Review – Smokey by L.Wilder


What Worked For Me:
This is the first book I’ve read by L. Wilder, but it won’t be the last.  I enjoyed Smokey a great deal, although it was rather tame compared to other books in the MC genre.  Smokey is our quiet and strong hero.  He’s got his brothers and his bike, and doesn’t seem to need much else.  I liked his protectiveness and caring nature, especially in regards to our heroine, MJ.  MJ is a sweet and spunky woman who is seriously clumsy.  I love heroines like her.  These two have a fate that seems to be entwined together as one random meeting at a diner begins their fascination with each other and then culminates when they meet for the second time…. MJ informing Smokey of the passing of his father and discusses his father’s will.  Together these two characters work seamlessly until an outside influence intrudes on their relationship.  I like their chemistry together which is both smoking hot and sugar sweet.  I was heartbroken the way MJ left town and the reason why she left.  I can’t spoil it for you but I wanted to jump into my Kindle and beat the crap out of someone!  Still, I have to admit, it gave this book some serious emotion and suspense, especially with the plot twist the author surprises you with.  Even better, you get to see the depth of love our hero has for the heroine, which is swoon worthy all on it’s own.  Overall, this book has a little bit of everything that makes a story good….a well thought out plot, great characters, some intrigue and a love story that will stand the test of time.
Would I recommend this book?  Yes, especially to my friends who like MC romances without all the angst that can come in some of them.
Final Star Rating:  4
*sidenote…this is the 5th book in the Satan’s Fury series but you don’t have to read the other books in this series to enjoy Smokey, although I’m definitely going back and reading them because I can’t believe I didn’t know about this author!
Title: Smokey
Series: Satan’s Fury MC
Author: L. Wilder
Genre: MC Romance
Release Date: October 18, 2016


You can’t fight fate, especially when it brings you a girl like MJ Thompson. She wasn’t just beautiful. No, she was so much more than that. She was smart with a smile full of magic and curves that drove me to distraction. I wanted her, but there was a catch: She was the lawyer handling my father’s will. And as if that wasn’t enough, her dad was a cop.

I should’ve known better than to get mixed up with a girl like her, but I just couldn’t resist. I wanted to feel her body pressed against mine. I wanted to hear her call my name while she was wrapped in my arms, so I ignored my instincts. I made her mine. After one night, she had me, heart and soul. Every ounce of doubt, every second thought, vanished.

Life was good. I had my woman by my side. The club’s new pipeline was moving forward, and I was coming to terms with my past. Then, without warning, it all fell apart. I lost her. She skipped town, leaving only a note and a lot of unanswered questions. I thought I had to let her go, but she had a secret. After discovering what she was hiding, there was nothing I wouldn’t do to have her back in my arms.

Sometimes the road takes you on an unexpected turn, and you end up exactly where you’re meant to be.

Leslie Wilder grew up in a small town in West Tennessee. A country girl at heart, she’s always thought that life is too short, but she had no idea how short it really was until her brother passed away in 2014. She’s always been an avid reader, loving the escape only a great book can give, and wondered if she had what it took to write one of the wild romances she’d come to adore. With the support of her family and friends, she published Inferno: A Devil Chaser’s MC, one year after her brother’s death. With him in mind, she fulfilled her lifetime dream of writing. Since then, she’s completed the Devil Chaser’s Series and continued on with the Satan’s Fury MC Series. She has so many stories in her head, and can’t wait to share each and every one.

Leslie has been blown away by the support of her readers, appreciating every message, review, and encouraging word she’s received over the past year. She looks forward to continuing this journey with them for years to come.


Excerpt Reveal – Ride Rough by Laura Kaye



Laura Kaye’s RIDE HARD, the first novel in Laura’s Raven Riders Series, is on sale for a very limited time for only $1.99! Be sure you grab it and pre-order RIDE ROUGH, the second novel in the Raven Riders Series releasing April 25, 2017! A sexy romantic suspense, you might’ve first met the Ravens in the Hard Ink world, but this series stands on its own and is even sexier, edgier, and grittier! The Raven Riders Series takes you on a new adventure and kicks it into overdrive!


Get Ready for RIDE ROUGH with an exclusive excerpt AND a Sale on RIDE HARD!



OMG you guys! I’m so excited! Because the first book in my new Raven Riders series is on sale for the first time AND I’ve got an advance excerpt from the second book here for you to enjoy! The Raven Riders is a new sexy contemporary romance series, and a spin-off from my Hard Ink world, about a different kind of a motorcycle club with a protective mission. Ride Hard tells the story of a naïve woman on the run who’s been rescued by the jaded and tormented president of the Raven Riders, who learns that she’s strong enough to save herself and the man she loves, too. Ride Rough is a second-chance love story that is so hot and emotional that I absolutely adored writing it! I hope you’ll check both out!

Now, enjoy this delicious tease from Ride Rough, coming 4/25/17, and grab your copies of BOTH! Thanks for reading! ~ Laura Kaye

From Ride Rough:

It was one of Maverick’s favorite dreams.

He and Alexa had gone up to Swallow Falls in Western Maryland for a weekend getaway and were staying in one of the mini cabins at the state park. After a day of hiking and swimming and picnicking outside, they’d come back to their cabin tired and ready to crash, but getting naked for showers had sidetracked them for hours. And even once they finally fell asleep, Maverick was hard and ready every time he woke up, and he took her again and again, falling asleep still buried inside her . . .

And fuck if he wasn’t ready right now.

He burrowed his face in Alexa’s soft hair and banded his arm around her stomach. His hand filled with the soft mound of her breast. He pulled her back against his chest and ground his erection against the swell of her ass.

“Maverick,” she moaned.

Hell, yeah. He nuzzled her neck, kissed her there, tasting and nipping and sucking. God, he needed in her. “Fuck, Alexa,” he whispered.

Her hand gripped his. “Maverick.”

He rolled her under him and crawled on top of her, his body falling into the cradle of her spread thighs.

“Uh, Maverick.”

He frowned and kissed her jaw, her cheek, her mouth.

It was the kiss that did it. Something wasn’t right. The memory playing out in his sleep-fogged mind didn’t feel like the reality confronting his physical senses. His eyes blinked open.

And he found himself lying on top of Alexa. Not in the cabin at Swallow Falls years before. In the gray morning light of his house. Her wide hazel eyes stared up at him.

He reared off of her in an instant. “Fuck,” he said, coming to stand by the couch. Alexa looked stunned—and so fucking sexy that Maverick barely resisted crawling back on top of her. She lay on her back in his clothes, on his couch, her knees drawn up and falling out, her hair sleep-mussed and sexy. Jesus. He adjusted himself, unable to hide his raging hard-on, and scrubbed at his face. “Goddamn dream. I’m sorry, Alexa. I didn’t mean to do that.”

“You . . . you were dreaming. Of me?” she whispered.

His gaze narrowed. “Don’t ask a question you don’t want the answer to.”

She swallowed and licked her lips. “What if I do want it? The answer,” she added.

Years of need and longing roared through Maverick like a drug he’d mainlined. His thoughts spilled out unfiltered. “Damnit, Al. You’re laying there in my clothes in my house with your thighs spread after I’ve just woken up holding you. My skin smells like you. And I’m sporting an erection because of you. Don’t fuck with me.” The words came out harsher than he intended, but she couldn’t play with him. Not on this. Not when he cared so much. Not when he wanted so much.

Her mouth dropped open and her chest rose and fell a little quicker. “I’m not playing a game. I want to know.”

Planting his hands on his hips, Maverick studied her. Her beautiful, languid body. Her pretty, open face. Her eyes, honest and free of pretense. He felt pulled in a million directions. Between wrong and right, between taking advantage and taking care, between giving in and opening himself up to a world of hurt. “I was dreaming of you. Of us. Up at Swallow Falls.”

“That night we—”

“Yes,” he growled.


Fuck.” He dropped his chin to his chest and closed his eyes. Trying to be bigger than his base needs. Trying to put her before himself. “Whatever is about to come out of your mouth is not a good idea.”


“I mean it, Al—”

“Maverick!” she nearly yelled. “Listen to me.”

His gaze cut up to hers in time to see her sit up a little and take off her shirt. Well, his shirt. Then she laid back again, her eyes on him, drinking him in, inviting him in. “What if I do want it?” she whispered.

Something inside him snapped.

He was on her in a second. Body covering hers. Hands going to her warm skin. Mouth tasting her everywhere—her shoulder, her throat, her cheek. His chest pressed against her breasts, her hard nipples evident, her excitement palpable. And then his mouth found hers. On a triumphant groan, he claimed her, his lips sucking, his tongue penetrating. His big hand found her breast and kneaded at the soft mound.

And Alexa was right there with him. Moaning, kissing him, clutching on to him. Her thighs wrapped around his hips and her fingers twisted in his hair.

Bad idea bad idea such a fucking bad idea.

Why did bad ideas have to feel so good?




About Ride Hard (Raven Riders #1)

Now on sale for $1.99 for the first time & for a limited time!

Brotherhood. Club. Family.

They live and ride by their own rules.

These are the Raven Riders…

Raven Riders Motorcycle Club President Dare Kenyon rides hard and values loyalty above all else. He’ll do anything to protect the brotherhood of bikers—the only family he’s got—as well as those who can’t defend themselves. So when mistrustful Haven Randall lands on the club’s doorstep scared that she’s being hunted, Dare takes her in, swears to keep her safe, and pushes to learn the secrets overshadowing her pretty smile.

Haven fled from years of abuse at the hands of her criminal father and is suspicious of any man’s promises, including those of the darkly sexy and overwhelmingly intense Ravens’ leader. But as the powerful attraction between them flares to life, Dare pushes her boundaries and tempts her to want things she never thought she could.

The past never dies without a fight, but Dare Kenyon’s never backed down before…

Order on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Add to your Goodreads



About Ride Rough (Raven Riders #2, 4/25/17)

Maverick Rylan won’t apologize for who he is—the Raven Riders Motorcycle Club Vice-President, a sought-after custom bike builder, and a man dedicated to protecting those he loves. So when he learns that the only woman who has ever held his heart is in trouble, he’ll move heaven and earth to save her.

Alexa Harmon thought she had it all—the security of a good job, a beautiful home, and a powerful, charming fiancé who offered the life she never had growing up. But when her dream quickly turns into a nightmare, Alexa realizes she’s fallen for a façade she can’t escape—until sexy, dangerous Maverick offers her a way out.

Forced together to keep Alexa safe, their powerful attraction reignites and Maverick determines to do whatever it takes to earn a second chance—one Alexa is tempted to give. But her ex-fiancé isn’t going to let her go without a fight, one that will threaten everything they both hold dear.

Order on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Add to your Goodreads







laura-kaye-headshotAbout Laura Kaye:

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over twenty books in contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense, including the Hard Ink and upcoming Raven Riders series. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.




Website | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter SignUp




Excerpt Reveal – One Step Closer by Kahlen Aymes


He was going to kill his best friend.  He was literally going to fucking kill him.

The party was buzzing and so was Caleb’s brain.  He didn’t know the time, but it had to be somewhere around 3 AM, and anger was simmering just below the surface.

He was thankful it was winding down and most of the guests had already left because he was agitated and pensive.  The few who lingered were all part of his best friend, Dex’s, crowd.  He knew Jake and Bret because they were part of the same group he used to hang with when he was younger, but there were several new faces.

Caleb had been hell-bent on making his father’s life a living hell. Dex and his friends were rough, tough, and tattooed.  They walked a fine line between right and wrong; more unruly and wild than the preppy crowd that went to the private high school his father demanded he attend. However, that was sort of the point.  The three other guys and two women that remained he’d never met prior to this evening when they’d shown up with his old friend.  

Hard to believe how much could change in four years.  Look at Wren.  

His eyes had been unwillingly glued to her all night, stalking her every move.  

The beer in his hand was probably the sixth he’d had in less than two hours, but he wasn’t drunk. The time at home had been a combination of heaven and hell.  He’d been dying to see Wren and they’d had some great times together in the week he’d been back in Denver, but the familiar aches in his heart and groin hadn’t magically abated during their time apart.  He silently chastised himself for being foolish enough to think that it would ease as she grew into a woman.  His breath left his chest in a loud sigh.

Sure, the alcohol was giving him a buzz, but it wasn’t enough to kill the burn in his gut or the pressure in his chest as he watched Dex put the moves on Wren.  Caleb had asked him to watch out for her in his absence; but Dex was supposed to protect her, not want her.  No one fucking wanted her as much as Caleb had wanted her, or for as long. He’d been tortured with wanting her.  He’d been tormented for years with it, but everyone thought of them as siblings.  The very thought made Caleb’s stomach turn.

Someone was speaking to him, but he barely registered the sound of the female voice.  His eyes were trained on Dex’s arms snaking around Wren’s back and waist, under the luxurious curtain of loose blonde curls that rained to just above her hips.

Caleb lifted the beer to his mouth and took a long pull.  “Hmm?” he asked of the woman standing close to him as he sat, half-assed, on the back of a sofa.  The music was blaring over the state-of-the-art stereo system, and he strained to hear her, but his eyes never left Wren.

“So this is your last year at MIT?  Dex said you two were gonna start some sort of motorcycle company together.  That’s so cool.  My dad is part of an MC.”

Dex’s dad, Darren, had a shop and he had learned a shit load from the two of them; and more importantly, they’d become like family in the years after Caleb lost his mother. Darren was a stand-up guy who’d never abandon his kid, and Caleb envied the close relationship Dex shared with his father. Sure, he was a laborer and Edison Luxon had a successful corporation, but in Caleb’s eyes, Darren was the better man.  He had ten times the respect for him.

Caleb met Dex at a high school wrestling meet when Caleb was thirteen and Dex was fifteen, and the two of them had become friends.  Caleb spent as much time as possible at Darren’s shop and with Dex’s family, as he could.  Dex was sort of a wild child, and his parents were less strict than Edison was, but there was a strong sense of mutual respect in their family.  

Caleb and Dex hadn’t been angels growing up, but at least, Dex could count on his parents to have his back.  It was completely unlike the abandonment that Caleb felt from Edison.  Most of the time, Caleb acted out just to get his father’s attention.  It hardly ever worked.  Edison would deliver a cold lecture, calmly deal with the situation by paying someone off, and then forget about his son until the next time he got into trouble.  Caleb had come to the conclusion that the only thing he could do was get the hell away from his father as soon as he was eighteen.  Somehow even that got fucked up.

“Yeah.  We’ve talked about it for a long time, that’s why I’m studying mechanical engineering.  It’s not that easy; we’re both dead broke, and his Dad’s shop can’t spare him right now.  A lot has to happen first,” Caleb answered.

“But…” the young woman began, waving her hand around at the expensive surroundings.  “It looks like your family is rich—”

Caleb cut her off.  “Don’t get excited, honey.  These are my old man’s digs, not mine.”  He huffed. The only reason he even came home, ever, was because of Wren. The music changed to a slow, deep rhythm.

“But this place…”

“Yeah. My dad is swimming in it, but hell will freeze over before I’d ask him for a damn thing.  He’d just hold it over my head for the rest of my life, or at least, the rest of his.”  He could elaborate that his father was a control freak, or explain the reason he hated Edison so much, but he’d most likely never see her again.  So, what was the point?  Besides, he was preoccupied with what was happening across the room.

Caleb glanced down at the woman for the first time since their conversation began.  She had hair so dark it looked black in the dim light.  Her make-up was overdone making her skin tone a deep tan, and her clothing was tight and cheap.  She was a sharp contrast to Wren’s natural, blonde beauty.   Caleb tried to remember the name Dex had mentioned when he’d introduced her earlier.   

Was it Marie?  He wracked his brain. Maryann? Michelle? He knew it was an “M” name, but not sure exactly what.  Fuck!

Movement in his peripheral vision made his eyes return to Dex and Wren.  Aside from the girl at his side, everyone else was playing pool on the other half of the big room, except for the one couple dancing.  Caleb’s chest was tight as he tried to breathe; it physically fucking hurt to watch.

Dex was pulling Wren close, pressing her against him and they were swaying softly to the song.  Wren seemed to be enjoying herself.  Her head was tilted up to look at Dex; she was smiling alluringly.  She was so beautiful when she was happy.  How could she keep getting more fucking beautiful every time he saw her?  

Wren laid her head on Dex’s shoulder, her hands slipping up around his neck, clearly losing herself.  She had just turned eighteen a month earlier, but Caleb was sure she’d had a drink or two; which was enough to make her less inhibited.  

Caleb swallowed.  He was mesmerized, unable to look away from the two of them. It was nothing short of torture knowing it was impossible for him to touch her the same way Dex was able to. Not only was she the daughter of his father’s second wife, she was younger by close to three years.  Sure, he could protect her from that abusive bitch.  He could spend time with her. He could even fantasize about her, but that’s where it stopped.  Even though Wren had developed a kind of crush on him at first, he’d never considered they could be more.  He loved her.  He’d always loved her, but he’d always considered her off limits.  

He tried to keep making small talk with the girl whose name he couldn’t remember. He nursed what was left of his beer, until he caught sight of Dex’s hand sliding down over Wren’s ass to the hem of her dress and then creep up slightly; underneath.

Caleb’s eyes narrowed and adrenaline started to flood his veins abruptly clearing the alcohol haze. Suddenly the music was deafening.  The beat was pounding in his head like a hammer; the dim light flickering with the beat. It was getting brighter with each hit of the base drum.   

“It looks like Dex likes your little sister.”

Caleb’s nostrils flared, and the skin of his face felt as if it was lit on fire.  He ran a quick hand over the scruff on his jaw trying to alleviate it.  The girl reached out to touch his muscled bicep.  

Caleb clenched his teeth.  “Wren isn’t my sister.”

The girl rolled her eyes. “Whatever.  Stepsister then.  Same diff.”

No.  It wasn’t the same thing, not even close.  If the “M” girl sensed Caleb’s irritation, she didn’t show it.

His instincts made his muscles coil, and it was all he could do not to fly across the room and pummel his best friend down to the floor.  He still fought in the occasional underground fight club, but he was in even better shape now.  The boxing club at MIT was official, and kept him lean and honed.  He could still beat the shit out of anyone who challenged him. He could probably do it even easier than before, and right now; he wanted to pound Dex into the fucking ground.

Didn’t he know how Caleb felt about Wren?

When Dex’s hand rose higher under Wren’s dress, his intent to grab her ass full on, Caleb couldn’t stand still any longer.  He dropped his beer and the glass bottle broke with a loud crash on the hardwood floor; making the girl beside him jump.

“Party’s over,” Caleb growled deeply.

The girl looked dumbstruck as Caleb left her standing there and moved quickly across the room to shut down the music.

“Party’s over!” he said, louder this time; shouting so he would be heard over the music.

Dex and Wren split apart when the music stopped abruptly and everyone in the room was staring in Caleb’s direction with blank looks on their faces.  However, they sat down their drinks, and began putting on their coats.

Dex’s hand slid down Wren’s arm and his fingers closed around her hand, as he took a couple of steps toward his friend.  “What’s up, man?  Why?  The house is empty.”

Caleb met his eyes unflinchingly.  “I’m tired.  Everyone out.”  Caleb’s tone was low but the only sound in the silent room.  “Now.”

Dex looked incredulous, and shook his head.  “Why Caleb?”

Caleb continued to stare him down, his eyes menacing.  “I said; I’m tired.”  He was livid and he didn’t even understand why he was so fucking pissed off.  Shit, if he’d been dancing with a beautiful girl he was into, he’d probably have copped a feel too.  

Wren pulled her hand from Dex’s grip and walked to Caleb, looking up into his face.  She looked so damn innocent, her brilliant blue eyes wide.  “Cale, what’s going on?  We were only dancing.”

Caleb looked down into her face, his eyes softening at the confused look in her blue eyes, and his thumb lifting her chin briefly.  “Stay here.”

The others, sensing the palpable tension between Dex and Caleb had already started to file up the stairs to the outside door.  Caleb nodded in the direction of Bret, who was waiting for the two girls to precede him up the stairs, then followed.

“I don’t get it, Caleb. I mean, what the hell?” He took two steps in Wren’s direction.

“You don’t have to get it,” Caleb commanded, nodding at the stairwell.  “You just have to get the fuck out of here.”

Dex looked pissed, then glanced down at Wren.  “You wanna come with?” he asked Wren.

Caleb shook his head once and in one second had moved in front of Wren, to separate her from Dex. “She stays.” His tone insisted compliance.

“Caleb, this makes no sense, man. We were having a good time dancing.”

“Yeah, I saw,” Caleb hissed.  The fingers on his right hand began curling into a fist at his side, and he had to mentally insist it didn’t fly and punch Dex right there.  “I want to talk to you. Outside.”

Dex’s eyes widened.  Suddenly he understood.  Definitely, he made a move in Wren’s direction, intending to kiss her full on the mouth just to piss Caleb off, but Wren, sensing it wouldn’t help the situation between the two men, backed up even further behind Caleb.  

She’d danced with Dex and purposefully let him get a little too familiar with her because she felt hurt that Caleb was letting Michelle monopolize him on his last night in town.  However, she didn’t intend for the two of them to out and out brawl, and she didn’t see it coming.  She would have preferred spending the evening alone with Caleb; talking, driving around, or watching a movie together; but it hadn’t been her choice.  

“Unless you want to die, I suggest you get the fuck out! Now!” Caleb seethed.

Anger flooded through Dex, as well. His friend was overstepping.  He didn’t do anything wrong, and he’d be damned if he’d cower to Caleb’s jealousy.  

“Just go, Dex.  Go on,” Wren implored, peering at him from behind Caleb’s solid form. Caleb was poised to strike, and Wren could feel his anger vibrate in the air around them like electricity.  

Dex was built; lean and strong, but Caleb was a competitive boxer and formidable; he easily had thirty pounds of muscle on Dex. Wren didn’t want Dex getting pummeled or Caleb regretting his actions afterward, which she was certain he would.  They’d been friends for as long as she’d known them both and the last thing she wanted was to see their friendship ruined.

She mentally kicked herself for leading Dex on.  She was confused by Caleb’s sudden anger, but it made her heart trip around in her chest at the same time. She felt excitement at the prospect he might be jealous making her own adrenalin flow.

Wren liked Dex and he’d taken great pains to fill Caleb’s shoes after he left, but no one could ever take Caleb’s place.  Wren had been in love with Caleb for years, but he was older and not once had she imagined he’d reciprocate her feelings.  Even now, habit made her push down that daydream.

He was just acting like the protective older brother, as he had since the day he found out about her mother’s treatment of her.  He’d changed her life, and that was the beginning of her hero worship.  Before she knew it, her schoolgirl crush had eventually matured and grown into full-blown love.

Dex turned and pulled on his leather jacket.  He started to climb the stairs with Caleb following closely behind, leaving Wren standing in the middle of the big room, alone.   “I’ll be back in a minute,” Caleb said over his shoulder as he left.

Dex’s motorcycle was the only one left in the wide driveway at the back of the house in front of the five-stall garage, signaling that everyone else had already gone.

Before Dex could say a word, Caleb used both of his hands to give Dex’s shoulders a forceful shove that sent him stumbling and falling backward into his bike.  The machine fell over with the loud clang of metal bashing against the pavement, and leaving Dex sprawled face-up over it.

“What the fuck were you doing touching her like that?  Wren is off-limits! You were supposed to protect her, not try to get in her pants!  Have you touched her before this?”

“Son of a bitch!” Dex shouted.  “You just wrecked my bike!  You’re gonna pay for that!”

“Answer me!”  Caleb’s chest was heaving. “What’s going on between you two?”

Dex scrambled to sit up, pushed his weight up off the fallen motorcycle with his hands, and lunged at Caleb without answering; hitting him hard in the middle with his shoulder.  Caleb grunted as the breath was forced from his lungs.  He stumbled backward but didn’t fall.  He pushed Dex back and soon the two were going at each other with fists swinging.  Caleb took a hit on the jaw, pain exploding in his face, before he managed to land a hard right hook to Dex’s temple.  He followed it with a solid left upper cut to his jaw.

Dex fell backward, hard onto the pavement, and landed with a guttural grunt.

“What the hell is your problem?  For Christ’s sake, Caleb, we’re friends!”

Caleb looked down at Dex, his breathing heavy from the exertion of the fight, the fight with his emotions getting the better of him. “Yeah, but friend or not, touch her again and I swear I’ll mother fucking kill you!”

“Wren isn’t fifteen anymore, Caleb!” Dex returned, out of breath and moving to get to his feet.  “She’s an adult and she doesn’t need big brother’s permission to dance with me.”

If anyone was painfully aware of Wren’s age and how she’d blossomed into a gorgeous and graceful young woman, it was Caleb.

“I saw what you were doing, and dancing was the last thing on your goddamned mind!  I could deal with a random guy; but not you.  Anyone but you, Dex!”  

Their eyes met and Dex could see the pain on his friend’s face.  He’d watched Caleb come to Wren’s defense at school, with her mother, or anyone who made fun of her or hurt her for years. He should have seen that Wren was more to Caleb than he’d ever admitted.  It was clear that brotherly was not how his friend felt about Wren.  It was clear that it wouldn’t matter who was trying to get with her; Caleb wouldn’t take it well.

Dex nodded and put up his hand to keep Caleb from hitting him again, while he was down.  “Okay, man. You should’ve said something.”

“You should’ve known.”  Caleb’s brow was furrowed with a scowl firmly planted on his face.  He turned his back and reentered the house, running his hand through his over-long hair, anger still pumping through his veins as he went down the backstairs to the lower level.  He probably didn’t need another drink, but he wanted one.  His body was still on fire, and his mind was raging at him.  He took a deep breath, not sure what the confrontation with Wren was going to be like.  She was sitting on one of the big recliners that were lined up in front of the big projection TV on one end of the room.

Caleb walked past her, between the theater set-up and the pool table to the wet bar along one side.  Foregoing the beer in the full-sized refrigerator, he reached for a glass and the crystal decanter of amber liquid.  It was his father’s expensive single malt scotch.  He’d never liked that shit. He was feeling in need of something stronger, so he poured half the glass full and downed it in one big swallow. It burned all the way down; Caleb could feel it run down his esophagus and into his stomach, the heat leaving a trail that didn’t lessen the tightness in his chest.

He refilled the glass and turned, his gaze intense as it settled on Wren.  The music was still off and Wren hadn’t said anything.  Caleb had fought his desire for Wren for years.   Ever since he’d seen her as she really was without that hideous disguise she always wore when she and her mother first moved in with the Luxon men.  The scotch, along with the beer, might be impairing his judgment just a little, but damn, if she wanted to grow up; he’d help her.

His eyes seared over her body, taking in the short dress that left her legs bare and gave Dex easy access to her ass.  Anger flared inside him again.

“I don’t understand you, Caleb—” Wren began, but he held up his hand to stop her.  He took another swallow of the scotch then sat the glass down on the mahogany bar and walked purposely toward her.

She was amazingly beautiful, and he’d had enough fantasies about her to last a lifetime.  He couldn’t resist the blonde curls that tumbled down her back to her waist.   Her dancer’s body was slight and firm, her skin flawless and smooth.  Caleb’s cock was already hard, but blood surged again, making it throb even more painfully inside his jeans.  

Their eyes met and locked.  Wren could sense a danger behind his eyes, a look that had never been directed at her.  Her body quickened and heat pooled inside her at the intensity in his eyes as he slowly unbuttoned his white shirt.  When he got to her he reached out and took both of her upper arms in his hands, forcefully pulling her up to stand in front of him, close enough to feel the heat radiating between them.  She smelled amazing.  Like spring flowers with a hint of vanilla.  He leaned down and ran the tip of his nose from her shoulder, up the cord of her neck until his mouth was next to her ear.  

He spoke in a guttural whisper. “You wanna play with the big boys?  Then, play with me.”


They only had each other…

Until one forbidden night ruined everything.

This new sexy stand-alone STEPBROTHER

romance releases on October 25th.

Pre-order on iBooks here:


**Additional retailers to follow**

Receive an Amazon Alert as soon as One Step Closer is LIVE:

Add to your TBR at:



STEPSISTER. He hated that f*cking word.

When their parents got married, the only thing Caleb Luxan had in common with Wren Brashill was that they both hated their parents. When he was sixteen, Caleb discovered Wren’s closely guarded secret and vowed to protect her: from that day forward she became the reason for every decision he made.

Jealousy and long-suppressed desire overpowered Caleb’s fierce protectiveness and they spent one forbidden and unforgettable night in each other arms, but the aftermath left Caleb panicked, Wren heartbroken, and their relationship in shambles. In the time since that fateful night, he’d only seen her once and had only managed to make the situation even worse.

The sudden death of his estranged father calls Caleb home and face-to-face with Wren for first time in years. He is presented with a choice that forces him to confront the painful memories of his youth and his many regrets with Wren.

Like it or not, his father’s last, hard lesson, will demand Caleb deal with his long denied emotions for Wren, or let go of her forever.



About the Author:


I’m a single mother of one daughter, Olivia. She’s amazing in every way.

I was born in the Midwestern United States and educated at a private university where I received a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Business Administration.

I’ve always been creative with art, music, theater and writing. I decided to write a story as a way to build a network for a business venture. The reader support of my stories and my overwhelming desire to find out where my characters would take me, soon had the writing morphing the business. No one was more shocked than I. When readers began nominating my work for online awards, it took my breath away and only made me love it more. It soon became clear that writing was, and should be, my focus.

Stalk Her: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card

one step closer teaser 1020 use.jpg



Release Blitz – Strong Hate by RD Berg & Ashley Christin

Title: Strong Hate
Author: R.D. Berg & Ashley Christin
Release Date: Oct 20, 2016
Add to Goodreads
I tried to do everything in my power to distance myself from Maverick Strong; Even putting some miles between us by moving across country. Yet, here I find myself back where I started from – in my hometown and too close to Maverick. This time there will be no running away. This time I am finally putting an end to this vendetta.
Trying to forget her was like trying to avoid a head-on collision with a semi truck – it just wasn’t happenin’. My little sister’s best friend and my enemy since sophomore year. Our hate is mutual and a must – it’s also fun. When Lundyn moves back home after leaving town the day after … Ah, I’m getting ahead of myself. Either way, the hate is still strong and if hating isn’t right, I don’t want to be wrong.
“Bitch better have my money.”  Rihanna and I sing in the car as I travel down Interstate 35, heading back to Lansing, Texas, or Lan-sun as the locals pronounce it. For the hundredth time, I check my odometer to ensure I’m not speeding – you know since I am unemployed and all, and can’t afford to pay a ticket. The cruise control in my late model dull red Honda Accord went out when N’Sync was still the craze. My favorite part of the song comes on so I leave one hand on the wheel and make a mock gun with the other.
“Like, block, block, block.” I sing with so much gangsta that I scare myself while I emulate someone shooting a gun out my window. My heart nearly leaps out of my chest as I realize a moment too late that I just finger shot at a parked cop car. Trying to keep myself cool I divert my attention back to the road. “Sorry Rihanna, you gotta go.” The music dissipates and so does my ‘wanna fuck you up’ attitude.
Suddenly, my mouth goes dry, and my chest fills with dread as red and blue lights flood my car.
“Oh fuck, fuckity, fuck, fuck, fuck.” What is it about being pulled over that makes you rethink every dumb life decision you’ve ever made? Like, I wonder if he will know I smoked weed in the tenth grade or last week—who’s keeping track? Once I’m parked securely on the side of the highway, I lean over my messy console were empty cups and receipts go to die reaching for my wallet and insurance card.
“Put your hands where I can see them,” a booming male voice demands over the squad car loudspeaker.
My hands jerk up as if they’re tied to puppeteer’s string.
“Holy, shit,” I squeak as sweat beads form across my brow, under my pits, under my breasts. Well, shit… I’m a sweaty fucking mess. Now I realize it’s true what they say, your life does flash before your eyes when you are about to die. Well, in my case, the last twenty-four hours are flashing; from me getting fired, packing up and fleeing from that shit hole called Virginia, jumping to now— about to get thrown in prison for finger shooting an officer. Prison! I can’t go to prison, I’m claustrophobic as fuck, and I am petite. I will definitely be someone’s bitch on the first night. I didn’t think twice about prison when I was about to pounce on Olivia, but now when it’s in my face – oh hell to the no.
A heavy knock on my window ejects me from my mental nightmare. With my hands still suspended in the air, I turn wide-eyed to look at the trooper. He isn’t crouching, so the only thing I see is his uniform covered midsection.
I don’t know if it’s fear, adrenaline, or pure stupidity that prompts me to yell out, “I’m claustrophobic and can’t become someone’s bitch!” This is followed by a few heavy pants that nearly make me lightheaded. 
RD Berg lives in the great state of Texas with her three boys who drive her to the brink of insanity most days. She loves to read, write and watch her two favorite shows, Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. When she isn’t enthralled with a novel or a gory show, you can find her in the stands loudly cheering on her boys at their basketball and football games. She has three strong beliefs in life; Vanilla cake and Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream should be a major food group, Halloween should be celebrated every month, and Harry Potter’s birthday should be a national holiday.

I’m Texas proud with the accent to prove it. During the day I wear scrubs as a cape and try to save the world one patient at a time as a nurse. At night, mainly Friday nights, you can find me with a glass of wine faithfully by my side while I type away on the computer. I seem to get my days and nights mixed up, because my best ideas seem to come around midnight, so I’m a complete night owl. I have a long-term boyfriend who puts up with my crazy and a black lab named Sadie AKA Sadie Lady. In the in-between times of my life, I’m just tryin’ to survive my twenties with beer, good friends and fun adventures!


Cover Reveal – Halo by R.C. Stephens

Title: Halo
Author: R.C. Stephens
Release Date: Nov 1, 2016
Add to Goodreads
I fell in love with Thomas Wells and knew he was my forever.

I was sixteen when I gave him my heart.

Our love was the kind to last a lifetime. But Thomas was broken.

The first day we met he told me he was going to become a Navy SEAL.

At nineteen he enlisted.

At twenty he married me.

At twenty five he left me pregnant and didn’t turn back.

I knew he was suffering….

I also knew I couldn’t save him.

He left me broken.

I was scared and alone.

Until I met Ryder St. John a wounded soldier…

He was lost.

I was lost.

Together we made sense.

I fell in love again…

What Ryder forgot to mention was that he held a secret so explosive that it could shatter both our worlds.

Rogers Park, Chicago
Christmas morning 2002
I lie in bed waiting for Halo to wake up. I know Christmas was a big deal around her house when she was growing up. Even though her parents are gone I still want her to feel the magic of the holiday. When I was a kid Christmas was another shitty day in my life. Nothing to celebrate. Another mark on the calendar moving me closer to the time I could leave my father and my dirty past behind.
Halo begins to stir in bed, shifting toward me with her eyes shut. A sweet smile plays on her pink, lush lips and my chest bursts with love for this woman.
“Hey.” Her morning voice is raspy and thick. She opens her eyes. I couldn’t love this woman more even if I tried. She’s my everything.
“Hey yourself.” I grin as my eyes roam over her rosy nipples. The memory of making love last night gets me all hard again. I would take her right now if I didn’t have something planned. I let out a grunt.
She stretches out her arms and her body moves into a delicious curve. I lean down and close my mouth over her nipple. Damn, she tastes good.
I groan. “Baby, you can’t be teasing me now. It’s Christmas morning and I got stuff waiting for you under the tree downstairs.”
“Stuff?” Excitement grows in her eyes. “Like presents?” She instantly pops up to her knees, bouncing on the bed. She’s too cute. It’s taking everything in me not to claim her right now. I want to give her Christmas.
Seeing her smile means everything. Not too long ago she was drowning in darkness. The healthy gleam in her eyes tells me she’s feeling good now. It will make my news a little easier to deliver.
“Yes, baby, the stuff is presents.” Before I can say anything else she pops out of bed and grabs her T-shirt off the floor. I must have thrown it there last night during our lustful attempt toactually make it to the bed as opposed to having sex on the floor again.
There’s nothing wrong with floor sex but it can get hard on the back and Halo’s knees. Halo throws on the shirt and darts down the hallway. I hear the small patter of her footsteps as she makes her way down the stairs. I slip on my boxer shorts and follow her. I placed a number of presents under the tree and she won’t know which to open first.
I swiftly walk down the stairs to the living room where our Christmas tree is shining bright. I look out the window to see a small dusting of snow falling from the sky. Halo seats herself on the floor in front of the presents. This is my second year with a Christmas tree and her second year without her parents—bittersweet.
“Which one do I open first?” she asks like a little girl rubbing her palms together. It makes me laugh. I mean we are young. I’m twenty and she’s nineteen. We were both forced to grow up too quickly. I guess it’s memorable times like this that we cherish.
“If I knew presents made you this excited I would try to get more.” I chuckle.
“It’s not just the presents, Thomas. It’s Christmas. Do you feel that? It’s magical.” She stares out into space with a peaceful look on her face.
“Sure baby, I’m feeling it.” I look down to the chub in my shorts from this morning’s perusal of her body.
“Thomas,” she chides, punching my shoulder.
I chuckle again. “I’m just joking, this day is special for me too.” She’s too cute. I lean in, pressing a soft kiss on her lips. I pull away and lean toward the first box I want her to open. “This one.” I pass her a little red box wrapped in pink ribbon. She opens it in a hurry. It’s a thong from Victoria’s Secret. It’s not meaningful, but I couldn’t help picture how hot she would look in it.
“Thank you.” She leans forward and places a kiss on my lips. Then she rises to her feet and walks over to the closet by the front door. She retrieves a box from the closet and comes back to the tree.
“This is for you,” she says, extending the box with one hand. I pull her toward me, guiding her to sit in my lap. Then I open my gift. It’s a dog tag. Engraved. “I will always love you. You are the light in my darkness.” My chest grows tight.
I enlisted in the navy and went through SEAL boot camp, passing with flying colors. Then I was shipped out to Coronado, California a year ago for more training. Becoming a SEAL was a dream I had all my life. Originally I wanted to be a SEAL to get away from my father. Then I met Halo. She was only fifteen and perfect. She made me want to be a SEAL for an entirely different reason—I wanted to prove myself worthy of her.
I haven’t told her yet, but I’m deploying. I was putting it off until I knew the depression was better. I also know that she could feel me itching to leave. My friends from boot camp had already been assigned to teams that had left for Afghanistan. Being a newlywed meant I could put it off for a while. Now I was deploying. I worried she would take it hard. That’s another reason I wanted to make Christmas extra special for us.
“Halo, it’s perfect, baby.” I lean over and give her a kiss. “You are the light in my darkness. I know you know I need to leave. I wanted to talk to you about it, but…”
Her finger presses to my mouth. “I know…I know you need to go. I’ve known for a while. I guess I was selfish trying to keep you here all this time.”
“There isn’t a selfish bone in your body. You were having a hard time and it was completely understandable. You’re stronger now. You’re going to be okay. You’re busy with school and you have Jenny. You will be fine without me, Halo. I don’t think you realize how strong you really are.” I pause for a minute because I want her to open her next gift. “Here, open this.” I pass her a little silver box; this one has a little gold bow on top. She turns on my lap so she is sitting with her legs wrapped around my waist. She opens the box and her jaw drops.
“Thomas, it’s perfect,” she gasps taking it out of the box. It’s a silver locket.
“Here, let me.” I take it out of her hand and show her the engraving on the back.
You’re my Halo, my ray of light.
I will always find my way back to you
She laughs.
“We clearly think alike.” She nods, proud of herself. It’s true her name is quite original. We’ve used “halo” as a term of endearment many times. It’s a reminder that when a person is drowning in darkness, another person can show them the light.
“It’s perfect, Thomas.” 
“It opens up. You can put two pictures inside,” I explain, showing it to her.
“I will have to get some pictures made.”
I place the necklace around her neck and her palm closes over the locket, holding it close to her heart. I place the tags around my neck.
“Baby, I ship out tomorrow. I’ve known for a couple of weeks, but I didn’t want you walking around sulking for my last days at home. I thought it’s better we had a quick goodbye.” I speak the words softly, but inside I’m cringing, hoping she isn’t mad.
“Thomas…” Tears roll down her cheeks. “I know this has been coming. I know you need to go. It’s okay. I’ve told myself it’s okay since we had our first date four years ago. I’ve been preparing myself mentally for this. You will be great and you will do good in this world.” She leans forward and places a wet kiss on my mouth. I can feel her tears on my face. I love her so damn much it hurts.
“Baby, I love you. I’ll probably be gone for a while. I’ll try to stay in touch as much as I can but I’ve been told that I may be off radar for long periods of time…” I pause because my next words aren’t easy. I take a deep breath. There really is no easy way to say this… She’s young and beautiful and we fell in love and married young. If something were to happen to me she needs to know that she needs to move on.
“Don’t say it, Thomas.” Her tears continue to fall and she nods. “You’re it for me, baby.” She says it adamantly and I believe her. I was her only boyfriend and her first everything.
“Halo, listen to me.” My thumb grazes her cheek, wiping away her tears. “I’m a SEAL now. We go on high-risk missions. I need to know that if something happens to me that you won’t check out. You need to find yourself a new husband and make a life. You are nineteen years old and the most beautiful thing I have ever seen walk this earth. I know I’m asking for a lot here, but I need to hear you promise me you will. Now that being said, I promise you that I will do my damnedest to come home to you. I will find you in the dark; you can trust that. Just in case, please say the words.” I beg her as if it’s my least breath. I know she would always keep her promises to me and this one is important. My own tears spill.
I’m a realist. Living a difficult life makes you into one. There are no ifs about it. I wipe gently at her tears and look at her with pleading eyes, chipping at her stubborn walls until they are fully broken. 
“I promise.” She nods then claims my lips hungrily. The thought of her being with another man makes me crazy possessive. I know deep down I need to do everything I can to stay alive, but the reality of being a SEAL doesn’t always allow for that. The heat between us ignites and within seconds I yank down my boxer shorts and have my cock buried between her legs as she rocks on top of me. I need to own every inch of her because that conversation about her moving on has just done crazy things to my insides. As I bury myself inside her, I cleanse my mind. There is nothing else—just me and her. The way it should always be. 
As far back as R.C. Stephens can remember she was a sucker for a good romance. Of course there had to be a prince charming even if he ultimately was a dark knight and there had to be a happy ending. 
She watched the movie Dirty Dancing way too many times growing up and Jean Claude Van Damme movies too. Go figure!

After years of saying she would write a book one day, she finally put pen to paper and carved out the plot line for what would eventually become the best selling Twisted Series. Now R.C. is just finishing up her seventh book and can’t seem to stop the stories running through her mind. Visit R.C. on her FB page to find out what’s new in her life and what releases she has coming up.


Blog Tour – Love of the Game – Edited by Harley Easton


Book Info
Title: Love of the GameEdited by: Harley Easton
Publisher: Sexy Little Pages (https://www.sexylittlepages. com/)
Genre: Erotic Romance (primarily M/F but there are a sprinkling of M/M and F/F stories)


Love of the Game will knock you out with a one, two, punch of super sexy. From rugby players who can’t leave their passion on the pitch to Paralympians with everything to prove, these athletes are certainly playing for keeps. Warm yourself up with stories of:

  • Football: Where both college stars and former NFL hopefuls are ready to go long
  • MMA Fights: Where participants get rough and tumble inside the ring and out
  • Baseball: Where the boys of summer can score by making it big or completely striking out
  • Swimming: Where diving into bed with teammates or rivals is taboo, but oh so tempting

And so much more. Whatever sport you’re a fan of, Love of the Game is certain to make you sweat.





by Gregory L. Norris

Mel tipped her sunglasses up. Jason was hunched down, tensed, halfway between the second base bag and third. Her husband’s home white uniform complimented the shortstop’s lean mass of muscles with similar affection: double-breasted button-down accented by the classic black and red team colors of the Canton Cardinals Triple-A minor league affiliate of the Top Socks club, cap and shades, and those clean, tight pants. Even the red uniform stirrups rising up from well-worn cleats on big feet added to his magnificence. Jason Collins was a classic boy of summer, and all man.

A thunderclap shook the stadium, shocking Mel out of her thoughts, which were growing dirtier over Jason and all that she planned to do to him once they were back at their summer rental following the game. He’d have showered by that point, and stripped out of his uniform, which would be stained from hard-won sweat, infield dirt, and grass. Maybe she would get him to put on a clean one and don his shades. He hadn’t shaved that morning—an old tradition among baseball players meant to intimidate the visiting team. A day’s worth of stubble had transformed him into a bad boy, a pirate. The day’s building heat unleashed scintillating pinpricks over her bare arms, and deeper. Oh yes, in his baseball uniform. And out of it. A smile tempted her lips.



By Annabeth Leong

Margie didn’t know which way to go now that everyone was staring at her, so she headed in the direction of the nearest friendly face. He leaned in to speak only for her hearing.

“Stick around after the game,” Pete said. “I want to see if I can score off you.”

Baseball language always sounded so dirty, and Margie’s cheeks heated even though she knew what he meant. She cleared her throat and tried to make her expression innocent and blank.

“I’d love to.”


Phillips had stayed late too, eschewing the team’s after party in order to participate in Margie’s tête-à-tête with Pete Muñoz. She knew she needed a catcher, but part of her wished it could have been just the two of them.

She braced herself for more nonsense from Phillips as she stepped onto the field, but her pitch earlier that evening seemed to have made him a convert.

“I’ve got two bills down that you strike Muñoz out. He’s lucky this isn’t official, or you’d be messing up his precious over-.300 batting average,” he said.

“Nah, man. Margie’s good, but she’s about to give it up to me. I think she’s going to let me take her deep.” Muñoz spat in the dirt at his feet, then squinted out at the empty park.

Margie squared her shoulders. She recognized Muñoz’s trash talk for what it was — challenging, not sexist. He was chirping at her the way he would have with any hot pitcher. Telling her that she wouldn’t be able to keep him from hitting long and hard, far out into the outfield or maybe even over the fences. When he hefted his bat, however, he glanced at her with meaning in his eyes. Margie’s mouth went dry. It wasn’t just the language that seemed sexual. Muñoz obviously planned to take her deep off the field even if he didn’t manage the feat on the diamond.



by Megan McFerren

Taking her in, Cassidy couldn’t keep down her own smile. It always went like this, pressure building until cracks formed, followed by a sudden burst and then repairs to make her stronger the next time around. And always, always it came with the same offer: I can teach you some things, if you want to know them. They were the first words Ruth ever said to her, when Cassidy asked if she’d ever considered coaching rodeo. They were the words that Cassidy had whispered to herself again and again late at night, fingers slick between her legs.

She wanted to know everything Ruth could teach her about riding.

“Of course I do,” Cassidy answered, unhooking her other boot from the stirrup.

Slinging both legs to the same side, she slipped to the earth with a grunt. Her face pulled taut into a grimace, thighs screaming like a kettle left boiling too long, and she doubled over to rub them, fingers spreading over snug denim to work the cramps out. Ruth stepped forward to take Palisander’s reins, but Cassidy could feel her teacher’s eyes on her, on the way her hands pressed from the inside of her knees to the crevice of her groin, long strokes to pull shortened muscles long again. Cassidy was grateful for the singe of sun across her cheeks that concealed the blush welling from within, heating from the strain in her legs and up through her center into a tight, warm coil low in her belly.

“Wash him down and get him back for dinner,” Ruth said, holding out the reins to Cassidy. She couldn’t be certain if the roughness in Ruth’s voice was imagined or real, whether it came from annoyance for dallying or from something else entirely. It wasn’t like Cassidy to display herself so shamelessly, and she let herself believe her own lie that it was only a stretch, only tired thighs after hours of riding. She licked the dust from her lips and took the strap of leather from Ruth. Her heart sank a little as she turned towards the barn, shoulders weighted low by the high numbers she’d raced and by the dismissal.

“Cass,” Ruth called out as she made her way across the arena. Cassidy glanced back across her shoulder to her teacher. “Meet me in the equipment room when you’re done.”



By Jordan Monroe


I’d noticed him on the first day of practice. He’d come in a little late, his long, lean body wrapped in low-hanging black sweatpants and a tight grey tee shirt. After waving hello to our coach, he dropped his Speedo backpack on the bleachers. I’d put my goggles over my eyes, grateful for their reflective lenses. Everyone else was jumping in the water to begin the 1000-meter warmup, but I stood on the side of the pool transfixed. It took every amount of mental energy for me to not drop my jaw.

Travis’s hair was thick and wavy, the style of every guy in a surfer movie, with that sun-bleached hue. I watched him peel off his shirt almost in slow-motion, revealing tanned skin and a well-muscled torso; I swallowed the drool that was pooling in my cheeks. He kicked off his Adidas flip flops, hooked his fingers around the elastic waistband of his pants, and pulled them down his sculpted legs. When he stood up straight to exchange his pants for his cap and goggles, I shamelessly raked my eyes over his lower body: his black briefs and orange mesh drag suit revealed his solid thighs and clung to his hips, his butt taut, and the delicious angled lines of his lower abs pointing to the bulge between his legs.

“Let’s get in, Wile!” I jumped when the coach’s voice shook me out of my lustful reverie. Hopping in the cool water and easing into freestyle was enough to push Travis’s image from my mind, at least temporarily.

As I was down underwater, I looked up to see Travis come in to the wall in the next lane. He moved his body with graceful, exacting strokes, like an aquatic machine. As he flipped over to turn, he coiled his long body into a tight ball, then unfurled magnificently. This time, I did drop my jaw as he kicked off the wall in deliberate body rolls: his hands clasped above his head, arms smashed together in the tightest of streamlines, his chest lowering while the rest of his body followed. Like an animal, my eyes went straight to his hips thrusting in ways that suggested not only forward momentum but exquisite pleasure. It wasn’t until he came up to continue swimming that I remembered my need to breathe and resume practice.