From This Moment by Melanie Harlow

**Review at the bottom

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From This Moment, an all-new sexy and emotional standalone from USA Today Bestselling author Melanie Harlow is LIVE!

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From This Moment by Melanie Harlow

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publishing Date: October 10th, 2017

It was like seeing a ghost.

When my late husband’s twin brother moves back to our small town, I want to avoid him. Everything about Wes reminds me of the man I lost and the life we’d planned together, and after eighteen long months struggling just to get out of bed, I’m finally doing okay. I have a new job, an amazing support group, and a beautiful five-year-old daughter to parent. I don’t want to go backward.

But I’m drawn to him, too. He understands my grief and anger and guilt like no one else—and I understand his. Before long, that understanding becomes desire, and that desire becomes uncontrollable.

He says he doesn’t care what people think, and love can never be wrong. But life has taught me its cruelest lesson–love doesn’t always win.

If only my heart would believe it.

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Read Today!

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Add to GoodReads https://goo.gl/J3ogH4

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READ THE FIRST CHAPTER TODAY!

http://www.melanieharlow.com/from-this-moment-chapter-1/

About the Author:

Melanie Harlow likes her martinis dry, her heels high, and her history with the naughty bits left in. When she’s not writing or reading, she gets her kicks from TV series like VEEP, Game of Thrones, House of Cards, and Homeland. She occasionally runs three miles, but only so she can have more gin and steak. Melanie is the author of the HAPPY CRAZY LOVE series, the FRENCHED series, and the sexy historical SPEAK EASY duet, set in the 1920s. She lifts her glass to romance readers and writers from her home near Detroit, MI, where she lives with her husband, two daughters, and pet rabbit.

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Connect with Melanie:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMelanieHarlow/?fref=ts

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1NPkYKs

Twitter: @MelanieHarlow2

Website: http://www.melanieharlow.com

Sign up for Melanie’s Newsletter: http://www.melanieharlow.com/subscribe/

 

Review

5 emotional stars!

Hannah is widowed with a daughter and seeing her husband’s identical twin brother is hard…it is like seeing a ghost. Wes is back from Africa and seeing Hannah stirs things in him. He saw her first, but being too shy his brother Drew swooped in and won her over and married her. Both still feel lost with the death of Drew and neither have fully dealt with it. Hannah does not like promises nor does she want to believe in forever or even love again. Drew has never loved anyone besides Hannah. Is wanting your brother’s widowed wife allowed?

Trying to forgive someone for dying is hard, so is blaming someone who isn’t at fault. There is no real answer for grief, how long you should grieve, when you can move on and yet you get judged for it no matter what. And sometimes people are mean and hurtful, you also can’t help who you may fall in love with next or why. Questioning everything is what happens for Hannah and it really is a theme throughout IMO. She is struggling with her feelings regarding both Drew and Wes and even her MIL, Lenore. I love that we don’t just see her happily going about life, this is so much more real and raw and gritty and emotional and moving. Struggle is real, so is love, so are tears. All of this you will feel when reading this book. You feel for Hannah, for Abby (her daughter), for Wes and even for Lenore. Love though is so powerful, and the author delivers that to you in spades.

I also love the side characters, Pete, Tess, etc…they give us that perspective when Hannah or Wes need to talk and feel and it isn’t forced. They are a nice balance to the raw emotions of both Hannah and Wes. Overall, this is such a powerful and perfect love story.

 

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The Real Deal by Lauren Blakely Cover Reveal

 

 

THE REAL DEAL is coming July 10, 2018! A sexy, witty, and heartfelt brand new standalone romantic comedy from #1 New York Times bestseller Lauren Blakely, THE REAL DEAL is sure to make you swoon, laugh, and squirm at all the right moments. Pre-order your copy today! And don’t miss the new cover below!

 

 

About THE REAL DEAL:

Sophie Kinsella meets Jennifer Crusie in your next favorite romantic comedy, THE REAL DEAL!

April Hamilton wants you to know she hasn’t been on Craigslist since that time she sold her futon after college. She doesn’t even spend that much time online. And even if she did, she would not be looking up personal ads. But going home alone for her family’s summer reunion is an invitation for every single relative to butt into her personal life. She simply can’t handle another blind date with the butcher, the baker or the candlestick maker from her hometown. So when she finds the Craigslist ad for a boyfriend-for-hire, she’s ready to pay to play.

Heading Home and Need a Buffer? I’m the REAL DEAL.

Theo Banks has been running from the past for years. He’s this close to finally settling all his debts, and one more job as a boyfriend-for-hire will do the trick. He’s no gigolo. Please. He’s something of an actor, and he knows how to slip into any role, including pretending to be April’s new beau — the bad boy with the heart of gold.

Even if it means sleeping in close quarters in that tiny little bed in her parents’ inn. Even if it means spinning tales of a romance that starts to feel all too true. What neither one of them counts on is that amid the egg toss, the arm wrestling, and a fierce game of Lawn Twister that has them tangled up together, they might be feeling the real deal.

She only wanted to show her family once and for all that she had no need to settle down.

He didn’t expect to have the time of his life at her parent’s home.

They didn’t plan on loving every single second of the game.

But can a masterful game of pretend result in true love?

 

 

PREORDER YOUR COPY TODAY!

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About Lauren Blakely:

A #1 New York Times Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that’s hot, sweet and sexy. She lives in California with her family and has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than eighty times, and she’s sold more than 2 million books. In October, she’ll release HARD WOOD, a standalone romantic comedy. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter! laurenblakely.com/newsletter

 

 

Website ** Facebook ** Twitter ** Newsletter ** Goodreads

 

 

Every Moment With You by JE Parker Cover Reveal

Title: Every Moment With You
Series: Redeeming Love
Author: J.E. Parker
Genre: NA Romance
Release Date: November 24, 2017

 

Two broken hearts. One second chance.

Maddie
I’ve loved Hendrix Cole ever since I was a little girl.
From the moment I first saw him, I knew that one day, he’d be mine.
And he was. At least… until he threw it all away.
I gave Hendrix my heart and he shattered it into a million pieces.
I begged him not to leave. Still, he walked away.
It’s been six years since I’ve seen him.
But now a cruel twist of fate just brought us face-to-face.
He swears he never meant to hurt me.
He begs me for another chance.
I still love him. Always have. Always will.
But can I trust him?
Losing him once almost killed me.
I won’t survive if it happens again.
Hendrix
I’ve loved Maddie Davis ever since I was a kid.
From the moment I first saw her, I knew that one day, she’d be mine.
I was right.
Maddie gave me her heart and I gave her my ring.
But like the screw-up my father says I am, I blew it.
Before I could explain, she vanished.
Our love? Gone in the blink of an eye.
I know I hurt her and I hate myself for it.
Now she’s back.
This is my chance.
I won’t let her walk away.
Not again.
Maddie is mine.
I missed him the most when it rained.
It didn’t matter if it was a full-blown thunderstorm or merely a small shower, when the sky opened up and let it fall, I thought of him.
Dark hair. Whiskey colored eyes. Sweetest smile I’d ever seen.
A young boy with dimples. A grown man with a scruffy jaw.
The feel of his touch. The taste of his lips. The smell of his skin.
I could never escape the memories. They held on, refusing to be forgotten, and made me relive it all. 
I both loved and hated it at the same time.
Heaven and hell. Bliss and misery.
The cycle never ended.
Even at night in the middle of my dreams, I couldn’t outrun him.
His voice. The way he spoke my name. The promises he whispered in my ear.
Loving him. Losing him. Flying high. Plummeting to the ground.
I constantly felt like my mind and heart were at war with one another.
One wanted to forget while the other wanted to remember.
I was fighting a losing battle. One that I was sure to never win.
He was gone. Our love… finished. But how was I supposed to live when the other half of my heart was missing? Without him, it simply didn’t beat right.
It was broken. Shattered. Damaged beyond repair.
I wasn’t living. I was just existing, floating from one moment to the next.
I hated feeling like this.
Angry. Hurt. Overflowing with pain. Bursting at the seams with sadness.
I just wanted it to stop.
Problem was, I didn’t know how to get past it.
Trust me, I’d tried to move on. I’d tried hating him. Tried forgetting him.
I’d tried letting go.
But I just couldn’t.
Even six years later, I needed Hendrix Cole like I needed my next breath. And just like if I were being deprived of oxygen, living without him was killing me. 
Physically I may have been fine, but inside I was withering away. 
Slowly but surely, what remained of both my heart and soul was dying.

J.E. Parker is an American romance author who was born and raised in the great state of North Carolina. A southern belle at heart, she’s addicted to sweet tea, Cheerwine, and peach cobbler.

Not only is J.E. married to the man of her dreams (albeit a total pain in the rear), she’s also the mother of a herd of sweet (sometimes), and angelic (only when they’re sleeping) children. Despite their occasional demonic behavior and bottomless stomachs, J.E. loves her little tribe more than words could ever express.

On the weekends, you can find her sitting on the couch, cheering on (or cursing) her favorite football team, stuffing her face with junk food, and guzzling a bottle of cheap red wine.

When she’s not busy making sure her husband doesn’t burn the house down or acting as a referee for her fighting children, J.E. enjoys reading, writing (obviously), and listening to a wide variety of music.


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Filthy Player by Stacey Lynn

**Review to follow

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Filthy Player by Stacey Lynn
Release Date: October 9th

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Synopsis:

The Raleigh Rough Riders are back, and this time Super Bowl Quarterback Beaux Hale finds himself playing the most important game of his life.

Every woman knows Beaux Hale is nothing but a player. Yet the first time he walks into Paige Halloway’s restaurant and flashes his sexy grin, she feels a heat between them spark. Too bad he opens his mouth and ruins it.

He may think his money, fame, and sexy looks will attract any woman—but he’s wrong.

Paige doesn’t have time for a man. She’s too busy keeping a roof over her head and taking care of her father to care about relationships.

Lucky for Beaux, he’s a man who’s ready to use all the plays at his disposal. He didn’t bring his team a Super Bowl victory by giving up at the first block in his path—and Paige Halloway has just become his new long-game.

Beaux also knows that sometimes, in order to win and claim your prize, you have to get a little bit filthy.

Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2yVDxuL

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Read today!

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2wI4Y8Y /
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2yrl8Wn
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Kobo: http://bit.ly/2xZn9vj

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About the Author

Stacey Lynn currently lives in Minnesota with her husband and four children. When she’s not conquering mountains of laundry and fighting a war against dust bunnies and cracker crumbs, you can find her playing with her children, curled up on the couch with a good book, or on the boat with her family enjoying Minnesota’s beautiful, yet too short, summer.

She lives off her daily pot of coffee, can only write with a bowlful of Skittles nearby, and has been in love with romance novels since before she could drive herself to the library.

If you would like to know more about Stacey Lynn, follow her here:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/staceylynnbooks
Twitter: @staceylynnbooks
Website: http://www.staceylynnbooks.com
Stay up to date on Stacey’s latest news! Subscribe to her Newsletter today! http://www.staceylynnbooks.com/contact

Forbidden Desires by Kendall Ryan Series Cover Reveal

We are very excited to bring you the new covers for the bestselling FORBIDDEN DESIRES series by Kendall Ryan.

 

 

DIRTY LITTLE SECRET

Forbidden Desires Book 1

The start to a sexy new series from New York Times bestselling author, Kendall Ryan…

She’s much too innocent for me, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting the sweet, young librarian. I’m dominating and possessive, and my control streak runs a mile wide.

The way she looks at me—like I’m one of the heroes in the books she loves, like I’m broken, and she wants to be the one to piece me back together—it only complicates things further. I’m nobody’s hero.

But there’s no denying my tragic past reads like one of her favorite literary classics. It’s raw. Visceral. Captivating. And together, we’re a perfect mess.

How am I expected to resist when the sexual sparks zap between us and set me on fire? The need to control, and claim her force my walls to come tumbling down, but when she learns my dirty little secret, will my world come crashing down with it?

 

Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Kobo

 

DIRTY LITTLE PROMISE

Forbidden Desires Book 2

Conflicted in the depth of her feelings for bad boy Gavin Kingsley, lonely librarian Emma Bell knows he’s all wrong for her—yet the heart wants what it wants.

But if she gives into his dark, erotic desires will she lose herself completely?

Passion, drama and suspense combine in the highly-anticipated conclusion to Emma Bell’s love affair with the alpha and enigmatic Kingsley brothers. Secrets will be exposed, sides will be chosen, and nothing will ever be the same.

This is book two in the series, following Dirty Little Secret.

 

ADD TO GOODREADS

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TORRID LITTLE AFFAIR

The best way to get over someone is to get under someone else. And I have the perfect candidate all picked out.

My new assistant is tempting beyond belief with her curvy body and take-no-shit attitude. All those luscious curves, and a juicy ass I’m already in love with. God, the things that I would do to that ass…

But it’s the haunted look in her eyes that speaks to me. Like she’s taken just as much shit in her past as I have—maybe more. We both deserve a little fun.

Love can’t fix everything. Mind-blowing sex and a few killer orgasms, on the other hand?

I have a feeling those might do the trick.

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TEMPTING LITTLE TEASE

Quinn Kingsley finally gets his turn in Tempting Little Tease Releasing March 19, 2018

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NAUGHTY LITTLE SCANDAL

The series finishes with a bang in this final standalone in the Forbidden Desires Series releasing May 2018

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She’s much too innocent for me, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting the sweet, young librarian. I’m dominating and possessive, and my control streak runs a mile wide.

A lonely librarian desperate to experience the kind of passion she’s only read about in her favorite literary classics.

One handsome stranger with a tragic past.

A chance meeting that will change their course of their lives forever. . .

 

Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | Nook | Google

 

 

 

 

A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of more than two dozen titles, Kendall Ryan has sold over 1.5 million books and her books have been translated into several languages in countries around the world. She’s a traditionally published author with Simon & Schuster and Harper Collins UK, as well as an independently published author. Since she first began self-publishing in 2012, she’s appeared at #1 on Barnes & Noble and iBooks charts around the world. Her books have also appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists more than three dozen times. Ryan has been featured in such publications as USA Today, Newsweek, and InTouch Magazine.

Visit her at: www.kendallryanbooks.com for the latest book news, and fun extras

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Sol by Leslie McAdam Cover Reveal

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Sol by Leslie McAdam releases on October 15th!
CHECK OUT THIS COVER!

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Cover Model: Taylor Lotre
Cover Designer: Michele Catalano Creative
Cover Photographer: Cory Stierley

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ADD TO YOUR TBR → http://bit.ly/2eLid2i

The army taught me discipline. Order. Control.

None of that matters the day I walk into her classroom.

Or her bedroom.

What’s more important than my grade?

Not failing her.

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A note from the author about the cover

On July 27, 2016, Cory Stierley sent a group text to me and our mutual friend Erin, a painter, completely ticked off about seeing a guy running. Since I don’t normally get upset about seeing people run—and neither do Cory or Erin—I thought this was odd behavior.
Cory: “Ok, this is common from me but I’m kinda pissed off right now!!!”
Me: “Let it out”
Erin: “…go on”
Cory is a professional photographer who has taken the cover photographs for half of my published books, in addition to other New York Times bestsellers. He loves color and celebrating bodies. He has an eye for beauty and a knack for getting amazingly creative shots.
Cory’s text: “So, I was getting off the highway and I happen to see this dude running, red tank top with white edges, black and white shorts. He was running on a path next to a green field, so of course it stuck out to me. I had to go slow past him cuz the speed limit and the turn I was making. He immediately hit me as your next cover model.”
Me: “And why are you pissed about this”
Because why would anyone be mad about seeing a guy running in a park? Right?
But Cory was so upset because this was the one who got away. A muse, an inspiration. Marching orders from the creative universe to actually make something.
And his potential subject was gone.
Cory was adamant. “He NEEDS to model. … Leslie, I’m not lying when I say he is your IDEAL dude/model.”
He was right.

In an attempt to find the guy, Cory placed a “missed connections” ad on Craigslist, but was discouraged because of the slim-to-none chances that someone would see the ad and know the identity of the runner.
I tried to reassure him: “Well he’ll find you. And you’ll take his pic. And I’ll buy it. That’s all. Done. … This is the part where I expose to you all what a mystical weirdo I am. But that’s what happens. You’ll find him. .. Or he’ll find you. That’s the way the universe works. … Relax you’ll find him.”
(And then Erin and I discussed tattoos for a while. ❤ Sigh.)
The next day, Cory went back to the same park at about the same time and hung around.
No dude.
The following day, Cory woke up and got the idea to stop by a local gym. Cory walked in and was relieved to see that there was a younger girl behind the counter. (He was grateful that it was a younger chick, thinking that a story like this wouldn’t weird her out so much, and that she would help.) He went up to her and started describing the guy he saw running.
She got a knowing look on her face like, I know who you’re talking about. Reinstalling Instagram on her phone, she pulled up a profile.
And it was the guy!
Named Taylor.

So Cory had FOUND THE GUY despite nearly zero odds.
Looking at his profile, we were not only struck by handsome Taylor’s looks but also his incredible attitude. Nearly all of his posts were positive quotes and affirmations. There was just an amazing spirit about every single thing he did.
We all felt a sense of relief that Cory had found the guy, and both he and I direct messaged him on Instagram. (Cory made me redo my original message because he thought it sounded too stalkery.)
And we were relieved when he responded.
We found out the following. (1) He’d been wanting to model, and encouraged to do so by family and friends his whole life, but didn’t know how to go about it, and (2) this was his second day doing cardio in three years, since he had gotten out of the Army. But this was the first day, at the last second, he had decided to run a different route. If he would have gone the other way, Cory wouldn’t have seen him.
You can draw your own conclusions to this story. My conclusion is that some things are meant to be. Taylor was meant to model and Cory was meant to find him.
And now, not only did Cory find him, they took the pic, I bought it, and he’s on my cover, but the fact that he served in Afghanistan provided me with a muse for this story.

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About the Author

Leslie McAdam is a California girl who loves romance, Little Dude, and well-defined abs. She lives in a drafty old farmhouse on a small orange tree farm in Southern California with her husband and two small children. Leslie always encourages her kids to be themselves – even if it means letting her daughter wear leopard print from head to toe. An avid reader from a young age, she will always trade watching TV for reading a book, unless it’s Top Gear. Or football. Leslie is employed by day but spends her nights writing about the men you fantasize about. She’s unapologetically sarcastic and notoriously terrible at comma placement (that’s what editors are for!). Always up for a laugh, Leslie tries to see humor in all things. When she’s not in the writing cave you’ll find her fangirling over Beck, camping with her family, or mixing up oil paints to depict her love of outdoors on canvas.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lesliemcadamauthor
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/LeslieMcAdam
Website: http://www.lesliemcadamauthor.com/

Hooking Up by Helena Hunting First Chapter Sneak Peak

One

Wedding Unbliss

Amie

This is the happiest day of my life. I allow that thought to roll around in my head, trying to figure out why it doesn’t seem to resonate the way it should. This should be the happiest day of my life. So I’m not exactly certain why the uneasy feeling I associate with cold feet is getting worse rather than dissipating. I’ve already done the hard part; walked down the aisle and said “I do.”

My husband excused himself to go to the bathroom several minutes ago and, based on Armstrong’s itinerary for the day, speeches are supposed to begin promptly at eight-thirty. According to my phone, that’s less than two minutes from now, and he’s not here. The emcee for the evening is awaiting Armstrong’s return before he begins. And then the real party can start. The one where we get to celebrate our commitment to each other as partners for life. As in the rest of my breathing days. Dear God, why does that make my stomach twist?

I sip my white wine. Armstrong pointed out that red is not a good idea with my dress, even though it’s my preference. Besides, I don’t want it to stain my teeth. That would make for bad pictures.

I glance around the hall and see my parents, who are probably celebrating the fact that I didn’t walk down the aisle with a convicted felon. And frankly, so am I. My dating history pre-Armstrong wasn’t fabulous.

The sheer number of people in attendance spikes my anxiety. Speaking in front of all of these people makes me want to drink more, which is a bad idea. Tipsy speeches could lead to saying the wrong thing. I check my phone under the table again. It’s after eight-thirty. The longer Armstrong takes to return, the further behind we’ll get. The music playlist, devised by Armstrong with painstaking efficiency, leaves no room for tardiness. If we don’t start on time I’ll have to take out a song, or possibly two, to compensate for his delay and he’s selected the order in such a way as to make that difficult and that will annoy him. I just want today to be perfect. I want it to be reflective of my decision to marry Armstrong. That I, Amalie Whitfield, can make good choices and am not a disgrace to my family.

“Where the hell is he?” I scan the room and take another small sip of my wine. I should switch to water soon so I don’t end up drunk, especially later, when all of this is over and we can celebrate our lifelong commitment to each other without clothes on. I’m hopeful it will last more than five minutes.

Ruby, my maid of honor and best friend for the past decade, puts a hand on my shoulder. “Would you like Bancroft to find Armstrong?”

Bancroft, or Bane for short, is Ruby’s boyfriend who she’s been living with for several months. Recently I find myself getting a little jealous of how affectionate they still are with each other, even after all this time. Cohabitation hasn’t slowed them down on the sex or their PDA. I have hope that Armstrong and I will be more like Bane and Ruby now that we’ll be sharing the same bed every night.

I’m about to tell Ruby to give him another minute when a low buzz suddenly fills the hall. It sounds like a school PA system. I start to panic—they can’t start the speeches without Armstrong at my side. What’s the point of speeches if the groom isn’t present?

I’m halfway out of my seat, ready to tell the deejay, or whoever is behind the mic, he needs to wait, when a very loud moan echoes through the room. The acoustics are phenomenal in here, it’s why we chose this venue.

I glance at Ruby to make sure I’m not hearing things. Her eyes are wide. The kind of wide associated with shock. The same shock I’m feeling.

Another moan reverberates through the sound system, followed by the words, “Oh, fuuuck.”

A collective gasp ripples through the now-silent crowd. While the words themselves are scandalous among these guests, it’s the voice groaning them that makes me sit up straighter, and simultaneously consider hiding under the table.

“Fuck yeah. Ah, suck it. That’s it. Deep throat it like a good little slut. Fuuuuuccckkkkk.”

My mouth drops and I look to Ruby to ensure I have not completely lost my mind. “Is that—” I don’t finish the sentence. I already know the answer to the question, so it’s pointless to ask. Besides, I’m cut off by yet another loud groan. I clap a hand over my mouth because I’m not sure I’m able to close it, my disbelief is as vast as the ocean.

Ruby’s expression mirrors mine, except hers is incredibly animated since she’s an actress. “Oh my God. Is that Armstrong?” Her words are no more than a whisper, but they sound very much like a scream. Oh no, wait, that’s just Armstrong on the verge of an orgasm. But these sounds are nothing like the ones he makes when he’s in the throes of passion with me.

I clutch Ruby’s hand. The next sound that comes from him is a hybrid between a hyena laugh and a wolf baying at the moon. And every guest at our wedding is hearing the same thing I am. Our wedding. Someone other than me is blowing my husband at my own wedding. My mortification knows no end.

I grab the closest bottle of wine and dump the contents into my glass. Some of it sloshes over the edge and onto the crisp white tablecloth. It doesn’t matter. There’s plenty more where it came from. I chug the glass, then grab Ruby’s.

People lean in and whisper to each other, eyes lift to the speakers. A few people, the ones who are probably just here for the social-ladder-climbing potential, question who it is.

“Is the deejay watching porn?” That comment comes from a table full of mostly drunk singles in their early twenties.

Several eyes shift my way as I carelessly down Ruby’s wine and someone asks where the groom has disappeared to.

The grunts and groans grow terrifyingly louder. This is nothing like what I’m used to in bed with Armstrong. The dirty words aren’t something he ever uses with me, mostly it’s just noises and sometimes a “Right there” or “I’m close,” but that’s about it. He’s never talked to me like he is to the woman currently providing oral pleasure. And I’m very adept at oral. Although with Armstrong it’s very polite, neat oral, with no sounds other than the occasional hum. Slurping is uncivilized and a definite no-no.

I reach past Ruby for the bottle of red since I don’t really give a flying fuck about purple teeth right now. As I sink low in my seat I pour another glass of wine, surveying the people in the ballroom from behind the cover of the centerpiece. The centerpieces are huge and excessive and I don’t like them at all, but at least provides a protective barrier between the guests and my disgust, which I’m certain they must share. He sounds like a wild animal rutting. It is entirely unsexy. I have no idea who he’s getting intimate with, but I’m suddenly very glad it’s not me.

And doesn’t that tell me more about our relationship than it should.

It’s only been about thirty seconds—the most humiliating thirty seconds of my life—before Armstrong comes. How do I know this? Because he says, very clearly, “Keep sucking, baby, I’m coming.”

And “baby,” whoever she is, makes these horrific gurgling noises. It sounds like some form of alien communication. It’s way over the top, and apparently Armstrong is loving it, based on the string of vile profanity that spews from his asshole mouth.

“Holy crap. Is this for real? That was really fast,” Ruby mutters.

I guzzle my glass of wine. Then decide the glass is unnecessary and take a long swig from the bottle before Ruby snatches it away. Wine dribbles down my chin and onto my chest, staining the white satin purple. My dress is ruined. I should be freaking out. But I really don’t care.

“Come on,” Ruby tugs on my hand. “We need to get you out of here while people are still distracted.”

My older brother Pierce and the emcee are standing in the middle of the hall, gesturing wildly to the speakers above us. My other brother, Lawson, is on his way toward the podium in an attempt to do something. I don’t think there’s anything he can do to stop this train wreck from there.

Ruby tugs again, but I’m frozen, still trying to figure out what exactly just happened. Well, I know what’s happened. I just can’t believe it.

The sound of a zipper and the rustle of clothes follows. “Thanks for that, now I’ll be able to last later tonight,” Armstrong says.

“What about me?” A female asks. Her voice is nasally and whiny.

“What about you?”

“Well I helped you, aren’t you going to help me?”

“Didn’t you come with a date?”

“Well, yes, but—” God her voice is familiar. I just can’t figure out where I know it from.

“My cousin, right? He loves my sloppy seconds. Speeches are starting. I gotta get back to my ball and chain.”

Gasps of horror ripple through the room, followed by a few giggles. These people really are assholes.

I think I’m going to throw up. I can’t believe he’s going to come out here and pretend nothing just happened. Like some other woman didn’t just have her lips around his cock. His distinctly average cock. Maybe even slightly below average in length, if I’m being one hundred percent honest.

A door opens and closes.

Lawson turns on the mic behind the podium and taps it, sending screeching feedback through the room, making people cringe. Too bad no one did that a minute ago.

Murmuring grows louder and glances flicker to the head table and then away as Brittany Thorton, a seriously skanky debutante, comes strutting through the doors, using a compact to check her lipstick. She’s made it her mission to attempt to get into the pants of half the eligible men in this room. She’s followed, not five seconds later, by a very smug-looking Armstrong.

“I’m going to kill him.” I grab the closest steak knife, but it appears my hasty, and possibly felonious, plan is unnecessary. My brothers leave their respective posts and stalk toward him. Across the room my mother is gripping my father’s arm, whispering furiously in his ear. Great. Just what I need, additional family drama.

“Oh shit,” Ruby gasps.

I follow her gaze to find Bane converging on Armstrong with my brothers. Bancroft is a tank and he used to play professional rugby. I’ve seen him with his shirt off, he’s built like a superhero and he’ll probably crush Armstrong, or at least break something. Possibly multiple somethings.

For a second I consider that Ruby should probably stop Bane from destroying Armstrong’s pretty, regal face, but then I realize I don’t actually care. In fact, the possibility that he might break Armstrong’s perfectly straight nose fills me with glee. Armstrong’s wellbeing is no longer my concern, it’s more about Bane ending up in prison for murder.

“I hope Armstrong has a good plastic surgeon, he’s going to need it once Bane is done with him.” Ruby echoes my internal hopes and her chair tips as she jumps up. “Come on, let’s get you out of here.” She nods to the right.

I notice my mother and father engaged in a heated discussion with Armstrong’s parents. I really don’t need this right now. Not the drama. Not the humiliation. All I wanted was a nice wedding. Instead I end up with a husband who gets a blow job during our reception—and it’s broadcast to everyone attending.

Ruby urges me into action. “Don’t worry about them. Get your stuff and we’ll get you the hell out of here. I’ll have the limo meet you by the entrance near your bridal suite as soon as I can.”

I nod and stumble unsteadily to my feet, thanks to having consumed the better part of a bottle of wine in the last minute and a half. It’s amazing how ninety seconds can change a person’s entire life.

All hell breaks loose as more men jump in to either pummel or extract Armstrong from the pummeling. I grab my clutch and phone from the table, gather up my stupid, too puffy gown, and head for the bridal suite, where I had prepared for what was supposed to be the most amazing day of my life. And now it’s likely the worst, at least I hope the mortification level I’m experiencing can’t exceed this. I feel like the foulest version of Cinderella ever.

I rush down the empty hall and grab the doorknob as I fumble around in my clutch for the key. I’m surprised when it turns. I thought I’d locked it before we left for the ceremony. Regardless, I need to get away from everyone before I either lose it or commit a felony. Maybe both. Murder in the first. Armstrong will be my victim. And maybe that horrible skank, Brittany.

I thrust the door open and slam it closed behind me, locking it from the inside. Tears threaten to spill over and ruin my makeup. Not that it matters since there’s no way I’m going out there again. I can’t believe my forever lasted less than twelve hours. I can’t believe the man I’m supposed to spend the rest of my life loving couldn’t be faithful to me for even one day. What the hell is wrong with me? With him? I’m as devastated as I am angry and embarrassed. Once I annul this farce of a marriage I’ll become a spinster. I should probably go ahead and adopt six or seven cats tonight.

“I need to get out of this dress,” I say to myself. I reach behind me and pull the bow at the base of my spine. Instead of unfurling, it knots and I only succeed in pulling it tighter. Of course my dress has to be difficult. I growl my annoyance and rush over to my dressing table where my makeup and perfume are scattered from earlier today. Half a mimosa sits unconsumed beside the vase of red roses Armstrong had delivered.

The card read: I can’t wait to spend forever loving you.

What a load of bullshit. I drain the contents of the champagne flute, not caring that the drink is warm and flat. Then I throw the glass, because it feels good and the sound of shattering crystal is satisfying. Next I heave the vase of roses, which explodes impressively against the wall, splattering water and shards of glass across the floor.

I yank out a couple of the drawers and find a pair of scissors. They actually look more like gardening shears and seem rather out of place, but I don’t question it. Instead I reach behind me with my back to the mirror and awkwardly try to cut myself free. It’s not easy with the way I have to crane my neck.

“Goddammit! I need to get out of this stupid dress!” I yell at my reflection. I think I might actually be losing it just a touch now. I stop messing around with the laces in the back and shove the scissors down the front. I nearly nick myself with the blade—they’re a lot sharper than I realized—but that doesn’t slow me down. I start hacking my way through the bodice; layers of satin, lace, and intricate beading sliced apart with every vicious snip.

I just want out of this nightmare.

You can find Helena:

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