Screwing the Mob Releases In 2 Weeks!!! Are You Ready???

Eeeeekkkk!!!! I can’t believe it’s FINALLY almost here! Release day!!!!!!!

Here’s another little taste if you’re as impatient as I am!!!

I drop the gun, my finger still trembling from pulling that trigger, the one that extinguished the life of Frank Cappodamo. The metal piece crashes to the ground a couple of feet away from his slumped-over body. One shot to the head. I knew I had to do it, but I hesitated a second too long, and now…

Goddammit! I allowed the fear and self-doubt to paralyze my actions and because I wasn’t strong enough to break away fast enough, Shaye is lying on the floor hurt…or worse. My stomach roils as I collapse to my knees next to her. Nausea rushes over me as I drag a hand through her tousled hair. The thumping in my chest is deafening, so much so that I barely hear the instructions being shouted at me. Max pushes me out of the way and slices through the duct tape binding her hands and feet together. I reach for a corner of the tape on her mouth, which is already loosened by the tears she’d been crying for the better part of the hour, waiting for me. Me, who was one second too late. Yeah, I’d gotten my first kill, my rite of passage, earned my place…all of that shit, but at what cost?

It was a price I wasn’t willing to pay, but that choice was yanked away from me moments earlier.

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#Excerpt Reveal! #ARC #Giveaway!

#EXCERPT REVEAL! & #GIVEAWAY #ScrewingTheMob

Happy Monday!!! It’s EXCERPT REVEAL DAY for Screwing the Mob!!! It’s been called the Romeo and Juliet for the underworld. Family feuds, forbidden love, best friend’s virgin sister romance (wow, that’s a mouthful!!! LOL) heat, suspense, and a whole lotta angst! Want a chance to read it before anyone else??? Click the link to enter the ARC giveaway!!! GOOD LUCK!!!! <3

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A shiver runs through me despite the blast of heat from the hallway floor vent that toasts my quivering legs. I reach out, my fist about half an inch from the bedroom door, poised to knock. Wait, why? He knows I’m coming. He left the front door unlocked for me. Jesus, I can’t even think straight anymore. Memories pop between my ears like bullets. Me sitting on Nico’s bed, watching a video on his iPad, Nico’s hand skimming my bare arm, Nico’s lips on mine, Nico’s tongue…

Stop!

What the hell is wrong with me? His grandfather just died, and all I can do is think about that night…the one that never should have happened, the one I continue to dream about, the one I relive every time I close my eyes.

Forget the fact that I hadn’t heard from him since.

And that he’s my brother’s best friend.

And that he has 1-800-Hoebags on speed dial.

Nico Salesi will never be mine, and I’ve come to terms with that. Kind of.
I’d hoped to accept it once I got to college, but that didn’t happen. None of the guys I’d met could hold a candle to Nico. I couldn’t find the same pools of the darkest chocolate brown that begged me to drown in them, the ones that sparkled with excitement over the release of a new Marvel super hero movie, ones that deepened with lust when they gazed at me. And I definitely couldn’t find a pair of lips as bitable, ones that tasted like a wide variety of Jolly Rancher flavors, ones I wanted plastered against my own…and then on other areas—

I grasp the cool brass doorknob in my shaking hand and twist it. The door creaks open, and I squint in the dimly lit room. His bed is in the back corner of the expansive space, and he’s sprawled out on his back, tossing a football up and down. He doesn’t look up, and that should be my first clue that he doesn’t give a flying fuck about me. I clench my fists, trying to control my disappointment.

He never called, never texted, never emailed. Not until today, and of course, I come running the second he asks. I never fail to make the wrong choices.

He doesn’t care about anything except his business dealings. He’d never let anything compromise his place in life, least of all me.

It was a kiss. I have to forget about it. It’s not why I’m here. I’m here for Grandpa Vito, not for Nico.

Maybe if I keep repeating those bullshit lies, I’ll finally convince my heart that they’re true.
I inch toward the bed, my heart thudding against my ribcage. I can feel beads of perspiration pop up along the back of my neck, a typical reaction to his presence. My stomach is twisted like a Bavarian pretzel. Good God, will I ever be able to get over this guy?

And why doesn’t he stop throwing the fucking football? He’s the one who called me.

And just like that, he makes one final catch and sits up. His eyes aren’t sparkling. They’re dark, lost, empty. Soulless. The vacant stare makes my chest tighten and I stop, uncertain about my next steps.

He slides off the bed and creeps toward me. His dark hair is tousled, like he’d just woken up from a fitful sleep. There are bags under his eyes, and his normally rosy cheeks are all but drained of color.

Tears sting my eyes when his hands grasp my shoulders. “Shaye,” he murmurs in his deep, gravelly voice.

“I’m so sorry,” I whisper. “He was such a good man, and I feel terrible for you all.”

His hands move to my hair, twisting a hot pink tendril of hair around his index finger. “You dyed your hair.”

My hand flies to the chunky streaks I’d just had added to the ends of my blonde hair.

“Yeah…” I breathe him in, immediately tipsy on the scent of watermelon Jolly Ranchers.

“I like it.”

“Thanks,” I whisper.

He nods over to his desk. “He bought that for you for Christmas. It’s the collector’s edition.”

A sob rises in my throat when my eyes fall to the gift, memories of our marathon Scrabble sessions wallpapering my mind. It felt like a lifetime ago, when things were so simple and the biggest dilemma I had was to decide which word would yield me the most points during our cutthroat games. “I love it. I’ll always treasure it.”

“He missed you at Christmas. Made me promise to get it to you before you went back to school.”

“I should have gone to see him. I’ll never forgive myself for not saying goodbye.”

“Don’t beat yourself up over it. He knew the deal, Shaye.”

“I hate that it kept me away.”

“But you’re here now.”

“Yeah…” My heart is pounding like a jackhammer, drowning out all sound, and I almost miss his reply. A lump the size of a golf ball has taken up residence in my throat and squeezing out a response is near impossible.

But, as it happens, talk is overrated.

He pulls me close, bending down to press his swollen lips to mine – hot, intense, and hungry for any crumb I’m willing to drop.…

Read A #Dirty #Excerpt Of My New #Erotic #Romance, Double Jeopardy

This is a super dirty excerpt from a book I’m working on…I call it Double Jeopardy. We’ll see if that title actually sticks. LOL. But seriously…beware. You can’t say you weren’t warned…

Ashlei

I sink into a hamstring stretch on the dewy grass. There’s a chill in the air and it slithers underneath the thin nylon running shorts, making me squeal since I’m not wearing any panties. I’m also not planning to do any bit of exercise… at least, not the kind that requires sneakers. But my “husband” is away again, and… well, I’m horny as hell. Even at this ungodly hour of the morning. Stretching is just a prerequisite.

The sun barely peeks over the clouds. The sky still has that pinkish-purple hazy glow. Perfect. Only crazy people are up at this hour. Well, crazy people and people who are desperate to be impaled with a hard cock. Good morning to me!

But nobody knows… hence the running gear. It’s not like I can fuck him in my house. I have a gaggle of sleeping children, along with an au pair. And I doubt his dad would be very happy if he snuck me into his bedroom for a quick lay. Luckily, we have options.

A bedroom light in the house across the street flashes and my pussy clenches. It’s him. My finger twitches, aching to relieve the ache between my legs, but I don’t touch. I want to save it all. A little self-torture won’t kill me. My keys jingle. I know the drill. It’s time for me to go.

My office is only a couple of blocks away. I jump into my car and drive there, having just enough time to clear my desk of all the tax returns I need to finish. Later. I move fast, knowing he’ll be right behind me soon enough… literally and figuratively.

The front door slams shut and I hear the lock click. My heart thrums. Oh God, I don’t know how much longer I can wait to feel his dick pound me against the desk, on the couch, against the file cabinet… everywhere and anywhere. I kick off my sneakers and pull off my tank top, waiting, dripping, desperate.

He finally appears in the doorway, lips turned up in a sleepy grin. And that dimple… oh, fuck me now. “You’re not naked.”

I nod, biting my lip as I creep toward him, swaying my hips, my movements slow and deliberate. “I’m a very bad girl. How are you going to punish me?”

“I’m going to fuck you long and hard, just the way you like it. First in your pussy and then in your tight ass. No lube,, just me. You’ll be so full of my cum, we won’t need any.”

A shudder runs through me. There’s something so carnal about him plowing into my ass bareback. A rush of arousal floods my shorts. I grasp one of his hands and slide it under the fabric. “Feel what you do to me. I’m so wet. So ready for you.”

He loops his fingers into the waistband of my shorts and slides them to the floor. With a flick of his magical fingers, my sports bra is unhooked and next to the shorts. His hands are so warm as he kneads my full breasts. My nipples are so hard, they could cut glass.

‘You have such a fucking amazing body, Ash.” His hands slide down my lean torso and over my taut belly. I’d better. I work out for two hours a day and my two main food groups are wheatgrass and rice cakes. You don’t pop out three kids and keep curves like this. Besides, our arrangement keeps me focused. I know the skinny bitches he goes to school with are flashing their shiny new pussies at him around every corner. I have a lot to compete with, but he keeps coming back for more.

His cock is long and stiff, and can make me hit levels I’ve only read about. Damned romance novels. I’d always had a sick obsession for them. Always a happily ever after and always about the insane orgasms by way of massive dicks. Up until Jake moved in, I’d never hoped for either. But I cracked. Living such a lie, day in and day out sucks. It’s lonely and depressing, and Jake gives me an escape. It’s not love; it’s just sex. And it’s un-fucking-believable.

I yank off his shorts ad sink to my knees. I grasp his balls, rubbing them as I take his dick into my mouth. No gag reflex, so I can take it all. It throbs in my mouth. I suck harder and faster, tasting the pre-cum leaking from the tip. My tongue teases the tip, dipping into the slit. He fists my hair. I know that drives him insane. “Jesus Christ, Ash, you suck cock like a fucking champ.”

Hell yeah, I do. Better than any of those little whores that come down the block to camp out in front of his house, waiting for him to appear and flash that dimpled smile. It used to piss me off, competing with those girls, the ones with tits that are naturally perky and pussies that are ripe for the taking… pussies that didn’t pop out three babies.

But it doesn’t stop him from calling and begging to fuck me.

“Ahh! Don’t make me come. Not yet. I want to come inside you, so you feel me dripping out of you when I’m gone. That pussy is mine, got it.? He pulls my hair harder, forcing my head back. The tingling is so intense, I know it won’t be long before my muscles convulse around his dick.

I rise to meet his hungry gaze, my hand still pumping furiously. My ass rests on the corner of my desk, legs falling open, inviting him to pound my aching pussy. Stroking, tugging, pulling… he’s so close. God, I need this…him… now.

He runs his hands down my muscular thighs, over my smooth, bare cunt.  My lips quiver in anticipation of that fat pink dick pulsating as they swallow it whole. “Stop teasing me,” I pant.

With a squeeze of my tit, he grins. “You were a bad girl and this is part of the punishment.”

“Please…”

I gasp as he thrusts forward, driving his cock into me. No wonder why the girls are all sweating him. He fucks like a porn star and he only just turned twenty. I’m such a head case for even starting this. The guy can’t even drink legally! What the hell was I even thinking?

My pussy is on fire… clenching around his cock as he pumps it deeper and deeper. He smacks my ass cheeks, clenching them tight in his hands. The stinging sensation only heightens my arousal. Then his finger slips between the cheeks, massaging the rim of muscles before pushing inside of my tight hole. “Oh God, Jake. That feels so good. Holy shit, I’m going to come!”

My legs close around him, forcing him deeper. He slips in a second digit, finger fucking my ass. I dig my nails into his back, lancing the skin, wanting all his friends to see how I’ve marked my territory… this boy, who’s made me feel more alive than I’ve felt in years.

I choke out my next breath. My heart is thudding against my ribcage. Euphoria is an understatement. The orgasm rips through me. My body shudders against him as my screams pierce the air. This kid rockets my body to another fucking universe. It’s so wrong, goes against all the rules, but I can’t get enough. I won’t walk away.

“Your pussy is dripping all over me,” Jake murmurs, nipping at my ear. “But I’m not ready to come yet.”

“How do you want me?” I whisper. “I’ll do anything you want. Anything.”

Jake pulls out, his dick still rock hard. Nine glorious inches. This is heaven, I’m sure of it. “Bend over. I want that perfect ass squeezing the cum out of me.”

I obey, sticking out my ass. He palms the cheeks, spreading them as his cock grazes the entrance. “Are you ready for me?”

“Yes, please. Fuck me, Jake,” I plead.

He strokes himself a few times, his swollen head slick with my cum. He pushes into me, stretching the muscles, forcing himself deep into me. It always burns at first, but his dripping wet cock slides in and out with ease. He drives his fingers into my cunt, rubbing the clit.

“You’re such a fucking whore, Ash. The way you take my cock in your ass, the way you suck me dry. You’re a dirty fucking slut.” His teeth clamp down on my shoulder and I squeal. God in heaven, it sends shivers straight to my core and I’m teetering on the brink of coming again.

His dick pulsates, deep in my ass. “Fuck Ash, I’m gonna come.” He thrusts faster, his fingers making me dizzy with need. My pussy tightens around his fingers. A loud wail escapes my lips. “Oh God! Come with me now!”

One final thrust and he groans, his hands gripping my waist as he collapses against me, filling me with his hot cum. I fucking love it.

He smacks my ass one more time. “That’s mine.”

Fucking A right, it is. And I’ll do whatever I need to make sure he never plunders another.

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#Read A Dirty #Excerpt Of Joint Venture By Kristen Luciani & #Win

Welcome to my steamy hop stop! Sometimes, it’s just about the sex. So, here’s a scorcher for you…a little teaser from Joint Venture, available only in the Hot & Sinful Nights boxed set. And, there’s MORE! Post a comment below, and you’ll be entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card! Smut AND prizes???? You can’t beat that!

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The Testarossa squealed to a halt in front of Lisa’s house. The past twenty minutes had been sheer torture and he couldn’t wait a second more. His fingers gripped the steering wheel, itching to slide up her firm thighs. Time to pull it together or he’d blow his load faster than a horny, sex-deprived teenager.

The short walk to the front door felt like the million mile march. Silence was deafening… maddening, really. Every second that ticked by was one more that he wasn’t pressed against her. But the ache was different, it felt deeper, conflicted. One night would never be enough. He knew it long before their gazes locked in the restaurant, knew it when he told her he didn’t do relationships, knew it the second his lips met hers in that elevator.

Fuck the consequences.

Moonbeams cast a soft glow on her hair. His fingers curled around a loose tendril, his face inching closer and closer. A light, floral scent enveloped his senses, his heart thudding with an unfamiliar force. Overwhelmed by need, intoxicated by desire.

“A.J.,” she breathed as his lips grazed hers. Soft, warm, inviting… just like he remembered and longed for since that first kiss.

Lust commanded all conscious thought. His hands tangled in the glossy waves, lips hot and hungry against hers. God, her mouth was so greedy, drinking him in, and orchestrating the beginning of a scene that would most certainly require the privacy of her house. With any luck, it was one that would loop throughout the night.

She pulled away, a sultry smile lifting her now-swollen lips. “I think it’s time to go inside.”

Merely agreeing would be so very weak. Overly eager was a gross understatement. The door slammed. Jackets flew across the foyer, shoes bounced off the walls; buttons and zippers ripped apart, all while they devoured each other with the voracity of great white sharks at mealtime.

With a quick and final tug of the zipper, Lisa’s dress pooled at her feet, leaving her clad in only a light pink lace bra and matching thong. The effect was taunting innocence and she couldn’t have been one degree hotter if her body had been swathed in a black leather garter belt, whip firmly in hand. His cock stiffened at the mere sight, straining against his boxer briefs, the ache almost too much to bear.

Both hands cradled her flushed face, his lips once again in search of hers. Electricity crackled between their heated bodies, sending shivers to his core. This girl… fuck, she had him inside out. For the first time in his life, he didn’t give a damn about his own urges. She was all that mattered and somehow, he needed to make her believe it.

With a flick of his fingers, her bra fell to the floor, exposing heaving breasts. He kneaded them, toying with the erect pink buds, his bulge swelling with each mewl that escaped her perfect lips. “Take me inside,” he whispered against her ear.

She backed away, leading him down a dimmed hallway and into a bedroom. At least, he guessed that’s what it was. It didn’t matter. He’d gladly take her right on the floor. A sly smile appeared on her face. “Okay, so now what are you going to do with me?”

He dragged his hands down her lean torso, over the curves of her hips, halting on the smooth globes of her ass. Words exploded in his mind like bullets on a firing range as he considered all the possibilities, but none emerged. “The real question is what aren’t I going to do with you?”

“Sounds like this may take some time.”

“I hope you didn’t have a hot date planned.”

“I’ll text him later if you can’t get the job done.”

His grip tightened. “No chance of that, gorgeous.”

She leaned in, grazing his ear with her teeth, sending pangs straight to his groin. “Good.” Her hand slipped into the front of his boxer briefs, grasping his cock before pushing the fabric to the floor. It throbbed against her fingers, each pumping motion making him near-ready to explode. Holy hell, how could this be happening already? She knew just how to touch him, to stroke his length with increasing intensity, to ignite the desire coursing through his veins. His eyes squeezed shut, body shuddering against hers. Wet heat blanketed the swollen head as her eager mouth encased him. Her fingers cupped his balls, kneading them as she suckled, teasing his slit with her merciless tongue. No, no, no… he wasn’t coming from less than thirty seconds of a blowjob. Was he fifteen again? Hell fucking no.

His silent plea was met and her mouth slid upward, leaving every inch of skin ablaze in its wake. Her hands caressed his biceps, tracing the indentations of each taut muscle as her lips made their way back to his. He needed to taste her, to drink in her desire, to make her scream in ecstasy. With one swift motion, she was on her back, legs spread out before him, half-hooded gaze making his chest tighten. The scraps of lacy fabric still covering her were off in a blink, fluttering to the floor at his feet. His tongue grazed the sensitive area between her thighs, making her writhe under the control of his mouth. Hands fisted his hair, pushing him closer to the lust pooling within, her arousal filling him with an insatiable need to prolong her pleasure. Loud whimpers broke the silence, her passion fueling his own.

The overwhelming need to taste every inch of her heated body had a crippling effect, but it couldn’t even compete with the anticipation of plunging into her depths. To close that space between them, to become one, to feel the warmth of her body tight against his… that was what he wanted. All he wanted.

Fuck, his pants were still by the front door. Double fuck. No condom.

“I don’t have—”

A red lacquered fingernail pointed at the nightstand. He fumbled around the contents of the drawer and grabbed a shiny foil packet. With a rocketing heart, his gaze met hers. Those gleaming green eyes held so much emotion… very different from the sex kitten demeanor that normally prevailed. No relationships. That’s what she’d said. But her eyes told a different story. One night… could she handle that? Could he? All rational thought halted when his erection grazed her opening, then slowly entered, stretching her, filling her inch-by-inch. Warmth encased him with each thrust, her channel tightening around him. It was impossible to get close enough, futile to deny his feelings any longer.

She gripped his hips, her nails digging into his flesh. Their bodies rocked together, perfectly in sync. His lips silenced her cries as he plunged deeper and with increasing fervor until he was drowning in all-consuming waves, swept away into a vast sea of unresolved emotions with no lifeline within reach. Faster, harder… the toe-curling sensations shot out to each extremity, firing every last nerve ending. Short, raspy breaths came fast and furious. Tremors erupted within, his body shuddering from the powerful and pummeling force of the most exhilarating release his body had ever known. But nothing could prepare him for the realization that had sent his mind reeling. Unconfirmed feelings were easy to dismiss, but when the truth finally emerged; it was impossible to ignore. The only option was to succumb.

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About Hot & Sinful Nights

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Cover Reveal! Hard Time By Kristen Luciani

COVER REVEAL

Title: Hard Time

Author: Kristen Luciani

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Cover Design: Book Cover Couture

Release Date: September 12, 2017

 

BLURB

A man’s need for revenge. A woman’s career ambition. Will their love change everything?

Ex-con Jeff Torres trusted the wrong guy, and now he wants revenge. After five years in prison, he knows he can’t pull off his scheme alone. But who can he trust?

L.A. publicist Ariana Carlson is an ambitious career woman. Working seven days a week has led to cold sheets at night. When she meets the strong, confident, and secretive Jeff, she wonders if her evening luck might be changing…

Jeff enlists her help in his quest for revenge, but Ariana can tell that something is off. Of course, she’s got a few secrets of her own that could make romance impossible. As Jeff begins to crave Ariana more than his payback, will the publicist’s true motives take their love to the next level or send the ex-con back to jail?

Hard Time is a standalone romantic suspense novel. If you like sizzling chemistry, fast-paced thrills, and tales of revenge, then you’ll love bestselling author Kristen Luciani’s passionate story.

GOODREADS LINK: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35017536-hard-time

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CONTEST CLOSES ON SEPTEMBER 7

Read The First Chapter Of Hard Time!

You don’t have to wait any longer…at least to read the first chapter! LOL.

Sorry, I know I’m a terrible tease. But trust me, Hard Time will be worth the wait. Jeff and Ari are finally making their way back onto Kindles…only a few more weeks to go!

Here’s the first chapter. If you love it, comment below! Actually, if you hate it, I want you to comment as well! I want to hear EVERYTHING!!! <3

Chapter One

Jeff

 

Five fucking years down the drain, and for what? To win a pissing contest against the schmuck who got my ass terminated and destroyed my life?

I take one final deep breath to blunt the feelings of rage that always bubble to the surface whenever I think of that bastard. The prison alarm blares, making my ears ring for what I sure as hell hope will be the last time. The automatic metal door creaks open, and I step into the warm late afternoon sunshine, finally seconds away from freedom.

All I need to do is walk through those tall wrought iron gates, the ones wrapped in barbed, electrified wire. There were always stories floating around about inmates who’d felt the need to test out the silent threat, but ended up roasting themselves. Same idiots who weren’t smart enough not to get caught. Five years was a damn long time, but not enough of a sentence that would make me risk deep-frying my balls. And yeah, even though I got out early on good behavior, I was one of those idiots. I did get caught.

Gone is the bright orange jumpsuit. I look normal, even though I feel anything but. The Nevada desert air is dry, stagnant, and still. In any other situation, it’d be thick enough to choke me, but being on the other side, the free side? It’s so fucking sweet. I adjust my belt, several notches too big. Being in lockdown takes more than a few inches off the waistline, mainly due to grueling daily workouts, food that was best described as maggot meal, lamenting, and plotting…mostly plotting.

The alarm sounds again, shattering the blissful silence, and the large gates swing open, allowing me access to the outside world. So many thoughts run through my mind about what had gone wrong on that fateful night. Almost everything had been within my control, but I overlooked a single detail, and it was fucking major. I lost my focus. Didn’t see the signs. Walked right into the goddamned trap.

So, now, there’s a score to settle. A big one. Because the last time stripped me of everything.

I turn and look back at the dark gray concrete building known as San Pedro State Penitentiary, my home of the last five years.

No fucking way will I be back here again. Ever.

Idiots have nothing to lose. I have everything to gain.

My partner Remo is waiting for me at the exit in a beat-up, navy blue Honda Accord. The car is as non-descript as they come. Remo on the other hand? He towers over me, over most people, at almost seven feet tall. Dark hair, dark skin, menacing eyes. He looks like a badass motherfucker, but he’s one of the best guys I know. Huge heart in a very unexpected package. I peer in the windows of his car, furrowing my brow at the paper bags scattered on the backseat. He also has an unhealthy obsession with saturated fat. Remo gives a half-shrug as I open the passenger side door. “I’m trying to run it into the ground before I buy something new.”

“Better to have a getaway car like this than the pimped out Hummer that Rand drives.” I yank the door handle and pull it open, sinking into the bucket seat. The stale stench of fast food immediately assaults my nose. “Jesus, Remo. This shit’ll kill you,” I say, kicking at the bags surrounding my feet.

“It’s how I fuel up. You know that. I think best loaded up on grease and salt.”

“Yeah, well, it’s too bad I made you skip dinner the night I got pinched. Maybe things might’ve gone differently.”

“And now you’ve paid the price. I bet you’ll never make me skip another meal again.” He puts the key in the ignition and the car coughs its way to life. “How was the clink?”

A loaded question. To say it’s full of interesting characters is a gross understatement. The shadiest ones had their own personal lines to the outside, and with a little bit of cash, you can get a lot of shit from them. But I didn’t care about things like porn, smokes, or booze. I wanted information, which was harder, and more expensive, to get. But like minds always come together, and I used my steady stream of cash to get me exactly what I needed to concoct a plan, the plan that would make me whole again. “Not horrible. Gave me time to clear my head.”

Remo sticks his hand in a grease-stained bag on the console and digs around, producing a fistful of soggy french fries. “Want some? Looks like you can use some food.”

I stare at his hand and then at him. “Thanks, but I’ll pass.”

“Not good enough for ya, huh? Even after five years of choking down that horseshit they’ve been shoveling onto your plate?”

I snicker. “I am starving. How about a beer? And I’m talking about a cold one, not one you pull from some magical hiding place in this shit heap.”

“Is that the way you talk to the only guy who volunteered to pick your ass up in Nevada and drive you all the way back to LA?” Remo shakes his head and pulls the clunker onto the freeway heading south. “Jesus Christ, in about twenty minutes, I’ll be an accomplice to your parole violation. Not to mention I’m the only one who has the inside scoop about where the star of our upcoming show is gonna be later tonight, and guess what? A Grammy ain’t the only thing she’ll be wrapping her hands around and squeezing.”

****

Ariana

“We’re getting married!”

Even though my head is blissfully thick with cobwebs, courtesy of the gallon of vodka I’ve already consumed, those words reverberate between my ears like clanging symbols. I can’t drown them out, and believe me, I’ve tried. For hours.

Pulsating beats vibrate the lacquered floor beneath my stilettos as I make a futile attempt to dance away the hollow feeling in my heart. A stream of perspiration drizzles down the back of my neck, making me cringe. I’m alone…alone in the most frivolous and artificial world I can imagine. Hollywood. La La Land. Tinseltown. Call it what you want. It’s still a big ass bubble of superficiality.

I’m jaded. At twenty-eight. Of course, out here, that’s pretty damned ancient, not that I have any delusions about a career in acting or modeling. Nope, I don’t have any aspirations to be one of those diva bitches. My goal is simple. Keep said bitches out of the media. Note, I said nothing about keeping them out of trouble. My very expensive services only cover so much. I’m not their babysitter.

I’m a publicist.

A swift hip check jolts me from my scattered thoughts. “Hey! You’re dry.” My assistant Layna points to the empty highball glass in my hand.

“It’s not doing any good. I think I’ve drunk myself sober.”

Layna snickers. “Good! Grammy after-parties always equate to paparazzi poison for our clients, so it’s probably better if you’re sober. I sure as hell hope you’re ready to do some serious damage control.”

I let out a deep sigh. “Aren’t I always?”

Layna’s smile fades. “You’re still upset, aren’t you?” It was a question, but the tone of her voice made it sound more like a statement. She’d never understand, not that I’d ever bothered to explain the deep-rooted feelings I didn’t even want to acknowledge to myself.

“It’s just a little fast, that’s all. Can you blame me for being apprehensive?”

“I get it. I just think you need to let things go. She’s not you, Ari.”

No, she definitely isn’t.

I manage a weak smile and wave my glass at Layna. “Maybe it is time for another drink.”

“As long as you promise me that you won’t be dragging me into the office at three o’clock in the morning to handle disaster recovery for our leading ladies.”

“That’s part of the job, love. You signed up for that shit day one.” I link my arm through hers and push through the throng of sweaty bodies grinding to the deafening music. Groping hands slither over my hips and ass as we move, one even has the audacity to pinch. I spin around, narrowing my eyes at the leering dumbass. Pretty boy. Fucking stupid as hell though. I grit my teeth. It’s bad enough my clients cause tsunamis with their less-than-aboveboard antics, I don’t need my good name spiraling down after them. I have to be careful. Social media can crush me if I make a single wrong move. And I can’t afford to have that kind of negative attention on me right now.

Still…I don’t have patience for this crap.

I lean toward his tall, built frame, my lips curling into a saccharin sweet smile. “Did you need something?”

He grins, swaying toward me. “Just a dance. Then maybe a fuck.”

I squeeze Layna’s hand and avert my eyes in an attempt to look demure before I knock him on his cocky ass. “I’m pretty sure that a guy who looks like you can get a girl to drop her panties without having to manhandle her.” I flutter my eyelashes and move in for the kill. “But I can’t say she’d be too eager to screw you once she finds out your dick’s the size of a peanut. Because really, if it wasn’t, wouldn’t you be waiting for me to come to you?” I wink. “Try not to overcompensate too much. In this town, you need an air of mystery. Especially with a small penis.”

I don’t use brute force unless I absolutely have to. I’m better with words. It’s why I get away with charging such exorbitant retainers to preserve livelihoods.

And, despite everything polluting my mind, tonight is a good night. One of my clients walked away with the Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocalist. It’s celebration time for a job well done, all around.

The bar is packed. We stand around, pressed together like a bunch of slimy sardines in a can, since the air in the club is drenched with humidity. A whiff of Prada cologne floats under my nose and I stifle an inward groan.

“Ariana Carlson?”

I paste on a smile and twist in the direction of the gruff voice to my right. You never know whose tarnished reputation is in need of polishing, which is another reason why I don’t go around pummeling drunk, handsy dipshits in bars. I’m always on the job.

“Yes?”

Dark eyes crinkle in the corners as they narrow at me, full lips stretched into a tight line. Tall, menacing yet delectable, and, built like a brick shithouse. I can work with this, provided he hasn’t killed anyone. I’m good, but I know my limits.

“You need to follow me.”

I snort and turn back to my assistant Layna, who’s waving a fifty at the bartender as she flirts madly with her boobs. “I don’t think so.”

He steps closer, completely invading my space, his breath hot against my ear. “My boss has a message for you. He’s asked to speak to you privately.”

A dry laugh escapes my lips. “Well, if it’s so important, he can get off his ass and find me himself.”

“It doesn’t work that way, Ms. Carlson. You’re about to have a very big problem, and only one person can solve it. I suggest you follow me. If you don’t, your very lucrative client list will dissipate like a fart in the wind by sunrise. That’s a guarantee.”

****

Jeff

Her expression is stony and petulant. I can see it clearly from my vantage point in the back corner of the dimly lit lounge. Good. She’ll need to channel that anger and hostility pretty damned soon. Remo nods his head in my direction and she turns toward me, her eyes narrowed and lips pursed. I maintain a steady gaze, even though my eyes beg to rake over the luscious curves storming through the crowd. They are desperate to leer, but that’s not why I’m here.

I never make personal appearances for professional reasons. Ever.

But this situation requires an exception. Nothing will be left to chance, not this time.

Her tits bounce as she walks, high heels making her leg muscles flex with each step. The tight black dress wrapped around her body like Saran Wrap makes my cock twitch, and I grit my teeth. It’s gonna be a long night, and nothing about it is even remotely sexual.

Remo disappears like the good minion that he is, and Ariana Carlson stands in front of me, arms folded, accentuating the fact that she’s about to have a wardrobe malfunction if she squeezes her arms together any tighter. I can’t say I’d be sorry to see those tits up close and personal, but now’s not really the time. We’re on the clock, starting exactly thirty-seven minutes ago. I knew my nemesis would come out of his fucking hole sooner than later, and Ariana Carlson is the one person who can help me string up that bastard by the balls.

Finding her wasn’t much of a challenge, but convincing her that I’m not the enemy is going to take some finessing, something that doesn’t come naturally to me. Especially since that is exactly what I am.

“I don’t appreciate being summoned. Who the fuck do you think you are?”

I allow a smug grin to spread across my face. “I’m the one who got you over here despite that claim.”

Her mouth drops open and then quickly closes. “Make no mistake. I’m not intimidated by you or your thugs.”

“I’m aware of that. You’re here because you’re curious, and that’s good.” I pick up the half-full glass of scotch in front of me and swirl it around before taking a long sip. Impatience is creeping into her expression, and I know this cat and mouse shit isn’t going to work for much longer. “It might be better if you sit for this next part.”

“I’m fine right here.”

“I don’t think you want me to shout.”

She rolls her eyes and slams her hands on the table. A definite spark plug with a mouth that can spit fire. Fuck, that has so many possibilities…

“What makes you think I care?”

“Because if I mention a name that currently pays your firm $20,000 a month for representation, the same one who walked away with a very prestigious award tonight, it won’t bode well for you if anyone overhears why said name is in question.”

She sinks onto the leather bench, searing me with a glare that could slice through concrete. “Listen, you creepy mother fucker. I don’t know who the hell you are, but I’m about two seconds away from calling the cops. Don’t you dare try to dangle bullshit information in front of me and think I’ll give you the time of day!”

“Fair enough.” I pull out my iPhone and pick out one of the photos that I’d received. I hand it to her and watch the snark desert her body, deflating her with each second she stared at the image.

“How do I know this isn’t photoshopped?”

“Why hasn’t your client shown up yet? This is her after-party, isn’t it? Shouldn’t the hostess show up at some point?”

”She’s on her way.” Ariana’s shoulders are squared, voice strong and assured. But it’s her eyes that betray her. They flash a lot of fucking emotion, none of which includes certainty.

“On her way where, exactly? Because from the looks of these pictures, she’s not leaving her current location any time soon.”

She leans closer, dropping her voice, practically seething at me. Her perfumed scent wafts under my nose – sultry, spicy, and sexy as fuck. It momentarily clouds the issue at hand, and like some jackass, I allow it. I want to see the fire deep within this woman. She’s about to combust, and I want to be singed by the flames. “You think you’re the first jackass photographer who’s shown me a hacked up picture of a client and expected me to write a check for it? If you’re looking for a payoff, I’ll have my attorney so far up your ass, it’ll feel like a colonoscopy without the anesthesia. Fuck off.” She flips her hair, the smell of coconut whipping across my face, and slides away from me.

I grab her wrist and her head jerks backward, her eyes narrowed. “Take your hand off me.”

“I can’t let you go, Ariana.”

“The fuck you can’t.” She pulls her wrist away, but I keep my grip tight.

“I need your help.”

“What you need is a class that’ll teach you how to deal with people.” She yanks again, to no avail. Answers are what she wants, but she can’t have them. At least, not yet.

“Here’s the deal, Ari. If you walk away right now, you’re in for the biggest shitstorm you’ve never experienced in your professional career. This problem your client has wandered into will snowball very quickly, and unless we get in front of it, your reputation will go up in smoke by the time the first headline flashes on the morning news.”

“Let go of my arm,” she growls. I comply, partly to test her. Reading people comes pretty easily to me, and despite her bullshit I’ve-got-everything-under-control façade, I know she’s flipping the fuck out. And rightly so.

“Why should I trust you? I don’t even know your name.”

“Names aren’t important right now. And you should trust me because I’m the only one who can save the livelihood of your star client, America’s newest pop tart sweetheart, the one who’s on her knees right now with a dildo shoved up her skirt and a dick plugging her in the ass.”

<3 <3 <3

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