Used (Unlovable, #1) Excerpt #2

1489310_10151899925867799_332899493_n

Change is Good

“I want to kiss you so bad … but if I kiss you, it will change everything,” he says in that gravelly voice.

“Change is good,” I whisper.

Rolling to his side, his mouth is centimeters from mine. I can’t make myself move although I’m aching with want. But I haven’t been kissed—ever. And I haven’t kissed anyone since that time on the monkey bars in seventh grade when I stuck my tongue in Brian Thomas’s mouth on a bet. I shocked the shit out of him, and he didn’t even kiss me back. When the bell rang, he jerked back and hit his head hard, sending him to the nurse for the rest of the afternoon. Not my finest moment.

“I don’t want to lose my best friend,” he tells me.

I bring up my other hand and run it over his jaw. “You’re not going to lose me. No matter what. We’ll still be friends.”

“Relationships ruin friendships. We’ve seen enough of that.”

I shiver with that truth. “True. But we’re different. We’ve been together since before we were born. I can’t live without you, so I won’t hurt our friendship.”

Bringing our entwined hands up, he kisses my knuckles. “Me either. We’ll take it slow, all right?”

“All right, my golden boy,” I whisper.

The effect of my words is instantaneous; the blue in his eyes intensifies to boiling. He leans in, his lips brushing mine softly, “Denver,” he whispers against me. “I’ve always wanted to make you mine. Ever since I understood what that meant. I’ve never seen anyone but you.” And even though his eyes burn with passion, I hear a little tremor in his voice. Now, him always putting off those girls makes a whole lot more sense.

“I thought we were taking it slow,” I chastise, but I delight in knowing that he feels something more for me.

“I just want you to know that I don’t take this lightly. You’re the most important person in my universe. And I’ll do anything to protect us.”

His declaration unleashes a torrent of need in me, and I no longer want him to kiss me—I need him to kiss me. “Greer, will you shut up and kiss me, please?”

“Yes, ma’am,” he says with a laugh, and bringing one of his hands up, he cradles my jaw and draws my lips to his. My free hand skims down to rest at his waist, his jeans riding low on lean hips and exposing warm, bare skin. His lips are soft and explore mine as I match his movements. I feel indulged—spoiled by his goodness. I try to savor how tender and sweet he is even though I am impatient for more, so when I feel his lips part, I follow suit. His tongue sweeps in, seeking and teasing. I hear myself moan. I’m almost embarrassed by my eagerness, but when his moan echoes mine, I feel reassured.

He pulls back after a few more seconds and places a gentle kiss on my lips, then on my nose. “Denver …” he breathes. My name packs a punch, and I feel it everywhere.

Keeping my eyes closed, I just nod and lick my lips, trying to savor every bit of him and his sweet words.

Used Copyright by Lynetta Halat 2014. All rights reserved.

An Unforgettable Year!

2013 has wowed me beyond my wildest, craziest dreams! And let me tell ya, I have some crazy ones. I’m sure you’ll see some form of them in the books. ;)

Y’all have been fabulous to my books and me, so I wanted to do something meaningful as a thank you. As you know, I donate to tons of giveaways, but as the year was winding down and I was reminiscing over my milestones, I realized I hadn’t thrown my own giveaway in a while! So what are we celebrating?

Here’s my author highlight reel …

<3 Every Rose became a New Adult / Coming-of-Age Bestseller,

<3 Everything I’ve Never Had became an Amazon, B & N, and iTunes Bestseller,

<3 Everything I’ve Never Had captured the #1 spot in Literary Romance,

<3 Lynetta Halat Author has over 5,000 likers,

<3 Lynetta Halat Author has over 2400 followers on Twitter,

<3 and, most importantly, I have connected with some of the most amazingly supportive and unique people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing–readers, book bloggers, fellow authors, budding writers, book trailer makers, picture teaser makers, cover artists, editors, proofreaders, and I’m sure I’m forgetting something. But you get the picture! I’m so grateful for the friendships and the support. They make my job not-so lonely.

I’m always giving my stuff away, as I said before, so I decided I wanted to give the experience of some of my Unforgettable Reads of 2013! Let me just say, when I started brainstorming which books to give, I didn’t choose these books, they chose me. Then, I thought, I sure wish I could give away signed paperbacks since these books meant so much to me…hmm…I know most of these authors now, I’ll just buy a copy off of them for the giveaway. Well, when I offered to do that, they said, “No way!” Did I mention I’ve made some awesome friends?

I hope you treasure them as much as I do! Here are 13 of my unforgettable reads, with my two thrown in for good measure. Good luck!!!

1508269_10151883255692799_4085916_n

Mesmerized, conflicted, consumed, awed, shattered, blown away, turned-on, connected, sucked-in, humbled, disintegrated, entranced, and gutted…see if you can figure out which emotion I used to sum up each one of my unforgettable reads! (Hint: I didn’t describe Every Rose or Everything I’ve Never Had ;) )

(U.S. only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Used (Unlovable, #1) Cover, Excerpt, & Giveaway!

USED_FullCover_Final_Web

Release date: 1/26/14

Genre: New Adult / Contemporary Romance

Series: Book 1 of 3 (No cliffhanger, but their story does continue.)

Cover Designer: Sommer Stein at Perfect Pear Creative Design

Photographer: Toski Covey Photography

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18587171-used

Synopsis:

I am a slut. No worries. I’ve come to terms with it, and you will too. I’m not one of those girls who thinks she’s too plain, too fat, too skinny, too shy … no, I don’t have that kind of luck. I’m the girl who knows she’s just right for everyone. — Denver

A reputation as a manwhore–with–a–heart–of–gold tends to precede me. But, I don’t do girls with issues, that is until this girl. It’s this girl I want to fix. This girl I want to protect. And maybe … more. — Ransom

Being in love with the same girl your entire life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. She uses me in every way imaginable. How does she see me? I am her perpetual one-night stand. No strings, no attachments. Just mind-numbing sex … for her anyway. — Greer

Feeling like the life is being choked out of her in the small town of Anaconda, Montana, Denver Dempsey craves the escape that college offers …even if that means leaving her “best friend with benefits” and looking for a new way to forget. Thinking she’s found the perfect hookup in Ransom, Denver’s outlook on college is bright. That is, until Greer shows up looking for a second chance, and Ransom’s interest turns to hatred.

Love. Hate. Triangle.

Who’s using who?

Excerpt:

Meet Denver

“She’s, at best, a fuck buddy. However, I prefer the term ‘whore.’ Fuck buddy is far too nice a term for her,” a catty voice cracks from behind me.

I take a deep breath and look up at the ceiling, saying a little prayer that maybe the venomous voice isn’t referring to me. I thought I’d left all that behind in Anaconda. We’d been here for all of three days, so it’s highly probable they’re not talking about me, right?  Looking back down, I continue pouring Jack in my Solo cup, surpassing the line that is recommended for liquor.

“Yeah, so apparently, she’s got some serious issues and doesn’t ‘do’ relationships. So, she puts out for her guy friends whose girls are too good to give it up. That’s her idea of a relationship.”

“Really? That’s kinda gross,” I hear the other girl mutter.

Sonofabitch! I groan. Yep, they’re talking about me. I splash a little Coke in my cup and stick my finger in it to stir it around a little. I feel tears spring to my eyes and berate myself for still having feelings and giving a shit what people think about me. Years of dealing with this crap should have made me immune, but I’d really hoped college would be different. And how the hell do they even know about that shit? Strengthening my spine, I turn and give them a beguiling smile, which causes them both to blanch.Yeah, bitches, you’ve no idea who you’re dealing with.

“Ladies,” I say with a quirked eyebrow. Removing my finger from the drink, I place it in my mouth and suck off the excess. With a pop, I release it. “I see my reputation precedes me. Well, let me just reassure you that I’m very good at what I do. When you won’t give it up for your guy, he’ll be looking me up, and I’ll be more than happy to take care of him. No questions. No strings. Just lots of meaningless … hot … sex.” I peer around them with a searching look. “Are they here? Your boyfriends?” I look back at them innocently. I almost snort at their mutual expressions of surprise and disdain. “Or,” I continue, “are the sticks up your asses enough so that you don’t need a man?” Both of their mouths drop on that line. Yep, gets ‘em every time. “Oh, no judgment here,” I vow. “I totally get not wanting to be tied down to any one Dick … or Tom … or Harry.”

All rights reserved. Copyright Lynetta Halat 2013.

GIVEAWAY:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Everything I’ve Never Had Bonus Scene #1 (No Spoilers)

Adrian’s POV

War

No matter how many times I lose men in combat will I ever get used to discussing the specifics of it in a clinical manner. But such is the life of a Marine in combat. I make my way to my bags and dig out my stash of whiskey along with my notebook and pen.

“Anybody seen Traeger?” I ask as I head out of the tent.

“‘Round by the Hummers, Captain,” someone calls.

I weave in and out of the vehicles, looking for him until I hear sniffing as I round the backside of one of the vehicles.

Sliding down beside him, I nudge him with my knee. “Traeger?”

He looks up, alarmed that he’d been caught showing some emotion.

“Sorry, Captain, I just needed a few minutes.”

“Don’t apologize, brother,” I say, unscrewing the top of the whiskey I’d had my lovely wife smuggle me. Passing it to him, I tell him, “Take a swig of this and tell me something about Mills.”

He takes a long pull, winces and passes it back to me. Laughing, he says, “He was an asshole, sir, but he was also my best friend. We grew up together back in Alabama. He’s the reason I joined the Corps.”

I laugh with him. “Tell me something I don’t know about him.”

“Hmm…he got his girl pregnant when they were seniors in high school, and he never left her, never strayed. Got them both graduated, enlisted, and spent the rest of his life fighting for his country and loving his family.”

“Damn, how old’s their kid?” I ask as I take deep drink, feeling the burn but then praying the whiskey will set fire to my memories like it does my throat.

“Four and they have one on the way,” he answers as his voice cracks.

I close my eyes and shake my head. You never wish it was you, but sometimes it comes so fucking close you thank God it wasn’t. I’d never been so grateful to cheat death than I was today. The thought of leaving Celeste and the kids nearly cripples me. “I’m sorry to hear they’ll be without him,” I say finally.

“You been at this a long time, Captain, how do you do it? I don’t know if I’m cut out for it.”

“You can and you will, brother. You just have to remember that he died an honorable death, doing what he believed in, and protecting those he loved. Protecting both the innocent and the damned without regard for his own feelings.” Everything I just said is bullshit and we all know it. We lie to ourselves and our loved ones on the subject of our death and honor on a daily basis. When death comes like this, when we bring death and destruction, there is no honor and there is no glory. It’s ugly and it’s scary as hell. And when you cheat it, you’re grateful. That’s when guilt kicks in and starts kicking your ass. Why did I survive? What makes me so special that I was spared? Why I am thanking God that it was him and not me? What does that say about me?

I take another drink and pass it to Traeger so he can get his fill. “Let’s go watch something. Something that reminds of us why we put ourselves through this shit.”

“Y’all get that video pulled up for me?” I ask as we reenter the tent. The mood was somber when I left. Their mood seems to be improving a bit. We have to get up quickly, or there’ll be no getting up at all.

“Sure did, sir,” one of the privates calls out, “and with all due respect, your wife is fuckin’ hot.”

This elicits a round a laughter and a few of the guys close to him pummel him and tell him he can’t talk to a captain like that and more than that he can’t talk about a captain’s wife like that. I just glare at him even though I couldn’t agree more. I’d never seen anyone hotter or sexier or more beautiful. Shit! Thanks, asshole. I adjust myself before settling in front of the computer.

I push play and everyone crowds around the tiny screen to see my older son perform “Come Together” with his three-man band that includes my middle son as well.

I get a few slaps on the back and a “Hell yeah, Captain!” as Archer and Paris perform. They are amazing. A few little things they could work on but almost flawless.

As the music winds down, Archer says, “Papa, I hope you and the guys like the song we did for you. We hope y’all are staying safe. And we miss you.” I have to blink back my tears.

About that time, Finn pops up in front of the camera. “Hey, Papa! Archer and Paris wouldn’t let me in their stupid video, so I’m gonna make you my own, OK?” The guys and I lose it as Finn starts grabbing his crotch and moonwalking while Archer and Paris roll their eyes and shake their heads.

“That’s your youngest, Captain?”

“Yep, that’s Finn. He’s a mess.”

“Cute kid.”

About that time, Finn gives us a super close-up of himself as he steps in front of the camera, grabs it, and points it at the basement stairs. My heart stops and then triple times it when I spot her on the staircase carrying a load of laundry. She’s got on my favorite fuzzy socks, the ones she thinks make her less irresistible. Her black hair is down and flowing, and she’s got her glasses on. When she realizes Finn’s got the camera trained on her, her big brown eyes go wide and she says, “Finn, get that camera off of me. What are you doing?”

“It’s for Papa. Say hi, Mom!” Then he zooms in on her. I get a couple of pats on the back and a “Well done, Captain!” when she smiles and bites her lip.

I hear her groan a little and I have to adjust myself again. “Hi, honey, we sure do miss you,” she says quietly. Then she mouths, “I love you, baby.” And I’m shredded.  A look, a sound, a word—that’s all it takes.

Finn cuts the camera off and the video stops, and for a second, it feels like my world stops right along with it. I have to get back to them. There’s no other option.

I clear my throat and stand up and turn to face my men. I point at the screen and tell them, “That’s why we do we what we do, brothers. Love and family and innocence. That’s all that matters in this world. They need our protection. And as much as we fucking hate it, that cause comes with sacrifice. We lost some good men today, and their families have to pick up the pieces and live without them, but they’ll be living safe and sound because we’ll pick up the torch and make that happen. We do it for them and for the fallen. Their lives will not be lost in vain.”

“Ooh-rah!”

***

Crouching down by the back of one of my vehicles, I start writing about how close I’d come today, how scared I was that it was almost me, how much I love her, how I’m dying without her, without our boys. How I’d had to pull my driver’s bloody corpse from his seat and toss him in the back like a sack of potatoes so that I could get our asses out of there as in tact as possible. I shed a few tears before I finish writing. I sign it, rip it out, and then crunch it up in a tight ball in my fist. I glare at it and wonder how many more times I will ball up all I can never tell her. Swallowing hard, I take in my fingernails still embedded with blood and dirt. Will I ever be clean again?

I take a deep breath, lay my crumpled thoughts to the ground, and write a letter I can actually send.

Wife,

Have you ever wondered why I call you my heaven? It may seem blasphemous, but you are the only place I feel safe, at home, accepted, and loved. When you wrap your love around me, I know it was all I’ll ever need out of this life. You’re my salvation, my solace, my haven. Like your grace and your compassion, my feelings for you are infinite.

You’re my heaven. And when I’m with you or thinking of you, I drown in your limitless nature, and I exist in a constant state of being overwhelmed by you. I can’t fathom a more perfect way to live. 

Now, mimi that’s a different story, pussycat. You are fierce and fearless. I’ve never known anyone who shows as much unbridled passion as you. Just thinking about how eager and insatiable you are has me hard and wanting to get lost in you in a whole different way. Only a few more hours and I get to be your midnight caller. ;) I hope your battery’s charged ‘cause I’m afraid you’re in for an all-nighter.

Your life, your love, your husband,

Adrian

Everything I’ve Never Had Bonus Scene #2 (No Spoilers)

Desperate

Adrian’s POV

“Glenlivet neat, please,” I say as I brace myself against the bar. I can hear her sexy voice over the loudspeakers. Laughing and joking and carrying on like she doesn’t have a single worry in the world. And I’m over here turned inside out once again. That voice pierces my very soul. And it’s that same voice that just said the sweetest damn things to me.

“If that were true, I wouldn’t ache for you the way I do,” she blurted out.

I inhaled a sharp breath and stuffed my hands in my pockets to keep from touching her. “Celeste, don’t say shit like that. I’m trying to do the right thing here. I’ve moved on from that. 

“Mmm…doesn’t sound like someone has moved on so much as someone is trying to move on.” She leaned in and ran her fingertip down my chest before she jerked back and apologized. What the hell? I’d never seen her aggressive like that. “Adrian, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Please let me pass. I just need to go get my head together.”

“What do you mean ‘get your head together’?” I asked her.  If it’s her head that’s messed up over me then that means it’s more than just physical like she’s been claiming. God, could it be more? I reached out and ran my fingertips over her gathered brow. I rested my folded hand on my temple and neither of us said a word for a minute. “I don’t want to hurt you, Celeste. I never wanted to hurt you. I care about you too much.”

“I care about you too, Adrian. I care about you so much,” she said. Is caring enough to justify risking everything? I watched, fascinated as tears spilled over her lashes, but I caught them before they could fall. You don’t cry over someone you want for a quick fuck, right? My lips twitch as I’d give anything to taste her tears by kissing them away. I grasped the back of her head hard and moved my fingertips over her soft skin. “I don’t know what to do,” she whispered brokenly.

“What do you mean? What to do about what?” Her big brown eyes flew open and I could see it. You didn’t look at someone like that for any other reason. My mind warred with my heart. I wanted to shake her confession from her, yet I knew if she said it, there’d be no going back. My grip on her neck tightened. “I don’t know what to do either, baby. I’m trying to move on.” I needed her to say it. If we stood a chance, I needed the words. I had to know that she was ready.

 “What if I told you I don’t want you to move on?” She whispered, her heartache rang through. Her heart wasn’t aching over lust. Fuck! If only.

I couldn’t. We couldn’t. I needed her to move on. I needed to move on. So much was riding on this. She had no idea. “Don’t, Celeste.”

“Don’t what, Adrian?” I moved her to me even as I said no because I thought I should let her down gently. She’d met the guy she’s supposed to be with. She just hadn’t had enough time to get to know him yet. I only meant to comfort her because I get it. I do. But when she inhaled me, that was it. I wanted her. I wanted her right then. Fuck the consequences.

“When you breath me in like that…” I barely whispered.

“What?” she asked, encouraging me. I feel her head shift. If I look at her, I’m done. “When I breathe you in like that what?” She repeated. 

Don’t look at her. Give her a friendly kiss on her forehead and get rid of her. Go find your date. I bent and kissed her softly. Loving that ocean smell of hers—coconut and lime and sunshine, I’d let my lips linger. And just like that, my resolve disintegrated into a pile of ash. “I want you. I want you so damn much,” I murmured against her forehead. I heard her breaths quicken.

And then I couldn’t stop myself. “I still know what you taste like,” I confessed. Her writhing against me unlocked more of my words. “I still hear the sound of your voice saying my name when you were turned on.”

Her laughter cuts through my memory. How does she do that? One minute she’s completely affected by me. The next she’s acting like we’re just friends and that that’s all she wants, all she could ever want from me. Thank God we were interrupted before we made another stupid mistake.

I run my hand through my hair, trying to shake her off, but her voice and her enthusiasm seep into me from every angle.

The bartender sets my glass in front of me. I mutter my thanks before taking a deep pull.

“You’re Adrian, aren’t you?” she asks. I look down and take in her excited grin and bright eyes. Before I can confirm, she continues, getting more excited by the second. “From the Dog Tags? You’re their rhythm guitarist. It took me a minute. You look a little different in your suit. Still hot, but different,” she says with a laugh.

“Umm…thanks. Have you caught a show then?”

“Oh, yeah! I’ve seen y’all play a few times now. Your band is going places. Y’all are seriously talented. And hot. Every single one of you. So y’all are gonna do great!”

“Appreciate it.” I take another drink, wincing as I do. I never drink it straight. I just need something to numb me for a little bit until I can get the fuck out of here.

Before I know what she’s all about, she’s scribbling her number on my napkin. “I’d love for you to call me, Adrian,” she whispers. I give her a grin and open my mouth to tell her thanks but no thanks. I’ve got enough women problems. But she just spins off to serve another drink. I’ll just leave her number behind. She’ll get it then. I tilt my head back to finish my drink, and I feel a set of arms come around me. I close my eyes and shake my head. Not the arms I want.

“Adrian, are you about ready to get out of here,” Jennifer purrs. I can’t believe I’d brought her. What was I thinking? Then I’d fucked up even more and called her my girlfriend to make Celeste jealous. What a fucking idiot. I’ll never get rid of her now.

Turning around, I put my arms back on the bar, which forces her arms to drop away. She frowns at me and crosses her arms. Looking out over her head, I see Celeste cutting through the crowd and heading straight for us. Shit! I don’t want to see her right now.

I grab Jennifer’s elbow and haul over into the hallway just off from the bar. She’s looking at me like I’ve lost my mind, which fits because I feel like I have. “Adrian? What’s going on? One minute you tell me you’re not looking for a relationship, but that you’d like to get know me better. The next you’re introducing me as your girlfriend. I don’t get it. Which is it?”

I nod and swallow hard. I know I’m being an indecisive jackass. I take her in for a minute. She’s quite pretty and actually nice. And interested in more than just the fact that my band is on the rise. I know I could like her if I let myself move beyond my black-headed siren that sings to my aching soul. I turn my head to the side to gather my thoughts and spot them. She’s laughing and enjoying Bradford. It both chills my blood and makes me smile. That’s who she needs. That’s who we’d agreed on. He would be good for her and to her. And she wouldn’t run the risk of getting obliterated by her family if she were with him. My eyes start stinging, so I pull them from her and focus back on Jennifer.

Without thinking about how bad this is going to hurt, I grab handfuls of her hair and push her up against the wall. Hard and fast. Maybe I won’t even feel it. I slant my mouth over hers and hear her whimpered moans. I’m thoroughly disgusted with myself because I block those out and recall her heated moans. It’s her scent I imagine. It’s her full lips I feel.

I make another desperate attempt to rid myself of the all-consuming force that is Celeste and deepen my kiss while pulling Jennifer’s leg around mine. This has to look believable. If she looks over here, she has to know that this is not for show even though that’s exactly what it is. I need her to see that I am the fucking pig that I’ve been accused of being. And that she can do so much better than me.

Finally, I crack my eyes open and cut them to the side. When I see her holding her stomach and staring holes in the floor, fists of rage pummel my heart. Fuck! My heart has never taken so much fucking abuse. A concerned Bradford fusses over her, and I know that he’s a good choice. The good choice. I keep kissing Jennifer even though I want to go to her and tell her everything—every single thing that’s keeping us apart.

I close my eyes and turn my full attention back on Jennifer. My body, my mind, my heart chant my sorrow to the girl who will never know. I’m sorry for hurting you. Your well-being means more than your feelings. I…I never wanted to hurt you.

Everything I’ve Never Had by Lynetta Halat. All rights reserved. Copyright 2013.

Everything I’ve Never Had Bonus Scene #3 (No Spoilers)

Adrian’s POV

Dreaming

“Whoa, baby,” I say as I scoop her up. Folding her up in my arms and carrying her to bed is something I’ve only dreamt of doing. Too bad she’s sick, and I’m all wrong for her. I think she’s passed out until I feel her turn into my chest and inhale me. The tremor that courses through me can’t be helped. She breathes me in like I’m her dying breath. And when she does that, I almost lose it. Every. Single. Time.

“Adrian?” Celeste murmurs.

“Yeah, babe?” I ask her but get nothing back. She’s out of it. Poor thing. She seems so vulnerable. And I’d never seen her weak in any aspect.

Still holding tight to her, I scoot up against the headboard and try to maneuver her to her pillow, but she falls fast and hard on my lap. I make a small effort to move her and then realize I like her right where she is. Midnight hair spills across my lap. Her hand rests on my thigh. My heart feels like it’s going to burst out of my chest. And my dick feels like it’s going to burst out of my jeans. She’s sick and you’ve got a hard on. Way to go, asshole! In its defense, her head is lying on it.

Dropping my head back on the headboard, I blow out a deep breath. Oh, this is the worst kind of torture. As if spending my days watching her sashay through my life without ever being able to touch and hold her wasn’t enough, now I’ve got her on my lap. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Full-fledged masochism. Yep, that’s what I’ve been subjecting myself to. Constantly blurring the line between pleasure and pain where she’s concerned. There’s no line tonight. This is full on pain.

Focus on how sick she is. OK. She needs me here to take care of her. No more. No less. I reach down and run my hand through her silky, wavy hair. Holding up one lock, I let it sift through my fingers slowly.

Running my fingertips over her cheek and over her jaw, I think back to that night of our kiss. As ridiculous as it seems, it was both the best and the worst night of my life. I’d had the best kiss of my life that night with the woman who had stolen into my heart and changed me. Hell, I’d written a song about it. It was the worst because I could never have that feeling or her again. Except for now. Except for tonight. I can pretend. I can pretend that the woman lying across my lap is mine. What I would give to make her mine. What I have given to make sure she never knows anymore hurt. That’s more where I fit. She’s off-limits, but I’d done everything within my power to make her happy where I could.

I curl my hand around her arm and hold her to me for hours. And I just stare at her and imagine making her mine in a thousand different ways. If she woke up and saw me, she would be completely creeped out. But I don’t care. If this all I’m ever going to get, I’m not going to waste it sleeping.

I’m lost in thought when I feel her stir against me. I stiffen because I don’t want her to wake up and know. I know she’ll know. She’s good at reading me. She doesn’t open her eyes but turns her body away from me and curls up next to her pillow. Her hand coming to rest on her hip.

Glancing at the clock, I see it’s three in the morning. I should go. But I want just one more thing before I do. I scoot my whole body down until I am fitted against her backside. Perfectly. That’s how we fit together. My eyes burn as I realize again how perfect she is for me in every way. Leaning in, I lightly kiss the hair that rests on her shoulder. I breathe her in and smell the ocean as always. Limitless. She’s limitless like the ocean and I’m shallow. Which is why I don’t give myself too much grief as I run my lips across her back and down her spine, stealing kisses.

Forcing myself to stop, I rest my forehead against her head and run my hand under hers on her hip and pretend that she’s holding me there. Holding on to me. Like she needs me. Like she desires me.

Do I feel guilty over the fact that she’d never know I held her tight all night long? Not even a little fucking bit.

Maybe she would remember. Maybe she’d think it was all a dream. I know it sure feels that way to me. Dreaming so real it hurts. She’s everything but nothing to me. I feel her everywhere, but can never really hold her. Elusive.

My dream, my heaven, my hell in my arms.

Everything I’ve Never Had ***Bonus Scene #4*** Adrian’s POV (Explicit)

Let’s Ride

Riding my bike is not something we get to do often. As I pull onto the open highway that will bring us to Bayou Blue, I recall my whispered words to her that morning and they make me grin. Making her happy is my ultimate mission in this life.

“Come on, baby, you gotta get up,” I said as I moved my mouth from worshiping one of her breasts to the other.

“Mmm…Adrian, we have the weekend to ourselves why would we want to get up early?” she protested even as she arched her back and offered herself up for my kisses.

I nipped at her, causing her to squirm under me and rub herself against my hardness. I sucked in a breath and told her, “‘Cause I want to take you somewhere special on the bike.” Her eyes flew open, and her excitement became a tangible thing. “We need to put some distance between us and the world, Celeste. You. Me. And no limits.” I grinned when I felt her shiver.

 “Oh, we haven’t been on the bike in forever and that sounds so good,” she said as she ran her hands through my hair and latched on. I went back to kissing her. “Did you make coffee? I still have to have coffee.”

“Mmm hmm,” I murmur against her. “God, your breasts taste…heavenly.”

“Ahh…Adrian, if you don’t stop, we’ll never leave,” she said with a chuckle.

“We have a few minutes, mimi,” I conceded.

Nothing better than the wind in your face and your woman at your back while the rumble fills your ears and the power hums underneath you. Our ride lasts about an hour until I turn off and take the back roads that wind their way around to the bayou. Taking the curves, I feel her lean with me. We are completely in sync. When we stop at the red lights, I rev up my bike, which I know turns her on. Those legs squeeze tight around me and those breasts push into my back. I can even feel her breathe me in and her heart race. I decide then and there that I am going to fuck her on my bike. Ah…my mimi, just you wait. I can’t help but chuckle. She’s going to freak.

Pulling onto my friend’s property, I drive straight down his shell-covered driveway to the back and to the bayou. This is one of the most peaceful places I’ve ever been. Pulling behind the tall grass that borders the water, I know we have complete privacy.

Killing the engine, I put the kickstand down as I turn to watch Celeste take off her helmet and swing her leg over my bike to hop off. Watching her get on and off my bike is fucking hot. I follow her as I shrug off my jacket and stand beside her.

“It’s beautiful here, baby,” she says as she burrows into my side. “Look at those cypress trees! They’re massive and covered in that thick gorgeous moss. Can you believe that’s a fungus? It’s one of the prettiest things I’ve ever seen. Oh, a heron! When did you start coming here? Do you still come here to get away and be alone?” She finally turns her head up and looks at me after spitting all that out. I get lost in those deep brown eyes for a moment. Her enthusiasm makes my heart clench.

My stupid-looking grin gets wider as I tell her, “Baby, you are so easy to please. I love that.” I run my hand over her soft hair. “It is gorgeous and peaceful, isn’t it? Back when I was a kid, I had this cool friend whose dad lived here. His parents were divorced. Every now and then, they’d invite me out to stay with them. We passed some good times out here,” I say with a laugh as I recall exactly how many firsts had happened along the banks of this muddy water. First beer, first kiss, first alligator kill, first broken bone. And that list is about to get blown out of the fucking water with my next first. It’s all I can do not to rub my hands together and laugh maniacally. “I haven’t been out here in a while though.”

She moves from my arms and goes back over to the bike. I stare out over the still water for a minute before turning back to her. She’s sitting sideways and running her hand over my handlebars.

“What’s wrong, babe?” I ask her.

Blowing out a deep breath, she looks at me with tears shimmering in her eyes. “Did you come out here after…that time you disappeared?” I want to drink her sad tears until there are extinct, and then I’d only get to taste her happy ones. And I never want her to shed another sad one for me. That’s for sure.

“I did,” I tell her. It had helped me heal. I move over to her and dry her eyes with my thumbs. “That’s why I brought you here. I wanted to share it with you.”

She gives me a small smile and crooks her finger at me until I’m only a few centimeters from her lips. “I love you, Adrian,” she mumbles against them. “I’m so proud of you.”

Grabbing her ass, I pull her to me swiftly and try to kiss the life out of her and back into again as she’s told me repeatedly that’s how she likes it. After a few minutes pass of our making out like teenagers, I pull back and take her in. Hot and turned on. Damn!

She turns and studies my bike again and asks me what kind it is again.

Mesmerized by her hands running over my chrome, I mutter, “It’s a Screamin’ Eagle Softail, babe.”

Inspiration strikes. “Mimi,” I watch her shiver with mention of her naughty nickname. She’s knows she’s in for it when I use it, “I want you to strip for me.” Her eyes get big and her breaths come fast. “Real slow. Got it?” She nods and starts with her leather jacket draping it over the handlebars. I grin as she snaps the buttons open on her shirt and shrugs it off. I’m salivating by the time she’s down to her underwear. I give her an encouraging nod when she hesitates. When she’s naked and sitting on my ride, I take my jacket and drape it over the fuel tank and instruct her to lean back. “Straddle it,” I order. Her gaze never leaves mine, but I can tell she’s nervous as hell as she complies.

“Beautiful,” I tell her as I run one finger down her body from her lip to my favorite spot. “Aww…mimi, you’re soaked. Do you want me?” I tease her.

“More than anything,” she replies breathlessly.

“Are you going to let me fuck you on my bike?”

“Yes,” she whispers.

“Before I take you that way, I want to take you in another. Do you trust me?”

She frowns a little but says, “I trust you.”

Grinning I pull out my phone and tell her, “I want my own private pinup girl. Will you let me take your picture?”

“Adrian…” she says hesitatingly.

“No one will ever see but me. I can even have a lock on my pictures.” I don’t even know if that exists, but I’ll figure something out.

“OK,” she whispers with a rueful smile. “But you better protect them with your life.”

“You think I’d ever let anyone see that gorgeous body but me? I’d kill a motherfucker.”

That gets a laugh out of her and I snap my first picture. I tell her different ways to pose. Holding her breasts up for me. Her fingers inside of her. Biting her lip. All hot. All perfect. I’m about to explode. I grab my leather jacket and tell her to drape it over her so I can see only a hint of her naughty bits. I’m done. I need to be inside of her.

I strip down as she eyes me appreciatively. I rub my length up and down because I know she loves that. “My bike has never looked better,” I tell her as I move to straddle it. I pull her bottom onto my lap and push myself against her, rubbing up and down while she whimpers and moans.

“Does that feel good?”

“Mmm hmm,” she murmurs.

“Do you want more?”

“Oh, yeah. I want all of you.”

“You’re gonna get me, mimi, nice and slow.”

Leaning down I cup her breasts together and offer them up to my mouth as continue to massage her clit with my tip. She writhes and moans under me. Finally, she starts muttering my name in between moans. When she tenses and relaxes, I know she’s feeling good.

Sitting up, I pull her back onto my lap and ever so slowly sink into her. “Ah, baby, you feel amazing. So wet. So good.” She continues to shake and moan and mutter my name. “Put your hands on the handlebars. Brace yourself. There you go. Hold on.” I pump into her a little harder a little faster, chasing my own release. When I feel my body letting go, I drop down over her and feel her hands hit my back as she digs those nails into me and climaxes again. Her cries give me the strength I need to bring it home.

“Adrian, give me my blues,” she demands. I focus my eyes on hers as I pump and grind into her until she liquefies beneath me.

Lying there panting hard and shaking and not saying a word, I just need to feel her. I prop my forehead against hers and feel our sweat mingle. Leaning in, I kiss the tip of her nose, her eyelids, her chin. Finally, the sounds of nature filter through our sensual bubble. The birds. The fish. The gators.

Smiling against her throat, I mumble, “That was unfuckingbelievable. I can’t believe you went for it.”

She smacks my ass and grabs onto it, holding me to her even closer. I feel her giggle and sigh. “I just wanted to give you an amazing memory so that if you ever come here to escape again you’ll know you need to return to me immediately.”

“Baby, every amazing memory I have begins and ends with you,” I tell her with a kiss. “You own me—body and soul. I’ll always return to you.”

Everything I’ve Never Had Cover & Synopsis

EiNH BN Kobo

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

Release Date: 9/2

Celeste Hebert appears to have it all, but there are many things she’s never had, been forbidden from having.

One night. One song. One kiss. The perfect trifecta to unleash the floodgates of a forbidden attraction between the widow and her husband’s bad boy cousin, Adrian.

Celeste endeavors to rebury the feelings that surface after this one night since her powerful family despises him. Kindred spirits, best of friends they attempt to douse their attraction; however, Adrian always seems to know exactly how to push her buttons and may prove too much to resist.

Having defied his family by making his way on his own terms, Adrian struggles to regain their acceptance. When he meets his cousin’s wife and wants her for his own, he feels he’s finally lived down to the title—black sheep. But, when his cousin dies unexpectedly, Adrian fights his attraction and swears to honor them both by helping her raise her boys.

Finding himself enveloped in a cocoon of love and acceptance, Adrian knows it’s more than just physical attraction. However, unforeseen events threaten to destroy those he now holds dear and his newfound peace.

Will the ties that bind them be their undoing?

Everything I’ve Never Had–Teaser with Goodreads link

ET Teaser Prologue

Goodreads link~~~> http://tiny.cc/mn0e1w

Every Rose Bonus Scene (No Spoilers)

This bonus scene, from Michael’s POV, takes place outside of the realm of Every Rose. Hear his musings as he is waking up hungover, next to (gasp) another woman, and it’s Lorraina’s birthday…

 

Every Rose Bonus Scene

 “Wake-Up Call”

 

I wake as my head buzzes in time with her alarm clock. I reach over and shut it off. Looking over at her naked body stretched out beside me, regret instantly floods my hungover brain—much like the Jim Beam flooded my dumbass system last night—as I recall just how out of hand I’d gotten. Shit! I’ve gotta stop doing this shit!

As if sensing me waging war on myself, Brandy shifts and runs her nails down my chest, stopping to tease me a little. I cringe inwardly, yet maintain my outward façade. When her lips begin to follow her wandering hand, I grab hold of her chin swiftly. Her lust-filled eyes meet mine. “I gotta get going, babe,” I hesitate. “Thanks for last night. For, uh, getting me out of there.”

“You know it’s no problem, Mike.” She gives me what she thinks is a seductive grin but all I want to see is a sweet, unassuming one. I drink to get that out of my head. Only problem is that when I sober up it’s there times a billion. “You’re gonna owe Charlie some money, ya know?”

“Yeah, I know. How bad was it?” I cringe now as I remember trashing Charlie’s jukebox. That damn thing was playing the one fucking song it shouldn’t have been. If I could’ve found the actual piece of shit who pressed play, it would’ve gone down a whole different way.

“It was pretty bad. It got stuck on Billy Ray Cyrus.” This causes me to start laughing uncontrollably when I think of all the pissed off wannabe rock stars and badass bikers in that bar. I quickly stifle that as my head starts to pound anew.

“Why that song is on a jukebox in a damn biker bar is beyond me. Seems like I did everybody a favor getting rid of it,” I joke, pushing her away from me gently as I roll out of bed, slide my jeans on, and move towards her bathroom.

When I emerge, Brandy struts toward me noticeably underdressed. “Sure I can’t convince you to stick around, Mike?” I grab her hands before she has a chance to touch me again.

“Naw, babe. I gotta get to work and all. Raincheck?”

“Where’ve I heard that before?” She turns her head and pouts. I place a quick kiss on her cheek, give her a grin, and hit the door.

I pile in the Jeep, root around for some aspirin, down them with a leftover Bud Light, and lay my head on the steering wheel for a minute. It really pisses me off that I need these physical releases…booze, partying, fighting, tearing shit up…sex. That part ticks me off the most. If it were up to my brain and heart, I wouldn’t be with another girl until I could be with Lorraina. And I will be with Lorraina, I tell myself the for gazillionth time. This has been my mantra since I was fifteen-years-old. Some may view this as hopeless—the ultimate exercise in futility—wasting away for her. I know she is going to be mine, though. The alternative is not an option.

She has absolutely no idea, but I’ve been keeping tabs on her, which is really nothing new. I’ve been waiting and watching from the first time I’d seen that long, curly blonde hair and those electric green eyes that promised loyalty and fierceness and passion. From what I’ve heard, she is none of those things now. She is wasting away too. I want to fix that—but how? What reasons have I given her to put her faith in me?

I sit back and massage my temples and feel my eyes blur as I come to terms with the fact that all I’ve ever shown her was impulsivity, recklessness, and just plain stupidity. She will be home in two years and what will I have to offer her? Shit! Today’s her birthday. No fucking wonder I’d woken more pensive than usual—contemplating life’s fuck-ups and her…my only love. Lorraina was my center, my gravitational pull to this universe. Always had been.

What the hell?! She’s my world and I’ve been partying my ass off for the last several years, acting like I had an infinite amount of time. Other than college, I’d completely wasted the last few years. She was twenty today, making me twenty-two. I’d say I was getting sentimental in my old age, but I’d always thought too much. It’s a blessing and a curse. Starting my Jeep up, I head for home.

Wasting away—that phrase hits me again and I immediately start a beat in my head and start crafting some lyrics to tie that all together. I tap a rhythm on my steering wheel as I navigate the quiet streets, making a snap decision. I laugh at myself. Let’s face it, do I ever make any other kind of decision?!

Making my way to the tattoo studio, as I always do when I have some kind of revelation in my life, I know what I have to do. No more women, no more drinking, no more fighting, no more tearing shit up, no more weed…OK, maybe a little bit of weed. Can’t go cold turkey on everything all at once. Wouldn’t want to spontaneously combust. So I’m going to increase my physical activities to have some kind of release and control. Go to school, go to work, stay out of trouble, keep my ass out of jail. I need to make myself the best I can possibly be and wait for Lorraina to finish school and move home. I can do all that.

I hop out of my Jeep and make my way into the tattoo parlor, hoping Brody is here.

“Hey, Mike,” Chris greets me. “What’s up, man?”

“Need some ink, man. I’ve got life-altering decisions that need to be commemorated. Brody here?”

Chris snickers at me. “Aw…shit, man. Yeah, he’s in the back. ‘Bout to take off, I think.”

“This won’t take long. It’s simple. Tell Brody, I’ll dedicate a song to him tomorrow night if he’ll get out here so I can get tatted up,” I joke.

I wait for Brody, sketching out my idea on the pad by the phone. I’ve got the shakes, so my drawing looks like shit—I’d better let Brody design this one for me. I snort. He’s gonna shit a brick when I let him do that.

My mood turns sober as I consider the significance of what I’m about to get permanently etched over my heart even though it has been permanently etched in my heart for years. I close my eyes as I send Lorraina my birthday wish.

Whatever you’re doing, Lorraina, I wish you all the happiness you can muster out of this life…It won’t be long, babe, and I’ll be the one contributing to your happiness. We’re not going to let each other waste away.