Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Writing with your whole heart

As the fire raging around the CopyPasteCris clusterfuck begins to die writers, real writers, are still simmering with anger. The reasons feel almost too many too many to count but I'm going to attempt to break it down because it's important for readers and writers to understand. 

1. Writing is HARD. To sit down and create something from nothing, figuring out that first paragraph, the opening line, how to move your character across the room, how to turn "It was scary." to "Heart racing, the fine hair along his neck stood up as sweat began beading along his forehead. His lungs grew tighter with every breath, was what he seeing real?" Isn't easy, it becomes more as you do it over and over, with every book, as the pages build, as the words go from 50 thousand to five hundred thousand under your fingertips. If you think anyone can be a writer, I'm going to challenge you. Sit down, open up a word document and write just five thousand words about anything, your day, the new puppy you bought. Five thousand words, make it interesting, take it from it was scary to something that the reader feels. A writer has to do that for 50k words, at least. Could you really do 50k words????
That's the thing, the most important thing. Making your reader feel. It takes writing with your whole heart. It sounds corny as fuck but it's just that simple, just that real, just that fucking hard. We have to be in love with our characters, we have to care, we cry when they cry and if we don't then the reader knows, the reader won't cry, they won't care about our characters. Here's the thing, we kind of can't help ourselves, we put so much time into what we do it's a waste to not make it mean something. 
So for someone to use a ghostwriter working for ten cents an hour to pump out a story and put their name on it to just to cash check when they didn't put in the work, when they don't care about creating a world for their reader to get lost in, that's bullshit. 

2. Creating a false sense of the time it takes to create a new story from start to finish. When using ghostwriters who sit down and push out a story in two to three weeks because they write: I was scared, he is sexy. 
There's no sense of writing a scene where you deliberate over every sentence, picking, deleting, writing as you go then rereading and finding better words, cutting a sentence only to decide you do need it after all but figuring out how to write it better. It might take a half hour or an hour to write a thousand words the first time but to refine, clean it up, it might take another hour or two. Will every one thousand words written take another hour or two to make perfect? Not always but for some writers it very well might. And those writers should get the time they need to write the story they want. It has THEIR name on it, they are OWNING the story, THEIR story and whether it takes them three weeks or three months to write they should be able to have it. 
But when people use multiple ghostwriters and push out books every month readers think why can't this writer get me a new book every month? Again, writing is hard and it takes time to make the very best story we can write. 

3. Buying your way into anything is offensive to those who actually put in the work. I'll say it, I'm fucking offended by people who call themselves writers when they pay someone else to do the writing. For all the reasons listed above. If you didn't sit down and create something from nothing, then you aren't a writer. If you pay someone else to do the writing and you publish it under your name you are lying. You aren't a writer, you're a publisher by pure fucking definition. 

4. When I put my whole heart into my stories I'm giving up a little part of who I am to do it. As Virginia Woolf said: Every secret of a writer's soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind is written large in his works. 
My hope is for the connection of readers who recognize a part of themselves. Dreams they have, fears they've experienced, anger they felt. Giving up a part of myself isn't easy and I don't know if any amount of money will ever pay me back for what I lose. 

5.  Those people who put their name on something someone else wrote will never know what it feels like when a reader contacts them and tells them they loved the story. The reviews that say they can't wait to read the next one, that give love to something you wrote means everything. Those fake writers might be lucky enough to get those reviews or the emails but they didn't earn so it means nothing. 



Thursday, February 14, 2019

His Dirty Demands







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Three billionaire brothers: Cesare, Enzo, and Dante Sabatini have everything except the one thing money can’t buy. Three big beautiful women Alicia, Bethany, and Chloe will teach them the ABCs of love. Follow these couples as they negotiate the riskiest deal of all, falling in love.


It’s hard to believe when I get the call: an offer to work for one of the Sabatini brothers. Cesare and Dante head a real estate firm that buys, sells, and owns some of the most spectacular real estate in Chicago. Dante Sabatini is the youngest of the brothers, and even though he’s an arrogant manwhore he doesn’t come close to the a$$hole level of the oldest Sabatini, Cesare. While I work for Dante, Cesare is in the office across the hall—and too close for comfort. I’m not sure what misfiring synapse has my stomach flipping a thousand times a minute or my skin hot and tight when the man is around, but I’m doing my best to ignore it. Even if I weren’t a virgin, I’m very aware getting involved with Cesare Sabatini would be a complete disaster.

Until the moment I find out Cesare is having the same problem. Seriously? The insanely gorgeous billionaire wants me? I’m a plus-size woman who has become numb to insults I have heard about my weight. I’m far from numb at the idea of throwing caution to the wind and giving in to the dirty demands Cesare whispered in my ear.

Then I get a call I never thought I would have to deal with. My little sister is being blackmailed. I need twenty five thousand dollars or her future goes up in flames. I’m borrowing it, I’ll put it right back.

When Cesare finds out, he demands twenty-five days and nights of my body. Only once I’m in his home and life, twenty-five days isn’t enough—I want forever. But what does Cesare want?



Reader Giveaway


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Excerpt:


I’m barely settled into my chair when an instant message comes through. It’s from Cesare. All it says is:


My office


          Why the hell does my stomach drop then twist painfully? Is it about me giving my notice? It has to be—he can’t know, not so soon. I look to Hannah, who is engrossed in the report she’s writing, doing that mumbling thing she does as she’s typing. Heart pounding, I push up from my chair then make my way to Cesare’s office. I knock, I hear him say come in. My palm is sweating as I turn the knob then push the door open. He’s leaning back in his chair. For the first time in what feels like forever his eyes are meeting mine. They give nothing away.
          “Yes, sir?”
          “Have a seat, Ms. Jeffries.” He gestures to the chair in front of his desk.
          Slowly, I sink to the edge of the chair. “Do you need something?” I feel it now: a heady satisfaction surrounds him. He smiles, it’s blinding, it’s scary. The hair on the back of my neck goes up.
          “Maybe I should be asking you that. Do you need something, Ms. Jeffries? Was there a difficulty in your personal life?” Oh god, my heart stutters. “It must have been an enormous difficulty to run into twenty-five thousand dollars. I take it the matter has been resolved?” His tone is of concern, of solicitation, with just the faintest twinge of sarcasm. I don’t respond. I can’t. “The matter has been resolved, has it not?” I don’t move an inch. “Ms. Jeffries, I asked you a question. The reason why you needed twenty-five thousand dollars, has it been resolved?”
          I nod, just once. I hate the tears that pour out of me as I blink. It’s clear he’s not happy about them either. “Ms. Jeffries, this isn’t a speeding ticket where you’ll get away with a warning if you turn on the waterworks. You stole twenty-five thousand dollars from my company, from me.”
          “I gave it back. I only needed it to make a trade. I can pay you interest if you want it.” The words come out of me before I can swallow them. “Bethany was being blackmailed. If I didn’t pay fifty thousand dollars her entire future, everything she worked so hard for was going to get flushed down the toilet by a malicious brat.”
          His eyes narrow. “You made a trade with that money? Are you crazy? In this volatile market, you could have lost everything.”
          I shake my head. “I’ve made this trade three years running every quarter and it’s never gone against me. Your twenty-five thousand was safe—I made even more this time around. I’m sorry, I’m already quitting. Isn’t that enough?” I plead.
          He cocks his head as he studies me. His eyes run over me slowly, so very slowly. It’s back, the heat I haven’t felt in so long, burning me from the inside out. “No, it’s not enough, not nearly enough. I’m going to need twenty-five thousand dollars’ worth of recompense in the form of you.” A plain manila folder is pushed toward me. “Option one: I pick up the phone and make a call to the police and give them that file that details every step of your removal of funds, unapproved, into your grandmother’s account. Or option two: You agree to give yourself to me when I want you, how I want you, as often as I want you.”
          This is supposed to be humiliating, I’m almost sure of it. Yet, his words cause a rush of wet heat to flood my core. What is the matter with me? Lydia’s words come rushing back to me as I fight not to fall on my knees screaming option two, a thousand times option two. Cesare needs to feel like he has the power, he needs to be in control. I had already told him I wanted him, would take him whatever way he was wanted me. Yet as a virgin, somehow I had the power of obligation over him; now he has the power all over again. Forcing a deep breath, I meet his eyes, glowing with fierce hunger. “What if I don’t meet your usual standards? With my lack of experience and everything?”
          “Let me worry about that. All I need from you is a willingness to please. I’ll take care of the rest.”
          Hell yes, I’m willing. God, I’m such a slut. I nod, too embarrassed to meet his eyes. “Okay.”
          “Okay, what?” I swear he purrs the words like the tiger Dante once compared him to. I’ve caught a tiger by the tail—now what the hell do I do with him? No sudden movements flashes as a shiver runs up my spine.
          “I’m yours, any way you want me.” A dark eyebrow goes up. “As often as you want me. I belong to you.”
          “You’ll withdraw your letter of resignation. I’ll deal with Dante. At noon you’ll leave early, to go home and get packed. Movers will be at your home at two. Pack everything you will need for the next twenty-five days. You’ll be living with me in order for you to be within easy reach to fulfill the whenever I want you, as often as I want you portion of the agreement.”
          Living with him? I get to keep my job too? “I have a dog. I can’t leave him at home.”
          He sighs then shrugs. “Bring the dog. He won’t be sleeping in the bed. I’m not willing to share my bed with a dog.”
          I shake my head. “Me either, he sleeps in his own bed at the foot of the bed on the floor. Um, how long am I keeping my job for? The twenty-five days or…” I’m almost afraid to ask the question, yet I need to know.
          “For now, the twenty-five days. I’ll look into moving you into another position, where you don’t have access to money, maybe as an admin in our legal department.” He says the last drily. I fight not to blush and lose.
          “I’m sorry, you don’t know how sorry I am. I have never so much as taken a penny from one of those take a penny leave a penny things. But this was for my sister, and I can’t say I wouldn’t do it again.” I shrug. “It was her whole world at stake—hers seemed more important than my own at the time.”
          He’s quiet for so long, I can’t take it anymore and look up to meet his eyes. We connect and he sees into my soul. Every secret I have ever had he knows, every lie I’ve ever told is revealed to him. “For the next twenty-five days, I’m your whole world.”

Friday, September 14, 2018

Ebooks Galore Giveaway



Ebooks Galore Giveaway

Due to Amazon's change in giveaway set ups I have a bunch of ebooks. None of these authors are participating and I hope they don't hate me for it but I was frustrated by constantly running a giveaway with not enough winners. 

So running a rafflecopter to give these away in one go. This is open to U.S. residents only as the gift codes don't work outside of the U.S. 



a Rafflecopter giveaway


Winners:

Robin M wins The Earl of London by Louise Bay 
Eleanor A. wins Flirting with Forever
Stephanie M. win Dirty Headlines by L/J. Shen
Tish D. wins Hard Sell by Lauren Layne
Shelly J. wins Once Upon a Very Good Time by Lauren Blakely
Liz D. won Hollywood Heir by Ruth Cardello
Cassandra D. Won Hold You Close by Melanie Harlow and Corrine Michaels
Ashley W. won Hold you close by Melanie Harlow and Corinne Michaels
Charlette won His Sweetest Sin by Fiona Murphy 
Jenny P. won His Sweetest Sin by Fiona Murphy
Shannon won His Sweetest Sin by Fiona Murphy 

and that's the end of the eligible winners. 

Everyone has been emailed. If you haven't received an email check your spam or email me directly at fionaainamurphy@gmail.com


Friday, July 6, 2018

Would you like to read me for free?

In exchange for a review on Amazon, is all I ask. It is limited to only 20 readers. You can get an Advance Reader Copy of my books through Booksprout. 
Here's their link: https://booksprout.co/readers

Just search for me. 

Sunday, July 1, 2018

His Fire Inside


(BBW Romance)
Release date 7/24

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Okay, I know it’s crazy to hate someone you’ve never met before but Rourke Vega is not the average man. The arrogant billionaire manwhore is to blame for turning my beloved Austin from quirky, cool college town to hipster paradise.

It’s a good thing I don’t have to deal with him while I help his mother recover from a stroke. Her, I love. Him, all right I might have this insane desire to lick the dimple in his chin. Then there’s the way from the outside he’s calm, cool, collected and in control as if nothing fazes him. It makes me want to press his buttons, to make him lose control, to see the fire he hides inside. The fire I felt all too briefly. The fire I can’t forget even as I tell myself I’m crazy because no way could a man as gorgeous as Rourke want a plus size like me. 


If my plus size doesn’t put him off my family situation will. Both of our lives are too complicated to add romance to it. Besides, he’s made it clear for the six months I’m his employee I’m off limits. Except he’s still staring at me with the heat of a volcano ready to explode. Like a fool I’m drawn to the fire even when I know it means one of us will get burned, but who?


Excerpt:



The sliding glass door opens, I know it’s her because I can feel her eyes on me.
          “I’m going to head home now. I—we, Cheryl and I clicked very well. I’d like to take the assignment. Skyler leaves with his mom the day after tomorrow.”
          “I’ll have someone move you tomorrow. Just make sure you’re packed and ready to go.”
          She shakes her head. “That’s not necessary—”
          “I don’t care whether you think it’s necessary or not. I’m going to have someone move your things tomorrow. They’ll call you to set a time.”
          Her hands go to her hips, her top tightens over her breasts making my cock hard at the sight. “God, you have to control everything and everybody.”
          “So you can move yourself in the little car you drive in one trip? You won’t need two or even three trips all the way from Round Rock to South Austin?” I allow my eyes to run over her, giving into the need eating at me. One of my eyebrows up, daring her to tell me I’m wrong. While at the same time biting my inner lip not to smile at her frustration. She is adorable when she’s mad.
          Sighing, she shakes her head. “Okay fine, you know everything. You’re sooo much smarter than me.”
          Damn, it’s hard not to laugh at her exasperation. “What I know is it doesn’t make sense for you to spend three or four hours doing what could be accomplished in half that time. What I know is no one else has ever bothered arguing with me for making their life easier, except you. There will be an employee contract here for you to sign. I’ll leave it between you and mom to set the things outside of the contract. If you need me for anything, you call my cell.”
          Her brown eyes glow up at me. “Yes, sir, anything else, sir? Would you like me to go down on my knees in supplication, sir?”
          “Olivia, I want you on your knees, have no doubt about that, but you’re now officially off-limits as my employee. It’s my second rule, after get it in writing.” My cock jerks at the lust in her eyes, at the way her breath catches and breasts swell and sway. Fuck. What the hell was I thinking? Why am I even acknowledging the attraction that will die soon anyway?  “Leave, Olivia, before I make a liar of myself.”
          She doesn’t fucking move; her tongue comes out to wet her bottom lip and I moan at the sight. The moan is loud in the silence. It shocks her. Now she runs like she should have when she first laid eyes on me. Seconds later I hear the front door slam closed. I’m so fucked. No. I won’t allow it to happen again. One slip, I was allowed one slip, and that was it.




Blogger Only Giveaway 
Grand Prize $50.00 Amazon gift card



Winners:
Aleia L of the blog Ohgeeleelee won the $50 Amazon gift card
Cassie of the blog cassiesbookaddicts.blogspot won the $20 Amazon gift card
Laid-Back Book blog (Shared on Facebook) won the $10 Amazon gift card
Heather of the blog A Crazy Vermonter's Book Reviews won the $5 Amazon gift card





Reader Giveaway
Grand Prize $20.00 Amazon gift card


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$20 Amazon gift card: Jen D.
$10 Amazon gift card Ben S.
$5 Amazon gift card: Amber T. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

If you want authors to be able to keep writing PLEASE leave a review

Amazon has made some changes. Authors love when Amazon makes changes *sarcasm* the thing is Amazon usually only makes changes because enough people scream about it, they just don't usually get the change they wanted. 

Right now all the work authors go through to giveaway books in exchange for honest reviews is no longer working. It's a little painful really that authors have to giveaway a book in exchange for a review but we do it. We have to do it because even though there are readers who reach and contact us and tell us how much they love our books, they don't take the time to leave a review. 

Every review you leave means something, it has an impact (please remember that as well if it's not a nice review) if you leave a review is shows others, hey you should buy this book. If enough people see that, it means I get to pay electric bill this month. It means I can continue to put out book after book of those stories you say you want to read. 

Please, please, please leave a review on Amazon, on Nook, in iBook, where people are going to buy books it means so much. Not just for sales but when I'm down and this gets hard, I read the reviews and it gives me the kick I need to keep doing this. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

His Sweetest Sin







His Sweetest Sin 



I can’t believe it. Christopher Baldwin, the baddest boy in baseball, wants me. Amelia Bishop…I was maybe a solid seven before an accident changed my life, leaving me fat, broken, and avoiding mirrors. If he hadn’t said it with a stare hot enough to melt brain cells, I would never have believed him when he told me my curves are what he wants.

An arrogant asshole with tattoos, a diamond glinting in his ear, and a dirty mouth promising wicked things, Chris Baldwin is no boy. Chris is all man, and a lethally gorgeous one at that. With dimples flashing as he invites me to sin in a slow Southern drawl, I’m trying to remember I don’t swoon, sin, or—wait, what? I forgot not to stare directly at his dimples, and those bright blue eyes aren’t safe either. Sorry, as I was saying.

As appealing as the idea of sinning with Chris is, there is no doubt in my mind I would fail miserably at it, even under his expert tutelage. Chris has been on a steady diet of strippers, women who have all the right moves. Me, I have no moves at all. Chris is major league; I would get laughed out of little league.

I’m also his lawyer, at least until my brother, Ethan, comes back from vacation. Getting involved with clients is a huge no-no, no matter what primetime television might show. As gorgeous as he is, Chris isn’t worth the possibility of hurting my career or losing the hard-earned respect of my boss and brother.

Only I can’t deny he makes being bad sound so good. Once Ethan is back I’m no longer Chris’s lawyer and it’s open season on all my good intentions. Being with him is still dangerous, as his fame attracts all sorts of trouble. Who knows what complications could tear us apart?


***While this novel is a standalone, Holly and Ethan from His Under Contract make an appearance. You need not have read His Under Contract to enjoy His Sweetest Sin. ***
***Warning***
I don’t like to watch sports, although I do enjoy watching beautiful men sweat. I’ve never read a sports romance before. Chris Baldwin isn't just a bad boy, he's a man falling in love with a sassy, damaged, curvy woman, and he also happens to play baseball. When I started writing, I did do my research. I watched the winning series that inspired the story. I watched a bunch of movies and spent hours on Wikipedia. Then I scrapped the paragraphs waxing lyrical about the love of the game and stuck with what I know. My billionaires don’t lay out the inner workings of their deals. I figured less is more. So, please be aware the focus is not on the love of the game—it’s on the love story.
Thanks,
Fiona


***JUST A REMINDER FOR THE FIRST WEEK OF RELEASE IT WILL BE .99 CENTS THEN IT WILL GO UP TO THE REGULAR PRICE OF $3.99 AND LIKELY NEVER BE THAT LOW AGAIN. 
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN GETTING AN EMAIL TELLING YOU WHEN IT'S LIVE TO GET IT AT THE LOWER PRICE FOR A LIMITED TIME, SIGN UP FOR MY NEWSLETTER.***




Excerpt:


Chris runs his fingers over the back of my hand, fracturing my breath. “I don’t like seeing you smile at other men while you tease them. Even if you don’t mean anything by it.”
Excuse me? “Tough.” I spit the word out. “I didn’t ask for your interest. If you have a problem with me chatting with someone even though you know I don’t mean anything by it, then fuck you.”
His breath is a slow release, then he smiles. I’m hit in the chest by the heat in his eyes. “Amelia.” It’s that slow drawl again, wrapping around every letter. “I love the way your eyes go from hazel to a glittering green with anger. They do that when you’re aroused, too. All I can think of is what color they’ll be when I’m inside you. And it’s exactly why I want you so badly. You appear sweet and soft, only you hide a core of steel. It makes me wonder what else you’re hiding under your sweet, good girl fa├žade.”
Exasperation with him, with what he’s doing to me has me rolling my eyes. “You want me because I didn’t fall at your feet the moment you said you wanted me. I’m a glitch in your Matrix, so you’re fascinated by it. Once I fold you’ll find something else shiny and new to play with.”
Tilting his head, he laughs. “Damn, you have a mouth on you. A glitch in my Matrix? I like that, I’m going to steal it. Yeah, you’re right, a huge part of your appeal is that a woman hasn’t made me wait longer than a few days in so long I can’t remember. I’m also not looking for anything more than fun for maybe a few weeks. But while I’m in it, I don’t fuck around with anyone else.” He pulls out a piece of paper from his back pocket. I open it and damn it, I’m blushing again. It’s the results from a panel of STI tests taken this morning, all negative. “I haven’t been with someone since before Christmas.” He laughs when my eyebrows go up in surprise. “Why is it hard to believe?”
          “Because you said sex is like food, as important an appetite that should be fed with as much variety. I’m having a hard time believing you really went hungry for long.”
          “It’s only been about two weeks. I was also twenty-five when I said that. The last few years I’ve been more into a nice sit-down meal, with a view toward quality over fast-food quantity.”
          Right. “Pregnancy scare or STI scare?”
          He laughs as he leans back. “Pregnancy scare. I’ve had a few rubbers break over the years, but this one was a total setup. The weeks waiting to see if she was pregnant were not good ones. I would have liked to think I was selective before then; I was wrong. Ever since, it’s only my condom every time. I also make sure she has more to lose than gain by getting pregnant.”
          “So you think I have more to lose than gain by getting pregnant?”
          “Hell, sugar, I don’t care if you have every intention of me knocking you up, if that’s what you want then I’m down. I think we’d make adorable baby girls.”
          We both freeze as he says it, then he smiles as if the idea truly appeals to him.  My stomach flips a dozen times before it stops. “I want boys, with dimples like yours. Girls are a pain in the ass.”
          “Since they’ll be yours, I wouldn’t expect anything less than them taking after their mama. I figure by the time they get here I’ll be used to putting up with you and able to take them on. They can have my dimples as long as they have your smile and pretty brown hair.”

          Asshole. “You are insane. Have you been checked out by a qualified mental professional?”





Extra Excerpt:


The waitress brings us our plates with a smile, asking if we need anything else, and we both decline. I’m not in the mood to eat though, still uneasy from the warning in Chris’s eyes. I hate him for doing this to me, turning me inside out, causing my emotions to run riot with a look or a few words. It feels like he’s playing with me. “I’m really not hungry. I want to go to work. I’m tired of being used as something for you to amuse yourself with.”
          His bark of laughter is loud in the large, empty room. “Me use you? If anyone is using anyone, it’s you using me. Don’t worry, I’ll let you use me.”
I’m blinking fast. “Me, use you?”
“Yes, sugar, you’re using me. Usually, it wouldn’t matter to me why a woman wanted to fuck me as long as she did. I guess today is a day for revelations for the both of us. You didn’t know your pussy gets wet at the idea of being owned, and I didn’t know my cock goes limp at the idea of being used by you.”
I am not hurt by his annoyance, but I do know he’s nuts. “You are seriously not in your right mind. I’m not using you. You’re the one talking dirty, who keeps coming after me. I told you the first time I met you that us hooking up doesn’t make sense and it’s not what I want. How the hell is this on me?”
He sighs, and I fight the urge to kick him for it. “You eat me up with your eyes; I can smell your pussy wet for me. Your tits swell and sway, and you thrust them out the minute you catch me looking. Fine, I get it, you don’t even realize you’re doing it, but you are doing it. I’m really supposed to just walk away from you? Sugar, since you are so completely clueless, I’ll tell you right now the way you want me—so bad you ache, so bad you can’t think straight, so bad you’re willing to take a chance you never thought you’d take—that kind of want and need doesn’t happen very often, and you aren’t the only one feeling it.
“What pisses me off is you’re willing to take all I want to give you without giving it back. You’re trying to figure out how to get the cheese out of the trap without setting it off. I’m the bad boy who fucks at will, used to any chick riding my cock and giving orgasms until a woman can’t move from it. So you figure if he’s giving it out to anyone, why not you? That, that’s what pisses me off.
His jaw is tight, his eyes are the color of the arctic in winter, freezing me to the empty, hollow of my chest. “You aren’t willing to be bad, to get dirty. You want to stay the good girl, sweet, kind, never causes a fuss. Shit, woodland creatures probably clean your place while you sit on your perfectly plump ass sipping on your coffee, while you read the day away. Books where there’s nothing more than a proper, close-mouthed kiss before it fades to black, where the men are noble, dickless prisses who ask for kisses instead of taking them. I’m going to be the villain in the story who sneaks in and takes you. You’ll give in without ever giving anything up, not your good girl image, not yourself, just your body.”
I hate him. I fucking hate him. I blink, and tears fall. I hate him even more for sighing at the sight of them. Pushing away from the table, my legs are trembling so badly I feel like I’m fighting to stay standing during an earthquake. I want to make my escape from him, from all of this, but not until it’s clear this is all his damn fault. “So it’s my fault for buying into the image you sold of yourself? I’m to blame because I’m willing to take what you keep telling me you’re willing to give? I told you I’m not on your level, the very first day. You’re major league, and I wouldn’t even make it into the little league. I’ve fucked three men, okay? Three, and each of them miserable experiences that left me questioning if it was over, if it was safe to just crawl away and hide. I don’t know what you want from me to know if I can even give it to you or not. You say a few weeks, then you joke about kids. You fuck with my head until I don’t know—”
I was so wrapped up in my rant I never saw him move, his hands go down to my hips before bringing me up against him. Oh god, he’s hard, so very hard and pressing into my stomach. Immediately, my knees go weak as I sag against him. His mouth grazes against my ear. “Shh…sugar, take a deep breath. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have taken my frustration out on you even though damn it, Amelia, you started it. Walking in the door spitting fire, cranky as all hell, looking for a fight. Congratulations, you got your wish. I’m never going to be able to deny you what you want—I knew it the minute I laid my eyes on you.
“Amelia,” This time my name is throbbing with all his frustration. “I need you to be honest with me, and the real hard part here, with yourself. I get that it’s hard for you, for reasons only you know. It doesn’t matter, you need to figure out how. The crappy history with men, that I guessed at, but I never would have thought it was so bad. You make more sense than ever now.

“I’ll slow down, let you catch up. Normally, I’m more patient. You have a way of setting me off faster than anyone I’ve ever met. Take a breath, there you go, another one.” A large warm hand cups my cheek, his thumb wiping tears away. I find the courage to meet his eyes, and the awe in them stuns me. There is no teasing, no anger, nothing but pure awe. “Even crying you’re beautiful.”




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