Friday, March 31, 2017

NEW: Dirty Filthy Rich Men by Laurelin Paige

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Dirty Filthy Rich Men, an all-new sexy, contemporary romance from NYT Bestseller Laurelin Paige is available now!!!

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Dirty Filthy Rich Men by Laurelin Paige Genre: Contemporary Romance

From NYT Bestselling author Laurelin Paige, discover a whole new world filled with sex, love, power, romance and dirty, filthy rich men.
When I met Donovan Kincaid, I knew he was rich. I didn’t know he was filthy. Truth be told, I was only trying to get his best friend to notice me.
I knew poor scholarship girls like me didn't stand a chance against guys like Weston King and Donovan Kincaid, but I was in love with his world, their world, of parties and sex and power. I knew what I wanted—I knew who I wanted—until one night, their world tried to bite me back and Donovan saved me. He saved me, and then Weston finally noticed me, and I finally learned what it was to be in their world.
And then what it was like to lose it.
Ten years later, I’ve found my way back. Back to their world. Back to him.
This time, I’m ready. I've been down this road before, and I know all the dirty, filthy ways Donovan will try and wreck me.
But it’s hard to resist. Especially when I know how much I’ll like it.

Excerpt:

After she was gone, I walked over to the windows and drank in the scene. The Town Center was high enough that it had an unblocked view of downtown Manhattan, Brooklyn, and beyond. Giddiness surged through me, starting like a pinprick at my center and moving out through my veins in all directions until even my fingers and toes felt warm. I was really here. I made it. It wasn’t the way I thought it would be, but in the end, it still came out of my time at Harvard. I’d always known that connections made the difference in a career, and here I was. Finally. At the top of the world, looking out. I couldn’t stop grinning. “It’s incredible, isn’t it?” a male voice came from behind me. Still smiling, I glanced up and caught his reflection in the window. And everything disappeared. The world that had buzzed below, the beautiful scene, the excitement that had unfurled through my body—all of it evaporated and all that existed in its place was a pale, hollow shell of myself and the man in the perfectly tailored suit behind me. I turned to look at him directly. Our gazes smashed together, and my legs nearly fell out from under me. “Donovan,” I rasped. It was a miracle that I managed to find enough voice to say that much. And there was so much more that had to be said. So much more that I hadn’t prepared for. Which was ridiculous since I’d talked to him so many times in my head over the years, practiced so many conversations, but never did he show up out of the blue looking so dastardly handsome in a dark gray three-piece suit, his face rugged with scruff, his eyes hazel and earnest despite the playful smirk on his lips. I opened my mouth to say something, but nothing came out. I wasn’t even sure how to breathe anymore. He broke our gaze to nod out the window at the skyline, walking toward me as he said, “I’m sure you found the Empire.” Though his focus was now on the scenery, I didn’t take my eyes off him as he approached. He didn’t stop until he was right beside me. So close our shoulders would touch if I coughed. Tension ran off him like foam spilling over from a mug of beer. Good tension. Bad tension. I wasn’t sure if there was a difference when it came to Donovan. Which was why I was screwed if he was here. Why the hell was he here? “I thought you were in Tokyo.” I couldn’t stop staring at him. He’d gotten more refined with age, and rougher at the same time. His hair was short and his curls gone, giving him a polished look he lacked before. The lines by his eyes were more defined and his expression seemed harder than I’d remembered. It made him sexier. As if he was a man who needed to be sexier than the one I knew. “I came back two months ago,” he said offhandedly. “That’s it right there.” He leaned his face in close to mine as he pointed to the famous structure. “Do you see it?” Fuck if I cared about the Empire. I was in Donovan Kincaid’s orbit. What else was there in the world? DFRM AD TWO

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About the Author:

USA Today and New York Times Bestselling Author Laurelin Paige is a sucker for a good romance and gets giddy anytime there’s kissing, much to the embarrassment of her three daughters. Her husband doesn’t seem to complain, however. When she isn’t reading or writing sexy stories, she’s probably singing, watching Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead, or dreaming of Michael Fassbender. She's also a proud member of Mensa International though she doesn't do anything with the organization except use it as material for her bio. She is represented by Rebecca Friedman. Laurelin Paige

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Twitter: @LaurelinPaige
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Thursday, March 30, 2017

MEGHAN MARCH DOUBLE COVER REVEAL

We are very excited to bring you the double cover reveal for Real Dirty and Real Sexy from bestselling author Meghan March. The duet releases in May and we can't wait for you to meet Boone Thrasher !

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REAL DIRTY RELEASES MAY 9th

REAL SEXY RELEASES MAY 23rd

    Real Dirty AMAZON
I have everything a guy could want—a new single burning up the charts, more money than a simple country boy could spend, and a woman I’m planning to marry. Until she doesn’t show up for my proposal. The life I thought was so perfect, isn’t. The guy who thought he had everything, doesn’t. I’ve got my heart on lockdown, but life sends me straight into the path of a mouthy bartender who puts me in my place. Now the only place I want to put her is under me. I thought I was done with love, but maybe I’m just getting started. ADD TO GOODREADS  

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      Real Sexy AMAZON
In Nashville, country stars are a dime a dozen. I swore I’d never get caught up with one, but Boone Thrasher made a liar out of me. I said I’d never put my heart on the line, but he didn’t ask before he stole it. Now we’re facing my worst fears, and we'll see if this country boy is tough enough to see it through. Girls like me don’t get happily ever afters… but maybe he’ll prove that wrong too.  

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Meghan March has been known to wear camo face paint and tromp around in woods wearing mud-covered boots, all while sporting a perfect manicure. She's also impulsive, easily entertained, and absolutely unapologetic about the fact that she loves to read and write smut. Her past lives include slinging auto parts, selling lingerie, making custom jewelry, and practicing corporate law. Writing books about dirty talking alpha males and the strong, sassy women who bring them to their knees is by far the most fabulous job she's ever had. She loves hearing from her readers at meghanmarchbooks@gmail.com.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

COVER REVEAL: Paper Fools by Staci Hart

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In the game of love, she never loses.

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Paper Fools by Staci Hart is coming April 17th!!

Title: Paper Fools

Author: Staci Hart

Cover Designer: Quirkybird Designs

Photographer: Lauren Watson Perry

Publication Date: April 17th

 
Aphrodite knows love — just don’t ask her to figure out her own mess.
Rather than deal with her sticky love life, she toys with the hearts of unwitting humans. It’s a little game she plays, and the stakes are high. Lucky for her, she’s just found the perfect match.

Lex is everything Dean needs, but he can’t have her.

It doesn’t matter that her eyes speak to a long forgotten part of him, or that her art and poetry touch his shredded heart. She’s off limits — crossing that line would implode his band and everything he’s ever cared about. There’s only one option: stay away from her, no matter the cost. Even if the price is his heart.

Dean is everything Lex wants, but she can’t take the risk.

The second she meets him, she knows her heart is in danger. She’s convinced it’s only attraction that has her hung up on the dark, quiet lead singer, but with every day that passes, she knows it’s more. It’s just that she can’t put her heart on the line. She won’t — love has never been worth the sacrifice.
If only they knew they were just pawns in a much bigger game. And in the game of love, Aphrodite never loses.

*Formerly titled Deer in Headlights, Paper Fools has been rewritten and reedited just for you.*
 
Add to GoodReads: https://goo.gl/SggznE
 

About the Author

Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life -- a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can't forget that. She's also been a mom, with three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She's been a wife, though she's certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She's also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she's been drinking whiskey. From roots in Houston to a seven year stint in Southern California, Staci and her family ended up settling somewhere in between and equally north, in Denver. They are new enough that snow is still magical. When she's not writing, she's reading, sleeping, gaming, or designing graphics.


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REVIEW: The Hard Truth About Sunshine by Sawyer Bennett



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OUR REVIEW:

Shel: The Hard Truth About Sunshine is definitely a hard read. Christopher's outlook on his life is unrelentingly bitter for a good portion of the novel, justifiably. He's living through an experience that he didn't ask for and he feels angry, abandoned, and hopeless and those feelings drench every page for the a large part of his narrative. I honestly wasn't sure if Christopher would ever shake loose his sarcasm, cynicism, and dour look on life and the more I got to know him, I felt I better understood why he'd hang on to all of the emotions he exuded. That he'd willingly go on a cross country trip to get out of further mandated group therapy both surprised me and didn't. He didn't seem like the type to want to be cooped up in a car with three other people he didn't particularly like but he also seemed like the type who'd do anything to get out of touchy feely talk therapy sessions. And, I suppose if I really think about it, he would have way more control of how things went if he was driving on this cross country trip so I guess when I really think about it, it makes sense that he'd go on this trip with the three other people he was in therapy with.

Court: I didn't know whole lot about this one before I started it. I knew that I love Sawyer Bennett and the cover was incredibly beautiful. Other than that; clear eyes, full hearts...and all that. And just wow. I was blown over by the authenticity of the emotions of these people. They're each in therapy for very different reasons, and we get all of this through Christopher's eyes and as Shelley said...his point of view is a bit skewed and dark by his own circumstances. We are on this road trip journey with them, and we find out little by little how the last two years of Christopher's life has turned out and really got down to the nitty gritty with these characters. One thing though, I am normally the biggest nurse snob on the planet with patients as characters, and I work in Orthopaedic Trauma - SO...usually I have a lot of negative things to say about that, but Sawyer did this one true and on point so I am so, so, so, so very happy to say that the medical parts did not brutalize - but enhanced my reading experience. (Grade A snob...I admit it)

Shel: It's on this cross country trip that we get to know more about Christopher's car mates: Jillian, Barb, and Connor. Their stories are interesting, sad, and perhaps surprisingly, uplifting. Getting to know them and seeing how their personalities all mix in close confines turned out to be the comic relief that helps soften some of the grimness that infuses each of the character's back stories. It's also on this trip that Christopher begins to open up, takes some emotional risks, and allows himself to trust others. He still hangs on to his assholish nature and there's no way he thinks his life after the road trip will be all sunshine and daisies, but the friendships and love and loss he experiences all help soften some of his sharpness and makes for a novel that feels more hopeful than not. 

Court: Exactly. It is realistic. It is hopeful. It is truth, because simply put: emotions are just shit sometimes. And having them bottled inside is not good, but most people (as these people find out) don't really like them oozing out in the open for everyone to see either...so we are in this trap of never ending trying to put on a brave face for others and it is hard. Finding people, albeit a motley crew of people with issues, was really a turning point for Christopher to open his eyes to the world and let in a little bit of hope. Hope was something he tried time and time again to squash, and Jillian, Barb and Connor were the perfect cast to bring this book to vivid picture in my mind. I loved every page of this book, even though I waited with so much angst as I was reading what happened. I was nervous. I maybe had a little leakage out of my eyes. But I will never forget this book. 

    The Hard Truth About Sunshine AMAZON
New York Times bestselling author Sawyer Bennett has written her most gripping and poignant tale yet. Provocatively heart-breaking, audaciously irreverent and romantically fulfilling, The Hard Truth About Sunshine exposes just how very thin the line is between a full life and an empty existence. Despite having narrowly escaped death's clutches, Christopher Barlow is grateful for nothing. His capacity to love has been crushed. He hates everyone and everything, completely unable to see past the gray stain of misery that coats his perception of the world. It's only after he involuntarily joins a band of depressed misfits who are struggling to overcome their own problems, does Christopher start to re-evaluate his lot in life. What could they possibly learn from one another? How could they possibly help each other to heal? And the question that Christopher asks himself over and over again... can he learn to love again? He's about to find out as he embarks upon a cross country trip with a beautiful woman who is going blind, a boy with terminal cancer, and an abuse victim who can't decide whether she wants to live or die. Four people with nothing in common but their destination. They will encounter adventure, thrills, loss and love. And within their travels they will learn the greatest lesson of all. The hard truth about sunshine... Warning: This book deals with some tough issues including suicide and sexual abuse.

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LaurenBlakelyQuote   Jillian holds my gaze for a moment, her eyes drilling into mine before she gently tugs on the material of my jeans near the shin rod of my prosthetic. “What happened to you?” She doesn’t look away. Not down at the fire, not down to my legs. She stares right at me. Although my gut is turning slightly at the thought of telling her what she asked, I forge straight ahead. For the first time, I tell someone who is not medical personnel or a shrink my story. “I was driving a military Humvee and the right front tire ran over a roadside bomb,” I say, and Jillian makes a sound of distress low her in throat as her eyes turn sad. “It completely obliterated my buddy sitting in the passenger seat.” To my surprise, Jillian scoots over closer to me and lays her head on my shoulder. She pushes her hand in between my ribs and my arm, curling her fingers over my bicep. It’s a show of support. Solidarity. That she’s settled in for the long haul of this story, and she wants to hear it all. “It didn’t blow my leg off,” I tell her, and I can feel her body jerk slightly in surprise. Her fingers squeeze my bicep. “The fingers yes, the leg no. It just shattered and shredded it badly, but the doctors tried hard to save it.” “Obviously, they couldn’t,” she whispers the obvious. “They tried for three months,” I tell her, reaching down to grab my phone laying near my left hip. Jillian lifts her head up, watching as I pull up my pictures. I scroll backward, but it doesn’t take long to find what I’m looking for because I don’t take a lot of photos. I hold the phone out so she can see. “This was taken about a month after my injury.” Jillian makes a strangled sound as she looks at the photo of me in bed. My eyes are half open because I was bombed out on so many heavy-duty pain medications, and I have a grimace on my face. I vaguely remember this picture being taken, and I think it may have been by my brother, Hank, when he came to visit once during that first month. He came a few more times after that, and then he didn’t. Jillian’s eyes roam over the photo. My leg is encased in the external fixator with several rods leading from the outside of the cage right into my skin, where it’s drilled through and into the bone to hold the pieces together. The wounds on my leg are all open to the air, red and some of them dripping with puss and lined with blisters. I’ve got IVs in both arms and a PICC line in the right side of my neck to deliver the hordes of antibiotics and pain meds I needed to keep me alive and functioning. I took the maximum dosages they allowed me, preferring to try to be oblivious to what was happening. Yet, the pain was so great it just couldn’t be fully erased. Jillian turns her head to look at me, and I lay the phone back down. “How long were you like that?” “Three months. But they couldn’t get ahead of the infections, which were delaying the bones from knitting. I was in so much pain that I wanted them to amputate.” “You had to make that decision?” she whispers. I nod. “Yup. I mean… the doctors were at the point they felt it was the right way to go, although they were willing to keep trying if I wanted. But I wanted it gone. I was tired of being in the hospital and being in so much pain. I just wanted it gone.” “Do you regret that decision?” she asks me bluntly, but with that still-sweet melody her voice makes. The question doesn’t bother me, because even her hard questions sound lovely. “Yes,” I tell her without any shame. “I wonder what would have happened if I held on just a little bit longer. Not long after the leg came off, the pain receded and I became more lucid. Once I’d forgotten how bad the infections smelled, I regretted it.” “Three months is an awful long time to be in pain like that,” she points out the obvious. I shrug. “And the rest of my life is a long time to wonder ‘what if.’”     AuthorPhoto
Since the release of her debut contemporary romance novel, Off Sides, in January 2013, Sawyer Bennett has released more than 30 books and has been featured on both the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists on multiple occasions. A reformed trial lawyer from North Carolina, Sawyer uses real life experience to create relatable, sexy stories that appeal to a wide array of readers. From new adult to erotic contemporary romance, Sawyer writes something for just about everyone. Sawyer likes her Bloody Marys strong, her martinis dirty, and her heroes a combination of the two. When not bringing fictional romance to life, Sawyer is a chauffeur, stylist, chef, maid, and personal assistant to a very active toddler, as well as full-time servant to two adorably naughty dogs. She believes in the good of others, and that a bad day can be cured with a great work-out, cake, or a combination of the two.

Monday, March 27, 2017

NOW LIVE: Dirty Filthy Rich Men by Laurelin Paige

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Dirty Filthy Rich Men, an all-new sexy, contemporary romance from NYT Bestseller Laurelin Paige is LIVE!!!

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Dirty Filthy Rich Men by Laurelin Paige Publication Date: March 27th, 2017 Genre: Contemporary Romance

From NYT Bestselling author Laurelin Paige, discover a whole new world filled with sex, love, power, romance and dirty, filthy rich men.
When I met Donovan Kincaid, I knew he was rich. I didn’t know he was filthy. Truth be told, I was only trying to get his best friend to notice me.
I knew poor scholarship girls like me didn't stand a chance against guys like Weston King and Donovan Kincaid, but I was in love with his world, their world, of parties and sex and power. I knew what I wanted—I knew who I wanted—until one night, their world tried to bite me back and Donovan saved me. He saved me, and then Weston finally noticed me, and I finally learned what it was to be in their world.
And then what it was like to lose it.
Ten years later, I’ve found my way back. Back to their world. Back to him.
This time, I’m ready. I've been down this road before, and I know all the dirty, filthy ways Donovan will try and wreck me.
But it’s hard to resist. Especially when I know how much I’ll like it.
DFRM Available now

READ TODAY!

Add to GoodReads: https://goo.gl/24QQsM

DFRM Teaser world AVAILABLE NOW

About the Author:

USA Today and New York Times Bestselling Author Laurelin Paige is a sucker for a good romance and gets giddy anytime there’s kissing, much to the embarrassment of her three daughters. Her husband doesn’t seem to complain, however. When she isn’t reading or writing sexy stories, she’s probably singing, watching Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead, or dreaming of Michael Fassbender. She's also a proud member of Mensa International though she doesn't do anything with the organization except use it as material for her bio. She is represented by Rebecca Friedman.
  Laurelin Paige

Connect with Laurelin Paige:

Twitter: @LaurelinPaige
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Friday, March 24, 2017

CHAPTER REVEAL: Just Like That by Nicola Rendell




Coming April 10th

Pre-order exclusively via
iBooks HERE


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"I bet I can untangle you."

At an airport baggage claim, Penny Darling looks up from her knotted mess of ear buds to find the sexiest hunk of man she's ever seen. He's got a military haircut, a scar through his eyebrow, and he's rocking a pastel pink dress shirt like only a real man can. But Penny is on a man-free diet so she leaves the airport without succumbing to his delicious double-entendres...or his dreamy dimples.

PI Russ Macklin can't take his eyes off Penny. As she sashays out of the airport with hips swaying and curls bouncing, he suspects they may share more than just sweltering chemistry. That suitcase she's rolling along behind her? It looks a lot like his.

Because it is.

When he tracks her down, he holds her bag hostage in exchange for a date. Their night begins with margaritas and ends in urgent care, and Russ proves that Cosmo's theory about a very particular type of orgasm was oh-so-wrong.

In Penny, Russ finds a small-town sweetheart with a very naughty side. For the first time ever, he’s thinking about picket fences. Penny finds in Russ a loving, caring man who understands the power of massaging showerheads.

But Russ is only in Port Flamingo for a week. They agree it'll be a fling and nothing more. Because really, they can't fall ass-over-teakettle in love just like that...

Can they?

99k words. HEA. Dual POV. No cheating.
Featuring a big drooly dog named Guppy.


1
Russ
I step off the escalator, and there she is. She’s looking down, doing something with her phone. Air conditioning blows on her from above, making the hem of her purple dress flutter against her leg. And fuck, look at those legs. Look at that body. Look at that woman. Underneath the dress, instead of a bra she’s wearing the top half of a pink bikini, tied at the nape of her neck in a bow.
​Welcome to Florida. God bless the Sunshine State.
​The place is dismal, except for her. On the walls are 1980s tourism posters, rippling with the humidity. All the guys have Magnum, P.I. mustaches, and all the women look like extras from Baywatch. She’s a vision in the middle of all of it, an oasis at the goddamned baggage claim. I circle the clumps of old people bumping into each other with walkers, like slow-motion bumper cars. As I get closer, I see her face. Her freckles, her slightly shiny pink lips. Her breasts, which are fucking beautiful. But her expression, it isn’t beautiful. It’s seriously pissed. Nostrils flared, teeth set, jaw clenched.
​In her hands is a whole big tangle of ear buds, and maybe a phone charger. A big knot of cords, like a wad of cold pasta.
​I get closer. Not too close, because I don’t want to be that guy, but close enough to see the small starfish necklace dangling from her neck, and close enough to smell something warm, and sweet. Familiar. Vanilla, maybe. Whatever it is, it’s fucking delicious.
​On the wall behind her is a big banner. It’s got a faded old cartoon flamingo, flapping his wings and grinning. Underneath is the caption:
WELCOME TO PORT FLAMINGO! HOME OF THE FIRST AIR CONDITIONER!
​No shit. Because it’s hot, and I don’t mean like ordinary summertime hot. I mean hot like the time the sauna malfunctioned at my gym and turned all the drywall in the locker room into oatmeal. She doesn’t look hot at all though. She looks cool, and soft, and beautiful. Just the thing I need. Like a vodka soda after a long fucking day.
​I set my shoulder bag at my feet and take off my suit jacket. Her braid comes down over one shoulder, the curl at the bottom nestling into her cleavage. I roll up my sleeves. “I bet I can untangle you.”
​She looks up at me. Her eyes are deep blue and sparkling. A smile starts to pinch her cheeks. The end of the charger swings between us. “I’m okay. Got myself into this mess, got to get myself out of it.”
​“Sometimes two is better than one.”
​She smacks her lips at the cords. “Sometimes.” She pulls hard on the plug end, making the wires tighten even more. “You’d think I’d learn to keep that little plastic box that comes with these, but oh no, every—” She tugs. “—single.” Tugs again. “—time.”
Granted, she’s not exactly in need of rescue from a burning building, but no way am I going to stand here and watch her struggle, no fucking way. Without another word, I start undoing the end of the tangle that’s nearest me, and I watch that smile of hers get bigger. She doesn’t look at me, but I see a dimple, and she bites her lip.
Still focused on the knot, she says, “Let me guess. You’re not from around here, are you?”​
Can’t imagine what gave me away. Maybe the fact that I’m the only guy in the building wearing slacks and actual shoes. “Here on business.”
She looks me up and down. “What kind of business? FBI?”
Fuck. Not the first conversation I want to have, definitely not. Also, I don’t know a single fed who wears pants this nice. “Private business.”
“Hmmm.” She eyes me more mischievously. “Tall, dark, and a military haircut. Something tells me you’re not here to do some competitive bass fishing. “
Oh man. Cute. Really cute. “No, I’m not.”
Slowly, the tangle comes undone, until we’re in the middle together. Reminds me of that scene in Lady and the Tramp.
But before I can say anything more—like, for instance, I’m down for 20 questions, as long as it’s over a drink—the buzzer on the carousel roars to life, as loud as a tornado siren. The crush of people starts to tighten around the conveyor. She winds the three sets of ear buds and the cord around her palm. From the pocket of my bag, I take out the plastic case that came with my ear buds and hand it over. “There.”
She laughs through her nose. “I’ll be okay.”
“I insist.” I press it into her hand, and her eyes meet mine.
“I’ll bet you do.” She looks away as a blush covers her cheeks.
The bags start to rumble off the conveyor. For one long second, she watches me, smiling. Sizing me up. The little curls around her face tremble in the air conditioning, and I’m about to say You, me, a pitcher of margaritas, tonight when she looks away and hoists her purse up on her shoulder.
“That’s my bag,” she says. “I should get going. Thanks for…untangling me.”
She steps away and threads her way between a handful of old ladies in walkers. I know I should help her, I know I should grab her bag, but holy fuck look at that body.
​She grabs her bag herself and flips up the handle.
“Give me your number. Let me take you out for dinner.”
​Her smile dissolves into a scowl. “You married?”
I shake my head slowly. “I’m a lot of things, but married definitely isn’t one of them.”
“Separated?”
Shake my head again. “Nope.”
She takes her starfish charm between thumb and forefinger and loops the chain over her lip. “Under any restraining orders? Involved in a complicated love triangle that your Match.com profile describes as an open marriage? Divorced five times and counting? Polyamorous?”
Whoa. This girl’s got to find a new dating pool, stat. “Promise. I’m Russ, and what you see is what you get.”
Zip-zip-zip goes her necklace.
“Just a drink.” I lift my hands out between us, to say C’mon. “Maybe dinner, if I make the cut.”
She blinks hard a few times and she drops her necklace charm. “I’m sorry. You’re sweet, but I can’t.”
Well, fuck it. The first time I try to get back in the saddle in ages and the goddamn thing slides right down onto the ground again. I respect it though. I don’t want to overdo this, so I give her a final nod and clear my throat. “Had to try.”
She swallows hard. “I’m glad you did.”
Fuck.
And she’s gone. As she goes, her hips sway with her dress. She works that sashay, as my aunt says, like a fucking pro. She looks back over her shoulder, only once, as she walks through the sliding doors. I give her a wink.
And she fucking winks back.
Jesus Christ.
She takes a left out of the door, which means she isn’t gone yet. Not by a long shot. The architecture does me a favor, and I get to watch her sashay right past the floor-to-ceiling windows. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her, not even if I wanted to. She smiles at the sidewalk without looking up, and laughs a little. Like she knows I’m watching her and is feeling pretty good about it.
​God, what a cutie. And what a bummer. She was fucking sexy, she seemed sweet, and there was something about her that was up to no good. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but it was somewhere between the bikini top and I’m glad you did. But the spark wasn’t all we had in common. I realize, as she finally disappears from view, she also has a bag that looks just like mine.
Medium-sized black Samsonite. Sensible, dependable. Number One Amazon Bestseller in Luggage.
​But that couldn’t be my bag, I think to myself as I turn back toward the conveyor. Couldn’t be.


***

​It was. Twenty minutes later, I’m the only guy standing by the carousel, and there’s a single black bag going around and around in front of me. It’s exactly the same as mine, except it’s overstuffed and has a pink puff of yarn tied to the handle. Same color as her bikini top and literally hanging by a thread.
​It slides to a stop, and the yarn ball swings off the side of the carousel. Tick-tock, tick-tock.
​A rattle from the center of the conveyor sounds promising—I was early connecting through Atlanta, so my bag had to be the first one on—but no dice. What comes off the conveyor isn’t a bag at all, but instead one of the baggage guys in big set of protective earphones and a reflective vest. He crawls up through the flap and pokes his head out. He wipes his forehead on his bare leathery shoulder and then looks from me to the bag and back again. “Nice pom-pom, man,” he says and backtracks down the hole.
​I glance around for some airport help on this, but all I see is a handwritten sign at the baggage claim desk. Will Return On Monday!
​It’s Saturday.
​Christ.
​As I take hold of the bag, I notice it’s got not one but three “LIFT WITH CAUTION” tags: the first one new, the second one beat up, and the third one halfway shredded, all together the way people keep lift tickets from ski areas. I give it a hoist. The thing is so heavy it makes me grunt like I’m doing a dead lift. With a two-handed lug, I yank it off the conveyor and set it on the ground, wheels down.
​Squeezing the roller handle, I pull it up…and it snaps off right in my hand. The arms stick up from the suitcase like the tines of a fork.
​I clench my eyes shut and think back to “the most helpful critical review” from Amazon. “Looks like every other bag on the planet. Sh**ty handle.”
​Touché. But it is what it is. Which is her bag, hopefully.
​I wheel it along to a bank of benches, by some old beat-up phone booths, lining the far wall. I open up the ID pouch and read:

PENELOPE DARLING
125 E. BEACH POINT DRIVE
PORT FLAMINGO, FL 34102

I bite down on my gum and groan. How cute is that name? Jesus Christ, come on. Penny Darling. What’s more, it’s not a business card or typed up like mine, but written by hand. Her writing is sweet, pretty, and feminine, with big plump letters written in bright pink marker that’s bled into the plastic cover, so they’ve got a haze around them like neon lights. And there, at the bottom.
​Her number.
​Jackpot.
​It might not be my smoothest move, but I’ll take it. I pull my phone from my pocket and give her a call. As I wait for the ringtone, I decide to hell with suave and understated. I want her, and I need her to know it.
​But then in my ear I hear, “Mobile Network Temporarily Unavailable.”
​Goddamned Verizon, jamming up my plans. So I try to text her instead.

This is Russ.
From the airport.
I've got your bag and I think you’ve got mine.
How about that drink?

​I hit send, and I’m answered immediately with a row of red exclamation points and four repetitions of NOT DELIVERED. What. The. Fuck.
​Then I noticed my cell service flips over from 1 bar, to Roaming, to Searching for service…
​ I pull my hot pack of gum from my sweaty pocket and take out a second piece. The gum is weirdly melted even before I put it in my mouth.
​The options now are pretty simple: I could touch base with the guy who hired me to come down here to the land that Verizon forgot or…
​I think about those tan lines, the curve of her hips. That bikini. The glisten on her rosy lips. The way she wrinkled her nose when she smiled.
​Why is this even a goddamned question? It’s four o’clock on a Saturday. A beautiful woman is on East Beach Point Drive with all my stuff. And somewhere in this town, I’ll bet there’s a beachside bar with a pitcher of margaritas with our names on it.

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Nicola Rendell writes dirty, funny, erotic romance. She likes a stiff drink and a well-frosted cake. She is at an unnamed Ivy and prefers to remain mostly anonymous for professional reasons. She has a PhD in English and an MFA in Creative Writing from schools that shall not be named here. She loves to cook, sew, and play the piano. She realizes that her hobbies might make her sound like an old lady and she’s totally okay with that. She lives with her husband and her dogs. She is from Taos, New Mexico.


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