Craving Erotic Romance...

is a group blog from several sassy erotic romance authors!

Find out about our latest releases, read scintillating interviews on Mondays, beat mid-week blahs with Hump Day Help Wednesdays, and see hot hunks on Fridays. Saturdays are "Open Mike" and full of surprises! And then, there's always our guests...!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Hot Hunk Wednesday presents Into the Woods...

Title: Into the Woods
Series Title: Lust in the Woods #2
Author: Alexa Sinclaire
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Release Date: November 17th, 2016
Genre: M/F Erotic Romance


I’m not supposed to sleep with my employees. But how about fall in love with them? I’ve loved Charlie Alford since the day I met her. Now she’s leaving and I’ve only got once chance to get her to see we’re meant for each other, one chance to get past her walls and show her how great we’d be together. My method might be unconventional but it’s a shot I’m willing to take. In the end, she’ll love me. And if she doesn’t, I know she’ll definitely hate me. CHARLIE Ford Gross is the one man in my life that hasn’t tried to get into my panties. Of course he’s the only man I’ve truly wanted. My whole life I’ve been reminded over and over again how little I’m worth and the message has stuck. With Ford, it’s different. I’m different. But one night with Ford changes everything. He’s making me an offer I can’t refuse. But if I accept it means I’ll become everything I’ve always avoided and he’ll join the ranks of men that have used me and thrown me away.

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Stepping into the main living area was stepping into a movie set. The place was a mix of quaint mountain cabin meets modern minimalist man-cave. This was not the Ford I knew. But I guess I didn’t know him that well.

“I’m going to make us something to drink. Something with chocolate. That always makes women happy,” he half-mumbled to himself as he headed towards the open-plan kitchen. “Have a look around and I’ll be right with you.”

The large dark leather sectional couches faced a television that could pass as a movie screen. Ford obviously liked hanging out. As far as I knew, he wasn’t social though. I pictured him sitting alone on one of his huge, comfy looking couches, watching a movie. Alone. And it made me sad. Although who was I to judge? My one and only friend, Katy, have left for Paris and most of my weekends were now spent working on my business plan and watching The West Wing.

Moving on, I spied a pair of French doors leading off from the living room out onto an enormous deck. The sound of Ford making hot cocoa filtered my way and I thought about offering to help. After making coffee for other people all day, the last thing I wanted to do was make another hot beverage, and anyway, the deck was calling me. Unlocking the doors, I walked out onto what was basically a deck the size of the house. It extended into the woods and he hadn’t cut the trees down near the back, making it feel enclosed, the dark woods looming up around me. It should have been creepy and daunting. But the overall impression was the opposite. Somehow it felt cozy and secluded. A couple of deck chairs were laid out near the end furthest away from the house.

Sitting down, I closed my eyes and just took a moment to myself. The Serena drama, missing Katy, not exactly loving the whole abstinence thing but knowing it was good for me, my connection with Ford I knew would only ever just be a friendship, what I was going to do with my life now. My thoughts buzzed in my head and I concentrated on pushing them out one by one and just listening to the natural noises around me. The sounds of the woods took over slowly—an owl or two, the rustle of the leaves as a soft wind fluttered through the branches. This is what I need.

Peace and quiet.

“Pretty peaceful, isn’t it?”

I yelped in surprise. So lost on my moment of calm, I hadn’t even heard Ford approaching. Balanced on one hand, Ford held a tray with our two cups of something chocolaty and in the other, his laptop.

I reached up and took the tray, placing it on the small table between the chairs. “I was just thinking that. This place is amazing. I’d live out on this deck, if I had this place.” He smiled in appreciation. “You won’t be saying that in about twenty minutes. I ran out of candles and the mosquitos can get vicious. But we’ve got enough time before the little vampires descend and I thought you could show me your proposal.”

Sitting down sideways on my chair, he propped his laptop on my knees. “I kind of assumed you had it stored in a cloud or your email, so just log in and get it.” I bit my lip, acutely aware of Ford’s gaze. For some reason showing Ford my business plan felt more intimidating than showing the bank. He nudged my shoulder and I bent over and logged in to my email. Once I’d opened the document, I slid it over onto his lap and waited. His eyes flitted across the page as he quickly scrolled through it.

Sitting this close to him, I decided to focus on anything but the fact Ford, an heir to one of the country’s most successful businesses, was probably laughing inside at my pathetic attempt to start my own little enterprise. Instead, I decided to focus on the fact our bodies were touching.

A lot.

Sitting side by side, we were making contact essentially from our shoulders, all the way down our torsos, thighs, and then knees. Every moment, breath, sigh, fidget he made, I felt. There was something about Ford, the way he was so contained and in control, made me think underneath all that was an animal, waiting to get out. A caveman he needed to keep leashed in order to pass as a civilized man. Sure, his job wasn’t particularly masculine—selling coffee, but Ford was all man. I sometimes caught him looking at me when we worked together, his face dark and almost angry.

The first few times I thought it was because I messed up an order or dropped a bag of freshly ground beans, but then I realized it was something else. I didn’t know what it was though. At first I hoped it was lust or even longing. But he never made a move. Not once. A long time ago, a few months into working with him, I’d tried to flirt and let him know I’d be up for something but he never made his move. I’d dropped any fantasy I had of being with a man like Ford. I still caught him looking but that didn’t mean much. Maybe he just liked to look. Lots of guys looked but never touched.

But sitting here, so close, I let myself wonder if perhaps I’d given up a bit too quick with Ford. I mean, he didn’t need to invite me to his house, did he? He could have patted me on the back and sent me on my way with a sympathetic smile and it would have been just as I expected. I struggled to read him, really read him and it made applying my little rules of life virtually useless.

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About Alexa Sinclaire

Alexa Sinclaire writes erotic romance: the hotter the better. Originally from the East Coast, she now lives in England with her very own Alpha male British husband.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Monday's Scintiallating Interview with Elyzabeth M VaLey.

Welcome to Craving Erotic Romance Blogspot.

Today we’re presenting Author: 

1) Have you always wanted to be an author? Yes. I think since I was around 8 years old or so I had it in my head that I wanted to be an author.
2) What genre(s) do you write? I like dipping my toes in different genres, paranormal, historical, contemporary... As long as there is a love story, I’m there to tell it.
3)  Have you ever self published? No, I have not.
4) Who or what inspired you to write your first book?
5) How many hours in a day might you write? Monday to Friday, if I’m lucky I might write 1-2 hours. Weekends, a bit more.
6) Are you a plotter or a pantser? I’m a big pantser. I’ll start a story with a scene and work it from there. Sometimes, after I’ve started writing the novel I’ll have a general sense of direction, but nothing is set in stone.
7) Do you ever find yourself slipping away and becoming so immersed in your story it affects how you relate to others? LOL Yes! I’m currently doing Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) and I’m having a hard time having normal conversations with people because all I want to do is discuss my novel and my characters or do research for my book.
8) Are you in any of your books? Nope. Although, my books are in a way, my children, so they all have something of *me* in them.
9) What do your friends and family have to say about you writing? I’m lucky because the friends and family that know about my writing are all very supportive.
10) Please share an excerpt from your book that totally spoke to you when you put the words down on paper.
This is so hard! There are several excerpts that spoke to me when I wrote them. However, I have chosen one which I think speaks to most of us. I feel like most people have hated or been angry at themselves at one point or another in their life..                

From: Reine’s Salvation (Alpha Protectors I)  

Mystique squeezed Reine’s hand. He stared at their entwined fingers as if lost in thought. She wasn’t surprised. Her story was not easy to digest. She had only ever told one other person and she was gone. In that hospital room she had confessed everything to her mother. Her mother had told her to let go of her anger, to be so aware of it she could directly stare it in the face and fight.
Scream at it, stab it in the heart, hate it with all your heart and soul, and then, only when you’re aware that you’re angry will you be able to let it go.
When she’d stood in front of that mirror in the hotel she’d been shocked by what she’d seen. She didn’t recognize herself. She didn’t know who this woman with a haughty expression was. She didn’t know who the sunken cheekbones and sad eyes belonged to. There was no happiness on her face. Her jaw had been clenched, her nostrils flaring. She was seething, furious at herself.
Her life so far had been unfair. She had had to deal with a mother with deep psychological issues as well as a father who had abandoned her at birth. The first man she had loved had also left her. She had gone on a wild goose chase to hurt everyone, but she had ended up hurting herself the most.
I hate you.
Again and again, she told her reflection in the mirror what she felt.
I hate you for being weak. I hate you for ignoring your gut feeling. I hate you for blinding yourself to the pain, for blocking it, for pushing it aside.
All night long she fought against the feelings of hatred and wrath. Little by little, with every vile comment, she’d introduce something positive about her. She attempted to find that which would keep her going instead of her rage.

She woke up the next morning on the bathroom floor, more determined than ever to change her life. For days she didn’t look at herself in the mirror. She was afraid of what she’d see. 

Available at:
Evernight Publishing
All Romance Ebooks
and more!

Find Elyzabeth M. VaLey on Facebook
Twitter: @ElyzabethVaLey

Friday, November 18, 2016

Hot for Friday! Peri Elizabeth Scott joins us...

Childhood traumas lurk deep. Victoria Sparrow knows that. Especially when one’s father rejects one as not being worthy. Her romantic relationships founder, until Logan Doherty. He gives her reason to believe in goodness and true love, and she commits her heart and soul to him.

No longer prey to her damaged, young self, Victoria eagerly looks forward to their upcoming marriage—until she meets Logan at the altar. He informs her the wedding is off before their assembled friends and family, and will not tell her why.

Cast back into the nightmare of rejection, a devastated Victoria undertakes the momentous task of putting her life back together, her trust broken, her worst fears realized.

Meanwhile, Logan is working equally hard to deal with the secretive events that led to that cruel rejection, and then he plans to make it up to his tattered bride. If she will forgive him.


The world narrowed to him and her, and a little slice of churning emotions she couldn’t decipher. “You’re calling off the wedding. Our wedding. Now.” Just in case she hadn’t heard him correctly. This had the makings of a horrible, sick joke…
Shoving a hand through his hair, he obviously struggled to meet her stare. His tawny eyes were turbulent. “I am. I … just decided. It’s—”
“What?” Victoria tumbled to it, falling into the abyss of her history. Deep down, she knew why. Too bad he’d only just decided. Now. At this inopportune time. All her issues and stupid insecurities washed over her from wherever they’d been banished to, banished by Logan’s resolute pursuit and sincere belief in her. He’d addressed her fears, made her whole—and now? Now her tender underbelly was exposed—without a shred of armor—for the deathblow. The sublime lovemaking of a mere few hours earlier faded in the face of it.
“I—” Real pain and misery now seemed to burn in his eyes, and despite her terrified anticipation, she wanted to soothe him. Through set lips, he continued, “I don’t have the words to tell you why Victoria. I’m sorry. But the wedding is off.”
Still, she waited, believing he would somehow embellish, give her an explanation that wouldn’t make this about her, but he stood there mutely, now staring someplace over her shoulder. She checked out the direction of that gaze—maybe there was an answer there, but she saw only a watercolor of a pastoral scene. Please.
She let her pride crumble and begged. “Logan. This doesn’t make any sense. We… Only this morning…”
He shook his head and straightened to his full height. “It’s off.”
Deep inside there was an utter certainty that it did indeed make sense. He’d figured her out. Seen to the core of her the way others had. In despair, she gave up the fight to believe in him and their love in response to his firm declaration. The Victoria of her childhood emerged, in blind response, lashing out to hide from the truth.
 “Was it the thrill of the chase? And then when you caught me, you became afraid you were settling? That there’s something better around the corner?”
She didn’t want to wait for a response. She had to leave. Now. What would get her past the sideways looks and the knowing stares? The church was full of family and friends—and others who had probably predicted this very moment…
“Victoria. You need to calm down. It’s not like that.”
“Calm. Down?” She was aware her voice was climbing as she talked over him, and the small room, the one where she and Logan would have been closeted to sign the papers finalizing their marriage, wasn’t soundproof. She modulated her tone the very best she could, humiliation and pain squeezing her very being. “What is it like, then, exactly?”
“I can’t say.”
“Tell me.”
He looked away. “I can’t.”
Dropping her beautiful bouquet of red roses, entwined with baby’s breath and white, embossed ribbon on the desk, the air currents disturbed the uncompleted marriage papers. They fluttered, mocking her. She stared up at the face of the man she loved. And faced the realization that she indeed still loved him. That part, at least, hadn’t changed despite the mortification of being dumped at the freaking altar. Love. She thought it was love. Too bad it wasn’t real.
“And I’m supposed to take that and be calm!”
“Yes, calm down.” His face was set in grim determination, his eyes hot. “We’ll … we’ll get through this.”
She narrowed her eyes and leaned into him. What couldn’t she be one of those classy women who took this kind of thing in stride and walked away without making a scene? Maybe she could be. Drawing on a reserve of strength she wasn’t aware she possessed, she said, “I’m calm. Dead calm. So shut up now. I never want to hear your voice again, let alone set eyes on you.”
Squaring her shoulders, she closed off his next attempt to speak. She avoided his outstretched hand and ignored the sudden abject despair written across his handsome features. Was he embarrassed? If he didn’t want a scene, why in hell had he chosen this public place to dump her? Flinging the door openam to the main part of the church, she surveyed the people filling the pews. Those congregated there stilled into silence, with only an occasional murmur marring the quiet. Dozens of pairs of eyes looked in their direction. Victoria stepped forward. Classy. She could do this.

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About the Author:

Peri Elizabeth Scott lives in Manitoba, Canada. She recently closed her part-time private practice as a social worker and child play therapist. She and her husband have a seasonal business and pretend to work well together.

Writing for years, mostly short stories and poetry, she has published dark erotica under another pen name and reads everything she can lay her hands on.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Jewel Quinlan with The Drop...

The Drop, Electric Desert Nights #3 by @JewelQuinlan

It’s the last night of Electric Daisy Carnival. And, rather than being excited, Tyler is less than thrilled. His two best girlfriends met guys they were interested in the previous nights of the carnival and arranged for everyone to hang out together, which means Tyler will be stuck with the third member of their group, a girl named Scarlett. At first he’s attracted to her sweet nature and girl-next-door good looks. But when she touches him, his mind is filled with thoughts and memories that aren’t his own, unsettling him. He’d rather not know more about her and how she’s making these things happen, but Scarlett seems to want the opposite.
Where you can buy it:
Amazon  |  iBooks  |  Kobo  |  Nook  |  All Romance eBooks
Add it to your shelf on Goodreads

Enjoy this excerpt:
In the space of a moment, as the DJ dropped the track into a deep reverberating bass, Tyler’s entire world tilted. One second he was dancing with Scarlett, the next second she was in his arms kissing him and everything around them fell away. He felt as though he were zipping through a tunnel of space-time as colors and sounds warped, looking and sounding odd. And then, he returned to himself. Only, he wasn’t quite himself. Someone else took up a good portion of the space inside him now and that person was taking control.
“Scarlett,” he breathed, packing all the love that he felt into the syllables of her name. He brushed her blond bangs back from her face and skimmed his fingers down her smooth cheek. Suddenly, Tyler’s entire perception of Scarlett shifted and he now looked at her with new eyes. It was as if he had been near-sighted and was suddenly given glasses. Instead of the cute blond stranger he’d met, she was his entire world, his reason for living. The potent feelings of love and admiration, and memories of his intimate connection with her, flooded his mind, pushing aside all that he had known before. They were so strong the Tyler could no longer figure out who he was separate from them. He knew they were not his feelings and memories, yet he didn’t fight them. They were filled with such happiness that he was actually eager to embrace them. His mind had somehow been unlocked to allow in the cornucopia of memories of a perfect life. He didn’t question where they came from and he had no desire to shut them out. And in the process, as he filled with them, he could feel his soul begin to drift somewhere into a corner of his being.
“Nick?” Scarlett cupped his face in both hands. “Is it really you?”
This time it was not Tyler who answered. “Yes. It’s me, babe.”
Scarlett wrapped her arms around him in a bone-crushing hug, and he could feel her back heave with sobs of joy. “I can’t believe it. After all this time. How? Why? No. I don’t care. I’m just so glad you’re here. I’ve waited so long.”
Nick wrapped his arms around her, stroked her silky hair, and kissed the top of her head. Then he leaned in close to whisper in her ear the words that burned on his lips to be spoken. “I love you.”

She pulled back and looked at him with tear-filled eyes. “I love you, too!”

About the Author:
Restless by nature, Jewel Quinlan is an avid traveler and has visited sixteen countries so far. Lover of ice cream, dark beer, and red wine she tries to stay fit when she’s not typing madly on her computer concocting another romance novel. In her spare time, she likes to do yoga, hike, learn German, and play with her spoiled Chihuahua, Penny.
For more information about Jewel Quinlan
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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Michele Zurlo's Treasure Me!!


Relocating to Kansas City with David and working for SAFE Security was everything Autumn thought she wanted…except that the job isn’t what she thought it would be, and her past seems to have a stranglehold on her emotions.

When Autumn takes a case without informing the rest of SAFE Security, she finds herself in hot water when secret victory blows up in her face. Her impulsive mistake almost costs their lives—and she soon finds herself jobless. Reeling from this failure and the way it’s damaged her relationships with David and the team, she vows to start fresh—with a new name and in a new city. Unfortunately a local crime boss has other ideas.

In the midst of a mission, David must rush back to try to stop Autumn from leaving—only to find that Autumn and her sister have disappeared. Can he find them in time to save them and his relationship with the woman he treasures?

In Treasure Me, Michele Zurlo delivers a sexy, action-packed adventure tale full of emotional twists and turns.

Warnings: Spanking, D/s, Dom who puts his foot in his mouth, bratty sub, fingerpainting

Print ISBN: 978-1-942414-22-3
Word Count: 84,600

Buy Links


I looked skyward in time to see four men dropped from the helicopter, using tension lines to land on the roof. From the way they were dressed and armed, I knew that Dean, Frankie, and Jesse had their hands full. The sharp crack of rapid gunfire came from the roof. They wouldn’t be shooting unless someone was up there, and I sure as hell wasn’t going to let them fire their weapons at anyone on my watch. I scrambled up the fire escape, but the thing only went to the third floor. This wasn’t going to stop me. I used window ledges and architectural features to pull myself to the roof. The moment I toppled over the low wall that lined the roof, I realized that Autumn was up there. She was crouched over the fallen body of a small woman, and she held out a hand to stop the mercenaries from advancing.
“You’re making a huge mistake. We don’t have the map.”
Her plea didn’t work. These men had their orders, and they weren’t going to listen to anything she or the blonde had to say. Autumn liked to refer to me as a mercenary, but she didn’t know the real difference between what I did and what a mercenary did. Like the four of us at SAFE Security, mercs were for hire, but, unlike us, they carried out their assigned job without prejudice. At SAFE Security, we kept the mission in mind, but we listened to reason, and we never hurt an innocent.
Two shots rang out, and Autumn fell backward. Stone cold calm flooded my veins, and as they advanced on my fallen sub, and I aimed. Figuring that they were wearing Kevlar, I targeted the vulnerable spots—head, neck, femoral artery. Four shots, and four bodies hit the roof. Then I turned my firepower on the helicopter, and the lone occupant, the pilot, fled.
Hand on heart, Autumn ran toward me. “Sir! Ohmygod, Sir! You’re okay.” She threw her arms around me, squeezing me hard. A shock of relief ran through me. I felt the stiffness of her vest as I caught her, and then I saw the Glock tucked in the back waistband of her pants. She hadn’t thought to use it against her attackers.
“Who gave you this?” I relieved her of the weapon, and I tried for a little levity because she looked like she was seconds from falling apart. “You’re going to shoot your ass off, Sugar.”
“I hope not, Sir. That’s your favorite part.” She took the gun back. Her hands and voice shook.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Romance for the holidays!

Baby, it’s cold outside! Come snuggle up with Holiday Ever After, a collection of 15 stories filled with love and passion sure to put you in the holiday spirit.

Get tangled up with a Regency tavern wench, your own Mr. Scrooge, or the ghosts of Christmases past and present. Open your home and your heart to visitors from far away. Is your secret Santa a Navy SEAL, a handsome jock, or an artist? Perhaps you’d like to ring in the holidays with that office party hottie, the sexy exchange student next door, or a Vegas stripper? Whether you like your holiday treats sweet or spicy, there’s something for everyone in Holiday Ever After.

Featuring stories by the Los Angeles Romance Authors (LARA), Holiday Ever After will keep you warm on a chilly winter’s night.

Where you can buy it:
Amazon  |  iBooks  |  Kobo  |  Nook  |  All Romance eBooks

Add it to your shelf on Goodreads

Enjoy this excerpt from My Oktoberfest Escapade by Jewel Quinlan:

Lars stopped us again, this time at a hat vendor. There were all kinds of hats. Some were traditional Bavarian ones like Lars’s. They came in green, gray, and brown with all different kinds of trim and decorations on them. Other, less expensive hats were on the comical side and shaped like kegs or mugs. One had beer holders with straws so the wearer could drink as they walked.
“You can’t leave without a souvenir,” Lars said.
I looked up from the stand of felt A-shaped hats I was examining.
He shoved some money and a receipt into his pocket and then presented a hat to me that looked like a full beer mug, complete with froth, and placed it on my head. I held still as he tugged the brim into position and arranged my hair, pulling the light-brown locks forward over my shoulders. He trailed his fingertips down the length of the last cluster of strands, making the base of my scalp tingle. We stood so close I could detect the mild scent of beer on his breath.
The boots I wore had a decent heel on them, but I still had to tilt my head back to meet his gaze. “How does it look?”
Our eyes locked, and it was as if time sucked us backward to that day so long ago when we’d said goodbye. It overpowered the world around us, forcing it into the background. All that existed was the two of us. As the longing in his gaze registered, my breath caught. Does he feel the same way I do? I got my answer when his lips pressed down on mine, and he wrapped his arms around me, pulling me tight.

 About the Author:
Restless by nature, Jewel Quinlan is an avid traveler and has visited sixteen countries so far. Lover of ice cream, dark beer, and red wine she tries to stay fit when she’s not typing madly on her computer concocting another romance novel. In her spare time, she likes to do yoga, hike, learn German, and play with her spoiled Chihuahua, Penny.

For more information about Jewel Quinlan
Or join Jewel’s newsletter if you just want to get the most important updates

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

NJ Young's Explosive Desire!

Thank you so much for having me on your blog. I’m very excited to share Explosive Desire with your readers. Although it is book four in my Love With a Price series, all of my books are written so they can be enjoyed as stand-alone novels, so even if you haven’t read the previous books, don’t let that deter you. Luke Price is my hottest hero yet, and this is the first book in my Love With a Price series that is a suspense!

Explosive Desire
Love With a Price, Book 4
By: N.J. Young
Genre: M/F Contemporary, Suspense, Erotic Romance, Rubenesque, BDSM
Release Date: November 3, 2016
Cover Artist: Jay Aheer

A stalker has set his sights on Harper and will stop at nothing to make her his…

Finding love is the last thing on Luke Price’s mind as he leads his construction crew to complete the new wing of Oakville Hospital. But he can’t deny his feelings when Dr. Harper Love walks into his life. Lacking the sociability of his younger siblings, Luke doesn’t think a woman like Harper would ever want an introvert like him. But he puts his skepticism on hold when he discovers that Harper has become the victim of a stalker. Above all else, Luke vows to protect the woman he cares about.

When Dr. Harper Love moves to Oakville, she doesn’t expect to find a network of new friends, a man who captures her heart, and certainly not a stalker who watches her every move. When she begins receiving menacing notes at the hospital where she works, it soon becomes clear that the threats are no prank. Harper finds herself turning to Luke Price, and his protective instincts go on high alert. Will his heart be able to stand losing Harper? Or can he figure out who the stalker is and keep the woman he loves safe?

Purchase Links

About N.J. Young
I'm a Midwestern girl and a lover of coffee, live music, and horror movies, not necessarily in that order.
I've been writing all my life, and I honestly can't remember a time when I wanted to do anything but write. After many years spent suffering the trials of corporate America and writing about everything from financial risk management to software user manuals to website copy about radiators (sadly, I'm not kidding), I decided take the plunge and start writing books.
I love a good love story with super hot alpha males, strong heroines, a little humor, and a lot of suspense. Sprinkle in some sexual fantasies and a few BDSM aspects, and Boom! These are only a few of the themes you'll find in my books.

When I'm not writing, I'm probably at Starbucks, or fighting evil with the help of my husband, two children, and our houseful of animals. 

Stalk N.J. Young on the Web

Explosive Desire (Love With a Price, #4) Excerpt

 Look at me.” When she didn’t respond, he deepened his voice. “Harper, look at me. Now.”

She turned her head to look at him with weary blue eyes. Fuck, he hated that she looked so broken. He wanted to fix her. Or at least make her forget all the pain and potential danger right outside the door.

He opened his mouth to speak, but she stopped him with a shake of her head. “Please don’t. Don’t say it’s going to be okay. Don’t tell me there’s nothing to worry about, and they’re going to catch this guy.” She took a shaky breath. “I know everyone at your mom’s was just trying to help, trying to make me feel better.” Her fingers absently played along his. “I just don’t want you to lie to me.” She looked down at their hands.

Her words nearly broke him. He raised a hand to her cheek and brushed aside her blonde curls to cup her face and tilt it up to him. “I’ll never lie to you, Harper. Not ever. I can’t even imagine how violated you must be feeling right now. What this psycho is doing to you makes me sick to my stomach. But I can make you one promise. I will not let anything happen to you, do you understand me? I’ll die before I ever let anyone hurt you.”

Her eyes filled, and she tried to look away, but he held her face steady. “No. Look at me.” She raised her eyes again, and a tear spilled over. Luke gently wiped it away with his thumb then leaned in to press his lips against her forehead. He pulled back to look into her face. “You don’t have to be afraid, Pretty, not of me.” He brushed away another tear and stroked the back of his knuckles along her jaw. “I’m the man you can trust. I’m the man you can depend on. And I’m not going anywhere.”

Luke…” She said his name on a whisper as the pad of his thumb stroked gently over her bottom lip. Tentatively, her tongue snaked out to lick his thumb. He stilled as her soft wetness played over the tip of his thumb. Harper searched his face as if she were waiting to see if he would pull away. When he didn’t, she sucked his thumb into her mouth.

Heat flared through Luke, and his arousal ratcheted up to eleven.

Get it together, Price. She’s vulnerable. You can’t take advantage of her.

Harper…” He should tell her this wasn’t a good idea. When he made love to her, he wanted it to be because she needed him as much as he needed her, not because she was using him as a distraction. But when she raised her face to his and leaned in, he couldn’t deny her, couldn’t deny himself.

The second their lips met, all semblance of reasoning slipped away. The only thing in his head was her.