Mid Week Tease: Forgettable? Not a chance. #MWTease #ColorsofUs

It’s a wonderful day! Not only is it my favorite day of the week, Mid-Week Tease day of course, but also Colors of Us will be on Amazon’s preorder status today. Woo-hoo!

I’m teasing just a little taste of Michelle’s boxing lesson with Hunter…

“I think you’re a natural, Willis.”

After a few sets, she brushed a sweaty strand of hair from her cheek with her forearm and pointed to the water bottles on the mat. “It’s harder than I thought it’d be.”

Hunter handed her a bottle. “Boxing has it all. Strength, endurance, cardio, balance. It’s a hell of a workout and a great stress reliever.” He turned to her and studied her face. “If you ever want to, you know, talk, I’d be happy to listen.”

She stared at him for a moment and looked down at her water. “I don’t want to be seen as the girl with the problems. That’s why I moved to New York, to blend into the scenery. To be that nondescript person you forget the moment she’s out of sight. As soon as I unload my issues, I become the girl with issues. Not the girl painting the kick-ass mural at the bar. I’m sure that makes no sense to you. I don’t want to be rude, but no, I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Is that really what you want? To blend? To be forgettable? I hate to break this to you, but you’re way too beautiful to be forgettable.”

Colors of Us releases August 26th!

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Mid Week Tease: The Portrait that Cried #ColorsOfUs

Happy Wednesday!

I can’t believe there’s less than 2 weeks until the release of Colors of Us! I started working on this story about one year ago when I saw the beautiful portrait shown below. It’s the creation of artist and romance reviewer extraordinaire, Michelle Wilson. The expression in the subjects eyes combined with the splashes of color moved me and I knew there was a story to tell. Michelle was kind enough to share her work with me and the Colors of Us was born.

Today’s tease is from the scene when Hunter enters the gallery to get a better look at the painting. 

Artist: Michelle Wilson

“That portrait….” Hunter’s gaze traveled to the painting of a woman’s face he’d seen from the window. Approaching the painting, he examined the details. Even more beautiful up close, he’d never seen anything like it before. Brilliant flashes of color throughout her hair and face disguised an expression of sadness and hurt. A series of smaller paintings of the same woman in different poses flanked the larger canvas. All showed different aspects of her emotional eyes.

Jacey’s heels echoed through the narrow gallery and came to a halt alongside of him. “It’s beautiful. I often wonder if portraits are of real people or are created by the artist.”

“I love that collection. The artist works here,” Cheyenne said.

Jacey and Hunter peered at the signature: MR Willis.

“Mr. Willis captures great expressions in his paintings. This woman seems to be special to him,” Jacey said, studying the picture.

Cheyenne approached with a playful smile that matched her pink hair. “Actually, miss, it’s M.R. Willis, as in Michelle Rachel Willis. These are self-portraits.”

Hunter stared at the expression-filled eyes and pointed to the portrait. “Believe it or not, I met her just a little while ago. We stood in line for coffee.”

Cheyenne wasn’t shy in her visual journey up his body as she crossed her arms. “You’re Hunter McAvery. Michelle mentioned she met you today.”

Jacey snorted and nudged Hunter in the ribs. “Hunter knows how to make an impression.” Jacey peered at the tag next to the smallest portrait. “She’s very talented, but these seem to be a little out of my range. I’m looking for a gift for my boyfriend. Unfortunately, I can’t pay a lot, though.” Jacey whined as though it’d make Cheyenne give her a blue-light special.

Cheyenne glanced at the door. “Michelle had to run an errand, but if leave your number, I’ll have her call you. Maybe she has something else that’ll work with your budget.”

Jacey pulled a business card from her purse and handed it to Cheyenne. “That’ll be great. Please let her know I’m very interested.” She hooked her arm around Hunter’s and they left the gallery. “I think we found our artist.”

Colors of Us releases August 26th!

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Mid Week Tease: Something A Little Different #MWTease #ColorsOfUs

Happy Mid Week Tease! I’m spending the week in California and loving it here!

Colors of Us is now with my editor for a second look, hope she likes a certain plot twist I decided to add. :)

This week’s tease is a little different. It’s a poem the heroine, Michelle, wrote for Hunter. It embodies the heart of Colors of Us.

Fun Fact: The first title of this manuscript was Before You.

Hope you enjoy Before You ~ A Poem…

Before you,

I walked through life without making a sound

I hid in shadows,

I cried in silence.

Before you,

I simply survived.

Like a window, you opened my soul.

You brought me courage and hope,

You helped me stand proud and strong,

You gave me a reason to live.

Add Colors of Us to your Goodreads shelf! Colors of Us

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Mid Week Tease: Fight or Flight #MWTease

Happy Middle of the Week! 

My round of edits are due today. Woo-hoo!

In true just-in-time management style, I’m spending the day putting the finishing touches on my editing pass before returning the MS of Colors of Us to my editor. The release date is pending her comments, but I should be able to announce it soon!

For now, please enjoy today’s tease from Colors of Us. Background to the scene: Hunter realizes something has Michelle spooked and asked her to join him at the gym… 

Michelle almost turned around at least three times on her way, but curiosity got the best of her and she found herself stepping down a flight of cement stairs to a metal door in need of a paint job. “Max’s Gym” is all that appeared on the card, along with an address and phone number. She wasn’t sure what she’d expected. Her best guess was a gym filled with weight and cardio machines and maybe some spin classes. What she found when she opened the basement-level door was anything but typical of a city gym. The aroma reminiscent of a high school locker room flooded her nose immediately. Her eyes adjusted to the dim light as she scanned the dusty room. Two boxing rings and an assortment of punching bags dangled from stands, walls, and the ceiling. Stony glances in her direction from the few men in the joint screamed, You’re in the wrong place, sweetheart.

“You lost?” a gruff female voice asked.

Michelle spun around to face the chipped Formica desk. An older woman with gray-streaked hair pulled into a ponytail offered a warm smile.

“Sorry?”

“Ya look lost,” the woman said, leaning her elbows on the desk.

“I’m meeting someone here.” Michelle passed her the card.

“Yup, you’re in the right place, then. I’m Max.” She extended a calloused hand. “Is that the guy you’re supposed to meet?” Max jerked her head toward the window.

Michelle turned and caught a flash of Hunter rushing down the stairs with a couple bottles of water and what looked to be black boxing gloves under his arm. A whoosh of cool wind bit her cheeks as he swung open the door.

His lips upturned into a smile when he saw Michelle. “Sorry I’m late. I stopped for water.” He jiggled the bottles in his right hand and turned to Max. “Good morning, Maxie. Have you been entertaining my new student?”

Michelle crossed her arms. “Your what?”

“Student. I’m going to show you how to defend yourself.”

Between his words, the noise of gloves hitting punching bags, and the pungent smell, nausea rose in her throat. “I-I don’t think this is a good idea after all.” She rushed past Hunter, pushed open the door, and climbed the stairs to the sidewalk. Stopping, she took a few deep breaths of fresh air. Footsteps sounded behind her.

“Where you going? I thought you wanted to learn to fight?”

She spun around. “Where’d you get that idea? I can’t fight. I don’t have it in me.”

“I think you do. Everybody has the ability to fight. Come back in and give it a shot.”

Michelle shifted her weight from one sneaker to the next. Her gaze moved from the gym door to Hunter.

“Trust me on this. It’s great therapy. I know what I’m talking about.” He held out his hand and raised his brows.

She searched his eyes. The heat of his gaze loosened the knot of anxiety in her belly. She had the feeling he needed to teach her as much as she needed to try. Maybe more.

Michelle nodded and took his hand. “Okay, I’ll try.”

Colors of Us


 

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Sexy Sexclusive: Love by Design by Evie Knight

This week’s Sexy Sexclusive is from fabulous friend and author, Evie Knight, and her new release, Love by Design. I was fortunate to beta read Love by Design and I simply adored the story. If you closely on the cover you’ll see how much I loved it! :)

Enjoy this sexy exclusive from one of my favorite scene of the book….

He slipped a blindfold over her eyes. The cool brush of the satin on her skin heightened her senses even more. “The game is called Guess my Cupcake. I’ll give you a taste, and you tell me what it is.” Tristan tied the blindfold behind her head.

“That’s not fair.” Mandy inhaled deeply and waved her hands in front of her, trying to find any lingering baking smells in his kitchen. “I can’t smell anything. Did you bake them here? How am I supposed to know if I don’t even have a clue?”

Tristan’s rich laugh rippled through her, waking up every cell in her body. “I baked them at the store.”

The sound of drawers opening and closing, dishes, and silverware reached her ears. Then he sat next to her and ran his fingers lightly down her back, tracing a path. Mandy straightened in her seat, pressing her legs together, trying to ignore the effect his touch had on her.

“You only have to guess five of them right,” he whispered in her ear.

The brush of his lips on her earlobe made her breathless, and she swallowed. “Got it.”

“All right. Guess my cupcake, baby.”

“The heat emanating from his body covered the length of hers and her mouth watered. Mandy parted her lips, ready to finally have a taste of the famous cupcakes she’d denied herself up until now.

Nothing could’ve prepared her for this experience.

Flavors of rich dark chocolate, with a hint of vanilla, and raspberry melted in her mouth. Forget the rest of however many cupcakes he had. She wanted to eat this one and have one more of the same. If someone asked her to describe an orgasm, this would be her definition of it.

Love by Design by Evie Knight

Blurb:

Rules are meant to be broken… only, he chooses which ones to break.

Renowned, self-taught baker Tristan James has everything going for him. Great friends. Women. Business success. His ultimate goal is to host his own TV show. All is perfect… until Mandy walks into his life. Tristan fears she’ll make him unearth the secrets he keeps.

She plays by the rules.

Amanda Roberts dreams of becoming a famous shoe designer, but her insecurities stand between her and her dream. She’s ready to give up when Tristan dares her to pursue her goal. Falling prey to his charms isn’t something she counts on, yet it’s unavoidable.

As their dreams finally become a reality, they must choose between love or the opportunity of a lifetime.

Love by Design is available here:

Amazon / AllRomance / Barnes & Noble /

Add Love by Design to your Goodreads shelf!

Author Bio:

Evie Knight writes wickedly sexy contemporary romances with irresistible bad boys, sassy heroines, a bit of conflict, humor and a dash of spice. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time blogging, reading, listening to music, or looking for a muse.

She lives in sunny Southern California.

Evie loves hearing from her readers. Feel free to drop her a line at evie@evie-knight.com or you can stalk her on Twitter @inlovewromance.

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Colors of Us Playlist: Now Available on #Spotify

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Mid Week Tease: A McAvery Misunderstanding #MWTease

It’s teasing time and almost time for the Colors of Us launch!

Today’s tease is from Michelle’s first visit to McAvery’s Bar where she’s meeting Jacey about a painting (teaser for the teaser: we’ll see more of Jacey later in the series! :) ).

The door swung open, streaming sunlight into the darkened bar. A slight form with long dark hair carrying a large portfolio bag shuffled in. Looking up, she scanned the bar and met Hunter’s stare before averting her eyes to the floor.

Since seeing her face captured in the painting, he noticed things about her that weren’t evident when he spoke to her at the coffee shop. One thing was for sure, the canvas didn’t do her justice. She was beautiful, but not in an obvious way. Hunter couldn’t help but try to get her to look his way again, so he could look into eyes the color of blueberries at summertime. But it was more than her features that set her apart from anyone else he’d known. She exhibited a grace and maturity beyond her young years.

“Can I help you with that?” Alex asked as he held the door.

Her gaze moved to Alex, and she shook her head, wisps of hair falling into her eyes. “No, I can manage,” she said quietly.

Jacey shooed Alex out of the bar before turning to greet the visitor. “You must be Michelle. I’m Jacey.” She extended her hand.

Michelle shifted her bulky portfolio case into her left hand and slipped her right palm into Jacey’s, offering her a shy smile.

“Let’s sit over there where we can spread out.” Jacey pointed to a table across from the bar.

Michelle followed to the table, laid the portfolio on the surface, and carefully removed the contents. Hunter watched as she treated each sketch, photograph, and small canvas with the care of handling England’s crown jewels.

He wiped his hands on a towel and walked around the bar to the table. “Hi, we met yesterday at Primo,” Hunter said, offering his hand.

Michelle’s eyes met his and she extended her hand. “That’s right. Hi again.”

“That cookie you suggested was amazing. You certainly know your baked goods.”

Her gaze traveled from his eyes to his mouth before her cheeks flushed.

Hunter shook her hand and tilted his head, trying to regain her gaze. “You’re talented.” Her palm was small and warm in his grasp.

“Thank you,” she said, pulling her hand away. She turned to the table and straightened one of the sketches as her cheeks turned redder.

Hunter looked over her samples. “You didn’t bring pictures of your self-portraits from the gallery.”

“No. Um. They seemed to be out of Jacey’s price range.”

Hunter chuckled. “I think everything is out of Jacey’s price range.”

Jacey stood and nudged Hunter with her hip. “Look at this one. It’s perfect for Alex.” She pointed to a rendering of a city pub Michelle painted when she first moved to the city.

Michelle furrowed her brow. “Who’s Alex?”

“My boyfriend, silly. I thought I mentioned the painting was for my boyfriend,” Jacey said as she flipped through Michelle’s sketches.

“You did, but I thought—” Michelle turned to Hunter.

“You thought Hunter was my boyfriend?” Jacey giggled and swatted Hunter on the shoulder. “No, this is for the other McAvery brother, Alex. You and I, Hunt. Imagine that.” Jacey winked.

“I’m having a hard time picturing it, Jace.” Hunter exaggerated a shudder.

“Hey!” Jacey punched him lightly and turned to Michelle. “I’m not his type, anyway.” Jacey’s gaze traveled down to Michelle’s boot-clad feet and up to her long dark hair, seemingly assessing her as a possible candidate.

Add Colors of Us to your TBR shelf!

Colors of Us


 

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Cover Art Reveal: Colors of Us #CoverReveal @EvernightPub

Look what landed in my inbox this weekend! Oh yes, it’s cover art goodness for Color of Us, the first book in my brand new McAvery Brothers Series…

Colors of Us (The McAvery Brothers #1)

Genre: Contemporary Romance/New Adult

August 2014 release from Evernight Publishing

*******************************

Everything she knew to be true fell apart. Then fell apart again…

Michelle Willis is running from her past. What better place to hide than in the anonymity of New York City. Finding refuge in a tiny SoHo art gallery, she rebuilds her life one painting at a time.

A wrong turn sends Hunter McAvery on a crash course with disaster. He fights his own demons by following his big brother’s lead – drinking and bed-hopping his way through Manhattan.

A glance at Michelle’s self-portrait triggers emotions Hunter can’t tamp down. Driven to meet the artist, he discovers a fiery chemistry as their lives collide. But when their past threatens to tear them apart, can their love survive?

 

ARC contest coming soon! Stay tuned….

xoxo

~S

 

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Mid Week Tease: A Sweet Meet #MWTease

Welcome to the middle of the week and the middle of the summer. It goes by fast, doesn’t it?

Edits are back for The Colors of Us and I’m enjoying adding layers and extra sexy to Hunter and Michelle after being away from them for a few weeks.

Today’s tease is from the scene at the coffee shop where they first meet over a decadent peanut butter chocolate chip cookie. Cheyenne, Michelle’s coworker and friend, makes an appearance in the tease too! She’s one of my favorite characters. :)

“You work around here?” he asked.

Michelle turned to the stranger again. He casually brushed the hair from his eye, revealing a jagged scar above his eyebrow. Something about the warmth in his eyes made her want to reach up and touch the imperfection that somehow seemed perfect on his face.

His lips curled upward. “You don’t have to tell me. Shit. I usually don’t chat up strangers in a coffee line. I must really need a cup of coffee.” He scrubbed his fingers over the scruff on his face, which outlined a strong chin.

“I work in one of the galleries. You?” she asked quietly.

“I’m at McAvery’s.”

“The bar?”

“Yeah.” He tilted his head and smiled. “You ever go there?”

Michelle tried not to stare at the way his lips showcased straight white teeth. He could melt an icicle with his smile. She met his gaze. “No, but I ride past it on my way to work. I love the facade. It’s a great building.”

He nodded. “It’s one of the oldest bars in the city. I’m Hunter, by the way.” He placed the certificate in his left hand and offered her his other. “Ride as in a motorcycle?”

“Michelle. And no, ride as in a bicycle.” She slipped her hand into his. The heat of his palm warmed her fingers. His sleeve rode up a corded forearm, revealing more of his tattoo before his sleeve covered it again. The colors and intricate design intrigued her, even though she wasn’t sure what it depicted.

“Looks like you’re up, Michelle. Pick your poison.” Hunter nodded to the counter.

Michelle pulled her hand away and ordered two caramel macchiato coffees with extra whipped cream.

“Anything else, miss,” asked the barista.

She glanced at the dish of peanut butter chocolate cookies in the pastry case and remembered her empty pockets. “Thanks, but just the coffee,” she said, pushing the coffee certificates across the counter.

The barista turned to Hunter. “What can I get you?”

“Coffee, black, and….” He turned to Michelle. “What do you recommend?”

Michelle scanned the pastry case. “I’d get the peanut butter chocolate chip cookie.”

Hunter held up two fingers. “Two of those, please.”

Michelle collected her drinks, took a sip from one of them, and closed her eyes.

“That good?” Hunter asked after he passed his voucher and a few dollars to the barista.

“Yeah, really good. Have a good day.” Michelle took another sip and turned toward the door to leave.

“Hold on a sec.” He pulled one of the cookies out of the bag and handed it to Michelle. “Thanks for the recommendation.”

She shook her head. “Oh, no thanks. Save it for later. I gotta get back to work.”

He tilted his head. “Please take it as a thank you for keeping me company in that long line.”

Michelle looked from the cookie to his golden-honey eyes. “Thanks.” Reaching for it, her fingers brushed against his, sending a tingle to places in her that hadn’t been touched in a long time. She lingered a moment longer than she should have. Glancing at him, she saw a sly smile form on his lips. She took the treat and turned before the heat creeping up her neck became visible on her cheeks.

“See you around.” Hunter called.

Michelle pushed the door open and hoped the cool air would restrain the heat building in her belly. Heading in the direction of the gallery, she took a bite of the cookie and savored the sweet and creamy goodness dancing on her tongue. The flavors of her favorite cookie teased her taste buds as she entered the gallery.

“What are you all smiles about? And why are you all flushed?” Cheyenne asked with her hands on her hips.

“I just ate something delicious. Here, I saved you half.” She handed her the coffee cup and half the cookie.

Cheyenne took a bite and groaned. “Oh, yeah. This is good. So good. Were they giving these out too?”

“Nope. The guy I talked to while we stood in line bought a couple and gave me one.”

Cheyenne held her finger up as she chewed and swallowed. “Hold on. You met a guy?”

 Hungry yet? The Colors of Us will be available in August!

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Mid Week Tease: HIS ~ Strength. Power. Experience. #MWTease @EvernigtPub

It’s that time again! 

This week’s tease is from my short story in the HIS Anthology. It’s only $0.99 this week on Evernight’s website! You can’t beat 12 super Alpha-sexy stories for under one dollar. 

Enjoy this scene from The Mobster’s Promise…

“The door won’t open any faster that way.”

“Leave me alone.” She kept her back to him as a tear escaped the corner of her eye.

“I’d forgotten what a stubborn streak you have.” His husky voice was so close, his breath tickled her cheek. “I’d also forgotten how fucking good you smell.”

Closing her eyes, she leaned her back against his chest. For a moment, just one moment, she was safe. The ding of the elevator jolted her back to reality. Hopping in before the doors opened all the way, she first pushed the button for the fifth floor, then pushed and held the close button. “Go back to your penthouse and let the commoners live in peace. Your money can’t solve everything.” She glared at him as the doors closed.

A scuff-free black shoe stopped the door, and he stepped into the car. “That’s what this is about? Because this isn’t about money. It’s about you,” he closed the space between them, “and me.”

Shutting her eyes, Julia’s senses filled with the familiar scent of fine whiskey and unadulterated man. His hands wound around her waist as she lifted her face to his. “Damn it, I trusted you, and look what happened. You betrayed me then you let me walk away,” she whispered.

Roarke’s thumb rubbed a circle under her ribcage. “It was the best thing for you.” His breath puffed against her lips, his mouth close to hers.

Julia slid her hand up his rock hard abs and breathed deep. Damn, she missed him. Groaning, her fingernails dug into his muscular chest as she pushed away. She lingered a second too long. His power coiled around her like a snake ready and willing to squeeze every ounce of common sense she had from her body. Strong but gentle, his fingers trailed up her arm and neck to the exact spot behind her ear that made her weak in the knees. He had a good memory, damn him.

Squeezing her eyes closed, she willed her tears to stay put. She couldn’t show him how much she wanted him. How much she needed him. Not now.

“We can’t do this.”
His grip loosened. “What are you so afraid of?”
Her will crumbled as tears ran down her cheeks. “You. This

place.”

“I’d never hurt you.” He cupped her face and wiped the tear with his thumb.

 

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