Book Tour/Giveaway/Excerpt

Title: Respectable Riot

 

Series: Riot MC Series

 

 

Author: Karen Renee

 

 

Genre: MC Romance

 

 

Release Date: December 31, 2019

 

“Beast and Janie had a bit of a rocky start, but I couldn’t stop reading because I HAD to find out where they went next.” ~Jenn the Readaholic

 

“I absolutely love Respectable Riot! The characters were gripping, and I was captivated by the storyline.” ~Behind Closed Doors Book Review

“… a slow burn well written MC book.” ~World of Books 65

She has it all, but she still has nothing.
 
Married to a local politician, Jane Ramos-Palmer won’t put her dreams aside for her husband’s any longer. Overhearing her husband being blackmailed, Janie realizes nothing in her life is as it seems. She’s willing to ditch all she has, so she can gain everything she ever wanted. Fighting an ugly divorce, meeting and falling for Beast couldn’t happen at a worse time for Janie. Escaping her oppressive husband is her top priority, which means her infatuation with a biker must wait.
 
His world was wrenched cruelly away from him. David “Beast” Huntley’s trust has been violated, and being twice shy means he’s determined not to get involved with another woman. At least not seriously, and not any time soon. But Janie provokes something in him. His attraction to her gnaws at him, even though she’s mired in an ugly divorce with a sketchy politician. Staying away from her is in his best interest and his club’s.
 
When the president of rival MC blindsides and assaults Janie, Beast’s inner-beast is awakened. He cannot fight his attraction for her, no matter how wrong it might be.
When we finally pulled off at a gas station, I swung off the bike, grateful as all hell to stretch my legs. Beast felt my eyes on him, if the expectant look on his face was any indication. I waited for him to join me on the sidewalk.
“You got somethin’ on your mind, Country Club?”
With a lopsided grin, I nodded. “First and foremost—”
He pulled me flush with his hard torso. “There’s a ‘first and foremost’. God. Gonna have to brace for this.”
“Fine. Do what you have to, but I feel compelled to let you know, on behalf of all the drivers you cut off, split lanes on, or passed on the shoulder, you drive like a colossal asshole.”
I thought he’d be pissed, but his twinkling eyes lit with a smile. Then he swatted my jeans-clad ass. Hard. His voice sounded on the verge of laughter. “What else you got?”
I wasn’t pleased about the swat to my ass, but I pressed onward. “Secondly, don’t let me hurt your ego or anything, but believe it or not, you’re not as important as you seem to think you are. I mean we’re not in that big of a hurry.”
His hand left my ass, and cupped my jaw. “There’s someone very important on my bike, babe, and it ain’t me.”
Well! That damn sure took the wind out of my sails. Luckily, I rallied. “I’m flattered you think that, but seriously–”
“Rule number one, no bein’ serious on this trip.”
“You can’t be–” It was on the tip of my tongue to say serious, and he knew it.
“Probably the only thing I mean business about. Gotta get you outta your head. Not right you can’t sleep through the night, and I don’t like it.”
“That was ‘cause of you,” I blurted.
“Say that again?” he demanded.
“Well, uh, I mean, I hate the idea of a guest sleeping on my couch.”
“Woman, that couch probably cost more than any bed I’ve owned. For a couch, it was more comfortable than my bed at the compound.”
I crossed my arms. “I should have been on it, not you.”
That odd look from this morning came back. “I’m in your bed, you’re in it with me.”
“You are not to be believed,” I muttered.
“Why’s that?”
“I saw you with that woman at Liar’s.”
His face hardened. “You mean Steph?”
I nodded because I didn’t trust my voice not to betray me.
“She’s an employee, Janie. Yak invited her to that thing. Followed her onto Liar’s street. Could tell she wasn’t sure which house would be his, so I rode next to her.”
“I see,” I murmured.

 

“So do I,” he grinned. “You were jealous.”
Karen Renee is the author of the Riot MC Series. She has wanted to be a writer from a very early age, and she’s finally bringing that dream to life. She has worked in advertising, banking, and local television media research. She is a proud wife and mother, and a Jacksonville native. When she’s not at the soccer field or cooking, you can find her at her local library, the grocery store, in her car jamming out to some tunes, or hibernating while she writes and/or reads books.
 
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Audio Tour/Excerpt

Title: Packaged Love
Series: Love at First Sight
Author: Loni Ree
Genre: Romance
Audible Release Date: December 13, 2019
Ebook Release Date: September 8, 2019

 

All I wanted to do was make a simple package exchange, then the next thing I know, Mr. Tall, Dark, Handsome, and Jerk-Face is slamming me to the ground and threatening me with jail and other real pleasant experiences. Yep, my day certainly could be better.

 

Who knew a delivery guy’s screw-up could lead to finding “the one”?
Ethan Wescott instantly falls for the gorgeous, little thief he catches stealing his package. Once he realizes it’s all a misunderstanding, he’s left trying to convince Emma even a caveman jerk deserves the chance to redeem himself. He’s going to have his work cut out for him, because so far, she isn’t too impressed.

 

 

After today, I can make the rest of the party favors and get my aunt off of my back, if the package ever arrives. While waiting and scrolling through the available movies, I hear the box drop on my front step and run to grab it. To my absolute horror, it’s not my box. The package is addressed to E. L. Wescott, 1216 Oak Lane Drive. I’m E. L. Wolcott, 1216 Oak Land Drive.

Oh my God! E. L. Wescott probably has my ceramic babies. After running to find my phone, I frantically look up Oak Land Drive in my maps app. To my surprise, it’s only a few roads away, so I decide to take the wrong package and hopefully make a hostage exchange.

Oh, wow, a couple of roads makes a huge difference. After turning onto the quiet subdivision road, the beautifully manicured lawns and gorgeous modern homes are a pleasant surprise. When I arrive at 1216, I notice a box sitting in front of the impressive two-story house. I park and take the package hoping to make the trade. 

A glance at the box by the door confirms my suspicion that my package was delivered here by mistake. Since I don’t want to just switch and run, I ring the doorbell several times, but no one answers the door. I figure it’s not stealing since I’m leaving their box and taking mine, so I exchange the two packages and head back for my car.

Two steps from my car, my body is slammed to the ground, and my box goes flying. I hear the sound of shattering babies, and my heart drops.

“You little fucker, I bet Bubba’s gonna love your soft ass in jail. You shoulda stolen from some other sucker,” is grunted in my ear as my head is shoved into the manicured grass.
 

 

Loni Ree, a very busy mom of six, loves to read because she finds that reading helps her escape the chaos of everyday life. She loves quick, red-hot reads that are on the excessive side. Writing is a passion of hers, so Loni decided to share the stories floating around in her mind. Her short, steamy stories are a little over the top because she believes reading should be an escape from real life. She writes about love at first sight that always leads to a Happily Ever After!

 

 
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New Release/Giveaway/Excerpt

Title: Under the Mistletoe: A Reverse Harem Christmas Novel
Author: J.C. Valentine
Genre: Romance (Reverse Harem)
Release Date: December 27, 2019
It all started with a Christmas party. How was I supposed to know an innocent game of “Spin the Bottle” would change the course of my entire life?
He’s the office shy guy. Lacking in classic good looks, I never noticed Niles Prescott until a twisted office game has us kissing under the mistletoe. That’s all it takes, and now I’m hooked. When Niles proposes a hookup with us and his roommates, I figure it can’t hurt. I’m always down to try new things, but this time, I might be biting off more than I can chew.
 
When a snowstorm traps me in a house with three sexy bachelors on Christmas, I have no choice but to play the hand that is dealt. But these guys aren’t saints, and when I find out they’ve been keeping a secret, one that could destroy what should be one of the happiest days of the year, I have to decide between keeping them and running for the hills.
 
But choosing is going to be damn near impossible because, now that I’ve had all three of them, one man will never be enough again.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Seven Minutes in Heaven. That was the game kids used to play for a poor excuse to kiss their crush—if they were lucky. The adult version is Under the Mistletoe, and it’s a hyped-up adult version of the same. Same rules apply, but with different props. Instead of hiding in a closet, two unfortunate souls are peer-pressured into standing under a stupid, dangling piece of mistletoe nailed to an archway to share a kiss.

It’s me. I’m the unfortunate soul tonight. I can’t say the same for Niles. He seems pretty damn happy about the whole thing. And why wouldn’t he? He’s been the underdog for as long as I’ve known him, which is in the ballpark of five months, but it’s pretty obvious that he’s the office nerd. No dates, no history of torrid affairs, no drunken stories to tell. The guy is as straightlaced as they come, right down to his pressed slacks and combed back hair.

I have to admit, though, he does have some killer green eyes. One of the lucky two percent of the world’s population, the bastard.

I look up into those eyes now, wondering how in the world I got myself into this mess. Then I remember it happened somewhere between the RumChata and Marisa’s mixed cocktails that were more like fireballs tearing out the lining of my throat as they clawed their way down my esophagus.

Office parties are the shit. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. And if they aren’t, then you’re not working in the right one.

Five years ago, I was lucky enough to find the perfect fit in terms of workplaces and people. Then I got fired for making a pass at my boss, and just when I thought I’d never find another Cinderella shoe like that one, I stumbled upon the little diamond called Fairweather Corporation, and while I have no earthly clue what they do or how they do it beyond the paperwork I push, it became an unexpected second home away from home.

So the whole point of this brief walk down memory lane is that there’s no way in hell I can shirk my responsibilities of kissing Mr. Niles Prescott tonight or any night, because at this early stage in my career with this company, I can’t afford not to be a team player. If that means swapping spit with a pasty version of Urkel, then so be it. Bring on the smooches!

Niles stands nervously in front of me, biting a thin lower lip, while our buddies watch on, jeering at us to “do it, do it,” and I know it’s now or never.

I waggle an eyebrow, take a step closer, and Niles takes an audible breath as I reach up to his lofty height and take his gentle face between my hands. “Kiss me like you mean it,” I tell him as I lift onto my toes and bring my mouth to his.
J.C. Valentine is the USA Today and International bestselling author of the Night Calls and Wayward Fighters Series and the Forbidden Trilogy. Her vivid imagination and love of words and romance had her penning her own romance stories from an early age, which, despite being poorly edited and written longhand, she forced friends and family members to read. No, she isn’t sorry.
Living in the Northwest, she has three amazing children and far too many pets. Among the many hats she wears, J.C. is an entrepreneur. Having graduated with honors, she holds a Bachelor’s in English and when she isn’t writing, you can find her editing for fellow authors. 

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Release Tour/Excerpt

Title: Get Revenge
Series: Blood Legion MC #4
Author: Rie Warren
Genre: MC Romance
Release Date: December 16, 2019

 

 

 

He made sure she’d never come looking for him. She vowed to hate him until her dying breath. When they meet again sparks fly, lust ignites . . . danger doubles down.
REVENGE
I’m a bad biker dude with a serious chip on my shoulder. I’m also known for being an ex-con and most likely to be engaged in a spicy threesome with the Doublemint Twins. Everything comes to a screeching halt when a woman I betrayed shows up at Blood Legion MC.
There’s no frickin’ way Arden high and mighty Prioleau belongs anywhere near the Thunder Road Bar. There’s no frigging reason for her to be looking for me. She’s cool, calm, and cultured on the outside, all seething anger and undeniable sexiness on the inside.
Arden is a glorious redhaired vixen with one giant ask—she wants my help to take down a man I’d rather dismember than share a drink with.
ARDEN
Revenge isn’t even his real name, but he doesn’t want anyone else to know who he really is. I guess I can’t blame him. I wish I could change my identity too if only to get away from the maniac destroying my life.
Revenge is the last person on earth I’d ever expect to rely on. He’s my last chance. My final hope. And that isn’t saying all that much considering how we ended.
Now I’m not so sure what I’ve gotten myself into. Revenge is hardened and even hotter than I remembered. He’s a black sheep with a checkered past. A dark horse who’s dirty as sin.
It turns out my knight in shining armor is a leather-clad biker I’ve known most of my life and have spent the past few years hating with a fiery intensity.

 

 

As Gabriel—who now called himself Revenge—greeted folks in a friendly manner, I couldn’t deny he was gorgeous. His lips had always been perfectly masculine, sculpted in a divine way. Even now that he was more hardened, the ruggedness only served to heighten his virile appeal. The tats completed the picture of a confident man, and everything about him was new but familiar at the same time.

He tugged my hand once more, bringing my arm up to curl around his neck as his body began to move. 

Zydeco was usually fast-paced, hard-grinding music. As luck would have it, Gabriel chose to guide me out onto the crowded dance floor to a song that cast a slow burning spell. 

Drawing up to my toes, I whispered at his ear, “You’re a bad influence.”

“Something we can finally agree on.” He chuckled. 

My throat went dry as I followed his lead, letting my fingers slide from his neck to his shoulders to the mountainous bulge of his biceps.

No man had a right moving his hips the way Gabriel did. The lusty rotations conjured up fantasies of hot fiery coupling, pounding the likes of which Barnaby didn’t understand. 

His pounding involved his fists on my body at deliberately aimed places. 

With Gabriel, I let the music take me, knowing I could do nothing wrong enough to anger him in such a way he’d hurt me. 

I leaned my head back, and he grasped me closer around the waist as my breasts brushed against his hard chest. 

When his groin collided with my belly and I reared up at the thick ridge I felt butting against me, his lips hovered near my earlobe. “I think you’re the bad influence, cher.”

I was getting carried away. 

For once, I just went with it. 

The lyrics to this song were more sexual. 

Sensual even. 

The rhythm dripped down into my being like slow-melting ice in a tumbler of whiskey. 

I quickly grew hot as Gabriel twirled me this way and that, always bringing me back to the formidable cradle of his body. 

I wondered if he missed me as much as I missed him—at those darkest, loneliest times of night when I could let my fantasies run free only to startle from them to find I’d been virtually locked inside a house with a madman of my own choosing. 

No.

None of that here. 

Not right now. 

Gabriel’s irises looked like glimmering steel, and his palms scorched the flesh beneath my thin dress when they skimmed from my hips to almost settle on my ass. 

A breath skipped from my chest, the heat I remembered from so long ago swirling to all the places I thought dead—my breasts, my nipples . . . right between my thighs. 

“Damn, Arden.” 

Even his growly timbre did strange, half-remembered things to me. 

I blinked up at him. “What?”

“I need a drink to cool off, babe.” 

The sultriest of laughs left my lips, and I wondered if I’d ever be able to close this Pandora’s box now that I’d opened it again. 

He ordered from the bar as I stood to the side, observing him. 

It was unreal how easily he fit in to any crowd. 

He had always had charisma—shame he hadn’t put it to good use. 

When a very pretty woman approached him—her hips leading the way in a heavy come-on—I stiffened right up. 

Gabriel’s beard parted for a grin, and I nearly curled my nails into talons like a jealous bitch. 

He shook his head with a laugh and sauntered toward me, leaving the woman watching with drool practically running down her chin. 

I forgot about everything as soon as I polished off my drink, and Gabriel took me out on the dance floor again. We laughed, letting it all go just like we used to. 

In this world, nothing could touch us. 

Nothing could tame us or cage us. 

With a break in the music, I drew back to catch my breath and get my bearings. 

Perspiration beaded along the strong cords of Gabriel’s neck, and I fought the urge to lick the salty taste off him.

I fought the urge to walk back into his arms as another song began. 

I knew coming to Jupiter’s had been a foolish move on my part. 

I’d let myself become stupidly infatuated again, but I needed Gabriel for one specific reason.
 
Badass, sassafras Rie Warren is an OG Amazon All Star author of Bad Boy books and MC romance. She delivers five star sex, suspense, and the best banter around. Her stories are one hundred percent original, do not contain fluffy plots or virgin brides, and wring every last emotion from readers to leave them with a satisfied smile. Rie’s tough alpha males are never brought to heel, but are instead healed by the feisty femme fatale of their perfect match.

She grew up in Maine, went to college in Iowa (Iowa, what?), lived in Scotland, and married in Englishman. In true roundabout fashion, they came back to the States, settled in South Carolina’s lowcountry, putting down southern roots and pursuing their arty endeavors. Tale spinner and character diviner, Rie is a lover of sleep, wine, and rude memes often involving either Disney characters or Winnie the Pooh. She is raising two teen daughters along with an entire brain full of unruly characters.
 
Rough-talking alpha men? Rie has that on tap.
Stubborn sassy heroines? You bet.
Smoldering sex scenes that’ll set your Kindle on fire? Check, check, check.
Keep a fan handy, you’ll need it.
 
Follow the signup link below to her romance newsletter for sneak peeks, new releases, first looks, and her quirky sense of humor.
 
And, as always, happy sexy reading to you!

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New Release

Title: Steel Princess
Series: Royal Elite Series #2
Author: Rina Kent
Genre: Dark High School Bully Romance
Release Date: December 12, 2019

 

The princess isn’t supposed to dethrone the king.

Elsa
He said he’ll destroy me, and he did.
I might have lost the battle, but the war is far from over.
They say it starts with one move to dethrone the king.
No one mentioned he’ll yank me with him on the way down.
 
Aiden
If Steel’s little princess wants a war, then war it is.
There’s only one rule: my rules or none at all.
By all means, show me what you got, sweetheart.
 
Steel Princess is book two of Royal Elite Series and should be read after Deviant King. This is a dark high school bully romance, mature new adult, and contains dubious situations that some readers might find offensive.
 
This book is part of a trilogy and is NOT standalone.
 
Royal Elite Series:
#1 Deviant King
#2 Steel Princess
#3 Twisted Kingdom
 
Royal Elite full-length standalone Spin-off:
Cruel King (part of Noble Savages Boxset)

 

Dangerously in love with books – “I think I’m loosing my hair due to all the stress and anxiety Rina Kent is causing me!!! How? Just how do you come up with this morbid sick world you threw us in????!!! You have gone to be a top author in my list.”

 

Ilikebooksbest.com – “This book was every bit as good as I had hoped it would be.”

 

STELLA. – “Rina is clever as the devil! She does an amazing job keeping you captivated from the beginning.”

Rina Kent in an English author who’s constantly parading between France and North Africa due to her studies and her husband’s demanding job.


When she’s not packing suitcases or hopping from one plane to the other, she’s busy whipping her characters to shape.

Since a young age, Rina has been obsessed with storytelling and flawed, edgy characters. Her heroes are often killers and anti-heroes and her books are always sprinkled with darkness, angst, violence, and lots of heat.

Don’t forget to Sign up to Rina Kent’s Newsletter for news about future releases and an exclusive gift.


 
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Submit

New Release/99 Cents!

Title: Rider
Series: Satan’s Fury MC – Memphis Chapter
Author: L. Wilder
Genre: MC Romance
Release Date: December 10, 2019

 

I’d spent years trying to put the past behind me. I wanted to forget the mistakes I’d made, the dreams I’d lost, but they were a part of me. They made me the man I’d become—a brother of Satan’s Fury MC.

 

I wore my cut with pride. It was a constant reminder of how far I’d come and who’d helped me get there. I thought I had my life all figured out when Darcy Harrington, a blast from my past, came walking into the Satan’s Fury garage. 
 
I’d grown up with the strong-willed, foulmouthed beauty and even then wanted to make her mine. But she had her guard up, never letting anyone get too close, including me. 
 
That was about to change. Come hell or high water, I was going to break down her walls and prove I was a man she could trust.
 
I’d learned to fight for what I wanted, and I wanted her.

  
  
Leslie Wilder grew up in a small town in West Tennessee. A country girl at heart, she’s always thought that life is too short, but she had no idea how short it really was until her brother passed away in 2014. She’s always been an avid reader, loving the escape only a great book can give, and wondered if she had what it took to write one of the wild romances she’d come to adore. With the support of her family and friends, she published Inferno: A Devil Chaser’s MC, one year after her brother’s death. With him in mind, she fulfilled her lifetime dream of writing. Since then, she’s completed the Devil Chaser’s Series and continued on with the Satan’s Fury MC Series. She has so many stories in her head, and can’t wait to share each and every one.
Leslie has been blown away by the support of her readers, appreciating every message, review, and encouraging word she’s received over the past year. She looks forward to continuing this journey with them for years to come.
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Submit

New Release/Giveaway/Excerpt

Title: Joy
Series: Hell’s Handlers MC
Author: Lilly Atlas
Genre: MC Romance
Release Date: December 10, 2019
 
Life, death, trauma, healing; the Hell’s Handlers have been through it all over the past year. They’ve conquered old enemies, acquired new ones, and struggled through devastating upheavals. So far, they’ve come out on top, knocking down challenges by focusing on one essential ideal: family above all. With Copper at the helm, the Handlers are a patchwork family of bikers who will fight to the death for what they’ve created. 
 
And after all they’ve survived over the past three hundred and sixty-five days, the Handlers are ready to lay down their weapons, pick up their drinks, and coast through the holidays with nothing but joy in mind. But as often happens with life in an MC, Christmas takes a back seat to club drama.
 
As the year rolls to a close, the men and women of the club will experience new life, new chapters in love, and plenty of new beginnings. But not everything is sparkly and bright as dangerous enemies threaten the tight-knit group of rough and rowdy bikers. Will twenty-nineteen end in tragedy, or will the club once again emerge victorious in time to find a little joy for the holidays?


 

“All right, I think we are pretty much set then, don’t you?” Shell asked as she gazed across the booth at two of the most important women in her life, Toni and Stephanie. As friends, they’d come a long way in the past year or so. At first, Shell hadn’t been thrilled by Stephanie’s involvement with Maverick, at least after it had been revealed the other woman worked for the FBI. Fear for the club, fear for Copper, kept her a little cold initially, but now? After experiencing first-hand Stephanie’s loyalty to both Maverick and the club, Steph considered her a treasured friend.

More than a friend, really. Each of the club’s ol’ ladies had become her chosen family. Sisters of the heart. And one of their sisters was about to add another little one to the next generation of Handlers. Hence the baby shower planning meeting.

“Yeah,” Toni said. She and Shell had become instant friends almost from the moment they’d met when Toni took over the diner she’d inherited from her parents. The diner Shell worked at. “I’ve got the food and drinks covered. Ernesto agreed to cater for us. Holly is on desserts, of course, and she’s going to be running the show, day of. Shell, you and Chloe have decorations covered. Jazz is bringing the mommy-to-be around two, and our dear brave Stephanie here has come up with some games to play.”

Steph rolled her eyes as Toni and Shell snickered. “I’m having a hard time picturing Izzy playing any game that doesn’t involve beating someone bloody, but I’m giving it my best shot. Actually, since her due date was yesterday, I’m really hoping she’ll just go into labor before the shower.”

Izzy was going to make a…interesting mother, to say the least. A kick-ass tattoo artist who also happened to be an underground MMA fighter—though not for the past nine months—Izzy wasn’t exactly the PTA-joining, minivan-driving type. In fact, the pregnancy had been an astounding shock in the first place. Despite her less than maternal ways, Izzy was truly a phenomenal friend and all-around amazing woman. Shell had a feeling boy or girl, Iz was going to raise one incredible kiddo.

“Um, excuse me, Miss Toni?”

All three women turned toward the timid voice coming from the slip of a girl who stood near their booth, staring at the ground.

Toni’s expression softened, and she shifted to face the young teen. Her ratty sweatshirt hung off her small frame, and she wore jeans with torn knees. Not the fashionable kind, the old and worn kind. “Lindsey, what did I tell you about dropping the Miss?”

The girl shrugged her slight shoulders. Hanging in straggly strands down her back, her long auburn hair would be gorgeous if it had a good scrubbing and someone to style it properly.

Shell’s heart squeezed at the sight of the girl. She’d appeared at the diner a few days ago asking for a job. Since she was only thirteen and under the legal working age in Tennessee, Toni’s hands were tied. But of course, Shell’s compassionate friend found a way to help the girl without officially hiring her. She’d given her small jobs, taking out the trash, wiping tables, refilling napkin holders, and after each task had been completed, Toni gave the girl a meal and a little bit of cash.

Shell’s first thought was that the girl was a runaway and the authorities should be contacted. Toni had been reluctant but eventually agreed to call the sheriff’s department. Before they’d had the chance to place that call, Lindsey had sworn up, down, and backward she did not run away from home. She claimed to just be from a poor family and had begged them not to call the police.

Toni seemed to believe that about as much as Shell did, but Lindsey’s insistence on having a home limited their options. Toni hadn’t wanted to call the police regardless of Lindsey’s wishes. If it turned out the girl wasn’t lying, the cops would most likely call in child protective services, which wasn’t always a good thing. They needed more information before they acted, but details about herself were not something Lindsey dished out.

“You all finished with the trash?” Toni asked softly when it became apparent the gun-shy girl wasn’t going to speak again. Due to a rough past of her own, Toni had a soft spot for all troubled teenagers, but this girl seemed to have wormed her way into Toni’s heart more than most.

“Yes, ma’am.” Lindsey still hadn’t glanced up from where her tattered sneaker rubbed at a small scuff on the tiled floor.

“Oh no, ma’am is even worse than miss. Just Toni. Please.”

Lindsey nodded without looking up. She seemed as taken with Toni as Toni was with her, but she shut down when in a group. Or around men. So far, Shell hadn’t seen any signs of physical abuse, but she certainly had the skittish nature of someone who’d been mistreated.

“Well, thank you for coming around again today, Lindsey. You really saved me a lot of time and made it so I could get some other work done.” Toni dug a few bills out of her pocket and held them out.

Finally, Lindsey peeked up at Toni with a small smile on her face and two pink cheeks. “Thank you, ma—uh, Toni,” she said, snatching the money and holding it in a tight fist as though someone might try to snatch it from her at any point. Would they? Was that this poor child’s reality? Clinging to the lifeline of five dollars?

Whatever the reality of her situation, Lindsey seemed to be struggling just to make it through each day. Hopefully, Toni would be able to break through the girl’s wary exterior soon and provide more help than a few hot meals and a couple dollar bills. If she had a family in need of assistance, Toni would most likely move heaven and earth to provide it. If it turned out Lindsey was a runaway, well, Toni would probably let the girl move into the diner.

“Will we see you again tomorrow?”

Back to focusing on the floor, Lindsey nodded.

“Great. And, Lindsey?”

The girl tensed but gave Toni her attention.

“You have my phone number if you need anything, right?”

She nodded.

“Anything. At any time. And I mean that. I hope you’ll use it if you need it.”

“Thank you,” she whispered, then scurried out the front door.

“Gosh, that poor child,” Stephanie said, a hand pressed to her chest.

With a sigh, Toni nodded, her brown eyes following the girl as she darted across the parking lot. “Tell me about it. I’m trying to get some more information out of her, but she’s pretty locked up. She swears she isn’t homeless, but I’m worried. Do you think she’s lying, Shell?”

“I don’t know. Something seems off. Just breaks my heart.” Shell said as she tried to envision how difficult life would have been as a young teen on her own. It’d been hard enough surviving without help in her early twenties.

Across the diner, Shell’s own daughter let out a squeal of laughter as she sent her Barbie doll diving over the edge of a table. Shell couldn’t imagine a future where she’d kick Beth out of the house or one where Beth felt the need to run away. No, that little girl knew just how loved and cherished she was, no matter who she became or what she did. Hopefully, there was someone out there who felt the same about Lindsey, and if not, she had no doubt Toni would work her magic on the girl.

Shell’s lips curled as she watched her child entertain herself. Without thinking, her hand automatically moved to rest on her stomach. Though Beth was conceived in a traumatic manner, she’d been a blessing in ways Shell never could have imagined. And now that they lived with Copper, her daughter finally had the father she’d been denied for the first four years of her life.

Since moving in with Copper near six months ago, Shell—and Beth, for that matter—had never been happier. The man was attentive, affectionate, protective, and sexy as all get out. Shell hadn’t known one woman could have so many orgasms and still function.

Life was great.

Perfect, really.

Well, it had been until yesterday…

“Hello? Shell? Earth to Shell, come in Shell.”

She blinked. Toni’s form morphed into view as she waved her hand in front of Shell’s face. Her face heated. Both Toni and Stephanie were staring at her with expectant gazes from across the booth. “Sorry, uh, what did you say?”

Steph laughed. “Well, we said a lot. First, we asked if you were bringing Beth to the shower. Then when you didn’t answer, we asked if you were listening. When you still didn’t answer, Toni said she saw Copper running around the parking lot naked. When that didn’t even get your attention, we gave up. You good, girl?”

“Sorry, got lost for a second thinking about Lindsey. No, Beth and Copper are going on a daddy-daughter date tomorrow afternoon. I think I heard something about Frozen II and a big tub of popcorn.”

Toni pressed a hand over her heart. “Aw, he’s the cutest. Who the hell would have thought that giant, gruff, beast of a man would be the best daddy in the world?”

Shell smiled. She’d known. Of course, she’d known. How else could she have fallen in love with the man?

“Speaking of daddies,” Stephanie began, which had Toni groaning up at the ceiling.

“Please, if this is some sex story about you calling Mav daddy, just stop now. We don’t want to hear it. There’s not enough bleach in the supply closet to scrub an image like that from my brain.”

Shell giggled as she nodded. “She’s right, Steph. We love you, we love Mav, and we love that you’re all out there with your sex life, but there’s a limit to what our ears can handle.”

Face red, Stephanie tried to scowl, but her mouth couldn’t turn down since she was laughing as well. “That’s not what this is.” She paused, tilting her head. “Though you give me ideas. Anyway, I was just gonna ask who you think will be next?”

“Next?” Shell asked as she glanced over at Beth again. Her daughter still happily played with her dolls while munching on the French fries Toni had made her.

“Yeah, next on the baby train. Next to get knocked up. Next to repopulate the earth.” Steph sipped her coffee.

“Okay, I think we get it,” Toni said as she shook her head. “Well, we all know it’s not gonna be you.” She shot a pointed look in Stephanie’s direction.

“Nope. Not me. I’m uber careful about that shit. Babies scare the tar outta me. They’re all tiny and vulnerable.” She shuddered.

Shell snorted. “They’re actually a lot harder to kill than you’d think.” She shot Steph a wink.

“Well,” Toni said as she waved her hand back and forth. “It’s a dumb question anyway because we all know it’s gonna be you, Shell.”

“What? Me?” she squeaked. “Why do you say that?”

“Uhh, because you’re an awesome mom, you love kids, and you’ve mentioned a few times that you want a sibling for Bethy.”

“Not to mention your ol’ man is an old man,” Steph said as she shoved a ripped off chunk of muffin in her mouth.

“Thanks,” Shell said in a droll tone as her stomach fluttered. This conversation hit a little too close to home.

Toni bumped Steph with her shoulder. “He’s not old, he’s just older than Shell. The man is still sexy AF and probably will be when he’s eighty.”

True. So true.

“Well, we’ll see,” Shell said, pasting a smile on her face. It felt forced, fake.

“Yeah, we’ll see all right,” Steph said with a laugh. “We’ll see you get all big when you grow a monster-sized mini-Copper inside you.”

Despite her unease, Shell managed to chuckle. “We haven’t talked about it much actually. I’m still taking the pill, so…” She shrugged, hating the lies.

But she wasn’t ready to voice the truth.

“You’re crazy. That man can’t wait to knock you up.” Steph shook her head. “I give it until March. If you’re not carrying prez junior by March, I’ll…”

“Ohh, this could be good. You’ll what?” Toni said, turning her interested gaze on Steph.

“Yeah, what are you gonna offer me, Steph?” Shell waggled her eyebrows.

“Well—”

The bell above the entrance jangled. Glancing at her phone, Toni said, “Who is that? Zach isn’t supposed to be here for another forty-five minutes.” She stuck her head out the side of the booth to get a better view of the door then stiffened. “Shit,” she whispered.

“What?” Shell asked.

Across the booth, both Toni and Steph grew rigid and tense. Who the hell could it be? Shell stood slightly and glanced over her shoulder to where three men dressed very similarly to their own men strode into the diner. MC cuts, biker boots, bandanas, chains.

But one very big difference—the Chrome Disciples patch on each of their cuts.
 
  
  
 
 
 
Lilly Atlas is a contemporary romance author, proud Navy wife, and mother of two spunky girls. By day she works as a physical therapist for a hospital in Virginia. Lilly is an avid romance reader, and expects her Kindle to beg for mercy every time she downloads a new eBook. Thankfully, it hasn’t happened yet, and she can often be found absorbed in a good book.

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