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Currently viewing the category: "Publisher: Evernight Publishing"

Make Me Melt by Nicki Day

Make Me Melt

by Nicki Day

Evernight Publishing

Ebook ISBN: 978-1-77233-173-8

[ Contemporary Romance, MF ]

Michael and Vicky haven’t seen one another since their break up at the tender age of eighteen years old. Despite the years that have passed they begin to realize their passion hasn’t died, and those wounds that had never healed, might be the very thing that brings them together again.

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Chapter One

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Remind Me by Nicole Morgan

Remind Me

by Nicole Morgan

Evernight Publishing

eBook ISBN: 9781772331134

[ Contemporary Romance ]

After 12 years of marriage, Priscilla Blackwood has decided to leave her husband. Will being stranded together in a blizzard be enough to repair their broken relationship? Or will Max be forced to say goodbye to the woman who stole his heart so many years ago.

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Chapter One

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You Taste So Sweet by Erin M. Leaf

You Taste So Sweet

by Erin M. Leaf

Evernight Publishing

eBook ISBN: 9781771306973

When an exploding meteor infects the world with a zombie virus, Lark knows survival will be tough. Her roommate and best friend insists that her father and his friend will come and save them, but Lark isn’t sure if she wants to put her life into the hands of strangers.

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Chapter One

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The Submission
by D.F. Krieger & Sonia Hightower

Evernight Publishing

eBook ISBN: 978-1-77130-039-1

When a fledging writer submits an erotic tale to Daring Desires Publishing, one head strong woman meets another as an author/editor war ensues. There’s no room for a diva in the publishing industry. When you submit a manuscript to Daring Desires, you submit more than a book…you submit yourself.

Chapter One

Katia slammed the cordless phone down on her desk so hard, her coffee mug fell over. Well, thank fucking goodness it didn’t have any coffee in it. One tiny thing to rejoice about, though losing my computer and the crap on it wouldn’t really make a difference. This is bullshit! My agent doesn’t know what the hell she’s doing or talking about. She blinked back tears of frustration as she stared at the half-full white page open on her computer screen. The blinking black cursor mocked her where it sat waiting mid-word. What was the point in typing anymore? As her agent had said, it was drivel, nobody was interested. A Pirate’s Pleasure had bombed in sales. A Pirate’s Passion was half complete, over fifty thousand words already typed, months of work, and her agent had just uttered the most dreaded and feared words.
They reverberated back and forth in her brain like a tennis ball, from the left to the right and back again. Sorry, but Halifax House looked over the synopsis you provided, and they aren’t interested. The numbers came back showing that A Pirate’s Pleasure has not met the required or expected sales. Looks like you are going to owe them back your advance. They aren’t taking a risk on the sequel.
Though her agent hadn’t exactly called it drivel by name, Katia knew that the other lady didn’t care for the three chapters of A Pirate’s Passion that Katia had sent to her, because the agent was refusing to represent the piece rather than try to find a home for it outside of Halifax House. By contract, Katia had to send the sequel or any work containing characters from A Pirate’s Pleasure to the leading publisher that had contracted the original piece, but she was permitted to take it elsewhere should they decline it. The fact that her agent wasn’t willing to try spoke volumes.
The loss of Halifax House meant financial and professional ruin.
And after I bragged to all the fellow waitresses that I had a fifteen thousand dollar advance, a major book deal, and would be leaving them all behind in no time…Oh, thank God I didn’t give notice. To think I was on the verge of doing just that…
Katia closed her eyes and laid her head back against her leather office chair, trying to regain control of her tumultuous emotions. All her hopes and dreams were going down the drain right in front of her. She would be a waitress for the rest of her life. Instead of asking people, “Who would you like me to inscribe the book to?” she would be asking, “Would you like fries with that?”
No! No. After three years of writing, she couldn’t give up now. Katia opened her eyes, straightened her spine, wiped the tears from her cheeks, and glared at the blinking cursor with determination.
“Okay, so people don’t want pirates. People are tired of pirates. They don’t want to spend money on pirates. Let’s find out what people want.” She placed her hand on her mouse and clicked the red X in the upper right corner. The little white box popped up.
Do you want to save changes you made to “A Pirate’s Passion_Katia Lane”?
Katia snorted. “No, I’m afraid not. Nobody is interested. I’m moving on to other things.” She couldn’t help but wince, however, as she clicked on “Don’t Save.” All that work… No, she wouldn’t think of that.
After refilling her coffee mug and staring at the Amazon bestseller lists until her vision grew blurry and she could swear she officially had carpal tunnel from moving her mouse so much over various chat topics in writer’s forums, she came to a few conclusions.
Katia took a generous gulp of coffee and grabbed a nearby notebook, speaking aloud as she jotted notes. “Too many pirate tales. Overdone. We know that now. Goodreads reviews for A Pirate’s Pleasure were fairly good, but apparently I need to work on my sex scenes. They weren’t erotic enough, though it might help if I got laid occasionally. So…” she trailed off and bit the tip of her pen, frowning at her words. “More sex. No pirates. Let’s find something not done to death.”
Another thought popped into her mind. And no more agents. Screw agents. She began scrawling again. “People like sex, originality, and I don’t want an agent. Hmm.”
She moved the mouse again. What was it someone had said in a chat group? Leading erotica publisher? Accepting unsolicited manuscripts? And word was many of their authors became New York Times bestsellers. What was the name again?
Katia chewed her lip and began Googling once more. She pulled up a website. Yes, she was over the age of eighteen, but if a box popped up asking her exact age, she was going to lie, dammit.
The website allowed her entry. Oh my. Her eyes widened at the content before her. Whoa. Men kissing men. Half-naked, writhing bodies. Four different heat ratings. And the world’s bestselling publisher of erotic fiction. Daring Desires Publishing.
Katia squirmed in her chair. Was it growing warm in the room or was it just her? Her gaze skimmed over the guidelines, and she drooled over the cover art. They obviously knew their stuff. She recognized many of the titles from the bestseller lists. She clicked on “categories.”
“Well, if pirates are overdone, male/male fiction is way overdone too. Why don’t you have any female/female?” She voiced her question aloud, half expecting the computer to talk back to her. One never knew with technology nowadays.
Wait a minute… She slammed her notebook down on the desk, and again, her coffee cup tipped over. But Katia paid it no mind. It only had a few drops left at the bottom. Besides, she was too inspired. Sex. Originality. Not done to death. No agent.
She threw her head back and laughed. She’d write a female/female erotica. Coffee forgotten, notebook tossed onto the floor, she opened her Word program and began typing furiously. Screw carpal tunnel. She had a writing career to save.
Weeks later, Katia opened the homepage to Daring Desires Publishing again. She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear as she read their submissions guidelines more thoroughly. “Times New Roman, twelve point, check,” she murmured, reading further down. It was hard to ignore that image of a sultry, naked chick on the left. “Double spaced, minimum word count: twenty thousand, check.” She had a good fifty-five thousand words. “Professionally edited? Isn’t that your job?” She scoffed. She was published with Halifax. Never mind that they didn’t want her latest piece. She didn’t need to hire a professional editor.
She sat back in her chair, satisfied. Much to her pleasure, writing contemporary was way easier than writing historical. No research involved, just contemporary stuff and sex. Lots of sex.
She navigated to her e-mail account and typed up a query. I bet half of their authors don’t even know how to write a proper query. I’m sure they’ll be all over this.
Satisfied with her query—she’d been sure to mention that she was published with Halifax House; after all, her low sales weren’t publicized—she attached her .doc, tapping her fingers impatiently as it loaded into the e-mail.
Finally, after three weeks of writing before and after her waitressing shifts, she was finished and submitting her latest masterpiece, Taming Thalia. She typed her name at the bottom, adding “Bestselling author of A Pirate’s Passion” below it, and hit send.
New York Times, here I come!” She beamed at her computer screen for a full minute before her smile faded. Now, how long will it take them to get back to me?
She sighed and wrinkled her nose. Let the waiting game begin.

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Kiss Is A Four-Letter Word
Four-Letter Word, Book 2
by Erin M. Leaf

Evernight Publishing

eBook ISBN: 978-1-77130-027-8

For Sherry, the two men who come to her rescue after she crashes her bicycle are gorgeous, fun, and delicious to kiss. Eli and Simon are rich, handsome, and eligible. Kissing them is awesome. Watching them kiss each other is even better. Can Eli and Simon heal her wounded heart?

Chapter One

The first time Sherry Griffin set eyes on Eli and Simon, the mountain had just reared up out of nowhere and bit her on the ass. She’d tried to compensate when her bike slid sideways on the rocky single-track, but her ankle twisted, unclipping her shoe from the pedal. Before she could figure out what the hell to do, she flew end over end above her handlebars. Stupid trail. Her butt hit one of the pointiest rocks and she knew the bruise would be fantastic. The arrowhead-shaped stone wanted blood. She gasped and rubbed her rear. Where the hell was her bike?
“I wouldn’t try to move yet, if I were you,” a deep male voice said.
“You may have broken something,” another one volunteered. This voice was lighter, not quite a baritone, but no less attractive sounding.
Sherry spat out some dust and rolled over, ignoring both the warnings and the twinge in her backside. Her eyes locked onto two of the most gorgeous specimens of male beauty she’d ever seen standing over her.
Well, hello, she thought. Greek gods for the win. “What?” she said aloud, like an idiot. She coughed. Damn mountain. Her eyes watered and she blinked, trying to get the grit out so she could focus. The men had to have seen her humiliating display of bicycling ineptitude. Ugh. When her vision finally cleared, Sherry looked at them again and her mouth fell open. Nope, she hadn’t been hallucinating.
Standing before her were two extremely good-looking guys. One wore cut-off jeans shorts and an old t-shirt hanging loose over an obviously fit torso. A brilliantly colored tattoo peeked from his shirtsleeve. His legs were to die for. Sherry winced at the thought of biking in those shorts, but he didn’t seem to be in any pain. Her eyes dropped to his groin, where she ogled his rather substantial package. What about chafing? Sherry snapped her mouth shut. Stop staring at him, you ninny. While she kicked her brain back into gear he moved his bicycle off the trail so no one else would ride down onto it. She stared at the back of his head helplessly, wondering if his short golden hair would feel as soft as it looked.
Sherry forced her eyes away from him to check out the shorter of the two men. Sensibly, he wore traditional baggy mountain biking shorts. A tight red jersey hugged his delicious pecs and defined shoulders. Sherry’s fingers twitched. She wanted to run her hands all over him. His hair was to die for. Dark brown, shoulder-length, and shiny, it fell over his face in a tousled mess. Yummy. Sherry made herself stop ogling the poor guy and shifted her gaze to the bicycle he’d set down near the trail. It had a full suspension with a good derailleur. Clearly he wasn’t as insane as his friend who rode a fixie. How anyone could tackle a mountain riding a bike with no gears was a mystery to her. Sherry shook her head and glanced at their feet. At least they both owned decent shoes. She struggled to her knees but a hand came down on her shoulder, urging her back down.
“Seriously, don’t move yet. If you’ve broken something chances are you’re in shock and not feeling it yet,” Red-Jersey Guy said. He crouched by her side, the cleats on his shoes grinding into the gravel. She winced, hoping he wouldn’t get a stone stuck in the mechanism.
“I’m pretty sure I’d know if I broke something.” Sherry shifted onto her hip and scooted back, hoping to at least get off the trail. They were fair game for anyone careening down the rocky single-track. She looked around again for her bike and winced. Crap. It was stuck in a tree about ten feet down trail. How the hell did it get stuck up there?
“Here, let us help,” the guy wearing jeans shorts said, hand on her elbow. She rolled her eyes. Why did men think sticking an arm under an elbow was useful? No leverage. Holding her there just unbalanced her.
“Thanks, but I’ve got this.” She brushed off his hand and moved sideways, trying to ignore the rocks digging into her ass. When she had situated herself on the grass she looked down at her legs. Oh. That’s why her shin hurt. Blood coated her left ankle. She swallowed, hoping she didn’t need stitches.
“Yeah, that’s why we wanted to help you. You’re looking a bit pale,” Jean-Shorts Guy explained, dropping down next to her. “Hey Simon, get the gauze and tape, would you?”
“Shit,” Sherry muttered. “I’ve never fallen this bad before.”
He shrugged. “It happens to all of us eventually.”
Sherry nodded, staring at him. The man was beautiful. Desperate to hide her infatuation with his lovely green eyes, she grilled him about his crazy clothing choices. “How the hell can you ride in jeans shorts? On a fixie, no less? Doesn’t it hurt?” She promptly bit her tongue before more words could come out. Words like, don’t your balls get abraded? And, how does your dick like jostling around in your underwear instead of being safely held in place by a good pair of bike shorts?
He chuckled and tossed his helmet onto the grass. She tried not to stare at his hair. It was golden. Seriously, golden. It freaking sparkled in the sunlight. Jesus. Was there no end to his gorgeousness?
“I guess I’m used to it.” He touched her leg, angling her knee so he could see the cut.
Sherry swallowed again, this time from the bolt of lust that surged through her body. So weird. She usually didn’t like when people touched her. His palms were really warm. Sherry fought to keep herself from stroking his stupid, stupid, gorgeous arm. She stuffed her hands under her ass. He saw and raised an eyebrow at her, confusion on his ridiculously handsome face. How can a man so masculine look that adorable?
“Oh, um, the rocks are kind of hard.” Yeah, right. Her fingers twitched. Her eyes strayed to his crotch, hoping to see something else that might be hard, but his friend interrupted before she could make a total fool of herself. Thank God.
“Eli, your first-aid kit looks like a dog threw up on it. Luckily I’m not as much of a loser as you are.” Red-Jersey Guy squatted down near them with a clean square of gauze and a roll of tape. When Sherry got a good look at him close-up, she had to swallow hard. Again. His dark blue eyes were amazing. If not for the beard stubble and the masculine line of his jaw, he’d be almost pretty. Sherry couldn’t tear her eyes away. He was movie-star lovely. She hadn’t been this dumbstruck by a guy since—
Sherry blinked, thinking. Well, since ever. Guys this good-looking, close-up and with no camera tricks, were actually real?
“Hey, you still with us?” Red-Jersey Guy asked, moving closer. His hair brushed her arm and she sighed. It was soft. She bet it smelled divine but diving into it with her nose was probably a bad idea. He’d think she was crazy. He looked like a guy who washed with something yummy like cinnamon or vanilla shampoo. Or maybe even lavender. That would be awesome.
He cocked his head at her and Sherry realized he’d asked her a question. She nodded foolishly and pulled herself together. This was embarrassing. She was bold. She was strong. At least most of the time I am. What happened in high school does not count, she told herself.
“Hey, you guys have names?” Sherry smiled, knowing full well what would happen when they saw her dimples. They usually turned men into gibbering idiots around her. Sherry tried to smile as often as possible, of course. Life was just easier that way.
“Oh, um,” Red-Jersey Guy trailed off. He’d been about to dab at the blood on her leg when she spoke. Jeans-Shorts Guy didn’t even try to speak. He just stared.
Ha! Gotcha. Sherry reached up and took off her helmet. Her French braid was making her scalp itch. She worked her fingers through it until her hair was loose. That’s better. The curls spilled down around her shoulders to her waist. She smirked at the looks on their faces. Men could never resist the hair. She almost snapped her fingers under their noses, but managed to restrain herself.
“I’m Sherry. Sherry Griffin. It’s nice to meet you. I didn’t expect anyone to come to my rescue.” She held out a hand. She didn’t aim it toward either one of them, figuring they’d work out between themselves who would shake first. She waited, making sure her boobs were displayed properly in her pink jersey. Jeans-Shorts Guy’s eyes dropped to her chest. Red-Jersey Guy stared at her lips. He recovered first and grasped her hand.
“Hi. I’m Simon River. Nice to meet you.” He grinned. Sherry shook his hand, enjoying the way his palm felt against hers. She had to mentally slap herself upside the head so she wouldn’t sigh in his face like a ninny. He was really beautiful, even more so when he smiled.
“I’m Eli Moest,” Jeans-Shorts Guy interrupted, physically pulling Simon’s arm out of her grasp. Sherry bit her lip, holding back a grin as she shook hands with him too. His were more calloused than Simon’s, but still warm. Gentle.
“Nice to meet you,” Sherry said.
“So, what happened?” Simon asked.
“Rocks. Lots and lots of rocks.” Sherry gestured around them. They sat on the grassy side of a steep trail. It was mostly an open rock field, with only a few trees and bushes dotting the landscape, probably because the trail ran along a power line. Woods surrounded it on both sides, but the trail itself was clear. “I’ve ridden down this single-track a lot, but today was the first time it tried to kill me.”
Simon smiled and dabbed at her leg with gauze. “This doesn’t look too bad, thankfully. You’re sure you didn’t break anything?”
Sherry shook her head then winced as the cotton stuck to her cut. “I think it’s worse than it looks.”
“We should make sure,” Eli said, running his hands up and down her shins.
Sherry stared at him. He was totally copping a feel.
Simon rolled his eyes. “Oh please, stop groping her legs, Eli.”
Eli snatched his hands away. His cheekbones glowed faintly pink.
Simon looked at her. “Do you have any clean water?”
She nodded and pointed to her bicycle. “It’s in the tree.”
Eli and Simon looked down the trail. Her bike hung from the lower branches of a maple, the only tree with any substantial height on this particular trail.
“What the hell?” Eli muttered.
Sherry laughed. “Yeah. That was pretty much my reaction, too.”
“How did it get up there?” Simon asked, a frown creasing his forehead.
“Well, I was riding down like usual. Suddenly the trail grew teeth and bit my wheel. I went endo. The bike went airborne. That’s pretty much all I know.” Sherry pursed her lips. “At least I didn’t hit my head. That would’ve sucked.”
Eli stood up, shading his eyes from the sun. “I think it’ll take both of us to get it down from there.” With his back to her, Sherry couldn’t help but stare at his ass. It was high and firm and the muscles in the back of his thighs flexed as she watched him. His shoulders were equally impressive. His tattoo peeked out of his left shirtsleeve. Damn, he’s fine. Sherry tried to talk herself out of swooning as he started down the trail.
“Eli’s going to need a hand.” Simon handed Sherry the gauze and stood up. “Hang onto this. We’ll get your bike down for you.” He smiled warmly at her and her heart fluttered. The man was dangerously pretty.
“Yeah, okay,” she said faintly. Jesus. The two of them were enough to make a girl do stupid things––and she was past that, right? Nope. A really dangerous thought popped into her head. Her brother Zeke had two lovers, Eric and Carrie, so why couldn’t she? They’d been together five years now, and Sherry wanted that. She wasn’t ashamed to admit she was greedy. She wanted two guys in her bed, just like Carrie. She eyed the men slipping and sliding down the rocks of the trail. Hmmm.
“I don’t think this is going to be as difficult as I thought,” Simon called up to her. He braced himself against the trunk of the tree while Eli went around the other side.
Sherry nodded and waved at them, her mind spinning. Would they go for a ménage? She bit her lip, considering. Neither of them pinged her gaydar. Not that that meant much. To her knowledge, neither her brother nor Eric had ever considered the other as a lover until Carrie entered the picture. She looked down the trail, absently holding the gauze to her leg. No way. They’d never go for it. Those were two of the straightest guys she’d ever met. She sighed. Pity.
Well, at least they were nice enough to give me a hand. Sherry watched them tug at her bike. A couple curses and one crazy jump later they’d managed to shift it until the handlebars lifted free of the branch. Simon grabbed the top tube of the frame and lifted it down. Eli took it from him as they began the slippery climb up the hill. The trail wasn’t really meant for feet, and Simon nearly fell when a rock turned under his shoe. Sherry bit her lip. It’s much easier to ride down this mess on a bike.
“You okay?” she called.
“I’m fine,” Simon panted, scrabbling the last few feet and plopping down beside her. The strong length of his thigh pressed into hers. She didn’t mind, which was odd. As much as she liked to look at handsome men, Sherry didn’t particularly enjoy it when they made advances. Her personal space was sacrosanct. For some reason, these two didn’t bother her. Weird.
Eli leaned her bicycle down near theirs on the opposite side the track then joined them. “I’ve got your water.”
“Thanks.” Sherry took the bottle from him and rinsed her leg. Thankfully the cut had already stopped bleeding. She dabbed at it then held a clean square of gauze in place while Simon taped it. When she was sure the makeshift bandage wasn’t going anywhere, she tipped her head up to thank him and caught him staring at her.
“Thank you for stopping. I owe you one,” Sherry said. She eyed him speculatively. At the very least she was going to kiss one or both of them before they left. To hell with being careful. And damn her nervousness with strange men. Opportunities like this didn’t come around often.
“It was no problem. We’re just glad you weren’t badly hurt,” Eli said. He’d grabbed his water bottle too and Sherry watched as he took a long swallow. The stubble on his face gleamed as a trickle of moisture ran down his jaw.
“Hey,” she said quietly when he was done. Her heart was pounding away in her chest but she ignored it. “Eli.”
Eli looked at her. Sherry reached up and touched a finger to the wet trail on his face, running it along his cheek. She suppressed a giggle at the surprise that flashed over his expression. He’s about to be even more shocked, she thought, sliding her hand around the back of his head. She tugged gently. His mouth opened. Sherry smiled and tugged a little harder. He leaned in, still adorably confused. Sherry shifted her weight and leaned up to press her lips to his. From the corner of her eye she could see Simon watching them, dumbfounded. She leaned back slightly.
“Don’t worry, Simon. You’re next,” she murmured against Eli’s mouth. Into the shocked silence that greeted her statement she dove in again, this time tilting her head until her lips fit perfectly against his. He smelled like cinnamon. Sherry kissed him, lips closed––once, twice, then she touched the tip of her tongue to his mouth and slipped inside when he gasped. Mmmmm. Definitely cinnamon, Sherry thought, licking his tongue. It danced against hers for a moment when suddenly he took control, knotting his hands in her hair. He tilted her head further and devoured her, licking, nipping, and finally sucking on her bottom lip. When he came up for air, Sherry knew he was just as aroused as she was. A quick glance down at his groin confirmed it. She wondered if he regretted the jeans shorts now.
She tugged her hair from his hands. Simon’s thigh still pressed against her leg. She didn’t have to do more than tilt her body sideways to sling an arm around his neck. She pulled and Simon leaned in willingly. His blue eyes were almost swallowed up by the black of his pupils. Sherry knew he’d been watching her and Eli kiss. She knew he liked it. When he dipped his head, she let her mouth fall open. He kissed her hungrily, swooping inside where Eli had been just a moment earlier. His lips were warm and sweet. They must have been eating cinnamon candy or something, she thought, then his tongue stole stroked hers and she stopped thinking altogether.
Eli held her steady as Simon licked at her teeth and nibbled her upper lip. Eli sat so close his cock nudged against her hip. She gasped as her hand dropped down, making Eli groan. His dick was thick and really, really hard beneath her fingers. Before she could figure out what to do, Simon kissed her again, trailing his lips down her jaw to nibble under her earlobe. She moved her hand away from Eli and ended up accidentally shoving it into Simon’s lap. Holy cow, he’s huge too. When he pulled away, Sherry trembled, completely overwhelmed. Her palms tingled. Why the hell did ever she think she could flirt and kiss them and still feel like she was in control?
“What the hell was that?” Eli asked.
Sherry mentally slapped herself. Get a grip! She cleared her throat, hoping she sounded nonchalant. “Just a thanks. For stopping and helping with my bike.” She twisted her fingers in her shirt, wondering if they could tell how shaky she felt. She’d never been kissed like that before. She looked at the two men, trying to gauge their feelings. Eli quirked an eyebrow at her. Simon just looked at her, his blue eyes intense and knowing.
Crap. They totally know how inexperienced I really am. She’d teased them and suddenly stumbled onto the perfect moment she’d yearned for, the thing she’d most wanted ever since that weasel screwed with her in high school. This is what she’d been waiting for. Somehow she knew these men were different. Every other guy she’d dated had left her cold. Every other kiss she’d experienced had been boring. Pointless.
Lately it gotten so bad that Sherry had begun to test guys by how well they kissed. Kisses never lied. She knew when a man was going to be a loser and when they weren’t as soon as they locked lips with her. Eli and Simon were definitely not losers. Sherry felt panicky. How could this be happening to her now? She wasn’t ready!
Eli smiled and leaned in again. “It was really no problem.” His voice was low. Growly. Sherry’s pussy clenched tight. Holy fuck, what bottle of crazy had she opened here? Eli touched her lips with his mouth, and God help her, Sherry was going to let him kiss her again, when a shout from the top of the hill startled her into pulling away.
“Sherry! Is everything okay?”
Shit! It was her brother Zeke. She winced, then slapped a smile on her face and waved. “Yeah! I’m fine, Zeke.” Simon and Eli edged away from her. She didn’t have to look to see that their interest had probably deflated faster than a punctured bicycle tire. Her brother rode halfway down the trail and slid to a stop, hopping off his bike and ditching it on the side. Sherry watched his eyes go from Eli to Simon to her bloody leg.
“Oh shit, you’re bleeding. Are you all right?” He crouched down and touched her leg lightly. Sherry rolled her eyes. She wasn’t made of glass, for God’s sake.
“I’m fine, Zeke. Where’s Eric?” The sound of gravel answered her question as Eric careened down the track toward them. “Yeah, never mind.” She smiled at Eric. He eyed Simon and Eli suspiciously. For their part, neither Simon nor Eli showed any sign of intimidation. On the contrary, Eli sat up straighter while Simon pasted on a welcoming smile. Odd that I can already tell which of his smiles are fake and which aren’t, Sherry thought.
“Eric, Zeke, this is Simon and Eli. I fell off my bike and they stopped to see if I was okay. They were nice enough to extract my bike from the tree, too.” Sherry bit her lip to keep from laughing as her brother scowled at Eli. She glanced at Simon and frowned. He was glowering at her brother and Eric. Even though he was slightly smaller and more finely boned than Eli, she had the feeling he was the more dangerous of the two men. She scrambled to finish the introductions.
“Simon, Eli, this is my brother Zeke and his partner Eric.” No sooner were the words out of her mouth than both Eli and Simon relaxed. Hmm. She thought it might have something to do with the way Eric touched Zeke’s shoulder. It was obvious the two men were involved. Of course, Sherry noted that her brother’s frown had deepened. Not surprising. He was usually cranky and over-protective around her boyfriends. Or in this case, the two big strangers sitting extra close to her. She pinched her brother’s leg, trying not to laugh when he jumped and sent her a glare.
Be nice, she thought at him. Sibling radar worked. He gave her a look, but sighed and sat down, sliding a hand up her leg to inspect her wound more closely. The faker. Sherry knew he wasn’t concerned about her cut. He just wanted to knock Eli’s hand away from her calf.
“Zeke, seriously, I’m fine,” she said, her voice warning him off. He ignored her and held out a hand to Eli. Hmpf. Of course he’d pick Eli first. Her brother was rather perceptive. Butter up the more obvious predator before handling the other one.
“Hi. Thanks for giving my little sister a hand,” Zeke said.
Eli nodded and shook Zeke’s hand, then Eric’s. Zeke turned to Simon next. “Thanks.”
Simon nodded shortly and shook hands as well. “We were happy to help.” He stood up and brushed the dust off his shorts then grabbed his and Eli’s helmets. “Anyway, we’ve got to get moving. We have a dinner thing we can’t miss.” He sent Eli a look, then tossed his helmet over. For a moment Sherry thought Eli was going to throw it back at Simon’s head, but then he shrugged and stood up as well, strapping the plastic onto his skull.
“Yeah, we promised my mom we’d be home for dinner. We don’t visit her often enough, she says.”
Simon grinned suddenly. “You don’t. You’re a terrible son.”
Eli rolled his eyes. “Oh please. Like you visit your dad a lot?”
“He lives in the middle of Pennsylvania. It’s a three, three and a half hour drive,” Simon protested good-naturedly.
“Yeah, yeah, whatever.” Eli had his bike back on the trail. “Excuses, man. Nothing but excuses.”
“I’m going to tell your mother you were picking on me,” Zeke said, clipping his right shoe onto his pedal. Sherry watched, slightly irritated and a lot disappointed. Stupid Zeke and Eric. She was sure she could have gotten another kiss if her brother and his lover hadn’t caught up with her. I might even have managed to get hold of their phone numbers. She licked her lips, wondering if maybe she’d hallucinated those kisses. It didn’t seem real. Were they really as earth-shattering as she thought? She touched her mouth absently.
“Sherry, it was nice meeting you. I’m glad you weren’t seriously injured,” Simon said, turning to her and holding her gaze for a moment. She allowed herself one last sigh as his blue eyes flashed over her body.
“Yeah, me too.” Eli smiled at her and Sherry shifted her eyes to him. Such a handsome man, she thought, looking him up and down. Oh well. She briefly wondered what it would be like to have the two of them naked on her bed at the same time then let the daydream drift away. Not everyone fell in love. She knew that better than anyone. Just because they were good kissers didn’t mean they would be any different than the other losers she’d dated. Not everyone got to be happy.
“Bye,” she said, lifting a hand. They waved and a few seconds later were halfway down the side of the mountain. Sherry swallowed, disappointed. Get a grip, she told herself for the thousandth time.
“Those guys didn’t try anything funny, did they?” Eric asked her, sitting down where Eli had just been.
She gave him her death glare.
“Okay. Okay…just making sure.” Eric held a palm up as if to ward off her temper.
“They were perfect gentlemen,” Sherry said. More’s the pity. She wished she’d managed to steal a few more kisses.
“You know we worry about you,” Zeke said, quietly.
Sherry glared at him too but he just smiled. He was immune to her stare, probably because she stole it from him when they were kids.
“I fell. They stopped to make sure I was okay then rescued my bike. You showed up. End of story,” she said in a clipped voice.
Zeke eyed her intently but wisely didn’t pursue it. Sherry sighed and stood up. It was time to get off this stupid mountain.

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