Dirty Excerpt from Perfect Match by Alexis Alvarez + Prizes! (Amazon GC & signed paperback)

 

Can you handle the heat?  The authors of Hot and Sinful Nights know you can…so we have this blog hop set up to share our steamiest excerpts from our books in the box set.  Follow along the path of the hop to visit all of the authors and enter their individual contests. They’re all listed here at this site:  Hot and Sinful Nights Red Bar Contest.

I have a brand new novel coming Sept 26th! It’s called Perfect Match, and it’s exclusive to the box set Hot and Sinful Nights.  I have a super sexy excerpt below…AND the first two chapters of Perfect Match for you to enjoy.  In honor of the new release, I’m giving away two prizes here on my blog:

1)A signed copy of my book A Handful of Fire

2) 5$ Amazon GC

To enter for  my prizes, just read my post & find the rafflecopter at the end of my excerpt.  To find the rest of the authors & the Kindle Fire entry, visit the Hot & Sinful Nights page. 

 

From Perfect Match by Alexis Alvarez

“Good choice.” Dylan’s voice rolled over her. “Keep going. Take off your dress.”

“What if I don’t do it?” Fia met his eyes.

He unbuttoned one sleeve and began to deliberately roll up the fabric, little by little. “You want to find out?”

She shot him a challenging gaze. “What if I said I did want to find out?”

“Come here,” he challenged her. He backed up and sat down on an expensive leather couch, black and sleek. While he kept eye contact, he rolled up the other sleeve, exposing his strong, corded forearms. “And I’ll show you.”

“But you’re still dressed.” She ran her fingers under the cloth, touching her own nipples, feeling them harden with her touch.

His eyes burned into her. “Yes, I am. That’s another rule. You have to be naked first. Get started.” His voice was firm, but his smile let her know he was still Dylan, the sexy man who made her smile, even though he was being all dominant. And fuck, she wanted to play this game with him.

“I hope you don’t mind that I’m not wearing panties,” she said innocently, and slid the fabric down to her waist.

“Fuck,” he swore. “You were naked under there all this time?”

“Completely,” she murmured. “So naked. No bra, no panties, just my bare skin.”

“Take off the dress and walk over here,” he told her, pointing between his spread legs.

She wiggled her hips to slide the dress down, then stepped out of it, leaving it on the floor, a pool of blue. His eyes were locked on her body, and she swayed her walk as she came closer, delighting in his tortured expression. “You like?”

“I fucking love it. You’re gorgeous.”

She came to stand where he’d indicated.

“Put your hands behind your back and lace your fingers, if you can. And spread your thighs a little.”

She flushed. “Dylan!”

He ran a palm down her thigh, then up to cup her ass cheek. “What was the rule I told you about? If I’m in charge, then you do what I say.”

“But you’re going to make me get in poses for you?”

“Absolutely.” He smiled broadly. “And you’re going to do it, too, because it will turn both of us on.”

She bit her lip then slowly put her arms behind her back, noticing how it made her breasts stick out. Then, while he was silent, she stepped her legs apart to widen the gap between her thighs. “Like this?”

“Wider, please.”

He sat back and put one arm on the back of the couch, as if relaxing in a club.

Her face burned, but she did it, embarrassed at how wet this was making her.

“Good. Stay like that, Fia.” He leaned his head back.

“For how long?” Her face was hot and her pulse was fast in her neck. She was dying for him to touch her.

“Until I say otherwise,” he told her simply. “And another rule is that you don’t question my commands, you just obey them. Is that clear?”

She nodded. This was so kinky, and it was turning her on more than she could imagine.

“Is that a yes, you understand?”

She sucked in a breath. “Yes, I understand.”

“Yes, you will obey me tonight?” His gaze was direct.

She felt her face burn. “Yes, I will obey you tonight.”

“Good girl,” he said approvingly, and she bit her lip, wanting to argue and tell him she wasn’t a girl, she wasn’t his good girl. Except her pussy had other ideas. Her pussy really, really liked the idea of being his good girl.

***

Perfect Match is a 75K word story with no cliffhangers and an HEA. It’s a brand-new, exclusive story from Alexis Alvarez, and it’s only available inside the box set Hot and Sinful Nights.

Amazon – http://amzn.to/2s1HzwY
iBooks – http://apple.co/2tUIRvc
B&N – http://bit.ly/2sWVk3X
Kobo – http://bit.ly/2t0UdAY
Google Play – http://bit.ly/2tzwK78

 

Here’s my giveaway! See that little arrow in the middle of the box — a left arrow, some circles, and a right arrow? Click the arrow to see both prizes available for this giveaway, because there are two: A signed book and a 5$ Amazon GC. Thanks and best of luck! XOXO
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

She’s the matchmaker…he’s her sexy client. What could go wrong?

L.A.-based matchmaker Fia Martin has a tough competition: Find the perfect woman for arrogant, handsome TV-host Dylan Chambers, before her rival, Connie Birnbaum, can do it––on national television. If Dylan declares her the winner, Fia’s business will skyrocket.

Dylan is picky. He’s smug. He reminds Fia that he’s only doing this competition at all because he lost a bet to his TV co-host, and he doesn’t believe in true love. He’s polite on dates picked out by Connie, but the ones Fia sets up? Those seem to end in complete disaster. And every time she tells him to behave, he flirts with her shamelessly.

A stolen kiss turns to a night of unbelievable passion, but Fia knows that Dylan’s not interested in anything more than a fling. How could it mean anything when he’s still going on dates for the TV challenge like nothing happened?

When Dylan chooses Connie’s company for his final dream date in Hawaii, to a woman who looks perfect on paper, Fia figures she can pretty much kiss the trophy goodbye. The problem is, she won’t just be losing the competition. She’s about to lose her heart, too…to the one guy who’s completely unavailable.

 

 

 

Perfect Match: Chapter One

The man sitting alone at the bar was handsome as hell. Every time he shifted, Fia noticed how powerful his thighs looked beneath the expensive suit pants. His broad shoulders held confidence, and his profile, when she caught glimpses–God.

Grace poked her friend. “He’s cute, right? I totally agree.”

Fia rolled her brilliant green eyes and smoothed her silky brown hair. “Calling him cute is like calling Einstein kind of smart, Gracie. Or like saying that John Glenn dabbled in space.”

Grace tilted her head and her red hair shone in the low light. “Oh my God. He’s Dylan Chambers, the new co-host from Morning Brew, right?” She glanced at Fia. “You should know this.”

Fia leaned forward to look. Mingling patrons blocked her way, and she blew out a breath. “I don’t know. Maybe.” Her heart hammered faster. “I think you’re right.” Recognition set in, delayed, but unquestionable. This handsome man was indeed the sexy, panty-melting new co-host of the very show on which she was going to make her debut appearance.

 “Go say hello. Tell him you’re coming on the show next month to talk about your awesome matchmaking service that’s going to be the number one new business in L.A. I’m sure he’s heard.”

“One would hope he’s aware of what’s discussed on the show. But who knows. It’s still a while away. Maybe he just gets a little printout five minutes before they go on TV. Besides, I’m on the segment with Chelsea, anyway. The show is her baby, and she does all the big interviews.”

“Right, but he’s always out there too, as eye-candy.” Grace sipped her wine.

 Fia craned her neck, but a chattering group of millennials, screeching with laughter, totally blocked her view. “I’m worried that Chelsea is going to be bitchy when I go on her show. Sometimes she can be so mean to her guests, and the audience loves it, but, oh, God. Why did I sign up for this, again?” She clutched her stomach in a gesture of mock terror, but the anxiety was real enough to make her uncomfortable.

Grace frowned. “Free publicity. She is doing the whole process, right?”

Fia nodded and raised her glass. “It is pretty cool. She’ll follow us through the entire match with a bachelor, from the start, where we interview him, to the final dates. It will be a little complicated to find someone–and dates for him—who don’t mind being on TV, but just think about all the clients we can pull in.”

“Complicated? I think you mean easy. Half the people here in L.A. would chop off their pinky finger to get on TV. You offer them a free chance and a date with a sexy partner? Sold.”

“It’s just that I want the match we feature to be perfect, so people think my business is amazing.” Fia swirled the wine in her glass, enjoying the way the lights sparkled off the crystal.

 “Come on, Fia. So far, you’ve had a great success rate with matches, and you’re getting new clients every day. And you have such positive feedback online. And the weddings you’ve attended! There’s no way it will go wrong.”

Fia wrinkled her nose. “I’m going to be up there with Connie. She’s been the resident millionaire matchmaker in this city for over a decade, and she’s my inspiration. I want to look good, even when compared to her. She’s comfortable being on TV, too. She’s done whole reality TV shows based on her matchmaking business, so she’s accustomed to having all of the process filmed.”

Her voice trailed off as she tried to sneak another casual glance down the bar. The man downed his drink, then looked right at Fia.

For a second she met his gaze, and felt something spark between them. Then she looked away, embarrassed, when a gorgeous blonde approached him with a delighted greeting, and he smiled, stood, and kissed her cheek. Fia tried not to compare her ripped jeans and soft T-shirt to the blonde woman’s gorgeous skirt and jacket. Or that pretty updo with her messy halo of hair.

She set her glass down, running her fingers up and down the stem. “Besides, rumor has it that he’s an arrogant asshole.”

“Who told you that?” Grace leaned in. “Anyone I know?”

“Well, you know, the people on some of the fan chat boards.” At Grace’s soft snort, Fia flushed. “What?” Her voice rose. “I only checked to read what people say about Chelsea and him, both. I mean, it only makes sense if I’m going on TV. Research.”

“Of course. So he’s a dick, you say?” Grace laughed.

“He’s supposedly intolerant of crap and calls things like he sees them. Doesn’t mind insulting people, and Chelsea loves it because it’s good for ratings. Most people love him, but working with him can be…difficult.” She looked back over at him, just to see. The blonde was nestled up against a different man, and Dylan was talking to them both while the bartender handed over new drinks. For some reason, Fia breathed out in relief and pleasure. Although that was ridiculous.

When Dylan got up and strode towards her and Grace, she sucked in a breath. “Grace?” Fia poked her friend.

 “Hello.” His voice was deep and more resonant than on TV. “Enjoying your evening? I’m Dylan.” His greeting was for both of them, but his eyes were on Fia.

Grace stuck out her hand. “Yes!” she chirped, smile broad. “I’m Grace, and this is Fia. I recognized you right away because I always watch Morning Brew. I’m so glad you joined the show! It’s actually fortuitous that you’re here, because Fia’s going to be on your show in just a few weeks.”

 “Nice to meet you.” Fia held out her hand and felt a flash of desire as he took it in his strong warm one.

 “I recognized you from an update in our staff meeting. Remind me why you’re coming on the show?” He tilted his glass, and the ice clinked against the side.

His eyes were undressing her, Fia felt, or maybe it was only that she wished they were, but his gaze made her warm. Those dark liquid eyes and the planes of his face were hitting all the right buttons.

“I’m discussing my matchmaking business, Perfect Profiles.”

“Oh…yes. The…matchmaking thing,” he responded, and his voice was a cross between sarcastic and condescending. “You hook up sexy women with ultra-rich bachelors. How’s that working out, Fia?”

Fia narrowed her eyes. “It’s working out just fine, Dylan.” What the fuck?

“Okay. Great.” This time, there was no mistaking his smirk.

“I’m sorry. Are you not a fan of matchmaking businesses?” She kept her voice professional.

“You could say that.”

“Then why did you invite me onto your show?”

“It’s Chelsea’s show, and she invited you and Connie Birnbaum. I voted no, but I was outnumbered.”

“Oh, I see.” She took a deep breath. “And you came over here to tell me that, as a way to help me feel welcome and at ease, I assume? Thank you. Thank you so much for your consideration.” She raised her drink. “Cheers to thoughtfulness, Grace.”

“Oh! Yes, cheers.” Grace, uncertainty on her face, clinked glasses with Fia. Then she leaned in and hissed, “Don’t make him mad.”

Fia scowled and spoke through gritted teeth, “I will make him mad if I want to, Grace, because he started it.”

He smiled. “I don’t have to like your business model to respect you as a person. It’s clear that you’re smart and ambitious, or you wouldn’t have grown your business in such a short time, to the point where it’s featured on the country’s top morning show. But if you can’t handle criticism, I doubt your business will last very long. Or are your matches as sugar-coated as your words?”

Even though his words were sarcastic, there was a glint in his eye that was more appreciative than deprecating, and the way he looked at her made her feel warm and tingly.

Several thoughts rushed through Fia’s head: This man holding her up against the wall and driving into her, his lips plundering hers, sugar on her lips, his mouth nectar to hers. She shook her head, irritated. “My business has helped many couples find everlasting love.”

“Oh, I’m sure.” His voice was smooth. “Can I buy you ladies a drink while you tell me more about it?” He glanced at her glass. “More wine?”

Fia bit her lip. “No, thanks. Dylan, Perfect Profiles is a serious business, and I try to foster genuine, lasting relationships. Some people have a hard time meeting their soulmate because they’re constantly being pre-judged for their wealth or their looks. My goal is to find people who can search beyond the surface to the real person, and find the one who speaks to their heart.”

“Seems like you’re running a high-class escort business.” He smirked.

Fia was pissed. “I’ve been the mastermind behind over a dozen successful marriages, and my business is only two years old. I spend hours with each client, having them fill out psychological profiles, personality quizzes, IQ tests, and interviews. Then all of my data is entered into the program that I myself created, and I use statistics to find the best possible matches. And it works.”

Dylan scoffed. “Most marriages break up a few years in, especially when built on a weak foundation. Are you sure your hastily organized unions will survive the test of time?” Although he’d just been laughing, his eyes were dark, bleak.

Fia couldn’t help but wonder if he were talking from personal experience, but he had no right to judge her life’s work this way. Her voice rose as she spoke. “I guess I’m not surprised you’re alone then, Dylan, with that kind of an attitude. I have to admit that even I might have trouble finding you a match, and I consider myself an expert, with the city’s top single women at my disposal. It’s been a pleasure. I so look forward to seeing you on the show. Gracie, should we get going?” She stood up and turned away from him.

But Dylan was talking over her, his voice harsh. “How do you know I’m alone?”

Fia whirled back around. “Oh, I supposed I just assumed it, Dylan. Just like you assumed all kinds of things about my business.” She knew her words were too sharp for the situation; it would have been better to respond with some kind of clever cutting joke or to have ignored him. But she’d never responded well to contempt and condescension, and she wasn’t going to start now.

“Wait. Fia? I’m sorry.” His voice was urgent, and he stepped forward, putting a hand on her shoulder.

Fia shrugged it off, even though she felt a spark of attraction from his warm touch.

“Listen, I really am sorry,” he said in a low voice. “It’s been a long day, and I’m sorry I insulted you. Can I buy you a drink and we’ll talk for a few minutes? We’ll start over.” He looked at Grace. “Both of you, of course.”

Grace shot a look between the two of them, then said in a chipper voice, “I’ve got to get going to that thing, about the thing. So call me later, and I’ll see you tomorrow!” She waved briefly and waltzed off on her high heels, leaving Fia there glowering at Dylan.

“Can we sit down?” He gestured at the table, and when she nodded and sat, he took Grace’s vacated seat. “Look, I came on strong. That’s what I do. And it’s true that I don’t think much of matchmaking companies, especially here in L.A. But I respect that you work hard at what you do and that it matters to you.”

“Well, I mean, I could say that I don’t think much of television personalities,” she shot back. “Caricatures who show nothing of themselves and reflect back to the seething masses a reflection of their own greed and stupidity.” She shrugged. “But I didn’t do that, did I?” She sipped her wine. “Because I respect that you respect what you do.”

He laughed. “Ouch. Wow. Okay.” He raised an eyebrow.

He looked at her, and despite their words, despite the irritation, desire for him burned fast and sharp. His lips looked both soft and powerful at once. She wanted to trace his jaw, run her hand through his hair. He leaned in. “Should we really start over?”

Somehow, even though they’d exchanged hard words, the look in his eyes told Fia that it was going to be okay, and that he had a humor to him, in him, that made him pliable, light. He wasn’t really pissed at her at all. She’d only stirred his curiosity, roused something sleeping in him, and this made the flame of attraction burn even brighter.

“I don’t know.” Fia crossed her legs and adjusted her t-shirt, and his eyes followed as the fabric tightened temporarily over the swell of her breasts. She felt her pulse quicken. “Would that maybe be like a person backing their car up into a wall, over and over again? Does it make sense?”

He laughed. “Maybe. And then once the car is completely wrecked, we can get out and walk.”

She smiled, despite wanting to stay stern. When he smiled and those dimples came out, holy Jesus, devastation. “So, Dylan, what do you do in your spare time, besides insulting future guests on your show?”

He smiled and his white, even teeth gleamed. Laser much, she wanted to say, but it was appealing.

He shrugged. “I just took this job and my schedule is hectic, so I don’t have much of a routine yet. Ratings are up seven percent since I joined. Viewers seem to rave about my ideas…and my abs.” He took a sip of his drink and smiled again, but this one didn’t seem to reach his eyes.

“Well, once you and your stomach are settled in. What are we talking, like surfing at the beach? Spraying graffiti in the inner city? Coaching little league? Give it a guess, at least.”

“Can I spray-paint my old little league coach? That guy was pure evil.”

Fia laughed. “Oh, sure. That’s totally legit. How can a little league coach be evil, though? Aren’t they someone’s dad?”

“Oh, they are. This one fathered the meanest, ugliest bully you’ve ever seen, and he let his kid pick on everyone else incessantly.”

“You should probably invite him onto your show,” Fia suggested, “and then find him in the bar the night before and tell him how much he sucks. You’ll drain the soul right out of him.”

He grimaced. “If I say I’m sorry again, will you believe me?”

“I’m not sure.” She smiled, but narrowed her eyes. “And I don’t actually feel you were very sincere before.”

“Ah.” But he didn’t go on. He leaned back in his chair and regarded her, a small smile on his mouth. “How about your hobbies? In addition to attacking defenseless television morning show hosts in bars and rendering them speechless, what do you do in your spare time?”

“Well, I don’t go around spray-painting people,” she retorted. “If you’re really interested, you can read my personal page on my blog. It has everything about me listed there.”

“Oh, everything?” His eyes gleamed and he leaned in. “Such as?”

“Such as why do you care?” She leaned in too, although it didn’t make sense, and the air between them seemed charged with electricity. Just a few more inches. A few more inches and those delicious lips would be right upon hers. She could smell his cologne and the whiskey on his breath. She was close enough to see the small wrinkles at the corners of his eyes, and the barest stubble beginning to appear on his jawline.

“It would be remiss of me not to research a guest on the show.”

“So it would.” If she could feel the heat of his words, could he feel hers, too? His eyes were magnetic. His hands were on the table, one tapping, the other wrapped around his glass, the ice melting into the amber liquid, light refracting from it. Her hand was close to his. If either of them reached out, just a short distance, they could touch. “But if you save everything to the last minute, how can you do a thorough job in just one night?” Her voice was low and sultry.

“I can do a very thorough job in just one night, Fia.” His voice was low and direct, and his smile, dirty and wicked, made her melt. She sucked in a breath. “I can get more done in a night…” he paused and lowered his voice, “than most people can get done in weeks. I’m that good.”

She widened her eyes. So suggestive, and so, so cocky. “I’d like to see you try.”

He laughed. “Do you? I’d love to show you, then.” His voice, so sexy, made her catch her breath.

She flushed. “That’s not what…You know? I really do need to get going. I have a lot of things to prepare for some meetings tomorrow.” She stood up and reached for her purse.

He stood too. “Well, I look forward to seeing you on the show. Very much.” He gave her his hand, and the sparks that flew up her arm made her tingle.

“I’m sure you do.” She smiled at him.

* * *

As soon as she got home, she called Grace. “So we insulted each other and then we sort of started getting along. He flirted a lot, but I think he does that to everyone. He’s hot, but he really hated on my service. I’m worried he’s going to try to trash me on TV or something.”

Grace was thoughtful. “He’s too professional to do something like that, no matter what he feels personally. Besides, Chelsea has been bringing him in when they run the ‘Who Does It Better’ segment. Aren’t you going on for the ‘Local Business Blast’ segment?”

“Oh, yes. Good point. Now I feel better.”

Grace added, “Everyone loves ‘Who Does It Better,’ though. Last week he visited two trendy sushi joints and talked about which one he preferred. It’s a huge hit with viewers. They love his sarcastic wit and the way he sort of mocks things even when he’s complimenting them. And both sushi places got extra business, even the one that wasn’t his favorite. Even being on the show is great for a business.”

          Fia felt relieved. “Well, there’s no way he can test out two dating services, so I think I’m safe. I’m not going to think about him anymore.”

But that night as she prepared her notes, she couldn’t help but feel a small flash of excitement at the idea of meeting the arrogant but sexy Dylan Chambers face to face…again. And her dreams were full of other, less verbal encounters with Dylan, and these were the kind of steamy dreams that had her awakening with a breathless longing that had no words.

 

Perfect Match: Chapter Two

“Tell me again why they call it a green room?” complained Grace, looking around the long, narrow waiting room lined with shallow couches and an ice-bucket full of bottled waters. “It’s the kind of beige that belongs on tired old bedpans.”

Fia tried to laugh. A few weeks had passed since she’d met Dylan in the bar, and today—finally—she would see him again, face to face, while Chelsea interviewed her and Connie on the live Monday morning taping of Morning Brew.

She tried to calm her racing heart by taking deep breaths. She also tried not to stare at the other featured matchmaker, Connie Birnbaum, who was pouring words into a cell phone and had been doing so for the past fifteen minutes. Fia noted that Connie, in her early sixties, had killer legs and bombshell curves, which were accentuated by her trendy suit.

“I want to say hi to her ahead of time,” Fia murmured to Grace. “But she’s so…busy. And I’m so…about to pass out.”

“You know I’ll be in here if need me,” Grace reassured her. “I mean, you need anything? Just scream, GRACIE! BRING ME MY—whatever it is—and I’m on it. Promise.”

This time Fia laughed for real. “Oh, Grace. That would so not endear me to any potential clients out there in viewer-land.”

Grace patted her hand. “No matter what happens, this is getting your name out there.”

Fia bit her lip, all of Dylan’s criticisms coming back to her. “But what if he’s right? What if I am only temporarily hooking up rich men with pretty girls? What if all the marriages do start to fail?”

Grace raised her voice. “Fia! Stop it! You’ve been to the weddings. You’ve seen how in love those couples are. It’s more than what he said and you know it. You just have stage fright. Stand up and walk around. It will help burn off your nervous energy.”

Fia stood and marched in place. “Not helping, Grace.”

Connie looked over and finally stowed her phone. She strode up. “Fia Martin? I’m Connie.” She touched her white-blonde hair, arranged into a complicated bun atop her head, and extended her hand.

Fia shook, still marching. “Nice to meet you. I’m a huge fan. You were the inspiration for me to start my own business.”

Connie acted as if marching adoration were a normal part of her day, which maybe it was, thought Fia. It was hard to tell about other people sometimes. “I’m not interested in getting into a brutal battle out there,” Connie announced. Her diamond necklace flashed in the light as she turned to smile at both Fia and Grace. “Right?”

 Fia bit her lip, slightly confused. They were going on ‘Local Business Blast,’ where Chelsea featured local businesses. And although there would be inevitable comparisons and web comments on who liked which business better, it really wasn’t ever touted as a combative thing. Maybe Connie just wanted to clarify that she wasn’t going to be a bitch?

Fia nodded and stopped marching. “I’d just rather focus on what we do well. I’m sure we each have specific strengths, right? I’d like to play it off like we can complement each other. Different firms for different clients.”

 “This doesn’t mean I won’t try to sell myself hard,” Connie warned Fia. “And get the competitive edge. But I don’t play dirty. My clients want to see that I’m professional and courteous to everyone.”

Fia cleared her throat. Connie must be used to working with really cutthroat people! “I know you’ve been doing this for years and you’re good at it—very good. And I’m good too. I have confidence that my techniques really help people find lasting love. I like knowing that we can be competitive but still supportive.”

The set assistant beckoned. “On set, please.”

Now Fia was seated in a plush red chair, crossing her legs and tugging her skirt down, smelling the minty breath of the man who was wiring her up with a microphone, and looking into a sea of bright lights as she heard, “Five, four…” and then Chelsea’s luxurious, smooth voice:

“Hello and welcome back to Morning Brew and our live studio audience! We have two matchmaking companies here today on our ‘Local Business Blast’ segment. First there’s Connie Birnbaum from Matched by the Millions. She’s been the resident love mistress in town for almost two decades and was featured in five seasons of a reality TV show based on her business! Connie’s secret is her gut—she says that when a match is right, she feels it in her stomach. And she has years of successful matches to prove her right.

“And here we have newcomer matchmaker Fia Martin, from Perfect Profiles. She’s only been in business for two years but already boasts a remarkable track record at helping couples find love. Fia’s claim to fame is her proprietary computer program, which ranks a person’s potential matches by percentage from one to one hundred. She says that when she finds a person who ranks eighty percent or higher for a client, it usually results in a lasting love match.

“Let’s learn more. Are you—and we all know you’re looking for love out there, viewers, let’s be honest—are you going to do better with a matchmaker who matches you from her physical instincts, or one who matches you from her brainy computer? Let’s get to it!”

The audience applauded wildly, and Fia gulped. She didn’t like being described as merely a “brainy computer”. There was so much more to it than that.

But Chelsea leaned forward, her elbow on her pant-suited knee and rested her chin in her hand as she looked at Connie. “Connie Birnbaum! I’m such a fan,” she gushed. “I had to watch every episode of your show. My favorite was the one where the millionaire made all of his potential dates help pick through trash at his recycling plant! They were all wearing heels, and it was hilarious when they dissed him. But then, despite his attitude, you still found him love. I heard that he’s still married to the girl who told him off, right?”

Connie laughed. “He sure is, Chelsea. I knew it in my gut when I saw those two together that I had to push, and I was right! The sparks turned into a bond of forever love. I always make it a point to talk to the clients about life and goals, but not to get every single detail. I don’t want to lose the forest for the trees. Once I get a snapshot of their character, if you will, I then think about all the potential matches. And when I get that warm feeling in my gut, I know I’ve found the best possible match.”

Chelsea shook her head and smiled. “Well, with hundreds of success stories, your method must surely work! And now let’s turn to Fia Martin. Fia, you’re more of a trees matchmaker, right? You actually try to get every single detail possible for your computer program?”

Fia hoped her voice wouldn’t shake. “That’s right, Chelsea. There are so many nuances and subtle details that make up a personality, and I’ve found that it’s critical to get information from all aspects of a person’s life—life experiences, psychological personality profiles, likes and dislikes, political leanings, even tastes in music and food.”

She paused to breathe before continuing. “But it gets even more complicated before it gets simple. I enter all of the data into my program and use a proprietary algorithm to parse the data and analyze it, compare it to the information of each potential partner. Eventually the program comes up with a number that shows the match potential as a percentage.”

Chelsea wrinkled her nose. “Give me an example. Let’s say, for instance, that I have an inveterate bachelor who needs true love. I sign him up for your service, and he goes through all these insane hours of interviews. What happens next?”

Fia took a deep breath. “Well, I’d run his profile and find his top four matches in the system. Each woman would have a number by her name showing the percentage likelihood that they would hit it off. I like to aim for percentages in the eighties or higher because that usually leads to a good match. But sometimes I’ve sparked lasting connections from people who only rated in the sixties for each other.”

“So if I understand this,” Chelsea probed, “my bachelor would get a list of four names and would then get to date each one?”

Fia replied, “Sometimes the bachelor stops the process early because he’s already found a person he’s crazy about and doesn’t wish to pursue further dates. But yes, he can choose to meet each of the four if he likes. Or he can wait until more women enter the system, and can try again.”

Chelsea turned back to Connie. “And let’s say I sent that same bachelor to your service. You’d get to know him, then use your gut feeling to match him up with a few women? How many are we talking here?”

Connie laughed. “Well, it’s not so mathematical over here, Chelsea! Sometimes there are three women whom I think might match him, sometimes seven, sometimes only one perfect woman. And it’s up to him if he wants to meet them all at once for a mixer, or individually. I really like to work from a warm, friendly standpoint—not from behind an impersonal computer screen.”

Fia felt her face burn, and cut in with, “I absolutely agree with Connie that the process needs to be personal. I also definitely create a space that’s welcoming and makes a person feel that they’re being valued. Because each individual is unique.”

Chelsea leaned in. “Well, I have a surprise proposition for you two! Ladies, both of you have already agreed to have our cameras follow one man through your system while he goes on dates to find true love. But I have a special request! If you’re up for the challenge, I’m going to enroll my co-host Dylan in the matchmaking system at both of your companies! He’ll do ‘Who Does It Better’ for finding love!”

The applause that followed her pronouncement was, in Fia’s opinion, powerful enough to rattle the ground and start an earthquake rumbling toward the coast.

 “Who will find love for Dylan? Will it be Connie and her gut feelings, or Fia and her computer program? Viewers, you’re going to want to stay tuned over the next few weeks as we follow Dylan around on his dates and find out what he thinks about the two top rated matching services in town!

“This is your backstage pass, ladies and gentlemen, to find out what makes these matchmaking services tick, and where you’re going to want to spend your money to find the love of a lifetime!”

To Fia’s shock and horror, Dylan came out and sat down in the red chair next to Chelsea, smiling a taut smile.

 The audience roared their approval and chanted his name. “Dy-lan! Dy-lan!”

Fia mentally scrambled to get her bearings. So, wait—what? Instead of just being featured separately, now they really were going head-to-head in a competition…with Dylan as the man who needed love? Had Connie known about this ahead of time, and that’s why she mentioned twice that she didn’t want it to get too intense?

But Fia didn’t have to time to ruminate because the show was proceeding.

Chelsea laughed and poked her co-host playfully in the arm. “Dylan really didn’t want to do this,” she explained to the audience. “But as you also know, he lost that on-air bet to me last week about whose team would win the championship, and I got to choose his penalty. Plus, I’m his boss, so he had to do what I say.” She smiled smugly.

The audience screamed and roared with applause, loving it. Dylan shifted in his seat, glowering.

Chelsea beamed. “Ladies, if you’re local, you’re in luck! Just join up at one of these two highly-rated agencies for a chance to date Dylan or another wonderful man. If you trigger the gut test, or blast past the ones and zeroes, it may be you having a romantic date!”

The audience shrieked louder if possible, making Fia wonder if eardrums could actually rupture from too much feminine decibelage.

Chelsea grinned at Fia and Connie. “Ladies, please tell me you’re up for the challenge. I mean, no pressure to participate. You can choose any bachelor you want to feature. But backing out would be a sign to everyone that you can’t help my man here find love.” She laughed as if this were a joke they’d already discussed.

Connie was smooth. “Of course I’m in! You know I’m always up for a challenge.”

Fia licked her lips. “More than willing! I’m confident I can find Dylan the perfect woman.” Her mind raced, trying to figure this out: What, how, who?

Chelsea clapped her hands. “Yay, yay, yay! Dylan, what do you think of this?”

He frowned and crossed his arms, and the audience laughed. They seemed to love Dylan-in-a-mood situations.

Dylan looked directly at Fia. “I have my doubts that either of you can find me real love. Besides, I wonder if you’d even have someone at your business, Fia, who’d be willing to date me? Given the issues you seem to have with my personality?”

Fia bit her lip and answered as sweetly as she could. “Oh, Dylan! I’m certain that we have many wonderful women who would match well with your unique personality and characteristics!” she said, then mouthed to him, “like hyenas. Or vipers.”

Dylan laughed. “I can read lips, Fia. Your suggestions are definitely…more than interesting.” He drawled out the word interesting, making it seem like Fia had been whispering something illicit to him.

“Oh, that’s good,” said Fia in a saccharine tone. “That will save me the trouble of having to scream at you when you’re being difficult. But I can handle difficult. I’ve been able to find matches for people who don’t seem to work within the typical bounds of polite society.”

Dylan leaned forward to lock eyes with Fia. “So you’re ready to take me on, then?” His voice was ripe with double meaning, and Fia felt her heartbeat quicken.

“More than ready,” she answered, her voice coming out a tad more seductively than she’d planned, making her blush and clear her throat.

Chelsea cut in, “Wow. It looks like this is going to be way more than interesting, folks! Lip reading and readiness. Whew!” She pretended to fan herself. “Connie, what do you want to say to Dylan?”

Connie looked shrewdly from Dylan to Fia, and stated, “I’ve never met a man whom I can’t match, Dylan. I welcome the challenge to find you the perfect woman. I won’t stop until you’re happy.” She had a small, quizzical smile on her face, and she cocked her head to the side.

“And it gets better! Perfection and happiness. A woman who will stop at nothing! Viewers, you can find all of the information on these two dating services at our website,” Chelsea continued. “Thanks for tuning in today, and keep watching for updates on Dylan’s love connection!”

The camera lights blinked off and Chelsea pulled off her mike. “Whew! That went even better than I expected. Good job, ladies. Dylan. The audience was eating it up. Hang out until my peeps get with you about all the details, ‘kay? We have contracts prepared for you both, and then we’ll do planning. Lots and lots of planning!”

She darted off the set, disappearing behind equipment, and Fia looked around uncertainly until an assistant un-miked her and led her back to the ‘beige’ room to start on the paperwork.

“Oh, Fia, that went well!” Grace exclaimed, hugging her shaky friend. “I watched on the monitor. Luckily Chelsea wasn’t in Super Shark Mode. You were cool and professional. Except, ah, when you talked to Dylan. Then you sort of seemed, how do I say it?”

“Predatory?” cut in Connie with a raised eyebrow.

“Yes, exactly!” exclaimed Grace. “Like you were hunting him. And he was hunting you right back.”

“That’s ridiculous,” scoffed Fia, sinking into a beige couch. “I was trying frantically to think of what to say. That just—came out. But I’m so psyched that she pitched us both to the audience. We’ll both get business from this, I’m sure of it.”

“And so when will you meet with Dylan?” Grace was pure eagerness.

“I don’t know. I still don’t even know for sure if this is going to happen. I mean, she just said it out there for the first time. He doesn’t even want to do it. I bet he doesn’t even follow through.”

“Oh, it’s real. And I never back out on a promise,” said a rough voice behind them, and Fia started as Dylan entered the beige room, followed closely by Chelsea.

“No, when I commit to something, I stick with it,” he continued, pinning Fia with his dark eyes. “I hope you can say the same.”

“Of course I can,” said Fia, sticking up her chin. “So, since both of us are promise-keepers and valiant truth-tellers who never break an oath, then I’ll expect you at seven o’clock tomorrow morning to begin the interview process and the surveys.”

Dylan chuckled. “That’s fine. I guess we’ll be working together… closely.”

“Working together closely to find you a girlfriend,” said Fia firmly, feeling a tinge of dislike at those words.

So he was hot, what did that matter? She worked with hot, handsome guys every day without giving them a second thought, except to find them the perfect match. Why did the thought of hooking this arrogant, condescending jerk up with another girl suddenly have her all twisted up?

Chelsea cleared her throat. “So he’ll meet with you first, Fia, that’s fine, I’m okay with that. My assistant will set up all the details. And Connie, you’ll be later in the week. And we’ll have a camera-man follow him around on the dates. I want footage for the viewers! Dylan, I’m counting on you to help everyone understand what it’s like to enter one of these exclusive dating services. So give it your best shot!” She punched him lightly on the arm.

Dylan grimaced. “I never give anything but, Chels.”

Chelsea rolled her eyes. “Yeah, sure. This is going to be fun.”

“Sure, for you,” said Dylan. “You love torturing me on air.”

“Just because the viewers love to see me torture you on air!” shot back Chelsea.

Fia liked the jokey bickering. It was part of what made their show so fun to watch—that, and the handsomeness that was Dylan, she had to admit.

And what she didn’t want to admit was that she was looking forward to working with Dylan one-on-one. And by “one-on-one,” what her devious mind seemed to want was something far more personal than interviews and questionnaires.

***

Perfect Match is available now for just $0.99 in the box set Hot and Sinful Nights:

Amazon – http://amzn.to/2s1HzwY
iBooks – http://apple.co/2tUIRvc
B&N – http://bit.ly/2sWVk3X
Kobo – http://bit.ly/2t0UdAY
Google Play – http://bit.ly/2tzwK78

 

 

Thank you and happy reading! XOXO – Alexis

 

Cover Reveal ** Boston **

Greetings, readers! It’s Alexis Alvarez with a cover reveal for my upcoming contemporary romance, Boston.  It will release on Amazon on August 16th. 

BOSTON-EBOOK-WEBSHARE

 

Blurb for Boston

Parker Minelli, a fitness trainer and cover model, is every woman’s dream. His Boston accent, chiseled abs and easy-going nature have women flocking to him. But when he meets author Abby, whose brains are bigger than his biceps, he sets out to prove that he’s more than just a pretty face.

Abby is thrilled—and a little breathless—when Parker agrees to work with her on her next book release. However, they soon discover that while opposites may attract, that doesn’t mean that they can overcome their differences. Especially when Parker’s supermodel ex-girlfriend reappears.

Will they be able to see the big picture and accept each other as they are, or will their differences close the book on their chance at love?

BOSTON-FULL-WRAP-FINAL-WEBSHARE

ARC Readers

 It’s filling up fast, but I  still have a few spaces available for ARC readers.  If you have a Kindle, love steamy contemporary romances with sexy heroes and a high heat level…and are willing to leave me an honest review on Amazon on the day the book goes live (August 16th), please contact me to sign up as an ARC reader. My author page is here and you can message me.

Goodreads

Find Boston here on Goodreads!  Add it to your TBR list today so you can share the delicious beauty of the cover.  Thanks!

Awesome People

I love how the cover turned out! I’d like to thank three very important people. Shane “Eyeball” Williams, thanks for modeling for me and letting me take the fantastic photograph of you during your trip to Arizona.  It was great to meet you and take your pictures!  Find Shane here on Facebook.

Shannon Passmore, you have mad skillz at cover design! Thanks for creating this amazing work of art. I’m proud to dress my book up in this gorgeous cover.  Find Shannon at http://www.shanoffformats.com/

Heather Roberts at Social Butterfly PR, thanks for the blurb (you have a great way with words) and all of the publicity and PR assistance.  You rock!  Find Heather at http://www.socialbutterflypr.net/

Thanks! Happy reading.  🙂

siggie bar jen web 2

 

How To Give A Blow Job: Chapters 1-3 from Return

ad for return for twitter2Greetings! I’m Alexis Alvarez, a romance author. Today I’m sharing the first three chapters of my novel Return, in which my heroine and her BFF discuss the finer points of certain oral maneuvers, and how to find the best tutorials on Google regarding said maneuvers.  All for book research, of course…

Return is the story of Ava, an aspiring novelist, who bases the hero of her BDSM novel on sexy gym trainer Damian.  When he finds out that he inspired a book, he demands payback — they’ll act out every kinky scene, with him as the dom and her as the sub.  The passion is incredible, but the path to love is twisty and uncertain. There is an HEA, and some readers said it made them cry in a good way.  Return has received 4 and 5-star reviews on Amazon.  Enjoy!

Excerpt from Return (First Three Chapters)

Chapter One

 

Ava Grimaldi twisted one of her long, brown curls around her finger and grinned at her best friend, Claire. Light streaming through the large plate-glass windows sparkled into the space, creating blinding white flares on her laptop screen as she folded down the lid and picked up her cup of coffee.

“So, how’s the writing going?” Claire asked, setting her steaming latte onto the table. She smiled at Ava and slung her purse over the back of a mismatched wooden chair. “I’m late, but you know I’d never miss our Saturday morning coffee here at MoonBeans.”

“I’m on a really sexy scene right now,” replied Ava, blinking back the solar glare and sipping her Americano. “Coincidentally, this particular short story starts in a coffee house very similar to ours.” The eclectic Chicago café enveloped them with the deep aroma of espresso and the sounds of low chatter, grinders and soft jazz, and Ava gestured as if inviting the atmosphere to join them.

Ava shot Claire a mischievous smile, crossed one lean, muscular leg over the other and continued, “About my novels—I’m nearly going crazy waiting for my first book to come out in stores. It will happen in the next two weeks for sure, Claire! And for the second book? I just sent the latest copy to my editor last night. I added in that scene she wanted. You know,” she lowered her voice and leaned forward, “that special one.”

She giggled and made a hand gesture near her mouth to let Claire know exactly what kind of “special” was on the menu.

Claire snorted. “I can’t believe you’re writing another kinky sex novel, Ava. Before you started your part-time author gig? I would never have guessed that you were the one with the dirty mind. You always came across as innocent and clean, the fresh-eyed computer programmer next door.”

“Hey,” Ava protested, and took a sip from her hand-painted green and blue mug, a modern-art ocean in her hands. “Coders are cool. I’m representing my kind, you know? Showing that numbers geeks have many talents. Who better than a math expert to capture the beauty of a sixty-nine in words?”

Claire rolled her eyes and tapped the side of her cup. “I’m curious. You must have given hundreds of specials to be able to write about them so well. Am I right?” She gazed at Ava with her Inspector Detective look, the one where she narrowed her pale blue eyes and pulled some of her brilliant red hair into a fake moustache.

“Claire!”

Claire grinned. “In round numbers. Estimate it.”

“Well,” Ava shot back, “how many times have you specialized?”

“Me?” Claire paused and deliberated, releasing the fauxstache. “I mean, Ryan loves a good special. So, at least once or twice a week.”

“Really?” Ava was impressed. “Wow.”

“Well, sure. But he gives as good as he gets,” replied Claire with a wink. “Now you answer, Ms. Perverted Hemingway.”

Ava retorted, “You know I prefer to be called Emily Dick-inson.”

“e.e. cum-mings?”

“Francis Ford Coppola-feel.”

“Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Haha.”

Woody Allen.”

There was a pause, then Claire interrupted. “And you totally changed the subject. Is it weird to ask? I’ve just been wondering.”

Ava fidgeted. “You’re funny. Honestly? Not often. Okay, once. Half of once.”

Claire popped upright in her chair. “Seriously?”

Ava shrugged. “I haven’t been with that many guys, Claire.”

Claire still appeared astounded. “I thought I was kidding about calling you innocent.”

Ava rolled her eyes. “I’ve had plenty of sex, okay? It’s just never been earth-shattering, I guess. And I never really wanted to try doing a blow job with any of them. It’s a mental thing.”

Claire had a strange look on her face. “How did you do half? You only licked one side of it?” She giggled.

“Shut up! It was with my ex, Matt, last year. He started pushing my head, and it tweaked my neck in this awkward way, and I got pissed. Then he told me I wasn’t doing it right, and I broke up with him. Not just because of that, but it was the final straw on our lukewarm romance.”

Claire slammed her cup down as hard as a cardboard container could go, causing coffee to slosh out of the plastic lid and onto her hand. She licked it off, commenting, “Never waste a good Java.” Then she continued her interrupted tirade. “What a jerk-off. A guy can’t just shove your head down there and be all, Blow me, baby. Maybe he was blaming you for his lack of sexability.”

Ava frowned. “He turned out to be pretty toolbox. But also? We didn’t have the right chemistry. Things between us were… tepid.”

Claire tilted her head and her freckles glowed in the sunlight. “Remind me why you dated him in the first place?”

Ava shrugged. “In the beginning, he was actually kind of sweet and funny. It was only later on that things fell apart.” Her eyes crinkled as the next thought came to her. “And if I’m being completely honest, I thought dating Matt would get my mind off of Damián. Not the best reason to start a relationship, apparently.” She gave Claire a wry grin and lifted her coffee cup. “Live and learn, or so they tell me.” She took a deep sip of the creamy drink and savored the hint of hazelnut.

Claire sighed. “Ava. You’ve been mooning over Damián for how long now? Half a year?”

Ava ran her finger along the table, mopping up a stray drop of coffee and using it like paint to make a swirl pattern. “It’s not a big deal. I date other people. It’s only a crush… it’ll burn out eventually, right?” A ray from the window made the droplets glow like tiny suns.

Claire pushed at her cup. “But you don’t really date other people, not more than one-time deals. I know you like working out at Damián’s gym. And you spend a lot of time with him since he hired you off-hours to design his website. And he is really handsome. But—”

Ava broke in, thinking of sexy Damián. “Right? He’s gorgeous. It’s frustrating, because he flirts with me a lot, and I almost think there’s something there. Like last time when we met about the web design. He asked a lot of personal questions, and we were teasing each other. He got so close, and looked right into my eyes—I thought he was going to kiss me.” Her voice lost some spark. “He didn’t, though, and the next time I saw him at the gym, he was distant. I was something useful and dull, like a folding chair.”

Claire tapped Ava’s hand. “Folding chairs can be fancy, Ava. Did you know that the Versailles Palace in France has folding stools made of hand-carved, gilded walnut wood, covered with silk and velvet cushions with tassels? Fit for a queen. Or should I say king? Because you want him to sit on you, right?”

Merci beaucoup, Claire,” said Ava, making a face. She did, in fact, want Damián’s hot, muscular body on top of hers, his dark eyes shooting her looks of passion, his warm brown skin hers to touch. She could almost feel her fingers running through his black hair, her mouth meeting his. And when it came to Damián, she’d be more than happy to lock her lips around the most intimate part of his anatomy. She’d do almost anything with him, including every wild escapade in her own romance novel.

While pondering this, she felt the small pang of concern that had been hitting her more often as the publication date of her first book loomed closer. Maybe? Maybe it wasn’t so cool that the fictional hero of her debut novel was kind of—well, nearly one hundred percent—modeled on real-life Damián Perez.

Tired of fantasizing about Damián, Ava had tried to exorcise him from her thoughts by writing her kinky sex novel with him as the hero. And when it came time to publish, she didn’t tell her editor that the protagonist was remarkably similar to a flesh-and-blood person. She probably shouldn’t have done it, but the truth was that she liked the character so similar to real-life Damián. This was a piece of her soul, now, this book; she didn’t want to change anything. This was her fantasy all written out, his face and body and traits mixed in with some imaginary, hot alpha-male sex.

Damián would never read a BDSM romance, so he’d never find out that his body and gym, his art and his love of rock climbing, his sexy accent and his Puerto Rican heritage had formed the inspiration for her hero. Who knew if anyone would buy it? Even if they did, what were the chances they’d even recognize him, especially since there was all the BDSM, something he surely wasn’t into? And she’d changed his name.

Still, though, she felt guilty, like she’d stolen something valuable, something irreplaceable.

She shook her head, as if dislodging the thoughts, and added, “Yes, but I don’t know if I’m his type. His ex-girlfriend? Mariana? She’s so pretty that I’d want to fuck her if I were a lesbian. She’s that hot. And she’s his ex. The one who didn’t make the cut.”

Claire shook her head back. “Didn’t you say Mariana was a raving bitch? See, personality matters to him, if he exxed her. Way to be a real man, Damián.” She raised her cup in a mock toast. “There’s hope for him yet.”

Ava waved her hand. “Of course personality matters. But you need the spark of attraction. And he can get any sparkplug he wants. He has infinite choices. I guess I’m not his, even if he’s flirty sometimes. Maybe I’m just not cute enough. No, I mean—something enough.”

She paused to think about it. Was she enough? At twenty-six, she was fit and toned, with a happy smile and sparkling green eyes and long curling hair (Claire often told her it was Pantene-worthy); her friends often complimented her witty attitude and her generous spirit. She was successful in her career as a programmer and worked hard to do her own private consulting jobs on the side. She had loyal friends and a happy life, a comfortable routine. She knew she was pretty, but she wasn’t the kind of woman who got constant catcalls, free drinks in bars, and so many phone numbers that her purse fluttered and bulged with hopeful scraps torn from the hearts of handsome men.

Damián was in his thirties and seemed successful at everything he tried, at least from what she knew of him—his art, his climbing, his sports. He had the full attention of every single woman at the gym, and even the happily married moms liked flirting with him. Although he didn’t seem like a vacuous player, his effortless ability to capture the attention of every female in the vicinity seemed unequal to her own, weaker pull on humanity. She didn’t like that.

Claire poked her back. “You’re perfectly cute as you are. Anyway, it’s not about cute. It’s just about chemistry. And moves. If he doesn’t make a move, and you’re too chicken to make one yourself? Stop obsessing. No more furniture or auto shop references. Move on.”

Ava grimaced. “Yes. I know. But sadly, the Good Decision Center of my brain didn’t get the message. Apparently the appropriate neurotransmitters are either on strike, or incredibly lazy.”

Claire laughed. Then she leaned forward, her head tilted, expression eager. “Ava, I need to know. How are you able to write about all this stuff if you haven’t actually done it? Your sex scenes are seriously hot. Not all stuff I’d do, like the bondage and spanking… but some of it’s wow. Like the blow job scenes—they really work. I tried one of your techniques with Ryan, the grapefruit thing? And let me just say, Oh. My. God. Happiest boyfriend in the world.”

Ava lowered her voice. “I research it. I have, like, eighty BDSM and graphic sex romances on my tablet. Don’t tell anyone,” she interjected. “I’d die if people at work knew.”

“You know I would never,” said Claire. “I take my HR confidentiality to heart. But seriously? Just reading gives you all of those ideas?”

Ava smiled with pride. “I have a good imagination. And I Googled dungeons and spanking and BDSM and blow jobs. I learned things, Claire.”

Claire bent over in her chair, laughing. “I can just see you watching blow job videos and taking notes!”

“It’s not that funny,” protested Ava, but she was laughing, too. “You’re right. I do take notes. It is kind of hilarious.” She leaned toward Claire and confided, “You know what? It’s harder than you’d think to find a good blow job tutorial on Google,” and giggled with pleasure at her friend’s surprise.

Claire regained her composure and scoffed. “Ava. I seriously can’t believe you looked that up. And I can’t believe it’s hard to find a BJ video.”

Ava raised her eyebrows. “Videos, yes. Tutorials, no. If you Google ‘how to give a blow job,’ you will not find any actual footage of a real blow job on a real penis. Sure, there are tons of articles. But the only teaching videos are porn stars demonstrating on a banana.”

Claire protested. “But, potassium. So good for you.”

“It’s okay to see it done on a banana, but you know, it’s even more helpful to see it done on a real person. By another real person.” Ava’s voice rose. “Turns out you have to search for ‘blow job video’ and leave out the ‘“how to.’ Then you hit the mother lode, pun intended. But it’s surprisingly monotonous work, sorting through all the three-ways, disgusting stuff, and amateur hour. Most of it is repetitive and dull, made to appeal to a misogynistic asshole.” She shuddered, took a sip of coffee and added, “Also, I wanted to watch something that’s doable by two people who aren’t porn stars. So it was a big job. Pun. Anyway, I’ve watched, say, well over a hundred blow jobs.”

Claire acted impressed. “Sounds like you have a Bj.D by now.”

“Oh, you can just call me Doctor Blow. Hey, if you want any pointers, I can send you a list of my favorite clips. I mean, I’ve never done one, but I could probably teach a class by now. Isn’t that ironic?”

Claire snorted. “I… think I’m good. But thanks. And douche-ball Matt would kill himself if he knew what he missed,” she said with a raised eyebrow.

Ava warmed to her topic. “When I first started my research, I found a few websites reference this one movie, Caligula. There’s a blow job scene in the middle of this orgy? She starts with a graceful thing with both hands. It’s actually very pretty. Like a finger ballet.”

Claire was holding her stomach. “Ava. You’re killing me!”

Ava gestured, stacking her two hands as if gripping a cucumber, then rotating her wrists in opposite directions while moving both hands up and down and wiggling the fingers. “This is really the most popular technique in all of the videos, too, at least on the huge long dicks.” She demonstrated again. “Isn’t that elegant? It’s like I’m making pottery on one of those spinning wheels. Or doing an ethnic dance.”

Claire snorted, spewing coffee, trying not to laugh. “Ava, stop!”

Ava smiled and shrugged, a “who, me?” kind of guilty shrug. Then she continued her explanation. “I didn’t want to pay for any hardcore sites just to see some sex. Who wants to give their credit card information to a porn website? I wanted free research, Claire. Free.”

Claire was wheezing. “I can’t even breathe!”

Ava sighed. “So I ended up with some useful footage, but I did have to clean malware from my computer a few times.”

The two laughed together for a few more minutes, but suddenly Ava felt tears pricking at her eyes. She brushed at her lids.

“Why do you look sad?” Claire asked with sympathy.

“I don’t know,” said Ava, rubbing at a rough spot of glaze on the handle of her ceramic cup. “I guess it’s a little lonely, Claire. I write about these hot encounters and my first book is being published, but I still don’t have a special someone.” She blew out her breath. “Well, I’ll just keep on being myself and doing what I can. Karma will eventually lead me to my perfect match.”

Claire thought about it. “If Ms. Karma doesn’t produce, there are tons of dating websites. I’m sure someone out there is ready to appreciate your fountain of knowledge. Or to use your knowledge on their fountain. Ha! I’m so funny.”

Ava rolled her eyes at Claire. “Hilarious.”

Claire patted Ava’s arm and jingled her keys as she stood. “Ava? I have to go. Ryan and I are having lunch with his parents. But can I treat you to dinner this week? I need to thank you for spending so many hours teaching me that financial budgeting software last month, and how to deal with my stock options at work. Seriously, if it weren’t for you? I wouldn’t be so, what do they call it? Solvent.” She sliced a finger across her neck. “They’d be coming to repossess my freckles by now.”

“Oh, you know. That’s what friends are for,” said Ava, blushing. “No big deal.”

She had actually spent a significant amount of time helping fix Claire’s financial records, and had plans to do her friend’s taxes and help her start investing. “You’re my best friend,” she reminded Claire, “so it’s time well spent. But,” she added with a grin, “I won’t turn down a dinner at that sushi place with the moving conveyor belt.”

“Extra wasabi and sake if you get on top of it and act like a sexy cover girl while you ride around the bar,” encouraged Claire, wiggling her eyebrows and striking a pose.

The two women hugged, and then Claire left, waving her fingers in a small goodbye as she took a final sip of coffee and tossed the empty cup into the trash. Ava watched through the thick glass and saw her friend purse-fishing to extract a box of white Tic Tacs while she hurried to her car.

Alone at the table, Ava took a sip of her now lukewarm and no-longer-pleasurable coffee. Since she was not meeting anyone’s parents, or anyone at all, she didn’t need a mint. And for some reason, that thought made her want to cry hard. “Stop,” she told herself. “You’re twenty-six years old, not six.”

She didn’t usually go to a Saturday class at Damián’s gym since it was a longer, tougher workout. But today she needed to burn off this nervous anxiety and vague sadness, so she decided to head over. She was toned and strong, in good shape, but it was always important to stay on top of it, not to lose the routine. She wasn’t going specifically to see Damián, of course—only to work out.

And just for the hell of it, she ate three mints on the way.

 

 

Chapter Two

 

As Ava walked into Fitness Zone, the previous class was still finishing up, so she stood along the side of the immense floor to watch, inhaling the odor of sweat, newly installed wood, and fresh air from the open windows and the old loading dock door. The main workout space was as large as a regulation basketball court and held specialized equipment for Damián’s personal training and boot camp classes: metal bars, weights and clips along one wall, pull-up bars and rings in one section, stacks of sit-up mats and ab mats in a far corner, and racks of medicine balls next to them.

The walls were still a pristine white; since this was a new business, Damián often told his clients that they got to experience the growth and development of his gym along with him.

Damián Perez was standing with his hands on his hips, shouting out encouragement. His muscular legs and arms were damp with perspiration, and his thick black hair was mussed. Ava loved the color of his skin, a light tan, like coffee with a lot of cream, and his brown eyes framed with thick black lashes.

He smiled at her and nodded his head, and Ava’s stomach flipped as their eyes met and a sizzle of electricity zinged through her body. She swallowed and blushed as he held her gaze a second longer than necessary before turning back to his class.

“You made it through the kettlebell swings and four-hundred-meter runs,” he urged, “these push-ups are the last part. Finish strong.” He added, “Everyone—it’s important to do these moves correctly, to get the most out of the exercises and to avoid injuries. When I tell you to change something, I’m not just being picky, okay? I’m making sure that you don’t get hurt.” He stepped closer to a plump, middle-aged woman panting with exertion. “Kayla. Shift your hands to just underneath your shoulders and spread them out a bit more. Now flex your butt and quads hard as you do the push-up. Yes.”

Kayla’s form improved. “Do you feel the difference?” He watched and waited intently for her reply.

“Yes,” she said, in between breaths.

“Keep breathing the way I told you,” he added. “If your heart rate is getting too high, switch to knee push-ups. It’s more important to stay safe and maintain good form than to do a million of these, got it?”

Ava’s eyes tracked Damián’s form, and fantasies danced in her mind: Damián pulling her in for a rough kiss, his brown eyes flashing passion; her fingers spreading out across Damián’s hard chest, touching his shoulders; her hands running over his sexy ass, his quads clenching, her thighs too—

Kayla nodded, face red with exertion, and Damián moved to the next client.

“Michael. You’re not going down far enough at the bottom. Make sure that your chest brushes the floor before you come up. Keep your back straight. Got it?”

Michael grunted in reply, but his back straightened, and on his next rep, his chest brushed lower to the floor.

Ava’s mind filled with new images: Damián making a sexy sound as he brushed her breasts with his rough hands, bodies and mouths going up and down—

She drank some of her lemon-flavored water, then started at a touch on her shoulder as her friend Stace came up behind her.

“They’re just finishing up?” Stace asked. “Now we know how we’ll look in exactly one hour.”

Their friend Ben joined the group, his blond hair flopping forward into his face. “Looks like they’re beat up. It’s a tough one today. Get ready for the pain.” Ava always chatted with Ben and Stace during classes, and lately, it seemed as if the two of them were acting a little more interested in each other than usual.

“But it’s the good kind of pain,” Stace said, making a face. “The pain that lets you know that you’re already stronger and sexier. That your ass is on the way to magnificent.”

Ben glanced at Stace’s backside. “Don’t think you have much to worry about,” he told her with a grin.

“Sweet talker,” Stace said, and she wiggled said backside as she sashayed past to greet a handsome man with an impressive six-pack, shooting Ben a sidelong glance.

Ava stepped back into a beam of sun as Stace passed by, and reached with both hands to arrange her curls into a ponytail. As her Lycra shirt pulled tight with her motion, she noticed Damián looking at her, gaze intense. Her stomach lurched.

Ben reached out and touched a strand of hair, tugging it. “Wow, Ava. In the light, your hair has pieces of gold in it. Are you a secret princess?” He smiled at her, but Ava saw his eyes glance past her to land on Stace, who turned back, her gaze snagging on Ben’s hand. Ava knew Ben wasn’t flirting with her, not really—Ben was like a big brother. She figured he was using her as a prop to try to make Stace jealous.

“It’s no secret,” Ava said, trying to look at Damián without being obvious, wondering what he thought about her hair in Ben’s hands, and if he cared at all. “I got a certificate from a Cracker Jack box and everything, so it’s totally legit. I await my prince.”

“Who’re you waiting for?” Stace asked, coming closer and stepping up to Ben’s shoulder, a minuscule tinge of frost in her voice, and she crossed her slender brown arms across her chest.

Damián’s head turned sharply and his eyes moved over Ava, making her glow.

Ava smiled. “Well, I assume a handsome young royal is coming to pick me up and bring me back to his castle, where we will live happily ever after. Or possibly I’ll just drive myself home and stop at the grocery store for green beans, because that’s my donation this week for the soup kitchen. I always like to mix up my schedule, keep things fresh.”

Damián met Ava’s gaze, then averted his eyes, checking something on his clipboard.

“Although, at the soup kitchen,” Ava continued, “it’s not random princes who want to climb up my tresses, but insects. Last month we had a few guests with lice and all of us volunteers had to tie up our hair in bandanas and nets. We all avoided it, though. Whew, right?”

Ben dropped Ava’s hair and angled his body more toward Stace.

“I’m a different sort of Rapunzel,” Stace said theatrically, gesturing at her tight black cornrows with dozens of blue beads.

Ben’s smile was wide now. “Your hair is crazy perfection,” he said. “And remember, you have that ass.”

Stace’s grin was immediate. “Hey,” she complained, poking him in the chest. “Perv.”

Ben wiggled his eyebrows at Stace, then leaned in to continue the conversation with her alone. The two of them murmured in low voices, small shrieks of laughter and deep chuckles punctuating their space, Stace’s hand fluttering like a shy bird to land tentatively on Ben’s arm.

 

 

The timer buzzed, and Damián shouted, “Time. Great job, everyone.”

He walked among the athletes, stopping to talk to each person, give a high-five and ask how many push-ups they’d completed. He wrote the numbers onto his clipboard.

Ava couldn’t take her eyes off of his strong body, and when he glanced her way, she was still looking. His eyes met hers briefly and he shot her a smile. Butterflies awoke in her stomach and started a frantic dance as he came up to her.

“Ava, good to see you,” he said in a low voice, putting one hand on her arm. The touch alone sent a jolt up her spine and she tried not to suck in her breath.

“You too,” she said, unable to stop a smile from stretching her face. He was smiling back at her, and then he leaned forward and kissed her cheek. Ava was unable to mask a small squeak of surprise at the touch of his lips on her skin. Kiss me again, kiss me for real, she urged him in her mind.

He turned to the assembled athletes. “Everyone for the eleven a.m. class, five minutes until we start warm-up,” he called, striding to the center of the gym floor. Ava felt tingly from his attention and an extra bounce boosted her movements.

Stace looked at her with raised eyebrows, cleared her throat and hitched one shoulder in the direction of Damián. “What was that?” she whispered, sotto voce.

Ava took a deep breath. “What was what?” she answered, and bit her lip to hide her pleased smile. “A lot of Hispanic guys give their friends kisses on the cheek,” she informed Stace. “It’s a thing. A sort of, you know, respectful happy greeting.”

With narrowed eyes, her friend retorted, “Girl, he never kisses me on the cheek to say hello. Or Ben.”

“Ha.” Ava grabbed one ankle with her hand and stretched out her quad, just shrugging as Stace pursed her lips.

Ben was listening. “You saying you want a kiss?” His eyes were trained on Stace’s, and as the tension between her two friends ratcheted without warning into something more private, Ava took a step back, smiling.

While loosening her calves, Ava let her mind wander back to her first romance book, the one she’d discussed with Claire. It had taken nearly seven months, but soon it would actually be sold in real stores, to flesh-and-blood people! Too bad she couldn’t tell everyone about it, though.

What’s your novel about? she could imagine her mother asking. Or maybe her aunt Chelsea. Or her very conservative boss in the IT department at work.

“Oh, you know,” she might answer. “Just the standard romance book. Let me know your favorite chapter. Did you like the part where he spanks her with a paddle and fucks her from behind while she’s bound and wearing an anal plug? Maybe you really enjoyed the chapter where he teases her and denies her an orgasm for a while, makes her give him a blow job with her hands tied behind her back, whips her with his belt, and then gets her off with his mouth?”

Yeah… no. This was going to be the kind of book that was better shared with a small, selective audience. And hopefully millions of anonymous strangers.

After class, Ava was covered with sweat and her muscles were trembling with exertion. “The good kind of pain,” she murmured aloud. She couldn’t help but wonder about other good kinds of pain, like how it would feel to have Damián’s hard hand slapping her bare ass. She’d written her sexy hero with Damián in mind, hoping to banish him from her fantasies. Instead, she couldn’t stop thinking about what sex with Damián would be like. Would he be suave and gentle? Or rougher, harder? Or both, depending on his mood?

As she walked over to grab her water and gym bag, swiping her face with her towel, Damián called her name.

“Ava? A moment, please?”

Ava loved Damián’s voice: the depth of it, the rough timbre and the faint Puerto Rican accent that deepened when he was excited about something, like healthy eating or fitness.

“Of course!” she said, and then, feeling a bit too eager, she forced herself to take the time she needed to catch her breath. “What’s up?” she asked, taking a sip of her water, enjoying the tart bite of citrus.

“My website. I need to make some changes. Do you have time today to help?” His eyes flashed, and his muscles stood out with more definition now that he’d been demonstrating various exercises to her class. She could smell a hint of sweat and faded cologne, and it sent a wisp of desire spiraling through her body.

Was he standing closer to her than usual?

His eyes were large and brown, with flecks of gold and hints of green. Clear, gorgeous eyes. And those thick lashes.

Oh, he was talking.

“I need to change the scroll speed on a banner ad, and something’s wrong with the font sizing on a few of the dropdown menus.”

Ava paused. “I have some things to do. But if it’s just a few questions, we could do it this afternoon.” She kept her voice crisp and professional. Sure, she’d been hoping Damián would say, “I find you wildly attractive and I want to take you home and fuck you into Monday.” But she could handle website stuff, too.

“Would three p.m. work?” Damián asked. He was standing closer, Ava was sure of it. “If you don’t need to get ready for a hot date, or anything?” His smile held a question.

“Three is fine,” she told him, biting her lower lip without exactly meaning to. But while she was at it, she decided, she’d give the lip a little lick, too.

A muscle jumped in Damián’s cheek. “Three it is, then,” he said. Ava’s heartbeat sped up, and she steeled herself to be cool.

“Yes,” Ava agreed. “The usual coffee shop?”

“Sure,” said Damián. “I’ll bring my laptop. I really appreciate how much work you’re putting into this website. It’s a big success thanks to you!” He reached out and put his hand on her shoulder. The touch was electric.

Did he touch me longer than he touches other people?

She frantically tried to do some mental approximations, found it too confusing, gave up.

Her polite smile felt fake. “I enjoy helping businesses be as successful as possible,” she parroted. “It’s a pleasure for me to see how well the site is running and to know it’s helping you gain new members.” Although this was generally true for all of her clients, she did a mental gag at how trite she sounded.

Damián didn’t reply, though, as several other people hovered nearby, waiting to talk to him. He turned to Elsie, a blond bombshell wearing skintight leggings and a bra-style tank top.

Elsie twirled her braid. “Damián! I’m trying to get down to fourteen percent body fat and, ohmigod, I’m stuck at a plateau. Do you think I should add more kale to my green smoothies? Or do, like, a second workout daily?”

Damián leaned toward her, intent on his reply. Elsie smiled and licked her lips, flowing into his personal space like bubblegum lava, and Ava wanted to snap her in two.

“I guess I’ll see you later, then,” said Ava to Damián’s back.

Under her breath she added, “I need to get to five percent body fat so I can just slip under the door when I come home. The key is, like, too slow. Maybe I could get to zero percent and hire myself out as a shadow! Ohmigawd?”

“Did you say something?” Damián turned. “Ava?” His eyebrows were raised and Elsie frowned, cut off mid-sentence.

“No, I’m totally, like, good.” Ava spoke in a matter-of-fact, cheerful voice with only the tiniest tinge of Valley Girl. “See you.”

 

 

Ava showered and examined her closet with a frown, wanting to look good but not trying too hard good. It was a delicate balance that required the counsel of a BFF.

“I need some fashion advice,” she announced, sitting on the bed in her underwear with the phone propped at her ear. She held up a gold sandal to examine its worthiness for today’s meeting.

Claire was enthusiastic. “Lay it on me. I’m channeling my inner Claire-mani as we speak. I am now Dolce and Claire-bana.”

Ava laughed and continued, “What screams I’m hot without even trying as I meet you here in the coffee house to discuss website stuff?”

Claire was quiet for a moment. “Are you meeting Damián?”

Sandal in hand, Ava responded, “He asked me to make some quick changes to his site.”

Claire spoke in an even voice. “I’m worried that you’re letting him take advantage. Would you meet another client on Saturday at a coffee shop? Or would you require them to stick to a scheduled appointment?” She added—and this annoyed Ava, who knew her own hours better than anyone—“I know you do your personal web consulting after hours, when your regular IT day job is done. But you need to really protect your time so you don’t get overwhelmed with it all.”

“Claire! Don’t make this into a deal,” Ava said, putting down the gold sandal and picking up a white one for consideration. “No. Okay? I never meet my clients on the spur of the moment. But, well, Damián asked me, and it will only take a few minutes. Besides, the customer is always right… right?”

Claire sighed. “Or do you mean, the customer is right when you want to sex it up with him?”

“Whatever,” Ava answered. “But his website is nearly done, and I won’t be working with him directly much longer.” She put down the white sandal. “Why? Do you think I’m being a doormat or something?”

Claire said in a neutral voice, “I don’t think you should do extra work for free because you have a crush on him. If he isn’t into you, it’s not good to torture yourself, like you’re dangling an unobtainable carrot in front of your own nose.”

“Well,” said Ava with a flash of irritation. “I have to meet him today, because I promised. But what’s wrong with looking good?”

“Nothing,” Claire responded. “You are pissed.”

“I’m not pissed,” retorted Ava. “Forget I asked.”

“Now you’re sulking,” cajoled Claire. “Wear that shiny gold top you have. And here’s some real fashion advice: why don’t you just put on your big girl panties and tell him you’re interested?”

 

 

Chapter Three

 

Black jeans and the gold blouse ended up making the cut, along with the gold sandals. Ava applied her makeup to be subtle but pretty, with soft pink gloss on her lips. Her cheeks were still flushed from her workout and her smooth skin needed no powder or creams. A spritz of her favorite floral perfume and some dangling gold earrings completed the ensemble. Her reflection smiled back at her with eager eyes.

Claire’s undergarmentary advice floated through her mind. Writing a book about kinky sex had given her self-assurance, not only because it was being published, but because she’d embraced something new and found success. She could definitely say that she wore her BGPs while writing. Why did she need to put on granny waist-highs with guys?

This lingerial confidence lasted all the way to the coffee shop until she saw Damián. He was looking down at his laptop and his body radiated a quiet power that sparked a darting, nervous warmth in her stomach. He was wearing worn blue jeans and a trendy button-down shirt, and was easily the sexiest man in the place.

Damián stood to greet her, and Ava noticed that his hair was styled and he looked freshly shaved. She wondered how his smooth jaw would feel close to her own skin, and blushed.

“Ava. Thanks for meeting me,” he murmured, catching her eyes with his and leaning forward to kiss her cheek, just like he’d done at the gym. She could smell the citrus-sandalwood of his soap, and his own clean skin, and she liked it.

“You look lovely,” he added, his eyes perusing her with new intensity, one hand resting on her arm.

While Ava pulled up his website, she tried to ignore the tingle in her cheek, and the matching tingle in her lower abdomen. She also tried to ignore the two hot college girls who were looking at him and whispering.

Damián went to the counter to get coffees and Ava didn’t offer to pay him back. She knew he’d insist, especially since she was here doing him a favor. Although he’d paid her consulting fee upfront, she continued to meet with him as needed for follow-up support and didn’t charge him for it.

“Thanks,” she told him, accepting the cup, trying not to suck in her breath when their fingers touched.

“You’re welcome,” Damián smiled back, his gorgeous dimple-revealing smile.

The changes were easy and Ava showed him updates as she worked, but she was aware of his body and his proximity to hers, an undercurrent of heat. There was an invisible stretchy band between them, because when he got within a few inches of her, she felt warm and bubbly; when he leaned back, the bubbles faded.

An hour later, the changes were done; Damián grinned at her and said, “I know you’re probably busy. Thanks for doing this.”

Ava laughed. ”I’m terribly busy,” she replied. “You are so lucky you got some of my time.”

“Well,” Damián answered, “right now I do consider myself a very fortunate man.”

A flush rose from her neck to her face as Ava’s eyes snapped to his; she bit her lip and ducked her head back to the screen.

Damián paused. “Like another coffee?” he asked in a neutral voice.

Ava’s heart beat faster. “Are you having more?” she asked.

“Yes, sure,” said Damián. “I’ll get you one, too?” His accent sounded thicker, his voice rougher.

“Okay,” said Ava, more casually than she felt, and bit back a smile, watching him walk to the counter. She took an even breath and glanced out the large windows at the sky. The light was muted and the air hung motionless, heavy with potential. She tried to remember if she had an umbrella somewhere in the trunk of her car.

“Two medium coffees, room for cream,” Damián told the barista, and Ava felt a sudden joy that he not only remembered how she liked her coffee, but also that he liked his the same way. The grinder whirred loudly behind the counter, sending spirals of new burst beans flowing into the air to overtake the undertones of latte and caramel.

When he returned and handed her a cup, she wasn’t sure what to talk about. But Damián asked easily, “So tell me, Ava, what is it that you work on in your spare time?”

“I’m writing my second novel,” Ava answered. “The first one is actually going to be sold in stores this week.”

“Congratulations,” said Damián, taking a sip of coffee and giving her a broad smile. Ava watched his neck as he swallowed. “What’s it about?”

“It’s a, ah, romance,” said Ava. And then, feeling bold, she added, “A very sexy romance novel,” and licked her lower lip. “Written under my nom de plume, Erin Rutherford.”

A muscle in Damián’s cheek twitched, but apart from that Ava couldn’t see any obvious reaction to her admission. “Very sexy, huh?” he queried.

“That’s right,” she returned. “You can only imagine how fun it was to research.”

Damián’s eyes flared with something more than she’d seen from him, and he was now regarding her in a frankly assessing way. She felt his eyes move over her breasts to her lips, back to her eyes.

“I’d like to read it sometime,” he said, maintaining eye contact.

Ava smiled. “When it hits the stores,” she suggested, “maybe I’ll offer private readings.” Then, feeling a little overwhelmed with her own words, she changed the subject. “So, Damián, tell me more about your art. You still paint, yes? And do photography?”

Damián nodded. “Yes, I painted some pieces on commission in the past. Right now, though, my big thing is that I sell photographic prints and lithographs of my most popular works online. I’ve actually become a pretty big name in the modern art scene in Puerto Rico.” He ducked his head and gave a slight grin. “But the gym is my full-time passion now and doesn’t leave me much time for painting and sketching. I’ll get back to it once I get the gym fully functional, but I do miss it.”

“Why?” Ava hesitated. “If your art is so important, and sort of your full-time career, I’m curious why you’re taking the time to start up a gym from scratch? It’s such a lot of work.”

He nodded seriously. “I’ve lost some family members to health issues that could have been avoided if they had exercised and eaten better. I really want to help people, in their memory.” His voice was somber. “This has been on my mind, starting a gym, ever since I lost my father to diabetes complications ten years ago. He was significantly overweight and smoked, and developed a heart condition. When he fell and broke his leg, his body didn’t heal right after the surgery. He got gangrene and had a leg amputated, then his kidneys shut down, and he died. It happened so fast, Ava. It was heartbreaking. The worst part was, he lived his life ignoring all advice on how to be healthier. It could have been different.”

“I’m so sorry.” Ava gave him a sympathetic smile and put her hand on his for a second. “That’s sad.”

“Yes.” His voice was solemn. “It is. None of us, nobody in the family, ever really lectured him or took him to task. We just let his health go… and go… until he went. It was hard to talk to him about it, so nobody ever did. Not that he’d listen, anyway. But I feel the need, now, to help people who want to be helped. So, I love my art, but it’s on hold for now while I make this happen. This is big to me, you know?” His voice was urgent.

“Maybe you could combine your two passions, and do portraits of people at the gym?” suggested Ava. “And use them as personalized artwork on the walls.”

Damián pursed his lips as he thought, then said, “That would be a great way to show my dedication to helping the clients, as well as highlighting the personal family feel I want to build at my gym.” He smiled.

Another idea occurred to Ava. “You could even do a huge mural,” she exclaimed. “You could paint pictures right onto the wall, of various gym members doing exercise, and include motivational quotes. It would be beautiful and inspiring at the same time, and so much better than plain old white.”

Damián nodded. “I can see it.” He looked into the distance over Ava’s shoulder, as if envisioning the gym wall. “I didn’t realize you put so much thought into the aesthetics.”

Ava shrugged, but her cheeks glowed. “It’s the same with web design,” she explained. “Content is king. But aesthetics can make or break the user experience, and make a difference in whether a person chooses to view your website. For you, people will come to the gym because of the classes and your training skills. But having a well-designed space that’s comfortable and motivating—that’s not really just fluff. The whole ambience helps create an uplifting mood, and that will help people want to come back again.”

Sipping his coffee, Damián nodded. “I’m only one year into this project. I’ve always planned that when my gym is complete, it will be designed with the right colors, flow, spacing and art to hit the right psychological high for clients. Now that I have all the equipment, and I have a good flow of clients, I can start to improve the décor and design.”

“You’ve read studies about how color affects mood, right?” Ava liked how his eyes were lit up, making them look more green than brown.

Damián agreed. “Yeah, in art classes in grad school. It’s been proven that color can affect mood. Green for calm, red for energy. Is that what you mean?”

“Yes. And space matters, too,” Ava continued. “I read a study about foot traffic in department stores. When people are faced with an obstacle in a main walkway, like a table of shoes, they choose to pass on the right seventy percent of the time. So smart storeowners put eye-catching, easy-to-sell merchandise on the right-hand side, and the more ordinary, bland things on the left.”

Damián was interested. “I don’t know how that could affect me,” he remarked, “but it’s a little creepy that marketers know so much about shopping habits.”

Ava grinned. “You need to put a table of women’s running shoes right inside the front door, and, to the right of that, a display case of gym shirts, protein powder, energy bars and stuff like that. Since people walk to the right most times, they’ll see the display case. And you know, protein powder practically sells itself. And to help them not go left? Maybe a pit of alligators. Something like that.”

His chuckle burst out so suddenly that Damián almost choked on a mouthful of coffee, and Ava found that so funny that she started laughing. She couldn’t help but notice with a flash of guilty pleasure: Those two girls? The ones who’d been staring? They were looking over with undisguised jealousy… and it was totally awesome.

After the laugh, though, they both fell into silence, and Ava perused multiple conversational forays. More about murals? Why are baby carrots just ground down big carrots and what do they do with the extra carrot pulp? Do they sell it for veggie burgers? To zoos? Or to carrot juice companies?

“What?” Ava was so engrossed in her discards that she missed what Damián was saying.

“So I guess I’m lucky you didn’t have a date this afternoon?” Damián said in an easy voice, but his eyes were intense.

Her voice rose on the reply. “Looks like you’re single today, too?”

Mariana’s fit of anger was a popular source of gossip in the gym; everyone knew how she’d yelled at Damián in front of a class and stalked out. Talk had been so fierce about it that the gym was packed for a week. Flagging members came out of the woodwork like nighttime roaches to gossip about the flame-out. But she wasn’t sure if he was already dating someone new.

Damián cleared his throat. “I am single,” he said, a hint of question in his eyebrows.

Ava smiled back, feeling her face get hotter. Make a move, she encouraged herself. Claire is right—either get onto the field or leave the stadium. But she wasn’t quite sure how to do it in a subtle yet obvious way. Classy yet sassy. And some part of her wanted him—if there was going to be a move made, here—to make it. To show that he had true interest and was not just taking lazy advantage of hers. She wanted a man who would take charge.

“Well,” she said. “The website should be good now, but let me know if you have more questions.”

They stood in a mutual agreement to leave. He laid a hand on the small of her back as they walked to the exit, and Ava felt a shiver of warmth run through her body.

Their cups landed into the trash at the same time and Ava spoke automatically: “Five points.”

“What?” Damián looked at her with an amused smile.

“It’s a thing,” Ava explained. “If I toss something into the trashcan and it makes it in without hitting the floor, then I get points.”

“Your hand,” remarked Damián, “was right over the can, Ava. Hate to be a spoilsport, but five points? For that? Two, tops.” His grin made her swoon. “And that’s factoring in extra points for being cute.”

Ava pretend-punched him in the arm as her pulse quickened. “Don’t be a sports snob,” she chastised. “Some of us are not NBA material.”

“NBA material? If you can’t make a trash shot at that distance, you are looking at bifocal material, Ava,” Damián clarified. He stepped back a few feet and balled up some napkins. “Now watch carefully and learn. This is worth points.” He made a show of stretching his arms and rolling his shoulders in their joints.

Ava crossed her arms and leaned against the door. She scoffed. “No way you make that shot. Too much air resistance. The napkins aren’t balled tightly enough. You need tighter balls.”

Damián chuckled as Ava realized what she’d said and burned red. He grinned at her and shook his head as he continued loosening up his arms.

Ava recovered her aplomb. “You are so not making the shot.”

“Bet you?” Damián raised one eyebrow at her.

“Sure,” said Ava. “Safe bet for me. Because you’re going to miss.”

“What do I get if I make the shot?” Damián asked, his voice lower, the teasing tone gone. His eyes were locked onto hers.

“What do you want?” murmured Ava, in as provocative a voice as she’d ever heard come out of her mouth. She raised her chin and kept his gaze, and smiled just a bit.

Damián smiled, too, then turned and tossed the napkins, which suddenly seemed to be very tight and balled up, directly into the trash. Ava swallowed and pushed open the door, letting outside air flow past her into the shop. She exited into the parking lot without a word, holding the door for Damián, who took it and then put his hand back on her, this time onto her shoulder, the touch possessive.

“I’ll walk you to your car,” he said.

Ava felt the heat of his hand through her shirt. He was walking so closely that their bodies brushed. She was one hundred percent sure now that he was flirting, and she was so filled with nervous energy that her body was nearly vibrating.

The parking lot was quiet, the coffee shop in a closing lull and, for the moment, they were alone on the blacktop, just the two of them and the pre-twilight air, a hint of a chill in the dusk and some tentative clouds assembling on the horizon. When they reached her spot, she managed, “Well, thanks for the walk. And the coffee.”

“No. Thank you, Ava.” Damián’s voice was husky and deep, his accent strong.

Ava dropped the laptop case by the passenger door and fumbled for her keys, which had unhelpfully disappeared into the inner depths of her purse. Damián took the purse and set it next to her feet.

“Leave that for now,” he murmured, and stepped closer, forcing Ava to back up against the driver’s side door. He leaned his hands onto the car on either side of her head, trapping her between his warm body and the cool metal. Ava gasped and her eyes widened, seeking his. “Ava,” he said, “there’s something here, something with us,” and it didn’t sound like a question.

 

Want more? Buy it on Amazon or read for Free with Kindle Unlimited.

Return on Amazon US

Return on Amazon UK

 

Blurb for Return

Ava Grimaldi models the hero of her kinky erotic novel on her crush, sexy gym owner and artist Damián Perez, without asking his permission. When Damián finds out, he’s furious, and Ava is worried he will sue her. Damián demands a different payment entirely, though, and soon the two are involved in an intense BDSM relationship of their own.

With each sexual encounter growing more passionate and personal, Ava falls hard for Damián, but is hurt when he continually insists that their relationship is only physical and temporary. He refuses to acknowledge their relationship in public, even though he spends time with his bitchy ex. Eventually Ava has enough of being second best and won’t settle for less than she deserves. Can they work through their misunderstandings and hurt to start again, this time with a basis of trust and love?

damian teaser 2siggie bar jen web 2

 

#Saturday7 Dream Girl

mysexySatGreetings! I’m Alexis Alvarez. Welcome to My Sexy Saturday, a blog hop where authors share 7 words, sentences or paragraphs from a recent release or work in progress. I’ve been sharing a lot from this book, my newest release, Dream Girls.  Today here are another 7 paragraphs of fun.

Excerpt from Dream Girl

“Good,” he said. “If you need me to stop, you let me know. But until that point, you’re going to do as I say. Understand?”

“Mmm hmm,” murmured Chloe. She was already so aroused and excited that she didn’t even want to talk. She could barely wait to feel his hand across her ass.

“So, first of all,” he told her conversationally, stroking her with one fingertip, up and down the curves of her body. “When we’re in the bedroom, it’s not going to be Tools or Tool Box. You’re going to address me as Dominic. Or Sir. Understand?”

“Okay.” Chloe wiggled on his lap, feeling his erection hard beneath her hips. Then she cried out as his hand slapped down hard across her ass, once and again.

“Try again.”

“Yes, I understand!” she corrected herself, trying to wiggle again, but still unable to release herself from his hold.

“Nope.” He raised his hand and cracked it down across her ass hard again, and again. “It’s a good thing we’re starting easy,” he commented, slapping her as a punctuation between words, “Look at you, having a hard time at the very first rule.”

Dream Girl Cover Alvarez for Amazon Upload WEB2

Blurb for Dream Girl

He’s sexy and intelligent, handsome and witty, and Chloe’s body lights up with sparks at his touch. And when he looks into her eyes and whispers naughty sexy things into her ear, she wants to melt into him and enjoy the mind-blowing passion he promises.

Too bad he’s the star of the popular reality show Dream Girls, and he’s also dating nineteen other women in addition to Chloe — women who are sexy and so talented that their Nobel Prizes should arrive any day now. Chloe’s sure he’s just amusing himself with her, and there is no way he’d pick her as his final Dream Girl — especially since she gets into so many crazy scrapes on the show.

She promised herself she was only doing this for adventure, travel, and new experiences…not to make a fool of herself on national TV. But he’s so sexy and persuasive! Would it be so bad to say yes to all of his dark, dirty requests? And most important of all — what will happen if she risks her heart?

Dream Girl is a modern romance with steamy sex and laugh-out-loud humor.
It’s about 85K words and contains excerpts from other books by Alexis Alvarez, as well as a funny Q&A with Alexis and some of her trademark sample reviews. Enjoy!

Find Dream Girl here on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Rochelle’s Reviews has exclusive access to a full set of  Dream Girl Excerpts. Some are pretty steamy…

Dream Girl at Rochelle’s Reviews

 

Please stop by and visit the others authors participating in this blog hop.

Thanks for reading!

dream girls ad 5dream girl review adsiggie bar jen web 2

#WipItUp ~ Domination and Submission

WIPimage12Greetings! I’m Alexis Alvarez, and welcome to Wip It Up Wednesday, where authors share an excerpt from a work in progress or a book that’s already released. Today I’m sharing a piece from Return, a novel that I published in June of this year.  It’s a steamy BDSM romance, with consensual kink and an HEA, although the path to happiness is a twisted and difficult one.

 

Return cover rev 1

Excerpt from Return

Damián reached up and put one index finger onto her cheekbone, traced down her face along her jawline and smoothed his fingers down the side of her neck. Ava swallowed and licked her lips and something sparked in Damián’s eyes, a flash that left her feeling weak and hot. Damián leaned in; his lips were so close they were nearly brushing hers, but he stayed there and lifted his hand to touch the side of her face and neck. Ava couldn’t stand it. What was he waiting for? “Tell me what you want,” Damián demanded in a low voice.

Desire made her bold. Ava leaned into him, whispering, “Kiss me, Damián.”

Damián moved closer. His hips met hers and she could feel the hard length of him. His hands reached up to frame her face, one on each side. Ava’s heart pounded at the firm touch. “You want my lips on yours?” he asked her in a rough voice. “My tongue on your tongue?”

“Yes,” said Ava, snaking her arms up and grabbing handfuls of his hair, trying to pull his head closer. “That’s what I want.” Saying the words opened a floodgate of emotion, releasing the pent-up desire and hope she’d held back for so long. No longer nervous, she was filled with a newfound control.

Damián lowered his mouth and just brushed his lips over hers. Then he pulled back and bit the side of her neck.

Ava made a quiet moan. “Damián, yes, suck me there,” she demanded. “Please.” Damián kissed her again, and sucked in the same spot, and Ava tugged at his hair, needing more. “Bite me harder!” she urged him. “I like it. Please.”

Damián’s breath caught and his hands stilled. “You like it a little rough?” he asked, and Ava felt as if he were asking about more than the kiss.

“That’s just how I like it,” Ava dared him. “Can you handle that?”

His laugh was low and quick. “Oh, querida, if you only knew,” he murmured into her ear, biting the lobe gently and then harder. “The question may end up being whether you can handle it.”

“I want whatever you have to offer,” Ava whispered. “Bite me again. Do it hard.” Her heart was beating so fast it felt like a blur of energy.

Damián chuckled and pulled his head back to gaze at her, his eyes glittering. “Querida, you like to be in control? Because that’s going to be a problem. See, I like to be the one in charge in these kinds of situations.”

Ava leaned up on tiptoe to reach his ear. “You can be in charge as long as you keep doing what you’re doing. Because I love it.”

“Oh, do you? Like this?” Damián said with interest. His mouth moved along her neck and nibbled, then he worked his way up to her lips. He bit her lower lip, not hard enough to hurt, but still a nip.

“Ow!” said Ava, and then Damián’s mouth was fully on hers, demanding, his tongue exploring the inner recesses of her mouth, gliding against her tongue, thrusting and retreating. Ava returned his kiss, making a slight moan when he moved back to her neck.

“Damián,” whispered Ava. What he was doing with his mouth was a complete turn-on, and coupled with his hard body pressed to hers, she was unable to think of anything except more—more of his mouth, more of his tongue, more of him. This was better than her fantasies. The ache between her legs ignited a tingling desire through her lower body. She wanted to rip his shirt off and demand that he make love to her right there in the parking lot.

Damián made a growling noise and pulled her body to him, using one hand to grab her behind the back and tug her close. He slid his other hand under her shirt and cupped a breast through her lacy bra, found the nipple and rubbed over it, then grabbed it between his thumb and forefinger and pinched.

A small gasp of surprise escaped her lips as the sharp pain faded into a tingling pleasure. Damián drew back and examined her face. What he saw seemed to give him confidence that he could continue; he splayed his fingers across the back of her head and claimed her mouth, and ran his other hand up and down the skin of her back.

Ava shuddered and pushed her chest toward him in silent encouragement, craving his touch. She ran her hands up and down his muscular back, under his loose shirt, mimicking his motions. “Bite me again,” she demanded, running her fingers into the waist of his shorts and touching his stomach with her fingertips.

This was not the way she acted, not usually, but the realization of his desire gave her a knowledge of the power she held over him in her voice and her body, and she burned with the need to exercise it. It was getting a blank check and scrawling in any amount. It was finding out you had the voice of an opera singer, eyes that could see through walls, a sudden fluency in a new language; it was impossible not to unfold her fresh wings and fly.

Querida, you’re going to have a hell of a set of marks tomorrow,” said Damián. “I should stop.”

“I don’t care,” said Ava softly. “I don’t want you to stop.” She would not mind finding a hickey of the Mona Lisa on her neck tomorrow morning as long as Damián kept his mouth on her right now.

In response, Damián pinched her again, and slammed his mouth to hers. The mild pain immediately softened into heat that flared hard in her clit, and Ava pressed her hips to his, trying to close the distance their clothes put between them. He kept rubbing and teasing her with his tongue as he devoured her mouth.

A crazy dizziness surged through her; she was intoxicated with his smell, his taste, his passion. Damián ran his hands over her ass, and gave her other nipple a tweak. Ava jerked in response, and Damián chuckled into her neck, “I want to give them both equal attention. It’s only fair.” Desire thrummed through her body and she wondered if he could feel the trembling.

His upper thigh was so hard under her hand. She reached down and rubbed, right next to the bulge at his crotch, letting her fingers stray over just briefly before moving back to swoop alongside his arousal and then along his waist, up his chest and back down again.

Damián turned his attention back to her neck as she’d commanded him earlier. He sucked and bit, and Ava felt herself getting more aroused. He pulled her by the ass up and into his body, wrapping his arms tightly around her. “God, Ava, I’ve wanted this for so long,” he muttered.

Ava had both of her hands in his hair again, and she wrapped her legs around his to pull him closer. In this position he was rubbing in just the right place, and she moaned louder and admonished him, “Damián! You feel so good. I almost think you could make me—”

Damián swore under his breath. “Fuck, Ava. Fuck.” He slid her down the car and stepped back, breathing hard, his hair messy from her hands, color in his face. He looked dangerous and strong and sexy, and Ava felt forlorn to have his body leave hers.

She was panting, too, and her lips felt swollen from the harsh kisses. She put her hand up to her lips and bit her own fingers. “Don’t stop,” she demanded.

“We can’t do this here,” he told her in a strangled voice. “Ava, if we keep going, I swear, I am going to take you over the edge right here, and I don’t give a damn who sees us. And that’s not how I want our first time to be. If we get there.” He ran his hands through his hair again, turned and swore in Spanish at the sky.

Ava crossed her arms over her chest, wincing at how sensitive her nipples felt from his attention and from her arousal, and blew out a deep breath. “If we get there?”

“This shouldn’t have happened,” Damián said in a harsh voice, hands on his head, his back tight with tension.

Ava didn’t speak. She was still trying to come down from the high of sexual arousal she’d been riding, and as the heat dissipated, she let out a quivering sigh. “Well, I’m not sorry,” she protested, feeling defiant, pressing her folded arms against her chest. “I enjoyed that. And you know what? I want to do it again.”

Damián turned to face her, and his eyes were soft even while his mouth was firm. “Me, too.”

There was a pause.

Ava tried not to betray the sinking feeling in her heart. “So why do I feel a but coming?”

Damián looked away and shook his head. “There are things you don’t know about me, Ava.”

Return is Free on Kindle Unlimited. Here are the Amazon links:

Return on Amazon US

Return on Amazon UK

Return cover rev 1

Blurb for Return

Ava Grimaldi models the hero of her kinky erotic novel on her crush, sexy gym owner and artist Damián Perez, without asking his permission. When Damián finds out, he’s furious, and Ava is worried he will sue her. Damián demands a different payment entirely, though, and soon the two are involved in an intense BDSM relationship of their own.

With each sexual encounter growing more passionate and personal, Ava falls hard for Damián, but is hurt when he continually insists that their relationship is only physical and temporary. He refuses to acknowledge their relationship in public, even though he spends time with his bitchy ex. Eventually Ava has enough of being second best and won’t settle for less than she deserves. Can they work through their misunderstandings and hurt to start again, this time with a basis of trust and love?  

damian teaser 2return ad 4 return ad 2 for web

Please visit the other authors in this blog hop for more exciting snippets.

Happy Reading!

siggie bar jen web 2

#MySexySaturday – Dream Girl

mysexySatGreetings! I’m Alexis Alvarez, and welcome to My Sexy Saturday. There are ton of awesome authors on the hop today, so there are going to be plenty of books to add to your ‘must read’ list. I’d like to entice you with a sample from Dream Girl, my latest release, a romance novel that shows what should happen on one of those ridiculous reality TV dating game shows.  Of course, I make it smarter, sexier, and kinkier than anything you’ll see on prime time. We’re asked to share 7 words, sentences or paragraphs.  I like to go big, so it’s 7 paragraphs for you today.

Excerpt from Dream Girl

“There’s nothing sideshow about how I feel when I’m with you, Trip,” said Dominic, framing her face with both of his strong hands, and rubbing both thumbs at the sides of her mouth. “I have more of a main event in mind.”

One hand strayed upward into her hair, stroking and rubbing the back of her neck, pulling her even closer until their lips were nearly touching. Chloe felt his warm breath on her lips and smelled his unique scent mixed with his spicy cologne. Her heart was beating so fast, and her lower belly tingled with anticipation. She felt an ache between her legs, too. It would be good with him, wouldn’t it? No—it would be fantastic. She was dying to let their lips meet and let go to the mind-blowing passion he awoke in her body. She wanted him. She wanted his lips, his hands, his dominance, all of the sexy kinky promises he kept whispering to her. She wanted it all.

His lips brushed hers, just for a second, and all of her nerves jangled. Adrenaline suffused her body. “Just one kiss,” he murmured into her lips. “Let me have just one kiss. I know you hate the cameras, and this is our one chance at privacy right now. Ever since I met you I’ve been dying to kiss your soft lips. You’ve been driving me crazy since that first day. You told me you weren’t going to kiss me, but I want to show you how it can be with us.”

Chloe felt her body melting into his. He kept rubbing the back of her neck with one hand, and now he moved his lips down and gently nipped at the tender skin on her neck. Chloe made a small moan.

“I can’t keep my eyes off of you,” he admitted roughly. “You blew my mind at the stable, standing there in your hot red dress and those crazy work boots, acting all sassy. You were so fucking sexy, Trip. I wanted to grab you right there and tear off that tight, teasing dress, take off those boots, and run my hands all over your body. And when you fell off that boat, I was fucking out of my mind with worry.” He bit her neck again, harder, and Chloe moaned again. “Tell me it’s not just me,” he urged her, swiping his tongue at her earlobe, brushing his lips again over her neck. “Tell me you want me, too. Tell me you feel this.” He moved one hand down to her waist, splaying out his strong fingers, feeling her body. “Chloe.”

It was the first time he’d called her Chloe, and she felt a new surge of emotion, hearing her name on his lips. “Dominic,” she whispered back.

Out of the corner of her eye, Chloe saw the door nudge further open, a camera lens looking at her with its all-seeing gaze. And she felt ridiculous. He’d just been kissing another girl. Was she that far gone that she’d be some kind of sloppy seconds? Where was her self-respect? She pulled back.

Blurb for Dream Girl

He’s sexy and intelligent, handsome and witty, and Chloe’s body lights up with sparks at his touch. And when he looks into her eyes and whispers naughty sexy things into her ear, she wants to melt into him and enjoy the mind-blowing passion he promises.

Too bad he’s the star of the popular reality show Dream Girls, and he’s also dating nineteen other women in addition to Chloe — women who are sexy and so talented that their Nobel Prizes should arrive any day now. Chloe’s sure he’s just amusing himself with her, and there is no way he’d pick her as his final Dream Girl — especially since she gets into so many crazy scrapes on the show.

She promised herself she was only doing this for adventure, travel, and new experiences…not to make a fool of herself on national TV. But he’s so sexy and persuasive! Would it be so bad to say yes to all of his dark, dirty requests? And most important of all — what will happen if she risks her heart?

Dream Girl is a modern romance with steamy sex and laugh-out-loud humor.
It’s about 85K words and contains excerpts from other books by Alexis Alvarez, as well as a funny Q&A with Alexis and some of her trademark sample reviews. Enjoy!

 

Dream Girl Cover Alvarez for Amazon Upload WEB2

If you want to find Dream Girl, it’s available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited.

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Rochelle’s Reviews has exclusive access to a full set of  Dream Girl Excerpts. Some are pretty steamy…

Dream Girl at Rochelle’s Reviews

ad for dream girl 3 dream girl review ad dream girls ad 5 dream girls ad for blog rev2

Please stop by and visit the other authors participating in the blog hop.

Thanks, and happy reading!

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#WipItUp on Reality TV

dream girl ad with locks

Greetings! I’m Alexis Alvarez, and welcome to Wip It Up Wednesday, a blog hop where authors link their blogs together and all share excerpts from a work in progress or a new release.  Today I’m sharing a snippet from my recent release Dream Girl, which is free on Kindle Unlimited as well as being sexy, smart and funny.

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Excerpt from Dream Girl

The hours fled, but Chloe was fast, too. In the course of the day she’d been to the Colosseum, the Parthenon, and the Roman Forum. She stopped to take pictures of the fountains in the Piazza Navona, gorgeous stone figures dripping with water and pigeons, and the overflowing red flower boxes on the quaint homes along the plaza. Finally it was time for her last sight of the day, the Ponte Milvio.

Because it was a distance, she took a taxi, awkwardly waving her hands and repeating herself when she couldn’t understand the driver, but repeating “Ponte Milvio, per favore,” until he shrugged and nodded.

To her great disappointment, the bridge had no locks. Pictures she’d seen online and in travel books showed great clusters of golden and silver locks, decorated with names and hearts and scribbles.

She had expected locks clustering together and growing upward like moss, locks upon locks, thick layers of locks on posts, golden ivy clinging with the force of a hundred rainforest vines, an advancing army of locks conquering, inch by inch, the drab stone, and faced with the naked architecture and the disinterested trickle of pedestrians and the thick unaware ooze of traffic in the distance, she wondered for a half-second if she’d said it wrong, been taken to the wrong place, gone to an utterly ordinary bridge by the accident of her own ignorance.

She stood in such hesitation that a couple approached.

Ti sei perso?” asked the woman, her long legs perfect and elegant in heels, even over the cobbled stones. Her boyfriend was holding her hand in an easy grip, his smile so mischievous and heart-melting that Chloe got an immediate crush.

“I don’t—is this really the Ponte Milvio? Um,” she fumbled in her brain for scraps from college, “E davvero—questo—the Ponte Milvio? Do you speak English?”

Si, si, we speak English,” the brown-haired young man spoke with enthusiasm and a thick, happy accent. “This is the Ponte Milvio. You are American?”

“I am. It’s beautiful here! I’m just curious. Where are all the locks?” She gestured around her. There were many people walking over the pedestrian bridge, clusters of young men and women laughing and flirting, some couples gazing over the side, but no locks.

The woman made a cutting gesture with her hands. “Too many, too much weight. They worry that the bridge, yes? May be danno?”

“Damage,” appended her boyfriend, nodding. “This bridge is so much history, so important to Italy. The locks are disrespectful to Roman history. So all locks, they remove them last year. There is a website now for fun, to do locks with your love.”

“Oh.” Chloe let out a sigh. “Thank you. I didn’t realize. I thought I could get pictures…” She touched her camera.

The man smiled at his woman and kissed her neck, his lips lingering for an extra second. “Real love, you don’t need the lock,” he proclaimed, and put his arm around her. She laughed, a pretty sparkle, and smiled. “Si.”

They wandered off together, their arms twined, and Chloe looked after them until they disappeared from her view behind part of the stone archway.

Looking for steamier, sexier excerpts? No problem. I’ve got you covered! Please visit Rochelle’s Reviews to get the whole set of excerpts.  Also, and I don’t want to be too pushy here, but you could then swing by Amazon and, you know, get your very own copy.

Dream Girl Cover Alvarez for Amazon Upload WEB2

If you want to find Dream Girl, it’s available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited.

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Rochelle’s Reviews has exclusive access to ALL of the Dream Girl Excerpts.

Dream Girl at Rochelle’s Reviews

 

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Thanks for joining me today. Please check the links below to find all the other authors participating in this blog hop. They also have some exciting, sexy and provocative snippets to share, so stop by and take a peek.

Happy Reading!

 

Dream Girl ~ My Sexy Saturday

“Maybe we should do a test run,” he murmured, his smile wicked.

ad for dream girl 3Greetings! I’m Alexis Alvarez, and I’m excited to participate in My Sexy Saturday’s Blog Hop, where romance authors link together to share seven sentences or paragraphs from a recent romance book. Today, I’d like to share a snippet from my book Dream Girl, which will release on September 1st.

Chloe, a sassy adventure lover, is a contestant on the popular Dream Girls TV show, where twenty women compete for the heart of a sexy, successful, handsome bachelor. She only joined for adventure, and she seems to always get into arguments with Dominic. But the chemistry between them is off the charts hot, and Chloe can’t stop dreaming about him.  Continue reading