Monday, July 13, 2015

TRAILER REVEAL: Every Last Breath by -Jennifer L. Armentrout

ELB - series banner
     

We are very excited to bring you the trailer for the Epic Finale in Jennifer L. Armentrout's Dark Elements Series, EVERY LAST BREATH! Published by HarlequinTeen

EVERY LAST BREATH is a young adult paranormal filled with romance and danger being released on July 28th, 2015. Be sure to pre-order your copy today and enter to win some AMAZING Dark Elements prizes!

Every Last Breath - Cover
   

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    EVERY LAST BREATH Synopsis:   

 Some loves will last ‘til your dying breath   Every choice has consequences—but seventeen-year-old Layla faces tougher choices than most. Light or darkness. Wickedly sexy demon prince Roth, or Zayne, the gorgeous, protective Warden she never thought could be hers. Hardest of all, Layla has to decide which side of herself to trust.   Layla has a new problem, too. A Lilin—the deadliest of demons—has been unleashed, wreaking havoc on those around her…including her best friend. To keep Sam from a fate much, much worse than death, Layla must strike a deal with the enemy while saving her city—and her race—from destruction.   Torn between two worlds and two different boys, Layla has no certainties, least of all survival, especially when an old bargain comes back to haunt them all. But sometimes, when secrets are everywhere and the truth seems unknowable, you have to listen to your heart, pick a side—and then fight like hell…   “Armentrout is a major talent…I just can’t stop reading!”   --New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter   “Armentrout works her magic with swoon-worthy guys and a twist you never see coming.”   --#1 New York Times bestselling author Abbi Glines on White Hot Kiss    

And here's the amazing trailer for EVERY LAST BREATH...


 


 

 And don't forget to preorder your copy of EVERY LAST BREATH today and enter to win!


ELB - prize teaser
   

Enter now to win an INCREDIBLE Dark Elements prize pack including a VISA GIFT CARD! Register your pre-order of Jennifer L. Armentrout's EVERY LAST BREATH now to enter PLUS help unlock MORE prizes! ► http://bit.ly/1Fy7ekS


EVERY LAST BREATH Preorder Links


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Don’t miss the first titles in the Dark Elements Series!

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BITTER SWEET LOVE

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WHITE HOT KISS

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STONE COLD TOUCH

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Author Photo











        About Jennifer L. Armentrout:   # 1 New York Times and # 1 International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.   Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA.   She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

    

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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

REVIEW: Witch Hearts by Liz Long


Hello my fellow readers! Today I bring you a review of one if my favorite indie authors Liz Long! I just finished this and could not wait to write this review. As you all know I am a huge fan of Liz Long. I read and reviewed her book A Reaper Made, and was completely hooked. So this weekend I finally took to reading another one of Liz's books Witch Hearts, and Liz did not disappoint! 


Im soo excited to share this review and book with you!!! I can barely contain my excitement. and the best way I know how to show you is through a GIF. Liz and are HUGE fans of Dean Winchester of Supernatural and I could not resist using the GIF below. haha




Before we get to the review, here's a little bit about the book. 


Title: Witch Hearts
Author: Liz Long
Release Date: April 11, 2013
pages: 212


17616067


How does a witch stay safe if a killer can get through her protection spells?

Witches like Ruby and Courtney can take care of themselves. So when Courteny is murdered, Ruby's world crashes to a halt. The only thing keeping her grounded is the return of Courtney's brother, Cooper. He seeks revenge, but Ruby wants to help other witches stay alive. To do that, she'll have to reunite with her old coven's High Priest, who also happens to be her cheating ex-boyfriend.

If that wasn't awkward enough, when the killer gets too close, Cooper temporarily moves into Ruby's place while a police officer tails her every move. Cooper's presence distracts Ruby as they fight their desire against their need to stay safe. Then Courtney begins to haunt Ruby's dreams and serets are spilled, things from Cooper's past that could get them both killed. The killer continues to stalk Ruby and the more she discovers, the more she fears she won't be able to keep her heart in her chest.






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ABOUT THE AUTHOR 


Liz Long is a ridiculously proud graduate of Longwood University with a BA in English. Her inspiration comes from action and thriller genres and she spends entirely too much time watching superhero movies. Her fabulous day job as a social media editor includes writing for a publishing company in Roanoke, VA.

Her first book, Gifted, is the first book in the Donovan Circus series, where superpowers meets the circus. Burned is the second adventure. Her standalone book Witch Hearts, is a story about a serial killer hunting witches for their powers. Her newest book A Reaper Made is an NA Paranormal tale of a Reaper using magic to save her family from demons. All titles are available at Amazon on Kindle and paperback, Barnes & Noble for Nook, and iBooks.

To learn more about Liz or her books, check out her website and follow her on social media



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This book has been on my tbr list but have finally gotten to reading it.Once I started reading this book there was no putting out down.  There are so many twists and turns you never know what's going to happen.  I swear I thought the bad guy was 3 different people,  and not one of them turned out to be the bad guy.  I'm a regular Sherlock Holmes....not. haha. But seriously I was kept at the edge of my seat the whole time.  There were even some moments where I was close to tears. Sooo emotional, there were some very real feels going on.

The novel starts off with a girl going for a run and is kidnapped and killed. Turns out to be the best friend of our main heroine Ruby. The girl that was kidnapped and killed, Courtney,  happened to be a witch, and so is Ruby.  They were actually part of the same coven. When the police found the body they realized that the hearts of the  victims were missing.  It happens that there were two previous victims before Courtney. All had the same thing happen to them.

After finding out that her best friend is dead she runs into her brother Cooper. He came back into town because of his sister. They put together that all the victims happen to be witches and that since their hearts were taken who ever the serial killer is, is into some serious dark magic. Witch Hearts are very powerful in rituals. Of course they want to avenge Courtney's death. They work together to formulate a plan to take this serial witch killer down. Especially when he sets his eyes on Ruby. Cooper is determined to keep her  safe at all costs, especially since he wasn't able to save Courtney. 
But when things from Cooper's past enter the picture and threaten the future. Loyalties are tested, emotions run high, and no one is who they seem to be.

I loved how incredibly sassy ruby was throughout the whole story. She has a wicked awesome sense of humor and the chemistry between her and Cooper literally jumped off the pages. Loved all of their scenes together.This story felt so real, the reactions from the characters. None of it seemed over dramatized.  Everything went so smooth and fit perfectly. It was very well written and easy to follow.

I have to say the pop culture  references were some of my my favorite parts. I could not help but laugh. This woman seriously gets me and we've never even met in person. Lol. Just made me love her and her books even more. To me this book was an excellent mesh of supernatural elements and the real world.  It was like a cross between supernatural and a Nancy Drew mystery. Super fun and an excellent summer read. Great to take with you on a day at the beach. I truly didn't want this book to end. Liz Long you've done it again my friend. Pulled me in and made me neve want to leave. Can not wait to dig into my next Liz Long book. It took me way to long to get into this one and I'm wishing I'd done it sooner. It's THAT good! 

Now if you don't have a copy already, make sure you go and grab one now. And don't forget to add it on good reads!


Thank you so much for stopping by 

Make sure to follow Liz on all social media, she loves making new friends

and DONT forget to grab a copy TODAY


and 




All The Best

Kait

RELEASE DAY LAUNCH: Carnival: Complete series Box Set BY: K.B. Nelson

RELEASE DAY

Carnival: The Complete Series Box Set (Carnival, Carnival Nights, Amusement
by K.B. Nelson

AVAILABLE NOW!

In celebration of its' one year publishing anniversary, KB Nelson is celebrating Carnival with an amazing deal! For a LIMITED TIME only, grab this Amazon-exclusive box set of all three novels in the Carnival series for ONLY $0.99! 


Only $0.99 for a LIMITED TIME only!
     


Charlie should be packing her bags for college, but the life ahead of her isn’t one she’s certain she wants. Maybe that’s what led her to sleep with a perfect stranger at the county fair. Finding out he was a carnie was like winning the bonus round of the world’s worst game.

Blue grew up in the carnival, never staying anywhere long enough to call home. He never thought of himself as the type to seduce a local, let alone fall in love with one, but his impulsiveness got the better of him this time. He should go where the carnival takes him, but for the first time he’s not sure if he wants to follow.

When he makes the decision to stick around, Charlie eagerly follows him down the rabbit hole; into a world with no regard for consequences or regret. Most of all, he shows her that home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling they can create and share. For a price. Because the higher the roller coaster goes, the faster it all comes crashing down.





 K.B. Nelson
I grew up on a farm in Ohio, but that's not very interesting, is it? When I'm not writing you can find me doing one of two things; getting lost on highways or getting lost in the lives of fictional characters. If my heart had two feet, one foot would be in romance and the other solidly in geekdom. I hope you'll all follow me on my journey through this carnival they call life. I promise there will be a happy ending. 

Find K.B. Nelson
Website ** Twitter ** Facebook ** Goodreads *





Don't miss out on this incredible deal! Three incredible stories for one low price!

Happy Publishing Anniversary K.B. Nelson!


Friday, July 3, 2015

COVER REVEAL: Cadillac Payback by Aj Elmore

Today is the cover reveal for Cadillac Payback by Aj Elmore. I absolutely adore this sexy tale of revenge and romance, and I’m thrilled to be sharing the cover with you. Check it out:      

Title: Cadillac Payback    
Author: Aj Elmore  
Release Date: July 30th  
Genre: Romantic Suspense


       Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00018]  

About Cadillac Payback:  

 An old Cadillac and a gun are all she has left of her brother. Three men stand ready to follow her into the darkest pits of hell to avenge him. The Cadillac leads them down a swamp road lined with ghosts, consequence and the tangled web of business and pleasure, into the underbelly of New Orleans crime as she fights for vengeance for her brother.   Joshua was just a rookie, a kid caught up in a drug ring. It’s fun and dangerous, all easy, until it kills his best friend and drags what’s left of his companions into a war. All he knows is he would walk into hell with her, and she might ask before it’s over…   Isaiah thought he’d seen everything—but watching Charlie die tore the world apart. The regime is changing, and with the new leader come more questions than answers. He was Charlie’s right hand, but what will he be to her?   Frederick came up on the streets, learned fast and hard and dirty. His past has always been a sticking point for the group, but one person has never questioned him, and he’ll do anything for her…   Maria never wanted to take over Charlie’s operation. But with her brother dead, and vengeance the only thing she has left, she makes her first decision: drag Charlie’s killers down.   It might just be her last. 




Cadillac Payback Teaser
 

Exclusive Excerpt:  

 I listen to the thumping of the unmanaged highway and feel sweat slide down the small of my back. The polished leather seat is starting to get uncomfortable. Surely this surface has never itched so much against my skin, or made me feel like I was melting against its heat.      

There's no sense to be talked to this girl. I can offer no condolences when the event that brought us here is bleeding my insides, too. Her brother was my best friend, my mentor. There's only one thing I can think to say to her, only one truth I never have spoken.      

 “Maria, I love you.”    

 Her foot moves like light as she slams it onto the break, throwing me against the giant dashboard before I can realize what she's doing. She whips the boat onto the side of the road like she's driving a Roadster and skids it to a complete stop, sending dust flying, and soliciting angry honks from trailing traffic. I have fleeting doubts that she even hears them.      

 “You what?” she asks hoarsely.    

 I take a deep breath and peel myself off the dash.    

 “I love you,” I say again.    

 I'm staring at the bugs crowding in on the headlights, like I would if I were studying the mysterious screen of a confessional. I don't want to see her face, with eyes that have glazed over like glass. The silence again blossoms, then spreads between us. The noise of the road seems so suddenly distant.       Moments pass. They fall like years. Only sudden, tiny sniffing sounds can pull my eyes toward her, the only sound that can unfailingly break my resolve. She's sitting so very still with her hands abandoned on the wheel, hands that are so capable, yet useless now. She's still staring forward, her eyes wide and momentarily empty. The glass has shattered. Tears have returned to her perfect cheeks. I am so useless in this situation that it hurts deep in my gut.      

 “No. Joshua. You don't,” she says to me. Her voice is low, wavering. Her arms might be shaking a little. The steering wheel holds her steady.    

 I've never seen her this distraught. I sit back against the sticky car seat, and look toward the green at the edge of the headlights' reach, as if the night's obscurity can save me. I belatedly pull on my seatbelt, and I tell her, “I do. I just wanted you to know. In case we die.”      

 She punches the gas as fast as she cut it off moments ago. I feel my muscles spread a little over the seat's surface. My brain experiences the back of my skull. My stomach lurches as she swings the Caddy onto the black top, flinging roadside pebbles like water. We are out of sight before the dust can settle.   She says nothing else.    


Caddy teaser 3
 

Author Bio:  

 Aj is a beach migrant, and part-time muse. She enjoys the exploration of genres vast, and the search for untold worlds. A writer-for-fun since childhood, she has also been known to be a super hero, a gun slinger, and occasionally, a waitress. She lives on an island, has a bachelor's degree in journalism and some tattoos. She is most easily found at the water's edge.

  Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads    

  Enter Aj’s giveaway!!  

Thursday, July 2, 2015

BLOG TOUR: Excerpt & Promo: DIRTY THOUGHTS by Megan Erickson

Hello fellow readers! I am so excited to bring to you today my tour stop of Megan Erickson ' s, DIRTY THOUGHTS Blog Tour!

I met Megan Erickson for the first time this year as Apollycon. She is the sweetest, and I completely fell in love with her and her books! I just can not get enough of them and I am extremely excited to be apart of this blog tour.

So today I bring you an Excerpt from her newest book release Dirty Thoughts.

ENJOY!

Displaying DirtyThoughts_Cover.JPG


About DIRTY THOUGHTS

Some things are sexier the second time around
Cal Payton has gruff and grumbly down to an art...all the better for keeping people away. And it usually works. Until Jenna Macmillan—his biggest mistake—walks into Payton and Sons mechanic shop all grown up, looking like sunshine, and inspiring more than a few dirty thoughts.

Jenna was sure she was long over the boy she'd once loved with reckless abandon, but one look at the steel-eyed Cal Payton has her falling apart all over again. Ten years may have passed, but the pull is stronger than ever...and this Cal is all man.

Cal may have no intention of letting Jenna in, but she's always been his light, and it's getting harder to stay all alone in the dark. When a surprise from the past changes everything, Cal and Jenna must decide if their connection should be left alone, or if it's exactly what they need for the future of their dreams.


About the Author

About MEGAN ERICKSON
Megan Erickson grew up in a family that averages 5’5” on a good day and started writing to create characters who could reach the top kitchen shelf.

She’s got a couple of tattoos, has a thing for gladiators and has been called a crazy cat lady. After working as a journalist for years, she decided she liked creating her own endings better and switched back to fiction.

She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids and two cats. And no, she still can’t reach the stupid top shelf.

Praise for MEGAN ERICKSON
“A super sweet, extra sexy second chance romance that will have you laughing out loud and needing a minute to cool off. Dirty Thoughts is right!”
   — Jay Crownover, New York Times bestselling author

“Megan Erickson ratchets up the romance and sizzle in her sexy new series. The Mechanics of Love will rev readers’ hearts.”
   — Jennifer Ryan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author

“Megan Erickson writes hot, hot, HOT stories packed with emotion and humor. You’re going to want to read everything she’s ever written!”
   — Sophie Jordan, USA Today bestselling author


Now time for an EXCERPT
CHAPTER ONE
Cal Payton sighed and braced himself as the opening guitar riff of “Welcome to the Jungle” reverberated off the walls of the garage. Sure enough, several bars later, his brother, Brent, began his off-key rendition, which didn’t sound much different from his drunken karaoke version.
Which, yes, Cal had heard. More times than he wanted to.
He growled under his breath. Brent kept screeching Axl Rose, and if Cal wasn’t stuck on his back under this damn Subaru, he’d be flinging a wrench at Brent’s head. “Hey!” Cal yelled.
There was a blissful moment of silence. “What?” Brent’s voice came from somewhere behind him, probably in the bay next to him at the garage.
“Who sings this song?”
“Are you kidding me?” Brent’s voice was closer now. “It’s Guns N’ Roses. The legendary Axl Rose.”
“Yeah? Then how ’bout you let him sing it?”
There was a pause. “Fuck you.” His brother’s footsteps stomped away. Then the radio was turned up, and Brent started singing even louder.
Cal blew out a breath and tapped the socket wrench on his forehead, doing his best to tune out Brent’s increasingly loud voice. Cal vowed to buy earbuds and an iPod before he murdered his brother with a tire iron.
He turned his attention back to the exhaust shield he was fixing. The customer had complained of a loud rattle when his car idled. Sure enough, one of the heat shields covering the exhaust system under the car was loose. It was an easy fix. Cal used a gear clamp to wrap around the pipe of the exhaust system to prevent the shield from making noise.
It didn’t necessarily have to be done, but the Graingers were long-time customers at Payton and Sons Automotive. And they always sent those flavored popcorn buckets at Christmas. He and Brent fought over the caramel while their dad got the butter all to himself.
He finished tightening the hose clamp onto the pipe and then banged around the exhaust system with the side of his fist. No rattle.
He slid out from under the Subaru and patted it on the side. He squinted at the clock, seeing it was almost quitting time. Their dad, who owned half of the shop—Cal and Brent split ownership of the other 50 percent—had already gone home for the day.
Cal put away the tools he’d used, purposefully ignoring Brent as he launched into a Pearl Jam song. Cal rubbed his temple, wiping away the bead of sweat he could feel rolling down his face. The back room had a small table and a refrigerator, so Cal made his way there to get a water.
In the summer, they kept the large doors of the garage open, but the air was thick and humid today. The American flag outside hung like a limp rag in the still air.
Cal wore coveralls at work and usually kept them on to protect his skin from hot exhaust pipes and any number of sharp tools lying around. But as he walked back to the lunchroom, he stripped his upper body out of the coveralls so the torso and arms of the clothing hung loose around his legs. Underneath, he wore a tight white T-shirt that still managed to be marked with grease and black smudges from the work day.
In the back room, he grabbed a bottle of water from the refrigerator and leaned back against the wall. After unscrewing the cap, he tilted it back at his lips and chugged half the bottle.
After the Graingers came to pick up their Subaru, he was free to head home to his house. Alone. That was a new luxury. He used to live with Brent in an apartment, and it was fine until he realized he was almost thirty years old and still living with his younger brother. He was tight with his money, which Brent teased him about, but it’d been a good thing when he had enough to make the deposit on his small home. It had a garage, so he could store his bike and work on it when he had free time. Which wasn’t a lot, but he’d take what he could get. If his father would quit dicking him around and let him work on motorcycles for customers here, that’d be even better. But Jack Payton didn’t “want no bikers” around, ignoring the fact that his son rode a Harley-Davidson Softail.
Cal’s phone vibrated in the leg pocket of his coveralls. He pulled it out and glanced at the caller ID. It was Max, their youngest brother. Cal sighed and answered the call. “Yeah?”
“Cal!” Max shouted.
“You called me.”
“What’s going on?”
“Workin’.”
“You’re always working.” Max huffed.
Cal took another sip of water. “That’s what people do.”
“Hey, I work.”
“You play dodgeball with a bunch of teenagers.” Cal knew Max did a hell of a lot more than that at his physical education teaching job at a high school in eastern Pennsylvania, but it was fun as hell to get him worked up. Cal smiled. One of the first times that day.
“Hey, I had to hand out deodorant and condoms to those teenagers this year, so don’t give me that shit,” Max said.
“Condoms?”
“Yeah, they’re kinda liberal here,” Max muttered.
“Huh,” Cal said, scratching his head. They sure never handed out condoms in school when he was a teenager.
“Anyway,” Max said.
“Yeah, anyway, what’dya need?”
“How do you know I need something?”
“Why else do you call?”
“I want to hear your pleasant voice?”
Cal grunted.
“I just wanted to know if you had any plans for your birth—ouch!” There was rustling on the other line, some mutters, and a higher-pitched voice in the background. Then Max spoke again. “Okay, so Lea punched me because she said I’m doing this wrong.”
Cal smiled. Lea was Max’s fiancĂ©e, and she was a firecracker.
“We wanted to come visit you and take you out for your birthday. All of us.” Max cleared his throat. “And you can bring a date too. If you want.”
A date. When was the last time he’d introduced a woman to his family? Hell, when was the last time he’d had a date? “The five of us should be fine.”
“So that’s okay? To celebrate? I mean, you’re turning thirty, old man.”
Cal let the old man comment roll off his back. “Yeah, sounds good.” He paused. “Thanks.”
Max seemed pleased, chattering on about his neighborhood and how he was enjoying being off work for the summer. Cal drank his water and listened to his brother ramble. Max hadn’t always been a happy kid. Cal had tried his best after their mom left the family shortly after Max was born. Their dad was pissed and bitter and immersed himself in working at the garage. So as the oldest brother, Cal scrambled to hold the reins of his wild brothers.
He hadn’t done such a great job, he didn’t think. His brothers survived in spite of him, not because of him, he was sure. Brent was still a little crazy, and it had taken Lea to straighten Max out in college. Cal tried not to dwell on his failure and instead appreciated that at least they were all alive and healthy.
It was why he valued his own space so much now. His alone time. Because he’d been a surrogate father at age six, and he was fucking over it.
Although, by the time he hung up the phone with Max and slipped his phone back into his pocket, he had a warm feeling in his gut that hadn’t been there before his brother had called.
He was flipping the cap of the water in his fingers and finishing the last of the bottle when Brent poked his head in the back room. “Hey.”
Cal raised his eyebrows.
“Someone’s asking for you.”
Cal tossed the empty bottle in the trash. “The Graingers?”
“Nope, they just came and got the Subaru and left. This is a new customer.”
Cal threw the empty bottle in the recycling bin, turned off the light to the back room, and followed his brother out to the garage. “We’re closing soon. Is it an emergency? Are they regulars?” He pulled a rag out of his pocket and began to wipe his dirty hands. He thought about washing them first in case this customer wanted to shake hands.
Brent didn’t answer him, didn’t even look at him over his shoulder.
And that was when a small sliver of apprehension trickled down his spine. “Brent—”
His brother whirled around and held his arm out as they walked past a Bronco their dad had been working on. “I think it’s better if you take this one.”
Cal squinted into the sun and when his eyes adjusted to the light, her legs were the first thing he saw. And he knew—he fucking knew—because how many times had he sat in class in high school staring at those legs in a little skirt, dreaming about when he could get back between them? It’d been a lot.
His eyes traveled up those bare legs to a tiny pair of denim shorts, up a tight tank top that showed a copious amount of cleavage, and then to that face that he’d never, ever forget as long as he lived.
He never thought he’d see Jenna MacMillan again. And now, there she was, standing in front of his garage next to a Dodge Charger, her brunette hair in a wavy mass around her shoulders.
Fuck.


Okay, so admittedly Jenna had known this was a stupid idea. She’d tried to talk herself out of it the whole way, muttering to herself as she sat at a stop light. The elderly man in the car in the lane beside her had been staring at her like she was nuts.
And she was. Totally nuts.
It’d been almost a decade since she’d seen Cal Payton, and yet one look at those silvery blue eyes and she was shoved right back to the head-over-heels in love eighteen-year-old girl she’d been.
Cal had been hot in high school, but damn, had time been good to him. He’d always been a solid guy, never really hitting that awkward skinny stage some teenage boys went through after a growth spurt.
And now . . . well . . . Cal looked downright sinful standing there in the garage. He’d rolled down the top of his coveralls, revealing a white T-shirt that looked painted on, for God’s sake. She could see the ridges of his abs, the outline of his pecs. A large smudge on the sleeve drew her attention to his bulging biceps and muscular, veined forearms. Did he lift these damn cars all day? Thank God it was hot as Hades outside already so she could get by with flushed cheeks.
And he was staring at her with those eyes that hadn’t changed one bit. Cal never cared much for social mores. He looked people in the eye, and he held it long past comfort. Cal had always needed that, to be able to measure up who he was dealing with before he ever uttered a word.
She wondered how she measured up. It’d been a long time since he’d laid eyes on her, and the last time he had, he’d been furious.
Well, she was the one who’d come here. She was the one who needed something. She might as well speak up, even though what she needed right now was a drink. A stiff one. “Hi, Cal.” She went with a smile that surely looked a little strained.
He stood with his booted feet shoulder width apart, and at the sound of her voice, he started a bit. He finally stopped doing that staring thing as his gaze shifted to the car by her side and then back to her. “Jenna.”
His voice. Well, crap, how could she have forgotten about his voice? It was low and silky with a spicy edge, like Mexican chocolate. It warmed her belly and raised goose bumps on her skin.
She cleared her throat as he began walking toward her, his gaze teetering between her and the car. Brent was off to the side, watching them, with his arms crossed over his chest. He winked at her. She hid her grin with pursed lips and rolled her eyes. He was a good-looking bastard but irritating as hell. Nice to see some things never changed. “Hey, Brent.”
“Hey there, Jenna. Looking good.”
Cal whipped his head toward his brother. “Get back to work.”
Brent gave him a sloppy salute and then shot her another knowing smirk before turning around and retreating into the garage bay.
When she faced Cal again, she jolted, because he was close now, almost in her personal space. His eyes bored into her. “What’re ya doing here, Jenna?”
His question wasn’t accusatory. It was conversational, but the intent was in his tone, lying latent until she gave him reason to really put the screws to her. She didn’t know if he meant, what was she doing here at his garage, or what was she doing in town? But she went for the easy question first.
She gestured to the car. “I, uh, I think the bearings need to be replaced. I know that I could take it anywhere, but . . .” She didn’t want to tell him it was Dylan’s car, and he was the one who had let it go so long that she swore the front tires were going to fall off. As much as her brother loved his car, he was an idiot. An idiot who despised Cal, and she was pretty sure the feeling was mutual. “I wanted to make sure the job was done right, and everyone knows you do the best job here.” That part was true. The Paytons had a great reputation in Tory.
But Cal never let anything go. He narrowed his eyes and propped his hands on his hips, drawing attention to the muscles in his arms. “How do you know we still do the best job here if you haven’t been back in ten years?”
Well, then. Couldn’t he just nod and take her keys? She held them in her hand, gripping them so tightly that the edge was digging into her palm. She loosened her grip. “Because when I did live here, your father was the best, and I know you don’t do anything unless you do it the best.” Her voice faded. Even though the last time she’d seen Cal, his eyes had been snapping in anger, at least they’d showed some sort of emotion. This steady blank gaze was killing her. Not when she knew how his eyes looked when he smiled, as the skin at the corners crinkled and the silver of his irises flashed.
She thought now that this had been a mistake. She’d offered to get the car fixed for her brother while he was out of town. And while she knew Cal worked with his dad now, she’d still expected to run into Jack. And even though Jack was a total jerk-face, she would have rather dealt with him than endure this uncomfortable situation with Cal right now. “You know, it’s fine. Don’t worry about it. I’ll just—”
He snatched the keys out of her hand. Right. Out. Of. Her. Hand.
“Hey!” She propped a hand on her hip, but he wasn’t even looking at her, instead fingering the key ring. “Do you always steal keys from your customers?”
He cocked his head and raised an eyebrow at her. There was the smallest hint of a smile, just a tug at the corner of his lips. “I don’t make that a habit, no.”
“So I’m special, then?” She was flirting. Was this flirting? Oh God, it was. She was flirting with her high school boyfriend, the guy who’d taken her virginity, and the guy whose heart she’d broken when she had to make one of the most difficult decisions of her life.
She’d broken her own heart in the process.
His gaze dropped, just for a second, and then snapped back to her face. “Yeah, you’re special.”
He turned around, checking out the car, while she stood gaping at his back. He’d . . . he’d flirted back, right? Cal wasn’t really a flirting kind of guy. He said what he wanted and followed through. But flirting, Cal?
She shook her head. It’d been over ten years. Surely he’d lived a lot of life during that time she’d been away, going to college, then grad school, then working in New York. She didn’t want to think about what that flirting might mean, now that she was back in Tory for good. Except he didn’t know that.
“So, you think the bearings need to be replaced?” Cal ran his hand over the hood. From this angle, all she saw was hard muscle covering broad shoulders, shifting beneath his T-shirt.
She shook herself and spoke up. “Yeah, it’s making that noise—you know, that growl.”
He nodded.
The only reason she knew was because she’d spent a lot of weekends and lazy summer afternoons as a teenager, lying in the grass, getting a tan in her bikini while Cal worked on his car, an old black Camaro, in his driveway. She’d learned a lot about cars and hadn’t forgotten all of it. She wondered if he still had that Camaro.
“Want me to inspect it too?” Cal was at the passenger’s side door now, easing it open.
“What?”
He pointed to the sticker on the windshield. “I can do it now, if you’d like. You have to get it done by end of next month.”
She opened her mouth to tell him sure, but then she’d have to give him the registration and insurance card, and then he’d know it was Dylan’s car. “No, no, that’s all right.”
He frowned. “Why not?”
“I just . . .”
He opened up the passenger’s side door and bent inside.
“What are you doing?” She walked around the car, just as he pulled some papers out of the glove box. She stopped and fidgeted with her fingers, because he’d know in three . . . two . . .
He bent and tossed the papers back in the glove box. “I’ll have it for you by end of the day tomorrow.” He started walking toward the office of the garage.
He had to have seen the name, right? He had to have seen it. She walked behind him. “Cal, I—”
He stopped and turned. “Do you need a ride?”
“What?”
“Do you need a ride . . . home, or wherever you’re going?”
She shook her head. “I’m going to walk across the street to Delilah’s store. She’ll take me home.”
His gaze flitted to the shop across the street and then back to Jenna. He nodded. “All right, then.”
She tried again. “Cal—”
“You picking it up or your brother?”
The muscle shift in his jaw was the only indication that he was bothered by this. “I’m sorry, I should have told you . . .”
He shook his head. “You don’t owe it to me to tell me anything. You asked me to fix a car—”
“Yeah, but you and Dylan don’t like each other—”
That muscle in his jaw ticked again. “Sure, we don’t like each other, but what? You think I’m going to lose my temper and bash his car in?”
Uh-oh. “No, I—”
He shook his head, and when he spoke again, his voice was softer. “You didn’t have to keep it a secret it was his car. I’m not eighteen anymore. I got more control than I used to.”
She felt like a heel. And a jerk. She wasn’t the same person she was at eighteen, so she shouldn’t have treated Cal like he was the hothead he’d been then. “Cal, I’m so sorry. I—”
He waved a hand. “Don’t worry about it, Sunshine.”
That name—it sent a spark right through her like a live wire. She hadn’t heard that nickname in so long, she’d almost forgotten about it, but her body sure hadn’t. It hadn’t forgotten the way Cal could use that one word to turn her into putty.
He seemed as surprised as she did. His eyes widened a fraction before he shut down. “Anyway”—his voice was lower now—“we close tomorrow at six. Appreciate it if you’d pick it up before that.” He jingled the keys and shot her one more measuring look, and then he disappeared into the garage office, leaving her standing outside the door, her mind broiling in confusion.
She should have known Cal Payton could still knock her off her feet.

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