Wednesday, February 27, 2013

VBT ~ Turning Point by Tiffany Snow



Thank you to Romance Book Craze for hosting me on the blog tour for TURNING POINT, the third book in The Kathleen Turner Series.  There will be a total of five books in the series.  Book four, OUT OF TURN, will be released on 12/17/13.

Sometimes I will write a “deleted” scene out of one of the books in the series, usually from a third-person perspective (since the books are written in first person, we only get Kathleen’s point of view).  This is a “deleted” scene from TURNING POINT, from Blane’s perspective. (warning – salty language ahead)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It was late, but Blane couldn’t sleep.  Last night kept replaying inside his head.  The disastrous dinner with Kathleen. 
Could he have fucked things up any more?
She’d thrown him out and he couldn’t blame her.  He’d been a dick.
And now Kade was there.  Staying in her apartment.  He’d been in her bed, unconscious from the gunshot wound, when Blane had last seen him.  How long would Kathleen let him stay?  Was she there now with him, helping him?
Jealousy ate at Blane even as he castigated himself for feeling that way.  Kade was his brother, for chrissake.  He wouldn’t make a move on Kathleen.
Would he?
Blane’s cell phone rang and he automatically picked it up from the bedside table.  Glancing at the caller ID, his heart skipped a beat.  Kathleen.
“Kirk,” he answered.
“Hello, is this Blane?”  The voice was male and much too loud. 
Blane frowned and turned down the volume, sitting up in bed.  “Yes, who is this?  Where’s Kathleen?”
“Blane, you’re an asshole,” the man blustered. “If you want to stop being an asshole, you can come get your girl here. Poor thing’s all upset and you just let her go cry her eyes out in some bar with a bunch of strangers. Shame on you.”
It took only a moment for Blane to process what the man had said, the important phrases being “your girl” and “bar with a bunch of strangers.”  He was already out of bed and pulling on a pair of jeans while the man continued to ream him.
Blane listened with half an ear, sticking the phone on speaker so he could grab a shirt and pull it over his head.  The man’s Texas accent was thick, but Blane caught “purty little thing,” “drownin’ her sorrows,” “sumbitch like yew,” and “acting like a damn fool.”  Once his boots were on, he grabbed up the phone again.
“Where is she?” he asked, cutting the man off.
“She’s dancin’ with Jay, o’ course,” the man retorted.
“I meant what bar?” Blane gritted out, holding on to his temper.  The man was severely trying his patience, but he got the name of a bar downtown.
“I’ll be right there,” Blane said, ending the call.  He grabbed his leather jacket on the way out the door and prayed the cops weren’t patrolling Meridian tonight.
His Jag ate up the miles and Blane was pulling up to the bar scarcely ten minutes later.  Kathleen’s SUV was parked outside.  The sight of it gave him a twinge.  Kade had gotten it for her, a “company” car.
The bar wasn’t crowded and he spotted Kathleen right away.  But then again, she was hard to miss.
She was dancing with an older man, maybe late fifties, wearing a sweatshirt and Colts ball cap.  Some eighties hit was playing on the jukebox and Kathleen was singing along, completely oblivious to her attire. 
Jeans that looked painted on and a red top that had so little fabric, it could scarcely be called clothing.  It covered her breasts, barely, and left a neckline that plunged clear to her navel.  The back was identical, the cloth wrapping her hips and leaving her arms and sides bare.  Blane had no idea how it was even staying on her body.  With her just-fucked hair and come-hither eyes, Kathleen was the stuff fantasies were made of.  But not one Blane would willingly share.
It took her a moment to realize he was there.  The man with her suddenly stopped dancing when he spied Blane.  He said something and she turned.  Their eyes locked and Blane stalked toward her, ignoring the men who froze and stared at him.  His attention was fixed on Kathleen. 
Up close, her outfit was even more tempting, the rounded curves of her breasts overflowing their confines.  Blane’s jaw locked tight as his gaze brushed her from head to foot.  She didn’t seem to sense his disapproval though, or if she did, she didn’t care.  If Blane knew her at all, she had something else on her mind entirely. 
Shrugging out of his jacket, he swung it over her shoulders.  As he did, he processed what her “friends” had been saying.  He pinned one with a glare.
“Did you just call me a dick?” Blane asked him.
“I called you a dick three times,” the man shot back with drunken glee. “Ya just didn’t hear me the first two, motherfucker.”
Kathleen snorted with laughter. “Blane,” she said, “meet my three fairy godfathers. Jay, Hal, and Rick.” The men all gave him a grudging nod.
“Come on, Kat,” Blane said. “Let’s go home.”
“Just a second,” she said. Turning to the men, she gave them each a kiss on the cheek. “Thanks for listening.”
“Anytime,” Rick said with a grin, then turned a more serious expression on Blane. “Now you take care of our little girl here, you understand? I don’t wanna see her in some bar by herself again ’cause you’re treatin’ her bad.”
“Yes, sir,” Blane replied evenly. He could tell by the voice that he’d been the one to call.  Blane reached for his wallet and tossed a few bills onto the bar. “This should take care of her tab.”  Thank God they’d been decent men and not some college kids out to pick up girls.  Blane didn’t want to think of what might’ve happened in that case.
When he turned around, Kathleen was already singing and weaving her way to the front door.  Blane grabbed her forgotten purse and jacket before hurrying after her.  She stumbled and he slipped an arm around her back, supporting her.
She was drunker than he’d ever seen her, and Blane felt it was partially his fault.  Kathleen wasn’t a woman to sit at home with a tub of ice cream when she was upset, she drank her troubles away.  Blane guessed it was the Irish in her, or maybe it had always been something she’d done.  With her father dead when she was fifteen and  caring for her cancer-ridden mother until her death, Blane thought she might have found drinking as her coping mechanism long ago.
After a brief argument over her inability to drive, in which she narrowly escaped falling on her face, Blane had her in his car and headed back to his house.
Kathleen immediately forgot the argument, instead sighing in pleasure as she relaxed into the heated seat.  Her eyes slipped shut.
“I love Blane’s car,” she said, her throaty tone shooting straight to Blane’s groin. “I love being with him in his car. It’s sleek and powerful, just like him.”
She obviously was thinking aloud, not that Blane minded.  His lips twitched slightly.
“Is that so?” he said.
“Absolutely…”  She slumped down further in the seat.
Blane thought she might fall asleep, but after a moment, she said, “It’s hot in here.”
He reached and turned down the heat.
“Still hot,” she complained.
The sound of the zipper on her jeans being lowered had Blane tightening his grip on the steering wheel.
“What are you doing?” he asked.  As if he didn’t know.  As if a part of him wasn’t watching in utter fascination as she slipped her jeans down and off her legs.
“Cooling off.”
Kathleen was petite, so her legs weren’t terribly long, but they curved in all the right places.  Blane got an eyeful as she scooted her seat back enough to prop them on the dash, one slim ankle crossed over the other.
“You get like this when you’re drunk,” Blane felt obligated to say. 
“Like what?” she asked, all innocence.
Blane shot her a look.  The come-fuck-me one she gave in return made his blood heat and his jeans suddenly too tight.  He let loose a string of curses and resolutely turned his attention back to the road.
How much further to the house?  She’d fall asleep the minute her head touched a pillow, if he could just get her there before she did something he couldn’t resist.
Like take his hand from the steering wheel and place it on her thigh.
Blane stiffened.  He knew where this was going and while he was usually all for that, they’d had a fight.  He sincerely doubted Kathleen wanted drunken make-up sex.  He just needed to occupy her until they got to the house.
She forced his hand to move, caressing her soft skin.  Blane bit back a groan, but this he could do.  He could stay in control if this was enough to keep her happy.  Her hand fell away and he touched her, his palm resting on her thigh while his thumb brushed her knee.
But then she had other ideas…



After her promotion from law firm Runner to Investigator, Kathleen Turner is learning the ropes of her new job from none other than assassin-for-hire Kade Dennon, a situation her boyfriend Blane Kirk is none too happy about. But the lessons with Kathleen take a back seat when Kade becomes a target. Previously untouchable, his enemies now know of the chink in his armor – his brother’s girlfriend.
And Kade’s not the only thing coming between Kathleen and Blane. From Blane’s inexplicable defense of a man guilty of a horrible crime, to a mysterious stranger from Kathleen’s past, to Kathleen’ risky investigation into human traffickers, the obstacles mount against a relationship that’s just begun to find trust again.
While Blane considers a job offer that would take him back to the front lines in the war on terror, Kathleen is determined to pursue her new career, with or without his approval. Unfortunately, her current case is far more dangerous than anyone knows. Someone close to Blane will go to extreme lengths to split them up, lengths that may prove worse than death for Kathleen.
Kathleen, Blane and Kade must atone for the sins of the past and the present. The fallout will force Kathleen to a turning point…in her career, and her life.




Tour Schedule:

February 19
SnifferWalk Books
The Muse Unleashed
Guilty Pleasures

February 20
Momma's Books
Lori's Book Blog

February 21
My Fiction Nook
Hesperia Loves Books
Romancing the Book

February 22
Melinda Dozier
Reading Romances
Simply Ali

February 23
Musings of a Bookworm 
Storm Goddess Reviews
Mrs. Condit & Friends Read Books

February 24
Reading, Eating & Dreaming
Reading Between The Wines
Heart Breaking Reviews
Cocktails and Books

February 25
Little Fiction of Every Flavour 
Scorching Book Reviews
Journey With Books

February 26
Tattooed Book Reviews
Sugar & Spice Read Your Writes

February 27
Romance Book Craze
My Life Beyond Labels Ali's Bookshelf

February 28
Jessy's Book Club
Harlie's Books
Queen of the Night Reviews


Prize information:
Tiffany is giving away, a grand prize of the winner's choice, KINDLE Paperwhite or HD. Winner will be selected by Rafflecopter.  Each blog will be able to award one lucky commenter a Kindle copy or print copy of one of her KATHLEEN TURNER books, winner's choice (Print copy is Cont US only) . For your chance to win here, just comment below with your email address and I will pick a winner at the end of the tour.

* No Email = No entry (I have to be able to contact you)


  a Rafflecopter giveaway



Update on Turning Point Tour

Turning Point Tour stop coming soon! It will be up later this morning so be sure to check back. Sorry for an inconvenience! 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Straddling the Edge Cover Reveal




Straddling the Edge blurb:

Summer McGallian … the scandalous home wrecker from Against the Wall and Between The Sheets. The one who stole her co-worker’s fiancé, the other woman, the one people whisper about and stay away from. Only for Summer, things aren't always as they appear and she knows that better than anyone. She hasn’t been herself since she was in high school, when life was less complicated and relationships weren’t about making compromises to land the guy. When her heart is broken, there's only one thing left for her to do … prove she isn't who everyone thinks she is. And maybe, just maybe, she can get back to being comfortable in her own skin again, without input from a man. But when she encounters Hot Guy, Dean Michaels, everything Summer has ever known about the opposite sex is about to change.

Dean Michaels knew he’d seen her somewhere before. What he never imagined was that the gorgeous woman in a baseball cap and hooded sweatshirt tossing back a beer in his favorite spot could be Summer McGallian—the woman who always looked like she’d stepped off the pages of a glamour magazine when he’d seen her from afar at work. And to make matters worse, she’s Chase Marino’s ex, the one guy who gets under his skin like no other. If the thought of being someone’s bitch in jail wasn’t enough to scare him, he would’ve strangled that bastard years ago and tossed the body in the Mojave Desert. But forget about Chase … Dean knew from the moment he saw Summer’s sexy smile and heard her cute laugh, she had to be his. And he won't let anything get in the way of that.

The Against The Wall series isn’t just about steamy sex scenes and swoon-worthy romance, but about new friendships, undying love, and a ton of laughter. Enjoy the ride as you get to know and love Summer and Dean, just as you did Shelly and Matt, and Melissa and Tyler, in the final book, Straddling The Edge. Thank you to all of the blogs who have participated in the STRADDLING THE EDGE COVER Reveal. 


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Alannah Lynne Excerpt Tour - Day 2

Welcome Alannah Lynne to Romance Book Craze!





Crossing Lines Blurb

The world’s best-stocked toy drawer can only take a gal so far. Bored with her current assortment of vibrating, plastic pieces, Sam Wallace decides to add a new sex toy to her collection: Kevin Mazze. The sexy Italian is more than happy to help her live out her long-held sexual fantasies, and trusting him with her body is easy. Trusting him with her heart, however, is not… especially when he commits an unforgiveable sin.

Kevin Mazze is one of the good guys. He’s spent his life always doing the right things and making those around him happy. When he meets the woman of his dreams, at the worst possible time, he finds himself making bad choices in the name of good and crossing lines he never thought he would… while praying she never finds out.

Please be advised, “Crossing Lines” contains adult language and adult situations and is not suitable for young readers.


Excerpt Day 2 (Continued from Harlie's Books)

A Miller Lite top peeking out of the ice had her biting her lip, reconsidering. The water would be the smart choice, but if she drank a beer, she’d have another excuse not to drive, at least for a while. Better still, it might give her the courage she needed to make her move.

“Okay, you’ve convinced me,” she said, pointing to the blue and gold cap. “I’ll take the Lite, instead.”

“Man,” Kevin said as he swiped the back of his hand over his brow. “That was a tough sale.” He popped the top loose and handed her the bottle. “I have plenty more in the house, so drink all you like.”

She grinned and washed the ibuprofen down with the beer. “This’ll do me. I’m a cheap drunk on a good day. Combined with the drugs, if I have more than this, Michaela and I will have to crash on your couch.”

He chewed the inside corner of his mouth as his gaze crawled from her legs to her neck. After a quick shake of his head and a long, long pull on his beer, he swung his legs up on his chaise. He stretched one out in front and bent the one closest to her to use as a prop for his forearm.

“I’ve been wondering about something.”

“My amazing athletic ability?”

His grin was quick and fleeting before he sobered and shook his head. “Tell me about your boots.”

What? My boobs?

What the hell was she supposed to say about her boobs?

While she sputtered, looking for an appropriate response, he said, “You’ve obviously had them for a while and didn’t get them strictly for this job.”

Oh my God. She burst into laughter. And here she thought he’d be Mr. Smooth-moves. “That’s the most original, and ludicrous, come-on I’ve ever heard.” She slipped her hands under her larger-than-average boobs and gave the girls a proud little lift. “Nope, I didn’t get them just for this job. I’ve had them since I was about eleven, maybe twelve. I don’t remember exactly how old.”

Kevin’s mouth dropped open and his eyebrows rose in surprised interest as his eyes followed the lift and bounce. When the girls settled back into place, he shifted his gaze to hers with the funniest what-the-fuck expression she’d ever seen. He blinked a few times before his face lit up and he threw his head back, laughter pouring out of him. After several moments of unsuccessfully trying to contain his amusement, he took a few deep breaths and wiped his hand over his eyes.

“I think you misunderstood.”

He took another deep breath, followed by a long draw on his bottle. After a slow exhale, he seemed satisfied he had himself under control, so he tried again.

“Boots. B-O-O-T-S. Tell me about your boots.

Sam froze with her beer lodged against her lips. “My boots?” Her high-pitched squeak echoed around the bottle as flames licked at her neck and spread over her face.

Shit, he hadn’t been coming on to her at all. He was talking about her work boots. It was her gutterbrain that turned an innocent question into sexual play. She squeezed her eyes shut and drained her beer.

“I don’t know what to say about my boots any more than I did my boobs.” She laughed nervously. “Other than to confirm, yes, I’ve had them for a while… although not quite as long as my boobs. And no, I didn’t get them just for this job.”



Crossing Lines Buy Links

·         iTunes: Still waiting for them to link up from Smashwords
·         Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/279133




Book #1 of the Heat Wave Series – Savin’ Me – is still FREE!!

Savin’ Me Links

·         Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/211278



Schedule:

2/22 - Salacious Reads 


A little bit about Alannah:


Alannah believes there’s nothing more magical than finding the other half of your soul, experiencing fiery passion, and knowing you’ve found happily-ever-after.

She loves going to work each day (in sweats and a T-shirt) and writing about hot heroes and feisty heroines who torment each other in the most delicious ways before finding their happy ending.

She lives in the coastal region of North Carolina with her husband, who also happens to be her best friend and biggest fan. They have two sons, a dog, a cat and an outrageous number of ducks and geese that inhabit the pond on their farm. She loves chatting and making new friends, so visit her on the web at www.alannahlynne.com/ or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/authoralannahlynne


Friday, February 15, 2013

Reunite Spotlight Tour with Shiloh Walker



The Reunited Spotlight Tour
Feb 2 –Feb 15

The Reunited
by Shiloh Walker



From the national bestselling author of The Departed comes an all new novel of danger, intrigue, and a love stronger than death…
AN ETERNAL DESIRE
With his strong psychic ability, FBI Agent Joss Crawford longs for the woman he loved in a past life. But after years of searching, a new case is drawing him into the last place he’d ever want to find her: an underground slave ring. Going undercover to infiltrate the network, he meets Drucella Chapman—the mastermind’s fiancée. Joss has every reason to believe she’s evil. So why is he irresistibly drawn to her?
A DANGEROUS GAME
Drucella has made it her personal mission to bring the slave ring down. But the sadistic ring leader is even more careful than he is cruel. In order to gain information, Dru has had to get close to the very man she wishes to kill, using her gift to read his memories bit by bit. She’d do anything to finish the job, but agreeing to marry him may have been a step too far—even for her.
A FATEFUL ENCOUNTER
Though Joss and Dru are both undercover, nothing can disguise the sense of déjà vu they experience when they meet. Neither can afford to be distracted from the mission at hand, but perhaps their reunion is exactly what this mission needs…

Excerpt used with permission from Shiloh Walker © (unedited MS…)
Hands jammed in his pockets, he headed down the strip, no particular destination in mind.  As a tiny little girl–dressed in a wide-skirted dress of sunny yellow–cut in front of him, he almost tripped over his feet to keep from tripping over her.  Geez, what did she have on her feet, rockets?
Her mother came running out of a store after her and automatically, Joss took a step to cut her off.  The little girl stopped in her tracks and smiled up at him, her mouth smeared with chocolate, a rather marked contrast with the glittery stuff on her eyes, her hair.
“I think somebody’s looking for you,” he said, nodding to the frazzled woman just before the lady could catch her arm.
She gave him a thankful look and as they melted back into the crowd, Joss did the same, moving with the flow.
Nothing here, he thought, distracted, nothing…
The road veered in a path off to the left.  It wasn’t a conscious decision to follow it, but he did so, following it around the curve, passing behind a shop to a small alcove.
And he came up short, freezing in his tracks.
There she was…it was the woman he’d glimpsed earlier, in that figment of a vision, just before the dream had fallen apart, but that gut deep recognition…he knew her.
He knew her face.
Joss Crawford wasn’t prone to melodrama, he wasn’t prone to wishful thinking and he didn’t much believe in fairy tales or anything about crazy tales of love at first sight.
But the woman striding down the pavement, her face grim, her eyes dark…the sight of her was a punch, straight to his heart.  She didn’t look like she should, part of his brain insisted, but it didn’t matter.
He knew her, damn it.  Standing rigid, barely able to breathe, much less move, he waited for her to look at him, to see him…to know him.  But it didn’t happen.
In fact, she was so busy staring at the pavement and making a concentrated effort to ignore everything around her, she didn’t even seem to notice.  She went to pass around him and he just couldn’t stop him–he stepped right into her path so that she crashed straight into his chest.
She plowed into him, that body, all lean limbs and long muscles and golden, sunkissed skin, a nice, solid weight that he figured would fit his body just about perfectly.  She stumbled and he reached up, closed his hands around the upper part of her arms, where the cotton of her shirt kept him from touching bare flesh.
He wanted to touch bare flesh…after all this time, he figured he just about needed to.  But not now.
Right now, she was staring up at him with dazed, distrustful eyes–wariness flashed through them and he felt her tense.
“I’m sorry,” she said coolly. Oh.  That voice.  He loved it.  Elegant and sexy as all get-out, crisp and clean and so damned proper.  “I didn’t see you standing there.”
“No problem,” he said.  It wasn’t what he wanted to say, but after all of this time, he didn’t know what to say.  Damn it.  She was here.
Images, bits of memory from that other life danced through his mind.
Standing by the waterside, almost just like this.
Her face lifted up to his.  That first stolen kiss.
The sound of her laughter.  Watching as she brushed her hair…golden hair then, long, past her waist.  It had been beautiful.  Her hair was dark now, nearly as dark as his own, sleek and shiny in a braid that fell over her shoulder, the tip of it curving over her breast.  He wanted to unravel that braid, fist his hands in her hair and cover her mouth with his, taste her again.



Order Links






A little about Shiloh:
Shiloh Walker has been writing since she was a kid. She fell in love with vampires with the book Bunnicula and has worked her way up to the more…ah…serious works of fiction. She loves reading and writing just about every kind of romance. Once upon a time she worked as a nurse, but now she writes full time and lives with her family in the Midwest.  She writes romantic suspense and paranormal romance, and urban fantasy under the name 

Learn more about Shiloh here
Website: http://www.shilohwalker.com/website/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorShilohWalker
Twitter: https://twitter.com/shilohwalker

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/96909.Shiloh_Walker



Monday, February 11, 2013

Carrie Ann Ryan - Finding Abigail Blog Tour

Book Blitz Tour

Finding Abigail 




Blurb:
Tyler Cooper is the town sheriff and, in the past, had been the only person keeping Holiday steady. Though the community is now finding out that it’s town is magical, Tyler has always known it—it’s in his blood.  He has always known his fate of becoming a cupid, striking love into the hearts others, but an enemy from his past is set on keeping him from finding his own destiny—and love.
Abigail Clarke is leaving Holiday for good. She has to. After years of trying to fit in and make Tyler notice her, she’s giving up. She’s watched her friends fall in love and it’s heartbreaking. Acknowledging that the one man she’s always loved doesn’t want her, it’s time to move on and find her own future.
Right when the stars align and Tyler opens his eyes, his enemy is back and has his sights on Abigail. Abigail is in danger and Tyler may be the only one to stand up to him and save her.

Warning: Contains one sexy sheriff who turns into cupid, complete with bow and arrow, the sweetest teacher you’ll ever meet who needs to find her bad girl side, and a love of candy hearts that’s sure to bring them together

Order Links:

iTunes - Coming Soon




A little about Carrie Ann:

Carrie Ann Ryan is a bestselling paranormal and contemporary romance author. After spending too much time behind a lab bench, she decided to dive into the romance world 


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Submissive by Tara Sue Me Blog Tour


The Submissive by Tara Sue Me

Release Date: November 16, 2012
Genre: Romance, Erotic, BDSM
Publisher: Red Publishing
Length: 333 Pages



Blurb:

Abby King has a secret fantasy.

The city of New York knows Nathaniel West as CEO of his father's corporation, but Abby knows he's more. He's also a Dominant and when she hears he's looking for a new submissive, she decides it's time to do something about that fantasy.

After one weekend with Nathaniel, Abby knows she needs more. Nathaniel is equal parts stern Master and polite gentlemen. He can drive her to new heights of pleasure while at the same time nurture her novice submissive spirit.

But though he can command her body, her heart isn't as easily controlled and she finds herself drawn more and more to the man whose collar she wears. At times she feels she is making progress in thawing his cool demeanor, but then just as quickly, he once more hides behind his carefully constructed wall.

Abby believes her relationship with Nathaniel can encompass the best of both worlds, that they can be beautiful together. But Nathaniel lives by a set of rules that don't allow for negotiation and she fears he'll never see the truth of what they could be. And though he is careful with her body, he just might end up breaking her heart.

While posted online, The Submissive garnered almost three million hits. Its characters and storyline captivated an entire fandom and inspired a multitude of BDSM fiction. It has now been edited and reworked for a broader audience. The Submissive is part one of a trilogy which attracted more than 8.5 million hits online, and a journey that proves everything is better with love.


Buy Links






Connect with Tara Sue Me







Tour Schedule:
Tara Sue Me is offering a signed print copy of The Submissive to one random commenter each day of the tour – she is also offering a grand prize of a $25 Amazon Gift card to one random commenter that follows the tour. Comment on the post and fill out the rafflecopter daily to enter. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, February 4, 2013

Edie and the CEO Blog Tour






BLURB:

Edie Rowan is passionate about workers’ rights, wanting her Sixties protester grandparents to be proud of her. But championing the little guy gets her in trouble with sexy CEO Everett Kirk. Kirk is Mr. Ultra-Executive with his expensive hand-tailored suits and his eyes the steel blue of a finely tempered sword—but for the intriguing contradictions of his neat ponytail and square workman’s hands.

Edie’s latest disaster, a teambuilding exercise gone facepalm wrong, leads to a knockdown drag-out with rival manager Bethany “The B”—or add the “Itch”—Blondelle. The incident is the last straw for Kirk. He sends Edie to management camp and to her shock, announces he will drive her there himself. She wonders why he would want eighteen hours of enforced intimacy with her, even as she’s dazzled by his sparkling white smile and killer dimple.

Everett walks away from the confrontation with a headache. For years he has protected Edie from the fallout of her righteous crusading, but this may be the last time. A corporate backstabber is trying to eject Everett from his job. Even so, he’s looking forward to spending time on the drive with Edie, attracted to her sunny red curls, fiery personality and fine dark eyes.

Then a snowstorm forces them to seek shelter in an empty mountain cabin. Edie thinks she will take the lead in wilderness survival but Kirk proves more durable than his Italian loafers and silk sweater would suggest. The extended stay rubs them together in all sorts of ways, kindling emotional and physical flames. But when their corporate shells burn away, what secrets will be revealed?

An excerpt from

Edie and the CEO

Copyright © 2013 Mary Hughes All rights reserved — a Crimson Romance publication
Edie wants to make her 60s protester grandparents proud. But championing the little guy gets her in trouble with sexy CEO Everett Kirk. Someone's trying to force Everett out of his job, and Edie's latest escapade hasn't helped. A snowstorm and an empty cabin makes them confront their attraction.

Chapter One

Smack in the middle of the workday, because her brain was fried, Edith Ellen Rowan made her computer chirp Old MacDonald. Naturally that got her into trouble with The Bitch.
At first, Edie didn’t even register the problem. Four sunny bars bee-booped before it hit her—her computer was playing a children’s nursery song in an office full of conservative, nitpicky ears. Houghton Howell Enterprises was staid like an insurance company’s gray suit (fun was something you had on the golf course, or once a year at the Christmas party, but never ever on the job).
“Suck it to shell.” Edie hit the escape key. As ee-eye-ohhh died, she braced against the proverbial fan scattering the proverbial manure in the form of Bethany Blondelle, known to most of the company as The ‘B’ if they were feeling kindly, adding the ‘itch’ if they were not.
Shoulders hunched and breath held, Edie waited. She’d only been trying to motivate her people. Managing a team of programmers at HHE, a firm that sold innovative (read: expensive) solutions in accounting for large companies (read: deep pockets) wasn’t easy. Her team members were getting as fried as she, and so she’d proposed the music-writing contest.
Nothing happened. Edie gradually relaxed.
The Star Spangled Banner burst lustily from Jack’s cubicle next door. Edie groaned.
“What the HELL is that NOISE?” Bethany had her vocal caps lock on again. This would be bad. “Who’s making all that racket? Edie? Edie!”
Edie face-palmed. The contest was supposed to be a bit of fun, not cause for Armageddon. She’d have preferred to ignore The B, but “Bethany” and “proactive” were so synonymous they were hyperlinked on Wikipedia.
Sure enough, a long leg popped through the opening of Edie’s cubicle, followed by the lady herself in eye-bleeding red. Bethany’s fashion sense was from the DoMeHard channel. Her snappy skirts were hemmed just below her panty line. Today’s suit also featured a plunging sweetheart neckline, a chunky citrine necklace getting suffocated in her Wonder-enhanced cleavage. Her long, sleek hair was dyed crayon yellow #6.
Edie looked down at her own lacy teal tee, navy pants and wool blazer and wondered if she was underdressed.
Nah.
“What is the meaning of this racket?” Bethany leaned on Edie’s desk, looming over her. Invading personal space—“A” in the ABCs of corporate dominance.
“Project Pleiades. We had a month to deadline—until your good buddy Junior chopped that to a week.”
“Respect, Edie. Mr. Howell, not ‘Junior.’”
“I’ll respect Mr. Pharaoh Howell when he respects the workers. That deadline is a nightmare. My team has been working twelve-hour days and more. I’ve tried to push back, but you know Junior. Only the Evil Overlord can buck him.”
“Stop it.” Bethany tossed her head, a fleeting remnant of the girl Edie once knew. “The issue is not our executives. The issue is that...racket.” She waved her hand toward Jack’s cubicle, where the anthem was on its final verse.
“Handling Stress 101, Bethany. Work on something else.”
“Playing music on company time?” Bethany glared down her high-bridged nose.
“Stupidity 101. You should listen to me if you want to go anywhere in this company.” She pointed to her cleavage, fingertip disappearing to the first knuckle. “After all, my team’s twice the size of yours.”
“Bigger isn’t better. It’s all about how you use it.” Edie grinned. “How about you run your team and I’ll run mine?”
“You don’t run your team.” Bethany sneered. “They run you.”
“It’s called empowerment.” Edie took pride in her outspoken team. She wanted her grandparents, hard-core sixties protesters, to be proud of her. They’d raised her from a little girl when her parents had died, and she loved them to pieces. “It’s a proven management style.”
Jack’s computer shifted to A Hundred Bottles of Beer.
“Management?” One corner of Bethany’s perfect lips curled. “The only management I
see is mis-management.”
“Ba-dum-bum.” Edie was suddenly tired of the whole conversation.
And, as Jack’s computer continued to tweet bottles down, doubt gnawed at her. It was quite a racket.
“Other people are trying to work.” Bethany went for the kill. “Keep your hooligans under control or I’m going to have to tell Mr. Kirk.”
Edie suppressed a moan. Of all the straight-laced overbearing big shots at HHE, Edward Everett Kirk, president and CEO, was the biggest, straight-laciest. Like laced corsets...naughty corsets in Kirk’s competent hands—
“The way you two fight, it’s only a matter of time before he gets fed up and fires you.” Mme La B’itch drew a red-enameled nail across her slim throat.
Edie winced. “It’s called ‘corporate unfriending’ now. And I couldn’t help the janitor incident. Or the thing with the Super Soaker. Look, I’ll talk to my people. Just cut us some slack, okay? We’ve been working ridiculous hours.”
“Edie, you idiot. Has it ever occurred to you that your ridiculous hours are because of you?”
Them’s fightin’ words. Edie raised narrowed eyes. “I beg your pardon?”
Bethany leaned knuckles on the desk. “Only one kind of project manager confuses effort with efficiency: a bad one.”
“Enough.” Edie jumped to her feet, nearly head-butting Bethany. “Outside. Now.”
“And freeze my butt off? Hardly.” Bethany’s nose was inches from Edie’s. “You have absolutely no decorum, do you? That shouldn’t surprise me, considering the hippies who raised you.”
Edie lost it. “My grandparents were heroes! They fought for what they believed in, rallied at protest marches—”
“Pretty stories. Your grandpa was a long-haired unwashed bum. Your grandma wasn’t much better than a free love hooker.”
Edie snarled. “Now you listen here, you b—”
“If Mr. Kirk were here—”
“Mr. Kirk,” a deep voice rang with power, “is here. And I want to know what, precisely, is going on.”



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