Whirlwind Romance

A rush of emotion dropped a veil over all but the tiny world of the two people in seats 11A and 11B, in a jet plane floating somewhere over the Atlantic, in a still moment in time.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

On the Road with Sweet Cravings: Viviane Borg's a Tangled Web

Welcome Viviane Borg and her super romantic novel A Tangled Web, new from Secret Cravings.  Please take a moment to read Viviane's incredible life story—definitely fodder for more stories from this talented writer.


Sweet Cravings (August, 2014
55,000 words, M/F, Sweet Romance


Serena Burton is a shy and disillusioned young English woman holidaying on the Mediterranean island of Malta finds romance with the hotel manager, Luigi Coletti. She also finds herself deeply involved in the life of an elderly writer, Louisa Weston.

As Serena gradually discovers Louisa’s strange past she is drawn into a tangled web of hidden mysteries which are slowly uncovered, but at a high price…

Excerpt (PG): Calypso Cave
The coastal road leading to the coves of Wied-iz-Zurrieq, a small fishing village on the western side of the island, was very steep and narrow but the view from up there was magnificent. At one point he stopped the car so that Serena could admire at leisure the rugged landscape unfolding down below. She gasped with unexpected pleasure at the breathtaking scenery. Her cheeks were all pink from the freshening breeze and she looked absolutely ravishing. Luigi almost gave in to the temptation of proposing to her then and there. However, as he thought of his carefully detailed event to come he resisted and cautiously walked toward the bay.
Bonjù” the old fisherman from whom he had pre-rented the boat, greeted them with a toothless smile.
“Good morning Salvino, are we ready?”
“Ready when you are sir.”
Luigi helped Serena into the boat and took hold of the oars. “We shall be about an hour,” he said to the old man as he started to row energetically in order to get away from the scorching midday sun.
As soon as they entered the cavern, the coolness of the rock walls made them feel more relaxed. The water appeared as smooth as glass and reflected like a mirror the brilliant phosphorescent colors of underwater flora. Luigi sat back unmoving and let the craft drift smoothly along.
“What do you think?” he asked with a smug gesture of grandeur as if he owned the place.
Serena bent over to cup in her hands the pure crystalline water and sighed on seeing how the water gave the appearance of being a pale blue hue rather than transparent. “You are right, it is quite spectacular.”
Luigi was fighting his anxiety and waited for the right moment to speak. He had purposely chosen a mid-week day to avoid the tourist crowd, but there were still too many boats around. He feared his romantic proposal would not work the way he had planned it.
Spotting a smaller, deserted cave, he casually rowed into it. A faint ray of sunlight coming through the arched opening revealed a multitude of tiny multi-colored crystals shining brilliantly on the wet walls. They seemed to mirror the diamond ring he had chosen at his father’s jewelry shop in Valetta several weeks earlier was burning a hole in Luigi’s pocket.
“It’s very beautiful indeed although strangely kind of spooky as well,” said Serena shivering slightly at the thought and experiencing a niggling tingle at the back of her neck. Luigi’s deep blue eyes seemed to grow darker and darker like a whirlpool in which she was drowning, and for a split second his face seemed to disappear and a gray shadow jumped out of the boat… With a frightening yelp Serena recoiled in horror and looked around as if searching for something in the water. She was shaking quite noticeably and vaguely aware Luigi was speaking to her as he moved position to sit next to her making the boat rock a bit.
“Serena! Serena! What is it? Have I offended you in any way?”
 “No, no, I’m alright.” she whispered still in a daze.
He lightly touched her chin to turn her face towards him. “How do you really feel about me, Serena? You must know I’m in love with you. I thought you felt the same?”
“I don’t really know how I feel or where I stand right now, Luigi,” she mumbled still shaken by her eerie vision. “Things at the villa are not working out the way I expected, and I might very well decide to go back home after all.” She was stalling and she knew it, still determined not to make any commitments she might regret.
“We better go back,” he said reluctantly.
The journey to the villa was excruciatingly silent and unbearable. As they reached the gates of her new home Luigi leaned across to open the door rather than getting out and opening it for Serena.
“I’ll call you,” he said, then as soon as she had stepped out of the car drove off at high speed.
Serena stood on the pavement with a knot in her stomach. Why did she behave so stupidly when in reality she liked him so much? Would she ever see Luigi again or, had she lost the only true friend she had? She went inside with a heavy sense of foreboding. She didn’t understand why since arriving on the island she was beginning to experience such strange hallucinations from alleged apparitions at the rocks in Sliema to the ghostly image which had materialized out of Luigi’s eyes just an hour or so earlier. Should she perhaps see a doctor about it?
From the day she arrived on the island, her life seemed to have been taken over by a power beyond her control and she felt trapped within her own Calypso Cave. What was the meaning of all this? If by some inexplicable reason her destiny was to be linked to this tiny foreign land, was not Luigi meant to be part of it?

Buy links:
Sweet Cravings Publishing Store:
http://store.sweetcravingspublishing.com/index.php?main_page=book_info&cPath=4&products_id=235&zenid=kourko9vl6usq8v7fi0fif1q02
Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com.au/Tangled-Web-Viviane-Elisabeth-Borg-ebook/dp/B00MYBYGVC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1408843522&sr=8-1&keywords=viviane+elisabeth+borg
Smashwords:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/469464
Barnes & Noble:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-tangled-web-robert-borg/1114301646?ean=2940046121032

About the Author:
Viviane Elisabeth Borg (née Fleri) was born in Alexandria, Egypt on 15th January 1925 at a time when the Country was under a ruling monarchy which permitted a predominant European influence to flourish. This gave Egypt and Alexandria in particular a distinctive cosmopolitan and flamboyant lifestyle. Despite being born British of Maltese descent she had a totally Italian upbringing and received an extensive French education at the French Lycée. Being a great lover of poetry and literature she aspired at becoming a writer but her studies were cut short as World War II erupted over Europe. She married on 26th October 1946 and gave birth to three children. In 1952 her husband, Hubert, obtained a managerial position at a shipping agency at the small town of Port Said. They lived there happily until political disruptions between the Egyptian government and Anglo-French interests in the Suez Canal Zone resulted in military intervention. The result of the week-long conflict in 1956, which became known in history as the Suez Crisis, forced the evacuation of all European nationals out of Egypt. Viviane and her family were compelled to abandon their home and all assets and leave their country as political refugees. They set up a new home in London where they became a magnet for the rest of their family.
In 1997 she wrote and self-published a memoir entitled When the Wind Blows. Proceeds from the sale of the book were donated to cancer research in memory of Hubert who died of bowel cancer in 1989. Poetic Whispers a poetry anthology was published on Smashwords in 2013. A Tangled Web is her second book. Viviane now resides in the south of France near Cannes.

Contact links:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vivianeeborg25.author
Twitter: www.twitter.com/VivianeEBorg1
Blog: http://vivianeeborg25.wordpress.com/

Monday, August 25, 2014

Whirlwind Romance Available for Pre-Order!


Drop by Smile Somebody Loves You: http://sslyblog.wordpress.com/2014/08/25/coming-soon-whirlwind-romance-m-s-spencer/ for a dip into my upcoming release Whirlwind Romance. Pirates, Puritans, propaganda, and princes—pieces of the puzzle in the whirlwind romance between a beautiful jelly maker and a mysterious castaway. 

GREAT NEWS: Whirlwind Romance is NOW available for pre-order at these fine stores:




Meanwhile, try an enticing excerpt at SSLY: http://wp.me/p38lym-2FF

SSLY gave 5 hearts to Lapses of Memory: 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Backlist Bonanza: Mai Tais and Mayhem in Glorious Technicolor

So many romances, so many crooks: can Tessa Diamond, turtle protector and amateur sleuth, keep them straight and still find true love? Find out in my romantic suspense/mystery:



When Tessa Diamond rescued a baby pufferfish from a hungry seagull, her good deed led her into a shady world of smuggling, Russian gangsters, and coded messages. She confronts murder, attempted ravishment, parrots, sea turtles and big fish, only to encounter blossoming romances at every turn, including one of her own.


She is drawn to Cameron Mason, tiger-eyed and handsome, but before she can drop her longstanding opposition to marriage and accept her true love, she must face the possibility that he could be a thief, and even a murderer.

***
From Robin in MR Review:  "I enjoyed the fact Mai Tais and Mayhem is not just a typical cozy mystery but is a very well written book that has some interesting and unexpected twists in the plotline that enhances the reading experience."

And from Rochelle in Rochelle's Reviews : "Ms. Spencer will keep you on the edge of your seat guessing right up to the exciting end."
***

EXCERPT (R) ~ Makeup Sex
They pulled into her driveway. She’d become so used to uninvited visitors she half expected to see a strange car parked there, but only oyster plants and wild poinsettias filled the sandy yard. Cameron came round to open her door, an act which usually made her uncomfortable. As she straightened, his arms went round her and he pulled her to him. His voice came huskily in her ear. “God, Tessa, I’ve missed you.” She felt his lips touch her earlobe and slide down her neck. She shivered, her vulva squeezing out a drop of liquid in anticipation.
“M…me too.” She turned around and climbed the stairs, knowing he could see her long legs disappearing into the short skirt and that he would soon be tracing their path up to a warm, wet nest. She swayed her hips to tease him.
“Tessa, if you value my sanity, don’t do that.”
She turned around at her bedroom door. Licking a finger she cocked it at him. “Do what?”
By way of answer he lunged. They fell against the bed, Cameron ripping her blouse open and fastening his lips on one of her nipples. He rolled it in his mouth, pulling and licking at it. She felt it stiffen, and offered her other breast. While he worked on that, her hand slipped down between them to unbuckle his belt, then slithered under the shorts to find what she’d been thinking about way too much. His penis hardened under her touch. “Take my pants off,” he whispered. She rolled off the bed onto her knees and tugged the khakis down to the floor. His pole bobbed out, offering a delicious target. She tried to catch it with her mouth and missed. He leaned over her and, raising the skirt over her hips, pulled her up onto his lap.
“I thought as much. No underwear. You sexy broad, you.” His fingers snuck between them and he guided his thick rod into her vagina. She settled by degrees onto it, rocking gently back and forth. He leaned back on his elbows and watched her face. After a minute the tickling sensation grew unbearable, and her rocking more frenzied. She threw her head back and pushed her hips down on him, her pussy swallowing his prick all the way to the hilt. It touched off an explosion of pleasure and she rose over him, rising and falling, grunting in ecstasy. She felt his penis freeze, then warmth flood her cave. She fell on him.
Brrrnnnng. “What the h—” He pushed her off a shade too quickly and reached for his pants. The phone continued to ring while he felt in the pockets for it. Dropping it once, he managed to click Talk just before it went to voicemail. Panting slightly, he said, “Mason…Yeah? Okay, where are you? Oh really? All right, give me five.” He pulled on his clothes, blew her a kiss, and took the steps three at a time. Tessa barely had time to get to the window before a long, black limousine pulled out of the driveway.

***

Secret Cravings Publishing (January 2013)
eBook 66,500 words; print (208 pp)
Contemporary romantic suspense/mystery, M/F, 3 flames

If you enjoyed this excerpt, why not try the whole book?


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Artful Dodging: Hot Romance & Cool Mystery

Murders, mistrust and miscreants--needlepoint artist Milo Everhart has her hands full. Can love blossom amidst it all?

 In Artful Dodging: the Torpedo Factory Murders, we meet Milo Everhart and her merry band of artists. Milo creates delicate needlepoint and her friend Tekla Spirikova creates large metal objects. Together they fight City Hall (literally), which wants to give their beloved Torpedo Factory Art Center away. Things get complicated when their greatest adversary turns out to be the man Milo loves, and even more complicated when too many murder victims turn up.

Secret Cravings Publishing (2012)
eBook, 65,000 words, Print, 202 pp.
Contemporary romantic suspense/Murder mystery, M/F, 2 flames

EXCERPT (PG): FIRST DATE

The sleet had tapered off, and the moon began its stroll across the cumulus highway as Milo entered the restaurant. She passed through the dining room to the cozy bar in the back. Tristram sat in one of the overstuffed club chairs. He saw her and waved to the bartender.
“Jack Daniels?”
“Sure.”
He ordered drinks and a plate of assorted cheeses.
Three hours, four more rounds, and two more cheese plates later, Milo figured she’d better start asking Tristram some questions. But she didn’t really feel like it. She felt like she knew enough already, so she settled for gazing into his deep green eyes and smiling inanely. Which was okay because apparently that’s what Tristram had settled for too. Milo realized with a jolt that no one had said anything for at least five minutes. Come on, Milo. You’re too old for crushes.
“I really must be going. It’s been very…”
He reached across the table, put a gentle hand on her neck, and brought her into blissful contact with his lips. “Nice.”
She realigned her jaw and her heart and rose a little shakily. “Um.”
He jumped up. “I’ll walk you to your car.”
“I…okay.”
They walked stiffly out of the bar, stumbling only once on the threshold. Tristram steadied her. A few minutes later they broke apart to take a breath. The sidewalk had cleared during the evening, and they were alone. He took her back into his arms and kissed her, moving his tongue around the inside of her lips and making slurping noises as though she tasted like a chocolate milkshake.
He pulled away but held onto her hand. “Let’s go home.”
She let him lead her down King Street to a black Jaguar, and they drove in silence the few blocks to Lee Street. The moon rode high over a little terraced park. They watched it float a minute, then Tristram took her hand again and they went inside.
****
Read 3 five-star glowing  reviews here:
Rochelle Weber: http://www.amazon.com/review/R2P1TN4A0GDJNV/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1618853260&channel=detail-glance&nodeID=283155&store=books

Buy Links:







Friday, August 15, 2014

The Scale, Mika Jolie's Sexy Romance, is Spotlighted Today


Wahoo! More sexy, hot romance from Secret Cravings! 



 Today we learn about Minka Greene and her passion in Mika Jolie's full-length erotic romance, the Scale. Go for it, Mika!



Twenty-seven year old African-American, Minka Greene has to endure watching her twin sister marry the man she loves. Her weight is up, and her confidence is down. Not exactly the ideal time to meet the real man of her dreams.  

The Scale opens in Martha’s Vineyard with Minka attending Keely and Blake’s engagement party at Martha’s Way, the beautiful inn owned and operated by the tall, blond, tattooed man with the piercing blue eyes. It just so happens Jason Montgomery is also Blake’s childhood friend and the best man. Dealing with a whirl of emotions, Minka faints in Jason’s arms.  

When she wakes up naked in Jason’s bed after a night of passion, the Vineyard confirmed bachelor struggling with his own demons and the woman filled with self-doubt and pining for another man are joined in an experience that will change their lives.

The Scale is the first book of the Martha’s Way series.

 
Excerpt (PG): The Morning After

“Why aren’t you comfortable with my nudity?”
It’s not just your nudity that I’m not comfortable with.
As a distraction to hide the unsettling feeling inside, she sucked in a deep breath and walked across the room to retrieve what appeared to be her bra.
 “I like your name. Minka,” he said from the bed. “It’s different.”
“I’ll be sure to pass the compliment on to my parents. Please put some clothes on.”
Jason laughed off her obvious discomfort. “Come back to bed, darling. I can call Blake and let him know you’ll be late.”
She stood there watching him. Her lips drawn, her eyes narrowed.
“And Minka, did you like the sex?” He waved a long finger in the air. “Ah, don’t lie.”
“I was drunk. You took advantage. Please put some clothes on.”
“I never take advantage of a woman. And you weren’t drunk.” He patted the empty space on the bed next to him. “So how did we compare to your college make-out session?”
The man was impossibly conceited. Did he really need to hear that was the best sex she’s ever had? Walking past the bed, she murmured, “I have to go.”
But damn it, he was coming to his feet, off the bed, in all his glory. Don’t look! Once again, she failed. She looked at his wide shoulders, his tattoos, his flat abdomen, and… Seriously, she needed to stop gawking as if she had never seen a beautiful naked body before. Well, she hadn’t but she didn’t have to make it so obvious.
Minka caught her breath as he came to stand very close to her, leaving only inches between them. Out of desperation, she tried to increase the space between them by taking a step back. To her surprise, he turned on his heels and walked toward the dresser, giving Minka a full view of his flawless ass.
He pulled out a pair of black boxer briefs and lazily slid long, toned, tanned legs into them as if he was very aware she was examining his every move. She hated to give him that satisfaction, but her eyes were glued to him, even when he turned to face her, in the sexiest pair of boxer briefs she had ever seen on a man.
He took two long strides to close the space between them. Minka automatically took several steps back until her back was pressed against the wall. Toned arms came to rest on the wall, his eyes locked into hers, holding her prisoner.
“Don’t go yet, Minka.”
Really, did her name have to sound like silk coming out of his mouth?
“I must go,” she heard herself say in a whisper. Minka wondered who she was trying to convince. At this point, she wasn’t so sure.
“I want to see you again.”
Were her ears deceiving her?
A gorgeous hunk of a man wanted to see her again after a night of sex. This couldn’t be. She wouldn’t allow herself to entertain the idea. He was too beautiful. He belonged with someone just as beautiful, someone like Keely. At that thought, her heart sank. But it was better she protected herself from any more humiliation.
“I have a boyfriend,” she said out of desperation.
A soft laugh escaped his throat. “You just told me you were single.” As he spoke the words, he drew his face closer to hers, his lips inches away from hers.
He was about to kiss her again; only this time she was one hundred percent sober. Minka toyed with the idea of begging him to have a little mercy on her. But she didn’t, instead her long lashes fluttered when he paused for a mere second.
Then he was kissing her, another mind-blowing kiss. His lips felt just as great as they had last night, if not better. Minka heard a soft noise from her throat as he deepened his hold on her.
Against her lips, he whispered, “God, you feel good.” His voice was raspy as he spoke the words, the heat of his mouth caressing her lips. “Let’s go back to bed.”
She wanted to, oh how she really wanted to go back to bed with him one last time.
“I really have to go. I promised Keely I’d go to her fitting with her.” Where she found the voice to speak, Minka wasn’t sure.
“Otherwise you would have stayed,” he challenged, still standing way too close to her, his lips too close.
“Yes, probably.” He raised an eyebrow. “Yes,” she admitted. At least for one last time, she would have stayed.
He nodded and took a few steps back away from her, seeming to understand her dilemma. The space unexpectedly left her feeling empty.
He walked over to the bedroom door and opened it. She quietly followed him as he led her down the spiral mahogany stairs. The house, she realized, was quite large with a certain charm. A Victorian style house that was clearly a work in progress, with what appeared to be freshly stained and finished floors, newly painted walls and sparse furniture. With the exception of his bedroom and the big leather sofa in the living room accompanied by a big screen television, it didn’t look like any other furniture had been purchased.
She wondered who was actually behind the man and why he lived in this big old house alone. Was he coming fresh off a relationship, perhaps a divorce? And if so, had he gotten his heart broken or had he been the heartbreaker? Minka decided it was probably the latter.
“So, should we try this again?”
Lost in her thoughts, the question caught her off guard and she bumped into him. Her hands landed on his bare chest and stayed there for a second too long. She really should have insisted he put a shirt on as well. Not that the sexy, thigh-hugging boxers were helping much.
“We should try this again,” he repeated, but not as a question this time. “I want to see you again, Minka.”
“I can’t.”
“Because…”
Okay, so he was persistent.
Because next time, there won’t be any alcohol. Because next time you will see I’m not built like a model. Because next time, I won’t be good enough.
“Because whatever kinky sex we had was induced by alcohol, and that wasn’t me,” she said instead. Her voice sounded almost remorseful.
  
Purchase Links for The Scale by Mika Jolie:









About the author
Author of contemporary sensual, empowered romance, with fun relatable characters. I’m also a wife, and mommy to 2 energizer bunnies. Member of Secret Cravings Publishing. When I do have time to breathe, I like to run, hike with my camera at hand, and work on my gardening and knitting skills. I promised my husband I’d knit him a scarf…that was 5 years ago.







For latest news on my current WIP, interviews with fellow authors, or just to see what I’m up to, check out my blog: http://mikajolie.com/

While there, sign up for my monthly newsletter. 

I’m also on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook.

Join me in my journey.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Today We'll hear about Lily Bishop's wonderful City Lights Series--Mystery & Romance Galore

Please welcome Lily Bishop, best-selling romance author. Lily, could you tell us a bit about your new book, first in the City Lights series, No Strings Attached?



I had never been to Las Vegas until I went with my husband in 2009 for our tenth anniversary. When we planned the trip, I didn’t have a lot of interest. I’m not a gambler, and the reputation of Las Vegas from the media didn’t reassure me much. I imagined prostitutes on every corner, organized crime lords in suits and bowler hats scowling at me from big black SUVs, and homeless everywhere.

The reality of Las Vegas surprised me. It was classier than I expected. We walked around many of the famous casinos on the strip, including the Bellagio, the Venetian, and Paris. Many of the Forum Shops were crazy expensive, catering to celebrities and uber-wealthy. I had never thought about it before, but it seemed that the rich come to play in Vegas. (Note that the one thing that rang true to my image was the men on the sidewalks handing out the brothel cards with semi-naked women, but I’ll just pretend that didn’t happen.)

Short of bachelor/bachelorette parties and gamblers, why else do you go to Vegas? Conventions and conferences. The stereotype is the middle-aged man who parties with people other than his wife, but what if an average working woman goes to a convention in Vegas? What if she meets someone? 

From this, Laura Todd emerged, an administrative assistant for a hotel consulting firm in Miami, trying to get a promotion. She’s on the schedule to give a seminar on marketing. While killing time before the conference starts, she meets Fox Thornton at the blackjack table. He’s a hotel industry consultant who is attending the same convention.

What starts as a weekend fling gets complicated. Working in the same industry, connections don’t always reveal themselves until it’s too late. Fox had planned an extended vacation, but instead he takes a consulting contract in Miami for the company where Laura works. There’s more going on with the company books than meets the eye, and Laura seems in the thick of it. She becomes his prime suspect.

****

I just released the second book in the series, Under His Protection, which focuses on Fox’s brother Lee Thornton, a secondary character in the first book. It’s a year later, and he has started his own security firm. He takes a job as a bodyguard for attorney Elizabeth Crowne to protect her from death threats. 

A deeper mystery connects all of the books in the series, but each book has its own ending and resolution.

How is a national luxury hotel chain and a popular television cooking show connected to a Venezuelan crime family with strong ties to Colombia? You’ll have to read the books to find out.

Right now, I envision one additional novel and perhaps a novella tied into this series. I thought it would end at three, but another character is demanding his own story.

Here’s an excerpt from the first chapter of No Strings Attached (PG):

Laura pretended to study her cards, but instead she peeked through her lashes at the gorgeous man beside her. With everyone else at the table in T-shirts and jeans, he stood out in a well-cut charcoal suit as if he had just come from a board meeting. He shrugged out of his jacket and hung it on the back of his stool, then rolled up his sleeves.
He was Man-of-the-Month material. In fact, she could picture him as Mr. July with his tie loosened and shirt unbuttoned to reveal sculpted abs ... Distracted, she hit when she should have stood and busted at twenty-two.
"You jinxed me!" she accused him with a laugh.
He turned that thousand-watt smile on her when he busted after one hit as well. "No, you took my card. See, if I had that one, I would have had twenty-one."
"Oh, blame me." She stacked and re-stacked her chips, then adjusted her scarf. "Any minute you’ll say I'm too distracting."
He turned and his eyes followed the scarf back to her neck, and down to her waist. As his gaze moved up again, it felt like a caress. She looked up and lost herself in bright blue eyes that reminded her of the ocean in South Beach.
"You don't know the half of it," he said in a low tone meant only for her. Amusement lurked just beneath his words.
The old Laura would beat a hasty retreat, but tonight she would follow her instincts and see where they took her. After wasting years on a dead-end relationship, she had vowed to stop drifting through life and to start living. She felt like a femme fatale in her new dress, ready for anything when the silk had slid down her bare skin.
At the moment, however, she was ready for dinner. When her stomach rumbled, Mr. July turned with a grin.
"Hungry?" he asked.
She blushed. "A little. I got here today from Miami and the time difference makes me want to eat everything in sight."
She had blackjack on the next hand. Had his arm edged closer into her space? While collecting her chips, she leaned into him and spotted a little nick on his chin that she wanted to kiss and make better. Come on, Laura, get it together.
She tapped the table for another card when she shouldn't have, but won the hand anyway. Before she could bet again, the pit boss closed the table. Everyone grumbled, but Laura didn't care. She needed to quit anyway.
Laura tipped the dealer and cashed out, but as she stood, the skirt of her dress ripped. She could feel her skirt dangling and sat down quickly, desperate to hide her lacy black thong. She hadn't even brought her purse, only her phone and room key in a wristlet.
"Are you okay?" she heard Mr. July ask.
"Wardrobe malfunction. I have to go." She gathered the fabric in her fist, planning to back out of the casino.
"Let me help." In a flash, he stood up and draped his jacket over her shoulders. It went all the way down to her hips and covered the ripped section. "Better?"
His scent surrounded her. Laura looked up and saw nothing but his blue eyes. "Thank you. I guess I need to go upstairs."
"I'll come with you." At her blank look, he gestured to the fine Italian suit coat. "To collect the jacket."
"Of course," she said, wishing she hadn’t made such a fool of herself. They started walking together toward the bank of elevators outside the casino. His arm around her shoulders felt like the most natural thing in the world.
 "Well, this is awkward," she said, when they were alone in the elevator. "Nothing like ripping your dress at the blackjack table to get someone's attention." The ripped dress had stolen her confidence, and where she had been an outgoing flirt earlier, she felt herself slipping back into her natural shyness.
"You didn't have to."
The elevator stopped on her floor, and Laura led the way to her room. "Didn't have to what?"
"Rip your dress. You had my attention already."
She could feel her face heating up at his comment. Maybe there was hope for her yet. She looked up and saw they had reached her room. How had they gotten here so soon? Earlier, when she pulled her suitcase, the hall had felt as long as a football field. She paused outside her door.
"Here we are." When she opened the door, she backed into her room and handed him his jacket with a straight arm. "Thanks for loaning me your jacket. My name is Laura Todd, by the way. It's nice to meet you."
She offered him her hand, and his handshake was warm and firm.
"Fox Thornton. It’s definitely a pleasure."
"Fox? Is that a nickname?" She expected him to take the jacket and leave, but instead he leaned against the doorjamb.
"Long story. How about I tell you over drinks later?"
"I'd like that. But I'll be pretty busy with my conference."
"Let me guess. You're here for the International Hotel Association Conference."
"How did you know?"
"Just lucky. It's the biggest conference here. I'll look for you at the reception."
"Sounds great."
"Until then ..." He leaned in and brushed his lips against her cheek.
He left before she could protest the kiss—did she even want to protest the kiss? She blinked to clear her head. Wow. Just wow. Mr. July was a heartthrob. Perhaps this conference would be interesting after all.

****

No Strings Attached is available at most ebook retailers, and can be purchased as a paperback. Links to all the retailers can be found here: http://lilybishop.com/no-strings-attached/

Links for Under His Protection can be found here: http://lilybishop.com/under-his-protection/

 About the author:

Lily Bishop grew up near Athens, Georgia. She majored in English at the University of Georgia and then enrolled in the MFA program in Creative Writing at Purdue University. After a year, she left the program and moved to Atlanta. Like a siren's call, Athens wanted her back, and she returned to Athens where she received her Master's in Public Administration. She now lives in upstate South Carolina and works full-time as a database administrator for a university. She is married with two children in middle school, and when she is not writing, she and her family play German or Euro-style board games.

Lily writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense, and her goal is to blur the lines between romance, chick lit, and women's fiction. Her books are peppered with family members who make things complicated and couples who can't seem to find a way to be together. Lily writes with a Southern flair, but her characters find themselves in exotic locations and dangerous situations. She loves to interact with readers about her characters and stories.

You can find Lily at her