“Six years, a complex about my freckles, a love for pastrami, and a fear of failure. That’s what he gave me before slaughtering my heart and my faith in men.”
Suffering from the sting of betrayal, twenty-eight-year-old Avery Johannas quits her job and moves hundreds of miles away to Ocean City, the beach town of her dreams. With the help of her zany roommate, Jodie, Avery finds a new career, home, and freedom. Throughout her self-exploration, she makes only one rule: She won’t give her heart to a man again. She’s living for herself this time.
But then she meets Jesse.
A tattoo shop owner, the green-eyed Jesse Pearce is wild with a touch of mystery. As Jesse and Avery explore Ocean City and their friendship, they’ll have a hard time drawing a line in the sand between their hearts.
When summer nights get a little more heated than either expected, they’ll have to ask themselves: Can they let go of their notions of love, or will their hearts be permanently inked by past pain?
A high school English teacher, an author, and a fan of anything pink and/or glittery, Lindsay’s the English teacher cliché; she love cats, reading, Shakespeare, and Poe.
One of Iowa’s most prominent criminal attorneys, Joci Dorous is ruthless and devoid of emotion in the courtroom. It’s what makes her the best. Her most recent client allegedly committed murder and, despite a rocky start, Joci is determined to win Cameron Shearer’s case.
Since this is her first homicide, she has the support of a second-chair attorney—her ex who wants her back. To make things more complicated, her hunky cop of a booty call, Cameron’s arresting officer, isn’t quite ready to let her go either. Who knew being surrounded by three hot guys could be so deliciously exhausting?
As the mystery of the case unravels, she soon discovers the true reason behind Cameron’s impromptu visit to Iowa. It’s this knowledge that endangers all those she holds dear. Caught up in confusion, chaos, and criminal law, how will her heart survive the final verdict?
They sat in comfortable silence, Cameron’s warmth spreading over her and compelling her eyes to close. No doubt it was way beyond the normal time she fell into bed at night.
“Just so you know, neither the attorney douche nor the cop stripper will work for you,” he whispered into her ear, forcing her eyelids to stay open.
Joci grunted. “You wouldn’t know who works for me.”
Cameron circled a bold arm around her waist, pulling her flush to him. His mild scent filled her senses, lulling her. “Maybe not yet, but I can tell neither guy could make you happy. Not in the long run.”
Lifting her eyebrows, she let her eyes linger on his torso. He was magnificent up close, but even more so because she felt him beside her. She’d never thought the lanky kid with Metallica T-shirts would grow up to be more handsome than the majority of her exes. Why she allowed him to grip her like this, she’d never understand, but it was familiar.
“How would you know who would bring me happiness?” she questioned.
“I just do.” With fluid movements, he reached back and tugged at her ponytail. “I hate these things, by the way.” He clutched the hair tie and slid it down until her hair fluttered into her face. “Much better.”
“Why are you so much nicer when it’s the two of us?”
He tilted his neck and trailed his hands up her sides. “I don’t know. You’ve got this effect on me. I’m either an asshole because I want to see that angry crinkle on your brow.” He smirked when she obliged. “Yeah, that. Or because I want to know how your lips taste on mine.”
Joci’s breath caught in her throat. No words could form in her mind. She couldn’t admit to having reciprocal wayward thoughts. They were friends. Even if he was my first crush. Instinctively, her eyes lowered to his mouth. That was a mistake. His full lips curved in a smile.
“You too, huh?” Cameron’s hands disappeared, making her whip her attention to where they were going.
With care, he eased her back to the couch and tucked her under his arm. She expected him to make a move—they both wanted it—but he didn’t do anything. He simply kept her safe in his arms. With heavy eyes, Joci sensed her body drifting to sleep. The steady rhythm of Cameron’s heartbeat in her ear calmed her. She shouldn’t stay, but her tired body swayed her from the thought. Falling asleep in the sturdy arms of an ex-convict who also happened to be her oldest friend was her best definition of perfect. They used to build forts in the basement of his house and spend the night in sleeping bags, so what was the harm?
Startled to consciousness sometime later, Joci sat up and gasped. Somehow, the lights had been turned off, save the lone one above the kitchen sink. She glanced around the room and saw the clock on the wall. Shit, it’s three in the morning.
Cameron shifted beside her, and her pulse quickened. He looked too damn handsome for a murderer, with his unruly curls and long eyelashes. The darkness hid his tattoos, but she ached to turn on a light to see them. They were always a deterrent before, but the ones he wore fit him and drew her in more each time she viewed them.
“Aren’t you going to make me breakfast?” his sleepy voice mumbled when she managed to retreat from the cozy couch.
Cursing, Joci turned around to see him studying her. “It’s not morning yet, so I’m off the hook,” she teased.
He didn’t try to stop her, just watched her instead. “Don’t worry, I won’t tell your boyfriend wannabe or your fuckboy about this.”
Joci was startled when she realized that possibility didn’t bother her. Thinking on it, she wasn’t sure how either Adrian or Quinn would react to hearing she’d slept in Cameron’s arms. She wasn’t in a relationship with either one, so it didn’t matter. Adrian would curse her out for putting herself in a compromising position with the ethics board, but they hadn’t done anything, and they were friends long before her firm was retained for the case. Plus, it was sleeping, not screwing.
“It’s fine,” she reiterated, searching for her purse.
“Then you’d want to do it again?” Cameron appeared at her side.
“Shit, you move like a ninja.”
He clicked his tongue. “Not an answer.”
Swinging first her coat and then her purse over her shoulder, Joci shrugged. “It doesn’t matter, Cameron. It can’t happen again. I’m your attorney, whether we knew each other years ago or not.”
His arms were around her in a flash, sending her off-balance. Cameron caught her against the wall, his dark eyes scouring her face. “Pretty soon you won’t be.” He pressed his body to hers, the act sending a ripple effect through Joci. “But it is kinda hot this way too.”
She should move away from him, but the tender yet steady way he held her made Joci second-guess herself. By the time she talked her body into escape, his lips were there to silence her.
Erratic butterflies swarmed her gut when his mouth fastened to hers. Cameron plunged his hands in her tousled hair and tilted her head up to meet his. Any gasp she wanted to muster dissolved at his prodding tongue. The more he kissed her, the more Joci was positive this was a dream. She couldn’t be kissing a client like a slut! It was a dream and nothing more, she was certain—until he came up for air.
“I want you to remember this in the morning, Ms. Dorous.” His eyes dropped to her neckline and he let out a shaky breath. “Because you would be the type to think you’re imagining this.”
Not given the chance to answer, Joci’s moan echoed in his mouth when his hands cupped her ass. His kiss bolted her feet to the floor, hurling her mind into fathomless wonder. Leisurely, his lips moved to her neck, then lower until he reached her shirt.
“Don’t say I never gave you anything,” he warned, dropping to his knees and lifting her shirt.
Joci’s breath hitched. Having him in front of her in such an intimate way sent naughty visions through her imagination. She dug her nails into his shoulders when his lips clashed with the tender flesh of her breast. Her brain screamed at her for allowing his daring act, but the delightful pain he caused in her veins silenced her.
When he detached his mouth from her, Joci whimpered at the loss. Time was a foreign concept as he stood to tower above her. His breath washed over her face.
“Better scurry home, Joci. If you stay here much longer, I won’t have any control of myself,” he warned, his brown eyes filled with longing. His hand traced the breast he’d left moments prior. “Sweet dreams.”
She bobbed her head in agreement. She needed to get out of there before he killed her with his lips. On a cloud of desire, Joci moved to the exit and felt his gaze on the back of her head. Checking over her shoulder, she spotted his tall figure, but couldn’t decipher the emotions on his face.
Once outside the apartment, her hand fluttered to her chest. She reached the elevator and pressed the button for the ground level. What just happened couldn’t be described. She didn’t know why it happened or what it meant, but her body wanted more of it.
Curiosity got the better of her and she yanked up her shirt. “A hickey! That son of a bitch gave me a fucking hickey!” She yelped at the sight of the red love mark. A smile overwhelmed her face before she could stop it. She had to hand it to Cameron; she wouldn’t be forgetting what transpired anytime soon, thanks to his reminder on her body.
It was then that she was thankful she refused both Adrian’s and Quinn’s proposals for relationships. After feeling a portion of what Cameron could give her, she couldn’t think about, much less accept another man’s touch. The problem was she wanted more of what he offered. A craving that was both foolish and erotic.
Mary Billiter is a weekly newspaper columnist and fiction author. She also has novels published under the pen name, “Pumpkin Spice.”Mary resides in the Cowboy State with her unabashedly bald husband, her four amazing children, two fantastic step-kids, and their runaway dog. She does her best writing (in her head) on her daily runs in wild, romantic, beautiful Wyoming.
Hunter Collins was there for Desiree from the day they met at just twelve years old. He stood by her and waited for her, even when she joined the FBI, leaving him and all she loved behind. Now she’s back, he’s determined to not let her go again.
When faced with a police case that she can’t say no to, Desiree and Hunter navigate through the investigation as she faces the horrors of her past. As they struggle to solve the case, it’s up to Hunter to keep her tethered.
Will love and friendship be enough to save Desiree from herself and all that is tormenting her?
Other Books in the Thin Red Lines Standalone Series
I quickly drive through our moderately sized home town to the house Jax and I share. Looking out my bedroom window, I can see the house I grew up in, the lights all on. My pa and pop are in there looking after Avery and Chris. I know I should go over there and tell them what I’m doing, where I’m going, but I’m scared shitless of their reaction. It’s not that I think they’ll be pissed; it’s the disappointment I know I’ll see in their eyes that stops me. I might be the strong, silent type, but I don’t know if I’m strong enough to withstand that. With all my shit packed, I quickly scribble a note.
I’m sorry I left this way, but it was the only way I thought I could. I don’t mean to upset anyone, but I can’t live like this anymore, it’s too much. Please let me go. I’ll be okay and get in touch when I’m ready. I’m sorry. I love you all, Mav.
I’m an hour outside Booker when the calls start. First Bria, then Reed and Jax. Just as I reach the New South Wales border, a final text message comes through, this one from Park.
Park: Do what you need to, be safe, we love you.
I turn off my phone and toss it onto the passenger seat. The road stretches out in front of me, and for the first time in a long time I feel like I can breathe.
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Megan Lowe is a lost journalism graduate who after many painful years searching for a job in that field, decided if she couldn’t write news stories, she would start listening to the characters whispering stories to her and decided to write them down. She writes primarily New Adult/Contemporary Romance stories with Sport and Music themes. She is based on the Gold Coast but her heart belongs to New York City. When she’s not writing she’s either curled up with a good book, travelling or screaming at the TV willing her sporting teams to pull out the win.
Angela Waters juggles two high-stress jobs: nurse and earthbound angel. On a rare girls’ night out, she intervenes and saves the life of Mason Kearney, a stripper with southern charm and a secret. It’s a move that will force her to contemplate why in all the heavens she puts up with the injustice of being an angel, which leads to a bombshell that challenges everything she’s ever known.
In the midst of falling for the Alabama boy, she’s in for the fight of her life when a demon, hell-bent on taking her wings, shows up at the most inopportune times.
With a family of angels rallying behind her, she’s sent on a mission to learn everything about them, herself, and evil, to save all the earthbounds from an untimely demise.
Can Angela survive with her heart and her wings intact?
She lives with her husband, daughter, and four-legged children—all of which think they are people too.
A pop culture junkie, she has been known to have entire conversations in movie quotes and/or song lyrics.
Sky Heavensent, an angel of death, is charged with the collection of souls of the recently departed. Known to his peers and immediate supervisor, the archangel Gabriel, as the liability, Sky puts his heart and soul into everything he does.
When he meets Caleb Pierce, Sky is immediately smitten. The problem is Caleb is the soul he came to earth to harvest, and saving him means breaking one of the most sacred angelic directives.
Already in too deep, Sky pushes aside the consequences and follows his heart. Danger and mayhem follow, but he will do everything in his power to protect his lavender-eyed man.
After earning a degree in tourism and foreign languages, she worked as a tourist guide in her native Portugal for a short time before moving to the United States. She li
ved in three continents and a few islands, and her knack for languages and linguistics led her to a master’s degree in education. She lives in Virginia where she has taught English as a Second Language to elementary school children for more years than she cares to admit.
Natalina doesn’t believe you can have too many books or too much coffee. Art and dance make her happy and she is pretty sure she could survive on lobster and bananas alone. When she is not writing or stressing over lesson plans, she shares her life with her husband and two adult sons.
Living in Nashville with his daughter, Katelyn, single dad Derrick Collins’s main goal is to provide a good life for his daughter. With no social life to speak of, he knows it’s time for a change. He just needs to find the perfect woman who will complete his happy family. The problem is he’s already met her and let her go.
Mary Jane Evans’s life took a path she could only dream of. Though leaving her home in Nashville meant saying goodbye to childhood friends, family, and the first man she ever loved. Now she has to choose if she will return or continue her new journey.
With a decision to make, is it possible for two lost loves to find their way back to each other or are there too many curves in the road?
Currently they have no human children, only the room full of colorful robots that transform into vehicles and the large headed Pop Funkos who represent their favorite characters. Collecting movies, shot glasses, Pop Funkos, and dust bunnies are some of her favorite pastimes.
Amy began writing in September of 2011 and independently published her first YA novel, Cascades of Moonlight, Book one of the Parker Harris series the following May. Her first book was a means of therapy for her, enabling her to escape reality for a while during a difficult transition in her life.