Things I should have
Kept my dick in my pants.
Stayed away from my adorable little roommate.
Kept my mouth and hands, off of said roommate.
Concentrate on my upcoming exhibition and prove my parents wrong.
That’s what I SHOULD have done, but now everything is a mess and the thing I
thought I wanted most in the world has been replaced by an adorable little
brunette who refuses to even speak to me.
Things I should not
Get distracted from my goals.
Get close to my cocky roommate and his sexy smirk.
Let his mouth and his hands anywhere near me.
Be seduced from the kind of life I always wanted; quiet, ordered and
That’s what I should NOT have done, but now everything is a mess and the things
I thought I wanted most in life has been replaced by a cocky boy who shattered
my heart beyond repair.
“What about this one?” I tap on the neatly typed out notice stuck to the board.
“Urgent! Roommate needed to share utilities and rent,” he starts reading the notice. “The ideal candidate will be a consensus, quiet, and tidy individual who is serious about their studies. One month’s rent and deposit must be available immediately.” He looks at me with a raised eyebrow. “Are you serious? This sounds nothing like you. What does con.. conshen.. consensus even mean?”
“Conscientious, you idiot. It’s just another word for serious. Which is exactly what I need to be. Besides, none of the other numbers I called would even give me the time of day once they heard my name and the only other one I haven’t tried is the one looking for an ‘open-minded male who is not allergic to latex.’”
I dial the number listed on the notice and shoot up a quick prayer to whatever is listening that this person doesn’t have a social media account and has never heard the name Coyer Brant.
“Hello? This is Abby. ” Great, it’s a girl. I was hoping for a dude.
“Hey, Abby. I’m calling about the room for rent. Is it still available?” I pinch my thumb inside my fist as I wait for her answer. There’s a crashing sound in the background and a mumbled sound that sounds a lot like ‘oh shizzle’ before her voice comes back into the speaker.
“YES!” I’m a little taken aback by her loud reply and consider my chances with latex. “I mean, yes. Who is this, please?”
“This is Brant.”
“Brant? Um…” I sigh and prepare myself for the phone to go dead in my ear. “Do you have money for the rent and deposit?” I fist pump the air. Things are looking up. She doesn’t seem to recognize my name and she is obviously desperate for the money if that’s her first question. With a little more luck I’ll be able to convince this girl I’m both conscientious AND studious and my ass will have a bed to sleep in before the week is over.
“Yes, I have it.”
“Are you weird?”
“Excuse me?” I wasn’t expecting that question.
“Are you weird? Do you have any strange fetishes and/or a creepy fascination with red jell-o? Do you need to keep your underwear in the fridge or have a collection of dead rat’s tails? Do you have anything against windows or enjoy the taste of blood?”
What the fuck?
“Er,” I rub the back of my head and try and think of a reply. Would these things count for or against me?
“It’s just that I have had some weird calls about the ad and I would very much like to finish my degree with both kidneys intact.”
“Oh!” Thank God. “Yes. I mean no. I happen to very much like windows and jell-o, but to a completely normal degree. I can’t stand the sight of blood and my underwear is kept in my drawers.” I let out a small laugh. That last bit was punny.
“When can you come and see the room?” She doesn’t seem to be impressed with my joke at all.
“I have class in an hour. Can you come now?”
After I agree she rattles off an address that’s just off campus and I head over.
It’s a great looking place. A big well-kept Victorian looking place surrounded by trees. And most importantly – away from all the fraternities and parties. The fewer temptations I come in contact with, the better. I press my thumb to the intercom and wait for Abby to answer. There’s no answer. I’m beginning to think I have the wrong address and look down at my phone to find the address I typed in earlier. Yes, it’s right. I press the buzzer again, this time I hold it in for longer than is probably necessary.
“Hi it’s Brant.”
“OK, come on up. Third floor on the right.” There’s a buzzing noise and then the door springs open. I take the steps two at a time. I turn right and knock on the door.
The door opens but not all the way and a set of eyes peek out to inspect me from head to toe.
“Can I see your student ID?”
I frown at the set of eyes still peeking from the crack in the door. Am I dealing with a paranoid agoraphobic here? But I straighten my face and reach for my wallet to show her my ID.
“It says your name is Coyer?”
“It’s Coyer Brant Alexander-Marshall III. Brant just sounds better.”
The door is ripped open and I’m met with an incredulous face wrapped in a halo of loose brown curls.
“You thought Brant sounded better?!” The incredulous face now has her lip curled up in confusion, but all I can think of are all my good intentions. And how they just crashed and burned.
A new secret author duo team up under the pseudonym, Nina
Auril. They bonded over their love for ‘maybe’ bad boys, offbeat and colorful
females, and a desperate need to stand out from a crowd. Having spent so much
time with each other, they finally decided to collaborate and create something
amazing to write the kind of stories they want to read. Nina Auril can’t
be categorized, and will surprise you at every turn but promise to get your
lady bits tingling every time.
Eight years after fleeing Christmas Falls because of a high school prank gone wrong, Ashley Brooks receives a mysterious letter from her mentor asking her to come home. She arrives to face all she left behind—her family, her friends, and the rich boy she’d loved who would never date the girl from the wrong side of town.
Brent Donnelly, high school jock, brainiac, and dutiful son did everything right until the day Ashley returns to Christmas Falls. With one look at the girl who got away he questions all his life choices, including following in his father’s footsteps in the family business.
Faced with a potentially devastating decline of tourism in their hometown, Brent and Ashley must work together to save the magic of their town, but when Ashley discovers he still has feelings for her best friend she must finally face the real reason she left Christmas Falls—to try to heal her broken heart.
Honeymoon for One in Christmas Falls by Jennifer Peel
Is there room for two on this honeymoon for one?
Piper Wyatt’s Christmas wish is to get promoted to manager at Blackstock Hotel and Resort. Not only does the promotion mean more money, but it means more time with her son and proof that she’s not such a disappointment after all.
Jace Petersen, successful owner of a national chain of sporting goods stores, finds himself alone and miserable on what should have been his honeymoon. That is until he literally falls onto the lovely Piper Wyatt. He’s intrigued with this woman who can fix a car in high heels. Too bad for him, he makes a horrible first impression, and Piper’s not allowed to mingle with the guests.
While Piper tries her best to steer clear of Jace during his stay, he does everything he can to convince her he’s not the jerk from their first meeting. But is he worth risking her promotion? Or is Jace right, Piper deserves more than she ever thought possible for herself?
Find out in this charming Christmas tale about finding love in the most unexpected place, a honeymoon.
Once Again in Christmas Falls by Becky Monson
In one day, London Walsh finds out her ex is going to be her boss and that her parents are getting a divorce—and they want her to referee the situation. So when she’s offered the chance to spend the holidays in her old hometown of Christmas Falls, far away from all the drama, she jumps on it.
But the quaint town doesn’t feel quite like the home it once was. London shed the goth image that defined her in high school long ago, but no one recognizes the woman she's become.
Except for Andy Broll, London’s childhood next door neighbor. He recognizes her immediately, which sends London’s heart fluttering as she starts to see Andy in a whole different light. But when her time in Christmas Falls doesn’t go as planned, will London face it head on? Or will she find a reason to run?
Rumor Has It in Christmas Falls by Melinda Curtis
As a political strategist at Dunlop Bennet & Associates, Lexi Townsend's career is going nowhere. She's a cubical dweller writing speeches for freshmen senators in DC. But if she can hitch her career wagon to a rising political star, she’ll be on her way to a corner office in no time. When she’s offered a plum holiday assignment–an ideal candidate with deep pockets, someone who could make the leap from local to national politics–she starts to dream about that corner office.
Until she realizes her candidate is Kevin O’Malley, aka Kevin the Hottie, Kevin the Snob, Kevin the Liar, the same guy who shattered her high school reputation back home in Christmas Falls with a rumor. Assignment in hand, Lexi braces herself for the most difficult political race of her career--because this time it’s personal.
Forever Yours in Christmas Falls by Susan Hatler
Morgan Reed is excited to return to her hometown of Christmas Falls and open her beauty salon, but when she arrives to her rented business space she’s shocked to find it already occupied by Dallas Parker—her brother’s best friend, the guy she had a childhood crush on, and the one her mom blames for their family’s greatest tragedy.
With their landlord out of the country and unreachable, Morgan and Dallas must open their businesses together. But, no worries, all small towns need a combo furniture store/beauty salon, right? Ugh. As they work together, Morgan tries to keep her emotional distance but time and off-the-charts chemistry soon turn a childhood friendship into a blossoming romance.
Unfortunately, just when their relationship develops into something deeper, an unexpected crisis re-opens her family’s old wounds and the blame is on Dallas once again. Will Morgan’s sadness and fear pull them apart, or make her realize Dallas has always been her heart’s true safe harbor?
Love Notes in Christmas Falls by Beth Labonte
When Caitlin Cook left the small town of Christmas Falls, Tennessee to attend Harvard University, she left behind the burden of her parents’ slowly increasing hoard of antiques, a much younger brother, and Shane Mitchell—the boy who blindsided her with the news that he loved her on the night before she left.
Shane Mitchell spent his high school years fascinated by Caitlin Cook. The quiet flute player with her nose always in a book, he wanted desperately to find out what made her tick.
Eight years later, Caitlin returns to Christmas Falls—unemployed and newly single—after receiving a devastating letter from her beloved high school mentor. Caitlin is shocked to find her childhood home in disarray, and her little brother in desperate need of his sister. With Shane’s help—now a pillar of the community rather than the carefree teenager Caitlin once knew—she begins to rediscover her love for music, antiques, and possibly even Shane. When faced with the choice of rebuilding her life in Boston, or giving love a second chance in Christmas Falls, will Caitlin be able to decide on the true meaning of home?
Finding The Truth in Christmas Falls by Danielle Stewart
Olivia Mackey spent her whole life hearing how she was destined for bigger and better places than Christmas Falls, Tennessee. A regular on the beauty queen scene from a very young age, she learned from her stage mom, that appearances mean everything. Having spent the years after high school traveling the world and failing at the dream everyone told her she should have, she's back home and wondering what she's to do next.
Nothing is where she left it. Friends have scattered, her mentor is ill, and Olivia is fumbling her way through a big life in a small town.
Tim Avondale and his young daughter showed up in Christmas Falls one evening looking for a fresh start. Buying the Sleepy Hound Bookstore seemed the perfect opportunity. Life had gone so wrong and now here in this quiet town he could keep anything bad from happening to his daughter again.
When the two cross paths Olivia and Tim find an instant connection. A tug toward each other they don't want to ignore. The problem is, in the process they are being tugged away from all the things they thought were important in their lives. He can't hide out from real life forever. She is more than just what people see on the surface. But when they're forced to decide will they choose to be better together or safer apart?
Hot shot skier and unrepentant party girl Carly
Carrington is on top of the world until a disastrous crash destroys her
championship dreams. Can she lower her guard long enough to trust the one man
who might be able to heal her body...and her heart?
When it comes to sports doctors, buttoned-up
Paul Blackburn is the best of the best. But when Carly upends his carefully
ordered little world, will Paul fight his one chance at true love, or go for
the gold in… WINNER TAKE ALL.
A career performer and storyteller, Mary was the keyboardist and lead
vocalist in an all-female rock band for a number of years, and has acted in
leading roles in plays and musicals across the globe.
Her first screenplay, Common Ground, was a finalist in the Moondance
International Film Festival competition, and she is a member of the Screen
Actor's Guild/AFTRA and the New York chapter of Women in Film and
An avid gamer and unrepentant nerd, Mary's been a fan of romance, science
fiction and fantasy novels since she was old enough to hide them between the
pages of her textbooks during geometry class in high school. She is delighted
to introduce the first book in her new contemporary romance series, Winner Take
Door hinges squeaked, and a barefoot Paul
clad only in pajama bottoms padded inside. "Carly? Why are you up? Are you
swallowed hard as he approached. "I'm kind of freaked out. Put my boots
back on for the first time since…since I fell…" My trembling increased. I
slammed one of my shaking hands against the walkway. "This is stupid, this
is so stupid, they're just the damn boots for God's sake. We aren't even near a
mountain, what is wrong with me?"
knelt beside me and gathered my unresisting body into his arms. "It's
trauma. It'd be a miracle if you didn't suffer from some kind of PTSD after
been dreaming about it again. I think that's what triggered this. Shit. I need
to find a way to handle it, I need…" I decided that dignity was overrated
and curled up against Paul, pressing my cheek against his chest. His
sleep-warmed skin smelled of soap and a faint note of pine-scented cologne.
okay. It'll be okay, I promise." Paul reached down and tugged off my
boots. "We'll try again with these later. But right now you need to relax.
Jesus, Carly, it's the middle of the damn night. Stop pushing yourself so
hard." He picked me up and stepped off the walkway into a grassy swath of
laugh was tinged with more than a little hysteria, even to my ears. "Stop
pushing myself? Have you met me?"
chuckled and set me down. With deft hands, he pulled the blanket from around my
shoulders, spread it out on the ground and repositioned me on top.
nestled closer to him, drawing real comfort from his proximity.
just sit here for a bit, all right? There's no rush. Can you match my breathing
pattern? Nice and deep, okay? Try it with me." He inhaled slowly,
controlling his breath on the exhale. "Like that." He pitched his
voice at a level someone might use on a skittish horse.
Ordinarily I would have
bristled at the notion of being handled. But he sounded so soothing, and made
me feel safe in ways I hadn't experienced in ages. It couldn't hurt to try.
After a few false starts, I managed to coordinate my breath in time to his.
doing great. Keep going." He stroked my back and whispered encouragement,
the steady rhythm of his movements lulling me into a relaxed, meditative state.
My rigid muscles softened as the adrenaline gradually receded from my body. The
fear faded away as well, replaced by a growing awareness of Paul's body wrapped
I couldn't have said
when the mood changed, the shift was so subtle. But little by little, I raised
my head, gazing at Paul through wondering eyes, my mouth only a few inches from
his. I didn't move any closer at first, drinking in his half-sleepy,
half-sultry expression, reveling in the power of our attraction that clearly
held him as captive as it did me. A dreamy tension built up between the two of
us, and when I finally leaned in to close the distance, Paul met me halfway.
So soft, so sweet. We
kissed as if it were the first time, a tentative exploration that turned heated
in a matter of moments.
The complete Finding Me Duet includes LOST IN BETWEEN and FOUND UNDERNEATH plus a Bonus Scene previously published in A New Year’s Eve Anthology, which is no longer in publication.
Smile. Dote. Look pretty for the cameras. Be his beck and call girl, his faux girlfriend. Four months, then I walk away two hundred fifty thousand dollars richer, never setting eyes on Shaw Mercer again.
No emotions, no strings, and definitely no falling in love with the client.
Yet, Seattle’s infamous playboy proves to not only be irresistible, he may be the man I never thought I wanted. What began as a ruse, a strategically planned campaign move suddenly morphs into reality, and I find myself breaking my own rules of self-preservation one by one.
But the world has a cruel way of slapping me across the face as she always does. Just when I think Shaw and I might have our happily ever after, my ex-fiancé re-enters the picture and flips our lives upside down with devastating secrets neither of us see coming, but more importantly, neither of us will be able to escape.
I can only stand by and watch helplessly as the future I’d allowed myself to dream of comes crashing down around me once again.
*** Contains adult subject matter. +18 only
As a USA Today Bestselling author, I write stories that are deeply emotional with flawed characters, because humans ARE flawed and if we read about perfect characters living in their perfect world, first of all, snoozer, but secondly, we never experience the gratification of redemption.
Outside of writing, I’m just a regular ol’ Midwest girl who likes Game of Thrones and am obsessed with Modern Family and The Goldbergs. I run, I eat, I run, I eat. It’s a vicous cycle. I love carbs, but there’s love-hate relationship with my ass and thighs. Mostly hate. I like a good cocktail (oh hell…who am I kidding? I love any cocktail). I’m a huge creature of habit, but I’ll tell you I’m flexible. I read every single day and if I don’t get a chance…watch the hell out. My iPad and me: BFFs. I’m direct and I make no apologies for it. I swear too much. I love alternative music and in my next life I want to be a bad-ass female rocker. I hate, hate, hate spiders, telemarketers, liver, acne, winter and loose hairs that fall down my shirt (don’t ask, it’s a thing).AUTHOR LINKS
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