Tuesday, September 20, 2016

COVER REVEAL!!!!!!


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Cover Reveal
Title: Heartfire 
Author: Joanna Blake
 Photographer: Furious Fotog 
Cover Designer: Mayhem Cover Creations

jompsynopsis

I put out fires for a living. I'm damn good at it too. I'm known for my bravery, courage and daredevil stunts. Oh yeah, and the way I use my hose. Firemen are celebrities in this town. My father, my brothers and all my cousins have put their lives on the line for the people of Brooklyn, NY. I've been in calendars and on TV. I have my pick of any woman I want. Anytime, anywhere. All I have to do is snap my fingers. But Kennedy Stewart is the one that got away. A shy girl from strict religious family, we had a hotter than hell fling. I was auctioned off for charity and her friends won me for her as a joke. A shy virgin should've been easy pickings for me. But I was the one who got swept off his feet. We had a few weeks of bliss, even if we had to sneak around. I even said the 'L' word. The next thing I know she's visiting relatives and won't answer my calls. I swore off women – especially her. But she took a little surprise with her. My baby. Now she's back in the little bundle of joy bears a startling resemblance to yours truly. I can't be fooled and I can't be denied. I want what's mine.
*Heartfire is a stand-alone novel with a guaranteed HEA and no cheating! This edition contains bonus materials for a limited time only!*
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jompexcerpt


"Holy shit..." I turned to see what Lowe was looking at and my jaw dropped. She was here. In the bar. Kennedy was here. But she... didn't look like Kennedy. Gone was the innocent little beauty I'd fallen for, and then lost. This girl was confident. Wild. She oozed sex. From the corset top she wore to the frayed denim miniskirt and high heeled booties. Her hair was blown out and luxurious, like she was in a shampoo commercial. Her pouty lips were shiny and red. Her stunning eyes were lined with something dark and smokey. She was hot. She was sex on wheels. And she was already getting way too much attention. Her cousin Jamie smirked at me. I knew that she'd done this to spite me. To torture me. To get even with me for being a damn jackass. And it was working. I growled and slammed my drink down. I strode across the bar and grabbed Kennedy's arm. Then I dragged her right back outside. "What the hell do you think you are doing?" She squeaked as I released her. I stood there, panting as she looked at me in shock. "Drew... I didn't know you would be here." "Like hell you didn't!" "Jamie said I needed to get out. So, we're out." "Go home, Kennedy! I don't want you here!" Her gorgeous eyes blinked at me. Then she blinked again. I stared at the solitary tear that rolled down her cheek. I ran my hands through my hair. "Kennedy... shit, I'm sorry. I didn't mean that." She pulled her purse tight over her shoulder and shook her head. "No, it's fine. I should have realized Jamie was up to something. We'll just... I'll go somewhere else." I stared at her, my jaw clenching. "You should go home. You're going to start a damn riot! Why are you dressed like that? What are you trying to do to me?" She squared her shoulders and tossed her hair over her shoulder. "Nothing. I'm leaving. Like you said. Tell- tell Jamie I'll see her at PJ's." "PJ's! Hell, no you are not going to PJ's alone!" She gave me a cold look. "I don't see that it's any of your concern. I have a sitter. I'm an adult. I can go anywhere I damn please!" I snarled at her, taking a step towards her. "No, you can't." "Yes. I can." She was trying to sound tough but she took a step backwards. I followed her until her back was against the wall. She gave me a nervous look. Good. She should be nervous. "No. You can't." I was inches away from her. I could practically taste her lips. She always reminded me of strawberries and cream. I wanted to see if she still tasted like that. I wanted to see if the fire was still burning between us. That was a lie. I knew it was. Even after everything she'd done, I could not resist her. I'd tried to stay away. And I'd failed. "Kennedy..." She stared up at me as I pressed forward until our chests were touching. She let out a soft sound that was sexy as hell. I groaned as I wrapped my arms around her. "What are you- doing?" "I'm going to kiss you." "Why?" I couldn't help the bitter smile that settled on my lips. "Because I cant help it. I can't get you out of my head. That's why." And then I stopped talking. I stopped thinking. I just felt. I held her face as I took her mouth, punishing her for all those months I'd missed her. All that time she'd made me wait and wonder. All the pain I'd felt when she left me. Well, she was back and she was mine. I didn't care anymore what she'd done. I'd just make sure she didn't leave me again. I wouldn't let her. I was going to tie her to my damn bed if I had to. Permanently. I softened my lips and lifted my head, staring down at those wide eyes of hers. "Come on." I took her arm and propelled her down the street. Jamie came out as we turned the corner. She watched us walk past without saying a word. Kennedy had to practically run to keep up. "Where are we going?" "Bed." "What? I told you I didn't want to go home Drew!" Her voice was high and girlish. Shocked. I grinned. I was going to shock the hell out of her by dawn. Three times at least. "My bed. She'll see you in the morning, Jamie." Jamie just smiled and waved goodbye. I knew she'd been up to something. She looked very pleased with herself. I was feeling pretty pleased with myself too. Kennedy stumbled in those high heels she was wearing. I just picked her up and kept walking without missing a beat. My girl wasn't used to wearing heels. I grinned. That was one of the things I liked about her. Her beauty was all natural. I squeezed her, stealing a glance at her face. She was staring up at me in awe, looking like a sweet little sex kitten. Her chest was pushed up and out in that top, her creamy skin swelling above the low cut neckline. Then again, this look did have it's merits.


jompauthorbio 


Joanna Blake loves good old fashioned romance, men who open doors and work with their hands. Hot Blooded Heroes is a series of sizzling stories about True Blue American men and the women who love them. She's thrilled to be collaborating with Pincushion Press on her new series! Come along for the ride! XoX, Joanna
Other books by Joanna Blake
Ride With Me: http://amzn.to/1e4hKpH
Slay Me (ROCK GODS): http://amzn.to/1B3FAMm
Dare Me (ROCK GODS): http://amzn.to/1FTqbdg
Cover Me (ROCK GODS): http://amzn.to/1I7qHWr
Wanted By The Devil (DEVIL'S RIDERS): http://amzn.to/1B68bkl
Still Waters (DEVIL'S RIDERS): http://amzn.to/1I7qwug
Safe In His Arms (DEVIL'S RIDERS): http://amzn.to/1QrZ58n
The Rock Star Next Door (Joanna Blake Singles): http://amzn.to/1B68mvT
The Biker Next Door (Joanna Blake Singles): http://amzn.to/1QrZjfv

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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Cuffed & Claimed


Cuffed & Claimed

  What's better than an Alpha man in uniform? Ten of them. Turn up the heat with ten BRAND-NEW law enforcement stories from some of the hottest USA Today, Amazon, and International best-selling romance authors around. These commanding men in uniform will fulfill your every sinful fantasy, and leave you panting for more. Featuring stories by: Caitlyn O’Leary, Daisy Philips, Elle Boon, Fiona Archer, Holly Roberts, Jenika Snow, Lori King, Lynne St. James, Sherri Hayes, and Sydney Lea

http://cuffedandclaimed.com

CuffedandClaimedFLAT

Preorder for 99 cents!


Nook <<>> Kobo <<>> iBooks

  Her Hearts Protector by: Caitlyn O’Leary It’s the worst case scenario for David Sloane as a Military Policeman. An earthquake has rocked Las Flores, leaving devastation in its wake. The local government leans heavily on David to lead the manhunt to recapture the escaped convicts. In the midst of the chaos, former army nurse Sarah Kyle arrives with the International Aid Workers. As David comes face to face with the woman he’s never forgotten, danger continues to escalate as the desperate prisoners do anything they can leave the island. When conditions deteriorate will these former lovers survive, let alone have the happily ever after they deserve?
  Arresting Submission by: Daisy Philips Cat Conroy had fallen for a bad boy before and it hadn’t ended well. Scott Weston was trouble with a capital T. He claimed to be a CPA but in Cat’s experience, accountants rarely carried guns to work. Undercover FBI agent Scott loved Cat from the moment he met her. Unfortunately, the lies he had to tell were driving them apart. Would she be able to forgive him when the truth finally came out?
Delta Rogue by: Elle Boon Hailey’s tired of seeing men she considers her brothers nearly killed. The Navy was the one place she considered home, until now. Maddox is used to playing cat and mouse, his job is to keep the United States safe from terrorists. However, the ends always outweighed his own needs. Only this time, with Hailey’s life hanging in the balance it wasn’t the same. 3
As threats escalate, and Hailey is placed under his care 24/7 will he be able to keep things professional? Or will it all fall apart as secrets are uncovered and the threats are closer than either thought?
    In His Custody by: Fiona Archer English teacher Mercy Jones has sworn off men, especially the edgy ones. So why does the new substitute history teacher have to be dangerous, raw, and challenging—on every level? His uncompromising masculinity and questioning mind captivate Mercy, tempting her to risk her heart. Detective Aidan Shaw is a cynical bastard. But when working undercover to eradicate a high school drug network, Aidan meets an intelligent, feisty blonde. Mercy’s warmth and generous spirit awaken a part of him buried deep for too long. But as he closes in on the criminals manipulating innocents for profit, the stakes grow ever higher.
  Street Justice by: Holly S. Roberts Street Justice combines a sexy alpha cop, a bohemian woman with a heart of gold, and a half-Shepard half-Poodle mix with a leg-humping need to prove who’s top dog in the neighborhood. With suspense, humor, and steamy romance Street Justice will have your alpha-cop fantasies on full alert.
  Yes, Sir by: Jenika Snow Brittin I had no choice but to come back. I knew I’d run into Law, my bear-shifting ex, and the man I still loved. I thought I could move on. I was wrong. Law Brittin is the only woman I will ever love. She is it for me, even if she broke it off. I screwed up when I lost her, and I spent the next two years regretting it
.Cuffedandclaimed3d 
Now she’s back, and it’s my chance to show her I can be the man she deserves.
    The Lawman’s Lover by: Lori King A divorcee whose broken dreams are buried so deep she can’t remember where she put them. A Deputy Sheriff with a mountain of responsibilities weighing him down. A fling. No strings attached. No plans for the future. Until someone’s heart gets broken. Find out how Deputy Colby Bricker and waitress Elizabeth Newcomer take their shared past and build a new future, in this sister story to the Crawley Creek Ranch Series.
  House Arrest by: Lynne St. James Ethan Price thought a job as a small-town police detective in Willow Haven would be easy after five years as a pilot in the Air Force. Then a rash of break-ins puts the entire department on alert and the woman he loves at risk. Anna Taggart is smart, stubborn, independent, and doesn’t think she needs anyone. Having her heart broken before, she refuses to give in to her feelings for Ethan no matter how hard he pursues her. Will Ethan be able to convince Anna life is too short not to love?

  2
Seducing the Detective by: Sherri Hayes
 When Detective Janey Davis is sent to the small town of Liberty to consult on a recently discovered John Doe, she’s paired up with Deputy Kyle Reed. She’s run into his type before—handsome, overly confident, and he has the ladies fawning all over him. It should be easy to resist her attraction to him. If only someone would tell that to her heart.
  Dirty Liars by: Sydney Lea Undercover FBI agent Nikolai has been treading a fine line between right and wrong for the last few years and everything he has worked for is thrown into utter chaos the moment he risks it all to save Harper. Harper’s life has just been turned upside down, and now she must rely on the one man who has been lying to her from the moment they met. Can they overcome all the dirty lies told between them?
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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Sniper :A Special OPS Series By Julie Morgan


sniperSniper Tom Brody enjoys his life in the Special Ops. He also enjoys his best friend, Antonella, maybe a little too much. Brody and Antonella have an agreement: friends to never cross that line.
Toni has hidden her feelings from Brody for as long as she can remember. Both want to cross the line, so much so, they act on it just before his next deployment.
When life appears to pick back up upon his return home, tragedy strikes. When an idle threat becomes a reality, Brody will encounter a fight he never thought he would have to face; search and rescue for the woman he loves.


About the Book

Sniper
by Julie Morgan

Series
Special Ops #2

Genre
Adult
Contemporary Romance
Military Romance

Publisher
Independent

Publication Date
August 2, 2016

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The Special Ops Series

Delta Force  sniper

About Julie Morgan

514-0kgzaZL._UX250_Originally from Burleson, Texas Julie always had a love of books, especially paranormal stories. Julie finally took the leap and began writing with encouragement from her family.
Having worked in IT her entire career, Julie now spends her free time writing. Living in Central Florida with her husband and daughter, her favorite pastime is reading children’s stories to her daughter, especially those around animals.

Author Links

website  facebook  twitter  goodreads  Amazon icon
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Monday, August 1, 2016



 Broken Lion Release Day.jpg

















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Amazon US  Amazon UK  Amazon CA  Amazon AU
Nook  Kobo iBooks

Or buy the paperback

Amazon US  Amazon UK  Amazon CA Barnes & Noble

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Bestselling author Devon Hartford brings you another scorching hot and scandalous standalone romance.

SOME SECRETS ARE TOO HARD TO KEEP

The night the EMTs rolled Lion Maxwell into my ER turned my life upside down.
Although he was bloody and battered from defending his title as the WMAA’s reigning cruiserweight champion, his cocky grin lit up the room.
And every cell in my body.
Our fiery chemistry was off the charts.
The ER staff sensed it.
Lion’s entourage and his drooling groupies sensed it too.
If the two of us had been alone, I might have done something entirely unprofessional and completely unethical right there in the exam room. But I was his attending physician. A sexual or romantic relationship with him was grounds for my termination or worse, revoking my medical license. I wouldn’t risk my career on a moment of passion. It didn’t stop that arrogant caveman from doing everything he could to get me into his hospital bed.
After denying his advances for weeks, the last thing I expected were the wild nights he would be spending in my bed.
It was supposed to be nothing more than a secret fling.
I knew it couldn’t last.
He was still my patient.
What we were doing was wrong.
If anyone found out, it could ruin my life.
But we couldn’t let go.
We were bound to each other on some primal level that consumed us.
Sometimes love is tragic.
Sometimes two people aren’t meant to be together.
But sometimes, two people overcome all adversity and build a love that lasts forever.
I knew deep in my heart that Lion Maxwell could be my happily ever after.
As long as we kept our love a secret.
I wish I’d known that some secrets are too hard to keep…











TRAILER














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Devon Hartford is a dude who writes romantic comedies because he likes to laugh as much as he likes to love.

Join Devon's mailing list and you'll receive teasers of his upcoming books before anyone else, exclusive freebie short stories and novellas, and no spam. Copy and paste this link into your web browser to sign up:
http://eepurl.com/B7crf

Author Links





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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Broken Lion by Devon Hartford ~A Mouth Watering Tidbit!!!!~


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Coming August 1st

Add to your Goodreads shelf now.

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Or pre-order exclusively via iBooks HERE

Or buy the paperback now












AP new - synopsis.jpg

Bestselling author Devon Hartford brings you another scorching hot and scandalous standalone romance.

SOME SECRETS ARE TOO HARD TO KEEP

The night the EMTs rolled Lion Maxwell into my ER turned my life upside down.
Although he was bloody and battered from defending his title as the WMAA’s reigning cruiserweight champion, his cocky grin lit up the room.
And every cell in my body.
Our fiery chemistry was off the charts.
The ER staff sensed it.
Lion’s entourage and his drooling groupies sensed it too.
If the two of us had been alone, I might have done something entirely unprofessional and completely unethical right there in the exam room. But I was his attending physician. A sexual or romantic relationship with him was grounds for my termination or worse, revoking my medical license. I wouldn’t risk my career on a moment of passion. It didn’t stop that arrogant caveman from doing everything he could to get me into his hospital bed.
After denying his advances for weeks, the last thing I expected were the wild nights he would be spending in my bed.
It was supposed to be nothing more than a secret fling.
I knew it couldn’t last.
He was still my patient.
What we were doing was wrong.
If anyone found out, it could ruin my life.
But we couldn’t let go.
We were bound to each other on some primal level that consumed us.
Sometimes love is tragic.
Sometimes two people aren’t meant to be together.
But sometimes, two people overcome all adversity and build a love that lasts forever.
I knew deep in my heart that Lion Maxwell could be my happily ever after.
As long as we kept our love a secret.
I wish I’d known that some secrets are too hard to keep…












Broken Lion.png













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Chapter 1
BRIGID
I didn’t have time for men.
As an attending physician at the busy Los Angeles Central Hospital, I had too many responsibilities. Caring for my patients was always my top priority. For me, dating was an afterthought.
But I wasn’t a robot.
I noticed men all the time.
For example, several of the EMTs who wheeled patients into the Emergency Care Unit every night were to die for. The boys in blue were just as yummy, ember-eyed Officer Noah Murdock being the yummiest.
The firemen from the LAFD were even more gorgeous. My favorites were Troy and Rick from Station 10. Both were regulars here in the ECU. Both were also smoking hot and known not only for saving lives and putting out fires, but for starting fires—in women’s panties, and not just mine. Ask any of the women on the ECU team (and some of the men). Troy and Rick were also known for appearing topless in the LAFD Firefighter’s calendar hanging in our team break room. In it, both men sported oiled-up abs and bulging shoulders while looking rugged and sweaty and deadly sexy in their suspiciously low hanging firemen’s pants. Troy was Mother’s Day May and Rick was I wish me a Merry Christmas December. Yes, I skipped ahead to check. Several times a week.
Like I said, I noticed men all the time.
But I was too busy doing my job to date any.
When I wasn’t here at the hospital, I was the on call physician and had to come in at the most unexpected times. Not ideal for dating. Most weeks it seemed like I lived here.
After setting a broken arm in exam room 102, I walked out to fill out the relevant paperwork before taking my next patient.
Latisha Brown, the charge nurse, fell into step beside me and said, “Girl, you gonna wet yourself when you get a look at the fine man in 109. Mmm, mmm, mmm.” She muttered it in a low voice as we walked toward the nurses station. Latisha and I gossiped about hot men all the time. It helped keep things light when they got too serious. “Man brought a whole entourage with him.”
I glanced over at the door to 109. A dozen people crowded the entrance. More were packed inside the room. “Is he somebody famous?”
“Not that I know. But he oughta be a model, the way he looks. Or an actor. Or my next hookup. Mmm, mmm, I’m telling you, girl.” Her eyes glimmered with desire. “I had to change my drawers after helping Allison check his vitals.”
“Why?” I snickered.
“On account of my lady parts was perspiring.” She winked.
“He can’t be that hot.”
“You ain’t seen him yet. The way he looks, that boy must live in a gym. Allison’s hands were shaking so bad when she tried to slide the blood pressure cuff up his arm, I had to do it for her.”
“I’m sure you hated every second of it.”
“Every last one.” She chuckled.
“Do you have his medical record?” Now I was curious.
She reached over the counter of the nurses station and grabbed a chart off the rack. “Here you go. Before you go in, I should warn you about the python in his pants.”
“Python? An actual python?” From time to time, patients came into the ECU with the strangest things attached to or inserted inside themselves. The obvious: nipple clamps, cock rings, dildos, vibrators, anal beads, condoms, tampons. The not so obvious: fruits, vegetables, latex gloves, flashlights, a toy car, a glass light bulb. Yes, an actual light bulb. When I extracted it, Latisha was on hand. I held it up and said, “This gives me an idea.” Latisha struggled not to laugh. The patient was half passed out on muscle relaxants (we were worried about shattering the lightbulb) and he lay face down on the bed. The light bulb was a first for everyone on staff that night. But top of the list for Latisha and me went a step weirder. Two summers ago, we performed a Rectal Foreign Body Removal of a smallish garden gnome, complete with red pointy hat, from a male patient. The man had said he “fell on it” while gardening. By “fell” he meant “sat down.” On purpose. Multiple times. After discharging him and sending the man home with his gnome, I warned him to be more careful while “gardening” in the future. In private, I’d asked Latisha if she thought the man did his “gardening” in the nude. She said no, he probably wore assless chaps at the very least, so as to protect him from thorns and thistles. I had said, but not from gnomes? We had both broken into laughter at that point.
“You remembering that nasty ass gnome, ain’t you?”
“Sadly.” I chuckled.
“Don’t worry, the python in 109 is warm blooded. But I’ll get you the anti-venom kit, just in case.”
“Tisha, pythons aren’t warm blooded and they don’t have venom.”
“This one does.” Her eyes flared for a moment before she swallowed a ticking snicker, doing her best to maintain a professional demeanor. It wasn’t working. “And it spits like a cobra if you get it all riled up.” We both giggled naughtily.
“When was the last time you got any? You sound completely desperate.”
“More recently than you. And that ain’t saying much.”
“Don’t remind me.” I groaned while flipping through the man’s chart. I read his name out loud. “Lion Maxwell? That can’t be his real name.”
“I think it is.”
“Who names their child Lion?”
“Shoulda named him Snake,” she said seriously.
I glared at her and struggled not to laugh as I walked toward the crowd outside 109. It consisted of several men wearing matching gold on black T-shirts emblazoned with a roaring lion and the slogan #TeamLion - FEEL THE BEAST.
Why did that sound vaguely sexual?
The other men standing outside wore suits or blazers and slacks. There were also a few women best described as trashy strippers: tight micro skirts, flashy bedazzled tops with too much cleavage, fake boobs, spray tans, garish makeup, etc. I’m sure a significant portion of the male population found women like these highly desirable, but to me they looked like sparkly clowns.
One of the strippers had a strategically messy pile of dark hair on her head that was the largest I’d seen since the late 1980s. On her, somehow it worked. Her eyes raked over me with obvious judgement and a hint of a challenge, like she saw me as competition. Competition for what, I wasn’t sure. She sneered, “Who are you?”
I wanted to say, Was the stethoscope and white lab coat not enough of a giveaway? But I was a professional and kept it to myself. “I’m the doctor.”
“Oh.”
“Mind if I see my patient?”
“Whatever,” she huffed and turned her back to me.
I squeezed past her into the exam room. More burly men in #TeamLion T-shirts filled the room.
Latisha was right.
One look at the nearly naked man reclining on the hospital bed said it all. He made my favorite firefighters Troy and Rick look like regular Joes. Lion Maxwell was in another league. He was dangerously gorgeous. Emphasis on danger. Thick dark hair and equally dark eyes added a brooding quality. A number of contusions and cuts were scattered over his face and torso, but on him it looked good, like they belonged there. This man was a warrior and he’d obviously been in a fight. Even lying down, he exuded a masculine energy that said Do not mess with me or I will destroy you. Add to that his perfect body that was hard and scarred and chiseled in the extreme. Exactly what you would expect from the king of the beasts.
A wave of desire rained down from my head to my toes. I pushed it away. I was here to work, not languish in his good looks.
My eyes focused on his splinted knee. The EMS team had already stabilized the knee joint with orange board splints and stretch bandages. Lion’s chart had said dislocation of the joint with possible torn ligaments and/or tibial avulsion fracture, which meant the kneecap tendon contracted so hard it tore off a chunk of bone from the lower leg. The swelling was bad enough it could be any or all of those things. Only an MRI would reveal the full extent of the injury.
“Who ordered the foxy doctor?” Lion said from the bed, relaxed and amused. His voice was deep and slightly gravelly. It shook me out of my diagnostic train of thought and did things to me that were entirely inappropriate.
The men surrounding him all turned to face me like a pack of jackals. All had hungry eyes.
Welcome to the lion’s den.
I’d never felt so much testosterone in one room. Most of it came from Lion and made me feel like a piece of meat, the kind that gets hunted down by ravenous carnivores on the plains of the Serengeti.
Lion’s dark and dangerous eyes roamed all over me. “Please tell me you’re my doctor.”
His men chuckled approval. Obviously, Lion was the king of these beasts. But I needed to get this situation under control. Not a problem. I was in my element.
“I’m Dr. Flanagan. What happened to you, Mr. Maxwell?”
“Call me Lion. Everybody does.” That voice. It oozed confidence and resonated in my chest like he was invading me.
If he kept talking in that sexy voice of his, I was going to be the one doing the oozing. I needed to stay focused. I was a doctor, not a giddy teenager. So I took a moment to collect myself in case I started babbling like one.
Lion smirked at me. A hungry sexy smirk.
I offered a curt smile and swallowed hard. The giddy teenager in me wanted desperately to bat my eyelashes at this gorgeous man.
More chuckles rumbled from Lion’s men as they watched me trying to hold it together. One said, “Go easy on her, Lion.”
Another: “She looks fragile. You don’t wanna spook her.”
Spook me? What, like I was some kind of dainty deer wandering through the forest, scared of the big bad mountain Lion? Not even close. I was the opposite of fragile.
Lion said, “What’s the matter, Doc? Cat got your tongue?”
I smirked. “Very funny, Mr. Maxwell. I was just taking a moment to ignore your arrogance in hopes that it would go away. But we all know wishful thinking never works.”
“Don’t worry. I’ve got more where that came from.”
More what, I didn’t want to know. Mainly because I was afraid I would like it, whatever it was.
One of the other men said, “Don’t mind him. He’s always like this with the ladies.”
Lion laughed easily. “You trying to make me look bad, Cahill?”
Cahill chortled. “When it comes to looking like a tool, you don’t need any help from me.”
“But if I did, you’d be the first man I’d ask for lessons.”
The men laughed again. Cahill laughed too. Clearly, this group was the best of friends. Or frat brothers. All they needed was a keg and a stack of plastic cups to get this party started.
“So, Mr. Maxwell. About your knee.” I said it loud enough to get everyone’s attention. “Can you tell me what happened?”
“Busted it up in the cage tonight.”
“Championship fight,” Cahill added. The nice thing about having an entourage of your own was that they could parade your ego around for you, so you didn’t look arrogant. I wasn’t fooled. They were on his payroll.
Being polite, I said, “Did you win?”
“Do you have to ask?” Lion cocked his bad boy grin.
Had there been any women in the room, the sound of panties dropping would’ve been overwhelming. Obviously I was wrong about him needing his men to parade his ego around. He was more than happy to do it himself.
I was over it. “I take it you won. But your knee looks like the biggest loser tonight, Mr. Maxwell.”
“You afraid to say my name, Doc?”
“I just did.”
Hoots from the men. One said, “She bad, Lion. Watch out she don’t bite you.”
Lion stared at me, eyes locked on mine. “She can bite me all she wants.” He shifted on the bed and let his uninjured knee fall to the side, opening his legs. He wore only skin tight gold lycra shorts. Otherwise, he was entirely naked.
I kept my eyes locked on his. I didn’t have to look directly to see he was packing. His huge bulge practically filled the room. Latisha hadn’t been exaggerating about him having a python.
“Like what you see, Doc?”
I wasn’t taking the bait and I wasn’t going to look. But I was going to stare him down.
More muttering from the men as they watched our staring contest.
I was aware that nothing was going to get accomplished if I didn’t put my foot down and stop this frat party. In a strong voice I said, “Gentlemen! Do I have to clear the room?!”
They looked shocked.
Lion was as cool as a cat. “You trying to get me alone, Doc?”
“No. I’m just trying to do my job, Mr. Maxwell.”
“You don’t have to deny it, Doc. I could tell you wanted me the second you laid eyes on me,”
Not anymore, I don’t. And, could you be any more cocky? I mean, aside from the python in your pants? And did he really think using sexually suggestive words like “laid” was going to work on me? Was that his idea of hypnotism? Did he really think it would make me imagine having sex with him? Hardly.
Hard.
A few of the men started tittering like this was middle school and I was their pushover substitute teacher, the one who didn’t know how to herd the class clowns into their pens when they misbehaved.
Wrong.
I clapped my hands together and barked, “That’s it! All of you, out! Now! This isn’t a locker room. This is my house and we play by my rules! The exit is that way, gentlemen.” Like a football referee, I swung both arms around and pointed out the door. Too bad I didn’t have a referee whistle to blow in their faces. I hid a smile. Game, set, and match.
“Want me to leave too, Doc?” The innocent look on Lion’s face was completely fake.
I glared at him. “Are you always this defiant?”
“Always.” And proud of it, no doubt.
“If you weren’t my patient, I would throw you out with the rest of them. Unfortunately, I devoted my life to helping the sick and injured, no matter how annoying they may be.”
His men laughed and hooted.
I wheeled on them. “Zip it! All of you! Were you not able to find the door?” Considering the room was twelve by twelve feet, even an earthworm could find its way out. Then again, the average earthworm probably had a higher IQ than all these men combined.
Lion smiled at me, the wheels behind his eyes turning, no doubt wondering what other thing he could do to harass me.
I arched my eyebrows, daring him to speak.
Finally, he chuckled. “Better do what the doctor says, fellas.”
Cowed, the men shuffled out of the room, grumbling as they went.
It infuriated me that they obeyed him and not me. Not that it mattered. Mission accomplished. Divide and conquer. Never fight the enemy all at once if you can take them down one at a time.
At least they left.
Order restored, I closed the door, but left it open a crack. Now it was just me trapped in this cage with Lion. Somebody get me a chair and a whip. Scratch that. Make it a tranquilizer rifle. I swear I’ll put this animal down if he tries anything. And someone call the taxidermist. Lion’s head is going up on my office wall on a plaque. Which reminds me, I’ll need to get a photo of me standing with my shoe on his head to commemorate the kill. The picture can go right next to the taxidermy head.
I repressed another smile.
“What’re you smiling about, Doc?”
“Oh, nothing.”
“Anybody ever tell you you got an iron fist?”
I wanted to say, Yes, and I’ll use it on you if you don’t behave. But it was time for me to get to work, so I kept my mouth shut.
“I like that in a woman.”
“Is that so?” I was trying to be polite. His taste in women was not my concern, but I was slightly flattered he didn’t consider me a bitch. Slightly. I had never been afraid to stand up for myself even if it meant being labelled a bitch.
“Yeah. I can take control all day long. I do every time I step in the cage. I think that’s why I like a woman who doesn’t take shit from anyone.”
“That’s me. But I make an exception when asking my patients for stool samples. Then I will take their shit with a straight face.” It was a dumb joke. But it just slipped out.
He snorted. “You’re clever, Doc.”
I was surprised he found that funny.
“You got a man?”
I saw where this was going and I didn’t want to encourage him. His injured knee was my focus. I wanted to get the paperwork started for an MRI so I could move on to other patients. So I ignored his question. “Let’s get these bandages off so I can get a better idea of what’s going on.” I started to carefully unwrap the splint.
“You didn’t answer my question.”
I didn’t respond. I wasn’t going to get sucked back into flirtation. Since we’d already established that he found my iron fist a turn on, I needed another approach to keep him in line. The next best strategy was re-direction, a tactic that worked well with toddlers. That meant it would probably work well with Lion. “Can you tell me what happened when you injured your knee? What I mean is, did it twist more than normal? Were there any popping noises? Anything you can tell me will help.”
“I’ll make you a deal, Doc. For every question of yours I answer, you gotta answer one of mine.”
I smiled. “No deal.”
“Then I’m not talking.”
Ahhh, toddlers. They can be so stubborn.
He folded his muscular arms across his equally muscular chest. Everything bulged magnificently, even his bulge, which I was still ignoring. But I couldn’t miss his charming grin. It had gone from ferocious to adorably playful.
Sometimes, the best way to let a man down was with a compliment.
“Mr. Maxwell. I’m flattered that you’re interested. I mean it. You’re a handsome man with a sense of humor. If we’d met under different circumstances, who knows. But we didn’t, and I need you to understand one thing.”
“What’s that?”
“It’s against the rules for a doctor to date a patient.”
“What rules?”
“The rules set down by the Medical Board of California and this hospital. Dating patients is considered unethical and therefore strictly verboten.”
“Who needs rules?”
“Let me ask you something, Mr. Maxwell.”
“Shoot.”
“You’re what, a boxer?”
“Mixed martial arts. Cage fighter.”
I ignored the fact that the term cage fighter conjured up all kinds of sexy images of him, me, a gloomy torch-lit cage that vaguely resembled some kind of sexual torture chamber (in a good way), and both of us sweating. A lot. While naked. Him grunting. Me moaning. Excessive amounts of bodily fluids would be exchanged as sexual organs shamelessly filled all relevant orifices with said bodily fluids. The orgasm count would be in the triple digits.
“You okay, Doc?”
“Yes.” I cleared my throat, trying to block out the onslaught of images. I needed to re-direct my own giddy teenaged train of thought. What had he just said? Something about rules? Oh yes, rules. “Are you allowed to hit your opponent in the eye or the groin during a cage fight?”
“No. Eye gouges and groin strikes are off limits. If you do it on purpose, you’ll get disqualified, automatically lose the fight, and get fined by the judicial board.”
I arched an eyebrow. “Imagine that. And, have you ever hit anyone in the groin during a fight? I mean, on purpose?” Why did I say groin? Groin groin groin. I pushed the thought away.
“No way. That would be against the—” He stopped short.
“The what?”
He refused to answer, but his adorable grin returned.
“Sounds like you follow the rules, Mr. Maxwell. When it suits you.”
The slightest hint of a blush reddened beneath his tan skin. He chuckled. “You got me, Doc.”
“Rules, Mr. Maxwell. We all follow them, often when we don’t want to.”
“So you’re saying you would date me if it wasn’t against the rules?”
“I said maybe. And we all know maybe means no. Ask any kid, they’ll tell you.”
He chuckled. “Right.”
Why did I feel like I was flirting again? I swear, that wasn’t my plan. The truth was, I really was flattered he was interested in me. Men of his caliber rarely spoke to me let alone threw themselves at me. But technically it was too late. I would be remiss if I didn’t follow my own rules. The ECU wasn’t my own personal singles bar. It was my place of work. As far as I was concerned, every patient who walked through the front doors was off limits, no matter how attracted I was to them or vice versa. “I’m very sorry, Mr. Maxwell. You’re my patient. That’s not going to change.”
“Okay. Then I won’t be your patient. You haven’t done anything yet so get me another doctor. Please.”
I almost bristled at his order. Nobody told me what to do. But the please he added at the end stopped me short. As did his adorable smile. “I did unwrap your bandage. See? It’s too late.”
“Shit, I coulda unwrapped it. You gonna tell me if you put a Band-Aid on a guy, he’s your patient?”
“Yes. If it happens here in the ECU, definitely.”
“That’s ridiculous.”
“That’s a rule. And we all know rules are sometimes ridiculous. But most aren’t.”
“Just get me another doc, Doc.”
“I wish I could, Mr. Maxwell. Unfortunately, we’re busy tonight and we’re short staffed. You would be doing everyone a favor if you just let me treat you.”
“I don’t know, Doc. Any doctor can fix my knee. But something tells me you’re the only doctor in the world who can fix a broken heart.” What should have been corny came off charming because he delivered it with such sincerity.
“I wish I could help you, but I’m not a cardio thoracic surgeon.”
“Huh?”
“Sorry. Doctor humor. A heart surgeon. I’m orthopedics. I don’t do hearts. But I am eminently qualified to fix your knee. So let’s focus on that, okay?”
“What’s your first name?”
I sighed. “If I tell you my first name, I’ll still be your doctor.”
“You’re too damn smart for you own good, you know that? That’s what I like about you, Doc. I mean, Ms. Flanagan.” He was looking at my name tag. “Since you’re not my doctor anymore, I’ll have to call you Ms. Flanagan until I know your first name.”
“How do you know I’m not a Mrs.?”
“I don’t see a ring.”
“Maybe I left it at home.”
“Don’t see a tan line.”
“That’s because I’m always here working and don’t have time to get one.” I had to admit, his persistence was endearing. And he complimented me for being smart, which was the way to my heart. But it wasn’t going to work. “Try as you might, Mr. Maxwell, I will not be dating you. I’m sure one of the nice women waiting outside for you would be happy to take on that responsibility.” If they haven’t already. Everything about his demeanor suggested that he was an accomplished manwhore, which likely meant his telling me I was smart was just a trick to get me into bed. I didn’t do tricks. I’m sure the strippers outside would be happy to turn all the tricks he could ever want.
“Them? Nah. They’re just fight groupies. But you? You’re my kind of woman. You’re a boss and a badass and smart as hell.” Tricks, more tricks! “Not to mention your red hair and those mint green eyes make me rock fucking hard.”
Tricks, tricks, tricks!!! My eyes aren’t even mint green! They were just plain green. Mint. Pfft. He’s not fooling anybody. Except… me.
I finally broke down and stole a glance at his cock. He wasn’t exaggerating. His python was wide awake and straining against his tight lycra shorts. I could see the shape of the head and the shaft through the fabric. When it pulsed, I almost lost my cool. Almost. There was a reason they called me Dr. Freeze in the ECU. I could deal with rude patients, gunshot wounds, and the chaos of trauma all day long. But this was different and that was one long python…
“You’re blushing, Ms. Flanagan.”
I was also staring. It was a fact that some snakes hypnotized their prey before going in for the kill. I tore my gaze away before his snake ate me. Or I ate it. If I hadn’t been hypnotized, I would’ve been embarrassed by my utter lack of professionalism. But it was the snake’s fault.
“You sure you can’t find me another doctor, Irish?”
“How did you know I was Irish?”
“Flanagan is Irish, isn’t it?”
“Yes. But don’t call me Irish.”
“Why not? Is it racist or something?”
“No, just don’t call me that.” Nicknaming me makes me sort of like you, so stop.
“Then tell me your name.” His dark eyes smoldered with the promise of forbidden pleasure, the kind of pleasure that took place in his torchlit caveman’s cage where I could scream out every orgasm he gave me without worrying about waking the neighbors.
I hadn’t had an orgasm with a man in ages. And never with a man this magnificent. Like I said earlier, I wasn’t a robot. I had my limits. Apparently, Lion was it. So I caved. I let down my guard and muttered:
“You don’t even know me, Mr. Maxwell.”
“But I will.” Again with that commanding voice. Low and dangerous and oh so delicious.
Ooze.
Latisha had been right about the anti-venom kit. I needed one to break the spell that Lion Maxwell had cast over me. If something didn’t break it soon, I was going to make a terrible mistake.











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Devon Hartford is a dude who writes romantic comedies because he likes to laugh as much as he likes to love.

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