That the meaningless sex with countless women has somehow numbed the pain. That it’s deciphered the constant confusion in my head. Eased the self-hatred that sinks into my gut every time I look in the mirror.
I’d like to tell you that time heals all wounds.
That we evolve and grow into well-adjusted, stable adults, set on a path to right the world’s wrongs. That we are not our past…we are not our pain.
I want to tell you all those things. Hell, I want to believe all those things. But I’d be lying. I’m good at that. Living a lie is the only way I truly know how to survive.
But the day I saw her, I stopped surviving. I stopped existing. And for the first time in 24 years, I started living.
She brought me back to life. Set me free and sent my soul soaring. Made this useless shell of a man feel like…something. Something whole and real and good.
She saved me.
Although she believes I wasn’t even worth saving.
I was already loosening my tie as I stalked toward her and said, “Clothes off, boots on and get on your knees.”
Velvet didn’t waste a second. She slipped out of her one-piece in a swift movement and sank to the floor. The moment I felt her take me into her warm mouth, it was like a thousand pounds had been lifted from my shoulders.
A long time ago, long before I should have, I learned to separate the physical from the emotional and mental. I told myself that just because my young body had been stolen from me and manipulated in ways that would make even the toughest man cry out in agony, I didn’t have to feel it. Not deep down inside. I didn’t have to accept what was being done to me. So I pretended to be somewhere else. I pretended to be someone else. I let my mind drift to thoughts of my parents, imagining what they may have looked like, dreaming about happy smiles and warm hugs and kisses on my cherub-like cheeks. I painted pictures of family vacations at Disney World and barbeques in the backyard. I told myself that we would have a dog named Buddy. Mama would tie bandanas around his neck, and Papa and I would take him for walks and play Frisbee with him at the park.
I had built an imaginary fortress, and in it, nothing could touch me. I was safe. I was happy. And I was loved. That was what I told myself, and that was what I held onto everyday since to survive.
As I grew older, and was no longer held captive by the physical pain, I was left to face the emotional hurt that no one could see. I was like a pariah to the family that had taken me in. We were related but they didn’t know me, and what they did know about me was deviant and disgusting. Too awful to talk about. So I suffered silently in my mind until it became necessary to tell myself lies.
Lies like the ones I was telling myself right now.
I want this. I need this.
I’m totally normal.
There’s nothing wrong with me.
Being a man means having sex with as many women as possible.
These women desire me because they need me. They love me.
They love me.
She loves me.
It was the only way I could keep doing this. The only way the shame and disgust and self-hatred didn’t keep chip-chip-chipping away at the fragments of that broken boy. The boy that had grown up to be a shattered man. The man that couldn’t be mended.
I can’t remember the last time I felt completely safe. Security seemed more like a luxury to me, reserved for those who were fortunate enough to have picture perfect childhoods. For those who didn’t bear the ugly scars that keep me bound in constant, debilitating fear. I’ve run from that fear my entire life. But when I met him, for once, I couldn’t run anymore.
He scared the hell out of me in a way that excited every fiber of my being. It wasn’t the tattoos or the piercings. It wasn’t the warmth that seemed to radiate from his frame and blanket me whenever he was near. It was just…him. The scary beautiful man that threatened to alter 23 years of routine and rituals, and make me face my crippling fear.
My name is Kami and I am constantly afraid. And the thing that scares me the most is the very thing I want.
“Don’t worry,” he smiled, pulling me into the hard warmth of his chest. “I’ve got you. I’ll always catch you when you fall.”
And just like that, Blaine had staked his claim on the untouched part of me that no living soul had ever moved. He had captured every fear, every reservation, and crushed them in the palm of his inked hand.
About the author
S.L. Jennings is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of contemporary and paranormal romance, reality TV junkie, obsessive coffee drinker and collector of crazy.
I never imagined things could get worse, but they do. The men who took us show no mercy. They won’t stop until they’ve destroyed Rafe for something he has no memory of, and I’m their weapon of choice.
Tortured and defiled, they make me wish I was back in that cabin where death was favorable to drawing another breath, but our captors can’t break what’s already broken.
What scares me is the madness I see festering inside Rafe. I’ve taken his freedom, his career, his reputation, yet despite all I’ve done, he’s determined to fight for me, kill for me, give everything he is for me.
He’ll even die for me.
NOTE TO READERS
FERVENT is a new adult dark romance with disturbing themes and explicit content, including sexual scenes and violence that may offend some. Intended for mature audiences. Part three of the CONDEMNED series. This is not a stand-alone read! Please begin with TORRENT and RAMPANT, otherwise, FERVENT might not make much sense.
Gemma James is the multi-genre author
of several novels and novellas, from new adult suspense to dark erotic romance.
She loves to explore the darker side of human nature in her fiction. She’s
morbidly curious about anything dark and edgy, from deviant sex to serial
killers. Readers have described her stories as being “not for the faint of
She lives in Oregon with
her husband and their four children—three rambunctious UFC/wrestling-loving
boys and one girl who steals everyone’s attention.
Ryder Cole is the King of Atlanta’s nightlife — and the one man who can erase my past.
I’m running from secrets that could destroy me and there’s no room in my life for someone like him: too damn cocky, and sexy as hell. I should keep my distance, but smart goes out the window the minute he looks my way. And when he puts his hands on me…
A girl could forget her own name. But what happens when the past catches up with me, and all the things I’m hiding from tear our lives apart again? I can’t keep running forever, and Ryder always wins.
Eve Jagger is a native of Georgia and is a true southern girl at heart. A stay at home mom to two kids, she's married to a sexy man who doesn’t mind being used as research for those naughty scenes.
Eve cut her teeth writing in high school and college, but it wasn’t until recently that she got the itch to write a full length novel. She loves complex, emotionally-charged characters and wild, sexy leading men. Hard: A Sexy Bastard Book releases at the end of April 2015 and she can’t wait for you to meet her characters that occupy her mind 24/7! Eve loves to talk and meet people on social media, so be sure and touch base with her on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/evejaggerbooks
Title: The Story Of Lansing Lotte (Legendary Rockstars #2)
Author: L.B. Dunbar
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 28, 2015
I get it. I’ve heard the jokes. My name sounds like some medieval character who was a hero. Hell, my best friend’s named Arturo King. Ring any medieval bells? But this is my story and I’m no hero. I also get the jokes. Lancelot is a play on the words lance and lot, and a lance refers to a sword, which is a euphemism for dick. What does a man do with his dick? He fucks. A lot. So if my name is Lansing Lotte, I must be “fucking lot.” Get it? Fucking a lot? Which I’m not saying I don’t, that’s not the point. Another reference to something sexual. Get my point? Huh, I made a punny. But again this is my story, and I haven’t done anything funny. In fact, I’ve killed three women, and only one of them I loved. Yeah, that’s right? Not laughing now. It’s not funny. And I’m definitely no fucking hero.
Character Introduction: Lansing LottePaisley Belle reporting for Guitar Central. Today’s interview is with Lansing Lotte, guitar hero for the award winning rock band, The Nights. Despite the recent tragedy for The Nights, I was able to sit down with Mr. Lotte in a small coffee shop down the street from his historical home in New York City. Perkins Vale, drummer, and Tristan Lyons, bass guitarist, will be joining us soon, but with the few private minutes alone, I begin my inquiry.
Let’s start with how you got into music?L: My mother was the most instrumental in my introduction to the guitar. Pardon the pun. She was what you’d call laid back, a naturalist, almost hippy-like. Music surrounded us and she eventually taught me to play on a 1931 Gibson L-I Flattop. I still have that guitar all these years later.
Speaking of family, we understand you’ve had a rather unusual upbringing.L: (growing fidgety) I don’t typically talk about it, but yes, Vivian DuLac is not my natural mother. Yes, I did inherit Logres Construction.Lansing remains silent for a moment, reflective, and I decide to move on.
Tell me about your nickname: The Lady Killer.L: (flinches at first, but then relaxes, pushing his longer bangs off his forehead) Yeah, well, I’m okay with the ladies (a sly crooked smile begins and those blue eyes sparkle), but I’ve been known to make a few mistakes, break a few hearts. Maybe one too many. (sighs).
Broken hearts, what about being a hero?L: (sitting up straighter and continuing to fidget with the coffee cup in front of him) I wouldn’t say I’m a hero. I did what anyone would do. I have…a connection…to the little girl. I needed to get to her.(Raising my eyebrow) A connection, how?L: (smiling deeper) It’s a long story (laughs).
Well, tell me the story of the band. How did you all come together?L: I met Arturo when we were teenagers; he’s two years older than me. It was a fight over a girl (he looks away for a moment). Anyway, met Perkins in the woods one summer. We just sort of clicked. He’s a natural on the drums. Met Tristan after Arturo went to college. We just gel, a band of brothers.(I soften my tone)
And speaking of brothers, how are you all holding up with the news of Arturo?L: What news?
Well, the recent events surrounding Arturo and his…L: There is no news. All we know is Arturo was in an accident. I’m sure you’ve seen the images. Graphic. Disturbing. But we are still hoping for the best. He’s been spotted sporadically, but we don’t have any definite leads. What we do know, is if Arturo King were dead, we would all feel it. Our connection is that strong. If one goes, we would know it.In an attempt to change directions, I ask:
How is Guinevere DeGrance?L: Why?I’m taken aback for a moment and then he continues.L: I apologize. Guinevere is holding up the best she can. Obviously this has all been quite a blow to her. She’s been through a lot, but she’s a strong woman. She’ll make it through this. She has me. She has the band. We are all there for one another.There for each other, but who is there for you, specifically? (winking)L: (seeming to relax). Someone amazing is there for me. I didn’t see her coming, but she means everything to me. She’s changed my life, literally. It’s a new chapter for me, and I’m looking forward to where this will lead (smiles deeply).I can feel the exciting energy for his unspoken new love interest, but I decide not to pry further.
Okay, can you comment on your world tour being cancelled?L: We had to cancel. We won’t continue without Arturo, so we decided to wait. The fans have been understanding. We are still working on finishing the album, and looking forward to a release tentatively in August. We appreciate everyone’s support for Arturo and we are certain he feels the love they keep sending out to him.
Anything you want to say to your fans?L: We love you. Thanks for your support. We’re sticking together, no worries. You can keep up to date with all things The Nights on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/737318906359166/At that point, a beautiful blonde woman and a little girl dressed in a ladybug costume enter the coffee shop. Lansing’s attention shifts immediately and the little girl waves to him. He winks at her and she giggles in response. I don’t miss that his eyes wander up to the woman who waits patiently in line for coffee, not acknowledging him. The weight of the Lady Killer’s attention must be too much, because she turns toward us, and slowly smiles at Mr. Lotte. I’ve seen that look before on a few ladies of society. This one definitely has more-than-a-crush on the rock star sitting before me, but I can tell by the look on his face, he feels the same way about her.There’s no sign of Perkins Vale or Tristan Lyons, but I can’t wait to get the nitty-gritty on the quiet member of the band, Perkins. That giant drummer has some secrets, and I can’t wait to learn them next.
Paisley Bell, Guitar Central. 2015
About The Author
L.B. Dunbar loves to read to the point it might be classified as an addiction. The past few years especially she has relished the many fabulous YA authors, the new genre of New Adult, traditional romances, and historical romances. A romantic at heart, she’s been accused of having an overactive imagination, as if that was a bad thing. Author of the Sensations Collection, Sound Advice, Taste Test, Fragrance Free, Touch Screen, and the upcoming Sight Words, she is also author of the Legendary Rock Star series, beginning with The Legend of Arturo King. She grew up in Michigan, but has lived in Chicago for longer, calling it home with her husband and four children.
The Evil Dead Motorcycle Club gave Wolf his nickname. They said it was because women stood about as much chance with him as Little Red Riding Hood stood against The Big Bad Wolf. And maybe that was true.
For Wolf, when it comes to his club, he’s all about loyalty. He loves his brothers, he loves the freedom of the road, and he loves his independence. When it comes to women, Wolf is all about the chase. He likes the hunt, he likes the challenge, and he loves women. And for the hot-as-hell badass biker, they’ve always come too easily. But they never fully satisfy him.
That is, until he met Crystal.
Buried under that hard-edged sexy-as-sin tomboy with the smartass mouth that can put any brother in the MC in his place, is a feminine side she only reveals when pushed. And Wolf is just the man to push. Problem is she’s the only woman to ever push back. Which only makes him more determined to have her.
Life in the Evil Dead MC isn’t easy, and neither is loving one of them. It’s a life that can leave a man scarred and bloody. And sometimes the fallout is far reaching and takes more than a man is willing to give.
It can be just as risky for any woman brave enough to love one of them.
The scars of life run deep, for both of them.
Sometimes life doesn’t give you a fairytale, sometimes you have to make your own.
And sometimes it takes a spitfire to tame a hell-raiser.
Nicole James grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. As a child, she wrote her first book, Charlie the Firefly, at the age of eight. Her mother knew long before she did that she would someday become an author. Growing up, she spent many happy weekends and summers in Michigan at a cabin on a lake. Winters, she loved to ski. As an adult, Nicole has traveled all over the West and South. She has lived in Illinois, Arizona, Georgia and Alabama. She has a love of motorcycles, writing, reading and the beach. Her favorite city is New Orleans. She loves music of all kinds, but especially the blues. She has two wonderful sisters, two fabulous kids, one awesome son-in-law, and an adorable granddaughter.
wish I could scream it at them, but no one will listen to me. Instead,
they choose to ignore me by making me into something I’m not. I try to
make them happy, but no matter how hard I try it’s not good enough. I
make good grades. Hell, I was top of my class senior year, but things
happen. We make sacrifices for people important to us. My parents
wouldn’t understand that. Instead, they say I could be better. I’m the
good girl to everyone else, but to my parents I fall short. To most I
have curves, to them I’m fat. I just want them to be happy with my
imperfections. You know what? I’m tired of giving and getting nothing in
return. Screw them.
The only one that I want to see me for who I really am…is him.
EVANS has always been the good girl, forced to befriend people she
cares nothing about. She tries hard to be what them and everyone else
expects her to be, but what’s the point when it’s never enough to gain
their approval? She’s over lying to make others happy or
self-sacrificing to spare their feelings. For once, she just wants to be
herself. She wants to feel human, tired of being a puppet.
tragedy strikes her in the worst way, she finds herself bargaining in
distress, trying to find reason and rationality in what’s set before
her, but will he give in when in most cases the good girl never gets the
Ink, sex, lies, loyalty.
are the things that define me, and my life. I do me. Nothing else
matters. I don’t need anyone’s approval, nor do I seek it. I’m
comfortable with the man I am. The only thing that haunts my dreams are
those sapphire eyes that remind me of midnight.
I will shut it down every single time. I can’t have her. She deserves
more than what I’m after. The problem is that sometimes life is a bitch.
That curveball was nowhere in sight, but now that it’s been thrown…my
life may never be the same.
SHAWN BRADEN has always been the bad
boy. He’s always had the love and support of his parents no matter what
he does. He knows he can have any girl he wants. Too bad he never wants
them more than once. What he truly wants is the one thing he’s never
admitting to, not even to himself. What happens when he starts seeing
past the facade she’s put on for years and shows him the real girl that
is hiding inside? Will he fall against his will, or will she become
nothing more than every girl before?
"Why the fuck was that prick bringing you home?"
After Mason made it known yesterday morning that I'm sleeping with Jared, you'd think Shawn would know the answer to that question. He probably does. He just wants me to verbalize it. I'm not going to.
"Leave it, Shawn." I twist around and pin him with a stare. Next, I toss the tequila back, but this time my eyes widen. Ok, maybe my buzz wasn't so much gone like I originally thought.
Wow. That was stout.
"How much have you had to drink?"
"Enough that I should be in bed." What's with the twenty questions? More importantly why does he even care? From what I saw earlier tonight, or last night really, Shawn and Mason left with the brunette trash from Level. I don't have to guess what they left to go do and I certainly don't want to imagine it.
"So, let me get this straight. You, drunk, got onto the back of Cole's bike? Are you fucking crazy, Tara?" He doesn't wait for a reply. "Or do you have a death wish?"
"Neither, are you done now?" His palm smacks the side of the refrigerator before turning. Moments later, I hear the door to the half bathroom down the hall slam closed.
I turn back around, pour yet another glass and down it. I'm going to pay for this when I wake up and it's going to be so much worse than yesterday morning's hangover. Screw it. If I'm going to do it in the first place, might as well do it right.
"You know, it's only a matter of time before Holly has him back in her grasps. You don't stand a chance with Shawn; you never have." Cassie's catty bitch-ass voice assaults my ears. Sometimes she's worse than Amanda. I put up with Mandy’s shit because she is dating my best friend, but it'll be a cold day in hell before I deal with this bitch’s crap. Without giving it a bit of thought, I turn and leap forward. She needs a good butt kicking. I'm not a fighter. I know I can take her if I tried, but I don't actively seek out confrontations. My mother would flip her lid, so I do what's necessary to avoid that at all cost.
Before I reach her, a set of massive arms grab me by the waist, pulling me backwards and against his hard chest. "Get. Out. Of. My. House." Shawn bites each word out through clenched teeth. I know they aren't directed at me. Even if I weren’t looking at her shocked expression, I'd know they are aimed at Cassie Winston.
"I don't think he stuttered, Barbie?" Okay, Barbie is usually held for Holly, the queen bitch herself, but I had to. Sue me if you don't like it. I don’t usually act like this, but I’ve had a fair share of alcohol tonight.
"You won't disrespect her, or anyone else that lives here. Last time I checked, you don't live here… so leave." His words are still a bark. Shawn can come off quite scary at times. Frankly, Cassie looks like she is about to pee her pants. Inside, I'm loving it. This is so much better than me punching her. "Or I could let Tara go, but I don't think you want me to. Trust me, she will crush you.
"I will? Hell, I don't know if I will or not. I've never hit another person in my life. I'm bigger than Cassie, sure, in every way, but I'm not going there.
The snootiness crosses her face again. It's the same one my mother wears around me. She should have been my mother's kid. I'm certain her and my mother would get along much better than my mother and I do. "Yes, she would.
"Oh that bitch went there. Yes, I have issues with my weight. I'm not over weight, I don't think, but I’m not thin or skinny by any means, and it doesn't matter how much I work out, I'm never going to be a small size. I love to cook and I love to eat the food I cook. It's just not in the cards for me. Doesn't mean I like it, but she doesn't have a right to throw it in my face, especially with Shawn standing here.
I try to jump forward, but Shawn's hold on me tightens. "Leave. Now." Another bark, only this time his voice is deeper. It's a warning.
"Whatever." She turns, exiting the kitchen followed by the house as quickly as her feet will move.
Once I hear the door click closed he releases me, and as he steps backwards the warm flannel shirt I'm wearing, Jared’s shirt, is pulled off my body. I turn, facing Shawn. What the heck is that about?
"Go take a shower?" My jaw drops. He rips the shirt down the middle, making two un-wearable pieces. What the flyin...
The material is disregarded and lands on the tile floor.
I plant my hands on my hips in a defiant gesture. He's not about to order me around. I might take that crap from my parents, but I won't from anyone else. "Excuse me?"
Shawn wastes no time. He springs forward in an instant, making me step backwards until my back collides with the wall. He continues to close in, placing his palms on the flat surface of the wall next to my face and leans in. "You smell like him and I don't fucking like it.
"Oh tough shit."
Because you smelling like a cheap whore is so much better," I lash back. I don't waste my time either. I take both of my hands, placing my palms on his chest and pushing as hard as I can. It might not have come across as a shove, because his body didn't move away from mine as much as I intended it to. "Piss off, Shawn." With those last words I leave the kitchen, taking myself up the stairs to my bedroom for a shower… and not because Shawn ordered me to, but because I do in fact stink.
If I weren't as drunk as I am right now, I might have stopped to analyze what just happened between us, but I don't. I'm going to struggle enough just getting out of my clothes to shower tonight, or this morning, or whatever the hell time of the day this is.
Mother effin' jerk, he is.
MEET N.E. HENDERSON
Hi, I’m Nancy,
I’m a mom, wife, writer, obsessed reader, and fiction whore to the chore. I’m an introvert. It takes me a minute to warm up to people, but once I do, you’ll probably never get me to shut up.
I live in the south, Mississippi to be exact. I love warm sunny days and I despise cold and raining weather. I have a love/hate relationship with my Bull Terrier, Xena. The little winch thinks my husband belongs to her when he most certainly does not; he belongs to me.
I love to read possibly even more than I love to write. That can be a problem when I have fictional people taking up room inside my brain and screaming to get out. They don’t understand why I can’t give them my full attention.
In my free time, I love riding my Can Am Maverick and finding new off road trails. I’m a city girl, married to a country boy, who likes to get a little dirty and sometimes muddy. Even though I don’t do it often, I love roller coasters. The steel coasters that is. I hate the wooden ones.
Readers, connect with me. I love hearing from you and reading your reviews.
Is this your first time hearing of author NE Henderson? Check out her other books while you wait on the release of More than lies! Now available are the first two books in the Silent series, Nick and Shannon's story.