Wednesday, April 30, 2014

*REVIEW* Provoke by Missy Johnson



Mace Jordan was not the type of guy I expected to sweep me off my feet. I knew of the crowd he ran with, and they were bad news. But beyond that tough, biker exterior was a sweetheart, and one that treated me like his princess.
I liked being the good girl with the bad boy, but I never expected this. What I saw on his computer…I thought I knew him. 

But I was wrong. So wrong…

If there was ever a bad time for me to fall for a chick it was now, but from the moment I saw Leeta, she had me. There was something special about her, and I had to have her. But I also had a job to do, and I couldn’t let her distract me from that. I couldn’t let her discover that side of me either. But she’s not stupid, and I know she’s getting close. God knows what she’ll do if she discovers the truth. 

Or what she thinks is the truth







Erycka's Review

Provoke by Missy Johnson

Copy provided for honest review.

Whoa…just whoa! This is the first book I’ve read from Missy. And let me just say, she blew me away!! The plot twists and the added layers had me reeling! There were many stages of the book where I literally said, “what the what, oh hell no she didn’t, and holy shyte.”

Leeta is a twenty-three year old junior prosecutor working for DPP (Department of Prosecutions). She comes from a good family and the ‘right’ side of the tracks. She’s feisty, determined, focused, and in love with Cash.

Mace is tall, handsome, and has a bit of a ‘bad boy’ appearance. And happens to be the son of “the infamous Ronald Jordan’ and from the ‘wrong’ side of the tracks.

Leeta and Mace meet one another in a sketchy bar that Leeta went to with her friend. A big burly man hones in on the girls, Mace see this, and slips in to save the day. After several hours of kissing and talking, Leeta decides she wants to see more of Mace. She didn’t know he was the son of a gang leader serving time in prison. She just knew she like him.

As the story progressed, I though it was going to be like many of the other “love” stories I’ve read. It was NOTHING like I expected! The added suspense, the twists, and turns kept me at the edge of my seat. When it was over, I was definitely shaken. In a good way.

If you’re like me and have never picked up a Missy Johnson book; this is a great first read. If you’re a Missy Johnson vet and haven’t yet read this; one-click it now!!

4.5 WHAT THE WHAAAT STARS!


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Review of The Resurrection of Aubrey Miller by L.B. Simmons


Synopsis: 

Death. 
For some, it’s simply one of life’s certainties, nothing more. For others, it’s merely a fleeting thought, one often overshadowed by the reckless delusion that they have been blessed with the gift of immortality. 
For Aubrey Miller, death is the definition of her very existence. Overcome with the guilt resulting from the loss of her beloved family, she alters her appearance from the once beautiful, blonde-haired, blue-eyed little girl to that of one shrouded in complete darkness, enveloping herself in her own unbreakable fortress of solitude as a form of protection for others.
As she enters her first year of college, her goal is simple: Earn a degree with the least amount of social interaction as possible. What she never anticipates is the formation of very unlikely relationships with two people who will change her life in ways she never believed possible: Quinn Matthews, the boisterous former pageant queen, and Kaeleb McMadden, a childhood friend from her past who never really let her go.
Over the years, as their connections intertwine and grow, a seemingly indestructible bond is formed between the three…
But when death painfully reemerges, Aubrey is lost once again, burying herself deeper than ever before inside the familiar fortification of her fears.
Will the refuge of friendship, the solidarity of life-long bonds, and the power of unconditional love be enough to do the impossible?
Will they be enough to finally bring about…
The Resurrection of Aubrey Miller?



Leia's Review: 

Sometimes, you are lucky enough to come across a book that is so beautifully heartwarming that you devour it instantaneously. And once you finish it, sitting there with a smile on your face and tears in your eyes, you wish you wouldn't have devoured it quite so quickly. The Resurrection of Aubrey Miller is one such book. It’s one of those books that I wish I could read for the first time all over again. 

The story is told through Aubrey. Surrounded by the death of her loved ones, Aubrey has blamed herself for years. She shrouds herself in darkness to dispel others from getting close to her. The guilt she has over her families deaths controls her. It contorts her mind into believing that she is responsible. That in order to keep everyone else safe – she needs to be removed emotionally and physically from their lives. Under the disguise of dark hair, pale skin, piercings and contacts she becomes Raven. Raven is her “alternate identity”, keeping others safe from her. 

“The simplicity of living astounds me. But it’s the terror of death that devours me.” 

On her first day of college, she encounters her new roommate, Quinn as well as a long lost childhood friend, Kaeleb. Though she doesn't realize it, this moment sets into play a series of events that will change her life forever. 

“Death just is, Aubrey. In Raven, you seek to control something which is not meant, or able, to be controlled. And in doing so, you are harnessing your own life. Forbidding yourself the full experience of it.” 

Throughout her college years, and with the help of Quinn, Kaeleb and Palmer, Raven slowly begins to dwindle and Aubrey Miller comes back to life. Finding new friendship in Quinn and reconnecting with her past in Kaeleb, Aubrey tries to let go of her demons. But as tragedy strikes Aubrey’s life again she beings to lose herself. And this time, no one knows if she will come back. 

This is such a beautiful story. Though there were times I kept asking myself WHY all of these things kept happening to Aubrey, I began to understand why she resorted to hiding herself. It was amazing to watch her grow into the person she was supposed to be. 

Kaeleb was the absolute perfect book boyfriend…. He is supportive, witty, protective and romantic. Their love unfolded word by word in front of you and you couldn't help but to be pulled into it. 


“That’s what I can’t get over. Because in this moment, you are quite literally my dream come true.” 

Though Aubrey’s story is filled with heartache and tears, there were also times that I found myself absolutely giddy with excitement and laughing with complete joy. This book is filled with layer after layer of unfolding promise. Each line reveals a piece of story that folds into the overall beauty of Aubrey’s journey. It is a gorgeous book that I won’t soon be forgetting. 

“There will be heartache. There will be anger. There will be fear. There will be sorrow. But as with all life, there must be balance. Without heartache, there is no understanding of the true meaning of love. Without anger, passion cannot be comprehended. Without fear, there is nothing gained when overcome. And without sorrow, happiness can never be realized.” 

5 Beautifully Balanced Stars



*COVER REVEAL* Until Nico by Aurora Rose Reynolds


RELEASE DATE: June 3rd, 2014
Blurb
Sophie Grates has never had it easy, but she’s finding her way through life one step and one day at a time. That is, Until Nico comes in and flips her world upside-down. He forces her to see you cannot live life from the outside looking in, and sometimes you have to step out onto the ledge so you can really enjoy the view. Nico Mayson knew the moment he saw Sophie Grates that she was the one. His whole life, he has been judged by what’s on the outside, so finding a beautiful woman who sees the real him only makes his feelings that much stronger. Nico knows the kind of man he is, and the things he is capable of, and he will do everything in his power to help Sophie fight her demons so they can have their happily ever after. Everything in life worth having is worth fighting for.





Beautiful New Covers for Entire Series

Until November (Book One)  Until Series
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1k2XK31

November is looking forward to getting to know her father and the safety of a small town. After leaving the Big Apple and her bad memories for Tennessee, November starts working for her dad at his strip club doing the books. The one time she’s allowed there during club hours she runs into Asher Mayson. He’s perfect until he opens his mouth and makes assumptions. November wants nothing to do with Asher but too bad for November, fate has other plans.

Asher Mayson has never had a problem getting a woman, that is until November. Now all he can think about is making November his and keeping her safe.

Warning 18+ sexual content and a strong Alpha Male.


Until Trevor (Book Two) Until Series
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1iWBUQK

Trevor Mayson had his life planned out - make the family business successful and play the field for a few more years before eventually settling down. Then he sees her. Liz Hayes was beautiful, shy and everything that he could ever want...but she didn't fit into his plans. After Trevor painfully rejects her, Liz finally starts to move on, but Trevor is finding it difficult to truly let her go. It seems the more he tries to stay away, the more intense his feelings for her become. Like a stretched rubber band, he can only take so much before snapping.

Liz Hayes is done waiting for Trevor and isn't interested in getting her heart broken by him again, but Trevor is making it difficult for her to forget him when he shoves his way back into her life.

Can Trevor prove to her that he is worth falling in love with again, and is he ready to change his life plan to let her into his heart?


Until Lilly (Book Three) Until Series
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1pzOdYk


When Cash Mayson was forced to choose between the love of his life and his unborn child, he knew exactly what he had to do. No matter how broken it left him.

When Lilly Donovan was forced to accept that the guy she loved wasn’t who she thought he was and became a single mother, she knew exactly what she had to do. Proving just how strong she was.
What happens when years later you find out that everything you thought you knew was a lie?

Can two people who once loved each other overcome the obstacles that are thrown at them and fall in love all over again?

Cash Mayson had forgotten how it felt to be loved Until Lilly came back into his life. And now that he remembers, he will do everything within his power to keep not only the woman that he loves, but also his children.

The power of love is a beautiful thing.


About the Author:
Aurora Rose Reynolds is a navy brat who's husband served in the United States Navy. She has lived all over the country but now resides in New York City with her Husband and pet fish. She's married to an alpha male that loves her as much as the men in her books love their women. He gives her over the top inspiration everyday. In her free time she reads, writes and enjoys going to the movies with her husband and cookie. She also enjoys taking mini weekend vacations to nowhere, or spends time at home with friends and family. Last but not least she appreciates everyday and admires it's beauty.
Goodreads:  http://bit.ly/1pzLVIO









Thursday, April 24, 2014

*Cover Reveal* Devour Anthology




Cover Design: Redbird Designs
An anthology featuring 8 full length published novels from
Amazon, NY Times and LA Times bestselling authors:

Fading by E.K. Blair
Very Bad Things by Ilsa Madden-Mills
Shattered Ties by K.A. Robinson
Sizzle by Lexi Buchanan
Always You by Missy Johnson
Love in Between by Sandi Lynn
Emerge by S.E. Hall
Fallen Crest High by Tijan


 ALL proceeds to go to First Candle:

This anthology will be available for only 99c
and will run for two weeks only May 11 - 25, 2014





Can a guilty conscience keep wounds from healing?

Fine arts major, Candace Parker, grew up with a mother who thinks image is everything, and her daughter’s perfection will never be good enough. About to graduate college and pursue her dreams of becoming a professional ballerina, Candace decides it’s time to let go and have a little fun. But fun is short-lived when a brutal attack leaves her completely shattered.

The memories that consume and torment Candace are starting to destroy her when she meets Ryan Campbell, a successful bar owner. He feels instantly connected and tries to show her that hope is worth fighting for. But is Ryan harboring his own demons? As walls slowly begin to chip away, the secrets that are held within start to become painful burdens.

At what point do secrets become lies?






Born into a life of privilege and secrets, Nora Blakely has everything any nineteen-year-old girl could desire. She’s an accomplished pianist, a Texas beauty queen, and on her way to Princeton after high school. She’s perfect…

Leaving behind her million-dollar mansion and Jimmy Choos, she becomes a girl hell-bent on pushing the limits with alcohol, drugs, and meaningless sex.

Then she meets her soulmate. But he doesn’t want her.

When it comes to girls, twenty-five-year-old Leo Tate has one rule: never fall in love. His gym and his brother are all he cares about...until he meets Nora. He resists the pull of their attraction, hung up on their six year age difference.

As they struggle to stay away from each other, secrets will be revealed, tempers will flare, and hearts will be broken.

Welcome to Briarcrest Academy…where sometimes, the best things in life are Very Bad Things.







With a former supermodel mother and a rock-and-roll legend father, Emma Preston has the best of everything. Nothing is as perfect as it seems though. After her parents divorce, she’s forced to live with her mother in a private Santa Monica community. Ignoring their parental roles, her mother becomes more focused on climbing the social ladder while her father is off on tour.

Growing up in a trailer park with his mother, Jesse is used to people looking down on him. When his mother begs him to submit an application for a scholarship to one of Santa Monica’s top private schools, he never expects to actually get it. When he does, he is forced to attend school with a bunch of rich kids. He ignores their stares as they judge him for having tattoos and a less than impressive car. As long as he has his surfboard and the guys at the tattoo shop, he knows he can make it through.

When Jesse shows up on the first day of school, Emma can’t help but be intrigued. Her mother would never approve of Emma talking to someone so poor, but she doesn’t care because something about Jesse draws her to him.

Jesse tries to hate Emma, but he discovers that he can’t resist her. Forced to hide their relationship from Emma’s mother and everyone else around them, things start to fall apart. When Jesse’s friend, Ally, decides to interfere, things go from bad to worse.

Can they survive their first love? Or will they be left with nothing more than shattered ties?






Thalia is twenty-one and has just finished her sophomore year of college, and is trying to avoid going home to her stifling parents who have a curfew of nine every night, and have a bad habit of treating her like she's still ten years old. Her new boyfriend, Liam, invites her to spend the summer with him and his family, so as she’s been unable to find a local job to keep her at college, Thalia jumps at the chance. Liam tells her that she can be his guest at his brother, Jack’s, wedding at the end of the summer.

Jack is twenty-five and feels as though he’s drowning. He’s engaged to Mia, against his will, because it’s always been drilled into him, family comes first. Jack’s studying for a law degree, and wants to go out on his own once he graduates, specializing in criminal law. His father wants him to accept a junior partnership in the law firm owned jointly by him and Lewis, his fiancées father, to practice family law.

Then he meets his brother’s girlfriend, Thalia, and he can’t get her out of his head. He needs her to keep her distance, because every time she smiles in his direction, he wants to carry her to his room and do really naughty things to her.

Then Saturday night arrives and Liam takes Thalia to a new bar that has opened on the outskirts of town, where she discovers Jack’s big secret. By day he’s the good looking, slightly older brother with a chip on his shoulder, who gives her hot looks, and by night he’s Phoenix, singer/guitar player for bad boy group ‘Deception’, who makes her sizzle to the core!

He has muscle.
He has tattoos.
He has piercings.

He has a mouth that makes her panties wet every time he opens it. He is supposed to be getting married.

He is also her boyfriend’s brother....







I was thrilled when I was offered a graduate teaching position at the prestigious Tennerson Girls Academy. At twenty-three, this would be my first ‘real’ teaching assignment. Working at the elite boarding school, home to the daughters of some of the wealthiest people in the world, was a great opportunity that I would’ve been stupid to pass up.

One week into my new job, and I suddenly had no idea why I chose high school…I was a seventeen year old boy once, I knew how teenage girls behaved.

You can’t even imagine the hell of trying to teach thirty, hormonal driven seventeen year olds who have been cooped up, away from any male contact.

I could handle the whispers every time I entered the room. I could even handle the obvious attempts at gaining my attention. What I couldn’t handle was her…

Rich bitches and way too many rules. Was it any wonder that I hated school?

Add to that the lack of male contact, and I was going insane. Like literally. I wasn’t used to this. A year ago I was normal. I had a boyfriend, friends and a loving family. There is nothing normal about me anymore, and nobody here lets me forget that.

My name is Wrenn, and I’m only here because my aunt took me in after what happened, but my aunt also happens to be the headmistress of this academy…Can you see my problem?

I’m hated for my lack of money, and I’m hated for who my Aunt is.

Then he arrived. Dalton Reed. My new history teacher.

Slowly, he helped me see that even in the worst situations, there is always hope.






My name is Lily Gilmore, and I was supposed to be getting married today. That was until I found my fiancé having sex with my sister in the church moments before I was supposed to walk down the aisle. I grew up with a father who was a womanizer and cheated on my mother every moment he had the chance. He would even stoop as low as to take me and my sister with him on his trysts when we were younger. Cheating was all I grew up with, and I vowed never to live the life my mother did. After finding my fiancé and my sister together, I moved from Seattle to Santa Monica to start a new life of independence and to focus on my passion for photography, man-free.

My name is Luke Matthews. About a year ago, I lost the love of my life, my fiancé, in a tragic car accident. There are no words that can describe how I’ve felt the past year. My life and all my dreams had died with her in the accident. I exist, and I play my guitar to try and ease the pain. My love was taken away, and I will never get that back.

What happens when the lives of two people who no longer believe in love are suddenly changed by fate?






“You never have to be without me, Laney, never.”

He lied…my everything I ever knew, trusted, wanted…I am, in fact, without him.

On my own and out of my shell, I learn new things about life, friendship and…myself.

Like what you’ve always known may not be what you’ve always wanted.

Dane Kendrick awakened things within me that I never knew existed, unraveling and uncovering the real Laney Jo Walker.

I’m a NEW adult…so is my story.







Mason and Logan Kade are two brothers who did their own thing. They were rich and expected to attend her school, Fallen Crest Academy. They chose public school and now Samantha has to live with them. The problem is that she doesn't care at all: about them, about her friends, about her cheating boyfriend, or even about her parent's divorce. But maybe that's a good thing. Maybe change is a good thing.





Tuesday, April 22, 2014

*SPOTLIGHT* Paige Tyler- Her Perfect Mate


USA Today Bestselling Author
"Hunky Heroes, Kickbutt Heroines, Unforgettable Romance!"
 


Title: HER PERFECT MATE (X-OPS Book One)

Author: Paige Tyler

Genre: Romance - Military/Paranormal/Romantic-Suspense

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Release Date: May 6, 2014 (Available for Pre-Order)

Blurb:
He's a High-Octane Special Ops Pro

When Special Forces Captain Landon Donovan is chosen for an assignment with the Department of Covert Operations, he's stunned to find his new partner is a beautiful woman who looks like she couldn't hurt a fly, never mind take down a terrorist.

She's No Kitten

Ivy Halliwell isn't your average covert op. She's a feline shifter, and more dangerous than she looks. Her feline DNA means she can literally bring out the claws when things get dicey. She's worked with a string of hotheaded military guys who've underestimated her special skills in the past. But when she's partnered with special agent Donovan, a man sexy enough to make any girl purr, things begin to heat up. He doesn't think she's a freak-and he's smokin' hot. Soon they're facing a threat even greater than anyone imagines...and an animal magnetism impossible to ignore.





Excerpt:
Landon expected Todd and Kendra to take him to another conference room, so he was surprised when they led him into what looked like a workout room. Mats covered the floor and a heavy bag hung from a hook in one corner. Weights and workout equipment filled a good portion of the room. A woman was seated cross-legged in the center of it, her eyes closed, her hands loosely resting on her knees. At their entrance, she gracefully uncurled herself from the floor and got to her feet.

She was wearing a pair of black workout pants like his ex-girlfriend used to wear when she went to yoga class, and a form-fitting tank top. He couldn’t help but notice her curvy, athletic body, expressive dark eyes, and full lips. With little makeup and her long, dark hair pulled up in a
ponytail, she looked like the girl next door. Only more exotic than any girl he’d ever lived next door to, that was for sure.

He didn’t care how tired and irritated he was, this was a woman he definitely wouldn’t mind stopping to appreciate. Hopefully, one of his new training officers would introduce them before she left to give them the room.

“Landon, meet Ivy Halliwell, your new partner,” Kendra said. “Ivy, Captain Landon Donovan, Special Forces.”

They were going to have to pick his jaw up off the floor because Landon was damn sure that’s where it was after hearing that announcement. No way this walking wet dream was his partner. She looked like she  
couldn’t hurt a fly, much less do any kind of covert ops. They had to be messing with him.

“Your first mission is to put her on her ass,” Todd said.

He’d had some big what-the-hell moments in his life—most of them within the past twenty-four hours—but this had to be the biggest.

Landon narrowed his eyes at the man. “Excuse me?”

“Take her down.”

Was this guy serious? This was his new partner and they wanted him to kick her ass? Ivy was about half his size and looked like she should be walking down a fashion runway somewhere, not trading blows with a trained combat killer.

Landon shook his head. “Forget it. I’m not going to take a swing at her, much less put her on her ass.” He folded his arms across his chest. “You want entertainment? Maybe I should put you on your ass.”

Kendra must have thought that was funny because she hid a smile behind her clipboard.

Ivy wasn’t so subtle. She laughed outright. And damn if it didn’t have a sexy sound to it.

“That’s chivalrous of you, Donovan,” she said. “You putting Todd on his ass is something I’d like to see, but he isn’t going to let us leave this room until you learn the lesson you’re here to learn. So, let’s get this over with.”

She didn’t wait for a reply, but instead slowly circled around Landon on her bare feet. He instinctively turned to follow her. She moved with the sure-footed grace of a cat, making him think she was probably well-trained in one or more martial arts.

“Well?” she demanded.

He assessed her stance. “You’re not ready.”

Ivy rolled her eyes. “Tell you what. I’ll make it easier on you. I’ll hit you first. How’s that sound?”

“That implies I’d let you hit me.”

She shrugged her slim shoulders. “Oh, I’ll hit you all right.”

He laughed, but the sound was cut short as she twisted in a blur and her leg came around in a spinning heel kick that would have taken off his head if he hadn’t backed away just in time.

“Shit,” he muttered. He was way too tired for this crap. “Stop screwing around, okay? That kick would have done some damage if you landed it.”

Ivy didn’t heed his warning, though. Instead, she immediately followed up with the same kind of a kick, this time in the other direction. Landon quickly backpedaled to avoid her foot, only to smack against the wall. He dropped to one knee, instinctively thrusting out with his hands to
both knock her away from him and put some space between them. But instead of falling back, she moved out of the way, avoiding his hands. For a moment he didn’t realize what she’d done. Then it struck him. She’d darted sideways while she was in mid-kick. That shouldn’t even be
physically possible.

Ivy landed lightly on her feet, a smile curving her lips. “I knew I could get you to take a shot at me, even if it was lame. Then again, I didn’t expect much from another oversized grunt like you. I don’t know why they keep pairing me up with guys like you all the time. Can’t they find anyone with a brain?”

Landon rose from his crouch and moved to the center of the room. When she came at him again, he didn’t want a wall getting in his way.

“Guys like me? You’re trying to insult me now? Think that’s going to get me to take a punch at you? What are you, a masochist?”

Her smile broadened. “I already got you to do that. And I’d only be a masochist if you ever got your  
hands on me.”

He snorted. “Lady, that wasn’t a punch. You’d know it if I wanted to hit you.”

“All talk and no action,” she scoffed. “Isn’t that the Special Forces motto or something?”

Landon knew what she was trying to do and it wasn’t going to work. She must have figured it out, too. She gave up on the verbal jabs and resorted to real ones, coupled with those damn spinning roundhouse kicks again.

He stripped off his camo overshirt and threw it across the room, so he could get down to serious business.

He blocked most of her strikes with his hands and the others with his shoulders, biceps, and thighs. He sure as hell felt them, but he got the feeling she wasn’t hitting him nearly as hard as she could.

His plan was to lure her in close enough to get his hands on her. That way, he could put her down without being forced to throw a serious punch. She might be agile as hell, but if he connected with anything real, he’d break something. His best bet was to get his hands on her and
pin her to the floor so he could end this stupid game.

That was easier than it sounded. Ivy was faster than lightning and could twist her body into a pretzel to get out of his grasp. He had her in a perfect jujitsu take-down position several times only to have her spoil it by not going down like she should have. He even planted his knee in
her stomach and yanked her backward with him in a throw that should have landed her hard on her back, groaning in pain. Instead, she turned the move into some kind of gymnastic flip and came down as softly on her feet as if she stepped off a street curb.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the two training officers taking notes as they watched. Kendra was actually smiling. Landon clenched his jaw. What a couple of asses.

On the other side of the room, Ivy spun around to face him. Eyes narrowing, she ran directly toward him. He automatically braced himself for another blow, but at the last second she darted to her right, jumping at the wall and rebounding off it like she was an extra in some Jackie
Chan movie, then ricocheting back at him, her right leg coming around in a roundhouse kick.

Instead of getting out of the way like any sane person would have, he moved closer, getting underneath her swinging leg and grabbing her shoulders. He avoided her foot, but ended up taking a knee to the left side of his rib cage. It hurt, but it got him inside her defenses. He was
going to get a grip on her, and this time she wasn’t going to get away.

That’s when he realized her kick had only been a distraction. He’d been so busy watching her feet he hadn’t even noticed her open hand coming toward him. He did a double take. She was going to slap him? His mind registered surprise for half a millisecond before her hand angled down to sweep across the front of his T-shirt.

Landon felt the fabric tug and swore he heard a ripping sound. He even felt a sting. But he ignored it. Tightening his grip on her shoulders, he spun them both around, letting the momentum from her rebound take them down to the floor.

He twisted at the last second, taking the impact of the floor on his right shoulder before yanking her to his chest in a bear hug. If he’d been trying to kill her, he would have crushed a hell of a lot harder. Instead he squeezed just enough to let her know he could hurt her if he wanted to.

They came to a stop with him on his back, Ivy pinned to his chest. She didn’t fight him, simply laid there with her face close to his neck, breathing deeply. Landon couldn’t help but notice how soft her body was against his, and how nice it felt to have her on top of him.

His cock noticed, too.

Shit. This was going to be embarrassing.

“Okay, you two,” Todd said. “I think we’ve gotten everything out of this demonstration I intended.”

It took a moment for the words to register—probably because all the blood had left his head to rush to another part of his anatomy. Landon reluctantly loosened his hold on Ivy. He waited for her to get up, but she stayed firmly planted on top of him, which alarmed him. He thought

she would have jumped up the moment he released her. God, he hoped he hadn’t hurt her with that take down.

He gently tilted her chin up with his fingers. “Hey. You okay?”

Ivy blinked at him, her beautiful eyes filled with something that looked almost like wonder. Then she gave herself a little shake. “I-I’m good. You?”

“Yeah. Fine.”

“Good.”

She gazed at him for a moment longer, then quickly pushed to her feet. She crossed the room to slip on a pair of flip-flops she had left there. When she turned back to him, her face was the perfect mask of composure he’d seen when he first walked in.

“No hard feelings, I hope?” she said as he stood. “That’s just the way the DCO likes to introduce me to my new partners. I don’t know why.”

He knew why. The DCO realized the fastest way to get a man to appreciate the talents of his female partner was to have her kick his ass. At least she hadn’t done it to him.

“Not at all,” he said. “I suppose we can call this match a tie.”

Her lips curved. “You think so?”

Reaching out, she flicked his shirt with her fingers, then turned and walked away.

Remembering the bizarre open-handed swipe she’d given him across the chest, he looked down to see four diagonal tears in his T-shirt. He pushed the material aside, frowning when he found four identical scratches on his chest. If he didn’t know better, he’d think he got scratched
by a cat—a big cat. They weren’t deep or bleeding, but there was no mistaking what had made them—fingernails. Ivy’s fingernails. Not exactly standard-issue hand-to-hand combat technique. He got the feeling nothing about this place was standard issue. Especially his new partner.


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