One More Thing is LIVE!

After months of work, and years of mourning, One More Thing is finally here! If you preordered it should already be on your device. But if you didn’t pre-order and you need to jump on this link right here https://books2read.com/u/m2XpzG to grab your copy.

Feedback so far has been brilliant! You can check out some of the reviews over on Amazon or goodreads. They all have me grinning ear to ear and getting a little misty eyed myself.

I want to say a huge thank you to all the readers and bloggers who came together to announce the arrival of this book. I’m incredibly floored by the amount of excitement it’s received.

And to those who are yet to read it, grab a box of tissues and set aside a few hours of me time. It’s time to remember. It’s time I put you back together.

Enjoy

https://books2read.com/u/m2XpzG

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One More Thing – The Beginning

 

 

BLURB

I never asked to slip on a piece of gum then fall in love with a man who would die before the ink was dry on our marriage certificate.

But that’s what fate had in store for me. It broke me. I vowed I’d never fall in love again.

Five years later, fate had one more thing planned. It wanted to play around in my life again. Its tool? Another blasted stick of gum. Same place, only this time, it was Jude Baker, a university lecturer, who slipped on the gum.

Despite being a pacifist, Jude wasn’t particularly happy about having gum stuck to his shoe and made his distaste abundantly clear.

But that stick of gum was the catalyst to a series of events where our paths would continue to cross. There would be a broken nose, a fractured hand, a cat on a lead and a crashed corporate Christmas party that would align our hearts and make me realise that I wanted to be happy again.

But there would also be tears. Many, many tears. Because falling in love was never easy, especially when you were still in love with another man.

 

 

~

Today is the day I made Sarah Kennedy smile. Well, a few things happened before that – first, I broke her ankle. It was an accident, and I feel like shit for it, so I swear to never eat a stick of gum again. But, that break led to one of the best afternoons I’ve had in a long time.

There’s just something about her, something that’s always made me wish I knew her, and for as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be the reason she smiles. I never cared about what any other kids thought about her. I just knew there was something going on behind those big brown eyes of hers that was far more interesting than your average person. As far as I was concerned, Sarah Kennedy was special, and she showed it every day when she turned up at school with her shoulders back and her head held high. No one could break her. I’ve always admired that.

Turning the scowl of hers into a smile has been on my list for ages. I’ve always wondered why, when I find it so easy to befriend most people, I couldn’t even approach her without breaking out into a sweat. But then, that piece of gum intervened and forced me to man up and talk to her. I should probably thank it.

I suppose I should explain the whole broken ankle and gum thing, right? Well, I was hanging out with the guys on our way to one of the last Uni classes we were ever going to have, and I was a jerk and spat it out on the pavement. It wasn’t long after that, that I heard a shriek and turned around to see a shoeless Sarah, sitting in the middle of what looked like a snow storm, but was really just her papers fluttering on the ground around her. Even lying in a mess on the ground, she looked beautiful.

In the back of my mind, I knew I probably should have let someone else help her and continued to stay out of her life. But, it was my fault she fell, and well, I don’t want to have any regrets in this life. I couldn’t let what might be my last opportunity to talk to her pass me by. So I knelt in front of her and the moment our eyes met, I felt this jolt in my chest.

I called her ‘sweetheart’ and her eyes flashed with annoyance and something else—denial perhaps? Longing? I don’t know what was going through her head in that moment. But I knew what was going through mine. I knew without a doubt that everything was about to change….

 

Excerpt from Tyler’s Journal

 

~

 

 

1

Thursday, 20th October 2016

 

LIFE WAS FILLED with numbers. It was ruled by them. Not just in finance, but everywhere. Numbers were the only real constant in this world—two followed one, three followed two, and so on. It didn’t matter what language you spoke, or at what stage of life you were in; the numbers were all the same.

One, two, three, four…

We used them to make lists, to tell time, to measure distance. Even our days were numbered.

Counting, counting. Always counting…until finally, we stopped. A heart stopped beating. Synapses stopped firing. And it was over. No more counting for you.

The rest of us, however, continued our never-ending count, measuring our moments, knowing how fleeting they really were.

They said life was a gift.

They said grief was the evidence of love.

Neither could be quantified by a number, and yet we counted anyway—the days we’d lived without, the days we’d lost our hearts—whether they added up to something or not.

I took a deep breath, filling my lungs. The air smelled of spring and the soft prickle of freshly mown grass brushed against my thighs uncomfortably. Nothing added up the way it did when Tyler was alive. I was here and he wasn’t. The numbers just didn’t make sense. How could everything keep going when one half of a whole was no longer there?

Releasing the breath, I looked up to the clear blue sky, squinting under the veil of the sun peeking over the roofs of the buildings surrounding me.

This was the place, a footpath in a Sydney University campus. -33.882346, 151.049078, the coordinates on the bracelet he gave me, numbers that marked our beginning.

Six years ago today was the moment. The moment. The moment that changed everything. And it was all because of a stick of gum.

With a sigh, I slid my hand inside my purse, pulling out a piece of spearmint gum that I unwrapped with careful precision. I slid it past my lips, the taste of it touching my tongue. Closing my eyes, I held it there, taking a breath as the sadness that seemed to never leave washed over me, weighing down my heart, burning my eyes, throbbing in my chest. Then I forced myself to chew, that sweet minty flavour flooding my mouth, conjuring images of a carefree boy with golden hair and the day he became a fixture in my life.

Tyler.

His name was a sigh in my heart.

I’d lived without him for almost five years. Five years without his perfect smile. Five years without looking into his beautiful ice-blue eyes. Five years without holding his perfect hands. Five.

One; the moments that passed each morning before I realised he was gone and the grief began again. Every day. One beat. One moment.

Opening my eyes, I fixed my gaze on the footpath in front of me, on the dark stain in the grey that forever marked the spot where I fell and broke my ankle. My fall was caused by a stick of gum spat out by the man I would fall hopelessly in love in with then lose some fifteen months later when the ravages of a horrendous disease took over his body and he asked me to help him die.

Zero; the moments after when I wasn’t wracked with guilt over what I did.

The sound of his voice, begging me to let him go, filled my head, reminding me that I helped him leave with dignity; I helped him have one final choice. Not that it made it any easier. We were dealt a shitty hand no matter how you looked at it.

Sitting on the grass beside a footpath chewing gum with my eyes closed, I forced myself to focus on the sound of his voice, hearing him call me ‘sweetheart’. At first I had fiercely objected to the pet name, but it quickly became my identity as I lost myself to him completely. I was Tyler’s ‘sweetheart’. The only sweetheart he ever had or wanted. The pet name meant I was special.

“God, I miss you,” I whispered under my breath just before I balled the gum in my mouth and spat it on the footpath in honour of the catalyst that brought Tyler and me together; something I would never regret.

“The fuck!”

A British accent cut my reverie short as a tall man with a slim build dropped onto the grass near me, a string of green gum stuck to his shoe.

“I can’t believe you spat gum at my feet. What the hell is wrong with you?” He took off his shoe and scraped it along the grass, the gum rolling and forming a grassy clump on the sole.

I covered my mouth, not knowing if I should laugh at the absurdity of it, or apologise profusely for spitting gum at his feet. Seriously, what were the odds of someone stepping on gum at the exact place and time, six years to the day of Tyler doing the same thing to me?

“At least you didn’t break your ankle,” I responded, my mind racing.

He scowled at me. “Is that what you were trying to do?”

For a fleeting moment, I allowed myself to believe in magic. Was this fate? Had Tyler somehow found a way back to me? Upon studying the man—his dark hair, his soft brown eyes wrinkled at the corners, his pale skin and glasses—I chided myself for being so naïve. The idea of Tyler’s consciousness leaping into the body of another man was the stuff of fantasy, especially when that man looked and sounded more like a nerdy version of Robert Pattinson and less like the Hemsworth brother Tyler had closely resembled. I imagined this guy was your stereotypical academic who found his excitement in the pursuit of knowledge and the written word. Everything the thrill-seeking Tyler would never have been. There was literally no comparison between the two men.

“I wasn’t trying…” I started to explain myself but thought better of it, standing to leave instead. “Listen, I’m sorry about your shoe. I simply didn’t see you coming—no malice intended.”

Reaching out, he found a stick in the grass and tried to force the offending goo to shift with a modicum of success. “This is just fucking brilliant.” He threw the stick and most of the gum over his shoulder then shoved his shoe back on his foot, standing up to dust himself off. “A perfect addition to an already fantastic day,” he muttered further as he scuffed his foot back and forth over the grass to remove the tackiness. “What could possibly possess you to do such a thing?”

I took a step backward, preparing to leave. “Listen, I said I’m sorry. I’m not sure what else you want me to do.”

“How about use a bin instead of spitting on the footpath like some animal?” His tone was shifting from annoyed to angry.

I lifted my hands in defence. “I’m leaving. Have a nice day.” Then I spun on my heels and headed toward the parking lot.

“Is this something you do all the time? Spit gum at people’s feet then just watch while they try to clean up your mess? Is it entertainment for you?” The voice was coming from behind me.

“Mate, I told you I was sorry. Get off my back.” I quickened my pace, seeing the Navara up ahead.

“Did your mother not teach you any manners at all?”

Stopping, I turned to face him, my hands out at my sides. “What the hell do you want from me? New shoes? I’ll get you new shoes.”

“How about some common courtesy and consideration for your fellow man? Or is that too much to ask these days?”

“I said I was sorry,” I repeated, my voice stern.

“Well, that doesn’t help me. You can’t do shitty things then expect to say sorry and have it all go away. Life isn’t like that.”

With a shake of my head, I turned away. “You need to calm the fuck down.”

“And you need to learn how to be a decent human being.”

Reaching the ute, I turned on him. “Stop following me,” I growled between my teeth.

“Don’t give yourself so much credit.” He walked straight past me and beeped open the next car along, a grey Honda Civic. Even his car didn’t have any personality.

For a moment I felt foolish. Then I just felt relieved and slid into the driver’s side of the black Navara with a sigh. “Looks like I should quit eating gum too,” I said, touching the GPS coordinate bracelet at my wrist as I remembered how angry I’d been when I’d tripped on Tyler’s gum. I guess I couldn’t really blame Mr Honda Civic for being so pissed. I’d lost my shit too.

When I reversed out of my space and saw him removing his shoes before getting in his car, I let out a laugh. This was all so absurd. But in a way, I loved it. It made me feel closer to the man I’d lost.

The smile didn’t leave my face until I pulled into the underground garage at home.

***

A flash of grey metallic paint passed through my rear vision as I parked the ute in its allocated space. “What the?” I grabbed the mirror and adjusted it, trying to catch a better glimpse.

Did that guy follow me home?

With my heart thumping against my chest, I got out and closed the door as quietly as I could. Standing still for a moment, I heard an engine cut followed by the creak of a door then footsteps. Shit.

Moving quickly, I headed through the automatic doors of the elevator bay. For a moment, I considered taking the stairs to our first-floor apartment, but every time something like that happened in a movie, the stairs were where the victim met their doom.

With my ears twitching, I tapped against the call button repeatedly, regretting my decision to take the lift with every second that passed and every footstep that drew nearer. My breathing picked up, my heart beat loudly in my ears as I saw the blurry reflection of his form in the metal doors. This guy was crazy!

My mind started racing. This was it. I was going to die, leaving my four-year-old son an orphan—all because of a stick of gum. I couldn’t let that happen. I couldn’t leave him alone. He needed me.

I was small, but I could fight.

Balling my fist at my side, I steeled my breath and prepared to circumvent the inevitable attack.

The automatic doors hissed open.

I spun to confront him, saw the annoyed recognition in his eyes.

My fist flew through the air, my meagre weight behind it, the words “Not today, Satan!” tearing out of my throat.

It connected with his nose.

I heard a crack, then a groan and he stumbled backward.

“The fuck!”

Like the gods answering my prayer, the elevator pinged then opened its doors. Pain radiated through my hand as I jumped on board, hitting the button that would take me to my floor, to safety. As the doors began to close, I chanced a look back. It was only then that I took in the scene fully.

He was on the concrete floor, his legs bent, his shoulders slouched, as he leant forward clutching his nose. There was blood. So much blood. On ground beside him, his glasses, keys, a briefcase and an archive box split open, papers spilling out. He didn’t look like a crazy man trying to get revenge for the gum on his shoe. He looked like a man who had a logical reason to be somewhere. He looked like a man sitting in the middle of the worst day of his life.

Guilt coiled from my belly and found its way into my throat. What had I done?

I hit the button to open the doors again. “Are…are you…um…OK?”

He glared at me, his eyes dark beneath his brows. “I think you broke my nose,” he said, his voice muffled under his hands.

Digging in my bag, I took out a pack of tissues, pulling the wad of them free from the plastic before holding them out to him.

“I’m sorry. I thought you were going to attack me.” I extended my arm like I would if I were offering food to a frightened animal.

He watched me like one, snatching the tissues with the caution of someone who didn’t know if they could trust the help on offer. “Attack you? With what? The papers I have to grade? My briefcase?”

“It’s just that you were so angry at the university. Then you followed me here.”

“I didn’t follow you. I live here.” He looked at me as though I was insane.

My stomach fell and I gulped. “You live here?”

He shifted to his knees, making an attempt to stuff his papers back in their box one-handed while grumbling about the ridiculousness of it all.

“Let me help you.” I knelt beside him, my face burning with embarrassment as I collected his things. I’d really messed up.

“Leave it,” he snapped, snatching what looked like a printed essay from my hands. “You’ve really done enough.”

I sat back, my mouth moving, searching for the words to convey how sorry I was for the gum and for hitting him. This whole situation was making me so grateful to Tyler for the way he’d handled my anger on the day his gum attacked me.

Tears burned my eyes. I missed him so much. Today was supposed to be about celebrating our beginning, instead it had turned into a complete mess and now I was probably going to be sued.

“You’re crying? Seriously? You are crying?”

Turning my face away, I wiped at my eyes, scowling as I shook my head.

“I’m just stressed.”

“Aren’t we all?” he muttered, slapping the lid back on his box. Then he stood up, hefting his archive box loaded with paper and his briefcase against his waist. For a single moment it seemed that he’d successfully gathered everything he needed while keeping the tissues wadded against his bleeding nose. Then the base of the box fell out.

I laughed. The sound burst from my mouth and echoed throughout the parking structure as his papers slid across the floor and the only things he held on to was his briefcase and the lid of the box.

He let out a sigh and I clapped my hand over my mouth to avoid angering him further. He shook his head. “No. You’re right to laugh. This day…it’s a comedic writer’s wet dream.”

The laughter bubbled out of my chest, nerves and stress turning into this crazy-sounding laughter. He chuckled along with me, this time letting me help with his things.

When we got into the lift, silence fell over us. I was carrying his box and he had his briefcase and the tissue wad against his nose. Without warning, my eyes started leaking. Silent hot tears streamed down my cheeks without my permission.

“I’m not going to sue, if that’s what you’re stressed about,” he said softly.

“I’m not. I mean, I am. But that’s not what I’m crying about. It’s just…it’s been a day.”

His soft brown eyes met mine, and I saw a spark of understanding.

The chime sounded to indicate my floor and I shifted the weight of the box in my arms. “This is me,” I told him, wondering what I was supposed to do with his papers and how he was supposed to take them from me. I stood in the space between the doors and looked toward the hall that led to my apartment then back at him. “Listen, I’ve got a first-aid kit inside and some tape to fix your box. Do you want to come in so I can at least stop the bleeding?”

His eyes moved between the box in my arms and me. We both knew that the only real options here involved me going with him to his apartment or him coming with me to mine.

“Will you cry again if I refuse?”

With a half smile, I lifted one shoulder. “Maybe.”

With a sigh he stepped off the elevator. “Lead the way.”

Once in my kitchen, I slid his box onto the granite bench top and told him to stay put. Then I headed for the bathroom to get my first-aid kid. The kit was extensive. With a four-year-old son who was bull at a gate even when quiet, I needed to be prepared for all emergencies.

I carried the red plastic toolbox-sized kit into the kitchen and placed it on the bench beside the man.

“Break a lot of noses, do you?” he asked, eyeing the large kit.

Pressing my lips together, I ignored the quip and opened the lid, pulling out some saline and gauze, along with a pair of disposable gloves.

“You can put the tissues in the bin over there,” I told him, indicating the stainless-steel push-pedal garbage bin in the corner of the room.

When he returned, he leaned back against the bench, a trickle of bright red streaking from his nostrils. Cleaning him up as best as I could, I checked his nose for any sign of a break.

“I didn’t catch your name,” I said, gently pressing on either side of his nasal bones.

“It’s Jude.”

I smiled. “Like the song.”

He made an unpleasant sound. “Exactly like the song.” I wasn’t sure if he disliked the fact or if he was objecting to me pressing against his nose.

“I’m Sarah.”

“I’d say nice to meet you, but our circumstances haven’t—”

“I get it.” Stepping back, I held up my hand, interrupting him. I was emotional over the events of the day. I’d already cried twice and knew that hearing him verbalise it further would only push out another bout of tears.

I turned away and busied myself rolling gauze to pack his nose. “It doesn’t seem broken. Or, if it is it’s only a fracture—the bones are where they should be. If the bleeding doesn’t stop you should probably go see a doctor.” Using a set of tweezers, I inserted the small cotton tube into his nostrils to stem the bleeding.

My hand was aching. And as I cleaned up and removed the gloves, I inspected my knuckles. They were red and swollen.

“You should probably ice that. Punching is rarely as easy as it looks in the movies.”

Moving to the freezer, I opened the door and took out two of the small icepacks I kept in there for Ty. They’re small and round and have Disney characters on them. I held out the one with a picture of Nemo to Jude and kept Dory for myself.

“Cute,” he said, lifting it to the bridge of his nose.

“They’re for my son.”

“I figured.”

I narrowed my eyes at him. “I never told you I had a kid.”

“It’s kind of hard to miss.” He pointed a finger around the living space and added, “The toys.”

“Oh.” That guilty feeling rolled about again. I kept judging this guy and getting it wrong.

“Listen, thanks for…repairing the damage, I guess,” he said, indicating his cotton-stuffed nose. “But I should really get going.” He went to lift his box.

“Wait. The tape,” I blurted, spinning on my heel and rushing to the laundry where I dug through the junk drawer to find a roll of packing tape. When I returned to the kitchen, however, he was gone.

“Oh,” I said to no one, twisting the tape in my hands. I looked around the large empty apartment. The expanse of the open living area pressed in around me, dancing with memories of a time I couldn’t touch anymore, reminding me that I was left here…alone, the past more distant with every tick of the clock. I felt a stutter in my chest, my emotion catching in my throat.

Glancing out the floor-to-ceiling windows, I focused on the lights of the city around me, peeking through the lush green garden built to look like it had been plucked from the centre of an undisturbed rainforest. It was supposed to be a serenity garden. I remembered Tyler sitting out there when he wasn’t well enough to leave the apartment, complaining that he never felt serene because the sound of the traffic was too loud once you ventured past the double-glazing. He renamed it his disruption garden instead.

On days like these, when my emotions were raw and missing him was a state of being instead of a sensation I could live with, the quiet only served to remind me that I wouldn’t find serenity here either. Without Tyler, I was incomplete. I was lonely.

Swallowing the lump in my throat, I moved my thumb against the edge of tape wishing I hadn’t agreed to Ty’s sleepover at my mother-in-law’s house that night. It was meant to give me a chance for some quiet time, to be selfish in my grief, because this time of year was always hard for me. This time however, I didn’t want to be selfish. I didn’t want the quiet; not this type of quiet, anyway.

There was quiet you longed for—the few moments of peace you get when your day is done and child is tucked in bed asleep—and then there was the kind of quiet you feared.

Standing in a big empty space absent of adult conversation and childhood laughter, nothing to fill it but your best and worst memories taunting you until your stomach aches with regret for actions you can no longer change—that’s the quiet you fear. That’s the quiet I’ve lived with since Tyler passed away. Everything here reminded me of him. And yet, I couldn’t bring myself to look away.

Placing the tape on the bench, I walked over to the sliding door, pushing it open so wide that the sound of the street burst through suddenly. It was a welcome intrusion on my ears, reminding me that despite my grieving, the world was still turning. I was still here.

I breathed in deeply, sliding my hand into my pocket and pulling out my phone. The number I wanted was the first in my recent call list.

“Susan?” I said the moment it connected.

“What’s wrong? Has something happened? Are you OK?” Her questions came rapidly, a slight strain in her delivery.

I shook my head even though she couldn’t see. “I just…” I took a deep breath, calming myself. Having Jude leave so suddenly made me realise that I didn’t want to be alone. What I wanted was to feel the presence of life. What I wanted was to hold my little boy tight in my arms and breathe in his sweet smell. “Do you think I could spend the night too? I don’t want to be alone tonight, after all.”

 

One More Thing releases on 19th September books2read.com/u/m2XpzG

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The Sequel Worth Waiting For.

That's a very arrogant title, isn't it? But I'm hoping this is the case as we lead up to the release of One More Thing . It's been a little over two years since I hit publish on 47 Things and sent the share prices of Kleenex through the roof. Tyler and Sarah's story was hard and there wasn't a dry eye in sight.

I know a lot of you wanted a sequel very quickly. You didn't want things to end the way they did, leaving Sarah in the state she was. But she needed time to heal, and honestly, I think we needed time to heal too–well, I know I certainly did. My heart was ripped out of my chest right along with you.

Now I feel ready to continue the story. It's still hard on my heart–I've cried several times writing it–but you've all waited two years and I feel in my heart that it's time for Sarah to get a second chance.

I feel just as sick and nervous about the release of book two as I did with book one. Every book I write that pushes emotional boundaries makes me feel this way. But I'm proud of the work I've produced so far. I feel that I've stayed true to Sarah's character while also giving her the space to grow and mature in the five years that have passed since that last beat, beat, beat. She's the same headstrong woman she always was, but she's vulnerable now too. Much more than she was before.

One More Thing is currently up for preorder. It's going to beta readers in a couple of days, and by the end of the month it will be finished and ready to release on the 19th of September. Inside you'll find lots of laughs, lots of joy and lots of tears as Sarah works through her emotions and learns to live and love again.

I'm going to have lots of fun info about it for you. There'll be an official cover and chapter reveal soon, lots of excerpts and character interviews. I'll even show you some pages from Tyler's journal and perhaps some entries from Sarah's journal as well.

If you're interested, we can even do a group re-read of 47 Things. This can be done within my reader group, or the event page for One More Thing's release–we'll see how many of you are interested before deciding the location.

So, keep your eyes peeled for mentions of One More Thing , you'll find info here, or on my Facebook page. And if there's something you're dying to know about the book, pop your question in the comments and I'll do my best to answer with spoiling anything.

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A Beautiful Danger is LIVE!

Give Me Books has done an awesome job setting up my release blitz. A big thank you to all of the blogs who have taken part!

 I’m so excited to be releasing A Beautiful Danger. It’s been a long time coming and I’m loving the feedback I’m getting so far. Ruby is a hard character to love, but after everything that happened to her in A Beautiful Taste (there’s a recap in Danger for those new to the series), it’s understandable that she’s so hell bent on changing her life.
All of the characters were a pleasure to write–even our feisty red-head, Ruby–but I especially loved writing Flynn. You’ll see why when you get reading. He’s a bit special 😍

Title: A Beautiful Danger

Series: Beautiful #7

Author: Lilliana Anderson

Genre: New Adult Romance

Release Date: June 21, 2017

Blurb

 

Bad boys. They’ve been Ruby Garvan’s weakness since she started dating. But, when one of them took the ‘bad’ in the ‘boy’ too far, her bones broke… along with her spirit.

She swore she’d never go down that road again. Her next boyfriend would be a ‘nice guy’—a man with integrity, goals and a heart of gold.

Armed with a stack of inspirational quotes and a list of traits her new man must have, Ruby goes in search of her happily ever after.

She’s convinced she’s found it with her self-defence instructor—a kind-hearted man named Joel, who cares for her deeply. But when Flynn Trotsky literally slams into her life with the force of a steam train, he quickly derails her plans with his unwavering interest and refusal to take no for an answer.

After a drunken night of far too much honesty, the two strike a deal—two weeks for Flynn to show Ruby that he’s not the bad boy she thinks he is. If he can’t convince her, he’ll go away for good this time.

Ruby doesn’t think he stands a chance against her resolve to turn her life around, and agrees to get the pesky daredevil out of her way and hopefully out of her mind.

But, when her friends are all on his side, the chemistry just might be too palpable for even the most stubborn red-head to ignore….

 

Standalone New Adult Romance featuring mature scenes.

 

Purchase Links

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Also Available

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Cover Reveal — A Beautiful Danger 

IT’S COVER REVEAL DAY!!A Beautiful Danger is another Standalone read in my Beautiful Series. It’s releasing June 21st, and I can’t wait for you all to meet Flynn Trotsky. All I can say is ‘slow-burn-swoon-worthy-hunk-of-a-man!’

Keep an eye out for an excerpt closer to release. https://books2read.com/u/m0zp8V


Summary

Bad boys. They’ve been Ruby Garvan’s weakness since she started dating. But, when one of them took the ‘bad’ in the ‘boy’ too far, her bones broke… along with her spirit. 

She swore she’d never go down that road again. Her next boyfriend would be a ‘nice guy’—a man with integrity, goals and a heart of gold.

Armed with a stack of inspirational quotes and a list of traits her new man must have, Ruby goes in search of her happily ever after. 

She’s convinced she’s found it with her self-defence instructor—a kind hearted man named Joel, who cares for her deeply. But when Flynn Trotsky literally slams into her life with the force of a steam train, he quickly derails her plans with his unwavering interest and refusal to take no for an answer. 

After a drunken night of far too much honesty, the two strike a deal—two weeks for Flynn to show Ruby that he’s not the bad boy she thinks he is. If he can’t convince her, he’ll go away for good this time. 

Ruby doesn’t think he stands a chance against her resolve to turn her life around, and agrees to get the pesky dare-devil out of her way and hopefully out of her mind. 

But, when your friends are all on his side, the chemistry just might be too palpable for even the most stubborn red-head to ignore…. 

The Beautiful Series are all Standalone New Adult Romance featuring mature scenes. Jump in at any time. 

For more info —http://bit.ly/ABeautifulDanger

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Large Families, Birthdays, Writing Moments, and a bit about A Beautiful Danger

I’ve been crazy busy with life lately. Most of you know that I have five children, a hubby and two dogs to wrangle with my Wonder Woman lasso. It’s a lot of work on most days, but right now it’s our household’s birthday season. That means there is a birthday at least every two weeks. We put a banner up in our dining room and leave it there to mark the constant events, and we make a big deal about everyone’s special day because in a large family (especially one with a young baby) the focus isn’t often on just one person. It’s a lot of fun for the individual, and I love how much joy each person gets out of it, but for me, it feels like I’m either preparing for a birthday or celebrating one. That coupled with easter and ANZAC day holidays, plus the upcoming mothers day and I’m one very busy lady. (My birthday is actually one of the last, so when it gets to me I’m kind of over celebrating, but don’t tell anyone)

Obviously all this leaves little time for writing, but I’m managing to get a minimum of a thousand words out a day just working from my phone when I get a few minutes spare.

My current WIP is A Beautiful Danger which is about Ruby Garvan, a waitress at a top restaurant in Sydney’s Lane Cove. She’s had a bit of a rough time with men in her life thus far, and blames a lot of it on the fact her father abandoned her when she was twelve. To make sure she stops following the same relationship pattern, she’s purposely seeking a relationship with a man who is the opposite of everything she normally goes for. In her head, it’s all working out. But her friends don’t seem to think so, especially when they see the sparks that fly whenever Flynn Trotsky enters the room. Flynn is a bit of a daredevil, and when we first meet him he’s being chased by police and evading them using parkour. Ruby takes one look at him and decides he’s bad news–a danger to her and what she wants out of her life. But when Ruby needs someone, Flynn is always there and soon her friends start to intervene…

So this book is slowly coming along. I’ve never had to write this slow before and while it’s making me antsy, it’s also teaching me a bit more patience with my writing. Normally, I push myself day and night, needing to get ALL of the words out of my head as fast as possible. But this time, I have to think about it all very carefully because my time is so limited and I need to be concise to avoid writing in the wrong direction. It’s an interesting process. And while I don’t mind it, I’m sure I’m going to be writing my butt off the moment my seven month old starts sleeping better!

I’m trying to get her into a solid routine at the moment, so we’ll see how she goes with that in the near future. It’s just been hard to get her sleeping at specific times every day because I’m always running around after everyone else and she’s just had to come with me. So, we will SEE!

Speak of the devil, she’s awake and calling for me now. More updates to follow!

Lilliana xoxox

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Filed under Beautiful Series, New Adult Romance, Stuff I wanna say, Work in Progress, Writing Updates

Played is coming! Here’s the cover and a sneak peak

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PLAYED (Fire & Lies, book two)

books2read.com/u/4EWaRO
Release date, February 15th.

BLURB

The gripping follow up to Partners (Fire & Lies -One). Be sure to read Partners first.

Be careful whom you trust…
It’s something I thought I knew but with Chloe Donovan, all of my reasons seems to fly out the window the moment I’m around her.
Blinded by lust, persuaded by love. I hedged my bets on our forever. Twice. And both times, I lost. She’s gone. And once again, she’s ruined my life.
Stuck helping a federal agent by the name of Drake Jefferson, I’m biding my time until I can find where she is.
I won’t be giving up my partner in crime to the authorities. I’ll be dealing out my own brand of justice, and when I’m done, I don’t care if I rot in prison for it.
Chloe Donovan had better start sleeping with one eye open. Because I’m coming for her.
She played me.
I let her in, and she played me. If she sees me. She’d better run.
I won’t be trusting her a third time.

You can preorder it from your favourite eBook store via this universal link – books2read.com/u/4EWaRO

And if you haven’t read book one, Partners, you can grab that for free for a very limited time via this link –books2read.com/u/bWKlG0

Here are the first three chapters to get you started (unedited and subject to change)

1

 

Caitlin

“Benson Tanner?” I arrive at a suburban home in the city’s south east and approach a stout looking man of Indian descent who is watering his lawn. Running a hand through my brown shoulder length hair, I wish I’d remembered a hair elastic as the bank manager eyes me curiously. I smile at him then reach into my navy suit jacket to pull out my badge before I continue. “I’m Agent Caitlin Saunders with the federal police. I was hoping you were feeling up to answering a few questions about your recent ordeal.”

I can see the sweat beading on his brow. His whole body begins to shake which is wholly evident by the quivering of his jowls. The poor man is a nervous wreck. I’m not surprised. Being an unwitting accomplice in one of our country’s biggest bank heists isn’t something that happens every day.

“Shh…sh…sure,” he says, gesturing for me to head toward the house as he shuts off his hose at the tap. His wife opens the screen door before I’m even close. She’s been watching us, concern etched in the creases between her eyebrows.

After introducing myself to her, she offers me a drink then sets about in the kitchen making a pot of tea. We sit in silence until she brings it all out and places it on the table that is covered in an old lace tablecloth with a bowl of fresh fruit in the centre.

“Do you have children?” I ask casually, nodding thankyou to Mrs Tanner as she sets my cup in front of me.

Mr Tanner looks almost dumbstruck and looks to his wife for help.

“We have a teenage son,” she answers, her lips pressing into a straight line as she takes the seat beside her husband. “He’s in his room, probably has his headphones blaring in his ears.”

Mr Tanner grips his mug and stares at the hot liquid intensely. “They strapped a bomb to my chest.” The words fall out of his mouth in a rush, and he struggles to lift his mug without spilling the contents.

“Can you tell me much about them? What they looked like. What they said.”

He shakes his head, staring at nothing even though I know he’s reliving the robbery as if it’s happening right in front of his face. I hate doing this. Interviewing witnesses and forcing them to recount everything in excruciating detail, only prolongs their suffering. Most want to move on and forget. I’m the one not letting them.

“The big one did most of the talking. There were two of them. I thought they were father and son at first, coming in to talk about managing some farm holdings. But they pulled out a vest with a….” He meets my eyes. “With the bomb on it. And they made me put it on u…under my coat. The big one, he talked like he was my friend, like it was fun for him. Said stuff like, ‘You’re doing great’ and he thanked me for being such a wonderful help. The little one, he was just a kid, he only stood there waving his gun about. I don’t know which one was worse. The talking, or the silence.” HE runs his hand over his face, his brow furrowing with the pain of the experience. “I…I didn’t know what to do. I had to left them in the safe, right? I…I couldn’t have done anything different, right?”

I reach across the table and touch his hand. “The fact you’re sitting here able to tell me this information, is a testament your actions. You didn’t the right thing, Mr Tanner. No one got hurt, and that’s all because of you.”

He nods quickly, his shoulders hunched forward, telling me he wants to withdraw into himself.

“tell me, where there only two men inside the bank?”

He shook his head. “Three. Maybe four. The big one said that if I didn’t h…help that I’d be dog mince and that his…his man would take out my employees.”

“So there was someone watching the entry foyer?”

“That’s what he said.”

“Did you see them?”

“N…No. They locked me in the safe, and the police were there when I got out.”

“I see. Can you give me the names of the other employees in the bank at the time?”

He rattles off the names of two female tellers that match the information I already have.

“Can you tell me how many people where in the bank when you entered the safety deposit area.”

His face drains of colour as he shakes his head faster. “I…no. I…a bomb.” He hits his chest. “A…a fucking bomb!” The man cracks, and his wife rushes to get some pills for him while I attempt to calm him as he rocks in place.

“I think he’s had enough,” Mrs Tanner gasps, her arms around her husband, soothing him.

Nodding sagely, I pull my card from my pocket and place it on the table. “Thank you for your time. And for the tea. Call me if there’s anything else he remembers. Any time. My mobile phone is on there too.”

“Yes. Fine.” Her words are short and snippy. I see myself out and squint up at the mid-morning sun, taking a deep inhale to clear the tension from that interview out of my mind. Poor man. I can only imagine how frightened he was.

As I walk back to my car, I get a call from my partner, Drake Jefferson.

“You finished with the bank manager?”

He doesn’t even wait for me to say hello. Nor does he say hello to me. With Drake, it’s all about him, all of the time, and he doesn’t waste any of that precious time on niceties.

“Just now. He didn’t give me much.”

He pauses. “I guess that’s what we expected. Are you coming back to the hospital soon?”

“Yes. Why?”

“Good. I need your help with something.”

“Help with what?”

He disconnects and I’m talking to thin air. Typical. I suppose I’ll find out when I get to the hospital where he’s currently waiting for our only solid lead in this case to wake up. Aiden Price, the big guy Benson Tanner was talking about.

***

At the hospital, Drake leans on the door jam and gives me his best lady killer smile. “Come on, babe. Just swing by and check on the fish. I haven’t been home in days and the auto-feeder will be gone by now.”

I can’t believe this is why he wanted me here. His damned fish.

“I’m not your ‘babe’. Perhaps if you quit having so many sleep overs, your precious fish wouldn’t be an issue.”

Drake chuckles then places his hands on his hips and steps back.

“I love that you call them ‘sleepovers’, Trix. That is the cutest damn thing I have ever heard.”

Rolling my eyes, I mumble out a response, “Fuck you, Drake. I’m so far from cute it’s not funny.”  I shake my head before glancing at the patient handcuffed to the bed in the room we’re guarding. He seems to be stirring.

“You’re cute, Trix. Live with it.”

I glance back at Drake. “Do you even know what cute means?”

“Sure I do.”

“It means ‘ugly but interesting’.”

“No. That’s not what it means. It means that there’s potential to be hot.”

“Potential?” I let out a hollow laugh. Drake has never seen me as anything more that an annoying partner he was forced to work with.

“Yeah. Potential. As in, if you just gave me one night, I could turn this cute between us into something very hot.”

The insinuation pisses me off. I’m well aware of Drake’s proclivities and they consist of one night stands with model-types. The exact opposite of what I am.

“Back off. I can have you done for fucking harassment, Drake. I’m your partner. Don’t forget that.”

“Aw, come on. You wouldn’t do something like that. Secretly, you love me. I know you do.” There’s amusement in his words. He seems to get off on teasing me.

“That’s just wishful thinking on your part. You, Drake Jefferson, will never be loved, liked, or worshipped by me in any way. Now, I’m going to go home, shower and eat. You can look after your own fucking fish.”

“You wound me, Trix. You just took my heart and stomped it into the ground.”

I walk out the door. “You’ll live, tough guy,” I say over my shoulder as I head toward the elevators and pretend that interaction didn’t pluck at my emotions the way that it did…

 

2

Aiden

My eyes open, and  slowly, the room comes into focus. Blinking, I hear unfamiliar voices. A man and a woman are talking about fish and the definition of cute. What the fuck? Who are these people?

I lift my hands to rub at my blurry eyes. But only one hand makes it. The other is jolted after moving only a short way. Handcuffs. Fucking fantastic.

My eyes slowly begin to clear and the room comes into focus. I’m in a hospital room. I’m cuffed to the bed and my chest hurts like…Well, it hurts like somebody shot me in it.

Fucking Chloe.

Moving slightly, I wince at the pain in my chest as memories of the bank job replay in my mind. I have to wonder why the hell she didn’t kill me. It would have been cleaner. She could have taken the bags and kept it all—the cash, the jewels—to herself. It didn’t make any sense. I know how good a shot she is. If she wanted me dead that bullet would have gone straight into my heart. Why would she keep me alive?

One thing was for sure, the first thing I wanted to do was find her and share this pain a little. Perhaps a bullet in one of her outer extremities would finally get her telling me some sort of truth. Right now, everything I thought I knew seems like a stinking pile of bullshit.

“Back off. I can have you done for fucking harassment, Drake. I’m your partner. Don’t forget that.”

My attention gets pulled to the two standing in my room. They’re obviously Feds. Dark suits. Badges on hips. Holier than thou attitude.

“Aw, come on. You wouldn’t do something like that. Secretly, you love me. I know you do.”

They seem to be flirting with each other. Internally, I roll my eyes—this is the calibre of feds these days?

“That’s just wishful thinking on your part. You, Drake Jefferson, will never be loved, liked, or worshipped by me in any way. Now, I’m going to go home, shower and eat. You can look after your own fucking fish.”

Get a room, guys.

“You wound me, Trix. You just took my heart and stomped it into the ground.”

“You’ll live, tough guy,” the woman says as she walks out the door. My eyes land on the guy as he half smiles and turns my way. He looks about the same age as Jared, and has dark hair, a slim but strong looking build, and one of those faces that looks like it went to private school. I kind of want to punch him in it.

“Oh, you’re awake. Nice,” he says when he makes eye contact with me.

I would have thought that after robbing the bank and being left for dead next to the getaway car I would’ve been given a one-way ticket to the lockup. But the fact this guy is smiling at me tells me he wants something.

He pulls a chair to my bedside and takes a seat. Glancing at the IV pole, I consider using it as a weapon to make my escape. I’m not  interested in cutting a deal with this devil.

“You’ve been out for a long time, I was actually getting pretty bored waiting.” He stretches his legs out and places them on the bed beside me. He’s cocky. Yeah, I really want to hit him.

“I’m Agent Drake Jefferson with the Federal Police. Seems like you’ve gotten yourself into a bit of trouble, Mr Price, or can I call you Aiden?” I raise my brow and just look at him, my hands itching to carry out a plan that ends with him bleeding on the floor and me free as a bird, ready to hunt down the bitch that blindsided me and put me in this position in the first place.

Not knowing my internal diatribe, he continues. “Well, Aiden, as I said, you’re in a bit of trouble. But if you can work with me—help me get to the truth—then we can probably work something out. I have bigger fish to fry than some basic thief that can’t even getaway properly.”

Basic? I’ll fucking show him basic. My hand makes its way toward the IV pole…

“I’ve looked into your past—your military past. Special ops? Ring a bell?” I don’t respond. There’s no way this guy has clearance to access that shit.  “I figure with your skill set and my access level,  we can do some great things.”

My hand stills. “I thought I was basic.”

He smiles at me like we’re best mates. “Is that what I said? Nah, I think you’re useful. What do you say?”

I don’t say anything. I’m not even sure what he’s after. Drake removes his feet from the bed and leans over to pour me a cup of water. I take it only because my throat is so fucking scratchy it’s like trying to talk with a sandstorm blowing through my mouth. Each sip is like drinking the elixir of life.

“I suppose we can look at it this way—you can cooperate by telling me who your accomplice was, the names of anyone else helping you. Plus, where they took all the valuables. And, anything else I might ask of you. Then I might find a way to overlook the fact that you and your friends turned an entire city on its head with that fake terrorist stunt you pulled.”

“And you just let me go—just like that?” I don’t believe for a second he has the power to do that.

“Not exactly.” He draws the words out, long and slow as we inch closer toward the truth of this proposal. “There’s a catch.”

“A catch?”

“You’re an interesting man, Aiden—a security specialist with a military file that is primarily redacted. You’ve seen some serious action in your time. I’m pretty sure you’re one of this country’s unsung heroes, so when I say I’m not interested you in you, I really mean that. But, my boss, he thinks you can be useful.”

“So far, it sounds like what you want is for me to do your job for you.”

He lets out a chuckle. “Well, you don’t get where I am by doing everything yourself. It’s called delegating Aiden.”

Thinking the IV pole idea might just be the best call after all, I try to sit up for better leverage. He’s wasting my time.

Drake takes a seat on the side of the bed and places his hand directly on my bandages to push me back. Gritting my teeth I wince through the pain that flashes behind my eyes and temporarily blinds me.

“Bad idea, mate. Assault of a federal officer will just land you behind bars and there will be nothing anyone can do about.” He presses a little harder. The pain burns so intense I almost pass out. “Except me, I could do something about it, but I’m a proud man—a vengeful man—and I’d be so busy making your life a living hell that I’d start to enjoy it. It’d become a game for me. A game I’d never want to end. So my suggestion is for you to lie back, I reckon you need all the rest you can get.” He pats my bandage twice causing the pain to surge forward again. Reflexively, I ball up my right fist, but the cuffs stop me from hitting out. I settle for grabbing him by the shirt with my left.

“Don’t fucking touch me again,” I growl, spitting from within my clenched teeth. My breathing labours as my whole body screams with the pain of a bullet wound.

“Then be a good little slave,” Drake says without the hint of stress in his voice. “I think I may have neglected to tell you that you and I have a common enemy.”

My hand relaxes and he slips from my grip, smoothing out the creases in his shirt as he continues to sit in front of me.

“I doubt you and I have anything in common.”

“Goldsmith.” His eyes widen dramatically and he lifts his hands as if writing the name in the sky for emphasis.

I relax back on my pillows. “Your enemy is Michael Goldsmith?”

“Of course. He’s been on our radar for a while. The whole Donovan Corporation collapse was a little too convenient for my liking. A wedding, a merger, then embezzlement? It makes no sense to me. Why would Terry Donovan be stupid enough to merge when that same merger would uncover his crime?” He shakes his head. “No. I smell a pile of shit in place of that story.”

“So you believe he’s innocent?”

“I don’t believe any man heading a multibillion dollar corporation is completely innocent. But of this crime, I think that perhaps the money went somewhere else. Somewhere else like in their many safety deposit boxes you emptied at that bank. Or maybe the daughter had something to do with it.”

“The daughter?” Just the mention of her sent my chest aching with pain all over again. My fists tighten. Chloe needs to pay for what she’s done. I never thought I’d feel this much anger toward a woman, but right now, it’s the only emotion I have for her.

“Chloe Donovan-Goldsmith. She abandoned her marriage very quickly after the charges were laid, and she’s the only one still in contact with Terry Donovan. We can’t find much on her though, she pretty much lives as a ghost and she’s excellent at shaking a tail. We haven’t been able to follow her anywhere that could help answer our questions.”

That didn’t surprise me.

“There’s a lot of speculation and a lot of moving parts in this thing, but we believe you’re the guy to help us put all the pieces together.”

“Is that so?”

“Sure. What were you really looking for, Aidan? I can’t imagine you’re desperate for money. You drive a pretty flash car, own a club, the security business. You’re not low on funds. So what would make a man like you go through all that trouble just to get to a few safety deposit boxes? This is literally the million dollar question. And the only thing I can think is that you did it out of revenge.”

“Revenge?”

He nods. “You know, that was a spectacular disguise you’re wearing. Word is, you really freaked out the EMT’s when your nose bent sideways while they were putting the oxygen mask on you.” He chuckles, slipping his hands inside his pockets as he stands and moves to the foot of my bed.

“I’m glad I was able to entertain,” I comment, keeping my voice steady and my features calm.

“Oh, you did, you sure did.” He begins to pace back and forth as if deep in thought. “Who exactly did that makeup job for you?”

“I learned it from YouTube,” I lie.

“And your partner?”

“YouTube.”

He grins. “It’s always YouTube, right?”

Feeling the ache of my wounded body, I find my attention starting to waiver. “How about we dispose of this chitchat and get to the point? I’m fucking tired and despite being cuffed to the bed, I don’t want to do this back and forth all day—exactly what are you asking me to help you with?”

He pauses at the end of my bed again. “OK, I’ll get to the point. You have a pretty impressive background from the Military. And considering you just robbed a bank that has the most up-to-date security system money can buy, I’m thinking you’ve got a team of highly skilled professionals at your fingertips.”

I say nothing. My ‘team’ is none of his damn business.

Narrowing his eyes, he returns to his pacing. “I’ll take your silence as a yes. We have use for people like you, Aiden. People who are clever enough to get a job done and done right with little casualties. The way I see this, there was no way in hell you were going to get caught. The only reason you’re here right now is that you had a traitor in your midst.”

A low growl seems emanate out of my chest of its own accord. I see the tick at the side of Drake’s mouth. He’s trying not to smile at my obvious slipup.

To say I’m angry at Chloe is an understatement. If I was anyone else I’d sign any fucking deal this guy offered me just to make sure she was dragged kicking and screaming into the nastiest women’s prison they could find. But I’m a guy who likes to do my own dirty work. I’m a guy who has revenge down to a fine art. No one crosses me. No one.

Already, my mind is ticking over, trying to work out the best way to make Chloe pay for what she did to me. I’m in the mood to burn everything to the to ground, and to do that, I need to get out of here.

I look at Drake. Despite my desire to punch that pretty-boy face of his, he’s my ticket out of here. I need this guy. I need him to believe me when I tell him I’ll help.

“I can help you, Aiden. I can help you get some revenge on this guy. Just give me the name of the guy who shot you, and I’ll get every law enforcement agency in the country looking for him. His picture will be on every news station in every newspaper and on the wall of every post office there is. Hell, I’ll even take out the billboard ad if that’s what it takes.” He moves back to the chair and sits down, leaning forward on his knees to talk closely. “I’m going to lay all my cards on the table right here. We need that guy. We need what he took with him. We need whatever was in those security deposit boxes. If you give us a name, we can close this bank case and move on to the big one. The one where you use your unique skill set and knowledge of company workings. The one where you help us land Goldsmith.”

He sounds like he’s a coach giving some down trodden team a locker room speech. But he’s barking up the wrong tree. “Listen, I never even worked for Goldsmith. I was fired before the merger. I don’t see how I’m supposed to help you”

Drake smiles. “I’m aware of that. Which is why I’m sure your motives for robbing the bank were steeped in your desire for revenge.”

“That job had nothing to do with revenge” I watch as he raises his brow in question then continue. “You stated it yourself—I’m not exactly wanting for money. Getting fired from the Donovan Corporation is probably the best thing that ever happened to me. I made more of a name for myself after Donovan than during.”

“Mate, I don’t think you want revenge because of money. I think you want revenge because of a girl.”

This one gets me. What the hell does he know? “A girl? You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Sure I know. During our investigations, we found a busted iPad with some fairly… let see if I can word this nicely…compromising footage of you and Chloe Donovan-Goldsmith on it.”

“Chloe and I aren’t anything. We fucked. That’s all.”

He shrugs. “Looked a little more than fucking from where I was standing. If they had have put music to it, it would have made a beautiful love montage.”

My teeth grind in anger, hating that anyone saw that night. It was the beginning of my end and something I deeply regret in this moment.

“I don’t care what you think. There’s nothing between us; nothing that would motivate some sort of revenge plot anyway.”

“Is that so? Well, the footage was all conveniently dated only a couple of weeks before her wedding to Sebastian Goldsmith and not long before your job was no longer available to you. You can’t tell me these things don’t have something to do with each other.”

That growl rumbles in my chest again. I wish he would shut the fuck up. Any mention of her seems to be turning me into a rabid animal. She’s a betrayer; a siren in the night calling me to the depths to drown.

His eyes widen and the fucker smiles. “You hate her, don’t you?”

“Chloe Donovan means nothing to me. She was a fuck. A mistake. It cost me my job and there’s nothing more to it.”

He stands and paces the room again, talking like he’s putting on a show and I’m his captive audience.

“No. I’m right. I know I’m right. I’m pretty intuitive guy, Aiden. And these kinds of things are only ever about two things—money or women, and sometimes both. There aren’t a hell of a lot of other reasons why men do things. Let’s face it, we’re ruled by our dicks.”

“Speak for yourself.”

“I don’t deny it. And there’s no point in you denying it either. You see, there’s a hell of a lot of CCTV cameras around the city these days. And my partner, Agent Samuels, is somewhat of a computer expert. She found some recent footage of Chloe Donovan-Goldsmith exiting your club. You were working there that night so I’m sure she was there to talk to you—I can’t imagine a girl like that was hanging around an area like yours for fun.”

“Your partner is a hacker?” This makes things a little more interesting.

“Hacker is such a nasty word. It implies that she what she does is illegal.”

“Isn’t it?”

“Not when she’s doing it for the government.” He flashes a grin.

“Funny that.”

“Don’t get jealous, Price. I’m willing to let you use your unique skills and your history with Mr Donovan to get you a government pass on unsavoury activities too. It’s how Samuels got her job. Not every crime needs to be punished with a gaol cell.”

“It just gets punished with government servitude?”

He pauses pacing and laughs, looking down at his foot as he scuffs at some sort of mark on the floor. “That’s definitely one way of looking at it.”

For a while, I just stare at him, wondering exactly what he knows. More importantly, I wonder what hell don’t know.

There’s only one way to find out.

“Fine. I’ll work with you.”

“Give me a name, and I can make that happen”

 

3

Caitlin

Pulling up outside Drake’s apartment, I mumble to myself about what a sucker I am for turning up here to check on his stupid fish. Then I get out of my car, knowing that he knows I’m a sucker too. I’ll bet that right now he’s sitting comfortably in that hospital chair smiling to himself because he knows I’m here doing his bidding. It’s like I really want to hurt myself by being in his space and seeing the side of him that no one sees while knowing, knowing, that the only reason I see it is because he views me as some sort of assistant to his own awesome. He certainly doesn’t see me as a woman, and the fact he teases me like some schoolgirl tells me he’s well aware of my crush and using it against me.

He’s such an arsehole…

Then why am I even here?

Annoyed with myself, I use the spare key I have in my purse for moments such as these—yes, I have a key, I even know his alarm code. I’m freaking Money Penny to his James Bond.

Once I let myself inside I take a moment to look around his very clean and open space. Drake isn’t one for clutter, and he doesn’t do a hell of a lot of decorating either. Everything is a dark theme, and the only real colour comes from the bright tropical fish in his floor-to-ceiling tank.

Walking over to it, I stand quietly; listening to the hum of the water filter and watching the fish. They swim along, languidly weaving through the live coral as it waves about in the artificial current. They don’t seem to have a care in the world and are completely at peace. I get a brief moment of serenity watching them.

For a moment, I can understand why Drake is so into his fish—they really are beautiful and calming to watch. But what I don’t understand is his refusal to bring the women he dates over to his place. If he could get over his stupid obsession with sharing a bed then I wouldn’t have to be here feeding his damn fish like some sort of servant.

I think in the two years I’ve been partnered with him, I’ve been the only female he’s allowed in his house. That fact speaks volumes to me. He flirts with me but he doesn’t mean any of it. I’m his partner. That’s it. At most, I’m a friend. But he doesn’t see me in any sexual way at all. If he did, he wouldn’t let me in here. In his words, he doesn’t like to share his space with anyone he is emotionally attached to. He thinks it complicates things.

I chew the side of my lip in thought as I reach up to open the feeding hatch. I don’t know why it all bothers me, it’s not as if I like him or anything—well, I do, I admit to having a crush.  I mean, he’s gorgeous so how can I not notice that. But, that’s as far as it goes.  The guy is my partner. He’s a player; a male slut—a charmer many would say. He’s not the kind of guy a geeky computer specialist would ever hook up with—even if I did want it to be more than it is. So really, it doesn’t matter how I feel. It doesn’t matter how attractive I find him. Drake and I don’t match,  and the job comes first.

But even I’m aware how full of shit my own thoughts are. I guess I’m just trying to convince myself that all of this is OK—that I’m OK. But I’m not. Like these fish, I’m trapped in a limited world.

As I drop the food through the hatch. I watch the fish swim around frantically to grab it. I continue to muse about Drake and his many differences to me. We’ve been told numerous times that he’s the muscle and I’m the brains. But Drake is very smart on his own, and despite being a hacker by trade, my field abilities aren’t too bad.

No. I think someone put us together on purpose, thinking it would be funny to put Drake with a plain, needy girl to watch him squirm with discomfort when she swooned. Well, the jokes on them—I’m not the swooning type. I’m the type who secretly admires and never does anything about it. And here’s why; Drake is the epitome of tall, dark and handsome—just like my father was. And he left my mum the moment being part of a family got a little too tough. So I know Drake’s type—I’ve lived with Drake’s type,  and Drake’s type causes nothing but pain. I wouldn’t be stupid enough to do that myself. Not when I saw the fallout of heartache everyday since I was ten. I don’t see how falling in love is worth it.

But I don’t agree with Drake’s fuck-buddy policy either.

Brushing my hands against my black work pants, I make my way into Drake’s kitchen and open his cupboards. He’s into all that whole food crap. You know the stuff—whole grains, raw nuts, protein shakes—it all disgusts me, I have no interesting clean eating at all.

After I move a few boxes around I spot what I’m after—strawberry pop tarts. They’re the only unhealthy thing that exists in his cupboards, only there as a bribe for me because I’m forever feeding his stupid fish, like the lackey I am.

Tearing the silver packet open with my teeth, I bite straight into the jam filled pastry. Then I walk back over to the tank, chewing quietly. Once again, I watch the fish, this time making kissy faces at their wide gaping mouths. I look ridiculous, but it’s not as if anyone is going to see me doing it. Hell, the fish don’t even notice me. Story of my life.

I watch until I’ve eaten both pop tarts then throw my rubbish in the kitchen bin and head out.

“See you next time I do exactly what I tell Drake I won’t do,” I tell the fish as I leave..

Then I get into my car and head back to the hospital, hoping Aiden Price is awake so we can get on with this job. I need to know who they used to hack into the city’s mainframe. I’ve never seen their work before and it’s driving me nuts being unable to track them down.

Preorder via this link – books2read.com/u/4EWaRO

Or, read book one, Partners, free for a very limited time via this link –books2read.com/u/bWKlG0

Happy reading!

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New Year, New Reads

Welcome to 2017! To celebrate the new year, I’m part of a promotion with 24 other authors to help you kick-start your reading list in 2017.

It’s pretty simple, all you have to do is follow this link – http://www.edensummers.com/newyearnewreads.html – There, you’ll be asked to sign up for some author newsletters to claim your free read. There are 25 free books in total, including In the Wind from me (which I hope most of you have read, but if you haven’t, now’s your chance.)

This offer only lasts until January 15, so please take advantage of it while you can.

I’ll be back in a few days with the cover reveal for Played.

What!?! Did you read that right??

Yes! Played is almost here, so keep your eyes peeled!

Lilliana xoxox

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I’m Baaaa-aaaack!

A quick update…

…on me and the fam before I get down to the business side of stuff. Our baby girl is now two months old, and we’ve settled into somewhat of a routine. Most of the time she is asleep in a wrap on my chest or playing in her little floor gym next to me, but we’re calm and the family is loving the new addition and all of her precious smiles. If you follow me on Snapchat (lilliana-books) you’ll get to see some pics of her when we play with the filters, but otherwise, I give a few updates with pics on my facebook profile.

Here’s a quick pic of us from Instagram –

She loved the butterflies #twomonthsold #babysmiles

A post shared by Lilliana Anderson (@lilliana_anderson) on

 

Now, down to business

I’m back! My brain has settled down from all those pregnancy hormones and I’m able to communicate with my characters – BLISS!

And returning with me is an all new cover for Partners! Why? Because I will FINALLY be releasing Played in 2017. This series has been floating about in the ether for a while—long story—but now it is definitely happening 😁

Series Info –

Book One (Partners) is a #FREE download on all platforms and Book Two (Played) will be releasing Feb 15th. Mark your calendars!

Links to Partners –

Amazon –
US – http://amzn.to/2fqlFgv
UK – http://amzn.to/2giPOmz
AU – http://amzn.to/2ghBG9g
iBooks – http://apple.co/2fql3HA
B&N – http://bit.ly/1s5vEML
kobo – http://bit.ly/1uTmJz5

BLURB

~Chloe~

Rules are made to be broken…

That’s what they say but I used to follow the rules. I used to have pride, honour, and obedience. I was raised to believe that in the world in which I lived, money and power ruled, and everyone made sacrifices. I knew my priorities. Family first. The company second. And what I wanted a very distant third.

I followed the rules, but couldn’t have known that obedience would ultimately cause betrayal. On many fronts.

My father was framed, and I’ll do whatever it takes to put the right man behind bars.

My name is Chloe Donovan, and I’m going to make things right. But to do that, I need to break the law, and I can’t do it on my own. I need help. The problem is, the only person capable of helping, hates me. I don’t blame him. I promised him the world and then I ran away…

~Aiden~

I used to follow the rules. Until Chloe Donovan. She was my boss’s daughter. I shouldn’t have touched her. But I did. Three years ago, she came into my life, consuming it. Consuming me. I needed her. She betrayed me, as did her father. Lies and deception. Never again.

Chloe was the worst mistake I ever made. She’s temptation and destruction wrapped in a beautiful package. But, my blood doesn’t really fill my brain when I’m around her…

Now, she’s back, declaring her innocence and once again, ensnaring me with her magnetism, her beauty, her allure. I should say no.

But Chloe Donovan owns me. I still want her. Her draw may be the death of me.

The NEW Cover for Partners

That’s it for now! Happy Thanksgiving to all my US friends, and a big hello to the rest of the world who are just enjoying a regular day! Kiss, kiss, and keep smiling!

 

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Till There Was You by Wade & Lilliana Anderson

till there was you release banner

⚜It’s finally here! The release day for TILL THERE WAS YOU by Wade & Lilliana Anderson⚜


⚜BLURB⚜
Haunted by his past, Lincoln Ryan abandoned his life in Australia, retreating halfway around the world to the town of Newsham, a place as remote and cold as his heart had become. It suited him perfectly—for a while.

When a fateful event forces him to help out local bar owner, Lily Colbert, Linc finds his life of solitude is suddenly flooded with the light and hope of one very stubborn woman. Slowly his walls begin to crumble as he lets the enigmatic Lily in. But when Linc and Lily dance perilously close to the ‘L’ word, his secrets re-emerge, rocking him to the core as he tries once again to outrun his past.

However, the thing about the past is that it always seems to follow you around, and for Linc, hiding may not be an option anymore. Not when he has Lily. Not when he might finally have a future….

Till There Was You is the debut novel by Wade Anderson, co-written with his wife, Lilliana Anderson (author of Drawn and 47 Things).

⚜iBooks – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1120160600
⚜Nook – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1123873352
⚜Kobo – https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/till-there-was-you-3

⚜Amazon
US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GH5HJA0
UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01GH5HJA0
CA – https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01GH5HJA0
AU – https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01GH5HJA0

 If you’d like to find out more, you can read the first two chapters here. Early reviewers called the book ‘a beautiful but at times heartbreaking story’, and said ‘loved this book, the characters are great. I laughed, cried, felt lots of emotions…’. Why not check it out for yourself?  Happy reading!

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