Friday, October 30, 2015

Book Tour: The Fall Up By


I wanted to jump.

He made me fall.

As a celebrity, I lived in the public eye, but somewhere along the way, I’d lost myself in the spotlight.

Until he found me.

Sam Rivers was a gorgeous, tattooed stranger who saved my life with nothing more than a simple conversation.

But we were both standing on that bridge for a reason the night we met. The secrets of our pasts brought us together—and then tore us apart.

Could we find a reason to hold on as life constantly pulled us down?

Or maybe there’s only one direction to go when two people fall in love at rock bottom—up.

Maybe there’s only one direction to go when two people fall

in love at rock bottom—up.

It is an amazing thing when you can connect not only with a book, but with a character on a personal level.  I have shared some of my personal life in my reviews before and I am not ashamed that I have.  Sometimes seeing another person going through a situation can help another person.  Am I saying my reviews are life changing?  No I am not, but what I am saying is that sometimes you need that little bit of hope, that you aren’t alone, that someone can connect with you on a level that some of the people closest to you can’t. 

The Fall Up is one of the best books I have read this year.  I connected with this book because like Levee I have anxiety and depression.  Right before I started to type this review I got a phone call, I won’t say what it was about but I had been anxious all week, to the point of panic attacks and physically getting sick.  When the phone call came in it made all the anxiety intensify by one hundred and even as I write this I am fighting from letting my world, in my mind at least, just totally fall apart.  I have been where Levee was at and it is a scary place to be.  I have my own Sam, my husband who when I am down reminds me that the only way left to go is up. 

Levee and Sam heal each other.  Both are on that bridge for different reasons but they form a connection.  It is what they did with that connection that healed them both.  It wasn’t easy, hell if it was easy then I wouldn’t have loved this book like I do.  Life isn’t easy.  Life with a person with mental illness, whatever that illness may be, is harder.  It is the people like Sam who want to help and reach out that are the real heroes in life.


I understand this review was more of a personal nature and I apologize if that is something you didn’t appreciate.  This book hit home with me and I don’t know if I could do the book justice if I didn’t feel that connection and share with you why I have it.  I do want to say this.  There is no shame in asking for help, there is no shame in having anxiety or depression, and there is no shame in feeling like you r world is ending.  There is shame if people turn their backs on those silent cries for help, there is shame for those you judge others because they do not understand, and there is shame in ever not helping when someone does ask.  The Fall Up will stay in my heart not only for the connection I share but because it is beautifully written, emotional and reminds us to remember even the richest person or the funniest person could be hiding their pain from everyone.

NOW AVAILABLE!



“Thank fuck!” Sam said, swinging the door open before Devon even had the car in park.

“Oh, this isn’t my place. We’re just dropping Devon off. I’m about twenty minutes across town?” I tossed him a sugary smile then boldly shifted my hand into his lap, purposely brushing the bulge under his denim.

Grabbing my wrist, he narrowed his eyes and called out, “Devon, I’m gonna need to borrow a bedroom.”
I burst out laughing as Devon cursed loudly.

“Fine. This is my place. No smoking inside though,” I snipped as I climbed from the SUV.

“You better have some seriously exciting extracurricular activities to keep me distracted, then.”

“I have Ping-Pong!”

“Not exactly what I was thinking.” He mischievously cocked his head. “But I guess paddles and balls are as good a start as any.” Dipping down, he hoisted me over his shoulder. “Point me to the Ping-Pong table, my lady.”

I didn’t. I laughed hysterically as he carried me inside. Then I directed him to my bedroom instead.

I heard Devon locking up the house as Sam deposited me on the bed.

“Jesus. This view.” He pushed the curtains back. “Why the hell would you ever go up to the bridge when you have this here?”
“I don’t know,” I answered, pulling my earrings off and placing them on my nightstand.

Oh, but I knew. It might not have been what had originally sent me up that bridge, but it was why my feet carried me back every night. And that very reason was currently standing in front of me with entirely too much clothing on.

“You want a beer?” I asked, sliding my shoes off.

“Nah, I’m good.” He faced me, and I could tell something was off with his demeanor. He didn’t inch any closer. Instead, his lips were tight and his eyes uncomfortably flashed around the room.

It suddenly didn’t feel like Sam standing in front of me at all.

He felt like a stranger who had just come face-to-face with Levee Williams.

Damn it.
“Why are you looking at me like that? Are you about to freak out?” I whispered, nervously moistening my lips.

He shoved his hands into his pockets. “I’m not really sure yet. But I’m gonna need you to stop licking your lips long enough for me to figure it out.” His mouth cracked into a wide grin, and my shoulders relaxed.
Now that was a flash of my Sam.

“Want to tell me what’s going on?” I asked.

“It’s just… I think this is the first time I’ve realized that you’re some big-time celebrity. I might be in over my head here, Designer Shoes.”

“I just make music, Sam.” I returned his smile and very slowly prowled in his direction. “Imagine how I feel though. You’re Samuel Nathan Rivers. A tough, tattooed furniture designer who makes six figures a year but is too afraid to tell his mommy he votes democratic.” I giggled as he frowned humorously. Stopping in front of him, I dragged a fingernail down his chest then teased the waistband of his jeans. “Have you considered that maybe I’m the one who’s in over her head here?” I leaned forward to nip at his lips, but he spun us around.
“Excellent point. I’m going to need you to try really hard to keep it together, Levee. You haven’t even seen my six-pack and huge cock, yet.” He smirked and attempted to return my nip, but I stepped out of his reach.

“You brought beer and chicken?” I feigned excitement.

That one corny joke was all it took to bring my Sam back completely.

With a sexy smile and a coy shrug, he seductively backed me toward the bed. “What can I say? I like to be prepared.”

“Clearly,” I breathed.

He moved in close so his lips were only a centimeter away, but for as much as I wanted him, it was agonizing. “Clearly,” he repeated, his smoky yet sweet breath breezing across my mouth.

His strong arm looped around my waist, tugging me against his chest, while I stared into his hooded eyes, eagerly waiting for him to make a move.

Any move.

Every move.


Born and raised in Savannah, Georgia, Aly Martinez is a stay-at-home mom to four crazy kids under the age of five, including a set of twins. Currently living in South Carolina, she passes what little free time she has reading anything and everything she can get her hands on, preferably with a glass of wine at her side.
After some encouragement from her friends, Aly decided to add “Author” to her ever-growing list of job titles. Five books later, she shows no signs of slowing. So grab a glass of Chardonnay, or a bottle if you’re hanging out with Aly, and join her aboard the crazy train she calls life.





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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Book Tour: Dirty English By Ilsa Madden-Mills


 A scarred fighter.
A girl with rules.
One night of unbridled passion.

There are three things you need to know about Elizabeth Bennett: she’s smart as a whip, always in control, and lives by a set of carefully crafted rules. She’s learned the hard way that people you love the most always hurt you in the end.

But then she meets Declan Blay, the new neighbor at her apartment complex.

A tattooed British street fighter, he’s the campus bad boy she’s supposed to avoid, but when he saves her from a frat party gone bad, all her rules about sex and love fly out the window.

She gives him one night of unbridled passion, but he longs for more.

With only a cardboard-thin wall separating their bedrooms, he dreams of possessing the vulnerable girl next door forever.

One night. Two damaged hearts. The passion of a lifetime.
Dirty English, I can say with a certainty, is one of my favorite books this year.  I hate to even admit the following two things but the first one is I didn’t read my ARC right away, I waited, and I have no good reason why I did, and the second is that until I read Dirty English I hadn’t read anything by this author before.  I plan to rectify that in the immediate future. 

Dirty English has a broken heroine who went through something that no woman should ever go through.  It has not only molded her love life but it almost took her life as well.  Elizabeth doesn’t want a relationship, but the closer she gets with Declan, the more she fights with herself over her “rules”.  Declan is one hot sexy piece of British sexiness. He’s an MMA fighter and the sexiest man on campus and he wants Elizabeth for his own.

I loved that even though the chemistry between them is explosive from the start, they don’t jump into a relationship right away.  Both have their own dramas that they are dealing with, both can push the other away, but yet they still come back together. Dirty English has angst, drama, pain, healing, love and friendship.  It is also sexy, hot and made me want to find a Brit of my own. 

I have a final confession to make.  I have never read Pride And Prejudice, but after reading Dirty English and the little glimpses throughout the book it looks like I need to check this classic out for myself.  I am not sure if this will be turned into a series or if the author plans on keeping it a standalone, but if she does do a series I can’t wait to see who would be next.  
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★★ PURCHASE Dirty English Today!★★

**Dirty English is a modern love story inspired by Pride and Prejudice**


Come to my apartment and spend the night with me.” I touched his face, my fingers stroking the softness of his sensuous lips. “Just one night and we can make this shitty world disappear.”
He exhaled. “A one-night stand?”
“Yeah.”
He cupped my chin. “Someone hurt you, didn’t they?”
My lips tightened. No one at Whitman knew about Colby except for Shelley and Blake, and I sure as hell wasn’t telling him. He’d judge me like everyone else had in Petal, North Carolina. “That’s none of your business.”
“I see.” His eyes searched mine until I felt like a bug under a microscope. “What if I wanted more than just one night?”
“Then your hands can let go of my hips now.”
He removed his hands slowly, the tips of his fingers grazing mine. “This may surprise you, but I don’t sleep with every girl I kiss.”
I’d been rejected. Again. “Blake said you got around, that you used—”
“And you believed him?” His voice was incredulous. “Dude is in love with you and he saw exactly how we looked at each other tonight—”
Looked at each other? What are you talking about? You refused to dance with me and then you ran off with your girlfriend. Not to mention I just kissed you and you didn’t even care.” I threw my hands up.
“I wanted to fuck you the minute you walked in that party,” he snapped.
“Then why don’t you,” I bit out, tossing back my shoulders.
“You think you want me?” he said tightly. “You can’t handle me, Elizabeth. I can see it in your eyes. You’re scared of something, maybe not me, but something.”
My eyes went to his black eye.
He let out a harsh laugh. “Ah, that’s what you’re afraid of. You want the real truth? You told me tonight you didn’t like violence, but I’m an arsehole who uses his fists. That’s who I am.”
“What do you mean?”
His gaze was intense, dark and low, his face struggling as he fought to find the right words. “I’m in a fight club for money. I show up at warehouses and fight other blokes. Sometimes I beat them so bad they need medical attention. A few times, I’ve been beat to unconsciousness. I’m everything you need to stay away from.”
I inhaled, anger and lust and excitement all riding me. Anger that he was pushing me away, lust for the alpha male in him, and God help me, the fighting thing repelled me and excited me at the same time. “I don’t want to stay away from you. I want you to fuck me and stop making excuses for why you can’t.”
My words seemed to snap his taut restraint.
He pulled me back in his arms, his lips fusing with mine unerringly. His tongue plundered me in a sensual way my body had craved for years. I wrapped my arms around his neck, my anger morphing into all-out desire as he turned us and pressed me against the wall.
Yes, yes, this is what I craved.
A passion to remind me that I was real, not just some sad excuse of a girl who chose to exist on scraps of love.
Before I knew it, he’d shoved my robe off, his hands sculpting my shoulders, massaging them as he ravaged my mouth. I reveled in the warmth of his hand on my neck as his mouth skated down, kissing the hollows of my throat, sucking on my collarbone.
“Like this?” he asked, his voice dark and gravelly. “You want me to take you up against this wall?”
“Yes,” I moaned. Gone. Past caring as long as he kept his hands on me.
Out of control, my brain whispered, but I beat back the dark warnings as his warm hand found my breast and squeezed, his fingers rolling my nipple between his thumb and forefinger.
I gasped in pleasure and arched my back to get closer to his body, ignoring the fear that pricked at the surface.
The rules girl in my head stamped her foot and yelled at me. I ignored her.
But even if I wanted to stop right now, I couldn’t. My tongue tangled wildly with his, my hands pulled at his hair, spurring him on, his hand palming my breast and then tugging. Sharp sensations of need went straight to my core.
“Is this what you want? Something quick where we just take what we want and forget each other the next day?”
No. Not that. Not like the way he said it, like it was something dirty.
“Yes, like that,” I whispered against his shoulder, my mouth on his skin, tasting him as my teeth bit down.
About the author:
New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Ilsa Madden-Mills writes about strong heroines and sexy alpha males that sometimes you just want to slap.

She's addicted to all things fantasy, including unicorns and sword-wielding heroes in books. Other fascinations include frothy coffee beverages, dark chocolate, Instagram, Ian Somerhalder (seriously hot), astronomy (she's a Gemini), Sephora make-up, and tattoos.

She has a degree in English and a Master's in Education.

When she's not pecking away on her computer, she shops for cool magnets, paints old furniture, and eats her weight in sushi.


SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

You can stalk her on her website as well as get signed books: http://www.ilsamaddenmills.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorilsamaddenmills?pnref=lhc

IG: https://instagram.com/ilsamaddenmills/

Twitter: @ilsamaddenmills


Ilsa Madden-Mills’ other books:

VERY BAD THINGS

VERY WICKED BEGINNINGS
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1K5NvX8

VERY WICKED THINGS

VERY TWISTED THINGS



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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Pre-Order & Giveaway: Steele Brothers series by Jennifer Probst

SB_Preorder

Today we are sharing the pre-order links and a giveaway for Jennifer Probst and her Steele Brothers series. This series includes the titles Catch Me, Play Me, Dare Me, and a brand new book to the series, Beg Me! Check out the details below for all the re-release dates. The first book releases next Tuesday!




Rick Steele has avoided relationships since he caught his fiancĂ©e cheating, but when his friend refers him to the exclusive agency, FANTA-C to experience the night of his dreams, he's not prepared for his emotional and physical reaction to his date. Tara shows him a raw passion and honesty he’s never encountered. For the first time, Rick wants more than one night, but he needs to catch her first... Tara Denton escaped a brutal past and needs one night with a stranger to get beyond her sexual and emotional limitations. On the brink of recovering her strength and independence, she wants nothing to do with a relationship. But Rick Steele does more than rock her body…he rocks her heart. Tara has to make a choice, but is she ready to get caught?

Re-releasing October 27th

 


Professional gambler Sloane Keller is tired of dating weak willed men and longs to meet a man who challenges her dominant personality and forces her to submit. As the Queen of Cards, she’s used to making her own rules and craves the excitement of Vegas. But her inner heart cries out for someone who can be her match, both inside the casino and in the bedroom. As the new dealer in town, Roman Steele is burnt out on women looking for a quick penny and a man to follow. He craves a woman with fire in her soul and a keen intellect who can challenge him. When his brother recommends the exclusive agency, FANTA-C to give him one perfect night, Rome is amazed at the complicated woman who challenges both his body and soul. But when the evening is over, will she be gutsy enough to offer him forever?

Re-releasing November 3rd

 



As a military leader back from the war, and the youngest of his two dominant older brothers, Rafe Steele struggles with a secret. He craves surrender in the bedroom under the controlled hands of a Dominatrix. When his brothers offer him an experience through the exclusive agency, FANTA-C, he jumps at the chance to experience one perfect night. After one experiment, he’s sure he’ll be able to move on. But he never counted on Summer Preston to strip down his walls and make him want more so much more... An elementary school teacher with a girl next door, fresh face, Summer is constantly barraged by men who want to take care of her, but she longs to meet a strong man who can handle her dominant ways in the bedroom. Trapped in her own storybook life, she books a one-night stand to finally experience her fantasy. But she never counted on Rafe Steele to push her boundaries in both the bedroom...and her heart.

Re-releasing November 10th


 


Remington Steele comes to Vegas to be with his brothers and try to get over the one woman he's never been able to forget. As childhood sweethearts, she hadn't been able to handle his Dominant tendencies, choosing to run away without a good-bye. But when he's suddenly face to face with Cara Winters, all grown up and finally ready to be his, Remington needs to make his own choice. To leave the past behind forever, or forgive and be with the woman he's always loved? Cara wasn't ready to be the type of woman Remington needed in his life, so she disappeared and broke his heart. But she's changed, and is ready to embrace the woman she always craved to be. She begs him to take her for one night, and Remington finally agrees. Will they get a second chance at love, or are the scars from their past too deep to heal?

Brand New Release - Coming November 17th


SB_WEEKS

PRE-ORDER NOW!

CATCH ME (Steele Brothers series, #1)

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo

 

PLAY ME (Steele Brothers series, #2)

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo

 

DARE ME (Steele Brothers series, #3)

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo

 

BEG ME (Steele Brothers series, #4)

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo




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AUTHOR INFORMATION:

Jennifer Probst

Jennifer Probst - Bio: Jennifer Probst wrote her first book at twelve years old. She bound it in a folder, read it to her classmates, and hasn’t stopped writing since. She took a short hiatus to get married, get pregnant, buy a house, get pregnant again, pursue a master’s in English Literature, and rescue two shelter dogs. Now she is writing again.

She makes her home in Upstate New York with the whole crew. Her sons keep her active, stressed, joyous, and sad her house will never be truly clean. She is the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of sexy and erotic contemporary romance. She was thrilled her book, The Marriage Bargain, was ranked #6 on Amazon's Best Books for 2012. She loves hearing from readers. Visit her website for updates on new releases and her street team at www.jenniferprobst.com.

AUTHOR LINKS:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Excerpt Reveal: The Fall Up By Aly Martinez


RELEASE DATE: October 26th
I wanted to jump.
He made me fall.

As a celebrity, I lived in the public eye, but somewhere along the way, I’d lost myself in the spotlight. 

Until he found me.

Sam Rivers was a gorgeous, tattooed stranger who saved my life with nothing more than a simple conversation.

But we were both standing on that bridge for a reason the night we met. The secrets of our pasts brought us together—and then tore us apart.

Could we find a reason to hold on as life constantly pulled us down?

Or maybe there’s only one direction to go when two people fall in love at rock bottom—up.


Levee
It was raining. Isn’t that the way all great love stories start? And also usually end? The midnight air was cool against my skin as I stared off that bridge. My blond wig was secured in place by a headband, and chunky sunglasses covered my whiskey-colored eyes. I didn’t look like myself any more than I felt it. Bruises from the night before painted my legs while fresh scabs covered my knees, but it was the hollowness in my chest that hurt the most.
 Yep. Still me.
Which was exactly why I was standing on that bridge, wishing for the mental fortitude to hurl myself off.
A man’s voice interrupted my thoughts. “You finally gonna do it tonight?”
I instinctually smoothed my fake hair down and pressed the bridge of my glasses closer to my face, sealing out any possible glance he could catch. I stared ahead as I snapped, “Excuse me?”
“I’ve seen you here three nights in a row now. I was just wondering if tonight was going to be the night you finally jump.”
My eyes flashed wide, but since they were covered by the dark glasses, my reaction remained hidden. “I just like the view. That’s all.” What a load of shit.
I watched him nod out of the corner of my eye. “Yeah me too. It’s gorgeous up here.”
Shuffling my feet to the side, I attempted to slip away as he pulled a pack of cigarettes from his pocket and offered it my way.
“You want one?”
I shook my head and then crept down a few inches to put distance between us.
“Suit yourself.” He used a hand to shield the lighter from the wind, but the constant sprinkle of rain made his task impossible. “Damn it,” he cursed with the cigarette tucked between his lips. “Little help?” he asked, swinging his gaze to mine.
Arching an eyebrow, I asked, “With what?”
“It’s raining…and windy…and I’m trying to burn one.” He tilted his head, equally as incredulous.
“You want me to call God? We had a bad breakup recently, but he might be willing to do me one last favor.”
He breathed an exaggerated sigh of relief. “That would be fantastic. What’s the big guy’s response time like these days? Last time we spoke, it was”—he paused to look at his watch—“oh, twenty-seven years.”
A soft laugh bubbled from my throat, and one side of his mouth lifted in a gorgeous grin.
“I’m not exactly in the mood to wait that long, so maybe you could just block the wind with your body?” His smile spread as he stepped toward me, forcing my gaze to nervously bounce away.
“Sorry. Can’t help you there. Lung cancer and I broke up too.” After gathering the back of my wig into a ponytail, I pulled it over my shoulder and turned away from him. The chill of the wind blasted my face and roared over my ears as it rushed past me.
I went back to staring out at the dark, choppy water, becoming lost in the idea of how cold it might be.
Is tonight the night?
No.
My feet would more than likely never leave the edge of that bridge, but there was a definite reason why I was imagining ending it all. Exactly zero other people in the world would understand why. I had it all, and I dreamed about losing it all—more often than I would ever admit, even to myself.
After stepping out of my heels, I slipped my foot between the bars on the railing. The wind slammed my bruised leg against the metal. “Shit,” I hissed as pain shot through me.
“You think that hurts? Imagine falling twenty-five stories then crashing into the water, which might as well be concrete, at speeds upward of seventy miles per hour,” the man said, leaning on the metal railing next to me.
“Wow. Someone’s done some research,” I said sarcastically, barely sparing him a glance.
“Daily,” he responded frankly, causing my surprised gaze to swing to his. Simply shrugging at my reaction, he turned his back to the railing and propped himself up on his colorfully tattooed forearms. “You forget I’ve been here the last three nights in a row too.” He smirked, lifting the cigarette up to his lips for a deep inhale.
 “Listen, I’m not going to jump if you’re some kind of caped crusader on a mission. I just needed some fresh air.” I pointedly glanced at his cigarette.
A laugh escaped his mouth in a grey puff. “Fresh air is overrated. Especially given the reason you’re standing here.” He knowingly arched a dark-brown eyebrow.
“Riiiiight,” I drawled, rolling my eyes behind my glasses. “Okay, well, I was just heading out anyway.”
“Then my work here is done.” He bowed, and the corner of my mouth lifted in a smile as I stepped back into my shoes and walked away.
I shook my head at the random stranger. Then, a thought struck me, stopping me only a few feet away. Spinning back to face him, I asked, “Wait. Were you reaching out to me as a cry for help?”
“Oh look. Designer Shoes has a conscience!” He dropped his cigarette to the damp ground, stepping on it with the toe of his well-worn, black boots. Bending over, he picked the butt up and tucked it in his pocket.
At least he didn’t litter.
“Oh look. Tattooed Stalker has jokes!” I smarted back.
He smiled, pulling another cigarette from his pocket and then pausing just before guiding it between his lips. “Were you judging me based on my tattoos? I’m offended.” He feigned anguish then laughed while lifting his lighter to once again battle the wind for a nicotine fix.
I wanted to walk away, but he wasn’t wrong. I did have a conscience, and right then, I was worried that it might really be his night to make good on his apparent numerous visits to the bridge.
With a huff, I headed back towards him, praying that I could wrap it up as quickly as possible then head back to my house for a few hours of sleep. Or, more likely, lie awake while staring at the ceiling and crying.
“Are you planning to jump for real?” I asked.
His smile fell as he focused on the water. “Nah. I don’t have the balls to do something like that. Talking to you wasn’t a plea for help or anything. You just look worse than usual tonight.” His gaze slid down to my battered legs.
“Oh!” I exclaimed in understanding. “That’s not at all what you’re thinking. I fell down some stairs.”
He quirked his lips in disbelief.
“I’m serious!”
“I’m sure you are,” he told the wind. “You can go. I’m good.”
I could have walked away, but for some reason, I pulled my jacket tighter around my shoulders and silently stood there while he finished his cigarette.
After a final deep inhale, he flicked it over the railing of the bridge.
Apparently, he does litter.
Turning to me, his face became serious. “You need to call the cops before he makes the decision to end it all for you.”
“Who?” I asked, watching the burning ember hit the metal column then explode in a million different sparks before disappearing down to the water below.
Lucky cigarette.
 “The stairs…and whatever inanimate object you’re blaming for those bruises you’re hiding behind sunglasses at one in the morning. You should call the cops before…” His voice trailed off, but his dark gaze narrowed on mine. His eyes bored into my hidden stare, combining with the rain and wind to send chills down my spine.
I took the moment to secretly assess him. He was insanely sexy, but nothing like the men I was accustomed to. His chin was the kind of scruffy that made women weak, but it was obvious he didn’t pay four hundred dollars for his personal hairstylist to shape it. Judging by his shaggy, brown hair that begged for me to thread my fingers in it, I wasn’t sure he was even a barbershop kind of guy. He stood a few inches taller than I was in heels, so I pegged him at around six one. And while his tattooed forearms were deliciously sculpted and his shoulders were notably defined, his body didn’t appear to be swollen with muscles from hours spent at the gym. By the aura of bad boy he gave off, I would have expected him to be a self-consumed, arrogant prick.
He wasn’t though.
He was just an average guy worrying about the well-being of an average girl.
Only he couldn’t have been more wrong, and a pang of guilt hit me hard.
Just not hard enough for me to do anything to correct his assumptions about who I was.
Very softly, I attempted to put his fears to rest. “I promise it’s not what you’re thinking.”
“Okay,” he responded, unconvinced. He nodded to himself before dragging another cigarette from his pocket.
I watched him struggle for a second before I scooted towards him, using my body to block the wind.
Biting the cigarette between his straight, white teeth, he smiled devilishly around it. “Thanks.” Flicking the flame to life, he hunched over until a stream of smoke swirled up from the red tip.
“You should stop smoking.”
“Noted.” He exhaled through his nose.
We went back to silently staring over the side of the bridge. The familiar lights of the San Francisco skyline danced all around us. And, even as tourists and locals alike passed by us, I felt an odd, and unbelievably comfortable, isolation standing there with him.
When my teeth began to chatter, his attention was drawn my way. “I’m not here to jump. You really can go.”
I nodded but didn’t move away.
He chuckled, crossing his arms over his chest and rubbing his biceps for warmth.
“How are you not frozen?” I asked, taking in his thin Henley for the first time since we met.
Shrugging, he dropped his cigarette, answering as he bent to retrieve it. “Thick skin? I’m used to it? I come here a lot? I’m half Eskimo?”
I eyed him suspiciously. “You’re cold, aren’t you?”
“Fucking. Freezing,” he admitted, tucking his arms close to his body and blowing into his hands. “I just came up here for one smoke. Then I saw you. Now, come on. Be a lady and loan a man a jacket,” he joked, tugging on the edge of my coat.
I laughed, hugging it even tighter around my body and stepping out of his reach. “How about we both just leave? Then neither of us have to worry about the other plummeting to their death.”
“Sounds like an amazing plan.” He shoved his hands into the pockets of the tattered jeans riding low on his hips. As we began the hike back down to the foot of the bridge, he asked, “You have a name, Designer Shoes?”
I smiled and shook my head, not willing to lie—or divulge the truth.
“Yeah. Me either,” he replied.
I bit my bottom lip to suppress a laugh.
Side by side, we trudged the rest of the way in silence.
When we got to the foot of the bridge, he turned to face me and sighed. “Well, I genuinely hope I never see you again.”
My head snapped back in shock, and maybe a little hurt.
But he quickly corrected himself. “No! I just mean… Shit.” He ran a nervous hand through his hair while I watched, amused. “I just mean, given the way we met… I…um. I hope you never have a reason to go back up there.”
I teasingly tipped my head to the side. “But I really like the view.”
He cleared his throat. “Right. Of course, the view. Okay, well, have a good night.”
“You too.” I smiled tightly, but my feet didn’t budge. I told myself that it was because I didn’t want him to see my car or the bodyguard waiting for me behind the wheel. But, in reality, I just wasn’t ready to leave. Home wasn’t where I wanted to be. I didn’t actually want to be anywhere.
Not even standing at the foot of a bridge, talking to a witty and sexy man.
Okay, maybe I wanted that a little bit.
 “Yep. Have a good night,” he repeated, shoving his hands inside his pockets and slowly backing away.
I gave him a quick wave, which he returned before he jogged in the other direction.
I smiled to myself, shaking my head at the entire interaction—secretly lamenting that it hadn’t been longer.


Born and raised in Savannah, Georgia, Aly Martinez is a stay-at-home mom to four crazy kids under the age of five, including a set of twins. Currently living in South Carolina, she passes what little free time she has reading anything and everything she can get her hands on, preferably with a glass of wine at her side.
After some encouragement from her friends, Aly decided to add “Author” to her ever-growing list of job titles. Five books later, she shows no signs of slowing. So grab a glass of Chardonnay, or a bottle if you’re hanging out with Aly, and join her aboard the crazy train she calls life.


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