new releases

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I had a truly unique inspiration for ASSASSIN’S PREY: a question. That’s right, a question.

How does a man who’s held himself apart all his life, even from family, who kills for a living, who has nothing resembling a normal life, actually make a relationship work?

That was the whole story in a nutshell. Most romances end once the couple is together, right? I wanted to go past the “I love yous” and find out how Levi, of all people, would react to falling in love. *Spoiler ALERT* We already saw a little bit of this in MARK—he stayed away for a year, but couldn’t stay away any longer. Now that he’s given in, what next?

I hope you’ll check out ASSASSIN’S PREY next TUESDAY and find out. I can’t wait for this tough, tormented alpha to finally, truly understand what love is all about. You can find the book on Radish Fiction starting May 29th!

New Release and Monthly Contest!

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It’s release month! In four weeks (minus a day—that’s MAY 29th!), the next book in the ASSASSINS series will release: ASSASSIN’S PREY. This first-person story gets us into the head of Levi Agosti, assassin, and gives us a glimpse of how a man like him deals with love now that he’s met his match.

 

ASSASSIN’S PREY

 

I killed my first man at the age of twelve. I've been killing ever since. I thought it was all I lived for…until Abby. Until the woman I'd kidnapped became the woman I couldn't walk away from.

She owns a piece of me I wouldn't take back, but the rest? The only way to protect her is to hold back the parts inside me that are too ugly to ever reveal. I'll keep her safe, even from me.

And it works. We have the nights, and I hunt my way through the days. Alone.

Until an attack reveals a threat we didn't see coming. One that could take away the dream I didn't realize I had.

Everything. With her.

I'm on the hunt of my life. My prey might run, but in this fight—for her, for us—they don't stand a chance.

*

This month, I’m celebrating my upcoming release with a cool giveaway: a copy of the totally delicious first-person romance Wicked Sexy Liar by Christina Lauren, a sexy purple travel LED booklight, and a $15 iTunes gift card so you can read ASSASSIN’S PREY when it goes live on the 29th! To enter, comment below and tell me if you’ve read ASSASSIN’S MARK, book one in this series, and if you have, what you thought of Levi. (Here’s a hint: YUM!)

 

*** On MAY 29th, one commenter will be chosen, so hurry to enter! (Likes and shares with your romance-loving friends appreciated but not required!) ***

 

Haven’t read ASSASSINS yet? Start with book one, ASSASSIN’S MARK, on Radish Fiction: 

https://radishfiction.com/stories/S1OkqkMfG

Too Many Books?

So many books, so little time. That’s what we say. And now more than ever, our favorite authors are releasing books at a tremendous rate. Always good, right?

 

I’m wondering about reader fatigue today. Y’all know that before ASSASSIN’S MARK started releasing, it had been a long eight months since my last release—March, 2017. I love that I can get regular installments of some of my favorite series, but I sometimes look at all the Tuesday release day compilation posts and get…overwhelmed. Where do I start? Which series is that book with? What if I want to try something new, how do I figure out which book from a new author to try, their current release or something older?

 

It’s a lot to take in sometimes!

 

What about you, readers? Do you get overwhelmed by all the releases? Do you love that some authors produce books fast, and some slower, so you have time to catch up, savor the anticipation? What’s your take on the quick-release reality of romance books in this new age? Inquiring minds want to know! 😉 

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Release Day!!

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*** It’s release day! ***


ASSASSIN’S MARK releases exclusively today on Radish Fiction! Seven chapters are live, and new chapters will appear every Tuesday and Friday. Not sure you want to check it out? How about the opening chapter to get a little taste of what you’re in for?

And it wouldn’t be release day without a contest, would it? I’ll be giving two lucky readers 100 coins to use on the Radish app! To enter:

– Download the radish app from your phone/tablet’s App Store. (It’s free!)

– Create your username and password.

– Check out ASSASSIN’S MARK by searching for my name in the app, or following this link from your phone or tablet: 

https://radishfiction.com/stories/S1OkqkMfG

– Take a screenshot of ASSASSIN’S MARK on your phone/tablet and post in the comments!

That’s all you need to do for a chance to win. Oh, and just a reminder—the first three chapters of ASSASSIN’S MARK are free on @RadishFiction, so check it out!

Head over to my Facebook page for your chance to win!

*

Chapter One

I’m not sure what I expected. I’d been to bars, but not the kind of bars with pool tables and smoke haze and men on the prowl for a one-night stand. The bars I’d been to specialized in cocktail hours and old men in business suits. The Full Moon wasn’t refined or elegant or quiet.

It was everything I was not. Exactly where I needed to be tonight.

“What’ll you have?” the bartender asked. He was staring at Candy’s breasts, but she didn’t seem to mind, just flashed him a sexier version of her friendly smile. Had she slept with him before?

It was Renee who answered. “Pitcher of strawberry margaritas, Dave.”

“Make that two,” Candy tacked on.

Dave the Bartender nodded at her cleavage. “I’ll send ‘em right over.”

I followed my friends through the crowd toward a table Sarah had snagged while we ordered. The three women obviously had a routine. I’d known they were close, and the fact that they’d extended their little circle to include me from the first day we met in Nursing 101 class had touched me in ways they couldn’t possibly understand. They were normal girls with normal lives and normal homes. I wasn’t, but if they’d noticed, they didn’t mention it. No flicker of recognition at my name, no questions about where I lived or why I never went out when they invited me. Just basic friendship, no strings attached.

They had no idea how rare that was.

“So, Abby, see anything interesting?”

Too much, actually. Heat flushed my cheeks. “Um…”

Sarah giggled. “Wait till she’s got at least one margarita in her, Renee. Then ask.” She bumped my shoulder with hers. “The selection always looks better the later it gets.”

The selection already looked pretty good to me. Most of the men were our age—early twenties—and not a suit and tie to be found. Jeans and half-buttoned shirts and messily styled hair were the go-to. A tattooed forearm or the wink of an earring wasn’t rare. Beers in hand, the men joshed each other while prowling the room, hungry gazes assessing each woman they came to. One by one they’d peel off with their choice, either to the dance floor or a table or the front door.

What was it like to be the women they chose? In the circles my family required me to frequent, the barrier of my father’s name and status kept men away from me. Here, there were no barriers except my friends and my own insecurities. The idea that I could choose to ignore both and do whatever I wanted quickened my breath. Either I was excited or about to hyperventilate; I wasn’t certain which.

I refused to let the terror win anymore.

The margaritas arrived and we each poured ourselves one. The fruity yet tart liquid set my tongue alight like a sparkler on the Fourth of July, a pleasure I hadn’t experienced before. I savored it as I listened to the girls’ giggling commentary about each man who walked by. It wasn’t long before the room went hazy with something other than smoke and I found myself joining in the conversation without reservation.

I was pouring my second margarita when my phone vibrated in my back pocket. Two shorts, one long: my father. A healthy gulp helped bolster my confidence before I pulled the cell out for a look.

I shouldn’t respond, shouldn’t care, but I clicked on the message anyway, just to see. Maybe he’d changed his mind. Maybe he was worried about me. Maybe he wanted to apologize, tell me he loved me for once in twenty-one years.

Where the hell are you?

Or maybe not. I returned the phone to my pocket.

Sarah leaned close, her voice low. “Everything okay?”

Renee and Candy were focused on the table of men to their right. I gave Sarah a wry smile. “My dad.” I took another drink. “It’ll blow over, I’m sure.”

Sarah laid her hand over mine on the table and squeezed. The gesture mesmerized me. I couldn’t remember the last time someone had touched me because they cared. How sad was that?

My phone buzzed again. I ignored it.

“Holy shit.”

Sarah’s hand left mine to grasp her drink. She took a gulp, her gaze trained somewhere over Candy’s head. I followed it.

Holy shit is right.

The man was tall, dark, and dangerous with a capital D. I’d never seen anyone like him, anyone who made my insides clench just looking at him. Thick dark hair, long on top and shaved close on the sides, highlighted perfect ears and a jaw chiseled from granite. His eyes seemed too light for that hair and his olive skin, shining like spotlights beneath dark brows, almost too intense to bear. And those lips. God. They hinted at sensual pleasures I could only guess at.

He prowled across the room, a lean, muscular panther intent on prey—every woman’s fantasy, including mine.

And he was headed straight for us.

My gaze dropped to my drink. The tables around us held either men or couples, so I wasn’t mistaken about his focus. Which girl was he interested in? Sarah with her sweet smile? Or maybe Candy, with her unabashed sensuality?

An empty glass stared back at me. I reached for the pitcher.

“Hello, ladies.”

My hand froze on the handle as the words quivered through my body. Look up! Look at him! But I couldn’t; I could only sit there like a dumbass holding the pitcher in my shaking grip and praying I didn’t make a fool of myself.

No fear, remember?

No fear. I tightened my grip, lifted. So far, so good. Somehow I managed to pour a fresh drink without spilling, replace the pitcher on the table. Despite the sick pounding of my heart in my throat, I made myself glance up.

Gray eyes locked with mine.

Lord, he’s beautiful.

I expected him to look away, to focus on one of the other women. He didn’t. He stared—at me. Until the urge to squirm crawled up my spine and my cheeks burst into flames.

“Hello.”

Was that my voice, all breathy and…suggestive? It must’ve been; the other girls were staring, silent, their round eyes just as awed as I’m sure mine were. I looked back to the man looming over our table.

He reached a hand out to me. “I’m Levi.”

My fingers settled into his grip like they had been created to fit him. “Abby.”

My voice cracked. I cleared my throat.

“Hi, Abby.” He didn’t let go of my hand, didn’t glance around. Just held me captive with those intense eyes. “Would you dance with me?”

Teach Me Release Day Dance Par-tay!!!

Happy release day to my book baby, Teach Me! Conlan and Jess deserve their time in the light, and I'm so happy that time is finally here. Normally, release day is party day here on the blog. Readers gather round while I go on ad nauseum spin tales of the songs that inspired the book and the characters and the emotions of my latest story. But on this release day, with Teach Me, I'm doing something different: a live virtual dance party on Facebook!

PartyAnnouncementTonight, Tuesday October 28th, from 8:00-10:00 Eastern, I will be joined by a host of other authors at the Teach Me Release Day Dance Par-tay! Come join us, hear about the songs that inspired our books, share some songs you enjoy with our "Name Your Song" game, and win prizes as we dance ourselves silly to celebrate the release of Teach Me!

Click here to attend!

And if you can't stop by, I still want to show my appreciation for my wonderful readers with a special "Reader Appreciation" sale this week. Teach Me is available at all retailers for $.99 this week only! Click one of the links below to get your copy asap -- and ENJOY!

Amazon All Romance Ebooks Kobo Barnes & Noble

~ Ella

Want To Read Teach Me Early?

ella sheridan, author, writer, romance author, contemporary romance, erotic romance, romantic suspense, Teach Me, Advance Review Team, book reviews, new releaseTEACH ME, the first book in my Southern Nights series, releases October 28th. I’m anticipating that day almost as much as the arrival of my firstborn -- okay, maybe not quite that much; she was two weeks late, after all. :) But this is a very exciting day, and I need help making it truly spectacular — and you can help me do that! How? By joining my Advance Review Team.

That’s right: ADVANCE. You get to read Teach Me before it actually releases. What do I require in return? Only one thing: an honest review posted on release day.

That’s it.

Interested?

Awesome! Here’s what you do.

1. Sign up for my newsletter if you haven’t already. Only members of my mailing list get the opportunity to join the Advance Review Team. You will continue to get only one e-mail a month from me. No spam! Just news, once a month.

2. Once you’ve signed up for the newsletter, send an e-mail to ellasheridan.writer @ gmail (dot) com with the Subject: “Advance Review Team”.

3. What do you have to tell me to get picked for the team? Only one thing: that you want to read and review my books. That’s it! If you want to read advance copies of my books, and are willing to post a review on release day, nothing else is required. :)

ella sheridan, author, writer, erotic romance, romance author, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, Teach Me, Advance Review Team, book reviewsOkay, once you’re a part of the team, what then? It’s simple.

1. I will send out an e-mail when a new release is coming up.

2. Shortly after, you will receive an ARC of the new book in the e-format you prefer. (Approximately three weeks before release.)

3. You read the book. Awesome, right?

4. One day before release, you will get a final e-mail from me. That reminder e-mail is to let you know your review should be posted to Amazon and any other e-book retailers or sites you feel comfortable posting to (Goodreads, B&N, etc.), on the following day. You can even write it ahead of time and have it ready to copy and paste on release day.

That is all. Oh, and there might be occasional prizes…

Now, does this mean I want a guaranteed 5 star review? No. I want an HONEST review. Once a new book goes up for sale, your reviews help the book get noticed, help others find it and decide if it will fit their reading tastes and needs. One of the greatest gifts you can give an author (aside from buying their books) is a book review. Receiving a review on one of my books is a privilege I don’t take lightly!

Now, are you ready to join? Believe me—if you want to read an advance copy, you want to start now! Teach Me is already getting awesome props from beta readers. It’s a don’t-miss opportunity. Not to mention, it gets you on the team before books two and three come out in December and February, and you get to read those too!

So what do you say; are you interested? Sign up for the newsletter and then shoot me an e-mail quick, because arcs for Teach Me will be going out to my ART members by October 7th.

~ Ella

And don't forget, I'll reveal the official cover for Teach Me on September 28th!

Taking Stock

I had a moment this week where I sat down and took stock of the last year. At this time in 2013, I didn't have a publishing contract. I didn't even know one was on the horizon. In fact, I was extremely discouraged with what little progress I'd made, and the only thing keeping me going was the fact that I'd finalled in the RWA Golden Heart®. It was not my best time. Ella Sheridan, Dirty Little Secret, Loose Id, erotic romanceAnd then the magic happened. By June, I had my first publishing contract for Dirty Little Secret. Wow, what a ride! My first book came out in October of last year. My second book, Naughty Little Christmas, came out in December. Now I have a release planned for this summer, Just a Little More. The Secrets To Hide series is taking off by leaps and bounds, and hopefully Ian's story will round it out late this year. It's hard for me to believe that these characters, for so long on my heart, have come into the world and are available for any reader to read. It's bemusing, really. Surreal. And so gratifying as a writer, to see my work out there, being enjoyed. Thank you all so much for believing in me!ella sheridan, erotic romance, romance, author, writer, secrets to hide, naughty little christmas, dirty little secret, damien and harley, backstage pass

So what else is coming up? A lot! This September, October, and November, I will be releasing my Southern Nights series, Teach Me (book one), Trust Me (book two), and Take Me (book three). I'm so excited for this series, also set in and around Atlanta, Georgia. These books are contemporary, erotic, with just a hint of suspense thrown into the mix. I'm hoping you'll enjoy them as much as I have. Keep checking back for updated information on exact release dates, blurbs and covers, all of which will be coming in the very near future.

So, yes, that's a guaranteed four releases this year, possibly five. Eight books in two years. O.o That is an amazing number, truly. And all made possible because I have tremendous support from fellow writers, editors and amazing readers. Thank you all! I'm looking forward to many equally amazing years to come!

~ Ella

Release Day! Naughty Little Christmas Is Here -- And We're Having a Dance Par-tay!

ella sheridan, erotic romance, romance, author, writer, secrets to hide, naughty little christmas, dirty little secret, damien and harley, backstage passWoot! It's a release day par-tay! :) Naughty Little Christmas is live at Loose Id! And just to prove it, here is the link: Naughty at LI! *UPDATE: We're live on Amazon and All Romance eBooks! Woot!

Keep in mind, ALL ebook formats are available at LI. All you have to do is download the format appropriate for your ereader (or your computer, and they even tell you which format you need on their FAQs page), hook your ereader to your computer, and drag and drop the file to your ereader. Easy peasy! Even I can do it, and that's saying something. ;)

I will update as new formats become available, but I'm not sure how the holidays will affect load time, so even that pesky Nook file that won't be available for WEEKS can be had right away at LI's website. Run right over and get your copy of Damien and Harley for Christmas! You won't regret it!

And now that the practical "stuff" is taken care of...let's PAR-TAY!!! Here's the blurb for the most awesome Christmas story this year. Woot!

Harley Fisher's life changed forever when her twin sister gave birth to a baby one month before she died. This Christmas, Harley wants her adopted daughter to have the very best gift possible: her real father. Determined to discover if Damien Adams is worthy of being a part of the baby's life, Harley forces her way into a job as the manager-in-training for his new nightclub, Thrice. Damien is blunt, challenging, and sexy as all get-out. Desiring him is wrong, but when he touches her, it's oh so right.

Damien needs a manager for Thrice so he can return to overseeing all three of his clubs. Harley's too young, too hip, too damn tempting--and perfect for the job. Wanting her violates every rule he's laid out for his life, but even the strongest convictions can falter under the mistletoe.

Harley's keeping one hell of a secret. When Damien finds out, will Harley and his daughter be the best Christmas gift he's ever received, or will her secrets leave them with nothing more lasting than a naughty little Christmas this year?

I am so excited about this release! Let me tell you, Damien and Harley are hot enough together to singe the pages.We get a glimpse of old friends, and a glimpse of new ones that just might appear *hint, hint* in future books. :)

As you know if you've meandered over to the Extras Page for Dirty Little Secret, I have a theme song for every book. Today, in honor of Naughty's release and the Christmas holidays, I have TWO theme songs to share! The Christmas theme song for Naughty is mentioned in the very first page. That's right, it's George Michael's "Last Christmas." I know, I know, there are much more "sophisticated" versions nowadays, but for me, that song will always be perfect in George's voice. So here it is for your viewing enjoyment: "Last Christmas." (Dig that '80s hairstyle, dude! :) )

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8gmARGvPlI&w=560&h=315]

But wait, that's not all! Naughty had two theme songs. This song, while also an oldie, encompassed everything these characters seemed to struggle through. I had it on repeat so much my kids begged me to stop playing it! So, without further ado, "All I Want" by Toad the Wet Sprocket:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVYYpNaSs2Y&w=420&h=315]

Want some more? How about Damien's song for Harley? Damien might start off skeptical that Harley has what it takes to be successful at managing Thrice, but by the end of the book, he realizes exactly how much they have in common -- and how perfect she is for him. Here's his message for his Wonder Girl: "Hey, Soul Sister" by Train.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVpv8-5XWOI&w=560&h=315]

Harley is not afraid to butt heads with Damien, ever. And they do butt heads, often and hard. What song reminds me most of these two and their explosive reaction to each other? That one's easy! "One More Night" by Maroon 5.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwK7ggA3-bU&w=560&h=315]

Okay, last one, I promise! There are some smokin' hot sex scenes in this book, I'm tellin' ya. One occurs...ahem...outside, atop Damien's low-slung sports car, the one Harley describes as "the equivalent of fuck-me shoes, except for men: all I can give you exactly what you want, all night long." ;) So what song inspired that scene? Why, the same one that inspired the smokin' hot dance scenes, of course; "Hands All Over" by Maroon 5:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQEZ-RiW7X0&w=560&h=315]

All right, all right! I know that's enough. Can you tell I love music for my books? By next week I'll have the extras page for Naughty complete and you can see the entire playlist I listened to for the book. For now, though, how about an excerpt? Okay, here you go!

*

“You’re who?”

Harley came very close to laughing, though she wasn’t sure if it was actual amusement or just plain nerves. George Michael’s voice crooned “Last Christmas” in her head. “Tell me, baby, do you recognize me?” It’s definitely been a year. Guess the answer’s no.

She managed to hold back the laughter. Barely. Nerves wouldn’t get the better of her any more than Damien Adams would. She refused to allow it. Squaring her shoulders, she ignored the fact that she felt like an idiot with her hand dangling out in front of her, waiting to shake, while she faced down the man who had taken the Atlanta bar scene by storm less than a year ago. In person he was more like a blizzard, slamming into her senses, whiting out everything, including her courage. She’d always been good at faking it, though.

Ignoring his obvious impatience, she tried again. “Harley Fisher.”

The jerk stared back silently, full lips pressed tight together, a dark brow cocked up in question.

Okay, she knew she’d interrupted him, but seriously… She raised her own brow, getting a little impatient herself and trying hard to control it. “We spoke on the phone. About the general manager’s position,” she reminded him carefully.

Damien looked at her still-extended hand; then, with casual deliberation, he crossed his arms over his wide, muscular chest. The silk of his shirt stretched to a fit that resembled plastic wrap. Pulling her gaze from the deep V of the open neck, she dropped her hand and refused to be intimidated. She needed this job, and she intended to have it.

A spark of recognition lit those river-brown eyes, and Harley swallowed hard against the heavy, dry lump in her throat until he said, “Right. You’re the one I thought was a guy.”

She caught her grimace before it could get out. Yes, her name was unusual. She was often mistaken for a man until someone saw her in person, after which they simply thought she was an airhead. Or a slut. Her youth and rocker-chick persona often worked against her in the “real” world, but it never took people—men—long to learn differently. Hopefully Mr. Slick here would be quick on the uptake.

From the look of it, she had a better chance of Santa coming down her nonexistent chimney.

Raising her voice slightly to be heard over the remixed Christmas song blaring from the speakers, she said, “Yes, that Harley.” Try a smile, she told herself. “We—”

An impatient shake of his head cut off her words. “I believe I told you we were looking for someone more”—his gaze slid slowly down her body and back up—“more.”

More what, for God’s sake? More ready to jump into bed with him? A strong urge to put her leather jacket back on, as if she were still out in the Atlanta winter cold, bit into her. And pissed her off. Maybe she’d made a mistake in coming here. Damien obviously wasn’t the man she’d thought he would be, the man she needed.

No, give it a chance. This is too important to be making rash decisions. He can afford to; you can’t.

She dug her fingernails deep into her palms and wished her soon-to-be boss wasn’t quite such an ass.

Or quite so sexy. Looking at him heated her body in a way that had nothing to do with the anger she was feeling. The reaction shook her. Of course, Sonny’d always had good taste in men.

Which was definitely not why Harley was here.

Pain tingling in her palms from the digging of her nails, she forced herself to hold his stare. “Mr. Adams, simply because I’m young—and female—doesn’t mean I’m not the right person for the job. If you could just take a look over my résumé one more time—”

“I’ve seen what I needed to see, Ms. Fisher,” he said, voice dropping to little more than a growl. “I own three very successful clubs in three cities hundreds of miles apart. Traveling between them means leaving someone else in charge, someone with the experience and expertise to work independently, wisely, and efficiently. It means I must trust that person implicitly with my livelihood and that of my employees. Being Thrice’s general manager requires more than a familiarity with the bar.” That insulting look returned to his eyes, implying various ways she might’ve gained such knowledge that had nothing to do with her brains.

Oh, he so did not go there.

“So what you’re saying is, a woman in her midtwenties, a former musician, covered in tattoos but looking reasonably attractive is by definition a lush? Or are you insinuating that I’m a whore?”

Damien stared, eyes wide with shock, as if he couldn’t believe the words that had left her mouth. Then a boyish grin transformed him from put-out businessman to dangerously naughty hunk, and the urge to let go of her anger sank its teeth deep. No way. She was not forgetting he was rude, egotistical, asinine, a dickhead…

He laughed before she could let a real hissy fit loose. The sound echoed, rich and full, blending and countering the music filling the room. It deflated the ball of emotion choking her, drew her in, made her want to mix her laugh with his. She held her breath, unable to decide if his reaction was a good or bad thing.

“Forgive me,” Damien said. A wheeze interrupted the last word, and he had to pause to get his mirth under control. “You’re right. That was uncalled for.” Like an old-world aristocrat, he bowed from the waist. His shirt draped away from his chest, giving her a glimpse of smooth, tan skin all the way to his navel. “My apologies.”

Did he plan to kiss her hand next? The man had throwing people off down to an art. And why didn’t he look ridiculous with his shirt unbuttoned down to a lick-worthy six-pack? Reminding herself of her purpose, she said warily, “Accepted. I think.”

His grin said if that was the best he could get, he’d take it. “Ms. Fisher, I appreciate your candor—and that you are willing to forgive my rudeness. But—”

She barely refrained from rolling her eyes. There always has to be a but.

“—the fact remains that a certain level of experience is necessary for this position. I’m sorry.”

He turned to leave, and panic took over, pushing her to close the distance between them. Instinctively her hand shot out, and then she was gripping the heavy muscle of his biceps. Desperation firmed her hold when the shock of physical contact shot up her arm like a lightning bolt. He felt hot. Masculine. This close, he smelled of spice and alcohol, and she found herself breathing heavier just to take in more.

Don’t be a damn fool, Harley! Get your act together.

“Ms. Fisher—”

Before he could blast her for detaining him, Harley firmed both her courage and her voice. “Thrice has been open how long, Mr. Adams?” When he refused to answer, she did it for him. “Six months. I’ve been involved in the Atlanta music scene for fifteen years, the last seven of which I spent not only as a musician but as an event organizer and PR rep for my band and several others.”

That got him to face her fully. “You are either older than you look, or that’s a big stretch of the truth.”

She let a smirk sneak onto her lips. “And you are more unfamiliar with your new market than I would have given you credit for. My mother rotated out of every club in town, dragging me along with her from the time I was ten so she could sing her heart out. At fifteen I became involved with the indie music scene, and three years later formed and managed my own band, Aftershock.”

At the name, Damien’s brows shot up. So much for actually reading my résumé. Anyone with even a basic knowledge of indie music had heard of Aftershock; they were one of the foremost bands in the business, not just because they were damn good musicians, but because Harley had as good of instincts in management as she did with a bass guitar. If her private life hadn’t blown all to hell, she would still be with them.

“I see.”

She could tell he didn’t like admitting he was wrong, but at least the playboy charm was darkening into something more serious, more thoughtful, without the annoyed edge he’d shown at first. Time to close the deal. “You know the national scene, no doubt about it. You know what needs to be done to make things happen in LA or Colorado. You gained that know-how through study, experience, and local help.” She fought to keep the quaver of desperation out of her words. “I can give you that here, Mr. Adams, and with far more depth and speed and with lower cost than anyone else you could hire. I know Atlanta. I know the people here. I know the nightlife and the music and the contacts to make it all happen.” She pulled in a heavy lungful of air to ease her aching chest. “I am the person for this job.”

When the last word left her lips, she knew every ounce of her passion and determination went with it. Her lungs deflated like a balloon with a slow leak, refusing to refill as she waited for his verdict. Thinking of everything that was at stake, she willed him to listen, to see all that she could offer.

“You’re not gonna give an inch, are you?” he finally asked.

Harley narrowed her eyes. “No, and you wouldn’t want me to. It’s exactly what you need.”

Damien’s gaze dropped to the hand still clutching his arm. Harley slowly released him, the burn of embarrassment firing her cheeks. When his mouth, that sinfully full mouth, opened to speak, she braced herself for rejection.

“Okay.”

Wh-what? The single word hit like a brick wall she’d never seen coming. “Okay?” she parroted.

“Okay, let’s talk.” Glancing down, he surveyed the thick black watch encircling his wrist. “I have a couple of things to settle first, but if you’re willing to hang around, I’ll take the time to speak with you.”

Clenching the muscles in her thighs to keep herself from slumping to the floor in relief, she forced calm into her voice. “Yes. Absolutely.”

Damien stared down at her for a long moment, something dark and unreadable in his eyes. Knowing she had to get used to him watching her, judging her, she let him look. Whether he found what he was looking for or not, she didn’t know. He turned to a passing employee, asked the man to escort her to a table in the bar, and nodded before making his way down a nearby hall.

She couldn’t resist a final glance in his direction as she was led across the room. Step one down. They were on their way.

* * * *

He needed to stop looking at her. Every few minutes his gaze strayed toward the corner table in the bar where Harley Fisher sat, sipping a drink with red and silver sprinkles rimming the glass, chatting with every employee who passed. The Christmas lights illuminating the area glinted in her eyes, and he couldn’t keep his fucking gaze off her. Which was bad, because he didn’t do employees—ever. And he wanted to do her, no doubt about it.

Pretending to listen to Brad give him a rundown of the night’s tally, he took in the picture she made. She fit, which was what had made him wary at first. Too young, too hip. From the top of her candy-red-and-cream-striped hair to the toes of her knee-high stiletto boots, she looked like one of his customers—the ones he occasionally slept with—not a manager. She had slipped her tight leather jacket onto the chair back, revealing a silky silver tank that showcased a full-sleeve tattoo along one slender, toned arm. Those muscles came from holding a guitar, he now knew. A musician. Wasn’t that just further reason to be panting after the woman? It was a wonder he hadn’t been forced to roll his tongue back into his mouth like the cartoon characters he remembered from childhood.

“Boss?”

Brad’s voice pulled him back to business, and Damien turned, removing Harley from his line of sight. Tonight’s private Christmas party for Keane Industry’s Atlanta office had been well attended, the bar busy all night. Brad needed his attention, as did a million additional things, both here and at his other two clubs. He needed a general manager for Thrice. Once, his club in LA, and Twice, the Denver nightclub, were both hugely successful, but he wasn’t the kind of owner who could open a place and then leave it in someone else’s hands entirely. He stayed in constant contact with both managers, flying out frequently to each location, this month in particular. The series of charity events planned for the holidays would benefit hundreds of families in the three cities where he ran clubs, but they added more strain to his already overfull schedule.

He and Brad were finishing up the details for tomorrow’s order when Ryan strolled over to lean against the bar.

“Sounds good, Brad,” Damien told the bartender. “Finalize those numbers and have Malik get that order in ASAP tomorrow morning.”

Brad immediately pulled out his phone to shoot the day supervisor a reminder, which was one reason the man had become such a trusted employee so quick. He got things done and done fast. Damien needed all the help he could get. Fifty e-mails waited on his phone for his attention, and that didn’t include the things Ryan, as his assistant, handled on his own, or the things Ryan couldn’t handle when he and Brad took over Thrice while Damien was away. Both men worked hard, but neither had the know-how or experience to run the club without constant input from Damien, not yet. The need for a seasoned day-to-day manager here at Thrice neared desperation level at this point. No one he’d interviewed had felt right for such an important position, though. No one had even come close, not until Harley.

“Remind him about contacting that wholesaler while you’re at it,” Ryan put in. “See what the guy has to offer us.”

Brad nodded, fingers flying, then hit a final button and looked up. “Anything else?”

“No, you’re good,” Damien told him, meaning it.

“Does that mean I get an extra-special Christmas bonus this year?” the bartender asked with a grin.

“I don’t know. Ryan?”

Brad groaned. “You did not put Wonder Boy in charge of our bonuses, did you?”

“I’ll remember that,” Ryan warned.

Brad laughed as he headed toward the other end of the bar, which spanned the length of the club area, to finish supervising the night’s cleanup.

Ryan leaned a little closer, brows up almost to his hairline, and smiled slyly. “So, who’s the girl?”

In the four years Ryan had worked for him, Damien had come to love his young assistant like a little brother, so he didn’t resist the urge to smack the little pissant upside the back of his head.

“Hey, man, don’t mess with the hair!” Ryan smoothed the ruffled strands at his nape, but his smile widened despite the whine in his voice.

“Keep your tongue on a leash,” Damien warned, his words lacking heat. Without his consent, his gaze traveled toward Harley, watching as one of the waiters approached her table to offer a refill. Harley shook her head; then something the man said made her laugh. A twinge of pain shot through his jaw as Damien ground his teeth together. “That,” he told Ryan, “is Harley Fisher.”

Ryan shot to attention at his side. “The Harley Fisher? From Aftershock? Hot damn!” His tongue practically hung out as he stared across the room, and Damien started to wonder if he was going to have to wipe up drool. “I didn’t recognize her offstage. Is this my Christmas gift? Say yes. Please?” The last word definitely approached a whine.

Ryan was much closer to the indie scene than Damien, obviously, but it wasn’t as if Damien had no clue who the woman was. Aftershock was one of those bands that even adamant anti-indie listeners knew and enjoyed. He kept up with their music, if not all the band members’ names. What he did know was the venues they played—good ones, events that took finesse to get, especially for a band without the solid backing of a major record company. If Harley acted as their manager, she knew what the hell she was doing. So why leave that behind to work for him?

Ryan’s gushing made the pain in Damien’s jaw worse. “Down, boy. She’s applied for the general manager’s position.”

“No kidding?” A thoughtful look crossed Ryan’s boyish face. “I’d heard she was on hiatus. Maybe it was more serious than the rumor mill let on.”

Something to think about. She certainly seemed the best choice overall, given her background. And if he was honest, the main thing holding him back at this point was the attraction he felt for her. He liked her spunk. He liked that she didn’t take his shit without calling him on it. Damn it, he liked her, wanted her, and therein lay the problem. She was trouble waiting to happen. With a capital T.

A soft, feminine hand on his arm interrupted his thoughts. “Damien? Is everything all right?”

Mia. Another problem squeezing herself onto his overflowing plate. When he said he didn’t do employees, he meant it, but Mia refused to get the picture.

He straightened. “Fine, Mia,” he said, shifting as subtly as possible away from the petite waitress. Petite but strong, barracuda strong. She, like Harley, was young, maybe twenty-three. She’d been waitressing at Thrice for three months, and if things didn’t change soon, he would be forced to let her go. Being ambushed every time he came in the door of his own club was unacceptable—and unavoidable. She’d made it so.

“Would you like me to gather the staff for the meeting?” she asked, swaying her shoulders side to side in an incongruously little-girl move that emphasized her generous breasts in the low-cut shirt she wore. Damien knew better than to look down. They were nice breasts—he’d noticed; he was a breast man, after all—but a single glance and he’d end up with a permanent attachment to his hip that would take a crowbar to remove.

Keeping his eyes firmly locked with her exotic, almond-shaped ones, he said, “Valentine will let you know when we’re ready.” He glanced over to see his waitstaff supervisor at the far end of the room, pointing two waiters in the direction of a section that had not been taken care of yet. He nodded in Valentine’s direction. “Don’t you have cleanup to get through?”

Mia’s full lips pouted prettily. “I just wanted to help, Damien. I’m sorry.”

Instead of rolling his eyes, he nudged his chin toward the opposite end of the room. “Finish up, please.”

“That is a mess waiting to happen,” Ryan murmured, barely waiting until Mia stepped out of earshot.

“I agree.” He jammed both fists against the bar, arms rigid, and rolled his shoulders to release the tension that had settled there. “One you can take care of while I’m away.”

“Thanks,” Ryan mocked. “I get to cover your ass while you gallivant all over the country, and handle the horny waitress.”

Damien smirked at the disdain dripping from Ryan’s last word. “It’s a dirty job, but at least I don’t have to do it.” Especially not at Christmas. Damien hated letting anyone go, but the young woman had been warned strongly and repeatedly. Knowing what had to be done didn’t mean it depressed him less.

Damien motioned for Brad and Valentine to gather their crews for the “family meeting,” the staff meeting held nightly to go over issues from the shift or things that needed to be addressed for upcoming ones. By the time they finished, Harley had been waiting more than an hour for his attention, but she didn’t act impatient. She’d watched him handle the staff, those green eyes alight with interest. Now those same eyes narrowed on him as he walked toward her table, leaving Brad and Ryan to lock up.

Damien felt the pull of that look, right down to his groin. And that hair. Jesus. Her hair reminded him of those Life Savers strawberries-and-cream lollipops he used to love as a kid, a swirled mix of sharp tang and sweet, creamy goodness. It made him wonder where else on Harley he could taste creamy goodness. When his dick filled at the thought, he groaned. He needed her as a manager, not a good lay. He could get sex anytime; someone to fill the empty slot in his business was far harder to come by.

Harley was it, but neither he nor his cock were jumping for joy over the decision.

*

All right, guys, that's it for today! Enjoy the party? Then be sure and hop over to Loose Id and pick up your copy of Naughty Little Christmas today. Merry Christmas!

Cover Reveal: Naughty Little Christmas!

The cover for Naughty Little Christmas is here, and boy, is it NAUGHTY! When Loose Id first sent it, I just about fell off my chair. Harley is HAWT. My cover artist for the Secrets to Hide series, Dar Albert, has done an awesome job every time. So without further ado, here are Damien and Harley on the new cover, Naughty Little Christmas: ella sheridan, erotic romance, romance, author, writer, secrets to hide, naughty little christmas, dirty little secret, damien and harley, backstage pass

Naughty goes on sale December 24th -- that's right, Christmas Eve! And to get a glimpse of what to expect from Damien and his oh so sassy heroine, here's the official blurb:

Harley Fisher's life changed forever when her twin sister gave birth to a baby one month before she died. This Christmas, Harley wants her adopted daughter to have the very best gift possible: her real father. Determined to discover if Damien Adams is worthy of being a part of the baby's life, Harley forces her way into a job as the manager-in-training for his new nightclub, Thrice. Damien is blunt, challenging, and sexy as all get-out. Desiring him is wrong, but when he touches her, it's oh so right.

Damien needs a manager for Thrice so he can return to overseeing all three of his clubs. Harley's too young, too hip, too damn tempting--and perfect for the job. Wanting her violates every rule he's laid out for his life, but even the strongest convictions can falter under the mistletoe.

Harley's keeping one hell of a secret. When Damien finds out, will Harley and his daughter be the best Christmas gift he's ever received, or will her secrets leave them with nothing more lasting than a naughty little Christmas this year?

Excited? Me too! I can't wait for you to delve further into Damien and Harley's Christmas story!

Weekly Web Search: Ode to Colin Farrell

ella sheridan, damien, damien adams, colin farrell, naughty little christmas, dirty little secret, secrets, secrets to hide series, erotic romance, contemporary romance, loose id, christmasOkay, y'all, I couldn't resist. With the exciting news yesterday -- title and release date for Damien's Christmas story -- I had to point you in the direction of my inspiration for Damien. Colin Farrell is TO DIE FOR!!! He's beautiful, and the perfect inspiration for my bad boy in the bar, sexy boy in the bed, and sweet boy when he's holding his woman in his arms. (And he doesn't dance bad either. :) ) So have a gander over at Colin's official website, and while you're looking at all those pictures, keep Damien in mind. He'll be available for your "pleasure" on Christmas Eve in his very own book, Naughty Little Christmas!

http://www.colinfarrell.org/

 

Cover Reveal: Dirty Little Secret Is Here!

It's official! Dirty Little Secret will release October 15th from Loose Id! I received the official cover last night, created by cover artist Dar Albert: Ella Sheridan, Dirty Little Secret, Loose Id, erotic romanceIsn't it pretty?!?! :)

As soon as the official blurb comes out, I will post it too. I'm so excited! Squeeeee!!!!!

Oldie but Goody: Pleasure Unbound by Larissa Ione

Pleasure Unbound, Larissa Ione, Demonica series, paranormal romance, romance, author, writer, Ella Sheridan, reading, TBRAahhh, the Demonica series! I LOVE these books. And yes, I've already read them, and the series that follows, so why am I reading book one, Pleasure Unbound, again? (Besides the fact that it's awesomesauce?) I'll tell you: I've struggled recently with the fact that my reading time is severely limited. Between work and writing, I rarely take time off to read, but I do like to pick up a book at night sometimes to help me settle down to sleep. This can be dangerous, mind you, if I get too involved and want to stay up (waayyy past my bedtime c;), so for the most part I reread books on my keeper shelf so I don't have that "must see what happens next!" feeling to keep me up at night.

Recently, however, I felt guilty that I wasn't reading anything new. I needed a fresh infusion into my TBR pile, so I went searching, bought a couple of newer books, and piled them on my bedside table. Know what happened? Each one, while somewhat interesting, couldn't hold my interest. I would get a couple of chapters in and think, Eh, why am I struggling with this? And I would stop reading. After about the fourth book, I seriously wanted to chuck something against a wall. It wasn't that the books were bad, but my head is so full of chaos right now that if it isn't greatly compelling for me, I'm not gonna finish it.

I've never had that problem with Larissa Ione.

I have her latest book on my shelf, unread. But I realized I was having trouble keeping the details of the series in my head, so I decided to start from the beginning and move forward -- and it's been great! I'm reading, staying interested, and gathering up all those pertinent facts I need to make the latest book make sense and be interesting. (By the way, the same is true for JR Ward's latest book, which is staring at me from my shelf as I speak, but I told myself I couldn't read it until Unbroken was complete. :s)

So, there you have it, what I'm reading right now. c: Here's the description from Amazon if you've never checked out these amazing books:

In a place where ecstasy can cost you your life . . .

She's a demon-slayer who hungers for sensual pleasure-but fears it will always be denied her. Until Tayla Mancuso lands in a hospital run by demons in disguise, and the head doctor, Eidolon, makes her body burn with unslakable desire. But to prove her ultimate loyalty to her peers, she must betray the surgeon who saved her life.

Two lovers will dare to risk all.

Eidolon cannot resist this fiery, dangerous woman who fills him with both rage and passion. Not only is she his avowed enemy, but she could very well be the hunter who has been preying upon his people. Torn between his need for the truth and his quest to find his perfect mate before a horrific transformation claims him forever, Eidolon will dare the unthinkable-and let Tayla possess him, body and soul . . .

Check out this and other books by Larissa on her website HERE. It's totally worth it, believe me!

And for another great read, hop on over to The Mutual Admiration Society to see Dani Wade's new release, Finding Her Rhythm, and learn all about her rock-star hero, Michael Korvello!