Welcome to my little part of the blog world of reviewing.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Winner of Mari Carr's Release Day GC

I decided that 1 GC wasn't enough so I drew for 2 GC's.  Through the power of random.org the following have won.

#10 Cathy M.

#14 Mel Bourn

Please email me at maw1725@gmail.com and let me know which GC you want.

I want to thank everyone for coming out and celebrating with Mari on her release day.

For Your Eyes Only by Ann Mayburn-Review


Amanda accepts an invite by the prestigious Institute for Women's Sexual Satisfaction. Volunteering for their study means she must divulge her deepest, naughtiest fantasies and then act on them. But one wicked fantasy involves watching her boyfriend do something so intimate, so forbidden that she's afraid he will refuse and may even break off their relationship.

Jared can't believe his gorgeous girlfriend wants to see another woman take his anal virginity. But he wants to make her wildest fantasies come true, and maybe finally engage in some secret fantasies of his own...

Warning: This story contains a loving couple indulging in some very steamy fantasies including F/F kissing and light touching along with a deliciously naughty F/M/F pegging scene.


Oh my...hmmmm..*fans self* Puts laptop down to find out where hubby is...damn it, he's on the computer.  Well, he won't be on the computer for much longer.  *wink*

Lord, this book is hot.  No, really scorching hot.  Be warned, you WILL need your partner, batteries, a hose and a cigarette after you read this story.

Ann does it again with her short story For Your Eyes Only.  The premise is simple; Amanda has a fantasy and when she is accepted to the institute to live out her fantasy, she only hopes that she doesn't lose Jared in the process. 

I love, just love stories that revolve around established, loving couples.  I like to read about couples and the fantasies that they have with one another.  Just because a couple is married or has been together for awhile doesn't mean that they don't have fantasies with each other.  I've been with my hubby since 1999, married since 2004 and I still think he's hot and I would marry him all over again.

I highly recommend this short story to see how one woman's fantasy turns into reality. 

5 Harlie's and I can't recommend this book enough!


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Because It's True by Mari Carr-Release Day

Let's give Mari Carr some love.  Its her first foray in M/M romance and she's nervous.  If you leave a comment with the title of your favorite Mari Carr book, one person will win a $10 GC to either Amazon, B&N, Samhain or EC.  Winner's choice!

Sometimes there are only two choices. Love…or leave.

Jacob James falls for Rodney the moment the New York City cop crash lands into his far-too-predictable ranch life. The sexy city slicker is everything a lonely Wyoming cowboy could ever dream of. When Rodney is shot in the line of duty, however, their off-the-charts attraction turns unexpectedly cool. Jacob offers the only thing he has left—friendship.

All Rodney can think about—besides his cowboy lover—is getting back to his job. But what good is a cop who can’t fire a gun? While he’s grateful for Jacob’s support through months of grueling physical therapy, how can he offer anything more when his own future is so uncertain?

When he’s finally cleared to return to work in New York, Rodney thought it would be the happiest day of his life. Except reaching his goal means leaving Jacob behind…and a future he never thought he wanted. Until now…

Warning: New York City cop meets Wyoming cowboy. Come on. You know that’s going to be hot.

Searing pain roared through Rodney’s arm as black spots danced before his eyes. More gunfire pounded into the wall of the building behind him, pelting him with shards of shattered brick. He’d known something was wrong the second he walked out of the bank. Hell, he’d had a premonition all morning that something would happen, that everything was about to change. He knew better than to ignore his gut feelings.
Fuck. Bridget was out in the open. He forced himself to remain conscious despite the agonizing fire currently raging through his body. He watched Mark throw himself on top of her, shielding her from the gunfire.
“Get her to the fucking car!” Rodney yelled. Jesus. If Bridget was killed, it would be his fault. His. It was his job to protect her.
Bridget crawled closer.
He reached out with his uninjured arm. “Bridget, take this. Get to New York.” He pressed the flash drive they’d spent the last month of their lives searching for into her hand. It was the key to putting the judge whose henchman was currently trying to kill them away forever.
“I’m not leaving you,” Bridget insisted.
Rodney took a deep breath, praying for the strength to get her out of harm’s way. Mercifully, Mark grabbed her, dragging her to the truck.
Please let her make it. He sighed with relief, the sound coming out as a harsh shudder when he watched the truck with Bridget ensconced inside pull away.
“Bridget,” he whispered.
Strong hands gripped him, shocking him. What the fuck? He started to kick out, but the last of his strength slowly drained away.
“It’s me, Rod.”
Christ. Jake. No.
“Get down,” Rodney said, the words sounding more like a bark than his normal voice. “Get inside!”
Jacob didn’t reply. Instead he lifted Rodney’s upper body with firm hands beneath his armpits and dragged him to the entrance of the bank. The movement was excruciating and bile rose to Rodney’s throat. Waves of nausea caused by the red hot poker lodged in his arm enveloped him.
He’d been shot. It was a possibility he’d faced every day as he patrolled the streets of New York City as a cop. Who would have thought this sleepy town of Saratoga, Wyoming would be the place to bring him down?
The gunshots had ceased with Bridget’s escape.
Jacob laid him gently on the floor of the bank’s lobby. He saw a security guard standing next to his friend, talking on the phone. He would have grinned if he hadn’t been in so much pain. If he was going to die, he couldn’t think of a better last sight than Jacob’s gorgeous face. Sirens sounded in the distance.
“Bridget,” Rodney whispered.
Jacob knelt next to him. “Matt and Mark got her away. She’ll be fine, Rod. And so will you. Just hang on, man.”
She was safe. Jake was safe.
Rodney let those comforting thoughts permeate the haze of pain, though he still couldn’t let go of the premonition.
Everything is changing.
His eyes drifted closed, his body shutting down.
They were safe.
But was he?

Buy Links

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Accidently Married to...a Vampire? by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

One hundred percent (100%) of all royalties received from the sale of Accidentally Married to a...Vampire from both B&N and Amazon THIS SUNDAY will be donated to The Breast Cancer Foundation.

Mimi Jean Pamfiloff's ACCIDENTALLY MARRIED TO...A VAMPIRE, Book 2 in her popular "Accidentally Yours Series", recently hit #34 on the NYTimes Best Seller List (Fiction eBooks)!! "VAMPIRE" has also earned a well-deserved spot on both the Amazon and USA Today Top/Best Seller lists!

To celebrate, Mimi Jean is giving away an eBook copy of not only ACCIDENTALLY MARRIED TO...A VAMPIRE, but ACCIDENTALLY IN LOVE WITH...A GOD, Book 1 in the "Accidentally Yours Series", as well, to 20--yes, you read that
right, 20--lucky winners!

Contemporary Paranormal Romance by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

"4.5 out of 5 Stars for Accidentally in Love With...a God? (Amazon)!

Twenty-two-year-old Emma Keane has a secret friend. He’s powerful, mysterious, and devastatingly handsome. In her dreams, anyway.

In real life, he’s an enigma. Maybe just a teensie jealous. Definitely overbearing. He’s also a voice only she can hear.

So who or what is he? He won’t say. But if she wants to be free, to be normal, Emma will have to trek to the jungles once ruled by the Mayans and find the forgotten ruin holding the answers.

However, the ruthless deity she’s about to unknowingly unleash on the modern world might not be so easily extracted from her life. Bottom line, he’s got enemies, and now, so does she.


With his golden face beaming, the man smiled as he stroked my sopping wet hair and cradled me against his warm, smooth chest. “I love this dream,” I said with a breathy voice, then stretched my arms above my head, gazing happily into the most striking set of luminescent, turquoise green eyes I’d ever seen.

To boot, they belonged to a breathtaking, masculine face, a face one would expect to see on the cover of a magazine named something like, I’m Way Too Hot to Be Your Man, or In Your Dreams, Honey.

Oh, yeah. Without a doubt, I’d topped myself this time. Sculpted cheekbones, thick dark lashes, chiseled jaw, and lips so full they simply had to be meant for kissing or eating something really juicy. He was way hotter than the specimen of perfection from my last dream, and bonus, he didn’t have that scary vibe. I reached up and ran my fingertip along the ridge of his hard-lined warrior nose.

“Emma, what in the name of the gods’ creation are you doing?” he scorned. “We really don’t have time for your immature little fantasies. We’re in the middle of a crisis. Do you not remember?”

I blinked and slowly moved my eyes from side to side.

Jungle? I was in the jungle. And my clothes were wet. Come to think of it, for a dream, I didn’t feel so hot. My lungs burned, my body felt like it’d been chewed up, and my head was throbbing. So, aside from the perfect man with long, damp, wavy black hair holding me in his arms, none of this felt like a dream. It felt…

“Holy Mother!” I pushed myself away and rolled into the dirt, pointing in disbelief. “Wha—you—you—?”

“Aaah. So eloquent as always, my sweet. It is astounding; you actually have a college degree, yet cannot find better words.” He pushed himself up off the ground.

As he rose, my heart stopped, started, then went into overdrive. His legs and spine straightened into a towering mass of unforgiving muscles. With shoulders like a lumberjack and thick, powerful thighs, I didn’t know if I wanted to run away or climb him like a tree. He was utterly enormous. Jolly Green Giant enormous. Except, obviously, not green. More golden brown. He was a gorgeous, towering mass of golden brown perfection.

No. Definitely not a cave-dwelling, wart-infested troll. Great. Just great. Now I knew I wasn’t crazy—Guy was definitely real—but now I also knew I was way over my head. He was gorgeous.
I stood in awe, my mouth gaping as my eyes attempted to register every rope of muscle, every capacious curve packed with power. Christ, he had to be at least seven feet tall.

“Six nine, actually,” he said, guessing my thoughts.

“This can’t be possible,” I whispered, my eyes continuing to dart up and down the length of his body, stopping right on dark trail of hair that started just below his navel and continued down, down, down to his enormous beast of a—“Oh! You’re naked.” I turned sharply, but only to stop myself from reaching out to touch it; no man could be that…that…endowed. Wow. “This can’t be happening.” I covered my face.

“Emma,” he moved behind me, placing his powerful hands on my shoulders. A jolt shivered its way through my body.

I was wrong about the vibe. Way wrong. This man, or whatever he was, radiated hazard. He should come equipped with a set of blinking lights or flares. He was…“Bad. Very, very, bad,” I mumbled, pinching the bridge of my nose.

And pathetically, after everything that had happened, all I could think about was this naked, hard-bodied, glorious “man” who’d just permanently seared his image inside the storage compartments of my female DNA. All men from this day forward would have to survive a mental side-by-side comparison against him. They’d all lose.
Amazon |

Contemporary Paranormal Romance by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

“4.5 out of 5 Stars for Accidentally Married to...a Vampire? (Amazon)!"


 “If you love her, set her free. If she comes back, she’s yours. If she doesn’t...Christ! Stubborn woman! Hunt her down, and bring her the hell back; she’s still yours according to vampire law.”--Niccolo DiConti, General of the Vampire Queen’s Army.

The Determined Vampire:

 Niccolo DiConti has faithfully served as leader of Her Majesty’s army for over a millennium, but he’d rather sunbathe in the Sahara than spend another grueling day under his demented queen’s command. However, no one has ever left her side and lived to tell. So when a powerful goddess prophesizes he will meet his salvation—a human woman he must turn into a vampire with her consent—he eagerly rises to the challenge. After all, how hard could it be to seduce a human female into taking the immortal plunge? Harder than he thinks. Because his mate won’t be born for another three centuries, and when he wakes up in the goddess’ tomb, not only is his life a mess, but his destined female isn’t about to settle for a coldhearted vampire. Can he win her over before it’s too late? Not if his enemies have anything to do with it.

An Unwilling Bride:

On the night Helena Strauss meets the fierce, devastatingly handsome vampire who saves her life in the jungles of Mexico, she knows her world will be forever changed. Because an attraction this mind blowing only comes along once in a lifetime—or existence. And when he claims she is his one true mate, destined to be his for all eternity, it’s a fairytale come true. So what if her knight in shining armor is a vampire? Nobody’s perfect. But discovering the powerful, overbearing immortal doesn’t “do love”? Deal breaker. Helena will flee and set out to accomplish the impossible…sever the otherworldly bond between them. And it turns out, Helena is just the leverage Niccolo’s enemies need to break the mighty warrior and wipe out his people.


What the hell is this place?

Then Helena’s eyes focused on something else she couldn’t quite grasp. In the middle of the room, lying across a stone altar, was a naked man with dark symbols tattooed down the length of one arm. But he was not just any man. He was a male so perfect that words would catfight each other just for the honor of describing him. He was a god. A bona fide deity. He had to be. Because a normal man wouldn’t give her the urge to fall to her knees and worship at his feet. Or drool.

The torchlight licked his sculpted cheekbones, angular jaw, and full, sensual lips. Every capacious curve and ripple of hard muscle looked to be packed with raw power, and his size left no doubt that he’d been built in another time. A time when giant warriors roamed the earth, looking to rescue lame
tourists wandering the Mexican jungle at night.

In my dreams. Wait...this is a dream! It has to be.

“Move closer my sweet, delicious woman.” The deep voice radiated from every direction, filling the room.

Helena’s blood pressure crashed to the floor. She gasped as the weight of her body slammed back against the cold chamber wall to keep from falling.

“Hel-hello? Can you hear me?” Fists clenched, Helena waited for a response, her eyes continuing to soak him in. Every inch of him.

Was he real? No, he must be a statue. Too perfect. His full lips were built to nuzzle a woman’s neck. Specifically, her neck. And that hair—thick, long waves of black satin—was the kind a woman could grab fistfuls of while being driven insane by those lips.

Then there were the diamond-cut grooves of his abs, his perfectly shaped navel, the fine dark hair adorning his lower belly that trailed down to his awe-inspiring man-gear. The size and thickness, even in its slumbering state, was something women dreamed of and scores of artists throughout history attempted to immortalize in marble. He was every woman’s fantasy, she thought. And by every woman, she meant hers…’Cause I’m not gonna share.

“Kiss me, Helena,” the seductive voice rumbled.

Had the man said her name? No. Clearly, his lips hadn’t moved. The margarita amoebas were attacking her brain and she was losing her mind.

“Kiss me, woman. I command you,” the voice echoed, this time compelling her to obey.
Helena’s survival instincts gave her a hard kick, jarring her back into the horrific reality of the situation. But as she tried to regain control of her body, her tongue slipped from her mouth and wet her lips.

Traitorous tongue. Backstabbing lips. What the hell are you doing? Her body inched closer.

“Sì, that is it, my love. I can smell your blood.”

Blood? What the...? Every nerve in her body fired on all cylinders, but she couldn’t run even if her hair had been on fire. It seemed the harder she fought, the stronger the force controlling her became.

“Brush it against my lips, my love. I want to taste you when you kiss me.”

Without realizing it, her hand stretched down to coat her fingertips with the thick, nearly dried blood frofrom her knee. Trembling, she smeared it over his lips.

“Now, kiss me, my love. Awaken me, my bride.”

“No! No! Let me go!” Helena struggled, but her body’s betrayal persisted. Her head dipped, and her lips rested on his sensuous mouth. In that instant, the compelling force dissipated and her entire body lit up into one glorious pyre of life.

Had she been asleep the last twenty-four years? Because she could swear she’d just taken her first breath. Ever.

Holy hell, what was that?

The torches flickered, and the wind kicked up around her.

The altar was empty.

She crumbled to the cold, dusty floor. A pair of strong hands gripped her shoulders from behind.

“Oh, Christ. You...you’re behind me, aren’t you?” she whispered.

The deep dark voice replied, “Sì, my love. Stand, and let me see my mate.”

Helena slowly rose to face the naked god behind her.
Amazon |
B&N |

Sun God Seeks... Surrogate?
Book 3, Accidentally Yours)

Contemporary Paranormal Romance by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff


Twenty-four-year-old Penelope finds herself in all sorts of hot water, vaporous and otherwise, after agreeing to become a surrogate mother for an eccentric, wealthy, and devastatingly handsome man who isn’t exactly a man.

About the Author:

Before taking up a permanent residence in the San Francisco Bay Area, Mimi spent time living near NYC (became a shopaholic), in Mexico City (developed a taste for very spicy food), and Arizona (now hates jumping chollas, but pines for sherbet sunsets). Her love of pre-Hispanic culture, big cities, and romance inspires her to write when she’s not busy with kids, work, and life…or getting sucked into a juicy novel.

She hopes that someday, leather pants for men will make a big comeback and that her writing might make you laugh when you need it most.

Website: http://www.mimijean.net/
iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/mimi-jean-pamfiloff/id498303364?mt=11"
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#%21/MimiJeanRomance"
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mimi-Jean/218935048190356
Email: mailto:mimi@mimijean.net

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Dance Me to the Stars-Guest Post w/Giveaway

I am so please to have Mari Astor on Harlie's blog today.  There is a giveaway today.  I have pictures of the giveaway at the bottom.  Gorgeous necklaces, so fill in the Rafflecopter to win. 


Twenty-eight-year-old Claire Chatfield has everything a girl could possibly wish for: looks, a promising career at New York’s top architectural firm, and an engagement ring from one of New York’s most eligible heir-bachelors! Life should be a dream, but when Alec Brunell, a sexy tango dancer, moves into the apartment one floor above from Claire’s, he unwittingly awakens Claire’s old insecurities, making her question her life choices. Will Claire brave her fears and allow herself to take a chance on Alec, or will she continue to play it safe?

In order to secure his place as his father’s successor, thirty-three-year-old David Lawson must settle down with a wife befitting the future head of Lawson Enterprises - and who could fit the prerequisite better than the stunningly beautiful and incredibly bright Claire Chatfield? There is just one glitch – David Lawson is in love with another woman – a Hollywood Legend Claudia Block.

A successful tango instructor, Alec Brunell has never lacked for women’s attention, but he finds himself at a loss when faced with his downstairs neighbor, Claire Chatfield. Upon hearing of his occupation, most women swoon with desire, but Claire runs for the door. Still, her iciness only adds fuel to his fire, as Alec is determined to change Claire’s view of him.

Claudia Block has been basking in the limelight of Hollywood for more years than she cares to admit. While she still has her looks, she would much rather not mention her age, which makes her unconventional affair with young and handsome David Lawson that much more difficult for her to give up.

Dance Me to the Stars is a love story about finding one’s perfect match - sometimes following one’s heart is as convoluted as learning the steps of tango.

Dance Me to the Stars, has been selected in the first round of entries in the General Fiction category in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest this year.

Are you a fan of Happily Ever Afters or Happy For Now Endings?
When it comes to Happily Ever After or Happy for Now, I have to say that I side with the former. I believe that all of us, whether we admit it or not, enjoy a happy ending in a book. In real life things do not always turn out the way we want them to, but in fiction we can have the ending that we hope for and find strength to strive for a Happily Ever After in our real lives.
In my contemporary romance, Dance Me to the Stars, the heroine, Claire – an up-and-coming New York architect, has just gotten engaged to her successful and handsome boyfriend, David Lawson. At first glance David appears to be Mr. Perfection – an heir to a real-estate empire, he could have any girl he wants, but he only has eyes for Claire. And yet, Claire can’t help but wonder whether her relationship with David is truly the ‘one.’ When Alec Brunell, a sexy tango dancer, moves into the apartment one floor above from Claire’s, he unwittingly awakens Claire’s old insecurities, making her question her life choices. As Claire faces her doubts and begins to explore the avenues of her heart, she discovers that learning to follow one’s heart can be as convoluted as learning the steps of tango and just as thrilling.
I hope that Claire’s search for her true love in Dance Me to the Stars will inspire readers to search for their own Happy Ending, and for those who have already found their Happily Ever After, remind them to cherish it that much more.
Thank you for inviting me to Harlie’s Books and giving me the opportunity to introduce my latest novel, Dance Me to the Stars.


Alec put down the paint roller and wiped his forehead on the back of his arm. Man, he was beat – he had forgotten how grueling physical labor could be. Sure, he worked out six days a week, not to mention daily dance practice, but painting walls made him discover muscles he did know he had. Every bit of his body throbbed, but at least he had gotten the job done – the south wall was painted red, and the other three were white. Now, all he needed was wait for the paint to dry so that he could add a silhouette of a tango couple against the red background – that ought to complete the ambiance. He opened the small fridge and reached for a bottle of orange juice. The cool liquid soothed his parched throat; holding the now half-empty bottle, Alec walked over to the window to check out his new view. All in all he was happy with his new digs: the rent was reasonable and the view was not bad either – from the top floor he had an unobstructed view of Second Avenue – not exactly the poshest of locations, but it would do.

One thing he had not counted on was fussy neighbors. Alec smiled, thinking of the unexpected visitor from the morning. “Claire,” he mouthed her name, remembering her tousled chestnut hair and hazel eyes - even that bulky bathrobe she had been wearing could not conceal the shapely outlines of her body.

Of course, a girl like that was bound to be a challenge. But he had always liked challenge, and the fact that he was a professional tango dancer usually played in his favor. Usually, but it might not be so this time. Alec winced, remembering Claire’s reaction to his innocent question about her music taste. What was all that about? he wondered - as far as he was concerned, no one could resist tango. Well, he would get to the bottom of Claire’s music idiosyncrasies in due time, but in the meantime, he needed to think of a way to become more neighborly.

“Think of the devil,” Alec murmured, taking another gulp of orange juice as he spotted the subject of his thoughts exiting the lobby. Someone must have a hot night planned, he thought, his eyes examining every detail of Claire’s outfit, which was far more flattering than the bathrobe he remembered from this morning. Now, she was dressed in a little black number that fitted her body to a T – his instincts had been right, from long, shapely legs to firm, flat stomach to wonderfully full breasts, her body was downright perfect, and the way her chestnut mane bounced down her back made Alec want to get to know his neighbor better. Heading out for a night on the town, Alec mused – it was Saturday night after all, and he was glad to remark the absence of a male companion by Claire’s side. Suddenly, his new building looked even more appealing.


“Hold it!” The elevator doors were about to close when a muscular arm jammed them open.

Startled, Claire stared at the switchboard stupidly, unable to locate the ‘door open’ button.

“Sorry about that.” The owner of the arm slipped inside the elevator. He was dressed in jeans and a black T-shirt that clung to his lean, muscular torso. His dark-brown hair brushed against the nape of his neck. In one hand he was carrying a can of black paint and in the other a large paper bag. Two earphone wires swirled from his neck to his chest and over his taut stomach to the iPod that was tucked into the front pocket of his jeans. “Could you press twelve please?”

“Sure.” Claire held her breath and lowered her eyes, hoping that she would not be recognized. There was no place like the elevator to illustrate the theory of relativity – an elevator ride that normally lasted only a couple of minutes now felt like an eternity.

The man pushed his back against the wall and exhaled as he unplugged his earphones, letting them hang on his neck. “Crazy day.” He grinned at Claire. “Oh, forgive me – how rude of me. It’s Claire, right? I’m Alec – your new neighbor – we met before…”

“Hello.” Claire smiled tartly and felt her face grow warm in spite of herself.

“I hope I haven’t been bothering you with the music.” Alec smiled apologetically. “I’ve gotten these.” He motioned at the earphones.

“It’s fine, really.” Claire forced herself to ignore the distant sounds of tango that were emanating from the tiny earphones.

“I promise you it won’t happen again. I still can’t live down the fact that I woke you up on a Saturday morning. May I take you out for a cup of coffee, or better yet, a drink to make up for it?”

Claire ignored the playfulness in his tone. “No worries – already forgotten.” She fumbled with her keys in order to avoid looking at his face. “So, you’re doing more painting?” She purposely fixed her stare on the can of paint.

“Just some finishing touches and then I’ll be ready to move in.”

“Good for you. Well, this is my floor – good luck with the painting.” Claire bolted out of the elevator.


 Claire’s purchase was almost wrapped up when the front door swung open, blowing in a fresh burst of May air. Hearing the noise, Claire turned toward the source of distraction and immediately regretted her decision.

“Are you OK?” Lindsay nudged her. “Your face is all flushed.”

“I’m fine,” Claire murmured. “I’m just really hungry that’s all – let’s go grab a bite to eat after this.” Claire ducked her head, hoping to remain unnoticed.


She had only heard his voice a handful of times, and yet, it was enough to unleash a flurry of goose bumps on her skin. “Hi Alec.” Claire widened her lips in a bright smile, attempting to sound nonchalant.

“Hi, I’m Lindsay.” Lindsay stepped in, alternately darting curious glances at Claire and Alec.

“This is Alec, my new neighbor.” Claire swiped away at an unruly strand of hair that fell over her forehead.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Lindsay.” Alec momentarily tore his gaze away from Claire.

“Likewise. So, are you an art fan, Alec?” Lindsay asked, clearly oblivious to Claire’s tense state.

"You could certainly say that, although dance is my first love, as Claire might have told you.”
“No, she did not.”

“Alec is a big tango fan,” Claire cut in, eager to put an end to this unnerving chitchat.

“Actually, I’m a dance teacher – I teach tango and I also compete professionally.” Alec’s dark brown eyes found Claire’s. “I’m afraid Claire and I had started off on the wrong foot when I inadvertently woke her up on a Saturday morning by playing my tango music too loud, but I hope that she has forgiven me.”

Alec kept his eyes on Claire during the entire tirade, and all she could do was blush and mumble a muffled yes.

“Ah, that’s much better.” Alec exhaled, his muscular chest puffing out. “I’ve always had a good rapport with all of my neighbors and I was hoping that my good record would not get marred. So, are you doing some decorating, Claire?”

“I’m buying an anniversary gift for my boyfriend,” Claire snapped, wishing the store clerk would hurry up with the wrapping.

“Oh, I see. Well, I’m sorry to have bothered you – I’ll be on my way now.”

As Alec walked away, Claire was caught off guard by a sudden sense of regret. “Come, let’s get out of here.” She grabbed Lindsay’s arm.

“So, are you going to tell me what that was all about?” Lindsay stared at Claire once they stood outside the gallery.

“Yeah, but I need a drink first.”


I wonder what’s he doing up there? Claire mused, as she recounted her earlier encounter with Alec at the art gallery: the flirtatious tone of his voice, the playful sparks in his eyes, the way his hair brushed against his neck. She had been so brisk with him, her voice prim and her lips set, while all she wanted to do instead was break into a smile and flirt right back. What harm could there be in a little flirtation? But with Alec, she could not bring herself to say anything other than matter-of-fact remarks – every time she saw him, something inside her constricted, making her run for the cover of prudishness. The forced primness felt both as a haven and a jail – a haven from anything that might go awry, and a jail that precluded anything wonderful from happening, for that was exactly the emotion that stirred in her every time she ran into Alec – that something incredibly wonderful might happen. It was also the emotion that sent Claire scurrying for cover, acting as a bona fide ice maiden, leaving her trapped in her own confusion. Just what was it about Alec that affected her so, Claire had no idea – she barely knew the guy, and yet, every time she saw him, she felt her breath catch.

The sensible part of Claire knew that nothing good could come out of her ambiguous feelings for her upstairs neighbor. From what she could tell, Alec was a good for nothing flirt, and Claire had no intention of encouraging him when she was happily in love with David. I’ll just look up one more time and then I’ll be on my way, Claire thought. What she saw next confirmed her misgivings. Now, there were two silhouettes in the window instead of one: a woman and a man. The female shade arched her back in Alec’s arms as he tilted her back, leaning over her. Claire looked away, as though jolted by electricity. Even without the music, she could recognize the pattern of tango – Alec was so in sync with his partner that it looked as though the two were connected by an invisible thread. Oh, what Claire would give to be able to lose herself to music so completely, and even more, to know that there were her lover’s arms there to hold her.

Back in her apartment Claire threw her bag on the dresser and sank into her couch. As she closed her eyes, she could hear faint sounds of a milonga coming through her ceiling – it was more a throbbing than an actual sound, but it was still enough for her to hear the rhythm of the sensual dance. Right now, separated by only a couple of feet of flooring above her, Alec held another woman in his arms – to Claire she was only a faceless shade, an outline, but to him she was flesh and bones, her body pressing firmly against his. And what a body it was – the glimpse that Claire had caught through the window left her speechless with intimidation – a willowy, slender flute of a body, a dancer’s body that was full of grace – the kind of grace that Claire would never dare attempt.


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Marie Astor is the author of contemporary romance novels Dance Me to the Stars, On the Rim of Love, and Lucky Charm.  Marie Astor has also authored a collection of short stories A Chance Encounter and Other Stories.

Marie’s latest contemporary romance novel, Dance Me to the Stars, has been selected in the first round of entries in the General Fiction category in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest this year.

Currently, Marie is working on her next novel – a first installment in her romantic suspense series.

Author Website: www.marieastor.com

Twitter: @marieastor

Books by Marie Astor:

Dance Me to the Stars – a contemporary romance about finding one’s perfect match.

On the Rim of Love – a contemporary romance about the unexpected power of love.

Lucky Charm – a humorous contemporary romance about love, luck and friendship.

A Chance Encounter and Other Stories – a short story collection about love and everyday life.