Book Excerpt and Giveaway: Young and Scambitious: Love, Lies, Larceny by Mina V. Esguerra

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YOUNG AND SCAMBITIOUS: LOVE, LIES, LARCENY

 Who is Elizabeth Madrid, exactly? She’s Manila’s latest It Girl—stylish, staple of the club scene, new best friend of famous-for-being-famous Chrysalis Magnolia. She’s also a jewelry clan heiress, a former model, an Ivy Leaguer… except no one actually knew of her until last year. Shouldn’t her new society friends be more suspicious? Especially “BFF” Chrysalis, who reportedly already lost an expensive ring to a friend who turned out to be a thief?

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Book Excerpt

Young and Scambitious

Young and Scambitious: Love, Lies, Larceny by Mina V. Esguerra

She saw him when she wandered over to the general fiction floor, because she usually picked up a mystery or thriller to dip into between the research. He was wearing the strangest shade of rusty red for a shirt, paired with ridiculous cargo shorts that made her notice his strong calves. Her eye sort of moved up from there, over to his profile, up to his head of dark hair, just long enough for the curls to start coming in. She leaned a little closer to the stacks and allowed her gaze to linger a little longer on his eye, the clean curve of his jaw.

And then he turned toward her completely and she quickly turned away.

Yeah, that was stealthy, she thought, and in her mind she gave herself a swift kick.

He made his selection and then left the stacks, passing directly behind her.

Jane sighed. He was probably over six feet tall. She was five-eight herself, couldn’t help noticing height when she looked at guys. But she knew what it was that made her really look. That thing about him.

He looked Asian but not quite, not enough to be clearly labeled from one country or another based on the stereotypes. Which meant, as she knew, that he fell under another one entirely. The half-something, like her. She actually found that fascinating, not surprisingly because of her own history with it.

It wasn’t a crime, to look. She did that all the time, “on the job” or not. Looking was as innocent as ogling a magazine cover boy. Jane admired, and then assessed, and then moved on her merry way.

That night, the merry way happened to be toward a quaint organic/vegan cafe a few blocks from the library. She walked all the way, enjoying the night air and that for once she was appropriately dressed for the tropical weather: nondescript white tee, a lovely print skirt that came down just to her knees, canvas walking shoes.

There was a glass case of vegan desserts and she was about to choose a strawberry cake when a flash of odd rusty red reflected in the glass and she nearly jumped.

He was expecting this reaction and motioned for her to join him at his outdoor table, a small and round one that didn’t match any of the other tables outside. None of the tables or chairs matched. It was that kind of place.

“Why are you following me?” he said, smiling, but not really joking.

His accent was vaguely American, vaguely New England, which revealed certain things about him at least in her mind. If that was his actual accent, because it seemed like he was neutralizing.

Just like she was.

“How would I know that you’d be craving vegan cake after a book?” she teased.

“No one does that,” he answered. “Except you and me, apparently.”

They did this for about an hour. They talked about the library, the books they looked at, the awesome building, the well-intentioned cafe. He was a tourist, which explained the cargo shorts, spending a week in the city before heading back home.

“Home where?” she asked, innocently.

“Graduate school,” he said, not answering the question. He did the same to a bunch of other questions that would have pinned him down to a region, a country, a city, an age. He looked older than her, but not by much. Twenty-eight, twenty-nine, tops.

Jane was, of course, lying through all of it too. Suddenly she was a recent college grad (which she would have been in June last year if she had stayed), enjoying a month of idle travel before settling down to find a job.

“A job where?” he asked.

“In a hotel, or something,” was her non-answer.

So it was actually just like a date, which was a scam of another sort. Jane was suddenly a sweet and smiley person, who said “yes please” when offered coffee. She smoothed down her skirt sweetly, not suggestively, when he asked about her day and complimented her fresh look despite the humidity.

He was a handsome scholarly type just passing through, in this part of the world to “visit a friend,” and “tour campuses,” his knees not at all intentionally brushing against hers under the table.

All the words were meaningless to her. Jane had learned not to trust them anyway, so instead she kept track of the passing of time. His coffee cup drained down to a tiny puddle. Her slice of cake went from a thick wedge to a tiny rectangle that she continued to poke without actually consuming. The occupants of the four surrounding tables began to change.

They talked about music, books, movies, and current events. She made up band names and authors on the spot when he asked for recommendations, playing off the slightly bohemian vibe of her skirt and giving him what he possibly expected. He looked interested, not guessing she was playing him, or maybe just too polite to say so.

“…boring, the pace was all wrong. I normally like my thrillers with more cliffhangers,” he was saying.

“Ugh, cliffhangers,” she said, figuring that the college student would think that. “Cliffhangers are manipulative.”

“Who does it manipulate?”

“Me. The general public. People who can’t help but turn the page even when they don’t care about the characters anymore.”

“I like it when a book knows my weakness,” he said. “I happen to like turning a page against my will.”

Were they talking about books? Jane pretended she didn’t just think that.

She also paid attention to how his body moved. And when she did, she had a hard time believing that he was in grad school, studying and touring. When did he have time to work on those shoulders? Did typing and reading produce those forearms? And why, unlike other grad school students she’d had the privilege of sitting at a table with for a night of lying, did he ask so much about her? And not go on and on about his fascinating field of study? Why did his hair look like it had product, on a random day?

Briefly she wondered if it was a trap, if Margaux was somehow testing her. But she seriously doubted that Margaux had access to this guy, all smooth and scholarly sounding, and would still hunt Jane down for “looking rich.”

Don’t be crazy, Jane told herself. It was a big city, a tourist hub. People came and went by the thousands.

“Walk me to my hotel,” she said.

“It’s the gentlemanly thing to do,” he said.

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AUTHOR BIO

Mina V. Esguerra writes contemporary romance, young adult, and new adult novellas. Her young adult/fantasy trilogy Interim Goddess of Love is a college love story featuring gods from Philippine mythology. Her contemporary romance novella Fairy Tale Fail won the 2012 Filipino Readers’ Choice award for Chick Lit. Through her blog Publishing in Pajamas (minavesguerra.com), she documents her experiments in e-publishing.

When not writing romance, she is president of communications firm Bronze Age Media, development communication consultant, indie publisher, professional editor, wife, and mother. She created the workshop series “Author at Once” and #romanceclass for writers and publishers.

AUTHOR LINKS

minavesguerra.com
twitter.com/minavesguerra
facebook.com/minavesguerra
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3014313.Mina_V_Esguerra

 

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Book Excerpt and Giveaway: Wedding Night Stand by Mina V. Esguerra

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WEDDING NIGHT STAND

 Andrea Crisostomo is no longer your Ms. Right Now, thank you very much. She’s had enough of guys who like her “free spirit” but then break up with her before things get serious. One guy in particular screwed her over so much that she now hates weddings, but she has to suck it up to attend her sister Julie’s big day.

Damon Esquibel enjoys the slow and steady chase, and it looks like his two-year pursuit of Geraldine is about to pay off. He’s at his friend Anton’s destination wedding only because of her. But then he meets the sister of the bride, who doesn’t seem to want to be there, and it’s enough to question his plans for the evening – and the rest of the weekend.

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Book Excerpt

Wedding Night Stand

Wedding Night Stand by Mina V. Esguerra

As luck would have it, she was also a sucker for guys who rocked a suit. So much that she watched hours and hours of crappy video on the internet of guys in formal wear, to desensitize and prepare her hormones for this day. She watched wedding videos, awards-night speeches, government press conferences. After that parade of unfit men, wearing ill-fitting outfits, sporting yucky facial hair, Andrea thought she would be ready for her sister’s beach wedding where a good percentage of the guests would be reasonably attractive, not related to her, and probably in that item of clothing.

It helped. She got through the ceremony fine, without being attracted to anyone. (Maybe being in a church helped with that.) But then the reception at the beach happened, and he took the seat beside hers.

Perfection! said her head, heart, and hormones. Her hormones especially. This was the longest stretch so far in her twenties that she’d been single, and the little buggers were pleading to be given something to do.

So to speak.

He had eyes that…she just needed to look at them. She had to find an odd angle so it wouldn’t seem like she was checking him out, but their eyes met anyway, and even more awkwardly.

Perfection!

“Excuse me?” he said.

She coughed. “Sorry. I have a throat thing.” And then she looked away, toward the orchid and tulip centerpieces.

Long lashes. Five o’clock shadow. Hair that was a day or two overdue for a haircut. Straight, broad shoulders, leading into what had to be toned arms, the way his suit draped respectfully on him like it was just happy to be there.

Andrea had never seen him before, and had to clear something up, before this got any weirder.

“Groom’s side?” she asked.

“Anton’s officemate,” he answered, a beat late, and like he wasn’t completely there. And then as his backside slid across the chair and made itself comfortable, he said, “My name is Damon.”

Of course it is. “Andrea,” she replied.

His eyes fixed on her and tracked up to the band of small orchids atop her head, and then to her neck exposed by the ponytail that snaked down one shoulder, and further down still to the section of her lower back that peeked out from the criss-cross back straps of her lavender dress. She knew it, felt it all, even as her eyes swept back to the centerpiece.

“You’re a bridesmaid,” she heard him say. His voice had a wonderful rumble to it, already calling up thoughts of being under soft linens. Or against hard surfaces.

Maybe it’s not him. Maybe I just haven’t been properly had. In ages.

When she braved another glance at him, he had turned somewhere else—Table 10, and that distracted look was on his face again.

That was refreshing. Maybe it was safe to look at him after all. Maybe he wouldn’t notice how hungry her hormones were.

“Yes I am. Sister of the bride.” There was a bit of movement over at that table, and someone stood up. Cute, regal-looking, gorgeous in navy blue. His eyes followed her too, almost intently.

Huh. Well.

“And she is?” Andrea said.

He knew what she meant, and the smile that came to his face was an unexpected softening of all those sharp edges. “Geraldine. You don’t know her?”

“Probably a friend of the groom. I don’t know the people on his side.”

Damon leaned closer, his voice dropping to a whisper. It wasn’t necessary, really; there was music, and the white noise of two hundred people finding their seats. But it gave her the excuse to tilt slightly toward him and expose more of her neck.

She is someone I’ve been trying to ask out. For a while now,” he admitted.

A small, light stab at her heart. That the rest of her ignored, because she was close enough to see his straight teeth and observe him lightly chew on the inside of his lip.

“She’s straight?” Andrea asked.

A smile, again. “Yes.”

“So what’s wrong with you?”

“What?”

“Why won’t she bite? What’s wrong with you?”

He laughed a little. “She just doesn’t know me that well.”

Oh come on. She had eyes. And blood, and a working reproductive system. The way just being within arm’s length of Damon had woken up her ovaries, this Geraldine had to have a reason for not wanting a piece of that.

Those eyes shot toward Geraldine’s direction, before coming back to Andrea.

“I don’t know,” he said. “Maybe it’s something you can enlighten me about. Female perspective and all.”

Damon didn’t know it, but he just wandered into her turf. She was the queen of the female perspective.

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AUTHOR BIO

Mina V. Esguerra writes contemporary romance, young adult, and new adult novellas. Her young adult/fantasy trilogy Interim Goddess of Love is a college love story featuring gods from Philippine mythology. Her contemporary romance novella Fairy Tale Fail won the 2012 Filipino Readers’ Choice award for Chick Lit. Through her blog Publishing in Pajamas (minavesguerra.com), she documents her experiments in e-publishing.

When not writing romance, she is president of communications firm Bronze Age Media, development communication consultant, indie publisher, professional editor, wife, and mother. She created the workshop series “Author at Once” and #romanceclass for writers and publishers.

AUTHOR LINKS

minavesguerra.com
twitter.com/minavesguerra
facebook.com/minavesguerra
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3014313.Mina_V_Esguerra

 

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Book Excerpt and Giveaway: Intoxicated by V. M. Blanc

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Intoxicated by V. M. Blanc

Deke, Sam and their new relationship will take you on a journey of friendship, love and complications.

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Book Excerpt

Intoxicated by V.M. Blanc

Intoxicated by V.M. Blanc

Parties like this could either be fun or frustrating. This one fell under the latter. Women who target men like me for fame and money were plenty in these kinds of situation. That was why I didn’t want to celebrate my birthday with a bunch of people I hardly knew.

I turned around to tell off the woman, to show her I wanted some peace and quiet alone with my friend Nate here. The words stuck in my mouth when I saw it was Sam.

“Hi.” She had this eat shitting grin on her face like she just pulled a prank on me.

“Shit, baby. You’re here!” I embraced her tightly, smelling her sweetness. Her scent flooded my brain, making me want to devour her right here, right now. My skin broke out in goose bumps when she wrapped her arms around my neck, tiptoeing to at least make up the difference between my six foot three height and her five seven. She took shaky breaths as she moved closer, leaving little room between us. I groaned when she licked her lips, desire surging through me.

“Told yah you’re going to be in the mood,” Nate said, interrupting me from the dirty thoughts I had of my girlfriend. He had on this cocky grin, looking so proud and satisfied. Sudden realization hit me. He might have had something to do with Sam being here, and I was about to ask him when he turned to the woman beside him with such speed that surprised me and engaged her in conversation.

“Well, that’s so obvious,” I said to no one in particular.

“What’s obvious, babe?” Sam asked, her hands rubbing my back and making me lose my train of thought.

“Uhmm, Nate’s ignoring me … that’s what.”

“Perhaps he’s just giving us some privacy.”

“Maybe,” I answered, pulling her closer. “I know he’s hiding something from me.”

“Why do you say that?”

“I just know.”

She didn’t seem to be aware I didn’t want to talk about Nate anymore. My eyes zoomed in on her mouth, fantasizing on how soft they were.

“I’m not –” she started, but I crushed my mouth against hers. Taking in her taste, savoring her sweetness. It had been three weeks since I last saw her, and it had been difficult without her.

She opened her mouth and my tongue quickly sought hers for a duel. My arms were wrapped tightly around her while my hands were on her ass, gripping and groping.

“I missed you,” I rasped, still a little dizzy from the kiss.

“I know.”

Her mouth tasted divine, driving me crazy. Kissing her ignited all my senses, making me feel on fire. My heart thundered like a million beats per second as I tried to control the lust inside me. My erection strained against my jeans, seeking for some kind of release from the denim prison.

“I missed you too, Deke.” She palmed my cheek with one hand, smiling as she stared at me. It was so easy to lose myself when I was with her – she was intoxicating, and everything about her made my insides go haywire – but I needed to regain some control. Now.

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Book Excerpt and Giveaway: Just for the Record by Six Delos Reyes

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Just for the Record by Six Delos Reyes

Just for the record, the heat can get to even the most calculated of minds.

Let it be stated that Rhys loves Ryan forever and ever. But certain needs are not being met, leaving her frustrated and asking for too much than the conservative and almost-rock star, Ryan, is willing to give. Uncooperative (or cooperative, depending on your point of view) weather provides her an opportunity to ask not what she can do for her friends, but what a friend can do for her.

Isaiah likes to say that the best thing about Rhys is that he can stand in her breathing space and feel nothing. Something of a breather when dancing with Lia short circuits his entire operating system. But all his beliefs are challenged when Rhys chances upon him in a steamy practice room in the middle of a heat wave.

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Book Excerpt

Just For the Record

Just for the Record by Six Delos Reyes

This time Isaiah didn’t bother hiding his smirk. Running a record with her in the music lab was innocent enough, but With You was hardly an innocent song. He was tempted to say something like ‘Just because you always know where Lia is, doesn’t mean I always know where Rhys is’ but he stowed that retort for a rainy day. “I thought you’re all gonna meet at the shop today.”

“We are. Just thought you know where she is now.”

“Maybe.” But before Juno could react even the slightest bit violently to that, Isaiah amended that last statement with “Maybe you should call her.”

“I already did. She said she’ll be at the shop.” Juno waved and turned back towards the music labs. “See you later,” he said, almost as an afterthought.

Isaiah waited until Juno was in and out of Julian’s studio, and down the stairs before returning inside the practice room. “You owe me,” he said, closing the door behind him. “So make yourself useful.”

Rhys rolled her eyes as she let Isaiah drag her into the middle of the room. It wasn’t like she had a choice now, and it wasn’t as if she had to be anywhere. “Nice hair,” she commented. “How many tries did you take to get that color?”

“Thanks. And this was an accident. Wasn’t supposed to turn out this way,” Isaiah answered, plugging his earphones into his ears again. He didn’t have an exact shade in mind so he randomly picked something that would stand out. In retrospect, maybe it wasn’t random at all.

“What? Took me eleven sessions to get mine right. This is unfair.”

“Life is unfair,” he said. “Now shut up and stand there.” Isaiah played the song and counted in his head.
Rhys tugged the left earbud from his ear and placed it in her own. A grin spread on her face as soon as she heard the familiar riff. “Is this for the big Saturday?” A pause. “Did you actually ask her? What did she say?”

“You’re supposed to be a wall or a pole. Neither of which talk.” He positioned her flush against him, mechanically moving her limbs around him like a mannequin. Rhys would have passed as one too, what with the way she stood still as he moved sensuously around her. But there was nothing sensual about the scenario at all.

She rolled her eyes. It was not the first time Isaiah utilized her as a dancing pole, though more often than not he simply referred to her as a wall. His movements, to another person’s eyes, would border on highly suggestive, but Rhys blamed Julian for the lyrics they tacked on to her music. “Yeah, let’s pretend that’s gonna happen.”
“Let’s just say there’s no sexy lady in next Saturday’s perf,” he answered tersely. He wrapped her arms around his neck and lifted her off her feet and moved her left to right.

Rhys caught her bottom lip in between her teeth before she said something stupid. Isaiah could be volatile when talking about Lia, and she nibbled thoughtfully as she composed a proper response. Meanwhile, Isaiah didn’t stop moving around her and working around the tangle of earphone wire between them, dancing to what she now assumed would have been the choreography to Sexy Lady— an unfortunate title from the studio boys— had Lia said yes. “I cannot believe you just referred to Lia as ‘Sexy Lady’.”

The smirk on his face, one that was half an amused smile, meant she said the right thing. Isaiah slid behind her, running his hands down her ribs and anchoring them on her waist. He dropped his head on her shoulder and closed his eyes. His hair was a shade lighter than hers, but their hair blended together in their reflection. Sweat from his forehead slid down her shoulder blade and his breathing was hot against her neck. Rhys wondered if they had ever been this close before with Isaiah bare-chested next to her. That last detail slipped her mind at first, but she couldn’t dismiss it now. Heat from his body magnified the already sweat-slicked warm spots on her back, and every time he breathed in she felt his hard chest touch her back.

“Wait,” she said, eyes blurring from the heat in the studio. “So, if she said no, then this isn’t really necessary. Or are you going to go find someone else?”

He twisted her around in his arms so they faced each other, knotting her inside the white wire. Her hands landed on his chest, fingertips grazing his skin. “I don’t think I can find someone this late so I redid most of it this morning just in case.”

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Book Excerpt and Giveaway: Boyfriend-Stealing Bitch by Halina Cabrera

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Boyfriend-Stealing Bitch by Halina Cabrera

Jess Rodriguez always gets what she wants. That’s why no one in her office has difficulty believing she tried to steal the gorgeous Martin de Guzman from his perfect girlfriend, Eliza. Now, the label “boyfriend-stealing bitch” has been slapped on her. Plus, Martin has to leave for the U.S. and Jess is left all alone to pick up the pieces.

Two years later, Martin shows up in the most unlikely of places: at Jess’s weekend getaway with her boyfriend, Joey. Will it be his turn to steal her away on a hot summer night? Is she finally going to claim the title she was so unfairly given back then?

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Book Excerpt

Boyfriend-Stealing Bitch by Halina Cabrera

Boyfriend-Stealing Bitch by Halina Cabrera

The week goes by really fast. And the next thing I know, we’re having a despedida party for Martin at a bar in Makati. Everyone’s there, and group pictures are being taken left and right. Martin, however, looks distant. He smiles and acts normally, but I know something’s wrong because he has that look on his face. Drinks in hand, I lead him away from the fray toward a balcony cocktail table far from the bar.

“Are you okay?” I ask him.

“I feel like shit. Eliza’s not talking to me.” I should have known.

“Maybe you should go patch up things with her.”

“I don’t know. Maybe I should,” he says, but he stays where he is. He’s quiet and, I suspect, a little tipsy, if not drunk.

“You could always go home.”

“Yeah.”

“Look, you’re in no condition to drive. Let me just call you a cab.” I start to head back toward the bar, but he puts his hand on my arm.

“Not yet, Jess,” he says. There’s a plea in his voice. His hand is warm on my skin. I’m not a very touchy-feely kind of person. And I’m sure we must have grazed elbows or arms at some point in the past, but this feels funny. Well, at least, the feel of his hand on my arm is making me feel funny. I know I should walk away, but I don’t.

“Just stay with me for a while.” I don’t say anything.

His hand is still on my arm.

“I’m going to miss you,” he says.

“I’ll miss you too.”

“Say it like you mean it.”

I look at his face. What is going on with him? Is it the alcohol talking?

“Look, Martin, I think you’ve had too much to drink—”

His hand has traveled up to my shoulder, and before I know it, he’s gently stroking my cheek and jaw. My heart is hammering in my chest. I know I should pull away, but stupid me, I feel frozen in place. I’m still waiting for something to make sense. Or I’m enjoying the way he’s touching me. I don’t know. Or maybe I’m realizing that he looks even better when his skin is slightly flushed.

“Jessica,” he says. He’s never said my whole name like that, like a half whisper. And then he’s kissing me. Slowly, at first, then hungrily. I can smell the vodka on his breath mixing with the scent of his cologne. I don’t know how it happened, but his arms are around me, and I’m leaning into his body. What am I doing? is the last thing on my mind before we hear a gasp behind us.

“Oh my God, Jess Rodriguez, you are a boyfriend-stealing BITCH!”

And there’s Eliza, tears streaming down her face. I think the whole floor has heard her.

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Book Excerpt and Giveaway: Passion Within the Stone Walls by Kali Ragilles

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Passion Within the Stone Walls by Kali Ragilles

Sometimes, it’s okay to be selfish…

Unless you’re Paige De Guia, whose only concern is to make sure all the bloggers under her charge enjoy themselves during their sponsored trip. Everything goes as planned, until she meets a handsome and mysterious tough guy on the way to the island of Sabtang in Batanes.

And just like that, Paige’s priorities turn upside down

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Book Excerpt

Passion Within the Stone Walls by Kali Ragilles

Passion Within the Stone Walls by Kali Ragilles

Some minutes after Mayette left, a shout rang across the basketball court. “What the fuck, dude? That was an easy rebound!” the guy with the funky hair called out. The other men howled with laughter, but Paige hardly noticed them.

Because Sean was staring straight at her.

“Sean, bro! You still playing or what?” Sean’s other friend, Duke, passed the ball to him. He barely caught it, his attention still on Paige. She held Sean’s gaze, pretending to ignore how the sweat on his bare skin glistened in the afternoon sun, how she would love to run her fingers over those six-packed abs. Paige inhaled deeply, watching as a small smile formed on his lips. Those kissable red lips.

Geez, this guys sex incarnate.

“Yeah,” Sean said, casting one last look at Paige before jogging to catch up.

Paige sat on the concrete fence in silence, watching the guys play. She did her best to seem uninterested, but her eyes followed Sean like a hawk, watching every flex of his sweaty, hard muscles. Sean’s friends and the locals were evenly matched, ending the game with a draw when the sun began to turn their surroundings orange.

“Oh, shit,” Paige muttered as she glanced at her watch. It was already half-past five. They had to leave Chavayan as soon as possible, or risk traveling on dark and narrow cliff-side roads. Panicked, she jumped down the fence and nearly fell on all fours.

“Easy, cowgirl,” a familiar voice drawled beside Paige. Gino leaned over the fence with Leizel, Austin and Queenie beside him. “TJ’s off chasing the sunset, but Eddie and his troopers are probably halfway back to Centro by now.”

“What?”

“You heard right, girl.” Leizel pointed her camera phone at the basketball court and snapped a photo. “We’re staying here!”

“But our things ― ”

Queenie wrinkled her nose. “Still at the Heritage Building. We’ll have to buy basic toiletries for the night. The kids said they have everything we’ll need at the sari-sari store. Speaking of which,” she started. “I’ll buy our stuff before it gets dark. I don’t want to suffocate from your cumulative BO and bad breath tomorrow.”

“But it’s a great bonding experience!” Gino batted his eyelashes comically. “You, me, Leizel, Paige, Austin and TJ… Sharing our bodily essence in one stone cottage!”

“Yuck,” Queenie said, her face full of disgust. “I’ll see you at dinner.” The blogger turned around before Paige could ask more questions.

“What a bitch,” said Gino. “But she has her moments, so I guess I’m not suffocating her with a pillow tonight.”

Paige pretended she didn’t hear Gino. “Can someone please explain to me what’s going on? Where are we staying? And where in the world are we going to have dinner?”

“I told you we had your back, girl.” Leizel grinned. “We’ve got it all taken care of. Kuya Nestor got us a stone cottage, and his mom is preparing us dinner. What a nice old lady.”

“But the fees and all ― ”

“Everything’s okay,” Austin’s hoarse voice chimed in. “Relax, Paige.”

“Wow! Four words in one breath. A record for Austin, so I’d take his advice if I were you,” Gino said, smirking. “Oh, and if you can stop ogling the hot guy for a bit, you might want to check your cellphone. Eddie says he’ll text you.”

Paige blushed. “I wasn’t ogling.”

“Whatever.” Gino said. “Can’t say I blame you. Abs galore!”

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Book Excerpt and Giveaway: Inappropriate Entanglement by D.R. Lee

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Inappropriate Entanglement by D.R. Lee

On their first meeting, she ordered him to strip.

Kaye is the independent and workaholic creative director of an ad agency. She’s been single for five straight years but she still isn’t so keen on joining the dating pool anytime soon. Unfortunately, Matt, a hunky client she needs to please and appease, has other plans.

On their first meeting, he stripped.

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Book Excerpt

Inappropriate Entanglement by D.R. Lee

Inappropriate Entanglement
by D.R. Lee

“Where are the models?” I asked.

“Oh, uh, they’re waiting for you in the lounge,” the receptionist supplied.

I was scheduled to meet the prospective male models for the ad campaign for which I prepared a presentation, and because I was already late, I was positive they’ve been waiting for me.

I easily spotted three men sitting by the lounge. One was fiddling with his phone, another was reading on his iPad and the third one was reading a newspaper. I’ve worked long enough with models to pick them out in just a glance. If their tall height and trim builds didn’t give them away, their stylish clothes did.

Two of the men instantly stiffened when they saw me, but I wasn’t in the mood for niceties. I stood in front of them, crossed my arms on my chest and scrutinized each one. I had to find a man that would serve as the face for top clothing company Onyx Apparel. I was already late and I intended to do this efficiently.

Hmmm… The first one looked too young. His build was perfect but he looked too much like a teen heartthrob. The next one was too thin, and he simply didn’t exude the manly vibe that I was looking for. The third one — as soon as I laid eyes on him, he looked up from the newspaper he was reading and met my stare full-on. I was pretty sure he couldn’t see my eyes as I was wearing dark sunglasses, but his stare was intensely penetrating. I involuntarily gulped and had the urge to look away. I knew then and there that I’ve found the man for the job.

“You,” I pointed to him. “Stand up and come with me.”

Stamping down the attraction that was creeping under my gut, I quickly shuffled on my feet and walked away, fully expecting him to follow my lead. When I looked back, he just stood there looking confused. As much as I liked watching the dumbfounded expression on his face, I didn’t want to be delayed further.

“Well? Aren’t you coming?” I scoffed.

My voice seemed to have broken his confusion, but he didn’t say anything. He just slung his gray backpack on his right shoulder and walked on.

A few minutes later, we were inside the confines of my office. I took up my position behind my desk and took off my sunglasses. As soon as I turned my attention to him, I instantly felt like I’ve been sucker-punched. If he was a looker under the tinted lenses of my sunglasses, he was even more stunning under bright lights.

The hard planes of his face were finely sculpted and refined. His head was shaved but surprisingly, he looked good. His eyes were the lightest shade of brown and they were framed by thick, dark lashes. His nose was straight and aristocratic, and his lips looked luscious and inviting.

You’d think after working with models for three years in an ad agency, I would’ve been desensitized to gorgeous people. Hell, after the first year of being star-struck with the models and celebrity endorsers, I’ve began seeing them like mannequins. I thought I’ve seen them all. But this one… He was different.

The curious thing was that he wasn’t even doing anything except stand there with his backpack slung on his right shoulder. However, his mere presence was making me all too conscious of the sparkly tingles erupting in my stomach.

I had to bite my lower lip to keep my composure intact.

When his eyes strayed to my lips, I felt my breath involuntarily hitch.

I knew I was gawking at him. And I knew that he knew I was gawking because one curious eyebrow rose as he stared defiantly back at me. A small smirk also tugged at the side of his lips in amusement. His stare was unabashed and so intense that I just had to look away after I felt heat creeping slowly on my cheeks. Although I may have found the perfect man for the ad campaign, I just wasn’t so sure I could handle him. Then again, he didn’t know that and I wasn’t too keen on letting it be known.

I cleared my throat and took a deep breath before speaking.

“What’s your name?” I’ve dilly-dallied long enough. It was time for business.

“Matt,” he replied curtly.

“Alright, Matt, I’m Kaye, the Creative Director in charge of the campaign for Onyx Apparel. I’m already late so we’ll take care of the trivial things later. For now, put down your backpack and strip.”

“Excuse me?” He looked surprised, but amusement still lit up his eyes.

“I said strip. I need to see your build,” I explained, trying to sound professional.

Matt smiled and shook his head slowly as if in disbelief while he dropped his bag to the nearby chair. I could tell he was trying to suppress a grin. I was a little intrigued about what it was exactly that he found so amusing, but I reined in my thoughts and did not say anything.

Matt ever so slightly tugged at the hem of his black V-neck shirt before slowly pulling it up. All the while, he kept his gaze locked straight at me. I gulped. Those eyes should be illegal. He sported a small smirk while he slowly lifted up his shirt as if he was the star in a strip-show.

Oh, Lord…

He was like unwrapping a Christmas present that I really badly wanted, but can’t get my claws on.

Off with the shirt, dammit!

When the shirt was finally off, I shamelessly gaped.

Holy David Gandy and the awesomeness of a thousand flying bacon! Those pecs! Those well-defined abs! I had to bite my cheek to stifle a squeal. He was perfect. His body was well-toned but not too bulky, and he had the right buns in all the right places.

I’m not a perv, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy his impromptu strip show and subsequent half-nakedness. In my defense, I am only human and thus weak against the personification of lust.

Oh, and what do you know, he has a tattoo. It was an intricate tribal tattoo covering his left shoulder and spilling unto his chest. It was mesmerizing to say the least and I felt a strong impulse to touch it. Unfortunately, before I could act on my abnormal impulses, I heard him speak.

“Um, do I need to…?” He pointed to his belt buckle.

Oh, yes, please…

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About the Author

D.R. Lee is the pen name of a law student hailing from the Philippines. Outside of her academic endeavor, she does writing, painting, and a whole lot of reading. On a perfect day, she talks with the people inside her head and tells their stories through printed words.

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