And we're back with our third week of celebrating the amazing
Today's post is about Logan and Zak from Every Move He Makes, Flint, Molly, and Lysander from Talking Trouble, and Niall, Taylor, and Roo from Worlds Apart, plus a personal story Barbara has chosen to share, and of course another chance to win one of her books.
First up, Every Move He Makes
Keeping an eye on his charge isn’t easy. Keeping his hands off? Impossible…
It took attending his own funeral to force Logan to accept a new life as an undercover MI6 agent. That doesn’t make his latest assignment any less aggravating. Babysitting a Russian pop star with delusions that someone’s trying to kill him.
Other than an inexplicable attraction Logan ruthlessly suppresses, he couldn’t have less in common with the irritating, arrogant rich kid. He’s even prepared to walk away—until very real bullets start flying.
After his mother’s death, Zak Kochenkov’s life unravels in an impenetrable haze of grief, drugs and alcohol—until one bodyguard candidate stands out. Except his hopes of having some fun with that guard’s body evaporate when he realizes Logan is buttoned up tighter than a clam.
The first thing Logan learns is that his charge won’t do as he’s told. And there’s some secret behind his haunted eyes that shakes Logan’s resolve to keep him at arm’s length. Because he knows if he lets passion close his eyes, that’s when danger will find them both…
Inside the conference room, Zak scanned from left to right as everyone rose to their feet. Then he got stuck. Oh shit. Not a good idea to choose a guy who made his heart leap with one look. Zak turned his head away from trouble and faced the nearest guy who wore a sharp dark gray suit and had a military buzz cut.
“Who’s your favorite composer?” Zak asked.
“Leave,” Zak said.
The guy gave a short laugh and walked out.
“Zak!” his father barked in his ear.
“What?” He turned. “They’re all okay or you wouldn’t have let them get this far. What am I supposed to fucking ask them? Why are you looking for a job? Did you cock-up and your last client died?” He turned to the second man who had to be older than his father. “Well, did he or she?”
“Have you ever killed anyone?”
He could hear his father grumbling behind him.
“Not unless it was absolutely necessary. Incapacitation is usually sufficient.”
“You can go.”
“Jesus.” His father groaned.
The third person was a woman. A blonde in her thirties, dressed in a red trouser suit with a face like a bulldog. He definitely didn’t want her. She walked toward him with her hand out. Zak ignored it.
“You’ve got something stuck to your shoe,” he lied.
She glanced down and then looked back at him and glared. He smirked, lifted his hand and waved his fingers. The woman stomped out. The next guy looked like he’d eaten an elephant for breakfast. He radiated menace. His arms and legs strained the seams of his suit and his chin disappeared into his neck. All Zak had to do was hide behind him and he’d be safe.
“What did you have for breakfast?” Zak asked.
He grinned. So he had a sense of humor. “What worries you most?”
“Letting a client down.”
He forced himself to look at the last guy. Fuck, fuck, fuck. Not a good idea to choose him, but when had he ever done something sensible? Number Five was taller than him, had hair just as dark, and a face that wouldn’t have looked out of place in a magazine advertising aftershave or boxer shorts. His suit looked expensive, but at least he wasn’t wearing a tie.
“How big’s your dick?” Zak blurted.
His father gave a roar of outrage.
“How good’s your dental plan?” asked Number Five.
“You can’t ask that,” his father snapped at his side.
“My favorite composer is Rachmaninov. My last client moved to New Zealand. There’s nothing stuck to my shoe. I had fruit for breakfast and I don’t waste my time worrying. I make sure there’s never anything to worry about.” He walked across the room and put his mouth close to Zak’s ear. “In answer to your last. How responsive’s your gag reflex?”
The guy walked out and left Zak gulping.
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Secondly, Talking Trouble
Two men are separated by more than the dam between their houses. Can Mollie be the path that unites them?
Flint Klavan appears to have it all. The sought-after British actor is affluent, loved and vocal in his professional life but privately he’s a mess. A devastating breakup leaves him full of self-loathing. He hopes to find the way to turn things around when disaster strikes. He’s left speechless with fear he’ll never get the chance to recover what he’s lost.
Mollie James has the perfect job teaching children, and used to have the perfect boyfriend. Attentive, kind and thoughtful. Only now he’s not. She has to sacrifice everything if she’s any chance to survive, and run as fast and as far as she can.
Lysander Weldon is a wealthy, talented artist who’s hidden himself away following personal tragedies. He shares his house and his body but never his heart. When opportunity to forgive confronts him, he has to choose between giving up his fortress or bracing to watch happiness leave him behind.
Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of physical abuse and MM content.
On the flight back to the UK, Corin was her usual self, complaining that the champagne wasn’t cold enough, the plane not warm enough, her fruit platter not fresh enough. She was the most gorgeous woman he’d ever fucked, but she was a pain in the neck. Flint didn’t drink or eat anything. His head still throbbed, his body ached and he worried he’d throw up.
Although he’d intended to tell Corin he didn’t want to see her anymore, he didn’t have the energy to utter a word. She had to know they were over but he suspected that she wanted to go out under her terms, not his. When they got back, he’d get a cab to his place in Islington and not to her flat. He could move his stuff out later. He hadn’t left much there. His eyelids fluttered closed.
A sharp pain flared behind his eyes and he winced. Maybe he ought to see a doctor. Heads shouldn’t pound for this length of time, and the pins and needles in his fingers had worsened. He’d mentioned feeling ill to Corin and all she’d done was tell him not to whine. I really want to tell her we’re over. He struggled to find the energy and instead fell asleep.
Flint jerked awake when the plane touched down. His headache hadn’t gone.
“I’ve been thinking,” Corin said.
Nor had that headache. Could she think? He sensibly kept that thought to himself.
“The Middle East,” she whispered. “It’s the new Africa.”
He didn’t try to contribute to the conversation. It was easier to let her rabbit on. He wondered if she even knew which countries made up the Middle East.
“The two of us lend our support for injured children, raise money for places for them to stay in, for schools, food, clothes, washer. We shoop seng weer witten. Domp yeth tuk?”
Flint blinked. What the fuck?
“Arry outel isting?” She glared at him.
One of the cabin crew leaned over and said, “Fas tenelt easel.”
Confusion then panic exploded in Flint’s chest. Corin rolled her eyes, grabbed the end of his seatbelt and shoved it in his hand. He fumbled but managed to fasten it and the steward smiled and walked away.
“Ghool,” Corin snapped.
Shit. Shit. For a moment he thought he might still have been sleeping and imagining this. Why couldn’t he understand what anyone was saying? Was it some joke he wasn’t in on? A parallel universe he’d slipped into?
“Week net por tark,” Flint said.
He pressed his lips together. He’d tried to tell Corin they needed to talk, but that hadn’t been what came out of his mouth. “Wathy ou party brout?” Corin snapped.
Fuck. He was speaking the same bizarre foreign language as Corin and the steward. Which might have been okay if he could understand what he said, but he couldn’t, and judging by the incredulous expression on Corin’s face, neither could she.
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Third in today's line-up, Worlds Apart
Love has never been so close—or seemed so far away.
I love you. Niall is in hiding, but not from the police. He’s trapped between the world he longs for and a place he can’t leave behind. Cursed to hold his tongue, unable to claim what he wants until it’s given, he’s allowed one year to capture his heart's desire. But speaking those three simple words, the most important words in his life, might very well kill him.
I can’t love you. As a private investigator, Taylor walks daily through the ashes of love burned out. He’s witnessed the aftermath of love—destroyed marriages and wrecked lives that leave behind nothing but bitter memories of betrayal. He’s convinced that love will never plant a seed in his heart—until Niall sparks a completely unexpected reaction in both mind and body.
I want to love you. Roo has spent her entire life bouncing from relationship to relationship, offering her heart only to get it trampled on. When she finds herself out in the cold again, she discovers love can come from the most surprising of places. Her choices are simple. Do the right thing. Do the wrong thing. Do nothing. The wrong choice could be simply devastating…
Product Warnings: Beware faeries with killer tattoos and girls dressed as chickens—broken hearts can follow… Or lots of love. And lots of sex—three-way, two-way, every which way. But no chicken sex. Thank god.
The door of the living room flew open and a chicken burst in.
“What the fuck?” Taylor gasped.
“Hi, everyone,” the chicken said in a perky voice. “Thank goodness I’m not too late. I had difficulty getting across the road.” She laughed then sighed when no one else joined in. They sat staring at her in mute shock. “Damn. Maybe I am too late. Have you all been in for your interview and you’re waiting to see who’s been chosen?”
Mumbles of “No” came from the zombies. Taylor was riveted to the screen. The chicken pulled back the hood of her costume to reveal a woman in her mid-twenties with short, untidy dark hair, bright eyes and a dazzling smile. He sat up straighter and felt Niall tense. She ran her fingers through her hair. It made no difference. It still looked a mess.
“I bet you’re all wondering if you missed an instruction for the interview, aren’t you? Wear an outrageous costume and not a suit. Don’t worry. You didn’t. I’m stuck in this one. The zipper won’t budge. I’ve just spent ten minutes wrestling with it. Would someone give me a hand?”
Taylor glanced at Niall. His attention was fixed on the screen, his mouth a thin line. He wished the guy would lighten up. Niall rarely laughed these days.
The man in the shiny suit stood to assist with the chicken’s zipper. The woman wriggled out of the back of the yellow-and-white costume, and tossed it behind the couch. Taylor took in her rumpled, red V-necked T-shirt, pert breasts, the miniscule blue skirt, her long, long legs and then lurched to a halt on the huge brown chicken feet. He sniggered.
She offered her hand to the man. “Thanks so much. You’re an expert chicken skinner. Good thing you’re not a pleasant peasant, and I’m not a pheasant and need plucking. Try saying that fast. Okay. You’re a pleasant pheasant— arrgh— maybe not. I’m Roo. You are?”
Taylor watched her shake hands and introduce herself to the others.
“So no one’s been interviewed yet?” she asked. “And you’ve not seen anyone? Why are we waiting?”
“Didn’t you read the message on the door? It told us to wait in here,” said the woman with the book.
Roo sat and then almost immediately jumped up again. “Maybe something’s happened to the person interviewing us. He might have choked on a bone or been bitten by a snake or maybe he slipped with a knife and he’s bleeding to death on the kitchen floor.”
Taylor let out a choked laugh.
“You’re being ridiculous,” said the other woman.
Roo sat down. “Hey, this is a private investigation company we’re interviewing for. Who knows what’s happened. Maybe this is to test our powers of observation and our ability to think on our feet. Could be the guy’s been murdered.” She stood.
“What are you going to do?” Niall asked. “She’s the only one who’s shown any initiative, but she’s a nutcase.”
“I like nuts.”
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My personal story – well, I tend to use the disasters of my life in my stories. One particular one I used in Digging Deeper – which is my only non-erotic romance. If anyone has read that, they’ll recognize what follows.
I like being tanned. I know it’s bad to lie in the sun but I do love it. My gym had a new tanning machine – a spray booth, and I signed up for a session. I’d never had a spray tan before but it was winter, I looked white as a ghost so I wanted to try it. I stripped off, put on the plastic hat, read the instructions and inserted the token. The jets started and I stood and waited as I was gradually coated in brown gunk. I knew I had to hold my breath when the jet reached my chest so I did but my lungs had obviously decided not to cooperate and I was desperate to breathe. I honestly think the jets slowed. I nearly passed out. Argghgh.
Still, I managed one side and was still alive so that was a plus. I turned for my back to be done and pressed the button. Nothing happened. I waited and waited. Pressed more buttons and still nothing happened.
By then I had brown liquid trickling down my face and the front of my body. It became clear something had gone wrong. My back wasn’t going to get done and if I left my front as it was, it would be a streaky mess. Once it dried, I’d be stuck with it. I couldn’t put my clothes on. I’d wreck them. I had no towel. The changing rooms and showers were twenty yards away down a well-used corridor. I had to wrap paper towels all over myself and make a break for it.
Yes, I was spotted. Yes, by a group of fit guys. Damn, damn, damn.
Luckily the spray tan came off everywhere apart from my hands. I cried when I got home. I can laugh about it now but that was my first and last time.
More about Barbara:
Barbara Elsborg lives in West Yorkshire in the north of England. She always wanted to be a spy, but having confessed to everyone without them even resorting to torture, she decided it was not for her. Vulcanology scorched her feet. A morbid fear of sharks put paid to marine biology. So instead, she spent several years successfully selling cyanide.
After dragging up two rotten, ungrateful children and frustrating her sexy, devoted, wonderful husband (who can now stop twisting her arm) she finally has time to conduct an affair with an electrifying plugged-in male, her laptop.
Her books feature quirky heroines and bad boys, and she hopes they are as much fun to read as they are to write.
Thanks for joining us again this week. Tell us about any (tanning) disasters you've experienced yourself down in the comments.
Come back next week for our Q&A with Barbara, more info about her awesome books, and one more chance to win!
Until then, happy reading!