Jessica Stone has her life in perfect order until her perfectly boring boyfriend Brett puts things in perspective.  So when she receives a call to action from her heartbroken best friend Cassie, she ditches her plans for Winter Break in gloomy Olympic Falls and sets off to Mexico for some fun in the sun.

Determined to use her oceanview to prep for her MCATS, she doesn't plan to run into anyone from Olympic State, least of all the cute communications prof she's been crushing on for a year.  When he unexpectedly saves the day, the two are thrown together in a distinctly extracurricular activity.

Roman Markson doesn’t expect to run into anyone he knows from Olympic Falls while visiting his family in Puerto Vallerta, especially not a former student. Although Jess Stone has a way of catching men’s attention, a relationship with her is strictly off-limits. However, the rules feel less strict in Mexico, so they agree to a plan: one week in paradise and nothing more.

But avoiding each other back on campus is harder than they anticipated, especially when they can’t stay away from one another. Neither is sure what they have to learn—and lose—before life teaches them a lesson they’ll never forget.

Sophia Bleu Bio:

I'd rather be walking on the beach than watching TV. I'm a hopeless romantic, a fan of kissing scenes, and I'm always hunting for my next book boyfriend. I write YA books by day and books about falling in love by night. That might make me a super hero.




 CATCHING LIAM (GOOD GIRLS DON'T #1) is on sale for 0.99 today (Wednesday, August 14)!*


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 Release Date: 31st March, 2014
Severed Angel (Severed MC #1) by K.T. Fisher & Ava Manello
Published By: KBK Publishing

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Eve could never have imagined that her trip to Australia, where she is set to be maid of honor for her best friend's wedding, could turn from exciting to deadly so quickly.
Her sheltered and boring vanilla life comes to a screeching halt when she arrives in Australia and witnesses a shocking MC murder which puts her life in extreme danger. The Carnal MC are a dangerous and savage motorcycle gang who want Eve and will stop at nothing to seek their revenge.
Just when it seems her nightmare fate is sealed, Eve is rescued by the Severed MC and quickly falls for the club's Vice President Gabe aka "Angel". This could be just the diversion she needs. With her new protectors, Eve faces a whole new life she never could have imagined...
Gabe never wanted an old lady. One look at the beautiful Eve cowering at the hands of the enemy changes all that. Starting a war with the Carnal MC and having Eve in his bed is just the beginning.
When Gabe stakes his claim, he goes all in. War with Carnal MC is just the price of making Eve his, and only his. But love invites blood and tragedy in an MC's life.
Just when it's looking up for his MC and his new woman, a savage attack blows the lid off everything. Revenge possessed and determined can the hot tattooed biker save her from the danger that lies ahead?
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I slowly walk in the direction of the noise. I have no idea why, snooping didn't exactly do me any favors the last time. There are a few more doors down here, one door is slightly open and I can tell it's a pool room. There are three pool tables spread around and I find the reason behind the noise. I've only ever been with one man at a time, in fact I've only ever been with douche-bag, but this girl has three. My brain races with the possibilities of what three men could do to my body.  After reading so many erotica books I’ve certainly fantasized about the things I’ve read, but it’s nothing compared to actually seeing it happen right in front of you.  Where I’m standing is dark, so even if they look up… they won’t be able to see me.  At least I hope not! The woman is naked, legs spread wide and laying on her back on the table.  One man has his head buried between her thighs, another thrusting his cock deep in her mouth at the edge of the table, and the third is licking her nipples from the other side. The sight is highly erotic and I'm immediately turned on. My eyes widen when they stop, flipping the girl over, dragging her down the table so one of the men can sit at its edge with her straddling his lap. The others take their positions, one behind her, the other standing above them all, giving the girl perfect access to his hard cock. Her moan fills the room as the three enter her, bumping and thrusting. I fight my own hands, biting on my lip. I am so turned on right now, I don't know what to do with myself. I think about running back to my room and taking care of myself, but I can't turn my eyes away from the scene acting out in front of me. I catch movement to my side, shocked to see Angel glaring at me. "Like what you see?" I stare wide eyed, I don't know what to say. I'm embarrassed he's caught me watching. He curses, looking back to the foursome.  The girl’s moaning becomes louder and I step back. I'm still turned on, my underwear is soaked, even though I'm ashamed at being caught watching. Angel looks at me, snickering before storming into the room. What the fuck is he doing?  photo 2

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KTK.T Fisher

I love reading, it's my favourite hobby. I've always had ideas for my own books packed into my head so I thought I would write them out for people to enjoy Stalk K.T. Fisher Facebook: Twitter: KTFisher_Author Goodreads: Severed MC Australia

Ava ImageAva Manello

Passionate reader, blogger, publisher, and author. I love nothing more tag helping other Indie authors publish their books be that reviewing, beta reading, formatting or proofreading, I love erotic suspense that's well written and engages the reader, and I love promoting the heck out of it over on my book blog. I'm married, a mother, but most of all I'm me! Stalk Ava Manello Facebook:  Twitter: @AvaManello Goodreads: Website:

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We're giving away one $10 Amazon GIft Card and one $5 Amazon Gift Card.  2 runners up will receive signed Severed Angel postcards. a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Lily is moving forward after her break up with Alfie. Her journey continues through some extremely emotional times during key events, as she becomes more self- assured and begins to develop as an performing artist. It isn't easy for Lily to forget Alfie because of circumstances in Alfie's life. However, Lily is tortured by constant reminders of their time together, and this does little for her resolve to move on.  Although, Lily has made her choice, it is also tinged with sadness. Her love for Alfie remains strong, and she fights a constant internal battle, between loving him and loving her music. Lily thinks it's impossible to have both. A fabulous opportunity arises for Lily, but there is a possibility of this bringing her face to face with Alfie again. Can Lily cope with the emotional turmoil this would bring her? Or, is the risk of seeing Alfie something she feels able to manage now?

Musically, Lily concentrates her efforts much more, which brings success, post Alfie. Through this, she finds friends in some of the most unlikely of circumstances. All of her friends continue to protect her, and are all well aware of the impact Lily's relationship with Alfie has had on her. All apart from Elle, who gives Lily food for thought. Although, Lily's mind is still plagued with memories of Alfie; which continue to impact on her to such an extent, Lily has been unable to form new romantic ties. Professionally, her relationships couldn't be better. She is offered some amazing opportunities rarely available, and is determined to do make the most of them. This is especially important to her, given the sacrifices she has made in the past to do this. Will Lily's music be enough for her, and prove to be everything she ever wanted?
I have lived my whole life with comments from both, relative strangers and close friends telling me I should write a book. People continually tell me I have an ability to tell a story and make even the mundane sound interesting. (I’m personally not aware of that.)

The thought of doing this, was something I never thought I would entertain, because being dyslexic, during my childhood and adolescence, I found it very difficult to get past how to spell something, never mind how coherent the sentence sounded. So writing a few paragraphs usually made me sweat.

As a child I discovered coping strategies and developed my own ways of getting by, I wasn’t stupid by any stretch of the imagination, but left school at fifteen without any academic qualifications. I wasn't diagnosed with dyslexia until I attended university at the age of thirty. 

(Both of my children were diagnosed with dyslexia, one at the age of seven and one much later, although, I could see my traits present in him, and both have excelled academically in their chosen professions.

Thanks to the invention of the computer and information technology, my world changed. I learned how to communicate in written form effectively, not afraid to use language present in my oral skills that were lacking in my written work, for fear of spelling them wrongly, which gave me the confidence to write the books. Had I, had to write a book on paper, I know I would never have finished the first page.

I recently discovered the joy of writing after a challenge by a friend, which turned into three books. As I am constantly challenging others to face their demons, I decided, after some persuasion, to brave it out and share the books with others. I don’t have any expectations for them other than to tell the story.

This was a huge step for me, and took courage because there are so many fabulous clever people out there, writing amazing pieces of work that sadly, very few people ever see. 

My work:  I have had the pleasure (and the drama) of working in The National Health Service and in an independent capacity for Social Services in the UK for many years. My work has been supporting many women, children, young people, and families during this time. Sometimes, this has been at some of the toughest or most vulnerable times in their lives. 

During this time I have observed the communications of all parties involved both, in their relationships with others and how their decisions affect the subsequent outcomes for them and others. I have shared in the births and in the deaths of some of these people, and I never take advantage of the privilege my position brings me.

People ask what does the K.L. stand for K.L. Shandwick is a pseudonym. This isn’t to ‘hide’ behind, (I am not ashamed of what I’ve written), but to afford my clients the appropriate level of confidentiality by association. So, K L stands for KL. I am an independent author, who presently self publishes through kindle, but I hope to have a print copy of my books shortly.




Throttle Me by Chelle Bliss Men of Inked Series Book #1 Available Today!

Throttle Me Purchase Links:
Amazon: Amazon UK: Amazon CA: Amazon AU: B&N: iTunes:

Suzy’s a control freak and has her life mapped out - work hard, find a man with a stable job, and live happily ever after. She’s content with the status quo, but her plan comes to a screeching halt when he enters her life and turns it upside down. City gave up on love when his heart was crushed in college, preferring to be the typical bachelor. He spends his nights hopping from one bed to another and his days working at his family tattoo shop, Inked. A chance encounter on a dark road makes him question what he had sworn off forever – a relationship. A night of passion and lust causes them to question everything. Is City the knight in shining armor to the damsel in distress? Can their relationship survive when a fantasy falls apart and a secret comes out that changes everything?


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Cover Reveal: Bender by Stacy Borel

Bender Cover
All Keegan wanted was a roommate who was quiet, minded their own business, and paid for part of the rent. Instead, she got Camden Brooks.
Camden, with his sinful body, sharp tongue, and the inability to stay out of Keegan’s personal business, couldn’t seem to curb his interest in the new girl who wouldn’t put up with his domineering ways.
Feelings were running rampant, sexual tension was thick, and both were struggling to let go of control.
To some people, getting a roommate simply meant living with another person. But to both Camden and Keegan it was a curveball that neither was prepared to swing at.
Standing up I began pacing. This was going too far. I could handle nice gestures, but coming into my room, and giving me things that I didn’t ask for was taking it too far. I wanted it out. I wanted it all out.
Marching downstairs, I was a girl on a mission. When I reached the bottom step, Camden turned around to look at me. Sure enough, there was that smug, satisfied little grin. I bet he was expecting a thank you for his diluted sense of generosity. Oh boy, was he in for a treat. I smiled back at him, but I had a feeling it didn’t look quite right. I was certain I had a crazed look in my eyes, and at this point, I didn’t care. My crazy was about to be hanging out all over the place. Now where in the hell was what it? My eyes drifted to the corner of the dining room. Up against the wall was the Louisville Slugger, just what I was looking for. I casually walked over to it and picked it up. I knew Camden’s eyes were tracking me. The grin on his mouth had slipped and now he just looked confused. I held the bat in my hand, testing its weight and deciphering my next move.
“What are you doing?” Cam asked.
I looked up at him, sending daggers at him through my eyes. “Practicing my swing.”
His confusion deepened. When I saw his eyebrows raise, I knew realization hit him. “Now Keegan, don’t go doing something you’re going to regret.”
The laugh that came from my mouth was pure evil. It sounded bizarre, even to me. “Oh Camden, I’m not going to regret this. I’m going to enjoy it very much.” With that I turned on my heels raced up the stairs. But not before heard him say “shit” and hurdle the couch coming after me.
I made it up to my room before he did. I took a brief moment to breathe in through my nose and back out through my mouth. I was centering myself for my grand swing. Standing before the beautiful bed he had no business buying me, I brought the bat up high and was about to bring it down as hard as I could, when it stopped mid air. Twisting my head around, I locked eyes with wild deep brown ones.
“Don’t you dare.” He growled, inches from my face.
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Stacy Borel currently resides in southeast Texas with her husband and two kids. She grew up as a military brat and has lived everywhere from California, Alaska, Azores Portugal, and Hawaii. She loves traveling and seeing new places, so being a military spouse is perfect for her. Stacy enjoys the adventure of moving every 2-4yrs. It's refreshing to experience a new place.
Stacy is a self proclaimed reading addict and Facebook addict. If she's not doing one of those two things, she can be found writing, or playing with her kids. Some of her hobbies are listening to new music, going fishing, being active outdoors, and she always loves spending time with her out of state family.
Stacy discovered Indie Authors in early 2012 after reading Fifty Shades of Grey, and there began her passionate love affair with books. She always wrote stories and journals growing up, but she decided in December 2012 to really dip her toes in the water with a romance novel. She now has three full length novels under her belt, and a whole new series for the 2014 year.
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Cover Reveal: A Forever Love by Kelly Elliot



The moment Garrett Mathews sees the woman of his dreams, he vows to fight with everything he has to win Emma Birk’s heart. Garrett will embark on the longest, hardest struggle of his life to make his dreams a reality.

Emma Birk has every intention of focusing on her last year of high school with no interruptions—until she lays eyes on the one person who will end up turning her whole world upside down. Emma attempts to avoid the feelings she quickly develops for Garrett, only to start slowly giving in to his endless pursuit of her.

As life throws twists and turns at Garrett and Emma, their commitment to each other is tested as they determine if they have a forever love.

Author Bio:

Kelly is married to a wonderful Texas cowboy who has a knack for making her laugh almost daily and supports her crazy ideas and dreams for some unknown reason...he claims it's because he loves her!

She’s also a mom to an amazing daughter who is constantly asking for something to eat while her fingers move like mad on her cell phone sending out what is sure to be another very important text message.

In her spare time she loves to sit in her small corner overlooking the Texas hill country and write.

One of her favorite things to do is go for hikes around her property with Gus....her chocolate lab and the other man in her life, and Rose, her golden retriever. When Kelly is not outside helping the hubby haul brush, move rocks or whatever fun chore he has in store for her that day, you’ll find her inside reading, writing or watching HGTV.

Stay connected with Kelly Elliott:

Twitter: @author_kelly

The Wanted Series:

Wanted (Book #1) è

Saved (Book #2) è

Faithful (Book #3) è

Believe (Novella) è

Cherished (Book #4) è

A Forever Love (Prequel- Grams and Gramps' story) – Releases May 6, 2014



With Me Ebook
What happens when you take a chance one night … make a decision that will change your life forever?
Kasey Wilson, the girl next door, had a crush on the boy next door … Joseph Mitchell was that boy.
Kasey was left with the consequences of her decision when Joseph left her behind, leaving for the Marine Corps. She never thought she would see Joseph again, leaving her to continue on with her life, moving forward.
But fate has a way of intervening …
Joseph Mitchell always lived with the regret of walking away that night, never to see Kasey again. Finally ready to settle down, he’s now engaged to someone else. But when he finds Kasey again, he learns of a secret she’s been keeping, a secret that will change both their lives forever.
Can they finally have the relationship they never had? Or will Joseph be forced to walk away again?
Kasey POV
I’m standing amongst a crowd of people waiting, as I am. The minutes have turned into an hour, but in reality feel as if they are seconds slowly ticking by. I keep silently asking myself how much longer do we have to wait? It’s agonizing.
“Mommy, how much longer do we have to wait?” Josephina anxiously asks, looking impatient as I feel.
Forcing a smile on my face, I tell her, “Not much longer, sweetheart,” hoping I’m not lying. Time continues to trickle by and within minutes I’m growing frustrated. I hear someone announce the bus has been delayed, but the wait will soon end as they are nearing and it should only be another couple of minutes. I’m not the only one smiling wide as we take in the news as Josephina begins to excitedly hop up and down.
Although I’m as excited as she is, I’m more anxious for the wait to be over. The months of separation have been harder than I had expected and all I want is to hold Joseph again.
Within minutes we all see the buses pulling up in the distance and my heart quickens a beat, my vision becoming cloudy from the tears of excitement. Josephina tugs me forward as she pushes us ahead with the crowd, trying to get as close as possible to the line they’ve designated for us to stay behind.
The buses finally come to a stop and one by one the Marines step off as they rush to their families. My eyes are frantically moving back and forth between the entrances of the two buses searching for Joseph. Wives, girlfriends, moms, children, continue to all run to their loved ones. Hugs and kisses are exchanged, but I’m still looking for him. The fear of not finding him is growing stronger by the minute.
“Mommy, I don’t see daddy,” Josephina cries, my tears now matching hers as I continue whipping my head in every direction looking for his familiar face. But, I can’t find it. It makes it harder that the Marines all blend together due to their uniform, the camouflaged brown become one amongst the crowd, but I’m determined not to give up. I need to find him. I’ve waited long enough.
The minutes continue to slowly pass by as I take notice that the final soldier has stepped off the bus and Joseph is still nowhere in sight. My heart plummets into the depths of my stomach.
I can feel Josephina nervously tugging at my arm, requesting we move to search amongst the crowd. I stay rooted to my spot, hoping if I stay in one place, he’ll find me, just like he found me that day in the crowd of people. The day I never expected to see him again.
Everyone is slowly beginning to leave. The hundreds of people that were once waiting are trickling down to only a handful. It’s then the panic sets in as I continue to search, still not finding him.
I grab onto the arm of the first high-ranking officer I see. “I’m sorry sir, but will there be another bus coming soon?” I nervously ask.
He’s confusedly looking back at me and I don’t know if it’s from my question or because I look like a train wreck at this point. The perfectly applied make-up I had put on this morning is probably a mess, but that’s a result of standing out in the heat and crying for the last thirty minutes. “I’m sorry ma’am, but no,” he apologetically replies. “Were you expecting someone today?”
“My husband,” I choke out around the tears lodged in my throat. It’s at that moment I hear the wail of the baby awakening, forcing me to focus my attention on comforting him. My tears can’t help but to continue to fall along with Josephina’s, who is at my side silently crying with me.
The officer is staring at all of us looking just as heartbroken. “Which platoon was he with?” he asks. Without hesitating, I blurt it out, praying he has some information. “That platoon was on the bus, are you sure he wasn’t there?”
“We’re sure. My daddy didn’t come to us,” Josephina answers.
The officer gives me a quick short nod before walking away, leaving us there to miserably wait. He returns minutes later looking disappointed. “I’m sorry ma’am, there were a couple of soldiers forced to stay behind. He may have been one of them.”
“Are they coming later?”
With a sad shake of his head, he explains, “No ma’am, unfortunately not for another couple of months. I’m sorry.”
Shocked, I take in his words, silently allowing my heart to shatter as I force myself to comfort a heartbroken Josephina. When I finally find the strength to walk again, I slowly begin to take the steps needed to move us to the parking lot where I parked my car. We’ve only taken a couple steps before I hear the rotors of a helicopter above us. It’s normal for them to fly by being that it’s an airbase, so I think nothing of it as I continue walking my family to the car. It surprises me when it comes closer and closer to the tarmac I’m standing on.
Curiously I watch as it lands in the far off distance. We watch as the door of the helicopter opens and a single Marine climbs out. I should be turning around to walk away, but my heart is telling me to stay. I feel my heart practically stop when he begins running towards us. “Daddy!” I hear Josephina sequel before she yanks her hand from mine, already running towards the Marine. “Josephina, come back here!” I yell to her, already running after her with the baby in my arms thinking she’s lost her mind. There is no way this Marine can be Joseph, but I watch him scoop down to pick up Josephina and continue to run in my direction before taking the baby and me next.
The feeling of him in my arms is unreal. Without waiting I kiss him, the feeling of his lips has haunted my dreams every night since the day he left. I kiss him, robbing us both of our breath, and when we finally pull away, my lips feel swollen, and my chest is rising and falling trying to take in air. “I thought you weren’t coming,” I cry to him through my sobs. “They told me you may have had to stay back.”
“Even if they tried to keep me away I would still come back to you,” he declares with a smile, making me cry some more.
“I had to stay behind to do something and got delayed. I had my buddy give me a ride,” he says, nodding his head at the helicopter behind us. “Did you really think I wouldn’t come back?” he asks with a chuckle.
I can only nod my head as I’m rendered speechless that I have him standing in front of me. “I would have moved heaven and earth to get back to you,” he declares, and from his expression I know he truly means it.
Smiling up to him, I tell him, “I love you,” meaning it from the bottom of my heart, feeling like the luckiest girl in the world because my family is whole again.
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About The Author
Gabbie DuranGabbie is a Southern California native, who currently lives in Washington with her wonderful husband, two amazing kids and a senior citizen kitty. When she’s not writing you can find her reading or sneaking off for a run. Some might say it’s a crazy life, but she wouldn’t change anything about it.
1.      I don’t have my own personal paperback to any of my stories. I only have a proof and they’re referred to as, my “Story Bible”. If I don’t recall a certain detail or want a quote from that particular story, I refer to its “bible”.
2.      I’m slightly addicted to Sugar Free Red Bull’s, although I’m immune to their effect
3.      I can only drink my Red Bull’s with a bendy straw. I’m very accident-prone; they help prevent an unnecessary spill on my clothing.
4.      I prefer a plastic spoon to a metal one, but only the spoons.
5.      I like to eat my cereal in a large coffee cup.
6.      I have a thing for the number one, especially 11 & 21, which are my favorite.
7.      I prefer to use the name of people I know for my main characters.
8.      I’ve driven through 16 of the 50 continental states and I may be adding to that list soon.
9.      I love the flavor Green Apple. I will practically eat or drink anything with that flavor.
10.  I prefer chucks over flip-flops, hoodies over dressing up, and my hair is usually in a braid most days.

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Warning: Don't read this book if you hate f**ked up alpha males, strong female leads, hot sex, and a kismet love story six years in the making. Oh yeah and a plot twist that will leave you reeling.

NFL quarterback, Zolt Hamil was America’s heartthrob until a career ending injury changed his life. Years later, he’s picked up the pieces and carved out a new path for himself. But the mental and physical scars of that day have left him moody and reclusive, and his only relief is indulging in pleasure and pain with his many one night stands. Though many women have tried, Zolt refuses to care about any of them. Only one woman has his heart; a hallucination of a young, sable-eyed, blonde beauty whom he conjured that painful day on the football field.

On the first day at his new job at a law firm in Scottsdale, Arizona, Zolt comes face to face with his hallucination, Irelyn Wilkes. Their fateful connection, and explosive passion for each other pulls them together, and this time, Zolt refuses to let her slip from his life.

But Irelyn has her own demons to fight and her controlling boyfriend is one of them. He doesn't take kindly to other people playing with his toys, and he’ll stop at nothing to keep her by his side.

Can Irelyn and Zolt defy the odds and find a way to be together? Or, will the events set in motion years ago keep them apart forever?

Chapter #1

I ran my hand along her naked arm as I moved toward the bindings that had her securely fastened to my wrought iron, four-poster bed. She’d been tethered there for over thirty minutes, and now that the sex was over, I imagined her arms and legs were probably beginning to ache as the adrenaline left her body.
Miss No-Name Brunette rubbed her arms and legs after I released her. I didn’t need or want to know her name. I’d never see her again so what was the point.
She watched me gather my clothes; her eyes roaming appreciatively over my body.
“So, John, when can I see you again? You’re amazing.” She licked her plump lips as her eyes traveled over my naked body, stopping when she noticed the nasty scars on my left shin. Small gray eyes darted to mine, and I saw the pity setting in. Pity was a deal breaker for me.
“We can’t,” I said and threw her clothes on the bed.
“Why?” Her bottom lip jutted out in disappointment. “Didn’t you enjoy yourself? You seemed to be having a great time.”
“It was fine, uh—”
“Nancy. My name is Nancy.”
I shrugged. “Right. Nancy. I don’t do repeat performances. Ever.”
“Don’t take it personally. It’s just the way things are.”
Her eyes narrowed, and she scowled at me. Then, she climbed off the bed and pulled on her clothes. “I don’t understand. Are you married or something?”
“Nope. Not married or anything else that concerns you. I’m just not interested. Tonight was great. Really. I enjoyed the shit out of myself. Fucking you was exactly what I needed. Thanks.”
“How am I supposed to get home? I left my car at the club,” she whined.
“There’s a cab waiting to take you anywhere you want. I’ve already paid the fare.” I shrugged again. This was the bothersome part of operating this way. They always wanted to see me again, and my answer was always no.
“I should have known when you wouldn’t kiss me there was something wrong with you. I bet your name isn’t even John. Do you even live here?” Whatever-her-name yanked on her shoes, and then stood with her arms crossed over her chest.
“No, I don’t live here. And, darlin’, my name is whatever you want it to be.”
“Come on, now. We both had fun.” I flashed her my megawatt smile. “I’m pretty sure you came at least three times. It’s all good, and now, it’s all over.”
I walked to her side and gently took her arm, guiding her to the door.
“But I let you restrain me!” She stamped her foot as I opened the front door.
“You did and wasn’t it fun? Maybe you can find a man that will be as adventurous. Now, off you go, Sally. Bye, bye.”
“Nancy!” she shouted as I closed the door on her. I could still hear grumbling as she walked away.
 “Ugh.” Leaning against the door, I let out a long sigh. It would be a while before I could go back to that club. Too bad it ended the same every time. But I understood why. Women saw me as a catch. I knew I was attractive. It wasn’t conceit, either. It was a fact of life that all men of the Hamil family were hot.
My first year in the NFL, I was on the cover of Sports Illustrated as the Sexiest Man in Football. That cover, and the other endorsements I had, made me a nice amount of cash, so I was totally good with being an object of desire. Since they didn’t really know me, they didn’t know that I was nowhere as attractive on the inside.
I went back to the bedroom, washed and put the toys away, locking the drawer. Then, I stripped the bed, piling the sheets on the floor for the maid service to take care of.
I left, not knowing when I'd come back. Could be the following day. Could be two weeks from now. But tonight, I’d been out of fucking control—chomping at the bit to blow off some steam. In fact, I still hummed with energy.
My shadow-self pressed in on me for days. When I got like this, only one thing helped: acting out. So, I’d gone to the club in search of the first remotely available Nancy, Sally, or whoever, that didn’t revolt me. Nancy had been an easy mark. I hadn’t been there ten minutes before I’d bought her a drink, and we were out the door, heading to the apartment I kept specifically for this purpose. I was always happy when I found a woman willing to dabble in a little bondage. I wasn’t heavily into the BDSM scene, but knew how to wield pain for the ultimate pleasure.
If I stopped and thought about it, I’d be forced to acknowledged just how screwed up my life had become. So I didn't. I didn't think about all the nameless women I had fucked in the last six years, and how I hadn't been in a relationship since the injury. These exchanges served a purpose. Beyond that? Well, there was nothing beyond that.
But that didn’t mean I had become so jaded I’d forgotten how to get a woman off. I enjoyed women. Loved the soft curves of their body, and loved making them come. There was nothing hotter than watching a woman writhe and squirm as I fucked her closer to orgasm. The sound of her screaming what she thought was my name was music to my ears, but that was as far as it went.
The reality was, I was a mess, and I didn't want that advertised.
Actually, I was far worse than just a mess; I was fucking broken.
Sometimes, I wondered if I was even capable of having a normal relationship. Truth was, I waited for someone that didn't exist. A woman my pain-wracked brain conjured that day on the football field. To make matters worse, she wasn’t even of age. She was a young woman, maybe fifteen or sixteen, with the most beautiful sable-brown eyes and blonde hair I’d ever seen. Her face was sweet, kind, and compassion filled. I realized how creepy this sounds. I wasn't a sick fuck who preyed on young girls, and I had no idea why my mind created her. But all I knew was, if I ever discovered she was real, I’d do anything to have her.
I rubbed my aching leg, and then climbed into my Viper. God, I loved this car. She was all power and beauty, and driving her made me happy. I revved the engine and closed my eyes, loving the purr, and sometimes roar of her V10.
Once on route 101, I opened her up, pushing her past the century mark on the speedometer. It was crazy to be weaving in and out of traffic on the main freeway. I was asking to be pulled over, but again, I didn't care. In fact, I pressed her harder and watched as the needle climbed to 110. The concentration it took to control this machine exhilarated me. Still wound up and looking to banish my shadow-self the only way I knew how, I pushed her just a little more. Why fucking for over an hour didn’t do the trick, I had no idea. But if I didn’t burn this energy off before I got home, sleep would be out of reach. It wouldn’t do to start a new job at one of the country’s most prestigious law firms red-eyed and tired. Once home, I intended to take a long, hot shower, and then smoke a few bowls. Hopefully, I’d emerge tired enough to sleep. For a while, maybe I’d find peace until the nightmare returned that plunged me into my own personal hell.
A hell that I was used to. A hell that only she brought me out of.
The morning announced itself in its usual fashion. I jolted awake screaming, and drenched in sweat—the images as clear as the day they happened.
“Fuck!” I yelled to the empty room.
Pushing myself back against the headboard, I rubbed my leg, trying to make the pain go away. The image of her lovely face and those amazing sable-brown eyes chased the nightmare away, but my body still buzzed with the memories.
I looked over at the bong and lighter on my bedside table and sighed. Just once, I wished I didn’t have to numb myself to start the day.
Before giving in, I ran my hand over my damp collar-length hair, removing the waves sticking to my moist neck. I used to keep it short for this very reason, but I liked the way it looked longer.
As I always did, I picked up the bong and lit the bowl with the lighter. The glow of the burning weed, and the sound of the bong gurgling as I took a hit immediately calmed me. I inhaled deep and held the smoke in my burning lungs.
My long exhale sent a plume of smoke into the dawn-lit room. It floated for a second before dissipating, leaving behind the tangy smell of burning weed.
With my eyes closed, I slowed my heart rate and rapid breathing. The high kicked in, and I already felt the calm take over. I hated being so weak, and hated that what happened almost six years ago continued to affect and define my days. I used to be the epitome of discipline. Not anymore.
If I could let go of the self-blame, then maybe the dreams would abate. But night after night, I replayed the game and its never changing end.
At twenty-two, I had been one of the hottest quarterbacks in the NFL, playing for the Arizona Cardinals. The year prior, we’d made it to the NFC Championships, losing by a field goal.
The next year, we were back in the same position, with the golden ticket to the Super Bowl within our reach. The only thing standing in our way was the Philadelphia Eagles. I snarled as I thought about that team. I always snarled at the thought of them.
Two minutes remained on the clock, and we were on the ten-yard line on third down. I dropped into the pocket, searching the field for an open receiver. I danced this way and that as if my movements might slow the clock. With no receiver available, I sucked in a breath and decided to go for it. What I should have done was thrown it out of bounds and stopped the clock. That would have been the smart move—the safe move. We had one more chance. I had to make it happen. The year had to end in a run for the Super Bowl.
Running like a man on fire with the ball cradled against me as if I carried a newborn baby, I headed for the end zone. But I wasn't a running back, that wasn't what I had been trained for. Stupidly, I ran with my head down instead of up. As a result, I didn’t see the three-hundred pound linebacker heading my way. I was the man with the ball, and I had left the protection of my offensive line, which made me fair game.
The next thing I knew, I was laid out on the ground in extreme pain. When I looked down at my left leg, I was surprised—and not—to see it angled in an unnatural position. I knew then that I was well and truly fucked.
I tried to scream, but my voice failed me. Pain and the smell of the turf below me was all there was.
The hit was dirty, straight up. Later, I found out a bounty of $5,000 had been issued for any player that took out one of my knees. I hoped he got a bonus because he’d gone above and beyond his mandate. Not only did I miss a season, my football career was over. Instead of taking out my knee, his helmet, and the power behind it, he hit my shin and shattered my tibia and fibula.
I remembered lying on the ground as the trainers and medical staff attended me. Chaos had broken out around me. Players fought, and coaches and referees argued.
I needed to find peace from the commotion; needed to concentrate on something other than the excruciating pain coming from my leg. I turned my head and found a pair of big, sable-brown eyes, surrounded by golden-blonde hair, staring at me. She was beyond beautiful, and her eyes were mesmerizing. I had conjured an angel.
In my hallucination, we shared an instant connection. When all around I saw pity and remorse, in her eyes, I found solace and compassion—a kindred soul to my loss. The need to help, and her inability not to, showed in the tears falling down her face, and the trembling of her full red lips. My heart still clenched whenever I thought about it.
As conjurings go, I had created a whopper. When I thought back on it, I knew there was no way she could be real. The average person wouldn’t have been allowed to get so close to an injured player on the field. Hell, my girlfriend, who’d been sitting in the stands, wasn’t allowed on the field. It still baffled the shit out of me that my mind had created such a vivid image.
I could still see her brushing tears from her eyes in my hallucination, and I remember her taking a small step forward. I wanted her to come closer, to touch me. That was where the hallucination ended, stopped by a new streak of pain that had traveled through my leg, sending me into momentary blackness. When I opened my eyes, my blonde-haired beauty with soul-filled eyes had disappeared. All I had left was the image of her that pulled me from my terror every morning. I figured she’d probably be around twenty or twenty-one by now if she were real. I’d admit, that even today, I looked for those eyes in every blonde I encountered.
Pathetic. Yeah. Too fucking pathetic.
I sighed and took two more hits off the bong. Maybe one too many, but at least now I felt more balanced, controlled, and ready to start the day.
What the world saw now was a man who graduated from Harvard Law School, summa cum laude, and worked for almost three years at a top law firm in Boston. Some of the country's top law firms had courted me, and I had my pick of firms. But I decided to come back to Arizona, the place where my life changed forever.
Gingerly, I climbed out of the bed and headed for the pool. I didn’t bother putting on swim trunks; swimming naked was awesome. After a few stretches, I dove into the pool and swam laps for an hour. Swimming kept me in shape, though not the shape of an NFL football player. Those days were gone.
Finishing my laps, I headed for the shower, feeling excited, like something huge would happen today. The last time I had this feeling, something huge happened all right. I looked at my leg and scowled as sudsy water washed over my angry scars.
I dried off and walked into my closet, surveying the suits I had to choose from. I was somewhat of a clotheshorse—always had been. Today, I picked a black Hugo Boss suit, white shirt, and black, silk tie. In the mirror before me, I watched a professional, seemingly together man tie his tie. It was a lie of course, but one I was used to.
Once dressed, I went to the kitchen and packed up a brownie in a plastic bag to take with me. I'd gotten good at baking brownies. But these weren't just any chocolaty treats. These had a kick. Cliché I know, but hey, whatever got me through the day. Whether I’d partake in it depended on how the day went. Obviously, smoking at work wasn’t a good idea. But every now and then, the pain became unbearable. If a handful of ibuprofen didn’t do the trick, the brownie would. I refused to take pain meds. Those things did a number on my brain.
I put the brownies away, and all the paraphernalia of my coping mechanism, and locked them in a cabinet in the pantry. I didn't need Hannah, my housekeeper, finding them. She probably wouldn't care, but I did.
Thinking of Hannah made me laugh. I'd only met her twice, but we had developed an odd, sometimes hilarious, texting relationship. I really liked her. Her cooking was amazing, and she kept my home perfect.
Her work was about to increase, and I was thrilled. My brother was bringing my dog, Ben, home to me. He had been with Brody in Colorado for the last two months while I got settled. I couldn't wait to see both of them. Thinking about it made me giddy. I knew Ben would love it here. There was plenty of room for him to run. Bernese Mountain dogs needed lots of exercise. I almost didn’t get him because of that. Now, I couldn’t imagine my life without him. He got my ass outside and stopped me from being such a hermit. If I thought about the fact that my best friend was a dog, I would get bummed. But then again, fuck it! I loved my dog, and I had missed him terribly.
I doled out my handful of vitamins and four ibuprofen into my hand, and then popped them into my mouth. From the fridge, I pulled out a bottle of OJ, taking large swigs from the bottle.
Let the day begin, I thought as I walked down the hall to the door. The sound of my designer shoes on the travertine floors reminded me of the sound of cleats on concrete. It made me smile, but the memory was bittersweet, and I pushed it aside. Behind bittersweet was pure malice, an emotion I couldn't allow myself. Not today.
Grabbing the keys to my Viper, I headed out the door.
Watch out Arizona, Zolt Hamil was back.

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