Divas of Desire

Meet The Divas

Meet The Divas & Their Books

Monday, March 30, 2015

Heroines in Control! March 30 @ngwngroup #FBparty #win

Hi everyone and happy Monday!

Nona here just sharing some fun news--the Nice Girls Writing Naughty author/reader group will be having a party! The theme is Heroines in Control and features awesome, kickass heroines of all kinds, from Cookie Lyon (the Empire heroine) to Jane Eyre. I'll be there, too, talking about my fave heroine, Wonder Woman! She was a feminist before the word became popular and was all about women taking control of their own lives while helping make the world a better place.

The fun takes place tonight (March 30) from 5:00 to 11:00 pm EST on Facebook. The lovely Angel Payne will be our hostess with the mostest and will offer a $100 GC from Gyft.com to one lucky winner. There are plenty of other prizes, too! 

Check out the fabulous line up of authors:

Angel Payne (Hostess, intro and wrap-up)

Zoey Derrick

Nona Raines

Ella Sheridan

Darah Lace

Hildie McQueen

Dakota Trace

Leela Lou Dahlin

Nese Lane

Lara Archer

Taige Crenshaw

Make sure to join us for all the fun! 


Have a wonderful week, everyone!

Book Tour: Of Love and Vengeance @LouiseLyndon1 #historical #giveaway #GoddessFish

**Louise will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour! Please scroll down for the form.**

Hi all, I have Louise Lyndon on the blog today. Since I am a very nosy person, I was curious about her interest in historical romance and books/authors that may have influenced her. What follows is her response. Welcome, Louse!

I have to hold my hand up and confess I haven’t read many works of fiction set in the medieval period. I know, that goes against the first thing you’re told when learning the craft of writing – read the genre you’re interested in, and when you feel you’ve read enough, read some more! But, I wanted to come into the genre with fresh eyes. But, that is not to say authors have not influenced me.

I find a lot of my ideas while reading history books, or articles online. And yes, even Wikipedia! A line or two may get my creative juices flowing. For example, when I started ‘roughly plotting’ – I am a panster not a plotter – my current work in progress, I read an article about King Henry I, and how his brother William Rufus was ‘accidently’ killed on a hunting trip therefor paving the way for Henry to become King.

My mind immediately started thinking about the person who ‘accidentally’ shot William Rufus. Were they against William Rufus becoming king? Did Henry pay a hit man? Or was there a third party who was engineering just who should rule England? And if so, who was this third party? And it goes on from there.

I love the internet because it has made research so much easier and quicker and you can do it from the comfort of your lounge room. Best of all, you can do it in your pajamas! But, there is nothing like picking up an actual book and skimming its pages. I have a few ‘go to’ books that have been influential on my writing. The first few may surprise you…

Anything by Terry Deary is brilliant. Yes, his books are aimed at kids, but they have loads of useful information without bombarding you with lots of historical data. After all, I want to write and I don’t need to know every minute detail that happened in the medieval era. If you haven’t picked up a Horrible Histories book, do. They’re greatly entertaining AND educational. 

My other two go to books are coincidently both called, Life in the Medieval Castle. These two books offer great insights into what a medieval castle must have been like, from the food they ate, where they slept, and the different roles and jobs within the castle walls.

These are just a few authors who have influenced me. I’m always adding new authors and books to the list. And I am always open to suggestions for new books! 


Forced to marry Lord Aymon to ensure her young nephew’s survival, English Lady Laila vows undying hatred for the Norman she holds responsible for the deaths of so many innocents. Discovering Aymon has committed an act of treason gives her the chance to seek vengeance he deserves.  But can Laila let Aymon die at the hands of the king once she learns the truth?

A hardened Norman warrior, Lord Aymon has lived through atrocities no man ever should. With the invasion of England over, all he wants is a quiet life and a wife who will give him heirs and obey his every command. Instead, he finds himself wed to feisty and outspoken Laila. But when she learns the truth of his treasonous act, can Aymon count on her to keep his secret?


Laila heard them long before she saw them. Their angry, frenzied shouts and thunderous roars filled her ears. With her hands tied securely behind her, she was dragged up the lane toward Tyburn Gallows, where she was to be hanged for a crime she did not commit. The mob sounded blood thirsty. Large. Frightening.

There was no sign of Aymon. Or Hugh. Had they left her alone to die?

Her chin trembled and her nails dug into her palms.

She suddenly fell to her knees and screamed until she tasted blood at the back of her throat. She kicked out and tried to crawl free as her hair was almost torn from the roots as she was pulled up and shoved along the lane.

Her eyes burned with her tears.

“I am innocent!” Laila screamed.

They came around a corner, and that’s when she saw them. There must have been a least two thousand men, women, and children, hungry for her blood. And when they saw her, they erupted into a wild fever of roars and cries for a slow and painful death. Their thirst had been piqued, and now it must be sated.

Laila was shoved into the center of the clearing.

She glanced wildly around in a desperate search for Aymon’s towering, bulky frame. She could not see him.

But what she could see was the Tyburn Tree. The gallows she was to be hanged from. The executioner, hooded, stood beside the tree as he waited patiently for her. Laila’s mouth suddenly went dry.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Louise grew up in country Victoria, Australia, before moving to England, where for sixteen years she soaked up the vibrancy of London and the medieval history of England. She has since returned to Australia and now lives in Melbourne.

She has been writing the moment she picked up a copy of Diana Gabaldon's first Outlander novel twenty something years ago. She thought to herself, 'this is what I want to do' - not travel back in time, but become a novelist! She has always had snippets of dialogue and scenes floating around in her head with characters screaming at her to bring them to life.

In 2013, Louise won first prize in the Crested Butte Sandy Writing contest – Historical category for her story, The Promise, which is now called, Of Love and Vengeance.

When not writing, she can be found covered in mud, crawling under barbed wire and hoisting herself over twelve foot walls - under the guise of competing in Spartan races all over Australia.


EMAIL:  louise_lyndon@yahoo.com

Website:  http://www.LouiseLyndon.com

Blog: http://www.LouiseLyndon.com/blog

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Louise-Lyndon/1472910852955051

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LouiseLyndon1

Pinterest: llyndon3513


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, March 20, 2015

#Review: Texting All Hearts by Various Authors #romance #boxedset

Texting All Hearts—Boxed Set
Seven Multi-Published Authors

What do rodeos, otherworldly encounters, exotic dancers, bondage, hot sex, refound love, and time travel have in common? Besides romantic, edge of your seat fun and intrigue, they all evolve from a single text. Seven multi-genre novellas that promise to heat your nights and warm your hearts.

Her Cowboy Dom

Tate Hardy’s best friend leaves him all his cattle if he spends thirty days on a ranch with a woman he wants but can't have. Jess is a nice girl, and Tate doesn't do nice. Jessica Campbell needs her brother’s cattle as collateral for a loan. To get rid of the sexy bull rider, she suggests he teach her about D/s. When he agrees, Jess gets more than she bargained for from her cowboy Dom.

Midnight Road
Lorelei Buckley

Drew Mathews cherishes her deceased husband’s lingering spirit. When his best friend, Dominic, reveals her late spouse’s dark secrets, Drew's crushed. She turns to Dominic and neighbors for support and stumbles into a passionate love affair and a slew of bizarre commonalities restricted to the residents of Midnight Road. As mysteries unfold, inalterable conditions threaten her romantic relationship, her life, and possibly, the world.

A Lethal Affair
Debra Jupe

With a rumored serial killer targeting exotic dancers, Daisy Piper is more than a little worried when her co-worker goes missing. Her concern escalates when a guy she’s never met shows up claiming her friend stole his laptop. A mild-mannered computer whiz on the surface, Miles Garton is a total contrast from the streetwise Daisy. But he’s on a mission of his own, making the jaded stripper suspicious. Fighting each other, a mutual attraction, and the truth, they team up to find the missing woman.

Sexting Texas
Darah Lace

Texas Tallulah Taylor never thought she’d be turned on by a dirty text from a stranger, one that leads to a delicious sexting session with her best friend. Will Sanderson never thought the love of his life would see him as anything but a friend. Maybe sexting Texas will show her this cowboy aims to give her the ride of her life…for the rest of her life.

The Dom Delivers
Nese Lane

He’s a Dominant, and she’s as vanilla as they come…
Designer Jenna Jaynes enjoys the safe bubble of her creative world, until her delivery guy bursts through and steals her heart. CFO Aden Kelley’s regimented world is thrown into chaos when a spitfire dressmaker captures his soul. Will the Dom convince vanilla to swirl?

Wounded Hearts
Linda LaRoque

Sarah Lawson's fiancé Logan Miller died in Afghanistan. She receives a text from Brandon Perdue, one of his war buddies, who wants to meet and deliver a message from Logan. Physically and emotionally scarred, Brandon values Sarah's friendship. Sarah wants their relationship to deepen, but he fears she's projecting her feelings for Logan on to him.

Pale With Color
Susan JP Owens

Cheyenne Clark doubts Captain Joseph Westerly’s beliefs about reincarnation, but a twenty-first century gal stuck in1862, during the Battle of Gettysburg, creates a new perception about philosophies and physics. After Joseph’s death, Cheyenne returns to her time period and anticipates his rebirth. Will Joseph find her?

***Nona's review of Texting All Hearts***

Texting All Hearts is a collection of seven novellas of various romance genres. In each story, it is a text that "gets the ball rolling." Aside from that, this collection covers a wide range of romance sub-genres.

"Her Cowboy Dom" by Bliss uses a trope I've seen often in historical romance-- the "reading of the will", wherein H/h are forced to spend time together to meet the requirements of inheritance. In this modern day story, Jess has been left a large ranch by her deceased older brother and his best friend Tate has been left the stock. The terms of the will require Tate, a rodeo rider, to stick around for thirty days. Neither Jess nor Tate are happy about this. Jess blames Tate for her brother's demise while Tate lusts for Jess but doesn't want to subject her to his dominant ways. This was a very sexy story about two people who have to overcome misunderstanding to find love. I felt for Jess, wanting to assert herself and follow her own dreams and being thwarted by two headstrong men (brother and lover) who just want to "protect" her. Contains BDSM themes. Hot!

"Midnight Road" by Lorelei Buckley was fun because it wasn't what I expected. The title had me thinking it would be romantic suspense, but it threw me for a loop. Every time I thought I knew what was happening, the author threw in a twist. Drew's mired in depression after the death of her husband, but how can she work through it when he seems to be haunting her? Her old friend Dominic shows up, angry that she's not been taking care of herself. Drew and Dominic take advantage of their long-suppressed attraction and begin an affair while trying to figure out what's happening to all the houses along Midnight Road and the people who live there. This story is a genre-bender, mixing second-chance-at-love, paranormal and even sci-fi.

"A Lethal Affair" by Debra Jupe really got me with its characterization. I loved the heroine, Daisy, who is a toughie with a heart of gold. She's had a hard life and her work as an exotic dancer makes her view life cynically. But when her friend, another stripper, suddenly disappears, Daisy does everything she can to try to find her. She's helped by Miles, who has his own reasons to find Beth. Sparks fly between Daisy and Miles, and the danger threatens when some of Daisy's co-workers are found murdered. The secondary characters are interesting, too, but Daisy stands out for her honesty and courage. The story had such a great build up, I was a bit disappointed that it seemed to wrap up so quickly.

"Sexting Texas" by Darah Lace was an emotional rollercoaster. This story really tugs the heartstrings. For those who love friends to lovers stories, this is a winner. Texas is keeping Will strictly in the friend zone, though he wants much more than that. A mistakenly sent raunchy text makes Will up his game when he sees how Texas reacts to sexy talk. There's some good erotic fun here as Will tries to win Texas over. Feelings run high in the story, and once or twice I wanted to clunk the characters' heads together and tell them "talk!" But readers will cheer for the hard won HEA.

"The Dom Delivers" by Nese Lane is another BDSM entry with lots of sexy times as Jenna explores her submissive nature with her delivery man who also happens to be a Dom. Jenna's a curvy gal and just beginning to emerge from a personal loss. Aydan delivers more than flowers and packages--he helps her gain confidence in her sexuality and her ability to submit. Readers will enjoy seeing Jenna blossom. I loved the supporting character Cedric and the menage scene at the end was the cherry on top of this vanilla swirl sundae.

"Wounded Hearts" by Linda LaRoque was a very touching story of a woman trying to overcome the loss of her fiance. This story would be considered a sweet or "clean" romance as it contained no explicit sexuality, but that did not detract at all from the emotion. When Sarah meets Brandon, a scarred veteran who was close to her fiance, she feels drawn to him. I loved how Brandon was depicted, as such a noble man who did not feel worthy of her. This story really tugged the heartstrings as both characters struggle with their feelings and Brandon deals with the effects of PTSD. And then comes twist that I did not foresee.

"Pale With Color" by Susan JP Owens is a time-travel romance wherein Cheyenne goes from a spectator at a Civil War re-enactment to finding herself back in that era and falling in love with an Army doctor. As the two get to know each other, Cheyenne is torn between wanting to return to her own time and wanting to stay with Joseph. Themes of re-incarnation enter the tale when Joseph is killed (I'm not revealing anything not told in the blurb) and Cheyenne returns to the present day. Fans of fantasy and paranormal romance will enjoy this sexy story.

Whether you like your romances steamy or sweet, there is something in this collection for everyone.

Texting All Hearts is available at Amazon! 

Links for the authors:

email:  Bliss@blissauthor.com
website:  www.blissauthor.com
blog:  http://www.blissauthor.blogspot.com
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bliss-Author/1390497911252444?ref=hl
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/blissauthor
Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/blissauthor

Lorelei Buckley
Website: www.loreleibuckley.com
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/loreleibuckley/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lorelei_Buckley
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/lorelei.buckley.7?fref=nf

Debra Jupe
twitter: @DebJupeAuthor

Darah Lace
Blog: ‪www.darahlace.blogspot.com
Facebook: ‪www.facebook.com/darahlace
Twitter: @DarahLace
Pintrest: ‪pinterest.com/darahlace

Nese Lane

Linda LaRoque
Linda’s Amazon Page

Susan JP Owens
Web Site:  www.SusanJPOwens.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Susan-JP-Owens-Author/241228112562016?ref=hl
Twitter: @SusanJPOwens
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/susanjpowens/

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Re-release: Strength of Arms by Danica St. Como #erotic #menage #military

Hi all! I'm proud to announce my author buddy and fellow Diva Danica St. Como's  Strength of Arms is once again available! Everyone who loved her Men of Sanctuary series will be thrilled that the entire series will return, to be published by Loose Id. The newest addition to the series, Aloha Man, was published last month. Grab it if you're a lover of gay and/or multicultural romance. The first installment of the series features a kick-ass heroine and the two amazing men who fall for her.

In the wilds of Maine on her way to complete an assignment, CIA Clandestine Ops agent Lorelei Randall is ambushed and nearly killed. She is rescued by retired Marine scout sniper Adam Stone and his spotter/partner, Lucian Duquesne, and taken to Sanctuary training camp. The men care for her, and sexual heat quickly develops between the three.

Unable to choose between them, Lorelei ultimately accepts both hard, muscled, determined men as her lovers—which puts her assignment, and her life, at further risk. With Lucian as their anchor, Lorelei experiments with both him and Adam, singly and together, realizing she's been missing such hot, over the top, ramped up sex. Although the men do their best to protect her, she stubbornly insists that she is totally capable of caring for herself. But changing the game plan at the last minute, her stubbornness places her at the wrong end of an assassin's gun.


Lucian Duquesne watched Adam Stone match his speed, then press the throttle lever with his calloused thumb. The all-terrain vehicle rocketed along the rough two-track trail, through the trees, and up the rocky slope. Once Adam reached the clearing, he parked, then shut down the engine. 

Lucian pulled up alongside, took off his goggles, and continued the morning’s debate. “It’s not like we need to wire the whole camp. Let’s say, a thousand feet out from the buildings. Cut me some slack here, hoss. With our clientele, we should increase the efficiency of our perimeter alarms. Civilians, hikers, misdirected vacationers, poachers don’t need to be crossing the line of demarcation into our range of fire.” 

A loud crack reverberated under the heavy canopy of tall trees, followed by a second, forestalling Adam’s response. Gunshots. Then a third sound, dull and metallic, like the slamming of a heavy door. 

Lucian arched an eyebrow at Adam, attempting to radiate cocky vindication. He reached for the rifle stowed in the weapon carrier on the rear deck of his four-wheeler, then rested the weapon on his lap. “Shithead poachers.” 

Adam picked up his rifle. He jacked cartridges into the chamber, aimed toward a slope away from the direction of the sounds, then fired two quick rounds. 

“People here. Private property!” His strong voice echoed after the rifle shots. He cranked over the ATV, headed toward the original shots. Lucian brought up the rear. 

They reached the road and were immediately enveloped in the cloud of dust obscuring an eastbound vehicle. Adam gave chase. 

As the gritty powder settled, Lucian spotted two long black patches of tread marks. The acrid odor of vulcanized rubber lingered in the air. 

Adam returned. “Someone was in a damn hurry.” 

Lucian frowned, but not at Adam’s curt remark. “Yo, hoss, tracks at eleven o’clock.” 

They dismounted and carried their rifles. Experienced trackers, they didn’t disturb the terrain more than necessary. The trail of churned earth led them to the edge of the clearing. Before the ground broke and dropped into the ravine, the way was blocked—the forward motion of a dark blue four-door SUV had been abruptly halted by a rhino-size boulder and a giant tree. 

As they approached the wreck, Lucian took photos of the scene before they touched anything. Then he hurried to the driver’s door. “Driver still in place, window is pebbled from the inside, looks like blood. Door is jammed. Try the other side.” 

Adam checked out the front passenger door. “Not gonna happen. Truck’s wedged tight. See if the back door opens. If not, we’ll go through the tailgate.” 

The driver’s-side passenger door creaked and complained loudly, but Lucian managed to force it open by bracing a leg against the side of the truck and yanking. The car alarm sounded. From the backseat, he stretched past the driver to switch off the ignition, silencing the alarm. 

The driver hung forward, suspended by her seat belt. 

“Female, unconscious, has a pulse. That’s all I can tell from here.” 

Purchase Strength of Arms from

Nona Raines
Hot Contemporary Romance
Edgy ~ Emotional ~ Erotic

Now available: Christmas Candie, part of the Nicely Naughty 2 menage anthology!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Emerald Keep @noonandwilder #SFF #gayromance #giveaway

Happy Friday, everyone! Today I'm hosting my writer buddy (and fellow member of the Nice Girls Writing Naughty group) A. Catherine Noon. She's here to chat about her upcoming release Emerald Keep. It's a gay science fantasy romance that sounds fascinating. She's also chatting about one of her hobbies, knitting. I've been a knitter, but have never been able to size anything correctly. Even when I stick to something simple, I end up with something that's too big to wear as a scarf and too small to use as a blanket. :-) 

So thanks for being here, Noony, and please tell us more about your hobby. 


Why I Knit

Thank you to Nona for hosting me today as part of the Keepsake Tour, to celebrate the release of Emerald Keep.  Nona asked me to talk a little about knitting and crocheting, which is one of my favorite subjects.

This is the Emerald Keep Scarf.  I’m knitting it from a pattern that Barbara Walker included in her book, A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns.  It’s called “Two-Color Star Stitch.”  While it’s not a difficult stitch, it’s not how I started out.  I started by making simple patterns in 2000 when I took a class with a Chicago artist and teacher, Sharon Shoji. 

I had tried to learn to knit before, but couldn’t translate from the 2-D instructions in my books to the 3-D reality of needles and yarn.  When I took Sharon’s basic knitting class, I went from not being able to make a knot with the yarn to making cables and lace.  What’s amazing about it is that I gained something besides the skill to make stuff.  I discovered that two sticks and yarn can turn into meditation.

It’s no surprise that meditation is good for us.  But in our modern lives, getting still and sitting quietly for an extended period of time, even twenty minutes, is difficult – at least for me.  My thoughts refuse to quiet down.  But by concentrating on the yarn, I am able to occupy that noisy part of my mind that won’t quiet down during meditation. 

Then I discovered something else.  I can talk and knit at the same time.  This allows me to hang out with friends and not get antsy.  I can focus during meetings, assuming it’s not a disruption to be knitting while it’s going on.  And long drives?  Piece of cake – especially when I found out about light-up knitting needles (the light is in the tip) and lapel book lights. 

Do you have a particular hobby that you enjoy?  Tell me in the comments and be entered to win one of several prizes, including the Emerald Keep Scarf.

And as a teaser, here’s the cover and a blurb for Emerald Keep.  It’s out on April 8th at your favorite bookseller.

Trapped by the blazing suns of Daymonth inside a cliff city, will Keeper Teeka be able to save Hunter Quill from the censure of the Emerald Council, as well as a new unseen foe, both whom are determined to part the new lovers?

When Emerald Keeper Teeka returns to the city of Reghdad and leaves the harsh desert behind, he finds that not all dangers come from the Great Valley. The dangerous Daymonth is nearly upon them and no one can survive on the surface of the planet -- but Senior Hunter Quill Mayer is trying to get to Reghdad, and Teeka, before the start of it. Even if he makes it, Emerald Keep denies Teeka's Contract with Senior Hunter Quill, and Teeka discovers his enemy is more powerful than any of them suspected and he will stop at nothing to separate Teeka and Quill -- even by striking in the very heart of the city. 

Emerald Keep is Book 2 in The Persis Chronicles:

Other Fun Stuff From A. Catherine Noon:
Links: Blog | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | LinkedIn | Pandora 
Knoontime Knitting:  Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Ravelry
Noon and Wilder links: Blog | Taurus and Taurus (NSFW) | Website | Facebook

***Friends, make sure to leave a comment about your hobby to be entered into this awesome giveaway! The comments will be open for the remainder of the book tour, until April 18*** 

Have a wonderful weekend, all!
Nona Raines
Hot Contemporary Romance
Edgy ~ Emotional ~ Erotic

Now available: Christmas Candie, part of the Nicely Naughty 2 menage anthology!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

#BookBlitz & #Giveaway: Love the Way You Lie @skye_warren #newrelease #darkromance @IndieSagePR


Love the Way You Lie by Skye Warren
Publication Date: March 12, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Dark, Romance

***Skye is offering a $50 Amazon GC to a lucky winner! Scroll down to enter!***

Blitz: Love the Way You Lie by Skye Warren

A dark romance about the lies that lead us down… I’ll do anything to get safe, even if that means working at the scariest club in town. I’ll do anything to stay hidden, even if it means taking off my clothes for strangers. I’ll do anything to be free. Except give him up. When he looks at me, I forget why I can’t have him. He’s beautiful and scarred. His body fits mine, filling the places where I’m hollow, rough where I am soft. He’s the one man who wants to help, but he has his own agenda. He has questions I can’t answer. What are you afraid of? You.

Add to Goodreads


    In the first moments onstage, I’m always blinded.
    The bright lights, the smoke. The wall of sound that feels almost tangible, as if it’s trying to keep me out, push me back, protect me from what’s going to happen next. I’m used to the dancing, and the catcalls, and the reaching, grabbing hands—as much as I can be. But I’m never quite used to this moment, being blinded, feeling small.
    I reach for the pole and find it, swinging my body around so the gauzy scrap of fabric flies up, giving the men near the stage a view of my ass. I still can’t quite make anything out.       There are dark spots in my vision.
    The smile’s not even a lie, not really. It’s a prop, like the four inch heels and the wings that snap as I drop them to the stage.
    A few people clap from the back.
    Now all that’s left is a lacy bra and panty set. I grip the pole and head into my routine, wrapping around the pole, sliding off, and starting all over again. I lose myself in the physicality of it, going into the zone as if I were running a marathon. This is the best part, losing myself in the burn of my muscles and the slide of the metal pole against my skin and the cold, angry rhythm of the song. It’s not like ballet, but it’s still a routine. Something solid, when very few things in my life are solid.
    I finish on the pole and begin to work the stage, moving around so I can collect tips. I can see again, just barely, making out shadowy silhouettes in the chairs.
    Not many.
    There’s a regular on one side. I recognize him. Charlie. He tosses a five dollar bill on the stage, and I bend down long and slow to pick it up. He gets a wink and a shimmy for his donation. As I’m straightening, I spot another man on the other side of the stage.
    His posture is slouched, one leg kicked out, the other under his chair, but somehow I can tell he isn’t really relaxed. There’s tension in the long lines of his body. There’s power.
    And that makes me nervous.
    I spin away and shake my shit for the opposite side of the room, even though there’s barely anyone there. It’s only a matter of time before I need to face him again. But I don’t need to look at him. They don’t pay me to look them in the eye.
    Still I can’t help but notice his leather boots and padded jacket. Did he ride a motorcycle? It seems like that kind of leather, the tough kind. Meant to withstand weather. Meant to protect the body from impact.
    The song’s coming to a close, my routine is coming to an end, and I’m glad about that. Something about this guy is throwing me off. Nothing noticeable. My feet and hands and knowing smile still land everywhere they need to. Muscle memory and all that. But I don’t like the way he watches me.
    There’s patience in the way he watches me. And patience implies waiting.
    It implies planning.
    I reach back and unclasp my bra. I use one hand to cover my breasts while I toss the bra to the back of the stage. I pretend to be shy for a few seconds, and suddenly, I feel shy too. Like I’m doing more than showing my breasts to strangers. I’m showing him. And as I stand there, hand cupping my breasts, breath coming fast, I feel his patience like a hot flame.
    This time I do miss the beat. I let go on the next one, though, and my breasts are free, bared to the smoky air and the hungry eyes. There are a few whistles from around the room.     Charlie holds up another five dollar bill. I sway over to him and cock my hip, letting him shove the bill into my thong, feeling his hot, damp breath against my breast. He gets close but doesn’t touch. That’s Charlie. He tips and follows the rules, the best kind of customer.
    I don’t even glance at the other side of the room. If the new guy is holding up a tip, I don’t even care. He doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who follows rules. I don’t know why I’m even thinking about him or letting him affect me. Maybe my run-in with Blue made me more skittish than I’d realized.
    All I have left is my finale on the pole. I can get through this.
    This part isn’t as physically strenuous as before. Or as long. All I really need to do is grind up against the pole, front and back, emphasizing my newly naked breasts, pretending to fuck.
    That’s what I’m doing when I feel it. Feel him.
    I’m a practical girl. I have to be. But there’s a feeling I get, a prickle on the back of my neck, a churning in my gut, a warning bell in my head, when I’m near one of them. Near a cop. My eyes scan the back of the room, but all I can see are shadows. Is there a cop waiting to bust someone? A raid about to go down?
    My gaze lands on the guy near the stage. Him? He doesn’t look like a cop. He doesn’t feel like a cop. But I don’t trust looks or feelings. All I can trust is the alarm blaring in my head: get out, get out, get out.
    I can barely suck in enough air. There’s only smoky air and rising panic. Blood races through me, speeding up my movements. A cop. I feel it like some kind of sixth sense.
Maybe he feels my intuition about him, because he leans forward in his seat.
    In one heart-stopping moment, my eyes meet his. I can see his face then, drawn from charcoal shadows.
    Beautiful, his lips say. All I can hear is the song.
    I’m not even on beat anymore, and it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter because there’s a cop here, and I have to get out. Even if my intuition is wrong, it’s better to get out. Safer.
I’ll never be safe.
    The last note calls for a curtsey—a sexy, mocking thing I choreographed into my routine. Like the one I’d do at the end of a ballet recital, made vulgar. I barely manage it this time; a rough jerk of my head and shoulders. Then I’m gone, off the stage, running down the hallway. I’m supposed to work the floor next, see who wants a lap dance or another drink, but I can’t do that. I head for the dressing room and thrown on a T-shirt and sweatpants. I’ll tell them I feel sick and have to leave early. They won’t be happy, and I’ll probably have to pay for it with my tips, but they won’t want me throwing up on the customers either.
    I run for the door and almost slam into Blue.
    He’s standing in the hallway again. Not slouching this time. There’s a new alertness to his stare. And something else—amusement.
    “Going somewhere?” he asks.
    “I have to… my stomach hurts. I feel sick.” I step close, praying he’ll move aside.
    He reaches up to trace my cheek. “Aww, should I call the doctor?” His hand clamps down on my shoulder. “I wouldn’t want anything bad to happen to you.”
    I grip my bag tight to my chest, trying to ignore the threat in his words. And the threat in his grip. I really do feel sick now, but throwing up on him is definitely not going to help the situation. “Please, I need to leave. It’s serious. I’ll make it up later.”
    He’ll know what I’m saying. That I’ll make it up to him personally. I’m just desperate enough to promise that. Desperate enough to promise him anything. And he’s harassed me long enough that I know it’s a decent prize. I’m sure he’ll make it extra humiliating, but I’m desperate enough for that too.
    “Please let me go.” The words come out pained, my voice thin. It feels a little like my body is collapsing in on itself, steel beams bending together, something crushing me from the outside.
    Regret flashes over his face, whether for refusing my offer or forcing me that low. But this time, he doesn’t let me go. “There’s a customer asking for you. He wants a dance.”

**Click here to enter the giveaway!**

About Skye Warren

Skye Warren is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of dark romantic fiction. Her books are raw, sexual and perversely romantic.



The Romance Reviews