Hopefully I'm posting this on Tuesday. I'm traveling and have prewritten several posts and made arrangements to schedule, but you just never know. If I'm off by a day one way or another, kindly forgive and check back as you can through the summer because I will try to post often if not predictably.
If you tuned in last week, you know this series is from my 2in1 collection wit HarlequinE, a digital first publisher, meaning print copies may happen in the future, but right now it's only available electronically.
And when I say, "right now" I might be lying. The book releases August 4th, but I've been posting that it's available from Mills and Boon now. A friend in Australia, however, had to pre-order so it might be that I'm reading things wrong and this link only allows you to pre-order.
You can definitely only pre-order from Amazon.com until it releases in North America on August 4th.
Here's a quick roundup of the rest of my summer excerpts:
- Book Blurbs - for all five of my summer titles
- #SampleSunday - An Heir To Bind Them - Six consecutive excerpts from my June Harlequin Presents. Post includes links to the previous five.
- #SampleSunday - The Ultimate Seduction - all excerpts from my August Harlequin Presents.
- #Thursday13 - The Secret In Room 823 (part of Mills & Boon's The Chatsfield series).
- #TeaserTuesday - Mastering Her Role - from the first book in this Erotic 2in1 Collection. Includes links to previous.
If you missed the first one from this book, the opening scene is here, where Ann spies on a couple 'doing it.'
- #TeaserTuesday - Mastering Her Role - the second book in this Erotic 2in1 Collection.
~ * ~
Ann’s stomach plummeted into her knees. She dropped her gaze and fumbled her glasses onto her face. The lenses were greased by her clammy grip and caught, refusing to slide against the spackle of her face powder. She left them smudged and crooked.
Did she recognize her? Ann had made only the briefest of appearances downstairs when the guests had first arrived. Since then she’d been sidling into alcoves and stairwells, not comfortable being the focus of interest after so many years of being locked away and ignored. She definitely had not wanted to be noticed climbing the back stairs to this room.
“Quelle surprise,” Eloisa said in a facetious undertone.
Ann didn’t dare look into her eyes. People who were angry were cruel. You didn’t provoke them by being defiant.
A noise at the door lifted her startled gaze, but the bi-fold doors unexpectedly blocked her vision as they were thrown back into their rails. Enclosed in darkness once again, she had the barest sliver to view who entered the room.
Oh. Porter Navarro.
Her heart took a further tumbling drop to somewhere in the foyer two stories below. This would be bad. Now her stepfather would find out. If Porter backed out of marrying her, Cain would kill her. Literally. He’d told her so.
Her entire body quivered with an urge to flee, but as usual, she was trapped.
Porter said nothing as he stared at Eloisa.
She placed insolent hands on her hips and tossed her wild curls with bravado.
Ann hadn’t done anything so bold when introduced to him. She’d been too terrified, too conscious she was being sold to a man who looked more wicked and dangerous than her stepfather—which was saying something.
Thankfully, he hadn’t bothered to let his dark gaze linger on her the way he did with Eloisa. If he had, she hadn’t seen it while she’d stared at his shoes. How did Eloisa stand his scrutiny? He was intimidating, tall and ropey with muscle.
And yet, as Ann stole her first opportunity to study him without being observed, the sexy slithery feeling in her abdomen returned. He was even more good looking in person than in the photos she’d looked up online.
His father was Spanish, but Porter had been born in South America, which leant warm Latin swarthiness to his skin. His brows weren’t too heavy, but they were intense over smoky gray eyes. He wore a precision thin moustache with an equally ruthless narrow line of hair that started below his bottom lip and ran into a curving anchor that followed the edge of his strong jaw.
His mother was French, which accounted for the sensual lips, she supposed, but he was more worldly than that, having grown up around the globe as his father expanded the family oil interests. His accent had held a British boarding school clip. His clothes were tailored either here or Milan because his tuxedo fit his flawless build to perfection.
Everything about his appearance was excruciatingly perfect, from his shiny black hair swooped to the left to his polished black shoes. Even his companions, women of various ethnicities who’d been photographed by online gossip sites sprawled upon him in barely there bikinis, were utterly flawless.
But when Ann had looked past his brutal handsomeness and money and power, and read ‘Sexual Adventurer’, ‘Master of Kink,’ and ‘Lady Killer’, taking her chances with defying Cain and making a run for it looked like the safer option.
Not that she had much say in the matter now. She curled her sweaty palms into fists, holding her breath, waiting for Eloisa to expose her. Waiting for Porter to speak.
They only confronted each other in silence.
Eloisa softened her posture first. She moved toward him with a swish of her hips.
“Mon bijou, this evening is full of the unexpected.” She sounded amused.
Ann dug her teeth into her lip so hard she expected to taste blood. Her nerves frayed as she felt the noose drawn a fraction tighter. A damp chill sat on her skin.
“I certainly wasn’t expecting to see you here.” He glanced toward the closet where Ann was hiding. “Find anything interesting in there?”
“Only your fiancée.”
Ann’s inner being drained from her eyebrows to her ankles in a sucking plunge.
“Is that where she got to?” Porter asked with disinterest, implying he thought she was joking. “People have been asking.”
Ann’s throat locked around a burst of hysterical amusement. Her stomach flip flopped and all she could do was stand there motionless, waiting for Eloisa to release the blade on the guillotine.
“They want to see what kind of woman could leash the infamous Porter Navarro. From the brief glimpse I had, she seems intriguing.” Eloisa slid a familiar hand over Porter’s arm, lifting onto her tiptoes to attempt a kiss on his cheek. Her gaze cut sideways toward the closet from the corner of her swooped lashes. It was a teasing acknowledgment of Ann’s presence.
Before the kiss landed, Porter set a firm hand on her collarbone and pressed her to flat feet. “What are you doing here, Eloisa?”
“Ever the dominant.” She tsked as he brushed her hand from his belt buckle. “I just told you. Like everyone else, I wanted a look at this paragon you’re planning to marry. Is she really a virgin?”
“According to Cain. Given how plain she is, I can’t imagine any man would touch her without other incentives.”
As Eloisa tittered, indignant heat crept into Ann’s cheeks. She didn’t know where it came from. Having witnessed how her stepfather had treated her mother, she had little interest in catching men’s attention. In fact, she’d spent the last nine years ensuring Cain found her less than interesting. Repulsive. Raina had helped her disguise the fact she’d grown into the body that had only been starting to blossom when her mother had been killed.
Ann couldn’t peel back the layers at this point and reveal that, actually, she wasn’t half bad. Not with Cain watching her every second, determined to get rid of her and her mother’s oil company in one ruthlessly lucrative stroke of his pen.
Still, it bothered her to know Porter thought she was unattractive. She feared it meant he’d be callous at best, harsh and vicious as her stepfather at his worst. That closed a door on her. Part of her had wondered if this marriage could be a turn of fortune, but apparently not..
~ * ~
More next week, mon bijou.
Now, Goodreads will only let me do giveaways for print books, but I've decided that I'll draw for some copies of this book if you send me a photo of my books on vacation. It can be an older book and it can be print or a screenshot from your e-reader, but please include some background like the beach or wherever you're reading it. When I've collected ten or so, I'll draw for a few free books. Tell me which one you'd like to win when you send me your snapshot.
And please enter the Dani Collins Masked Desires Contest! Purchase of my erotic romance collection, or my August Presents, The Ultimate Seduction, counts as ten entries for one of these fabulous prizes.
Read the rules for the Dani Collins Masked Desires Contest then enter here:
I have a few blog stops to promote both the Erotic Collection and The Ultimate Seduction. Check in for giveaways:
- July 11 - Romance Beckons
- July 14 - Harlequin Blog Giveaway
- July #TemptationThursday - Caribbean Accent Book Reviews
- July 31 - The Reading Cafe
In other news, my novella, The Secret In Room 823, is available in the UK. Here's a little blog post I wrote about my 'stay' in The Chatsfield.
These other fine retailers have my books too:
Please check back for #Thursday13. I'm going to set up a post for another 13 lines from The Secret In Room 823 right now.