard. Old school Archikins fan. Also, I’m obsessed with Aladdin


Music: A little bit of everything. Odesza, Dua Lipa, Fifth Harmony, Britney, Kendrick Lamar.


Food/Writing snack: I’m an almonds, chocolate, coffee guy. 


Author Bio:
Arthur J. Gonzalez is a Young Adult author of the Photo Traveler series. Originally born in Miami, FL, you can now find him living on the West side in Los Angeles. If he’s not drinking coffee or playing with his adorable Schnoodle, Sookie, then he’s probably enjoying a nap. Also, he forgets the lyrics to nearly every song.






GIVEAWAY!

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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Cover Reveal: Manic Monday by Piper Rayne

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Manic Monday, an all-new hilarious and romantic standalone from Piper Rayne, is coming April 26th!

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Title: Manic Monday

Authors: Piper Rayne

Publishing Date: April 26th, 2018

Cover Designer: RBA Designs

The perfect man for me is a blood-sucking lawyer. #pfftwhatever

Been there.
Done that.
Burned the T-shirt.

I didn’t swear off all men after my divorce, but I sure as hell swore off anyone remotely like my ex. On the top of that list? Attorneys. Everyone knows they can’t be trusted.

Now that I’m back in Chicago, my focus is my daughter, my mom and me. I haven’t given up on finding my happily-ever-after, it’s just on hold—indefinitely.

Then I see Reed Warner again, and he weasels his way into every part of my life, not willing to take no for an answer.

In spite of my better judgment I can’t stop thinking about the way his designer suits fit his muscular frame, or the way his blue eyes seem to eat me up with every glance.

You know when you’re on a diet and even hummus seems irresistible? Reed is like the equivalent of chocolate éclair and my willpower is fading fast.

The problem? Not only is he a lawyer…

He was the best man at my wedding.

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Preorder Today!



  ManicMonday-PreOrder

To be the FIRST to hear when Manic Monday goes live on Amazon, sign up here

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Grab the all-new  prequel, Clean Slate, FREE!

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About Piper Rayne

PiperRayne 
Piper Rayne, or Piper and Rayne, whichever you prefer because we’re not one author, we’re two. Yep, you get two USA Today Bestselling authors for the price of one. Our goal is to bring you romance stories that have "Heartwarming Humor With a Side of Sizzle" (okay...you caught us, that's our tagline). A little about us... We both have kindle’s full of one-clickable books. We're both married to husbands who drive us to drink. We're both chauffeurs to our kids. Most of all, we love hot heroes and quirky heroines that make us laugh, and we hope you do, too.

Connect with Piper Rayne

 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Blog Tour Author Interview with Giveaway: Suitors and Sabotage by Cindy Anstey


Book Info:
Title:  Suitors and Sabotage
Author: Cindy Anstey
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: April 17th 2018
Genres: Historical, Romance, Young Adult
Synopsis:
Two young people must hide their true feelings for each other while figuring out who means them harm in this cheeky Regency romance from the author of Love, Lies and Spies and Duels and Deception.
Shy aspiring artist Imogene Chively has just had a successful Season in London, complete with a suitor of her father’s approval. Imogene is ambivalent about the young gentleman until he comes to visit her at the Chively estate with his younger brother in tow. When her interest is piqued, however, it is for the wrong brother.
Charming Ben Steeple has a secret: despite being an architectural apprentice, he has no drawing aptitude. When Imogene offers to teach him, Ben is soon smitten by the young lady he considers his brother’s intended.
But hiding their true feelings becomes the least of their problems when, after a series of “accidents,” it becomes apparent that someone means Ben harm. And as their affection for each other grows—despite their efforts to remain just friends—so does the danger. . .
In Suitors and Sabotage, author Cindy Anstey delivers another witty young adult historical fiction novel that is the perfect mix of sweetly romantic and action-packed.

 Author Interview:
1.  What does your writing process look like? Do you know the whole story when you start?  Or do you just start writing and go with it (seat of the pants writing)?  If you plan it out, how do you do that?  Outline, notecards, post-it-notes, etc.?  Are you part of a writers group that gets together and helps each other with their writing?
Cindy:
My process actually begins with the villain; I establish his/her (evil) motive and then weave the main characters throughout. Plotting the entire book before starting, (outline style) I usually wrap it up in sixteen chapters knowing that there will be unexpected changes and additions pushing it to twenty. I often rewrite the plot and chapter summaries as I go along to keep the clues and romance relevant and organized. I have only tried to ‘pants’ a manuscript once; it did not go well.
I am part of a writer’s group, Romance Writer’s of America, but while their magazine, Internet info and advocacy provides needed guidance, I rely on two beta readers whose judgment I trust completely. One person reads my manuscript to see if the story works and the other reads for grammar and consistency (or inconsistency, as the case may be).
2.  How do you come up with your ideas for your stories?
I have an active imagination that likes to play the game of what-if.

3.  How long have you been writing?
I started writing as a child for fun, not school assignments. Though I tried my hand at picture books for a few years, I didn’t really find my niche until I started writing Young Adult.

4.  What tips do you have for aspiring writers?
Aspiring writers need to read anything and everything that they find interesting, fact or fiction, even if it doesn’t seem relevant. And then, said person needs to place his/her butt in a chair and write. It takes practice. The first manuscript—or two—might not shine but IF YOU ENJOY IT, keep going!
5.  Favorites:
Books/authors/genres: A Spear of Summer Grass/C. S. Harris/historical mystery
Movies/TV Shows: Wonder Woman/Castle
Music: Great Big Sea, KT Tunstall, Adele
Food/Writing snack: Coffee and muffins



Author Bio:
Whenever she is not sitting at the computer, throwing a ball in the backyard, gardening or reading, Cindy can be found–actually, not found–adventuring around the world with her hubby.
She has lived on three continents, had a monkey in her yard and a scorpion under her sink, dwelt among castles and canals, enjoyed the jazz of Beale St and attempted to speak French.
Cindy loves history, mystery and… a chocolate Labrador called Chester. Love, Lies and Spies is her debut novel.

GIVEAWAY!

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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Blog Tour Review with Giveaway: Let Me Love You by Jessica Jayne


Book info:
Title:  Let Me Love You
Author:  Jessica Jayne
Publication date: December 18th, 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Synopsis:
Twenty-three year old Ren Haynes returns home after graduating college with two goals–start his engineering career and claim the heart of his parents’ thirty-one year old divorced neighbor, Stacey Williams.
Stacey is nursing her broken heart and shattered ego. Not only did her ex-husband have an affair, he got the woman pregnant. Picking up the pieces of her life isn’t easy, so when Ren taps into her need to feel desired again, she finds herself in a position she never imagined.
Can Ren help to rebuild her confidence and convince her that age is just a number?

My Review:
My rating:  4 stars

This was a quick read.   I do like the older women stories as they aren't as common as all the older, wiser men stories seem to be. But as an older woman who likes younger men, I enjoy when I find one of these stories that are enjoyable.  And this was a pretty good one.  It was definitely very sexy, and had very realistic moments with Ren's family, as well as how Stacey felt when it all happened.  But it also had some humorous bits that I enjoyed as well.  I definitely enjoyed this one and I look forward to reading more by this author in the future!  Another thing is that it reminded me of a story idea I had a while ago, and now I'm eager to start working on that story when I get a chance.  I love when a book does that for me!
Author Bio:
Jessica is a born and raised small town Ohio girl, who moved to the Sunshine State after graduating from college. She graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree in English. What college major could possibly be better than one that makes you read novels and write about them! Now she is thrilled to be able to share all the hot stories floating around in her head!
Jessica loves to travel and travel often! She shares her love of travel with her husband and children. She’s a huge sports fan, especially football. She the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Ohio State Buckeyes! She’s a wine-making (and wine-tasting) aficionado. She loves all music. And nothing is better than sunset at the beach!
In the journey of life, she also married a wonderful man and had three beautiful (and sometimes crazy) children. Life is always an adventure!

GIVEAWAY!

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Release Blitz Review: Turn Me On (Man of the Month #7) by J. Kenner

TMO_SBPR_RB BANNERWHITETurn Me On, an all-new sexy standalone by #1 New York Times bestselling author J. Kenner, is LIVE!

Sometimes one night just isn’t enough.

Though they see each other only once a month, Amanda’s sweet body and wicked ways have been driving Derek wild for over a year.

And now that he’s moving to Austin, Derek is determined to have Amanda in his bed permanently.

There’s only one problem: Amanda’s happy with their current arrangement. Can Derek convince her a lifetime of nights together will be so much sweeter?

Meet Mr. July … he’s determined to heat things up.

**Turn Me On is part of a binge read series by New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, and #1 International bestselling author of the million copy Stark series, J. Kenner.
Each book in the series is a STANDALONE novel with NO cliffhanger and a guaranteed HEA!

TMO_AVAILABLE NOW

Read Today!

Amazon Universal: http://mybook.to/TurnMeOnJK
Add to GoodReads: https://bit.ly/2J2hTdg

My Review:
My rating:  3 stars

I was a bit confused at the beginning of this one, but soon I figured out that this story actually takes place before the other stories I've read so far. And it leads up into where we've already read.  Unfortunately this one wasn't quite as hard to put down as the others had been.  I did like the characters, but probably I had the confusion at first from when it was taking place that distracted me.  It was the common story line of the woman not wanting more than a casual relationship, based on what she'd had in the past.  I do have to say that I did really enjoy when we got towards the end of the book and suddenly I was seeing  how all the characters from past books fit together, and how they knew each other, and even how some of the events from past stories came about.  Once again though, the epilogue was not someone I knew off the top of my head as well.  But I will look forward to reading on and getting more stories and seeing who the other winners of the calendar contest will be.  The title of this one didn't quite strike a familiar chord with me for a song.  Do you know what song it might be? 

TMO_TEASER_1.1-2

Start the Series of Standalones Today!

Down On Me
Amazon Universal: myBook.to/DownOnMe
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2iNkziM
Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2jd6hs6

About J. Kenner

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.

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.

Connect with Julie:

Website: www.jkenner.com

Monday, April 16, 2018

Release Day Launch with Giveaway: Come As You Are by Lauren Blakely

   

Requesting the presence of your pleasure…

What do you get when you mix a masquerade ball, a smoldering secret rendezvous, and a sexy, billionaire hero who will sweep you off your feet? An opposite-sides-of-the-tracks standalone romance that you’re guaranteed to love!

From #1 NYT bestselling author Lauren Blakely, comes the gorgeous and sexy-as-sin forbidden romance filled with wit, humor, and so much heart, COME AS YOU ARE! Secret trysts and stolen kisses abound in this brand new, swoontastic novel. Get your copy of COME AS YOU ARE delivered now!

   

✮✮✮COME AS YOU ARE is here! Grab your copy today! ✮✮✮

From #1 NYT bestselling author Lauren Blakely comes a sexy new standalone romance!

I couldn’t have scripted a more perfect night.

For one fantastic evening, at a masquerade party in the heart of Manhattan, I’m not the millionaire everyone wants a piece of. Fine—multimillionaire. But who’s counting all those commas? Not me, and not the most intriguing woman I've ever met, who happens to like dancing, witty banter, and hot, passionate up-against-the-wall sex as much as I do.

There's no need for names or business cards. And that’s why I’m eager to get to know her more, since my mystery woman seems to like me for me, rather than for my huge…bank account.

Everything’s coming up aces. Until the next day when things get a little complicated. (Newsflash — a lot complicated.)

***

He's charming, brilliant, an incredible lover, and right now I want to stab fate in the eyeballs.

I've had one goal I've been working toward, and lo and behold, my mystery man is the very person who stands between me and my dream job. A job I desperately need since my hard-knock life has nothing in common with his star-kissed one.

But it’s time to put that fairytale night behind me, and focus on learning what makes him tick. Too bad it turns out his quirks are my quirks, and his love affair with New York matches mine.

And as we spend our days together, I discover something else that feels like a cruel twist of fate — I’m falling for this naughty prince charming, and that’s not an ending I can write to our story.

 

ORDER YOUR COPIES HERE!

Amazon PB ✦ iBooks ✦ Kobo ✦ Nook ✦ Google PlayKindle

     

✦The audiobook is narrated by Sebastian York and Andi Arndt! ✦ 

  Audible https://adbl.co/2DTfbDi



   

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS TODAY!

 Excerpt:

~FLYNN~
The door crawls shut. 
Inch by inch.
A slow-mo door. 
I have no patience for its theatrics. I kick it shut, eager for the next part of the evening to begin. 
Her laughter sounds across the library and echoes off its dark wood shelves bursting with books. A leather couch takes center stage, flanked by a mahogany table.
“Are you in a rush to read something?” she asks coyly.
Her voice turns me on. It’s like bourbon and honey. A little throaty and husky, but with sweet undertones. Funny, how when you can’t see someone’s face—at least not all of it—your other senses heighten. Your ears work harder, homing in on the voice, or you zoom in on the eyes. Hers are warm hazel with flecks of bronze and green. 
“Why, yes, I was looking for a particular book.” I stroll to the bookshelf along one wall, running my fingers across the spines, from old hardcovers like Tess of the d’Urbervilles to modern thrillers from the likes of Clive Cussler to non-fiction reads on the habits of highly effective people. “I thought if you wanted to go to the library you’d want to read. Naturally.”
“Of course. Read me a story. A bedtime story.” She leans against the wall next to a writing desk with a green lamp on it, the kind that has one of those chains you pull down to turn it on. She goes with the moment, and this night seems like role-play with her. I half want to understand who she is. But in a way, I’d rather experience everything she seems to want to give. Her body. Her mouth. Her mind. Whoever she is here in the library is as real as whoever she is behind the mask. My mission is to make sure she gets everything she wants. 
I grab the nearest book and crack it open. It’s a James Patterson. “Once upon a time, there was a woman at a party who wanted to be kissed,” I say, walking to her, the pages open.
The angel raises her hands to her hair and sweeps off the headband that holds her halo. She tosses it to the desk. “That sounds like a very scintillating tale.”

 

“With an oh-so-delectable hero, a heroine who’s a vivacious force of nature, and a romance that’s both adorkable and scorching hot, Come As You Are had me hooked from page one.” -Yvette, Nose Stuck in a Book

   

Come as You Are blends the phenom that is Lauren Blakely with the fantasy of a fairytale wish and a dash of cold hard reality. Passion unfolds with a bit of entertainment, a handful of humor and fistful of heart.” -Isha, I Love Romance

 

“Blakely has whipped up an irresistible romance as sexy and witty as the nerd protagonists she details in Come as You Are. Their chemistry snaps, crackles, and pops off the pages. " - TJ Loves To Read

   

✮✮✮ COME AS YOU ARE and enter to win the ultimate gift! ✮✮✮

Let’s celebrate the release of Flynn and Sabrina’s New York romance with a must-have stylish NY Kate Spade Tote with matching journal ($225 value), perfect for the writer inside all of us!

 

https://laurenblakely.com/come-as-you-are-giveaway/

About Lauren Blakely:


A #1 New York Times Bestselling author, and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that's hot, sweet and sexy. She lives in California with her family and has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than 90 times, and she's sold more than 2.5 million books. In April she'll release COME AS YOU ARE, a sexy new standalone romance. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter! laurenblakely.com/newsletter  

Website ** Facebook ** Twitter ** Newsletter ** Goodreads

 

Blog Tour: Love Hack by Kimberly Dean



LOVE HACK by Kimberly Dean
 Romantic Suspense
 $3.99 (Kindle edition)


Title: LOVE HACK
Author: Kimberly Dean
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 180
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Security analyst Spencer Weiler is excited when he lands a job at Afire Industries. The responsibility is daunting, but nowhere near as exhilarating as working with Josie Johnson, the pretty program manager in charge. Spencer lusts after her, but knows that she only sees him as a work friend. He needs to make himself over if he’s going to have a shot with her.

Josie is all too aware of the cute computer geek watching over her. He was tempting before, but with his newfound muscles and sexy haircut, he’s suddenly an irresistible stud. She makes the first move and is stunned to learn that her hot IT guy is just as studious in the sack. Their affair turns hot and heavy, but Josie has broken her rule about dating coworkers once before. It didn’t end well. When her ex returns and posts scandalous pictures of her on the Internet, it’s not Spencer’s muscles that she needs. She needs a hacker.
Order Your Copy!

https://www.amazon.com/Mistress-Suffragette-Diana-Forbes-ebook/dp/B06XG3G2TF


Chapter One

As far as work settings went, Spencer supposed the place would do. Yeah, understatement of the year. He looked around the open bay of Afire Industries and tried not to drool. It was a developer’s dream: pods of desks for teams, comfy seating areas for private thinking, top-notch equipment, and cool technology on which to work. The downtown location in Seattle was prime, within walking distance of restaurants, bars, the waterfront, and even the Space Needle. Not that he was geeking out about the opportunity or anything…
Okay, he was geeking out, but it was only natural. He was a software geek. Hell, he was the King of Software Geeks.
“We’re glad to have you onboard,” his new boss, Luke McAllister, said. “Your background in software security is just what we need.”
No kidding. Afire was recovering from a major hack. It had been all over the news. From what Spencer knew about the situation, it hadn’t been a sophisticated attack. The hackers had come through the Internet of Things, which had been left unsecured. A total oversight and totally preventable. “I think I can help you guys out.”
A company this big and this advanced in the tech field? Heads had rolled as a result of the breach, but it had also opened up an opportunity for him to do what he did best. Security was Spencer’s game. What had impressed him most about the situation had been Afire’s response. Contrary to prevailing advice from government and law enforcement officials, Afire had not only closed the hole, they’d gone after their attackers—and they’d taken them down.
This was the kind of place where he wanted to work.
“We’re not ‘you guys’ anymore,” Luke said. “You’re one of us now, ‘a fireman.’ Come on. Let me show you around the place.”
Spencer hopped to his feet, automatically swiping up the MacBook he’d been assigned. He liked this guy, Luke. He wasn’t a normal software guy. In fact, he was pretty up-front about the fact that he was just learning the basics of coding. What McAllister did know, inside and out, was security in general: defensive measures, weakness analysis, perpetrator psychology… Rumor was that he’d worked for the Secret Service before turning to the private sector. What Spencer liked most, though, was that his new boss seemed to let people play to their strengths.
And he was cool as hell: tough, muscled, and badass.
“These three pods are where the security group is located.” Luke nodded, and the developers who weren’t heads-down coding nodded back.
Spencer recognized a few people from his interview and gave a wave.
“We have flexible hours, and you’re free to work from home when you feel the need. If things get hot, though, I’d prefer everyone be onsite so we can ‘war room’ the situation.”
“Not a problem,” Spencer said. That was pretty normal in the industry. He’d be working onsite until he got up to speed on everything.
He followed Luke when he turned down a hallway. The layout of the converted fish cannery was open and airy, but the security team was somewhat secluded around a corner. He was okay with that. Managers thought open-bay setups encouraged collaboration, but to Spencer, they just got loud. He preferred to work on his own when possible. As he’d often been told, he was a “deep thinker.”
“The restrooms are down there on the left. Here’s the grab ’n go area. Take whatever you want to eat or drink. The Green Team just prefers you use the recyclable bowl you were given. It should be on your desk.”
Recycled bowls for snacking, a T-shirt with the company fire emblem, plus a baseball hat, a mousepad, and a backpack to match. Afire didn’t skimp on the swag­—although Spencer knew it was free advertising to have the company’s employees going around Seattle dressed like walking Afire billboards.
But shoot, they could dress him up and send him down the runway if this was what he got in return.
He tried not to smile too broadly as they continued their tour. He’d come from a company that specialized in security, but he felt like he’d just made it to the big leagues. It wasn’t just the perks. He was excited to get out on the front lines. The security firm’s customers had been other software companies. Here, he’d be protecting consumers directly. It was a challenge he looked forward to, because, honestly, he needed some new challenges. Things had been getting too easy for him at his old job. Easy and boring.
“Our customer success team is over there. They work with clients directly, helping them through any problems they might encounter. If you need someone who knows our applications inside and out, talk to them.” Luke kept 

moving until they were at the back of the building. “Down here is the gym.”
Spencer gave it a cursory glance. The assortment of workout machines looked shiny and top of the line, but what did he know? It wasn’t a perk he was likely to use.
“Towel service is provided. I can show you how to use the programmable locks on the lockers, if you’d like.”
“I think I can figure that out,” Spencer said dryly.
Luke sent him a sidelong look and laughed. “Yeah, I suppose you can.”
Clapping a heavy hand on his shoulder, Spencer’s boss turned him back in the direction they’d come. “The cafeteria is open for breakfast and lunch. The team is planning to eat as a group today to welcome you.”
“Cool,” Spencer said. He liked Christopher Chen, the guy who sat at the desk next to him, but he hadn’t gotten to spend much time with anyone else.
Not that he was a social butterfly, but those were his people. Luke was a bit intimidating. He was the kind of guy who probably knew all about working out in gyms, fishing, football, and women. Spencer suspected he’d have more things to talk about with Christopher and the other developers.
“Okay, this is really where I want to take you,” Luke said as he opened a door to a covered walkway leading out of the main Afire building. “This is the way to our small business accelerator. It’s managed by Afire, but space is rented by entrepreneurs trying to get new tech companies off the ground.”
“Sounds interesting.”
Spencer followed his boss to the smaller building next door, but stopped when Luke turned with his hand on the door’s push-bar.
“It’s also where the hack came in.”
Okay, now Spencer’s interest was piqued. “One of the entrepreneurs let them in?”
“No, we let them in. We own and manage the facilities and shared equipment. The small companies here just rent space. The hack came in through the Internet of Things, which we should have secured for everyone. The hacker was then able to breach the firewall between Start ’er Up and Afire’s networks. That’s top-secret info that nobody outside of our team needs to know.”
Spencer nodded. That little tidbit hadn’t been in any of the news reports. It also made it more understandable how such an infiltration had occurred.
Luke pushed open the glass door at the end of the walkway, and the hydraulic closer let out a whoosh. Soft chatter filtered through the air.
“Welcome to Start ’er Up,” Luke said.
Spencer looked around the place with interest. The tech world and startups went hand in hand, although he’d always worked in established businesses. Along with being a deep thinker, he was an old soul. The idea of going out on his own was tempting, but he knew the risks involved with that. Perks were one thing, but he wasn’t blinded by them. Company stability, health insurance, and a 401(k) match were more important to him.
Although this could be a cool way to keep tabs on cutting-edge stuff…
“I’m assigning this place to you,” Luke said.
What? Spencer stood a little straighter. Wow. Talk about a shot in the arm. “Okay.”
“I had a consultant go through everything. She assures me that everything is secure now, but I’d like a second opinion. I’d also like to bring the responsibility in house.”
“Yes, sir. I can do that.” Spencer nodded with confidence as he looked around the space. He spotted printers, routers, and even an old fax machine… all potential infiltration points if somebody wanted to get in via the Internet of Things, much less the Wi-Fi that all these companies no doubt shared.
His brain began churning. Damn, he was getting more and more excited about this job, but he didn’t want to come off like a goober.
Luke turned into one of the few offices in the smaller building. “First things first, I’d like to introduce you to Josie. She manages Start ’er Up. You two will be working closely.”
Spencer took one step in the room, and his brain jammed. Crumpled-paper-in-the-bowels-of-a-printer kind of jam. One moment his brain was firing on all cylinders, excited about the new assignment, and the next, it froze and his body went a little haywire. Girl. Beautiful girl. Strawberry blonde. Green eyes. Pretty smile. Pink lips… And a tight body. Oh, hell. Don’t look there.
“Josie, this is Spencer Weiler, our new security hire. He’s the one who’s going to take point on Start ’er Up’s security situation from here on out.”
The girl… woman… gorgeous woman looked at him and blinked those big green eyes. “Oh! Hi there. It’s nice to meet you.”
She looked at him expectantly, but that paper jam was in there good, gunking up any thought processes Spencer might have once had. “Hi-lo,” he said.
Oh, crap. That wasn’t right.
“Hell. I mean hell-o.” One of her eyebrows rose, and he thought he saw a dimple in her cheek deepen. Damn, this should not be that difficult. “Hi,” he said on a rough exhale.
“Hi, Spencer.” Okay, she was smiling at him. Laughing, really. No, not laughing. There was empathy there. “First days are tough, aren’t they?”
He nodded, his tongue feeling twice its size inside his mouth. Yeah, first day. They’d go with that. She did not need to know about the boner that he was suddenly sporting. She didn’t need to know that was why no blood or oxygen was making it to the head atop his neck.
She held out a hand. “I’m glad you’re here.”
Not as glad as he was. Not even close.
He took her hand and shifted the Mac he was still carrying so it hid the front of his jeans. Her skin felt like silk. Warm, smooth silk.
He couldn’t stop staring at her. Honest to God, she was the most beautiful girl he’d ever seen.
“I still feel so bad about the hack,” she said. “I didn’t even know you could hack equipment like that.”
“Josie,” Luke said. “We’ve talked about this.”
“I know,” she said, sighing heavily, “but I’m responsible for this place. I should have done something to stop it from happening.”
Spencer frowned. “You know how to change the password on a R-4200 router?”
“Uh… no,” she said with a blush. Her gaze went quickly to her desk, where he’d seen the piece of equipment. “But I should know that’s something that needs to be done.”
“It’s not even in the owner’s manual.” He shrugged, hoping the gesture showed reassurance.
Was it hot in here? He stuck his hand in his front jeans pocket to keep from fanning himself like a ninny, but winced. Tight. Jeans too tight. He pulled his hand back out quickly and wrapped his fingers around the shield of his Mac.
“Really?” The lines on the angel’s face smoothed. “Oh, that makes me feel better. I’m the program manager around here. There’s a lot to keep track of.”
“The rock star manager of all managers,” another female inserted.
Spencer glanced to the door. Okay, smoking-hot brunette at nine o’clock. Was there something in the water over here? His glance bounced off her right back to Josie.
“This the newb?” the visitor asked.
Luke nodded. “Spencer, this is Kylie Grant. Kylie, this is Spencer Weiler.”
“Hey.”
“Hey.”
The brunette looked at Luke. “I got this place locked down, you know.”
He sighed and crossed his arms over his chest. The guy’s forearms bulged like Popeye’s, and the woman took notice. Spencer caught the reaction and quickly let his gaze skim over Josie. She wasn’t eyeing his manly boss, so much as fighting a smile watching the other two people in the room squabble.
“Security over here is Afire’s responsibility,” Luke said.
“Uh huh.” Kylie pushed her hair over her shoulder and cocked her head.
“Now,” Luke said in resignation. “We’re watching it more closely now, and Spencer is in charge of that.”
Spencer felt the brunette’s gaze rake over him. Her brow furrowed when she noticed the way he was clutching his Mac. He forced his fingers to relax, but he didn’t move it. No way, no how.
“Where did you work before this?” she asked.
“Samson Security.”
“Nice.” She drummed her fingers against her thigh. “What do you think of facial-recognition authentication?”
“Not dependable enough.”
“Pattern recognition?”
He shook his head. “Better than alphanumeric, but still a pain. Fingerprints are the way to go for top-level security and ease of use.”
“Hm,” she muttered. She swung her hand out, gesturing like Vanna White. “What do you think of the place? From a developer’s point of view?”
“Good space, a little loud.” He squinted at the sunlight bouncing off Elliott Bay through the front windows. That was something to mark on the calendar. The sun was out in Seattle, and he’d met the most beautiful girl in the world. Whom he’d like to get back to… if he could communicate with her… Hell, why was his brain connecting to his mouth with this brunette bombshell but not the redhead?
“It’s nice, although a bit bright,” he said.
Kylie straightened as if he’d jabbed her with a stick. “He’ll do.”
“Nice to have your approval,” Luke said dryly.
She lifted an eyebrow. “You know you want it.”
Josie cleared her throat. “They date,” she said.
Good. That meant one less guy Spencer had to be concerned about. A scary thought hit him, and his gaze snapped to her desk. He was relieved when he didn’t see photographs of a husband or boyfriend.
“Are we still going to Ivar’s for dinner tonight?” Kylie asked.
“Yeah,” Luke said. “How late are you going to be?”
“I can go anytime. Just pick me up when you’re ready.”
Was that a gleam in his boss’s steely gaze? Spencer watched for hints, pointers even. The guy obviously had game, and he could use some help in that area. Like, pronto.
Spencer shot another glance at Josie. He knew he was staring, but he couldn’t help it. That paper jam in his head just wasn’t letting loose. Did he even have a shot? She seemed so normal—no, so outstanding—and he was a computer geek. His kind didn’t have the best track records with women. What was his next step? Was he going to make a play? How did one do that?
He didn’t even know what a play was, not with someone like her.
“Anyway,” Luke said. “Now that we have approval from the boss, I’d like you two to work together to map out a plan. Spencer, you know the security piece. Josie, you know how Start ’er Up works. We can’t lock it down too tightly, because we have a lot of small businesses and entrepreneurs using this place. We’re here to help them, not shut them out.”
Spencer nodded. “Got it.”
“Josie can introduce you around and get you situated.”
Spencer nodded again. It was the one form of communication he had that seemed to be working. His brain was now stuck on the fact that he’d be spending a lot of time with her. It thrilled him and terrified him all at once.
“Any questions?” Luke said.
So, so many. Spencer shook his head.
Josie walked to her desk and opened a day planner the size of War and Peace. “When would you like to start, Spencer?”
Oh, God. He was even turned on by the way she said his name.
“Nuuhhhh.” He cleared his throat. “Now?”
She blinked. “Uh, okay.”
She moved some papers aside on her desk, but Luke stepped forward. “Whoa, boy. Slow ’er down.”
Josie giggled, and Spencer nearly died.
“I thought we were supposed to Start ’er Up,” she teased.
Spencer snorted. Literally, the most ungraceful sound in the world came out of his mouth, and Josie laughed harder.
Luke looked back and forth between the two of them. “Geek humor. Great.”
He tilted his head toward the door. “We’re not finished with his onboarding,” he said. “Put something on his calendar for tomorrow or later. Whatever works for you.”
“Okay.” Josie trailed her finger down the open page. “If you don’t need me now, I guess I’ll head down to the gym.”
Heat washed through Spencer when she turned toward him and laced her fingers together. “See you tomorrow.”
He nodded roughly. “Tmrro.”
Damn it.
“All right. Sounds like a plan.” Luke started out the door. “Let’s go back to my office.”
Spencer somehow managed to put one foot in front of the other to follow him. Looking over his shoulder, he caught Josie’s green gaze one last time. “Buh.”
Oh, hell and tarnation.
“Bye,” she said with a little wave that made his erection nearly burst right through the zipper of his jeans.
Spencer hoped to God he wasn’t walking funny as he followed Luke back through the walkway into Afire. Once the door closed behind them, some of his brain function returned. It was a proximity affliction, apparently.
This was a problem.
The woman put his brain on the fritz. He liked her. One step inside that door, and he’d wanted her. At the very least, he had to work with her, but she wasn’t a typical tech female. Luke’s girlfriend, Kylie, wasn’t either, but he could talk to her. But Josie?
Spencer narrowed his eyes on Luke as he sank down into the chair behind his desk. Wait a minute. Luke had somehow made the crossover from normal guy to geek girl—although Kylie was unlike any geek girl Spencer had ever met. Surely, he could take hints from their relationship and reverse-engineer it.
His brain started to whir; he was onto something here. He could hack this.
“So… that’s the gist of the job. Now, for your development plan.” Luke swiveled in his chair toward his laptop. “Everybody hates coming up with these, but Afire likes to keep its employees learning. You don’t have to come up with a full-blown plan now, but start thinking about an area where you’d like to develop more skills.”
“You mean in security?”
Luke shrugged, his heavy shoulders bunching. “Not necessarily. It can be pretty much anything. Rafi is taking some public-speaking courses to help with his presentations. Christopher is shadowing our customer success people to learn how our customers approach things. So think about it. What’s something you’re interested in learning more about?”
That was easy—the redhead next door.
Although when Luke said “anything,” Spencer doubted she was included.
He tapped his fingers against the arm of his chair. There was more than one way to hack a password.
“Stress can be a problem for me,” he said. It was the truth. “Sometimes I can get too deep in a problem and forget to take care of myself.”
Honesty there.
“Okay,” Luke said.
“And not to brag or anything, but I could teach most of the courses on security.”
Luke’s chair squeaked when he sat back. An evaluating look had settled onto his face. It was all jagged corners and tough-guy handsome. Spencer tried not to squirm as Luke looked him over. He could afford to put on some muscle like McAllister.
“The gym,” he said. It came to him like the flash of a light bulb. “I’d like to get more comfortable there, maybe establish a workout routine. You know, to get out of my head.”
Luke’s eyes narrowed, and Spencer rushed to make sense of the request before Luke made it to the truth. Although with the way his mouth started to tug at the corners, it might already be too late.
“Would you be open to training me?” Spencer asked.
Luke’s chin snapped up a fraction of an inch. Okay, he hadn’t been expecting that.
“Well, I am down there usually once a day,” Luke said, “and I wouldn’t mind a training partner. What’s your normal workout routine now?”
Routine? “I play a lot of disc golf in the summer. Does that count?”
The frown he got in return didn’t help.
“What’s that?” Luke asked.
Spencer ran a hand through his hair. “Frisbee golf.”
Damn, that didn’t sound tough at all.
But Luke nodded in approval. “There’s cardio with that.”
“Yeah, and I can run.” Spencer flexed. “I just need to… you know… beef up.”
Women were into that, from what he’d heard.
He flinched when Luke leaned forward and braced his elbows against the desk. “Let me get this straight. One of my security guys wants to enter… the gym.”
Spencer swallowed hard. He might as well have said the Twilight Zone. Did he want to become a gym rat? No. But did he want a shot with Josie? “Yes.”
He fought to hold his ground as Luke watched him. The guy could read the truth. He had eyes like lasers and a brain that was nearly as sharp.
“Okay, strength training it is.” Luke turned to his computer and filled out the development form. “We’ll start tomorrow morning before you go over to help Josie with Start ’er Up.”
“Tomorrow,” Spencer agreed. Before his brain went wonky again.
Man, he hoped this worked.
* * *
“So what did you think of him?”
Josie glanced up from her gym bag to the door. Shoot, Kylie was back. Josie returned her attention to her bag and zipped the compartment shut. She should have just run to the locker room and checked to see if she’d remembered to bring shampoo. “Who? Spencer?”
“No, Luke,” her friend said dryly.
Josie sighed. “I don’t know. He’ll be fine, I’m sure.”
“That’s a ringing endorsement.”
Okay, that hadn’t been fair. The new guy was better than fine—and maybe he had the security chops, too. “If you and Luke feel he’s the right guy, I’m sure he is.”
“Then what’s the problem?”
Giving up, Josie dropped the strap of the bag and slumped down into her chair. “I just can’t help feeling like it’s punishment for screwing up, like he’s being assigned to watch over my shoulder.”
“Screwing up?” Kylie closed the door behind her and walked over to settle her hip against the desk. “What did you do wrong?”
Oh, just about everything. Josie had gone over the whole cycle of events in her head so many times, it was like it was on constant replay. “I should have noticed the change in the lighting. I missed that completely. Even when you told me, I didn’t dig into it.”
Kylie frowned. “But you let me. And how would you have known that was evidence of a hack? I didn’t until I started poking around in the smart building control system, which you gave me access to, following proper protocol. Have I thanked you for that, by the way? If you hadn’t added me as an administrator, Luke never would have listened to me. I’d probably still be talking with lawyers today.”
“Yes, but that was a security violation, in and of itself. You weren’t officially associated with Afire. I should have been fired for that alone.”
“Hey, I’m a consultant. I’ve even got a badge to show it.”
Josie hit her friend with a look. “After the fact.”
“You just beat Luke to the paperwork.”
Josie fiddled with the pen holder on her desk. Afire liked to promote itself as a paperless company, but there was just something about pen and paper that made her feel more organized. She had pens in every color under the sun, and her day planner was jammed with Post-it notes to expand on the rainbow. That was her strength—organization and communication. She kept this place running as its program manager. She helped people network and find collaborators. She put together training sessions for new businesses on how to keep their books, market their products, and find venture capital. She kept metrics on their member companies’ progress, she reviewed startup applications for membership, and she even made the coffee.
But with all that she did, she knew that the Start ’er Up program was not key to Afire’s success. It didn’t make money. Every once in a while, a technology company might have something her bosses would be interested in licensing or even outright purchasing, but Start ’er Up’s mission was to support the entrepreneurship culture in Seattle. It was a community service.
Yet that community service had nearly brought Afire down.
She banged her pen holder against her desk, and two pens jumped out. “Why did that hack have to come through this place?”
Kylie frowned. “Did you ever stop to think how lucky we were that it did?”
“Excuse me?” Another pen, a purple one, fell out when Josie tried to shove the other two back in. She rarely got angry. She was an upbeat person, but she didn’t need coddling.
“Do you think something like that ever would have been noticed or investigated over in Afire? A lighting glitch? Especially with Steven Ayers at the security helm?”
Josie winced. She hadn’t realized how self-centered she was being. Steven Ayers had been the top security guy on Luke’s team. Smug, misogynistic, and highly overrated, he’d been fired for not detecting the hack of Afire’s network—and he’d come after Kylie for revenge.
Reaching past her growing pile of spilled pens, Josie caught her friend’s hand. “I’m sorry. I didn’t even think of that.”
“Those hackers could have done a lot more damage if we hadn’t caught them when we did. Luke isn’t assigning Spencer to Start ’er Up because he doesn’t trust you. He’s giving you the support you’ve always needed.” Kylie pushed her hair back and gave a little sniff. “Even if I had it handled.”
Josie rolled her eyes. Okay, they both had some personal hang-ups with the new situation. “You’ve got enough on your plate with your web design company and… whatever else it is that you do.”
Her friend clammed up real quick at that.
Kylie leaned forward and changed the subject. “So, give me the truth. What did you think of Mr. Chatty Cat?”
Talk about turning the tables. The direct look in her friend’s eyes made Josie blush, but she pretended not to know what Kylie was talking about. “The two of you communicated just fine.”
“Yes, but I’m one of his kind. You aren’t.”
Josie busied herself with straightening up her pens. “I understood what he was trying to say.”
Kylie’s grin turned into a smile. “I bet you did.”
“We’ll know better tomorrow if we can work together.”
“Josie, the words he managed to get out around you weren’t even English.”
“So he’s a little shy.” Shy, observant, tall, and sexy, in an awkward sort of way. Those dark puppy-dog eyes had made Josie melt when she’d first locked gazes with him. She pointed a pen at the brunette interrogating her. Enough of this. “What did you think?”
Kylie shrugged. “He’s kinda cute, if you go for that type of thing.”
“I meant for the security job!”
She laughed. “He’s solid. Technically, he’s really good. I checked him out before Luke made the offer.”
Josie’s jaw dropped. “Then why are you asking me?”
“Because it’s what you think that matters. He can be a security genius, but if you don’t like working with him, just say the word.”
“Oh, come on. Give him a chance.”
“So you like him?”
Josie began fiddling with her gym bag again. Kylie just wasn’t going to let up on this. “He is kind of cute, I guess, with that shaggy hair and dark eyes.”
“Too wiry for my taste.”
“Lanky,” Josie said. In a Ramones T-shirt, he’d been like all the other tech guys walking around, but his backside had been rather nice as she’d watched him walk out the door. He was tall, too. She’d had to tilt her head back a little to talk to him. She’d kind of liked that. And he had shoulders to match, even if he didn’t fill out the T-shirt as well as the jeans.
“I guess he is at the opposite side of the spectrum from Nolan,” Kylie said. “That’s a plus.”
Nolan. At the mention of her ex-boyfriend, Josie’s stomach went from buoyant to a ball of lead. Okay, it was her turn to clam up. She looped the long strap of her gym bag over her shoulder and stood. “I just agreed that Spencer is cute. That doesn’t mean I’m going to date him.”
She wasn’t ready to get back into that scene yet.
The humor left Kylie’s eyes. “Is Nolan still giving you problems?”
“No. Just a late-night text here and there.” Josie rounded her desk. She really did need to get to the gym if she was going to get a workout in.
Kylie put her arm over the doorway. “What does he want?”
Josie ducked underneath the barrier and scooted through. “To get back together.”
“No.”
“Yes.”
Kylie followed her down the hallway. “You’re not—”
“No.” Absolutely not.
“Good.” Kylie’s fists relaxed at her sides. “Cute and lanky might be a good thing after all.”
“Spencer’s just for work.” They were in the covered walkway now, leading over to Afire. Josie swiped her badge through the reader at the door to the main building. Kylie didn’t have her consultant’s badge on her, so this was where Josie could make her great escape. When the reader’s light turned green, she put her shoulder into the door and pushed it open. “I’m too busy for another boyfriend right now.”
Busy trying to make sure Afire was still invested in Start ’er Up and her job was secure.
The door clanked shut behind her, ending the conversation and making the lead ball inside Josie’s stomach heavier. Maybe Spencer could help her understand security better, but anything beyond that was out of the question. She needed to concentrate on her career while she still had it.






When taking the Myers-Briggs personality test in high school, Kimberly Dean was rated as an INFJ (Introverted-Intuitive-Feeling-Judging). This result sent her into a panic, because there were no career paths recommended for the personality type. Fortunately, it turned out to be well suited to a writing career. Since receiving that dismal outlook, Kimberly has become an award-winning author of romance and erotica. She enjoys the freedom and creativity allowed in writing romance, especially with all the interesting cross-genres that have been exploding on the scene.  When not writing, she enjoys movies, sports, traveling, music, and sunshine.

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