HERE TOMORROW 7 PM PST. WELCOME MARIE HARTE AUTHOR OF: ALL I WANT FOR HALLOWEEN (SEE EXCERPTS)
7 PM PST.
Tonight, she plans to let go.
Dressed up and anonymous, Sadie Liberato feels powerful, sexy and free. Where better to lose herself than a masked party?
Gear Blackstone’s cheating ex and scheming best friend have managed to spin his life into a serious downward spiral. At least with a mask on, he can cut loose for one night. And cut loose he does—with the sexiest, snarkiest chick he’s ever met.
After a scorching-hot encounter, Sadie and Gear are desperate to find each other in real life. But can the heat last when the masks come off?
The music’s tempo jolted the partyers to new heights of enthusiasm.
“Great DJ,” Devil said, his foot tapping to the beat.
Sadie found herself doing the same. “No kidding.” She eyed the tiny corn dogs on his plate. He had half a dozen. She wondered if he’d miss one… “Hey, is that B-Man over there?” she asked.
When he turned his head, she stole an appetizer off his plate and shoved it in her mouth. Oh yeah, Elliot would be thrilled to see her display her “house manners” in public.
The devil turned back to her. “Not him.” He frowned at his plate, then at her full mouth. “Did you just steal my food?”
“Nope,” she answered around a mouthful.
He stared at her for a moment, then burst into laughter. It was a full-bodied laugh, holding nothing back. Charming and real. She put Devil at the top of her list.
She swallowed, wishing she had something more to drink. As he finished off his plate, he glanced at her clean one, then at her. When he sighed and handed her his beer, she took it gratefully.
“No backwash, I promise.” She opened her mouth to show him hers was clean, then downed half the bottle. “Damn, that was good.”
He blinked. “Ah, you want more?”
“No, no. You drink that. I’ll go get some.”
She moved to go, but he grabbed her arm. They both paused. Together, they glanced down at his large hand on her wrist, and he dropped her arm. “Ah, that’s okay. You stay here. I’ll get you something. Beer? More chow?”
She nodded. “Um, both, thanks. I’ll save your place.”
He left, and she watched his progress as he cut a swath through the crowd. Yes, the devil made his own path. This time, no one bothered him as he returned posthaste. To her surprise, she was glad. The guy smelled good, a hint of subtle cologne that went straight to her head. He had a kickin’ body and a great smile. But that air of really turned her on—ah, made her amenable to his presence.
Talk about a wordy mouthful. At the thought, she found herself glancing down his body to see what might be a mouthful.
“You okay?” Temptation leaned closer. “You look a little flushed.”
“You can tell in this lighting?” she teased, trying to get it together.
“Good point.” He handed her a beer, placed his own down on the table, and then put a plate overloaded with goodies on top of their empties. “This is to share. To ,” he said slowly.
“Yeah, yeah. Man, I’m starved.” She fell on the plate as if the Russians were coming.
To her amusement, he fought with her for the cheese curls as much as for the mini egg rolls, and they devoured the snacks in good company.
They talked with their mouths full, making fun of the drunken genie as well as several unsuccessful hookups on the dance floor.
“Oh, now that had to hurt,” the devil said. “Rejected by a zombie and her warty witch friend.”
“Yeah, but he’s not taking it personally.” Sadie took another sip of beer, loving the fact he hadn’t gotten her a sissy glass to drink from. “See? He’s turning from the undead to slutty doctor chick.”
“Slutty? Isn’t that non-PC?” he sneered, and she thought he sounded familiar, but the loud music made it difficult to tell. “Because I say the wrong thing about a , not a ‘chick,’ and I’m a caveman asshole setting women’s rights back twenty years.”
“Well, I can say . You have to say .” Sadie grinned. “Kind of like telling a gay guy he’s a raging homo. Now I can say that because my brother earned the title. But you try telling him that, and he’ll knock your head off. And call him anything else, and knock your head off.” She hefted her fake sword before leaning it against the wall. “Don’t try me.”
He shrugged. “You have a sword. I have a pitchfork…somewhere. I think I left it by the bar.” He glanced across the room. “But hey, I have no plans to tangle with your brother. I’m here to sin until this thing is over. Nothing else, and no fights.” He paused, and she swore he added something else under his breath.
At that moment, her brother appeared in the crowd, his gaze searching.
She took Devil by the waist and turned him, noticing how he tensed but ignoring it. “Sorry. I’m having fun not mingling, and my brother is right over there looking for me.”
He relaxed and glanced over his shoulder. “Which one?”
“See the Phantom? He’s a pain in my ass, much as I love him. I didn’t want to come to this tonight, you know.”
“Yeah? Me neither.” He stayed where he was, still watching the dance floor. “Uh-oh. He’s looking over here.”
“Crap, crap, crap. This is a primo spot!” She did what any smart woman in her situation would do. She turned Devil so he completely blocked her from Elliot. “I need to blend in. Work with me, would you?”
She wrapped her arms around his thick neck and dragged him down for a kiss.
At the taste of his lips against hers, she shuddered, not having expected he’d taste better than his beer, or that up close and personal he’d smell like man and sex and chocolate.
Jesus, she must have had too much to drink.
Then he dragged her closer and deepened the angle of their kiss.
Sadie forgot about her brother, about the last crab cake on the plate, about how much she didn’t want to be at the party.
And fell into the arms of a man who kissed like the devil himself.
Can this Bossy Badass Marine...
The Marine Corps was everything Landon Donnigan ever wanted in life...until a bullet sent him home with a medical discharge. Teaching a self-defense class at the gym is old-hat for a Marine, but when he meets sexy Ava Rosenthal, his combat skills are useless for protecting his heart.
Be her Mr. Right?
Ava can take care of herself and likes quiet, bookish men-not muscular warriors who think women need to be coddled. But Landon is more than he seems, and when they come together, the results are explosive.
As Ava lifted some light weights and did a few repetitions, she stared into the mirror but didn’t see herself. Instead, she saw last night’s mistakes all over again. Damn. Chris had been so wonderful. So how had he become such a dud?
She had a new date planned for tomorrow evening. A get-together for wine at a casual bar in Queen Anne on a Sunday night. Not a date that screamed “sex me up,” rather one where she and her partner could get to know each other, not become drunk, then go their separate ways to get ready for work come Monday morning. With any luck, this new guy, Charles, would prove interesting and hands-off, at least.
“You’re doing it wrong.”
She jumped and nearly dropped her weights at that deep voice. “Excuse me?”
A glance at the mirror showed the blond man she’d been ogling—casually assessing—looming behind her. He looked even larger up close. Tall and broad and so…muscular.
She had to swallow a bit of drool. Sue me for being human. He’s attractive—and still not my type. “Are you a trainer?”
“Nope. My brother is.” He nodded to the male she’d accurately pegged as a relation. They both had strong faces, but the brother had black hair, not dark blond, like Mr. Nosy.
“You’re not a trainer, yet you felt the need to correct my form?”
He opened his mouth and closed it, then cleared his throat. “Yeah, your form. Don’t mean to be pushy, but if you keep doing it that way, you’re not going to get the full effect from your reps.”
“But you don’t mean to be pushy.”
He either hadn’t caught her wry tone or he chose to ignore it. “You can also hurt yourself by straining. It’s bad posture. Not like that. Like this.”
He straightened his stance and plucked a weight out of her hand. The brief contact where he touched frazzled her. So bizarre.
Yet she saw the difference in what he did as opposed to what she’d been doing.
“See?” He didn’t seem to work hard at all, pumping her tiny weight with ease. “You keep your arms shoulder-height up and parallel to the ground, then slowly bring them back to your sides. That maxes eccentric contractions, building tone.” He frowned at the weight. “Does this feel heavy when you lift it?”
“Why? Is it too light and girly for you?” Just try and talk down to me, you big Neanderthal. After the week I’ve had…
He bit his lip, but she saw his smile. Despite herself, she liked the expression on him. What is wrong with me?
“I was just going to say you should lighten the load when you start, to get your form right. If it’s too heavy before your reps, it’s too heavy, period.” He placed the weight back into her hand and curled her fingers around it. She ignored the sizzle this time. “You need any help with this, ask for Gavin.” He nodded to his brother. “He won’t give you a hassle, and he knows what he’s talking about.”
That said, he walked away. So not trying to hit on me then. She felt foolish for her snappish tone when he’d only been trying to help. Then she felt foolish for feeling foolish. Nobody had asked him to come help her. Not her fault she felt a little prickly with his gender.
“Oh, this is all Elliot’s fault,” she steamed, then grabbed a lighter set of weights and finished her set, this time using the proper way to lift.
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