Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Moment When You Know You Have Fallen In Love #Romance

We have all experienced that lightening flash moment when love strikes us down, when we know without a shadow of a doubt that we're in love...and only hope it's reciprocated by our beloved. Today we're sharing a glimpse inside the romance novel In Between where that moment is captured perfectly. 



"Everything we have here is perfect," she whispered with sudden tears shimmering in her eyes and appearing like shards of gold in the candlelight. "I paint, we travel, you spar with Ava, we make love morning, noon, and night, we do whatever we want when we want to do it. No one interferes with us. Back home...it will be different. I know I suggested me tying up loose ends and leaving it all behind, but once I get there it won't be as easy to leave as I'd like to believe."

He wanted to understand, but didn't. Obviously, she omitted details. Then again, maybe he didn't comprehend her concern because he had never had a hometown and his family had always been accepting of anything he had ever imagined trying. He didn't know what it meant to have a 'home,' not in the grand scheme anyway. Wherever his parents were became a destination for holidays and special occasions. He stored some things in Brussels at his grandmother's house, but other than that, no one he knew would ever think it odd for him to travel or to love.

But he wanted that home base. He wanted to travel and explore, but he dreamed of coming home to someone who missed him and who wanted to hear his stories.

"Credere nell'amore," she said with a crooked grin.


"I do believe in love," he replied. "What am I going to do with you, Jessica Moriarty? You're maddening."

"You know exactly what to do with me, Jacques Sinclair." Her grin turned wicked in a heartbeat.

"I want to know the details about you, all of them, not just the pretty ones, but the dark ones, too. I won't run away." He reached across the table and snagged her hand in his. "I am more worried that you will run away because you are assuming things about me that are not true. Love is the beginning, but we need trust to go all the way."

She squeezed his fingers and focused on their joined hands. "I don't want either of us to give up who we are for the sake of each other. I don't want to stall your career...and I don't want to feel like my old life is too small for you to be happy."

"I will never make you give up anything for me."

"Yet you've already given up South Africa for me."

"Oh, my God. Not South Africa again." He pulled his hand free of hers and shook his head.

"And London. Simone told me—"

"Stop it, Jess." He gave her his best Do-Not-Go-There look before refilling his wine glass.

She leaned back in the chair, folded her arms across her chest, and once again looked toward the sea where the cruise ship had made little progress on its voyage.

"I push people away, it's what I do. Kind of like a thing, I guess." She shrugged, her voice quiet. "I grew up always needing to be the adult from as far back as I can remember. I watched my mom transform like a chameleon for any man who paid attention to her. I don't blame her...she is how she is...my life is good now, I'm not complaining. I have it all, you see. I live in a gorgeous apartment in an enviable location. I love my friends and landed a prestigious job in my chosen field. Now I have you and it all seems too good to be true. I thought I could simply fly home and let it all go, but that feels wrong, too. I want to paint my days away, but I hear all the words from people in my past telling me how silly that is. I also love architecture and worked hard to be the best—"

"Why can't you be both?" He frowned, truly not understanding the dilemma and wishing he could. "I love you, Jess, not what you do as a profession."

"That's just a piece of the problem, Jacques. I'm all my mom has." She shook her head and looked exasperated. "I confuse myself over and over again about what's right and wrong. Traveling the world with you feels like a dream, but so does bringing you home with me and making it all work out. An impossible dream."

"Nothing is impossible." He shrugged, frustration drumming in his skull as to what to do to make her understand that he truly believed that they could make it work.

"You're the ultimate dreamer, Jacques, and I love you for that," she whispered, eyes glistening with unshed tears. "I'm torn between what my heart wants and what my brain believes. So I will probably try to push you away again and again. Don't let me. Keep being stubborn and don't let me go no matter what bullshit I spout off."

He hesitated a moment while he digested her words before laughing. "You are fascinating, have I told you that? And crazy, that's obvious. My fascinating lunatic."

"Doesn't say much about your judgment, does it?" She shrugged again, the wicked grin returning. "Now you're going into this with your eyes wide open. My life is messy back home. Marc is trouble, always has been. People think we're going to get married."

His laughter faltered. "Married? Why would they think that?"

"Because it fits into their plans, but not mine."

"I've never been missed." He blurted it out because he wanted her to know that he didn't leave a charmed life like she believed. "People in my life are used to me being gone so they do not miss me. I disappear for months on end and no one bats an eye because they say, 'oh, that is just Jacques.' I am not attached to anything except my work."

"You have Ava." She faced him again, this time cupping her wine glass with both hands.

"She expects me to go, just as I expect her to go." He thought of Simone's accusations about 'slumming' it at the apartment building and pretending to be less than what he was. "We are blessed with wealth and with worldly parents who raised us as citizens of the world. But do you know what I dream of?"

She shook her head no.

"A home where someone expects me at a certain time and misses me when I am not there." He felt embarrassed at the admission and broke eye contact. "Sometimes when I travel I hear men on the phone with their wives and they are telling them about their day and assuring them that they will be careful. I hear them complain about it—sometimes—but I know they like having that connection with someone who looks at the stars at night and wonders what constellation the other one sees."

He fiddled in his pocket for another cigarette. For someone who had pushed her for confessions, he suddenly wished he'd kept his mouth shut.

"Ava loves you."

"Oh, I know." He lit the cigarette and watched the stern of the cruise ship distance itself from shore. "We all love each other. My family is very close in that way, but we do not wonder about each other. Never mind. I am not explaining myself well. Forget it."

"You want someone to curl up with on the sofa after a long journey, someone who has been counting the days until you return so she can hear your stories and thank God you're okay," she whispered with a slow smile. "I want to be that person."

He smoked his cigarette and fought the urge to leap across the table and hug her, but stopped himself. After all, he had an image of cool and aloof romantic European to uphold. Grinning, he shrugged and exhaled a stream of smoke.

"So, Jacques Sinclair, getting back to that whole what-are-you-going-to-do-with-me question..." she finished the wine in her glass without looking away from him.

Oh, he knew exactly what he wanted to do with her.

"Portami a letto," she said with a smile, her long hair billowing around her as she wiggled her finger at him in a come-to-me motion.

"Take me to bed," he repeated in English, his gaze moving over her body with territorial pride. "Gladly."

He tossed more than enough money to pay the bill onto the table, propped it beneath the wine bottle, and followed her off the narrow deck of the restaurant.

He paused at the top of the stairs and looked up at the stars. Yes, he wanted her to be the one who looked at the constellations and missed him.

"What are you waiting for?" She called to him from the bottom of the stairs, her yellow dress shaping her legs in the wind. "Portami a letto!"

He laughed at the people who looked at her as if she'd lost her mind. She was his kind of crazy beautiful.

"Bossy American," he muttered when he got close enough for her to hear him.

She stepped backward out of reach, arms outstretched, and said, "Credo nell'amore!"

I believe in love!

He jogged to catch her after she abruptly turned and ran toward their small hotel down the narrow street. Snatching her around the waist, he crushed his mouth against hers and prayed that she truly believed and wasn't simply lost in the moment because he'd never wanted anything or anyone as much as he wanted her. 

Keep reading In Between, book one of the 2-part Dancing Barefoot Series



Back cover blurb...

In between responsibilities and dreams...

Jessica Moriarty has always played by the rules, but for once in her life, she's doing exactly as she pleases. In between graduate school and 'real life', she's in Florence, Italy, indulging her love of art and abandoning inhibitions. 

Meeting Jacques Sinclair rocks her off center. Whereas rules and living up to expectations have dictated her life, he is the opposite. A rebel. A photographer. A man who lives for the moment. He sweeps her up into a riveting romance that makes her question all she's ever believed to be true. 

The drum of old commitments echo through her heart as time ticks away. Will the crush of 'real life' undermine the love she's found in between...? 


Friday, July 21, 2017

Nothing More Alpha Than a Demigod Named Triton #Supernatural #Romance


Shining the sexy spotlight on Impact Zone--the first in the Triton series. It's got it all--steamy sex, intriguing suspense, and characters that you'll wish were your best friends. Read Impact Zone by Dakota Skye now before it's sequel, Goddess of Catalina, releases this fall. 

Here's an excerpt! 

She lifted her face to the wind and inhaled the rich sea air. The last time she'd been here, she'd been in high school with her then boyfriend Ted Reece. It had been well-after midnight and they'd had a bottle of cheap rum they passed between them before making out on the rocky ground. Walking toward the edge of the cliffs, she looked down at the waves pounding against sheer rock. The earth rumbled beneath her feet.  

Nico sat with his legs outstretched and face lifted toward the setting sun. "That day I took off with mom's car I ended up in a place similar to this. I sat there looking at the ocean until my father found me."

"What was that like?" She sat next to him and leaned back on her palms. "Was he angry?"

"You don't know my father. He becomes, shall we say, temperamental." He opened his eyes and looked at her. "I tested his authority a lot, which meant I got into trouble nearly every day." 

"Why do I have a feeling you're a lot like him?" 

"That is a conversation for another day." He laughed quietly while his gaze roamed over her face. "I like remote places like this where no one is constantly needing my attention."

"I need your attention," she said without thinking, gaze locked on his lips. 

"You're the exception. You can have my attention whenever you want it." He shifted into a kneeling position, grabbed her shoulders, and moved her around until her back faced him. Before she could ask a question, he started massaging the tense muscles of her back. Thumbs pressed firmly into the base of her neck. "Right now, I sense you need to relax." 

"I'm not usually the damsel in distress." She sighed while his hands worked magic on her tense muscles. "Or the woman who picks up men in bars."

"I thought that was your idea of fun."  He moved his hands from behind her neck to her shoulders. 

She closed her eyes and relaxed against him. "I say strange things around you." 

"You don't like being off your game, do you?" His hands worked their way from her biceps to her forearms before going back to her shoulders. 

"What do you mean?" she asked.

"Being an athlete, you are disciplined about routine. Dedication is your middle name." He pressed his knuckles against her spine. "You left the circuit to start a business from nothing, that takes focus." His fingers splayed across her ribcage in more of a caress than a massage. "You like being in control. Around me, you are off balance. Am I right?"

"Lucky guess," she whispered. "Most people wouldn't say I'm the nervous type. I've been called reckless and wild, but never...off balance." 

"Oh, you're an obvious risk taker, but I don't think you're reckless. There's a difference." His fingers grazed the bottom of her breasts as his hands slid around her sides. "But you like calculated risks where you know what you're dealing with going in."

"Your theory is that I'm not sure I can handle you so that's why you make me nervous?"

"Are you nervous or excited?" 

She smiled as both his arrogance and astuteness. From the corner of her eye, she noticed that he'd brought a blanket she kept in the backseat. "I forgot I had that back there."

"You have what looks like a closet in your car. Are you secretly homeless?" He brushed her hair back from her neck before his lips caressed her ear. 

She inhaled sharply at the contact. Goosebumps skittered across her skin with the touch of his kiss. 

"I haven't made the best first impression on you, I'm sure." She tilted her head until her chin touched her chest, unable to deny the magic his fingers and mouth delivered to her body. 

"Do you know when I first saw you?" He shifted so that his legs pressed along the outside of her hips. 

She shook her head 'no' and held her breath. 

"You were in Hawaii for a competition and we were at a sponsor party. You were excited and on everyone's must-meet list." 

She frowned. "I don't remember meeting you."

"We didn't meet. I was called away as usual for some kind of emergency, but I definitely had a first impression of you."

"And what was that?" 

"Beautiful. Genuine. Exciting. Unique." His teeth caught her earlobe before he kissed the sweet spot on her neck. "Is what I think about you that important?"

She twisted to look at him through a veil of her hair. "I think it might be, yes." 

He stared at her for what felt like minutes before nodding. "I never do anything I don't want to do, Josie. I'm here with you because I choose to be." 

With a slowness that drove her mad, he pushed the hair away from her face and bent within a fraction of her lips. His gaze scanned hers briefly before he kissed her. 

She moved her mouth against his with a laziness meant to savor the sensation. She hoped she'd never get used to the energy that zapped between his skin and hers. 

"What did you used to do here when you were a teenager?" he asked against her mouth, eyes alive with knowing. 

"A little bit of this and that." 

"A little of this?" His tongue slid between her parted lips—teasing—before he slid his mouth down the length of her neck. 

"Mm...hm." 

"And a little of that?" He moved his hands to her bare thighs beneath the dress and squeezed. "Am I close?"

"You're getting closer." She grabbed his face and ground her mouth against his. If he wanted to fool around on a rock, why the hell not? 

His tongue slid against hers in a dance that made her squirm. She wanted to toss her dress off and let the wind take it away, surrender to recklessness and desire.

 He lifted her and pushed her back against the blanket. His dark head moved from her mouth to her collarbone as he squeezed her breast through the thin material. His hand moved to her panties that were wet with desire. In one yank, he ripped them from her before sliding his fingers between her legs. He pushed her dress up and kissed her bared abdomen.

Eyes open, she stared at the clouds passing overhead, cherished the hard earth beneath her back, savored the sensation of his fingers sliding inside of her, gasped as his mouth sucked her clit, and spread her legs wide as the wind sent her yellow dress billowing around her torso and slapping against the ground.  

He nipped and sucked and fucked her with his fingers while she gripped the blanket at her sides and surrendered to him manipulating her body with his mouth. 

She arched her back as an orgasm quaked through her body like tremor from deep within her soul. Still he sucked at her, his fingers and tongue ravaging her. Owning her. 

"Nico, my God, I can't take—" Another wave of orgasm ripped through her. She twisted, but he held her legs open while he continued his feast.

When she finally lay spent and exhausted, he climbed over her and looked her in the eye. "A little bit of this and that?"

She grinned, grabbed the back of his head, and pulled his face against hers. "Kiss me."

"What the lady wants, the lady gets." He kissed her until she moaned with primal need. 

"Are you relaxed now?" he whispered against her ear.

"Definitely." 

"Then let's find a restaurant off the beaten path and I'll buy you dinner." Abruptly, he stood and pulled her with him. "I'll take you on a real date tomorrow night."

"A real date? So this was just a preview?" She walked with him on trembling legs. 

"I am capable of more than you realize, Josie, including romance and charm. Trust me." He retrieved her torn panties from where they fluttered against a boulder and tucked them in the back pocket of his jeans. When she laughed, he snagged her hand in his. 

"I'm feeling selfish right now." She crossed her trembling legs and latched the seatbelt. 

Nico grabbed her chin and kissed away her guilt. "Your surrender is more than generous." 

As they drove away from the remote cliff, she sighed and closed her eyes. She'd been in charge of too much for too long and surrendering felt better than she'd imagined. When he dropped his hand on her thigh, she grinned. 

She could get used to being manhandled by Nico Triton.




The back blurb...


Nico Triton has a secret. He's a merman who saved the life of a champion surfer and now he's being hunted. As the leader of the merfolk, his interference with Fate has had severe repercussions. Not only has his father, Poseidon, banished him from his homeland, but the dangerous organization Mythquest is out to prove his existence and destroy his family. As punishment, he's been forced to erase Josie's memory of him and the sacrifice he made in exchange for her life. 

Murder on the beach. 

Josie Wells knows how to conquer the waves, but when she witnesses a murder on her beach, the impact shatters the surfing community of Santa Cruz. The tragedy brings her up close and personal with her secret crush, the elusive billionaire, Nico Triton. A nagging feeling tugs at her that she knows him from somewhere...but how could that be? 

Will love be enough to bridge their two worlds?

Secrets become confessions and trust is tested as betrayal threatens their lives. When a merman falls in love with a surfer chic and two worlds collide, expect an Impact Zone of danger and passion. Will love conquer all or be the thing that destroys them both?

*contains explicit sexual content



Coming Soon, the sequel to Impact Zone, Goddess of Catalina 


Follow Dakota Skye on Facebook and Twitter to stay up-to-date on all new releases 

Author bio

Dakota Skye is the pen name of best-selling author, Amber Lea Easton. Specializing on the paranormal and legends, Dakota Skye creates characters that are relatable in the contemporary world as their stories challenge the status-quo and explore the unknown. All of Dakota Skye's books can be found at http://www.authordakotaskye.com 




Monday, July 17, 2017

Shaking Things Up #Creativity #SelfLove


Recently--as in six weeks ago--I closed the doors on the home I'd lived in for nineteen years. I left behind the view I loved, the lilac bushes I'd nourished, the garden I'd toiled in, and the house I'd worked on lovingly for almost two decades. I'd built a life there, raised children...even held my husband's funeral reception there. But the last few years as an empty nester and widow depressed me beyond words until my creativity felt forced and even fake on occasion.

As a writer, one needs to create to live, to be happy, to understand ones's self at a deeper level. Not only am I the sole support of the family so not creating anything new is a huge problem, but my identity is wrapped up in art. Whether it be sanding down a piece of furniture to bring it new life or painting the house or gardening or, of course, writing, I am a creator.

But I'd stopped creating.

I haven't had a new release in nearly two years. That's unheard of for me. I have projects that are half-started but are simply waiting for me to do something. Anything. My mind would scream at me, "do something!"

So I did. I sold everything. I left. I came to a new city in a new state where I know no one. It's an artist colony. All my research about it said "don't come here looking for a job, there aren't any. You need to be self-employed." Art surrounds me everywhere I look. I see people who are so talented they blow my mind.

I downsized into a house half the size of my last home. I left my gorgeous mountain view for a city yard where neighbors are a bit too close. Thanks to nineteen years of equity, however, I was able to buy this new home outright--no more mortgage! Less stress. New places to explore.

What I'm finding is that I have moments of wild, heart-wrenching grief over all that I have left behind followed by longer moments of serenity where I understand I needed to change. I needed to let go of the past because I no longer fit there. I didn't belong with the ghosts of kids' laughter or memories of a handsome husband who died too young. I needed to recommit to who I am as Amber, the writer, the  overly-curious one, the one who was once so passionate about everything.

This new place may not be my forever home. I may need to move again in a year or two, but that's okay. My creativity is coming back to me. I'm finishing a few of those projects. I'm having new ideas. I'm exploring--my goal is to discover a new place once a week. I'm meeting really interesting people.

Change wasn't easy. In fact, I still get homesick for that view I left. But I was dying there. I was experiencing a slow death where I clung to an image of myself that no longer fit. So here I am, recreating myself into the woman and writer I am meant to become.

I'll keep you posted about my progress!

Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of romantic thrillers, contemporary romance, women's fiction, and nonfiction. She also writes five different blogs, works as a professional editor and creativity coach, creates a line of inspirational journals, volunteers for children's literacy, travels as often as possible, and advocates for suicide awareness. To find out more about her books, please visit http://www.amberleaeaston.com


Friday, July 14, 2017

Splashing Around in the Caribbean and Falling in Love Under the Sun #Romance


Even if you can't physically escape to the beach this summer, allow the Wanderlust Romance Adventure series to take you to Belize, Grand Cayman, and Costa Rica where the rum is plentiful and love is a sure thing. Below are excerpts from each book in the series...what are you waiting for? Escape today!

Anonymity (each book is a stand-alone novella with some characters overlapping but no leave you hanging endings)

*Voted Goodreads' February book of the month**

                   Alyssa McNeil is through with romance. In Belize on a solo vacation designed to make her forget that her ex is marrying someone else on New Year's Eve, she's determined to break free of her comfort zone. Meeting Luke Picket falls perfectly into her plans for indulging fantasy, letting go of inhibition, and having uncomplicated fun under the sun. Falling in love with him is definitely not on the agenda.

                   Luke Picket is more than happy to go along with her idea of a no strings, first-name only weeklong fling. He embraces his solo lifestyle and can't see that changing any time soon. When they find themselves trekking through the jungle and facing turbulent seas together, the feelings he'd fought so hard to avoid in his life start stirring in his closed-off permanent bachelor heart.   


                     But they'd agreed on anonymity, on a first-name-only-no-strings love affair, and neither wants to ruin the moment with unwanted declarations. Old beliefs are challenged. Doubts questioned. Will they stick to their deal and go their separate ways when the week is over? Or will the new year bring them a new attitude about love?

Excerpt of Anonymity

Rain, river, followed by ocean...too much water in her near future as far as she was concerned. It was as if the sky had turned on a faucet. She huddled in the rain poncho and pressed close to Luke on the boat bench. Already an inch of water covered her hiking shoes and soaked through to her socks. She'd stuffed her sunglasses into the backpack, which was now securely on her shoulders and beneath the poncho, but now regretted doing so as she squinted against the slamming rain.

And this was only the first boat.

Maybe she wasn't made for adventure travel.

Luke steadied her with an arm around her shoulder as the boat rocked back and forth while it traveled upstream against suddenly high water. Gusty winds blew her hood off and made it almost impossible to keep the water out of the poncho. She couldn't wait to be dry.

"Do you think it's like this all the way back to the island?" She leaned close to his ear to ask the question over the howling wind.

"I'm afraid so. Did you seal your camera in a dry-bag...you know, a diving bag?" He pulled her hood over her head. "If not, give it to me. The water will seep into the backpack."

She twisted so that he could access her backpack beneath the poncho and took a moment to scan the rest of the guests on the boat. Huddled in yellow ponchos and hunched against the driving rain, they weren't exactly a merry bunch of travelers anymore. Reggie and Bobby maneuvered the boat over water that had become angry in a very short period of time.

Luke patted her shoulder. "Don't worry. It's all going to be fine."

"I'm not worried," she lied and squeezed his hand as she rearranged herself on the bench.

When the boat pitched precariously to the side, everyone made a "whoa" sound before it righted itself. Nervous laughter followed.

She gulped back fear even as the boat swung back onto its side, this time capsizing.

Snakes. Crocodiles. Those were the first words in her brain as she fought against the water sucking at her legs. Someone kicked her in the back during the chaos. Opening her eyes beneath the water, she could only see a murky darkness.

Luke pulled her out from beneath the boat. She spit water and blinked against the rain. The cooler floated by along with the boat back toward Lamanai. A few of the group clung to the top of the boat, their hands reaching in the water for others still in the water.

"I've got you, hold on." Luke wrapped his arm around her shoulders from behind and pulled them toward the shore.

She kicked, wanting to touch bottom but terrified of what might lurk there. The rain poncho ballooned around her and felt more like a hindrance than a help.

The force of the water pushed them downriver, wind and rain slapped them hard.

"Grab the branch!" He yelled against her ear.


She nodded, unable to speak, her gaze focused on the low branch over the water. In sync, they reached for it. He released her and struggled to get a grip on the tree. She used all of her strength to hold on and pull herself up, her fear of drowning only a little more severe than her fear of snakes or whatever else waited on shore.

Luke fell to his knees next to her once they were on land and gasped for air. "Do you see anyone else?"

Spitting water, she pulled long green slimy pieces of muck from her face and hair. Feeling like insects were crawling on her skin, she shook out the poncho and patted her shirt and pants. The ground itself squished when she struggled to stand and gain balance. She looked back toward the river, still pulling stringy green things from her hair.

Reggie stood on the opposite side, giving them a thumbs-up sign.

Really? A thumbs-up? She lifted her arms to the side and shrugged.

"Walk that way." He yelled and motioned upriver. "Follow the river to where we parked the bus and you'll be fine. I need to find the others. If you see anyone else, tell them to keep walking up river. It's all fine."

"He has a different definition of the word fine than we do," Luke muttered from behind her.

Several feet ahead of them, Bill balanced precariously on a boulder and held Savannah with both of his hands. Her backpack and poncho had wrapped around debris in the water. She had one leg up on the shore, both hands in Bill's, but the other leg was submerged.

"I'm stuck!" Rushing water whooshed against Savannah's face.

Luke ran to help, leaning into the river to untangle her from where she'd gotten snagged by underwater tree roots.

Raindrops felt like bullets pelting their faces. With each step toward the trio, Alyssa's shoes made a sucking sound when they pulled free of the grasping mud.

Savannah lay on the ground for a minute, eyes closed and face muddy. "Spa day. Next time I choose the one activity outside of diving we do." 

Alyssa pushed her hands over her eyes and struggled to catch her breath. None of this seemed real. Maybe she should be grateful that they hadn't capsized at sea, but right now all she could think of was how long it had taken them to arrive here by boat. At least an hour, she thought. How many miles did that equal?

Luke sat on a boulder next to Bill, both men staring at the river with shock on their faces.

Hand over her eyes, she looked up and down the river, relieved to see people crawling onto shore and yelling for one another. She couldn't be sure, but it appeared most were okay.

"We'd better start walking. I don't want to sleep here overnight," she said to no one in particular before looking at the thick jungle they needed to traverse. "I don't suppose you have a machete in your special diving bag, do you, Survivor Man?"

He grinned and shook his head no. "Joking at a time like this? That beats hysteria. You're right. We need to start walking. It's going to take awhile to get back."

"We need to stay together. It will be easy to get lost with such thick underbrush." Bill helped Savannah to her feet.

Luke stood, grabbed her by the shoulders, and looked her up and down. "How do you feel? Anything broken? Any bites?"

"Bites?" Fear froze her in place thinking about what could have bitten her.

"Just be careful, there are snakes around and most of them blend. They'll be difficult to see in this weather and a few are pretty aggressive."

She thought of that yellow one they'd seen eating a bird on the way here and gulped. "Thanks for freaking me out even more. I really didn't need an image. I'm fine. No bites."

"Good." He yanked her toward him and kissed her. Hard. "Whatever happens, don't let go of me, okay?" 

Keep reading Book 1 of the Wanderlust Series 

Proximity, Book 2 of Wanderlust 


Love sometimes hides in plain sight.

Savannah is one of the boys—fun loving, adventurous, a general contractor, and dive master extraordinaire. There isn't much she takes seriously about herself, or at least that's the impression she likes to give off. Women often misjudge her based on her looks so she's gravitated toward a group of men who accept her 'as is'—her Scuba diving club.

Bill has known Savannah's wild side for years and has been comfortable playing the role of best friend. As part of the Dallas Divers, he's shared many adventures with the group from diving the Blue Hole in Belize to exploring the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. When the team heads out to Costa Rica for a series of cave dives, he knows he needs to take the biggest risk of his life, but isn't sure he has the nerve.

Catastrophe happens shortly after their immersion in the cave. With the entrance blocked from an earthquake and separated from the rest of their team, Savannah and Bill are forced to find another way out while battling aftershocks, rising tides, and an undeniable attraction that they've ignored for too long. The question becomes, what's more dangerous...the earthquake or love?


Excerpt of Proximity

She'd had a bad feeling about this trip before agreeing to go and should have gone with her gut. Instead, here she sat thousands of miles from home with friends who normally elevated her mood rather than sunk it.

She had just opened the door to her private balcony facing the canopy of the jungle when a hammering of knocks fell against the front door. Sighing, she ignored them, needing time to regroup.

Focus on the dive. That's why you're here. Look at that monkey staring at you. She squinted at the howler monkey perched in an adjacent tree. Gee, I hope he doesn't throw shit at me.

"You didn't lock the door. That's probably not safe." Bill stood behind her.

"You're certainly bringing the drama on this trip." She sipped her Mai Tai and waited while he adjusted his long frame into the chair next to hers. "Emily told me that Lexi had an issue with our lunches and talks. I know you said that you didn't care what people said—and you know I don't—but it must be eating you up to leave the group. I'll quit, if that's what this is. You stay with them. Pretty soon the other guys will have similar issues with me, I'm sure. You're all too damn polite to say anything."

"Savannah—"

"Don't lie to me."

"Don't be a martyr."

She twisted in her chair to look him in the face. "We've been through snake bites, hurricanes, wicked currents, and years of shared secrets. Do. Not. Lie. To. Me."

He gritted his jaw but didn't look away. "Fine. I won't. Yes, I'm leaving the group because of you."

Well, damn, that hurts.

She felt like he'd slapped her. She'd been holding out hope that her insecurities were getting the best of her. She ripped her gaze from his and stared into her drink, absently poking the pineapple stalk into the alcohol before taking a big bite from it.

"I can't do this anymore. It's killing me," he said.

"What is?" She couldn't look at him. Sudden tears had blurred her vision.

"Choosing and never being chosen in return."

"What are you choosing? We're not playing a game of pick-up basketball. That's what you sound like—a child who isn't being picked for the right team." She rubbed a stray tear with the back of her hand. "What does that mean—choosing and not being chosen?"

"Nothing, Savannah. It doesn't mean anything."

"Now you're patronizing me." Goddamn it, he was pushing her buttons like never before.

"I'd watch that monkey if I were you...he's eyeballing your drink."

"I can handle the monkey." She slid him a gaze that she hoped melted him in place.

"You're overreacting to my announcement."

"Announcement? Stewart was right when he said you're treating us like your employees. What happened between my house and here? What aren't you telling me? Be straight, don't give me some bullshit story you've obviously made up on the fly. What is killing you? Your word...killing. Me? How? We're—"

"Stop it, Savannah. You're making everything worse." He stood and squeezed her shoulder. "Come back out with the guys. They're all pissed at me for driving you away. Let's hit restart on this adventure of ours and have a good night."

She'd rally because that's what she did—what she was known for, rallying and never breaking. Even after her fiancĂ© had killed himself, she'd gone on with life and succeeded. She rallied. But right now she didn't want to laugh this off and be one of the guys. She wanted to drink her Mai Tai, order room service, and spend the rest of her night staring at the jungle surrounding them. Alone.

"Go do that then. I'm not coming."

"Savannah...this isn't about hurting you. You and I—"

"—Are such good buddies that you can't confide in me?" She met his gaze then, eyes devoid of tears, a skill she'd mastered over the years. "We talk every night. I thought we told each other everything, and here you have this resentment toward me—"

"—I don't resent you at all, couldn't, that's not—"

"Then tell me the truth because I know you're lying."

He shoved his hands into the back pockets of his jeans and stared at her as if weighing the pros and cons of confession.

"So it's true? You're still lying?" She stood then and poked him in the chest with the remainder of the pineapple stalk. "We are dive partners! I trust you with my life and you trust me with yours every damn time we go down. What could you possibly want to hide from me?"

"If I tell you, I'll lose you." He clenched his jaw but didn't break eye contact. "That's what you do, Savannah. Yes, we know each other really well, which means I know what I can and can't tell you."

"What do you mean that's what I do? Do what? You showed up at my house with Chinese take-out, all smiles and wanting to make plans to go to Denver for Alyssa and Luke's wedding—then wham you're suddenly moving to California." She gestured wide with her hands, more confused than she'd ever been about anything in her life. "Did you get bit by some Costa Rican bug and it's causing you to lose your fucking mind?"

Without hesitating, he grabbed the back of her head and ground his mouth against hers until they stumbled back against the chair and onto the railing of the balcony. The ferocity of his kiss weakened her knees and shocked her to the core.

She clenched at his shoulders for balance, conscious of leaning precariously against a bamboo railing thirty feet above the ground. Every inch of her trembled at the unexpected passion rolling from his lips and against hers.

But she liked the way he felt against her, enjoyed the way his fists pulled as he wrapped them tightly into her hair, liked the way he ground his mouth against hers until she kissed him back, thrilled at being thrown off balance and needing to cling to his strong shoulders to remain upright.

When she opened her mouth to deepen the kiss, he moaned his appreciation. The sound electrified her blood with a million tiny pinpricks of awareness that pulsated beneath her skin.

As suddenly as he'd kissed her, he let her go.

She sagged against the railing, hands searching for something to hold onto as she watched him walk away. Anger replaced desire in the blink of an eye.

She strode after him and caught him as he was stepping out the front door. "What the hell was that?"

He looked at her, his slow grin adding fuel to the fire burning in her gut. "If I need to tell you, then I guess I didn't do it right."

"Bill, I swear to God you've lost all sense," she whispered.

"Maybe it's the opposite."

She frowned. "I don't know what that means."

"There's the problem. Right there." He grabbed her by the shoulders, kicked the door closed and ground his mouth against hers again. Reckless desire communicated itself through the ferocity of his kiss.


She pressed against him, overcome with need and confusion. She matched his passion with her own, no longer thinking about what was right or wrong. Every inch of her skin quivered with awareness.

They fell against the wall, tripped over a low table, and collapsed against the floor in a tangle of limbs. Body heat ignited from the inside out, making the short dress she wore feel constricting even as it rode up her thighs. She writhed against him, peeled his shirt up his back and sunk her fingernails into his skin.

He moved his mouth from hers and trailed kisses down her neck. The weight of him pressing her against the wooden floor combined with the heat of their bodies and the feel of his mouth on her skin while surrounded by wild sounds of the jungle overloaded her senses.

"Savannah, I've wanted this for so long," he muttered against her shoulder.

His voice snapped her back to reality. She dropped her head back against the wood and closed her eyes. The pleasure of the moment conflicting with common sense.

"We can't do this," she said with a catch in her voice. "You're Bill."

"Glad you know who I am." He rose up on the palm of his hands and stared into her eyes. "Why not? You're the only woman I've ever thought of as a soul mate—look at how we are together. Friends, confidantes...why not lovers? Why not have it all?"

"Stop it. Soul mate? Where is this coming from?" She wiggled from beneath him and straightened her dress. Breaths came like tortured streaks of air ripping through up her throat. "This is because of your fight with Lexi, isn't it? She said something about me, about us, and it has you all stirred up. I am not going to risk our friendship for a good fuck."

"You want me as badly as I want you." He jumped to his feet.

She couldn't look at him with his hair a mess from her hands, handsome face dark with desire, and shirt half-up his hard chest without thinking of how good it had felt to have his body on top of hers. Her mind raced for an excuse that wouldn't damage their relationship.

She needed his friendship more than she needed a lover.

"You're Bill."

"We've got that covered! Why the hell do you keep saying that? What does my name signify to you? Is it that I'm your lap dog and nothing more? Have I been segregated into some weird place in your life where I am permanently in the friend-zone?"

Words failed her. She faced him and shrugged. The hurt in his eyes stabbed her in her heart.

"Bill, wait," she said when he opened the door again. She grabbed his arm, not knowing what to say but terrified that a crack had formed in their relationship that would never heal. "I need to understand."

"If I need to spell it out to you at this point, then maybe I've been wrong about us for a very long time." He met her gaze. "That's why I need to go. You confuse me. I want a life with a wife and kids and big family barbecues and all of that and I'm starting to think this...friendship we have...is standing in the way of the rest of my life. It's you, always you in my head when I'm with anyone else."

"You're my best friend," she whispered, fear making her voice quake. "That's always been enough."

"That's what I thought, too."


"Then what changed? We're Savannah and Bill, we have fun, we're each other's go-to person...Why complicate it? Why can't you have a wife and kids and everything you want with me as your best friend?"

"Is that what you want? Really?" He leaned close enough where the gold flecks in his hazel eyes were only an eyelash away. "Do you want to watch me marry someone else one day? Because I can honestly stand here and say that the idea of you being some other man's bride tears my heart out."

She cringed at the idea of being anyone's bride. "Why are you doing this? Now? Here? Before a dangerous dive?"

"It came up, that's all."

"Like hell it did. You're my partner and now you threw this—"

"Let it go, Savannah. Pretend I never came to your room."  He twisted free of her grip and walked onto the suspended bridge.

Talk about a serious mind fuck.

Deciding to let him have his nervous breakdown on his own, she slammed the door closed and stomped toward the bed. Her dive buddies were her safe haven from the nutty men in the world—or at least they had been before Bill decided to go bonkers. She fell back onto the bed and blinked at the thatched ceiling. Absently, she touched her lips that still throbbed from his kiss.

Okay, so maybe she'd fantasized about him now and then. Perhaps she'd been guilty of comparing other men to Bill and finding them lacking. But crossing that line had never been an option for her. Couldn't be.

Mae West had once said that a man's kiss was his signature.

Savannah grinned against her fingertips. Now she knew what Ms. West had meant by that and had to agree. Damn, no man's kiss had ever curled her toes and boiled her blood like that.
Too bad it could never happen again.

Keep reading Proximity and get caught up in the wild adventure in Costa Rica! 

Duplicity, Book Three of Wanderlust (a spin-off from the romantic suspense novel, Riptide, also by Amber Lea Easton)


Nothing bad happens in paradise...or does it?

Lexi Dubois is in trouble. On Grand Cayman for business, she discovers the company she's been working for is funding a human trafficking ring—and the money trail leads back to her. Scared for her life, she charters a boat for a week to hide from the men on the small island who want her dead and to buy time to find enough evidence to take them down. The last thing she expects—or wants—is a torrid affair with the hot captain and dive master.

Larry Gibbon has been running a charter dive boat operation in Grand Cayman for years. He's seen it all—and done his share of creating havoc. But when a mysterious woman charters his boat for a week—alone—he has no idea what trouble she's bringing aboard.

The ocean is vast and unforgiving, but will Larry's knowledge of the Cayman Islands and Lexi's relentless determination to survive be enough to save them?


Excerpt of Duplicity

The world dipped and tilted a little. Maybe it was the undulation of the boat or the whiskey or the fresh sea air playing havoc with her equilibrium, but tension evaporated from her shoulders for the first time since she'd hidden in a closet hours ago.

"Do you know no one would miss me if I disappeared?" she asked, leaning a bit too close to him. "Not one person."

"Don't say that," he whispered. "You remind me of someone I used to know, someone who also thought she wouldn't be missed, and guess what? We all miss her."

"I bet she was nice." She took another sip of the whiskey.

"Not really. She was pretty fucked up, actually, but...never mind. Another lifetime ago." He turned, faced the sea, and leaned back on his elbows. "None of that matters anymore."

She thought it must matter a lot for him to look so sad all of the sudden. "I'm from Dallas."

His lips twitched. "I figured."

"What does that mean?"

He laid on his back, head tucked in his hands, and laughed up at the sky. "You've got an arrogance about you that screams Texan."

"Oh, really? Well, then let me ana-um-ana-analyze you." She tossed the now empty bottle aside and twisted to look at him. "You've got Californian written all over you. Am I right?"

He held up his tattooed arms and pretended to study his ink in the moonlight.

She laughed and punched him in his side. "You're a smartass."

"Better than a dumbass I always say."

She hesitated, torn between emotion and logic. Whiskey warmed her from the inside out. "I've made a lot of questionable decisions today."

She crawled over him and kissed him, never one to shy away from what she wanted even in the face of a life-threatening situation. She wanted—no, needed—to forget it all for awhile.

She wanted to feel, not think.

"Careful, Lex," he muttered against her mouth, not making a move to touch her. "You can't undo this."

"I bet you're wild." She sucked on his bottom lip, looking him in the eye through the shadows.

"Slumming are you?" He quirked an eyebrow, his breath hot on her skin.

"Make me forget." She licked her tongue over his lips and pressed her hips against his.

"That's the whiskey talking."

"Who the hell cares?"

"I do." He grabbed the back of her head, fisting his hands in her hair and held her face a whisper away from his. "Do you really want to know how wild I can be? I'm not the kind of guy who holds back."

"Show me."

He ground his mouth against hers in a kiss designed to scare her with its force.

It didn't.

Rather, it intensified the desire burning in her gut.

Tongues slipped over one another. Breath meshed. Lips smashed. Hips ground together through their clothing.

He rolled her over onto her back. Her skull ached from where he pulled her hair. His eyes glittered in the moonlight.

"I'm not one of the nice guys who play fair," he warned.

"Who said I liked nice guys?" She reached for the snap of his jeans and pulled it open. "And why in the hell do you think I play fair?"

He smiled, reached for the neckline of her shirt, ripped it down the center, and tossed the pieces of fabric aside. Without hesitating, he dipped his head and nibbled her neck while his hands claimed her bare breasts.

She arched upward, craving skin-on-skin, needing the feel of his hard body pressing into hers. The sea breeze kissed her nude torso, the coolness contrasting sharply with the heat of his mouth on her flesh.

She mimicked him by reaching up to the neckline of his already torn t-shirt and ripping it off of him. Shreds of material blew away in the wind. Sinking her teeth into his shoulder, she moved her hands frantically over his wide back. The more she felt, the more she hungered for more of him, all of him.

In a daze of whiskey and desire, she dropped the back of her head onto the cool surface of the boat as his mouth claimed her breast. Eyes open, she stared at the stars and sighed when he dipped a hand inside her shorts.

"We should go to the bedroom," he muttered against her mouth. "We might fall overboard."

"I can swim." She smiled against his mouth.

Keep reading Duplicity and be swept away in the Cayman Islands!