Friday, September 30, 2011

JUST GOTTA SAY RELEASE DAY!!!

IT'S HERE! IT'S HERE! RELEASE DAY IS FINALLY HERE FOR JUST GOTTA SAY!

And, boy, do I have a lot of release day fun for ya!

Today is my last of a five-day appearance at the following: Whipped Cream Reviews, where I've been talking all week about sexual fantasies, and we've just had the best conversations! And my great author interviews at Tonya’s Tales and Manic Readers Blog. PLUS, if you haven't read the totally cute and fun (and sexy! rawr!) group character interview at Fantasy Unbound Blog, you gotta check it out!

Up new on release day is my interview at The Forbidden Bookshelf and book feature at Kathleen's Place to Reflect, complete with a never-before-shared excerpt!
 
And the coolest thing??? Every one of these stops is a place for you to enter to win the book! Just comment! Easy peasy!

Can't wait to see if you won, no worries! The book is now available at Decadent Publishing, Amazon, and other fine booksellers (not B&N, yet...)!

Thanks for reading, and I hope you tour around with me!
:D Laura
 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Inaugural Vlog - Sharing Some Goodies!

Well, I'm excited and a bit nervous to share my inaugural attempt at vlogging with you. If you're new to the idea and the word, "vlogs" are video blogs, where a person speaks in a video format rather than writes a blog post. Fun, huh? I thought it would be a great way to go since I'm sharing some swag goodies, and this way lets me show them to you and tell you all about them!

Without further ado, my first vlog:
video

Here's the cute snowman snowglobe, a little more clearly.
So, lessons learned from my first vlog:
1) Clean off any surfaces behind me before recording the first time. No way I could let that clutter stay in the shot! LOL
2) Lock my dog out of the office before recording, so his barks didn't interrupt mid-vlog. Yep. That was my second take.
3) Speak with a little less volume so it doesn't reverberate quite as much.
4) Try not to say the word "cool" 8,001 times. *grins*

Otherwise, it was kinda totally fun, even though I'm a bit dorky in it. Still, what d'ya think?

Thanks for reading, and viewing!
Laura

JUST GOTTA SAY'S Sexy Times Playlist!

Hey guys! The JUST GOTTA SAY Book Launch Blog Tour continues on, and I thought we'd celebrate here with a little sexy times music! But first, some news to share:
  • JUST GOTTA SAY received its second review! 4 STARS from Book That Thing!: "Great chemistry between all the characters. Kaye made sure the characters were well developed even though it’s an erotic novella. Each of them had a distinct personality. I was able to see and get to know them as individuals which in turn made the schmexiness that much more sizzling. Callie’s an immensely likeable person....Trust and sex were two very powerful elements of the plot. Put together…hmmmmm, what a turn on!"
  • JUST GOTTA SAY'S Buy Page went up on the publisher's site! The book should hopefully be up on Amazon by Friday's official release day, and on B&N and other distributors a few days after that! It will eventually be available everywhere ebooks are sold! 
  • Don't miss the super fun group character interview happening on Wednesday at Fantasy Unbound! It was a lot of fun playing with them, and teasing them just a bit! Also, you gotta come join in the totally awesome conversations about women's sexual fantasies we've been having over at Whipped Cream!
Okay, all that fun stuff out of the way, let's get back to JGS's sexy times playlist:

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

It's a short list, but a totally sweet and sexy one. If you don't know these songs, give 'em a listen, and let me know what you think!
Thanks for reading, and listening!
Laura

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Top Off Tuesday!

Well, this is just too much fun not to play! After being introduced to Top Off Tuesday when North of Need got picked by one of the bloggers as an example of a hot, hunky, topless cover model, how could I not join in the fun???

And, it works out perfect, because my current read could NOT have a hunkier shirtless guy:

Oh, and why stop there??? Meet his brother:

And, it's nice these books don't just have some damn pretty packaging - I'm really enjoying what's on the inside of The Perfect Play's perfect cover, too!

Join in the cover deliciousness fun and post your favorite droolworthy cover on your blog, then post your link at Felicia's Geeky Blogger's Book Blog.

Thanks for reading, and ogling! Hey, no drooling on my site! Okay, you can drool, a little!
:) Laura

Monday, September 26, 2011

Meet Me Monday - Some Firsts for Laura

Thanks to the lovely Rachel Firasek for organizing the Meet Me Monday blog hop! The idea here is to share some things you might not know about us - and then in the comments, share something in return! Love that!

So, I thought I'd share some firsts with you, such as:

*My very first erotic romance, JUST GOTTA SAY, releases this Friday! And the blog tour starts today! Check it out to win!

L to R: Mindy Klasky, Christi Barth, and me on right!
*This past weekend, I participated in my very first book festival, and it was such great fun! The Maryland Romance Writers were official co-sponsors of the event. We had our own tent and hosted a packed crowd all weekend long. It was great getting to read from HEARTS IN DARKNESS and FOREVER FREED to a live crowd for the first time! (And a very exciting part of this weekend was getting to meet Megan Hart in person! Woot!)

*I received my very first EPIC awards nod. HEARTS IN DARKNESS is a finalist in the 2012 best novella category!

*On a more personal note, I'm excited to have finished building my very first Pandora bracelet with two beads my brother-in-law bought me for a belated birthday present! Anyone else collect Pandora?

*Today I had the first chocolate milkshake I've eaten in months, and it was fanfrickintastic! Slurp! *grins*

Any exciting firsts on your end?

Thanks for reading,
Laura

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Just Gotta Blog Tour Is Here! (+1st Review!)

I'm so thrilled to announce the kick-off of the JUST GOTTA BLOG TOUR, celebrating the 9/30 release of my debut erotic romance, JUST GOTTA SAY! Decadent Publishing will be giving away an ebook at every stop of the tour, so come on out and comment early, comment often! 

And, just in time for the tour, Just Gotta Say has received its first review - and it's great! Here's what Sizzling Hot Book Reviews has to say:

Just Gotta Say is a fast paced and very sexy story. Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop. Laura Kaye injects enough to humor to make us laugh while still heating up the pages quickly and eloquently. I felt like I was in Callie’s place at times as she struggles with her fantasies.

I would recommend picking up Just Gotta Say if you love a sizzling hot story about finding yourself and where you belong. You won’t be disappointed with Just Gotta Say if you like a little romance and a lot of erotic moments with some great characters.

Woohoo! So, without further ado, here are the blog tour deets:

TODAY!: Guest blog at Savvy Authors: 12 Lessons Learned from a Multi-Book Blog Tour!
9/26 - 30: 5-day spotlight at Whipped Cream Reviews: Talking about sexual fantasies all week!
9/26 – 30: Author interview at Tonya’s Tales
9/27: Author interview at Manic Readers Blog
9/28: Character interviews at Fantasy Unbound Blog: Totally fun group character interview!
9/29: Guest blog at All Things Books
: The Benefits of Being an Indie Author!
9/30: Author interview at The Forbidden Bookshelf
10/1: Show and Tell Saturday at Daily Dose of Decadence: Callie talks about the heroes of JGS!
10/4: Author interview at Tigris Eden's The Forbidden Blog
10/6: Three Way Thursday at Daily Dose of Decadence: What I'm thankful, thoughtful & thirsty for!

10/7: Author interview at Book Lovers, Inc.
10/12: Guest blog at Mare’s Place
10/29: Show and Tell Saturday at Daily Dose of Decadence


Here’s the blurb:
Callie Davis stumbles upon two of her three male roommates in a surprising, molten-hot midnight tryst and discovers a side of herself she never knew existed. Desire to play with them grips her, and she can’t stop fantasizing about having multiple men, particularly her three long-time best friends.

Callie is thrilled when a guys’ night out gives her the perfect opportunity to recreate her fantasy, with the help of a threesome porn video and a bag of sex toys. That is, until Lucas, Jack and Noah return early and catch her in the act. More than anything, the guys want to make her fantasy come true. But Callie has a secret, and she can’t help wondering if being with all three men will risk the future she’s always wanted with one of them.

As three strong sets of hands caress and undress her, Callie surrenders to desire, because sometimes you just gotta say...yes.
Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you along the tour!
Laura

P.S. - Waving to Six Sentence Sunday peeps! Not participating this week as I expected to be totally exhausted from two 12-hour days at the Baltimore Book Festival...and I was right. Phew! Tons of fun but I may need to sleep for the next week! :) Oops, can't do that, can I???

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Baltimore Book Festival Continues!


Yesterday at the Baltimore Book Festival was just great! And the fun continues today and tomorrow. I'm on several more panels today, doing another reading, and raffling another basket, so stop on by! Click here to see the full MRW schedule.

Here are the specifics events where you can find me today:

Saturday, 9/24:
2PM - READINGS & RAFFLES with Christie Kelley, Stephanie Draven, Laura Kaye and Laurel Wanrow (Forever Freed reading and Vampire Lover Basket)
3PM - Making the Most of Publishing with Small Presses and E-Pubs with Diane Wylie, Laura Kaye, Christi Barth, Kate Pool, Sharon Buchbinder and Joya Fields

7PM - Diversity in Genre Fiction with Catherine Asaro, Afton Locke, Laura Kaye, Stephanie Draven and Hanne Blank

So, doesn't this look like great fun? If you're within driving distance, consider coming on down and immersing in some book fun this weekend! And please say hi!

Thanks for reading,
Laura

Friday, September 23, 2011

Rachel Firasek on Musical Inspiration

As I'm Baltimore Book Festivaling it all weekend, starting today(!), I'm so very pleased to turn my blog over to my friend and fellow Entangled author, 
Rachel Firasek! 

Take it away, Rachel...

Every author has their own quirk when writing and many will tell you not to listen to music with words while you’re writing. I happen to love my words, so I jam it out with a new playlist for each song. Often the songs will change before the story is finished, but the final result is the playlist that usually helped me the most.  If you’ve read The Last Rising, I think you’ll be able to tell where I was at in the story by each song on the list. I hope you enjoy my eclectic array of music. 


And I’d love to know if any of these are a fave for you, or if there is any song that I should check out!



Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones


CURSE OF THE PHOENIX, BOOK 1:  


Now Available!
 
After paying two millennia’s penance to Osiris, world-weary Phoenix Ice has had enough. Saving souls without any hope for her own redemption isn’t how she imagined spending eternity. Fed up, she decides her next death will be her last. But when she sacrifices her own life for a sexy Texan in a catastrophic plane crash, she has no idea the consequences will be so great…or that she’ll end up back in his life for her next assignment.

Now that Turner Alcott has survived the worst, finding a wife and mother for his son matters more than ever before. When the mysterious Ice comes into his life, Turner knows she’s the one—but love is the last thing Ice wants. If he wants to win her heart, Turner must teach Ice how to forgive herself, and prove that love is the ultimate sacrifice.

THE LAST RISING EXCERPT:
“Why is it I can’t get you out of my mind? You say we haven’t met, but my dreams remember you.”

Oh yeah, he’d dreamt of a woman for months now. She resembled his dream woman in so many ways, but he’d never seen his fantasy lover’s face.

She struggled against his clutch. “Mr. Alcott, I assure you we haven’t met. And for your other question, I don’t know why, but you need to release me.”

Why did that quivering bottom lip make him suspect she was lying? Turner rested his forehead against the top of hers and sucked in her scent. “Please, tell me I’m not losing my mind. Tell me you don’t visit me every night and I’ll promise to leave you alone. I just need to know.”

He sounded like a crazy man but she had to tell him. She was the only one who could put a stop to his mind’s constant fantasizing, and this feeling of déjà vu every time he saw her.

Ice wriggled in his arms, her thighs chafing against his slacks. “Mr. Alcott, you need to let me go.” She glanced around his shoulder. “Brodie is probably staring out that glass window and I would hate for him to get the wrong impression.”

She was right. He needed to get ahold of himself, but he didn’t have the strength to walk away. His hands traveled up and over her shoulders, stalling on her neck. Brushing his thumbs against her jaw, he pressed her head back and stared into hard eyes—no emotion. Couldn’t she see the battle he fought?

He teased the corner of her mouth with his thumb and her breathy gasp pleased him. So, she wasn’t completely immune to him. He dropped his head until his mouth hovered over hers.

“Mr. Alcott—”

“Shhh. I just need a taste of the sunshine.”

THE CURSE OF THE PHOENIX, BOOK 2: THE LAST AWAKENING

Releases November 1, 2011

 For three hundred years, Arabella’s life has been one meaningless death after another. In a cruel twist of fate, Osiris gifts the phoenix her mortality and long-gone voodoo magic with a warning that she must save her next soul within a week without using magic, or she’ll lose her power forever.

Ex-soldier Greyson Meadows desperately wants to be freed from the nightmares and guilt that haunt him. Confronted by a waif of a woman who forces him to face the truth about his past, he runs fast and hard, fighting the need to prove himself worthy despite his perceived failures.

When Ari becomes the target of her own magical blunder, the weak will find strength and the strong will fall. One will have to give up everything so the other can have peace, but will love’s magic withstand the loss?

 And, stay tuned for Book 3 which releases January 2012!
Find Rachel on the web: Website | Twitter 
Thanks for reading! Leave Rachel some comment love!
Laura 

The Baltimore Book Festival Is Here!

It's finally here!

All weekend, I'm taking part in my first Baltimore Book Festival. My RWA chapter, the Maryland Romance Writers, is one of the sponsors of the event and we have a whole pavilion dedicated to romantic fiction the whole weekend. Click here to see the entire killer MRW schedule.

I'm going to be one busy author lady all weekend! I'll be talking on panels, offering book readings, raffling baskets, and doing signings. Forever Freed and Hearts in Darkness will both be available for signing and purchase.

Here are the specifics events where you can find me:

Friday, 9/23:
12PM - READINGS & RAFFLES with Mindy Klasky, Christie Barth, Laura Kaye and Robin Kaye (Hearts in Darkness reading and Elevator Survival Kit Basket)
1:30PM - Charmed by Charm City: Baltimore Makes a Great Novel Setting with Joya Fields, Sharon Buchbinder, Laura Kaye, Kate Dolan and Jeri Smith-Ready

5:30PM - Chocolate Tasting! with Eliza Knight, Christi Barth, Laura Kaye, Mindy Klasky and Robin Kaye

7:00PM - Erotica Panel with Megan Hart, Sharon Buchbinder, Kate Poole and Letty James; moderated by Laura Kaye

Saturday, 9/24:
2PM - READINGS & RAFFLES with Christie Kelley, Stephanie Draven, Laura Kaye and Laurel Wanrow (Forever Freed reading and Vampire Lover Basket)

3PM - Making the Most of Publishing with Small Presses and E-Pubs with Diane Wylie, Laura Kaye, Christi Barth, Kate Pool, Sharon Buchbinder and Joya Fields

7PM - Diversity in Genre Fiction with Catherine Asaro, Afton Locke, Laura Kaye, Stephanie Draven and Hanne Blank

Er, psst, did you notice up there I'm on panels with Megan Hart and Jeri Smith-Ready???? zomg

So, doesn't this look like great fun? If you're within driving distance, consider coming on down and immersing in some book fun today through Sunday! And please say hi!

Thanks for reading,
Laura

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Heather Thurmeier's Gonna Make You Laugh...

I'm so excited to welcome Heather Thurmeier to the blog today to celebrate her debut release!

Before you start reading, settle in with your favorite cup of coffee. Just, maybe, don't take a drink quite yet... Take it away, Heather!

First I just want to say a super quick thank you to Laura for having me on her blog today!

LOVE AND LATTES is set in a bookstore, and I can’t think of anything that goes with reading and writing better than coffee. There’s something so soothing about a hot coffee first thing in the morning. Even just the scent of coffee is enough to open my eyes and get me going. After I drop the kids at school, I brew my fresh cup of “favorite du jour” in my Keurig—best thing eva!—then I cuddle up on the couch and get to work. I can’t think of a single thing that would keep me from my morning coffee…

Unless that coffee came from an animal’s butt.

Oh, yes. It’s true.

Kopi Luwak is a coffee that is actually harvested from the feces of the Asian Palm Civet (a rat-looking thing) most commonly on the island of Sumatra. Apparently the little animals eat the coffee berries, digest them, and deposit them. Then the deposits are collected—Eww, eww, eww—washed (thank God!), sun-dried and roasted—kill those germs!—then brewed.

Really?

Regular coffee isn’t good enough for people? We have to go and collect it from poop.

From. Poop.

I rest my case.

They say this fancy poop coffee is less bitter, more aromatic and has more free amino acids because of the digestion process of the Civet. It’s also the most expensive coffee in the world… We’re talking hundreds of dollars per pound!!

So, an animal poops out my coffee and then I have to pay out the ass for it too?

No thanks. I think I’ll stick to lattes.

[Okay, admit it! Who snarfed coffee all over their monitor???]

Find Heather Thurmeier online at the following links:

Buy LOVE AND LATTES at

LOVE AND LATTES Blurb:

Chase gave up hope of ever finding someone interested in more than his wealth--then he met Julia. She could be the one to tame his player ways, but can their love survive once he becomes her new boss?

Chase has given up hope of ever finding a woman who wants something more than just his family name. Julia is funny, incredibly sexy, and finally, after two years of playing the field, Chase gets a chance to date a girl who's interested in him, not his status.

Julia can’t forget the night of passion she spent with Chase after dancing at the club. When she runs into him on her first day at a new job, she's thrilled to see him again--until she learns he's her new boss.

Julia doesn’t know what to think when she's threatened to stay away from Chase and then overhears gossips painting him as a player and Julia as his new toy. Should Julia heed the threats and gossip or is a chance to fall in love worth the risk?

LOVE AND LATTES Excerpt:

Elbowing her way through the crowd, Julia Walker finally reached the bar and attempted to flag down a bartender. She wiggled her fingers at the one nearest her as he walked by. Of course, he stopped at a woman further down and leaned across the bar to hear her order. As far as she could see, other people seemed to be trying the same tactic as her own. If the drinks lining the edge of the bar were any indication, all of them had apparently been more successful than she had.

Sighing, Julia propped her head in her hand and resigned herself to the fact she wasn't likely to get a drink anytime soon. In a normal setting, people looked right through her. Why had she thought the bar would be any different?

Why is coming to the club fun?

Maybe if she was tall and blonde, with her breasts bursting out of her top like so many of the other women she saw around the bar, she'd stand a chance of being noticed. But, with her straight black hair falling slightly above her shoulders and a dress only providing a hint of what hid underneath, she simply couldn't compete.

She surveyed the dance floor from her position at the bar but couldn't make out her friend anywhere in the sea of people. Julia had never been to Oasis before, even though there were only three clubs in the neighborhood. 

Her friend and roommate Tali had sworn she'd stay by her side so Julia wouldn't end up standing alone and bored the entire night. But where's Tali now? They'd gotten separated almost as soon as they'd entered the bar, with men naturally flocking to Tali's side, hoping for her attention.

The club was inside the gates of Meadow Ridge, so all the customers were either born and raised in the Meadow--which meant they were stinking rich--or they were students from the local university like she was--which meant they were dirt poor and barely scrimping by on meager student loans. Tali fell easily into the first group and Julia did not. Somehow, they'd remained friends regardless of the difference in their bank account balances.

Julia turned away from the dance floor and back to the bar. She needed a drink soon. She was already dehydrated from the hot, sweaty club and hadn't even danced yet. Sending her most award-winning smile directly at the bartender, she waved her hand again. He looked right past her to the girl in the see-through dress, which may as well have been non-existent for all the coverage the flimsy material provided.

A man in a dark blue button-up shirt suddenly blocked her view. "Hey," he said, smiling at her with perfect Hollywood teeth, bending down until his mouth brushed her earlobe. His warm breath caressed her delicate skin. "You look like you could use a drink. Can I get you one?"

You could get me more than a drink, I'm sure.

He must have been about six feet tall, with the most gorgeous sandy-brown hair. His features were sharp and defined with a strong jaw and chiseled cheekbones. Even though she could tell he was only a couple of years older than she was, he looked far too distinguished to be mingling in a club full of students and twenty-something singles. The warmth of his breath at her neck sent a tingle along her flesh.

"You can try." She finally found her voice enough to answer him. "I haven't had much luck yet."

"What'll you have?"

"A Cosmo."

He leaned across the bar and instantly a bartender wandered over to take his order.

How'd he do that?

She couldn't hear his words over the sounds of music pounding through the club, but moments later a frosty martini glass filled with bright pink liquid was at her lips. The tart cranberry instantly quenched her thirst as the heat of the liquor quieted the butterflies in her stomach.

"Thanks," she shouted, hoping he could hear her over the noise. She reached into the small clutch she'd brought filled with essentials and pulled out a couple of neatly folded bills. Before she could offer them to him, he put his hand on hers, shaking his head.

She should have insisted on paying. She wanted to pay. But the moment his hand touched hers, every thought she'd ever had vanished. The only thing she could focus on was the heat of his touch. His hand lingered on hers and she would swear she could feel actual sparks firing against her skin. Does that really happen to people?

She'd read plenty of romance novels that talked about the chemistry--the spark between two people--but she'd always thought an actual spark sounded a bit farfetched. Stuff like that didn't happen in real life, did it?

Her eyes sought his, finding the most interesting kaleidoscope of colors she'd ever seen. Flecks of blue, brown, and green intermingled to create eyes she wanted to stare at forever. "The next one's on me."

"There'll be another?" He gave her a teasing grin.

Oh, damn. She began to sweat and wondered if her assumption about another drink had been completely wrong. When he'd bought her this drink, he was probably just trying to be nice to the poor, thirsty girl at the bar. He most likely had a girlfriend somewhere in the club waiting for him right now and wondering where he was.

"No, I didn't mean that. I just wanted to repay you for this drink since you were so nice to buy me one. That's all. I'm sure you have someone else to buy you the next drink, so you won't need me too. Of course it's not like you need anyone to buy you a drink, I'm sure you can afford to buy your own drinks--" She shook her head and sighed under her breath. Damn it. At the ripe old age of twenty-two, she still couldn't speak to men without getting flustered.

His grin spread across his face and she thought she heard a small chuckle escape his lips, but it was impossible to know for sure over the dance music relentlessly thumping through the speakers. "On second thought, I'd love it if you'd buy the next round."

He's exceptionally cute when he smiles.

Thanks so much for reading! Please leave Heather some comment love!
Laura

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Happy Book Birthday to Me!

It's the 20th of the month, and that means I'm celebrating book birthdays around here! HEARTS IN DARKNESS is officially five months old and FOREVER FREED is four months old! To celebrate, I'm running giveaways for BOTH books!

1) In conjunction with Lucien Demarco's interview, I'm giving away a signed print copy of FOREVER FREED (open to international!)

2) I'm also running my inaugural Goodreads giveaway from 9/20 -9/30 where you can win one of two signed print copies of HEARTS IN DARKNESS (open to U.S./Canada)!





 
 


    Goodreads Book Giveaway
 





 
   
   


     
        Hearts in Darkness by Laura Kaye
     
   


   
   


     


       
          Hearts in Darkness
       
     



     


       
          by Laura Kaye
       
     



     
     


       
         
            Giveaway ends September 30, 2011.
         


         
            See the giveaway details
            at Goodreads.
         


       
     


   


   


   
   
      Enter to win
   
   
 

Don't miss out on the party! Or the freebies!

Thanks for reading,
Laura

Monday, September 19, 2011

Welcome Guest Author Christi Barth!

Want to end the summer with a funny, sexy romp through the Caribbean? Of course you do!  

So dive into the pages of Cruising Toward Love by Christi Barth.

The reviews are rolling in – Cheryl’s Book Nook said, "You have a funny, sexy mystery comedy all rolled into one. This book was great!" Sizzling Hot Book Reviews recommends it "to anyone looking for a story that transports you." Here’s a blurb to get you started. If you really want to get your feet wet, there’s an excerpt below the banner.

Can an unexplained breakup and ten years of heartache be cured by the romance – and endless buffets – of a tropical cruise?  When her sister is left at the altar, small town librarian Zoe Balis jumps at the chance to take the bride’s unused ticket for the honeymoon cruise.  But she didn't count on sharing a cabin with the man who broke her heart ten years ago!

Army medic Nate Hyatt never told Zoe goodbye when he enlisted - or the real reason why he dumped her on prom night after a year as high school sweethearts.  And he never stopped dreaming about the girl he left behind.  Could this voyage be his chance to fix the worst mistake he ever made?  After all, a Caribbean cruise should be romantic… if he can convince her to move past ten years of bitterness and hurt.

Once aboard the luxury liner, Zoe befriends a bored Internet mogul with more heart than tact. Nate vents his problems to a ship's photographer battling PTSD. The four team up on an island hopping treasure hunt. The stakes grow higher with each of Zoe's mysterious brushes with death. They race to discover why she's a target and who's behind it, while still competing in the treasure hunt. Zoe's never gotten over her first love, and is tempted to let Nate back into her life. But she already lost him once. She's not willing to risk loving a man whose career keeps in him a combat zone. Can Nate breach her defenses and suture her broken heart? Grab a deck chair and see if they survive the stormy relationship seas as they cruise toward love!


"Did you stop kissing me because you weren’t enjoying it? You see, I’ve dealt with the first time you rejected me, when you left all those years ago. There’s no need to rehash the past. But I don’t think I could bear you rejecting me a second time. So I have to know—did you not take me to bed the other night because I didn’t turn you on, or was it because I somehow wasn’t good enough at it?" 

The world stood still while she waited for his answer. Zoe focused on the squawk of sea gulls and the muted slap of the surf at the base of the wall. The lyrical lilt of Spanish from the group of teenagers passing by. A low buzz which must be some exotic insect in the shrubbery along the path. Every sound in her immediate vicinity rang with absurd clarity—except the sound she waited on with bated breath—Nate’s reply.

"If you still don’t want me, just say so, damn it!" she burst out.

Was it anger that hardened the lines of his body? Disinterest? Annoyance? Zoe couldn’t get a read on him. Nate advanced slowly. She backed into the turret, the space tight and cramped even for her stature. Built for the far shorter men of an earlier century, Nate had to duck his head as he edged ever closer. His sheer presence commanded as much area as his physical body. Something, some emotion rolled off him in waves, shimmering like heat above asphalt on a summer day. Why couldn’t she tell what was going on in his head?

"The sky is blue," said Nate, his face separated from hers by only a breath.

Huh? "Is that a military thing? Are you talking in code?"

"The sun rises in the east. Play with fire and you’ll get burned. These are all absolute truths. Indisputable facts. Well, there’s one more absolute you need to file away in your mental card catalog."

Nate brought the lower half of his body so close Zoe felt the heat radiating from his legs. Despite the heat, her goose bumps had goose bumps. The anticipation of his touch brought her every sense to high alert. He raised his arms up, planted his hands on either side of her head to cage her in place. Then he tilted so his forehead bumped hers. Her field of vision narrowed to the indigo sea of his eyes, pupils flooding black in the shaded darkness of the narrow turret they shared.

"I want you, Zoe." He forced the words out in a heavy rasp. "I wanted you the day we met. You wore a red ribbon in your hair, dropped a stack of books on my foot, and apologized adorably for ten minutes. All I could think of was wrapping the ribbon around my hand to pull you in for a kiss. I wanted you the first time we kissed, on the bridge in a storm. One by one, I licked off every raindrop that clung to your skin. I wanted you when I saw you covered in mud last Friday. Wanted you badly enough to crawl right into the mud to be with you. I want you now, and I will always want you."

Zoe let her eyes flutter shut in preparation for a kiss. Such a heartfelt, utterly romantic speech could only end one way. Just as whipped cream hungered for a cherry, his words demanded to be topped off by a kiss. She didn’t care about the past. With a handful of sentences he’d put her insecurities to rest. Nate dazzled her, and she was ready for more.

What was taking him so long? From beneath her lashes she snuck a peek. No Nate. Hoping the knees he’d melted to jelly would hold her, Zoe scrambled out onto the dirt path. Twenty strides ahead, Nate bellowed at her over his shoulder. "Hurry up. We don’t want to miss the reading of the clue."

From confusion to relief with paper hearts dancing overhead...right back to confusion, all in less than five minutes. Zoe trudged after him with one thought uppermost in her mind--now what?

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Laura