Rough Around the Soul

Maria Monroe’s got a sexy TABOO romance novel coming out on April 18. Continue reading for all the details as well as a sexy sample!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gritty. Sexy. Taboo.

Melanie Cannon is troubled, desperate, and only eighteen. Taking the fall for a friend, she’s forced into a drug education class, which she expects to be boring as hell. Until Detective Jake Beck walks in as her instructor.

Jake knows it’s a mistake to get involved with a high school senior.

But their passion is undeniable.
Their bond is the kind that lasts forever.
Their connection is more than just lust.

Jake’s willing to risk it all—even when harsh betrayal and ugly secrets threaten everything.

Sample: 

She sits up straight and grins, looking straight into my eyes. “Can I have another beer?”

Gazing right at each other sends a spark straight to my groin. “I shouldn’t have let you drink the first one.”

She darts out an arm and grabs my bottle, swigging, and setting it back down with a now what? look in her eyes. This is definitely not a game I should play. But it’s hard to resist the challenge I see when I look at her, red lips holding back a grin as she stares hard, unblinking.

I take a deep breath, hoping to keep my wits, and shake my head. “Get your stuff. I’m taking you home.”

With a scowl, she gets up and heads to the bathroom. A few seconds later she goes into the living room, still dressed in my sweats, her clothes in hand.

I grab a plastic grocery bag from the cabinet and bring it to her. “You can put your clothes in here. Keep the sweats.”

“I couldn’t.” Her voice is lower than usual. Throaty. She’s up to something as she holds my gaze with those hazel eyes, grinning at me.

“It’s not a problem.”

“I should really return them now.” She grasps the bottom hem of the sweatshirt and lifts it up, slowly. Slow enough, in fact, for me to stop her, but I’m frozen.

I can’t take my eyes off the silky expanse of stomach she reveals, slim and tight. I suck in a breath when I see she’s not wearing a bra. In one final movement she pulls the shirt up and over her head, tossing it at me.

“Think fast,” she says.

I barely catch it, and still I’m too stunned to move as she stands before me in only my baggy sweatpants. I’ve seen her naked before, but it’s as exciting now as the first time to see her topless, her perfect round breasts tipped with hard, pink nipples. I close my eyes briefly, imagining my tongue on them. Remembering my tongue on them.

“Melanie.” There’s warning in my voice, but desire too. I can’t hide it. I clutch the sweatshirt as I watch, transfixed, while Melanie’s hands move to the waistband of the pants.

Her hair is almost dry now, and it falls across her chest, partially obscuring her tits. How I want to push it aside, stroke her neck, take her nipple between my fingers.

I need to stop her. Stop this. But I’m unable to move as she slowly—achingly slowly—pushes the sweatpants down. And, fuck me, she’s not wearing panties. Her eyes meet mine, unblinking, as she pushes them all the way to floor and steps out of them.

She bends and picks them up, then makes her way to where I stand, hard as fuck, watching her.

“Here.” She holds them out to me.

“You need to get dressed,” I murmur.

But her breasts are pressed up against my chest, and through my jeans I swear I can feel the warmth from between her legs. So when she whispers, “Just one kiss,” I cave and drop the clothes I’m holding.

I want to devour her. I want to taste every single inch of her. She’s so beautiful and clean and ready. Her lips are smoother than I remember, her tongue more demanding, and when I clutch her naked ass, drawing her closer to me, I know I’m fucking lost.

Rough Around the Soul will be available on Amazon on April 18!

Add it to your TBR list on Goodreads

 

 

Because Beards * Cover Reveal *

Greetings authors! Maria, Adrienne and I have a wonderful new book to tell you about: Because Beards, an anthology that will donate all our profits to The Movember Foundation. The Movember Foundation funds prostate cancer research and support as well as other men’s health initiatives.  We all love reading stories about sexy heroes.  Join with us to help support the Movember Foundation, a group that works to keep our real-life men safe, healthy & strong.  XOXO

because-beards-cover

  • Title: Because Beards
  • Genre: Anthology, Romance
  • Cover Design: Jessica Hildreth
  • Photographer: Wander Aguiar, Wander Aguiar Photography
  • Cover Model: Jacob Rodney
  • Charity Donations To: The Movember Foundation
  • Release Date: November 1, 2016

Amazon: myBook.to/BecauseBeards
iBooks: http://tinyurl.com/zuse33r
Nook: http://tinyurl.com/jzlwv6s
Kobo: http://tinyurl.com/ztajbhj

Synopsis
Be it a little scruff or a full length beard, there’s nothing more attractive than a man with a well-groomed face. Masculine. Powerful. Sexy. Devoted. Lose yourself in this tantalizing collection of original short stories by your favorite romance authors in support of a great cause. Hipster CEO, bartender, best friend, baseball player—just to name a few—these men all have one thing in common: they’re bearded for your pleasure and deliver one hell of a happy ever after.
All proceeds from this anthology will be donated to The Movember Foundation, an organization that supports charities in the research and treatment of prostate and testicular cancer as well as other men’s health initiatives.

ace-gray-teaser-2

Written by Alexis Alvarez, Faith Andrews, M. Andrews, Jeannine Colette, Hayley Faiman, Angelita Gill, Ace Gray, Ruthie Henrick, Scott Hildreth, Evie Lauren, Jerica MacMillan, R.C. Martin, Emmanuelle de Maupassant, Leslie McAdam, Maria Monroe, Adrienne Perry, J. Quist, Renee Rose, Kacey Shea, Martha Sweeney, and Tom Sweeney.

angelita-teaser-1

#becausebeards #preorder #movember

We’re so excited about our sexy heroes.

alexis-teaser-1

Stay tuned for longer excerpts…coming soon! Our release date is November 1st.

heather-ad-5

 

It’s only 99 cents, it’s for a good cause, and it’s full of super sexy stories.  Thanks so much for your support. Happy reading! XOXO

teaser-for-maria2

siggie bar jen web 2

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Apocalypse Playlist

Hey! It’s Maria Monroe here to share the playlist I put together for Afterglow, my apocalypse romance.

When I was writing Afterglow, I compiled what I think is the perfect Apocalypse Playlist. (Yeah. In a real apocalypse nobody would be playing anything, except beat up guitars around garbage can fires.) It ended up being a really eclectic mix of songs, like all my playlists are. And a few of the songs have nothing to do with an apocalypse, but they are mentioned in the book. Or are ironic. Or inspired me. Or just have the right feel. Lots of these songs I had playing on repeat while I wrote this book. I hope you enjoy it!

If you’ve got any other ideas for my Apocalypse Playlist, let me know!

AFTERGLOW-teaser3

 

 

Spring Fling Threesome

Greetings! It’s Alexis Alvarez here, ready to tell you about the Spring Fling writer’s conference in Chicago. My sisters and I attended, and it was our first book conference as romance authors!

sisters at convention

Maria Monroe, Adrienne Perry, and Alexis Alvarez (sisters!)

 

SF-website-banner

The organizers did a fantastic job! The conference was outstanding.

I’m excited to report that we drank at least $150 in wine at the bar (hi, cute bartender! Remember us?)  We also attended conferences, pitched to agents, and laughed so loudly and so long in our room that our neighbor came to bang on our door. We though we were in trouble, but she only wanted to join the party.  It was Jade Lee, a best-selling romance author who has published over 50 books.  When we told her what we were giggling about, she still came in to hang out, and we all had a great time talking. She gave us some excellent writing advice on top of it, as well as copies of her books.  She didn’t run away screaming!  This made us want to call our mom immediately and report:  “See? Sometimes when we laugh together like hyenas for hours, GOOD THINGS can come of it!”

jade lee

Jade Lee writes books that are sexy, romantic and fun!

I won a cool Indian-themed basket from Sonali Dev in the silent auction!  We also got to hear her talk during a panel.  Her concept of good romance writing inspiring “heart-gasms” was fun and provocative – loved it.  I’ve interviewed Sonali before for an article on writing and love her insight into editing and using beta readers.  (Read it here:  Getting The Words Right: The Magic of Editing.)

sonali graphic

We got to meet Christina and Lauren, the best-selling duo who write as Christina Lauren, and they were so nice. Like, really, super NICE. The kind of women who you want to turn into BFF’s and talk with on the phone every day because they’re just so interesting and cool, but it’s important not to stalk them too hard because they already have a BFF (each other) and a pretty busy life, what with writing a new best-selling book every few months and also having families.

christina lauren with text for web

Important Event:

Here’s a true story from the conference about how nice they are:  So Robyn Carr gave the big keynote speech, and it was a good one. She told us as writers that we need to work through adversity (she once had an 8-year dry spell), and that we can be the wings, not just the wind under someone else’s wings. She also had a free book on the table for each of us. So Adrienne and I went to thank her afterwards and shake her hand. She was busy chatting with fans, so we waited politely for our turn.  But the crowd around her was so big, and there were so many people waiting to meet her, that we couldn’t get in there. So we waited. And waited some more. We kept missing our opportunity to get in there and started to feel silly, because we were standing there, trying to say “hi” and kept getting cut off by other people. It was like when construction makes two lanes merge into one, but the other drivers are determined not to let you in, so you end up marooned behind the cones, blinking wildly, praying, “Let me in! Someone, let me in!”

Have you been in that situation? You’re feeling meek and small, and try to look like you belong, but every second that goes by, you feel more awkward, and soon you’re frozen into place like a terrified squirrel faced by a vicious alley cat? And there are huge used-car-lot arrows flashing right at you?

alexis is mouse

Soon we realized that we just didn’t have the guts to power through the crowd. So now it was clearly time to sneak back to Maria and confess our lameness (she was in the bathroom, sending us selfies) —

maria selfie

—but out of the blue, who should appear but Lauren, from CLo!  She smiled and said hi, and we said hi and that we were considering trying to to talk to Robyn Carr, but the crowd was too thick, and do you know what Lauren did for us? She interjected herself gracefully and sweetly into the scene, and introduced RC to us. And we got our books autographed.

So my takeaway from that is that Lauren is a Super Hero, and if we knew how to sew (we don’t) and if we had extra fabric with us (we didn’t) we would have made her some kind of cape as a way of saying thanks.  Also, she and Christina gave a very a)funny and b)moving keynote speech about how they became a writing duo, about perseverance and teamwork, about not giving up.  It inspired the three of us to want to write a team book.  We’re already finished with the rev 0. draft!

Oh, also? When Lauren & Christina give classes? They include pictures of themselves eating corn-dogs, and swear sometimes, and make jokes, and ask the audience for real-time feedback. FUNNEST TALKS EVER.  If you  get a chance to hear these two women talk live, TAKE IT. You won’t be sorry.  You need to read their books, if you haven’t already. They’re sexy, funny, smart and addictive.

Second Important Event

The other important part of the conference was Maria’s underpants. She had this Spanx-style garment to make herself look slimmer, and she noted that there was a hole in the crotch of it with little flaps, so you could — apparently — crouch down and open the flaps and pee instead of trying to wriggle out of the entire bodysuit.  I also have  a slimming garment with a similar hole, which I have never used (the hole, not the garment).

spanx

Maria started calling her garment the “Beaver Peeker.”  As in, “Guys, can you toss me the Beaver Peeker? I need to change.”  Or,  “Should I wear the Beaver Peeker tonight to  look skinnier for the dinner?”

We though that savvy women should have more names for this creative cloth, so we started brainstorming.

beaver spanx underwear

We brainstormed these over the course of the 2-day conference, and each new suggestion made us roll on the floor, nearly crying with laughter, howling until our stomachs hurt. It was so, so fun. They don’t all make sense. They don’t have to!

At the final dinner, we came up with some creative ones:

  • Quesadilla Let Me See ‘Ya
  • Taco Unlock-O

We were screaming with laughter about some of these suggestions when Jade knocked on our door. 

Later, on our way to the lobby for Starbucks, the bartender walked by with some people in suits. He nodded his head and smiled to us, and waved.

So to summarize our conference learnings:

  • The RWA chapters of Chicago are full of awesome, fun people. They put on a well-organized, insightful, fantastic, helpful conference. Well done!  Sign up for their next one.
  • Next time you’re shopping for a slimming undergarment, why not spice up the conversation by asking for it by one of the new names above?
  • When you’re waiting in the “pre-pitch” room, it’s a good idea to start a horse-drawing competition with all the other women to help settle the nerves.

horse contest

  • Way to make a new friend:  When someone shushes your seatmate during a class in a very loud and rude way, it’s helpful to write, “Shush, BITCH!” in your notebook and show it to her and giggle. Then you can laugh together later and becomes besties on Facebook.  **Only do this if your seatmate seems to have a good sense of humor.**

shush bitch

  • During the silent auction, it’s helpful to get specific when you’re bidding on a critique session with a best-selling author:  “Fifty dollars and a picture of a sexy shirtless man.”  You may be out-bid by someone with an even better offer (Melonie!), though, who seems to have inside knowledge of what the author likes:  “Sixty dollars and pictures of hot gingers.”  (Damn my inability to appreciate the ging!)

red hot

  • Penny Sansevieri has a GREAT class on getting the most out of Amazon. Take lots of notes.

penny

penny page

Notes from Penny Sansevieri’s Class

  • To make your sisters choke on their meal, send more selfies from the bathroom of you doing a duck-face. (Head and shoulders only!)

maria selfie2

  • Thanks to all the organizers, presenters, editors, agents and authors at the conference. We had a fantastic experience there and would do it again in a heartbeat.

We had a great time. Were you there, too?  Want to share your memories,  or suggest a new name for the Beaver Peeker? We’d love your comments!


Alexis, Maria & Adrienne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love (Literally) – Coming Soon!

bymaria

I’m so excited! LOVE (LITERALLY), Book 2 in the Julian Series, will be available on December 22! It’s available for pre-order HERE.

 

JL-book2_front coverLOVE (LITERALLY) is the conclusion to JULIAN & LIA, the sexy college romance. In Book 2, Lia has finally gotten over her first and only love, Julian, and  is starting a glamorous  reporting job in downtown Chicago. But when circumstances force her and Julian together again, she quickly realizes her heart never truly healed. The scruffy sexy bad-boy she fell in love with is now a clean-cut and commanding professional, but still as arrogant and domineering as ever. Getting swept up in a dangerous story isn’t enough to take her mind off his green eyes, sculpted body, or dirty mouth.

Intrigue and peril mix with sex and second chances in this stunning conclusion to the Julian Series.

julianbook2teaser

Get JULIAN & LIA, Book 1 in the Julian Series now!

LOVE (LITERALLY), Book 2 in the Julian Series, is available for pre-order.

 

The Rescue – Super Sexy Pretty New Cover!

bymaria

 

 

 

Here it is! I’m thrilled to show you the brand new cover for The Rescue! It’s pretty and sexy and words don’t do it justice. Check it out:

The Rescue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOW I GOT MY NEW COVER

I entered a contest sponsored by Books Go Social to win a custom book cover, and I was surprised and thrilled when I won! Laurence O’Brien at Books Go Social, who is a very inspirational and helpful guy, put me in touch with Debbie at The Cover Collection to begin the process of creating my new cover.

I decided I’d like a new cover for my first novel, The Rescue. The one I had was sexy, but I really wanted a cover that stood out, that reflected the softer sides of my book as well as the kinkier parts.

THE COVER DESIGN PROCESS

The process was very straightforward, and working with Debbie was a breeze. She is so professional, knows a lot about my genre, and is intelligent and creative. I highly recommend The Cover Collection and plan to use them again.

Here’s how it went down:

  1. I sent an email to her with a summary of my book, including descriptions of the main characters, the setting of the novel, and other details that stood out to me. I mentioned there’s a rescue dog that is important to the main female character, and she was savvy enough to point out that putting an animal on the cover of a romance novel might confuse people into thinking it’s a shifter novel, which it’s not. (I told you she knows the genre! And she’s super savvy!)
  2. She sent me a link to a bunch of images, including sexy men and women as well as sunset photos. (I didn’t mention the sunset, which IS important in the book, or the lake where the characters spend some time. Which makes me think she read the book, although she certainly didn’t have to. Extra points!!) I chose some images that “spoke to” me, and she went to work.
  3. Within a few days, she sent me a few sample covers using the photos I’d chosen. Let me say this: I was AMAZED. It was hard to choose the ones I liked best because they were all so good. When I narrowed it down to my favorite, I chose the font from a different cover, and a different placement of my name, and a few minor details I wanted changed to the photos. At this time, she told me that she would make as many changes as I wanted until I was totally satisfied. And she did. She was patient, and when I wasn’t sure what direction I wanted, she helped me choose and offered suggestions as well as a few different mock-ups so I could get a better idea.
  4. Finally, she presented me with the final cover, and I am beyond thrilled. I think the new cover is not only sexy, but beautiful as well, and it reflects the story so well.

THANK YOU COVER COLLECTION and BOOKS GO SOCIAL!

1 (1)2 (1)

 

Maria Monroe

 

Julian is back this fall!

maria1

 

by Maria Monroe

 

 

I’m so excited to let you know that the second (and final) book in the Julian series is coming this fall! The exact date will be announced soon. For now, enjoy this sneak peek at what’s in store for Julian and Lia.

julianbook2teaser
book maria 1

If you haven’t read Book 1, JULIAN & LIA, read it now. It’s a sexy college romance novel about an innocent freshman and a cocky bad-boy senior. Enjoy!

 

 

siggiebarmaria)

College Has Never Been This Hot

MUDDear Students,

Welcome to the Fall semester at Maine University at Deerfield! I am thrilled to see returning students again and welcome all new and transfer students.

We look forward to an amazing year, full of new opportunities to learn and grow. Thank you for choosing MUD, and best wishes for a productive and inspirational year!

Sincerely, Dean of Students,  Maine University at Deerfield

~~~~~~RECORD SCRATCH~~~~~

Lia’s freshman year at college hasn’t started out so great. She’s having a hard time making friends, and she’s miserable and homesick.

Until she meets Julian. Torn jeans. Hooded sweatshirt. Super smart. Cocky attitude.

She’s positive he’s out of her league. He’s holding back because he knows he’s all kinds of wrong for her. But when things start to heat up, Lia’s freshman year is about to get way more exciting than she ever anticipated.

Here’s an excerpt from JULIAN & LIA:

For what seems like a long time the movie plays while I stare at Julian’s profile, feeling lost and confused and completely unwanted. The truth is, he’s making it clear he doesn’t really want me around, and I’m feeling increasingly uncomfortable. Why am I staying when all he’s been tonight is rude? I gather up my pride and my nerve, grab my sweater, and head to the door.

“So, I guess it’s late. I’ll just finish the movie in class. Or whatever.” I put my hand on the doorknob, wishing he’d say something. Did he not hear me? It’s weird that he’s just silent. Weird and rude, I think, a surge of anger coursing through me. He doesn’t need to be an asshole, whether he likes me or not.

I turn the doorknob when he says, “Wait.”

That single word practically stops my heart. Spinning around, I face the room and Julian. He gets up in one fluid movement and stalks over to me. I back up against the door as he moves closer, close enough that I can feel his breath and warmth, can smell his soapy scent, slightly spicy and completely intoxicating.

“What?” I ask. I want to sound angry—I am angry, or at least I was. But now a shiver of excitement tickles through me.

Julian’s silent for a few moments, but his eyes are looking directly into mine. They’re so green and strong and unwavering, and it’s almost more intense than if he were speaking. His face looks conflicted, just like it did in my dorm room.

Suddenly he put his hands on the door, on either side of my head. “Lia,” he says slowly in a deep voice, deeper than he usually sounds, “because of you I have not been able to concentrate on the movie for even a second. You have done nothing but distract me all night long.”

“Oh,” I whisper. “I’m sorry . . . I didn’t . . . ”

“You did.” His words are harsh, a delicious contrast to his finger gently running along my bottom lip. I fight the urge to lick the pad of his finger, to suck it into my mouth. My breath catches when he moves his fingers to my neck, running the backs of them down against it, then a little lower. One finger curves down along the side of my right breast, gently, then he moves his hand up to my head. He winds his fingers through my hair, pulling me forward while he leans down towards me. We kiss, his lips so full and hungry, like he can’t stop or won’t stop, and I kiss him back, feeling my whole body grow tense with desire. I can taste the beer he drank, but also that almost familiar undertone of mint and chocolate. My eyes close, my entire body growing weak.

When his hands land on my hips, the heat of them warms me through my clothes. He grips me hard, then loosens his hold again, as though he can’t make up his mind. He moves a hand up my waist, higher, and touches my nipple through my shirt.

I gasp.

He looks down at me and grins, a smile part mischievous and part dark, and keeps his fingers there, slowly circling my nipple through my shirt until it’s hard. I want more; I want him to touch my skin, but I don’t know how to ask for it. Between my legs a steady pulse beats, and I’m so wet I can barely stand it.

“Julian,” I whisper. My body arches towards him, almost against my will. His eyes grow darker, and he places both hands on my hips again. For a few seconds he stands still, just staring into my eyes, his breath uneven.

Finally, after what feels like an eternity, he leans down towards me again. I think he’s going to kiss me more; I want him to so badly. Instead, though, his lips are near my ear, his voice rumbling against my skin.

“What I want,” he whispers, “is to bring you into my bedroom right now, take off all your clothes, and fuck you so hard you would never, ever, forget the way I feel inside you.” He’s breathing harder now, or maybe that’s me, and I dare to reach out, to touch his stomach through his shirt, running my hand down lower and lower to the top of his jeans. He licks my neck, kisses it, then says, “If you hadn’t told me what you did the other night, that’s what we’d do right now.”

“Told you?”

“That you’re a virgin.”

I roll my eyes. “Does that really matter?”

“It does. The things I want to do to you—you aren’t ready for it. For any of it.” He pulls away from me. “You should go.”

He’s treating me like a kid. I want to stomp my foot and say, “But I don’t want to go!” I have too much pride for that, though. Without a word, I open the door and slip out into the  cold night. I can see my breath, and I pull my sweater on over my head as quickly as I can.

“Fuck. Let me walk you.” Julian steps out behind me, shutting the door.

“I’m fine. I can walk home by myself.”

“It’s late. It’s dark. I’d be a total asshole if I let you walk alone.”

“Instead of just the partial asshole that you already are?”

“Lia, I don’t want to hurt you.” He picks up his pace to keep up with me. I don’t know if he’s referring to physical pain or emotional pain. I don’t really care, though. I feel humiliated and stupid. Of course Julian wouldn’t do anything with me. I’ve known all along that he’s out of my league.

When we get to my dorm, I go inside without even a look back at him.

READ JULIAN & LIA NOW!

julian

 

 

Sneak Peek Sunday ~ Julian & Lia

Sneak+Peek+Sunday+Banner

Hi! It’s Maria Monroe here! My (real life, and really cool and awesome and amazing!) sister Alexis Alvarez introduced me to Sneak Peek Sunday, which is a chance for readers to get a peek at exactly 6 paragraphs of an author’s book. I’m choosing to share one of my favorite sections from my sexy college novel JULIAN & LIA, a book about what happens when innocent freshman Lia meets bad-boy college senior Julian.

At first, she’s sure he’s out of her league, but when they come to an arrangement for him to give her “lessons,” things heat up fast! Continue reading