Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Release Blitz: Hooked by Karla Sorensen & Whitney Barbetti (Dark Romantic Comedy)




Title: Hooked
Authors: Karla Sorensen & Whitney Barbetti
Genre: Dark Romantic Comedy
Release Date: August 23, 2017



Blurb

X and I were probably doomed from the start.

That’s what happens when you meet in court-mandated group therapy and then try to steal from him to pay off your blackmailing drug dealer. Former drug dealer, thank you very much. I'm turning over a new leaf and all that.

Which is why I should leave him alone.

Except he tempts me to do things I swore I’d stop doing. It’s that whole gruff, grumbly, anti-social thing he has going on. Him, flame. Me, moth. Something about him calls to me, makes the blood hum in my body. And I don't want that feeling to end.


Lucy Connors is straight-up insane.

She looks like a Disney princess and tries my patience in more ways than I thought possible. Besides the fact that I have to save her cute little ass from jail, I can’t quite figure out how to leave her alone. Even when she’s trying her hand at Breaking and Entering. Especially when it's myhouse she's burglarizing.

Yeah, we were probably doomed from the start.

But that’s the thing about being hooked on something so good, and so bad for you—you don’t walk away when you should.








Purchase Links

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Free in Kindle Unlimited






Karla Sorensen

Well, let’s see ... I’m a wife and a mother. I’m a writer who wants to make people smile when they read my words. I own a dog that sheds roughly eighteen pounds of hair every day. I am obsessed with Outlander (both the books and the show). I’m almost exclusively a romance reader, which means some people will never consider me a literary snob. If I could meet one historical figure, it would be Jane Austen. I received my Bachelors in Public Relations and worked in health care marketing before I had my babies. I hate Twitter. I do it, but I hate it. Also, if you want to get on my good side, bring me wine and I'll love you forever.


TWITTER


Whitney Barbetti

I am a wife to one and a mom to two humans and one cat. I have a deep and abiding love for nachos - especially the kind with the liquid cheese, like from Taco Bell (sorry). I run on less than four hours of sleep thanks to copious amounts of Diet Coke. (Note: this paragraph is not sponsored by anyone except my hungry stomach.) 

As a Navy brat, I grew up all over the country, from California and up the east coast from Florida to New England and Colorado. I currently live in Idaho, where we have lots of potatoes and windmills. 

I write character-driven contemporary romance novels, heavy on the emotional connection. I LOVE love. I love writing about broken characters who find their soul mates. 





Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Book Tour: Grave Injustice - Cold Case Files Book 3 by Netta Newbound (Psychological Thriller)



About the Book

Title: Grave Injustice
Author: Netta Newbound
Genre: Psychological Thriller

Geri and James return in their most explosive adventure to date.

When next door neighbour, Lydia, gives birth to her second healthy baby boy, James and Geri pray their friend can finally be happy and at peace. But, little do they know Lydia’s troubles are far from over.

Meanwhile, Geri is researching several historic, unsolved murders for James' new book. She discovers one of the prime suspects now resides in Spring Pines Retirement Village, the scene of not one, but two recent killings.

Although the police reject the theory, Geri is convinced the cold case they’re researching is linked to the recent murders. But how? Will she regret delving so deeply into the past?


Author Bio

Netta Newbound is the author of twelve popular thriller novels/novellas to date including the Adam Stanley Thriller Series and the Cold Case Files. Her debut psychological thriller, An Impossible Dilemma, shot up the charts in 2015 in both the UK and US reaching #1 in several thriller and horror categories. This rapid success gained Netta a name for herself in the thriller genre. The Watcher, another of her bestsellers that reached the top 20 in the Amazon chart, was published through Bloodhound Books, who will also publish her next book, Maggie, in October 2017.

Originally from Manchester, England, Netta has travelled extensively and has lived and worked in a variety of exciting places. She now lives in New Zealand with her husband. They have three grown up children and four grandchildren.

Links



Book Excerpt

Bill Featherstone was fed up with his life.
After thirty-five years of marriage, his wife, Marianne, told him she didn’t even like him anymore, and moved out of their family home. Now, less than three weeks later, he found he was poorer than he’d been in his entire fifty-three years on the planet. Not only had she left him, but she’d systematically cleared out their savings in the months leading up to her declaration. Then, she took off with her fancy man.
As a self-employed electrician, Bill needed to take on extra jobs simply to pay the mortgage this month, a mortgage that had steadily increased over the years while he thought it was being paid off. It turned out Marianne had re-mortgaged several times, forging his signature. The crux of it was she’d screwed him, big time.
Zooming into the retirement village at just after 4pm for his fifteenth job of the day, he almost mowed down a bent up old man on a Zimmer frame. He was crossing the road as though he had all the time in the world.
Bill slammed on the brakes and wound his window down. “Get out of the way, you idiot. You’re gonna cause a fucking accident.”
The old man carried on, completely unaware of him.
Bill slammed the heel of his palm on the horn which made no difference to the situation, but brought plenty of nosy old codgers out from their bungalows.
Once the man had climbed up onto the curb, Bill zoomed off and parked his van a few hundred meters away. Then, he grabbed his toolbox and rushed to the address.
“Mrs Jones?” he asked the pleasant-faced lady who answered his urgent door rapping. She reminded him of his grandmother.
“Have you come to fix my oven?”
“I certainly have, love. Can you quickly tell me what keeps happening?”
“The problem began a few weeks ago when my niece and her boyfriend came for a visit. I wanted to make them some scones—they love my scones—I won awards for them back in my younger day...”
“That’s all very lovely,” he interrupted, “but can you get on with it. I’m a busy man.”
“Oh.”
The stupid old woman seemed shocked and although he felt a little awful, he knew what these old people could be like. She’d probably drip feed him her life story before getting down to the problem in hand.
“The fuse keeps tripping when I turn on my oven.”
“Okay, lead the way.”
In less than a minute he located the fault. “Bloody hell,” he barked.
“What’s wrong?” Her trembling voice irritated him.
“Basic common sense, love. Look at this? Tell me what you see?”
She began trembling so badly she appeared to be shaking her head at him. “I-I don’t see anything.”
“This!” He jabbed at a piece of foil lying in the bottom of the immaculate oven. “Would you shove a knife in the toaster?”
“No, of course not.” She gripped the work surface as though to steady herself.
“Then why shove a load of foil into the bottom of the oven? It’s touching an element and shorting out.”
“I’m sorry. I only had gas in my last house. I thought I was doing the right thing.”
“Well you know what thought did, don’t you?”
“Is there a problem, Gloria?” An equally doddery old man appeared in the doorway.
“No. It’s my fault, Eddie. Go back through to the lounge and I’ll make another pot of tea.”
The man eyeballed Bill before stroking the woman’s arm. “Don’t worry, love. I told Sandy I’d take him for a game of dominoes. Are you sure you’re alright?”
“Positive.”
Bill ripped the foil out and tested the element before turning the oven on.
The woman returned from seeing her friend out. “Is it okay now?”
“Should be. When does the fault happen? As soon as you switch it on or after a few minutes?”
“Pretty much right away.”
“Well it seems to be working alright now. I’ll leave the oven running while I pack up my van and fetch my invoice book.”
Out at the van, he shoved his tool box into the back and sat just inside, his right foot resting against the open door. He looked up, startled when a shadow fell over him.
“What the—?” Bill wasn’t able to say anything else. A searing pain that began under his chin, exploded in the back of his head.
Then nothing.



Monday, August 21, 2017

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Stolen Wish - The Bloodrealm Series by Jennifer Blackstream (Paranormal Romance)


  Title: Stolen Wish
Series: The Blood Realm Series #5
By: Jennifer Blackstream
Publication Date: August 7, 2017
Publisher: Skeleton Key Publishing
Genre: Paranormal Romance

#stolenwishtour
PRIDE MAKES HIM BOLD ENOUGH TO COVET HER Ali is a notorious thief, skilled enough to steal whatever his heart desires—except what it desires most. Anara. His fellow criminal would never let him get so close if she suspected he knew who she truly was. But a man can only resist temptation for so long… PREJUDICE CANNOT HIDE PASSION FOREVER Princess Anara is a tiger shifter obsessed with redeeming her race. With fierce determination, she’s stealing back the sacred objects of her people, the loss of which cost them the ability to safely convert their mates. Nothing and no one will stand in her way—not even a relentless thief who sees more than he should, and says more than she’s ready to hear… DUTY AND LOVE BOTH DEMAND SACRIFICE A dark sorcerer inadvertently gives Ali the leverage he needs to demand Anara’s hand in marriage. He’ll get the wife he’s coveted for so many years, and she will get the chance to finally explore the passion that she’s denied herself for too long. But even with a djinn’s magic at their fingertips, happiness is no guarantee. That which is easily gained is just as easily lost. If they want a future together, they’ll have to fight for it…

The Blood Realm Series #4
The Blood Realm Series #3
The Blood Realm Series #2
The Blood Rose Series #1
I’m not alone.
Anara slid into the shadow cast by a large pillar, stilling her breath as she scanned her surroundings. Visconti Malik’s cavernous home was empty on this level, none of the current occupants trusted to be in the showroom when their master was away. 
The cool tile chilled her back through her cloak as she held still, reaching inside herself for her other half. Her beast stirred, a tiger’s soft golden head rising, opening shining green eyes. Three high-arched doorways on either side of her gave a breathtaking view of the city around the hilltop, but she ignored it, focusing instead on the surrounding room. The massive pillars could be hiding anyone. 
Her nostrils flared, parsing out the myriad of scents that swirled in the wind. The ghost of the night's dinner still hung in the air in a perfume of figs, pomegranates, goat meat, and barley. Underneath that slept the scent of the treasure the visconti loved so much, bragged of so often. And still below that was another scent. One that did not belong. 
Masculine. Sand. The sharp scent of clothing dye. And a familiar hint of foolhardy excitement.
A smile spread over her lips. She knew that scent. Knew the man it belonged to. Her stomach fluttered in excitement as she remained hidden behind the pillar, waiting for the soft footsteps to pass her hiding place. 
Ali was silent for a human, she would allow him that. But a weretiger’s senses were unrivaled, and she would have heard the slap of his bare feet on the tile even if he had been moving as cautiously as he should have been. She shook her head, stalking him as he approached the far wall where the treasures glittered on rows of pedestals. 
“Hello, beautiful,” he whispered.
Anara froze, her hand hovering over his shoulder. Irritation furrowed her brow, and she crossed her arms. “How did you hear me?” she demanded in a whisper.
Ali jumped, whirling around in midair and nearly dropping the gold rhyton he held in his hands. Blue eyes opened so wide they caught the moonlight, turning his irises into crystal pools of light. The silky black hair hanging to his shoulders framed those eyes, made them all the brighter for the shadows that bathed the sides of his face. Anara dug her fingernails into her palm, resisting the urge to touch a lock of that hair, see if it was as soft as it looked.
He exhaled a deep breath, muscled shoulders sagging under the thin material of his caftan. “Habibi, you scared a year off my life. Why would you do such a thing?”
Her eyes narrowed. “You were talking to the rhyton, weren’t you?” She drummed her fingers along her biceps and lifted her chin in pretended offense. “What a fool I was to think I was the beautiful one you were greeting.”
A grin spread over Ali’s mouth, and he rolled the treasure down his arm, carelessly flinging it to his other hand as he focused on her. The intricately carved head of a ram seemed to flash its disapproval as Ali raised the cup in a mock toast. “Had I known you were here, I would not have wasted those words on a meaningless trinket such as this. You are the true treasure here.”
As always, Anara found his smile infectious, and soon she was returning his grin even as she tsked at him. “If you’re wasting your time with baubles such as that, then you are ignorant of the visconti's greatest wealth.”
Blue eyes glittered with renewed greed as he replaced the rhyton on its pedestal. “Oh?”
Anara cast a glance around to make certain they hadn’t disturbed the sleeping servants. The large room was open, security depending on the palace’s strategic placement atop a hill and the knowledge that anyone suspected of stealing from the visconti would suffer for a long time before he died. Malik was too proud of his treasures and his wealth to lock it away, and he clearly felt that the level of torture and violence he leveled on would-be thieves was more than enough to make up for his audacity. Anara said a prayer of gratitude for his foolishness as she redirected her attention to the locked door that led to the interior of the home. 
She took a careful step toward the door, her senses alert for any sound that might mean they were in danger of getting caught. The huge space remained empty, not a hint of sound bouncing off the gold and cerulean tiles that lined the floors, walls, and ceilings. With a wink at Ali, she resumed her original quest. 
He followed her lead, trailing without a trace of the pride that so often hobbled other men. It was perhaps his greatest quality, his ability to put practicality above pride. A very rare quality.
“And what precious secrets is Malik hiding, then?” Ali whispered.
“If you would do proper research instead of just grabbing whatever shiny object catches your fancy, then you would know. Now be silent.”
The door’s lock gave way under the careful application of the slender tools Anara had crafted herself. Together, they snuck inside and made their way down the short hallway, going left when it came to a T. 
The scent of rich ink, expensive thread, and the unmistakable mustiness of a space with no windows guided Anara until she came to the room she’d been looking for. Polished tile cover the walls and ceiling as in the other rooms, but this alcove boasted comfortable pillows and cushions for lounging, and expensive silks and tapestries broke up the endless shining tiles. A room meant for entertaining. For impressing. 
Anara kept her eyes on the tapestry at the far end, its vibrant threads depicting a majestic Roc holding one of its precious eggs, its wings turned to burning red embers by the glorious, intricate stitching of a setting sun. She stepped around the various seating arrangements, her heart beating faster as she approached her goal. 
Her fingers had just brushed the wall-hanging when Ali’s body heat washed over her back. Anara blinked and paused, her nerves tingling with the pleasant awareness of Ali’s proximity. It wasn’t the first time he’d invaded her space, and once again she reflected that if he knew that the veil she wore was not just a means of hiding her identity during her nocturnal activities, but a means to prevent anyone from looking on the face of the sultan’s daughter—he would never dare to stand so close to her. No man did. 
But he didn’t know. And he must never know.
“Have you forgotten what you’re looking for?” he murmured.
The words were another curl of heat into the air, and he shifted closer. Anara realized she was holding her breath, concentrating on the gentle press of his chest against her back. The tingling in her nerves turned to a crackle, and she quickly snuffed it out.
“I have not forgotten. I am waiting for you to realize your complete disrespect for my personal space.” She kept her voice light, gently recriminating. 
An inhale right next to her ear startled her, and she jerked her head to the side, prevented from seeing him by the hood of her cloak.
“You smell good.”
She pressed her lips together and turned enough to face him, narrowing her eyes at the wicked smirk on his face.
“You smell of wine. Perhaps you could refrain from breathing on me so at least one of us can keep a clear head?”
His blue eyes darkened and he stepped forward, crowding her and prompting her to tilt her face up to keep meeting his eyes or else step back in retreat. Her tiger raised its head, eyeing the man before her with burgeoning interest. Ali leaned closer, filling her senses with his unique scent. Her pulse throbbed as he stopped with his mouth an inch from her ear.
“Am I making it difficult for you to keep a clear head? Perhaps you’ll join me for a drink so I can…apologize?”

Jennifer Blackstream is a USA Today bestselling author of fantasy/paranormal romance. Urban Fantasy will soon be joining her repertoire, and if she doesn’t get hold of the insidious roving gang of plot bunnies, there’s going to be steampunk sprinkled in there too… For news, new releases, and a free copy of What Big Teeth You Have, sign up for Jennifer’s mailing list on her website at jenniferblackstream.com. Jennifer has unfailing affection for the authors who have influenced her, including Laurell K. Hamilton, Jim Butcher, and the sorely missed Sir Terry Pratchett. Her books include humor, romance, and action, with enough darkness to keep things very interesting. When Jennifer isn’t writing, she can be found re-watching Boondock Saints, Noises Off, or Gross Pointe Blank. With one of those classics in the background, she might also be searching Amazon for something she wants, but doesn’t need (Is there any such thing as a kitchen gadget that isn’t an absolute necessity? And don’t even get me started on office supplies…).

Friday, August 18, 2017

Book Blitz & Giveaway: Latte Girl by Katia Rose (New Adult, Comedy, Contemporary Romance)


Latte Girl
Katia Rose
Publication date: August 17th 2017
Genres: Comedy, New Adult, Romance
Hot coffee is a regular fixture in Hailey Warren’s life. Hot guys? Not so much.
Her grueling shifts at a cafe in the heart of the city’s business sector are rarely punctuated by anything special, so when the gorgeous heir to the security company next door strides into Hailey’s life, it feels like punctuation with a capital P (or D, depending on your preferred terminology).
Jordan Knox is enough to send her heart racing faster than a triple shot of espresso, and when the attraction proves to be mutual, no hidden corners or empty offices are safe from their game of cat and mouse.
But when she’s ready to drop the pretenses, Jordan continues to hold back, and Hailey realizes he’s been hiding secrets that could make whatever’s brewing between them boil over and burn.
‘Latte Girl’ is a full length, standalone novel, and the debut title from author Katia Rose.
EXCERPT:
I manage to get my head out from under the desk, and find myself face to face with his crotch.
Interesting development, notes my very unhelpful brain.
I move my eyes from his crotch to his horrified face.
“I’m— I’m not. A stalker, that is. I wasn’t hiding. I mean, I was just— wait. Let me get out of here first.”
Wondering how I managed to get under the desk so quickly in the first place, I try to contort myself enough to escape. I scoot out with my legs still bent up to my earlobes and then try to haul myself to my feet by grabbing the top edge of the desk.
This, of course, overbalances me and I reach out for the only thing I can find to keep me from falling, which just so happens to be the armrests of Jordan’s chair. I catch my balance with my arms braced on either side of him, our faces inches apart.
A soft “Unph” sound escapes my lips.
He blinks.
“Hey,” he finally says.
“Hi,” I reply, my voice breathy.


Author Bio:
Katia Rose is not much of a Pina Colada person, but she does like getting caught in the rain. She prefers her romance served steamy with a side of smart, and is a sucker for quirky characters. A habit of jetting off to distant countries means she’s rarely in one place for very long, but she calls the frigid northland that is Canada home.

XBTBanner1

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Cover Reveal: We Were Memories by Brandi Aga (Romance)




Title: We Were Memories
Author: Brandi Aga
Genre: Romance
Cover Design: Jay Aheer, Simply Defined Art
Release Date: TBC



Blurb

Someone once told me never leave the one you love for the one you like…

...you just might get something more out of that relationship than you bargained for.

I should have listened…

I never should have stepped foot on that airplane…

But I did.

Sins come in all shapes and sizes. My biggest sin to date comes in the form of sex, tattoos, and Harleys. Roman Blackhart, owner of Blackhart Custom Motorcycles, is all about living life in the fast lane. Our relationship went from zero to one hundred in the blink of an eye. Only problem is, I have a secret. A secret so deep it’s pulling me in two different directions.

Now we’re 1,400 miles of memories and broken hearts. I just hope it’s not too late to put all the pieces back together again.







Author Bio


Brandi Aga is a former book blogger turned writer. Her love for books quickly escalated the need to tell her own stories. Dark, taboo stories and dystopian romance are her favorites but she reads a little bit of everything. 

She is a stay at home boy (and cat) mom who spends her free time reading, writing, and online gaming with her husband of ten years. 


Author Links

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Stolen Wish by Jennifer Blackstream (Paranormal Romance)


  Title: Stolen Wish
Series: The Blood Realm Series #5
By: Jennifer Blackstream
Publication Date: August 7, 2017
Publisher: Skeleton Key Publishing
Genre: Paranormal Romance

#stolenwishtour
PRIDE MAKES HIM BOLD ENOUGH TO COVET HER Ali is a notorious thief, skilled enough to steal whatever his heart desires—except what it desires most. Anara. His fellow criminal would never let him get so close if she suspected he knew who she truly was. But a man can only resist temptation for so long… PREJUDICE CANNOT HIDE PASSION FOREVER Princess Anara is a tiger shifter obsessed with redeeming her race. With fierce determination, she’s stealing back the sacred objects of her people, the loss of which cost them the ability to safely convert their mates. Nothing and no one will stand in her way—not even a relentless thief who sees more than he should, and says more than she’s ready to hear… DUTY AND LOVE BOTH DEMAND SACRIFICE A dark sorcerer inadvertently gives Ali the leverage he needs to demand Anara’s hand in marriage. He’ll get the wife he’s coveted for so many years, and she will get the chance to finally explore the passion that she’s denied herself for too long. But even with a djinn’s magic at their fingertips, happiness is no guarantee. That which is easily gained is just as easily lost. If they want a future together, they’ll have to fight for it…

The Blood Realm Series #4
The Blood Realm Series #3
The Blood Realm Series #2
The Blood Rose Series #1
I’m not alone.
Anara slid into the shadow cast by a large pillar, stilling her breath as she scanned her surroundings. Visconti Malik’s cavernous home was empty on this level, none of the current occupants trusted to be in the showroom when their master was away. 
The cool tile chilled her back through her cloak as she held still, reaching inside herself for her other half. Her beast stirred, a tiger’s soft golden head rising, opening shining green eyes. Three high-arched doorways on either side of her gave a breathtaking view of the city around the hilltop, but she ignored it, focusing instead on the surrounding room. The massive pillars could be hiding anyone. 
Her nostrils flared, parsing out the myriad of scents that swirled in the wind. The ghost of the night's dinner still hung in the air in a perfume of figs, pomegranates, goat meat, and barley. Underneath that slept the scent of the treasure the visconti loved so much, bragged of so often. And still below that was another scent. One that did not belong. 
Masculine. Sand. The sharp scent of clothing dye. And a familiar hint of foolhardy excitement.
A smile spread over her lips. She knew that scent. Knew the man it belonged to. Her stomach fluttered in excitement as she remained hidden behind the pillar, waiting for the soft footsteps to pass her hiding place. 
Ali was silent for a human, she would allow him that. But a weretiger’s senses were unrivaled, and she would have heard the slap of his bare feet on the tile even if he had been moving as cautiously as he should have been. She shook her head, stalking him as he approached the far wall where the treasures glittered on rows of pedestals. 
“Hello, beautiful,” he whispered.
Anara froze, her hand hovering over his shoulder. Irritation furrowed her brow, and she crossed her arms. “How did you hear me?” she demanded in a whisper.
Ali jumped, whirling around in midair and nearly dropping the gold rhyton he held in his hands. Blue eyes opened so wide they caught the moonlight, turning his irises into crystal pools of light. The silky black hair hanging to his shoulders framed those eyes, made them all the brighter for the shadows that bathed the sides of his face. Anara dug her fingernails into her palm, resisting the urge to touch a lock of that hair, see if it was as soft as it looked.
He exhaled a deep breath, muscled shoulders sagging under the thin material of his caftan. “Habibi, you scared a year off my life. Why would you do such a thing?”
Her eyes narrowed. “You were talking to the rhyton, weren’t you?” She drummed her fingers along her biceps and lifted her chin in pretended offense. “What a fool I was to think I was the beautiful one you were greeting.”
A grin spread over Ali’s mouth, and he rolled the treasure down his arm, carelessly flinging it to his other hand as he focused on her. The intricately carved head of a ram seemed to flash its disapproval as Ali raised the cup in a mock toast. “Had I known you were here, I would not have wasted those words on a meaningless trinket such as this. You are the true treasure here.”
As always, Anara found his smile infectious, and soon she was returning his grin even as she tsked at him. “If you’re wasting your time with baubles such as that, then you are ignorant of the visconti's greatest wealth.”
Blue eyes glittered with renewed greed as he replaced the rhyton on its pedestal. “Oh?”
Anara cast a glance around to make certain they hadn’t disturbed the sleeping servants. The large room was open, security depending on the palace’s strategic placement atop a hill and the knowledge that anyone suspected of stealing from the visconti would suffer for a long time before he died. Malik was too proud of his treasures and his wealth to lock it away, and he clearly felt that the level of torture and violence he leveled on would-be thieves was more than enough to make up for his audacity. Anara said a prayer of gratitude for his foolishness as she redirected her attention to the locked door that led to the interior of the home. 
She took a careful step toward the door, her senses alert for any sound that might mean they were in danger of getting caught. The huge space remained empty, not a hint of sound bouncing off the gold and cerulean tiles that lined the floors, walls, and ceilings. With a wink at Ali, she resumed her original quest. 
He followed her lead, trailing without a trace of the pride that so often hobbled other men. It was perhaps his greatest quality, his ability to put practicality above pride. A very rare quality.
“And what precious secrets is Malik hiding, then?” Ali whispered.
“If you would do proper research instead of just grabbing whatever shiny object catches your fancy, then you would know. Now be silent.”
The door’s lock gave way under the careful application of the slender tools Anara had crafted herself. Together, they snuck inside and made their way down the short hallway, going left when it came to a T. 
The scent of rich ink, expensive thread, and the unmistakable mustiness of a space with no windows guided Anara until she came to the room she’d been looking for. Polished tile cover the walls and ceiling as in the other rooms, but this alcove boasted comfortable pillows and cushions for lounging, and expensive silks and tapestries broke up the endless shining tiles. A room meant for entertaining. For impressing. 
Anara kept her eyes on the tapestry at the far end, its vibrant threads depicting a majestic Roc holding one of its precious eggs, its wings turned to burning red embers by the glorious, intricate stitching of a setting sun. She stepped around the various seating arrangements, her heart beating faster as she approached her goal. 
Her fingers had just brushed the wall-hanging when Ali’s body heat washed over her back. Anara blinked and paused, her nerves tingling with the pleasant awareness of Ali’s proximity. It wasn’t the first time he’d invaded her space, and once again she reflected that if he knew that the veil she wore was not just a means of hiding her identity during her nocturnal activities, but a means to prevent anyone from looking on the face of the sultan’s daughter—he would never dare to stand so close to her. No man did. 
But he didn’t know. And he must never know.
“Have you forgotten what you’re looking for?” he murmured.
The words were another curl of heat into the air, and he shifted closer. Anara realized she was holding her breath, concentrating on the gentle press of his chest against her back. The tingling in her nerves turned to a crackle, and she quickly snuffed it out.
“I have not forgotten. I am waiting for you to realize your complete disrespect for my personal space.” She kept her voice light, gently recriminating. 
An inhale right next to her ear startled her, and she jerked her head to the side, prevented from seeing him by the hood of her cloak.
“You smell good.”
She pressed her lips together and turned enough to face him, narrowing her eyes at the wicked smirk on his face.
“You smell of wine. Perhaps you could refrain from breathing on me so at least one of us can keep a clear head?”
His blue eyes darkened and he stepped forward, crowding her and prompting her to tilt her face up to keep meeting his eyes or else step back in retreat. Her tiger raised its head, eyeing the man before her with burgeoning interest. Ali leaned closer, filling her senses with his unique scent. Her pulse throbbed as he stopped with his mouth an inch from her ear.
“Am I making it difficult for you to keep a clear head? Perhaps you’ll join me for a drink so I can…apologize?”

Jennifer Blackstream is a USA Today bestselling author of fantasy/paranormal romance. Urban Fantasy will soon be joining her repertoire, and if she doesn’t get hold of the insidious roving gang of plot bunnies, there’s going to be steampunk sprinkled in there too… For news, new releases, and a free copy of What Big Teeth You Have, sign up for Jennifer’s mailing list on her website at jenniferblackstream.com. Jennifer has unfailing affection for the authors who have influenced her, including Laurell K. Hamilton, Jim Butcher, and the sorely missed Sir Terry Pratchett. Her books include humor, romance, and action, with enough darkness to keep things very interesting. When Jennifer isn’t writing, she can be found re-watching Boondock Saints, Noises Off, or Gross Pointe Blank. With one of those classics in the background, she might also be searching Amazon for something she wants, but doesn’t need (Is there any such thing as a kitchen gadget that isn’t an absolute necessity? And don’t even get me started on office supplies…).