{EXCERPT REVEAL} Ego Maniac by Vi Keeland

Egomaniac by Vi KeelandTitle: Egomaniac
Author: Vi Keeland
Release Date: January 16, 2017
Pre-order Links: iBooks / B&N / Kobo / Google Play / Amazon Alert / Paperback
#Egomaniac #ViKeeland

{SYNOPSIS}
A new standalone novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Vi Keeland

The night I met Drew Jagger, he’d just broken into my new Park Avenue office.
I dialed 9-1-1 before proceeding to attack him with my fancy new Krav Maga skills.
He quickly restrained me, then chuckled, finding my attempted assault amusing.

Of course, my intruder had to be arrogant.
Only, turned out, he wasn’t an intruder at all.

Drew was the rightful occupant of my new office.  He’d been on vacation while his posh space was renovated.
Which was how a scammer got away with leasing me office space that wasn’t really available for rent.
I was swindled out of ten grand.

The next day, after hours at the police station, Drew took pity on me and made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.  In exchange for answering his phones while his secretary was out, he’d let me stay until I found a new place.
I probably should have acted grateful and kept my mouth shut when I overheard the advice he was spewing to his clients.  But I couldn’t help giving him a piece of my mind.
I never expected my body to react every time we argued.  Especially when that was all we seemed to be able to do.

The two of us were complete opposites. Drew was a bitter, angry, gorgeous-as-all-hell, destroyer of relationships.  And my job was to help people save their marriages.
The only thing the two of us had in common was the space we were sharing.
And an attraction that was getting harder to deny by the day.

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{EXCERT REVEAL}

Chapter One

DREW

I hate New Year’s Eve.

Two hours in traffic to make it not even the nine miles home from LaGuardia. It was after ten o’clock at night. Why weren’t all these people at a party by now? Whatever tension two weeks in Hawaii had relieved was already back to coiling tighter and tighter inside me as the town car inched its way uptown.

I tried not to think about all the work I was coming back to—the endless string of other people’s problems to compound my own:

She cheated.

He cheated.

Get me full custody of the kids.

She can’t have the house in Vail.

All she wants is my money.

She hasn’t given me a blowjob in three years. Listen, asshole, you’re fifty, bald, pompous, and shaped like an egg. She’s twenty-three, hot, and has tits so young they almost reach up to her chin. You want to fix this marriage? Come home with ten Gs in fresh, crisp bills, and tell her to get on her knees. You’ll get your blowjob. She’ll get her spending money. Let’s not pretend it was ever more than it really was. That doesn’t work for you? Unlike your soon-to-be ex-wife, I’ll take a check. Make that out to Drew M. Jagger, Attorney at Law.

I rubbed the back of my neck, feeling slightly claustrophobic in the back of the Uber, and looked out the window. An old lady with a walker passed us.

“I’ll get out here,” I barked at the driver.

“But you have luggage?”

I was already exiting the back of the car. “Pop the trunk. It’s not like we’re moving anyway.”

Traffic was at a dead stop, and it was only two blocks to my building. Tossing a hundred-dollar tip at the driver, I grabbed my suitcase from the trunk and took in a deep breath of Manhattan.

I loved this city as much as I hated it.

575 Park Avenue was a restored pre-war on the southeast corner of Sixty-Third Street—it was an address that gave people preconceived notions about you. Someone with my last name had occupied the building since before the place was converted into overpriced co-ops. Which is why my office was allowed to remain on the ground floor when other commercial tenants were tossed out years ago. I also lived on the top floor.

“Welcome back, Mr. Jagger.” The uniformed doorman greeted me as he swung open the lobby door.

“Thanks, Ed. I miss anything while I was gone?”

“Nah. Same old, same old. Peeked in on your construction the other day, though. Looking good.”

“They use the service entrance down Sixty-Third like they were supposed to?”

Ed nodded. “Sure did. Barely heard them the last few days.”

I dropped my luggage inside my apartment, then headed back downstairs in the elevator to check things out. For the last two weeks, while I was screwing off in Honolulu, my office space had been getting a total renovation. Cracks in the high, plastered ceilings were to be patched and painted, and new floors installed to replace the old, worn parquet.

Thick plastic remained taped over all of the interior doorways when I walked in. The little furniture I hadn’t put in storage was also still covered with tarps. Shit. They aren’t done yet. The contractor had assured me there would only be finish work left by the time I returned. I was right to be skeptical.

Flicking on the lights, I was happy to find the lobby completely done, though. Finally, a New Year’s Eve with no horrible surprises for a change.

I took a quick look around, pleased with what I found, and was just about to leave when I noticed a light streaming from under the door of a small file room at the end of the hallway.

Thinking nothing of it, I headed to turn it off.

Now, I’m six foot two and a half, two hundred and five pounds, and maybe it was just my frame of mind, my not expecting to see anyone, but when I opened the door to the file room, finding her there scared the living crap out of me.

She screamed.

I took a step back through the door.

She got up, stood on the chair, and began yelling at me, waving her cell phone in the air.

“I’ll call the police!” Her fingers shook as she dialed nine, then one, and hovered over the last one. “Get out now, and I won’t call!”

I could have lunged for her, and the phone would have been out of her hand before she realized she hadn’t dialed the final digit. But she looked terrified, so I retreated another step and put my hands up in surrender.

“I’m not going to hurt you.” I used my best soothing, calm voice. “You don’t need to call the police. This is my office.”

“Do I look stupid to you? You just broke into my office.”

Your office? I think you took a wrong turn at the corner of Crazy and Nutjob.”

She wobbled atop the chair, holding both arms out to regain her balance, and then…her skirt fell to her feet.

“Get out!” She crouched down and grabbed her skirt, tugging it up to her waist as she turned her back to me.

“Do you take medication, ma’am?”

Medication? Ma’am? Are you joking?”

“You know what?” I motioned to the phone she was still holding. “Why don’t you push that last one and get the police over here. They can drive you back to whatever loony bin you escaped from.”

Her eyes widened.

For a crazy person—now that I was really looking—she was pretty damn cute. Fiery red hair piled on top of her head seemed to match her firecracker personality. Although from the looks of her blazing blue eyes, I was glad I’d held off on telling her that.

She pushed one and proceeded to report the crime of entering one’s own office. “I’d like to report a robbery.”

“Robbery?” I arched an eyebrow and looked around. A lone folding chair and crappy metal folding table were the only furniture in the entire space. “What exactly am I stealing? Your winning personality?”

She amended her complaint to the police. “A breaking and entering. I’d like to report a breaking and entering at 575 Park Avenue.” She paused and listened. “No, I don’t think he’s armed. But he’s big. Really big. At least six feet. Maybe bigger.”

I smirked. “And strong. Don’t forget to tell them I’m strong, too. Want me to flex for you? And maybe you should tell them I have green eyes. Wouldn’t want the police to confuse me with all the other really big thieves hanging out in my office.”

After she hung up, she stayed standing on the chair, still glaring at me.

“Was there also a mouse?” I asked.

“A mouse?”

“Considering you jumped up on that chair.” I chuckled.

“You find this funny?”

“Oddly, I do. And I have no fucking idea why. It should annoy the crap out of me that I come home from a two-week vacation and find a squatter in my office.”

“Squatter? I’m no squatter. This is my office. I moved in a week ago.”

She bobbled again while standing on her chair.

“Why don’t you get down? You’re going to fall off that thing and get hurt.”

“How do I know you’re not going to hurt me when I get down?”

I shook my head and contained my laugh. “Sweetheart, look at the size of me. Look at the size of you. Standing on that chair isn’t doing jack shit to keep you safe. If I wanted to hurt you, you’d be out cold on the floor already.”

“I take Krav Maga classes twice a week.”

“Twice a week? Really? Thanks for the warning.”

“You don’t have to ridicule me. Maybe I could hurt you. For an intruder, you’re really kind of rude, you know.”

“Get down.”

After a full minute stare-off, she climbed off the chair.

“See? You’re as safe on the ground as you were up there.”

“What do you want from here?”

“You didn’t call the police, did you? You almost had me there for a second.”

“I didn’t. But I can.”

“Now why would you go and do that? So they can arrest you for breaking and entering?”

She pointed down at her makeshift desk. For the first time, I noticed papers all over the place. “I told you. This is my office. I’m working late tonight because the construction crew was so loud today that I couldn’t get done what I needed to. Why would anyone break and enter to work at ten-thirty at night on New Year’s Eve?”

Construction crew? My construction crew? Something was going on here. “You were here with the construction crew today?”

“Yes.”

I scratched my chin, half believing her. “What’s the foreman’s name?”

“Tommy.”

Shit. She was telling the truth. Well, at least some of it had to be the truth. “You said you moved in a week ago?”

“That’s right.”

“And you rented the space from whom, exactly?”

“John Cougar.”

Both my brows shot up this time. “John Cougar? Did he drop the Mellencamp, by chance?”

“How should I know?”

This wasn’t sounding good. “And you paid this John Cougar?”

“Of course. That’s how renting an office suite works. Two months’ security, first and last month’s rent.”

I shut my eyes and shook my head. “Shit.”

“What?”

“You got conned. How much did all of that cost you? Two months’ security, first and last month? Four months in total?”

“Ten thousand dollars.”

“Please tell me you didn’t pay cash.”

Something finally clicked, and the color drained from her pretty face. “He said his bank was closed in the evening, and he couldn’t give me the keys until my check cleared. If I gave him cash, I could move in right away.”

“You paid John Cougar forty thousand dollars in cash?”

“No!”

“Thank God.”

“I paid him ten thousand in cash.”

“I thought you said you paid four months.”

“I did. It was twenty-five hundred a month.”

That did it. Of all the crazy shit I’d heard so far, thinking she could get space on Park Avenue for twenty-five hundred a month took the cake. I broke out in a fit of laughter.

“What’s so funny?”

“You’re not from New York, are you?”

“No. I just moved here from Oklahoma. What does that have to do with anything?”

I took a step closer. “I hate to break the news to you, Oklahoma, but you got ripped off. This is my office. I’ve been here for three years. My father the thirty before that. I was on vacation the last two weeks and had the office remodeled while I was gone. Someone named after a singer scammed you into giving him cash to rent an office he had no right to rent. Doorman’s name is Ed. Walk through the main building entrance, and he’ll verify everything I just said.”

“That can’t be.”

“What do you do that you need office space?”

“I’m a psychologist.”

I held out my hand. “I’m an attorney. Let me see your contract.”

Her face fell. “He hasn’t brought it by yet. He said the landlord was in Brazil on vacation, and I could move in, and he would come back on the first to collect the rent and bring me the contract to sign.”

“You’ve been scammed.”

“But I paid him ten thousand dollars!”

“Which is another thing that should have tipped you off. You couldn’t rent a closet on Park Avenue for twenty-five hundred a month. Didn’t you find it strange that you were getting a place like this for next to nothing?”

“I thought I was getting a deal.”

I shook my head. “You got a deal alright. A raw deal.”

She covered her mouth. “I think I’m going to be sick.”

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{CHAPTER REVEAL} More Than Friends (Friends #2) by Monica Murphy

More Than Friends (Friends #2) by Monica MurphyTitle: More than Friends (Friends, #2)
Series: Friends Series
Author: Monica Murphy
Release Date: November 14, 2016
Purchase Links: B&N / iBooks *more retailers to come
#MoreThanFriends #FriendsSeries #MonicaMurphy

{SYNOPSIS}
He’s not perfect, but he’s all I want…

I’m your average girl at your average high school, trying to figure out my place in life. After catching my now ex-boyfriend messing around with my now ex-best friend, I’ve made some big changes. No more band, no more backstabbing friends and no more boring old life. Now I have new friends, a new job and new interests.

But there’s a certain someone who’s interested in me, and I don’t get it. Jordan Tuttle could have anyone he wants. He’s the most popular boy in school. Rich, gorgeous, smart and the star quarterback, he’s perfect. Yet he acts like he wants no one else but…me.

So despite my fears and doubt, I let him get close. Probably too close. I discover that he’s not so perfect after all, but it doesn’t matter. I’m falling for him, even though he runs so hot and cold. I know someday he’s going to break my heart.

And I’m going to let him.

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{CHAPTER REVEAL}

Chapter One

Amanda

I’m cruising on my bike, contemplating everything Livvy just told me. How her mom was so mad when she discovered Livvy had spent the night at Ryan’s house, she grounded her and took away her phone. Livvy is seriously going to lose her mind being grounded for so long, unable to see Ryan unless we’re at school. That won’t be enough for her. When it comes to Ryan, it feels like nothing is ever enough for her.

At least I’m not in trouble like she is.

Liv’s going to stress out over Ryan, though. Over those hours when she’s not with him and he could possibly be up to no good. She worries about him all the time. I get it—sort of. He seems to play games, and that must get exhausting.

Truthfully, I wouldn’t put up with that crap. But I’m not Livvy.

Thank goodness.

The wind blows through my hair as I make a right into my neighborhood, turning the wild strands into a tangled mess. Not that I care. There’s no one I’m hoping to impress. It’ll just be Sunday night dinner with the family, as usual. I’m not even sure if they’re home yet. Dad mentioned something about going to Home Depot to pick out fall flowers for the yard, and Mom said something about shower curtains and Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Bleh. I’m glad I made my escape when I did.

My house slowly comes into view and I smile to myself. I might not live in a giant mansion in a fancy neighborhood like my new so-called friends, but our house is nice. Small and on the older side, but it’s cute, with a pretty front yard and a big porch with a white swing…

Oh. Crap. There’s someone sitting on the swing. His arms are spread out along the back of the wooden frame, his gaze locked directly on me, like he knew I was going to appear at any second.

It’s Jordan Tuttle.

My heart is racing as I press gently on the brakes, taking him in, my gaze roving over every single tiny feature that makes him Jordan. I want to slow down the moment, revel in the anticipation of finding him waiting for me. He rises to his feet, runs a hand over his thick, perfect hair almost nervously, and a shuddery breath leaves me.

The memory hits me, socks me in the stomach and leaves me aching. I remember what it felt like, having those hands on me just last night. His mouth on mine, the words he whispered in my ear. It wasn’t a dream. It wasn’t something I made up inside my head, because seriously, I was starting to wonder if I really was losing my mind when it came to Jordan Tuttle.

But no. Jordan is real. He’s in my life because he wants to be here for some crazy reason. And now he’s waiting for me, his hands on his hips, the faintest smile on his face as he continues to watch me.

“What are you doing here?” I ask as I make my approach, hopping off my bike so I can roll it up the front walkway.

We meet in the middle, Jordan stopping just in front of me. “Nice way to greet me.”

I frown, worried I was doing everything wrong. He had a way of making me feel like that. “How should I greet you?”

“Like this.” His hand is suddenly curled around my nape when he pulls me in for a too-quick yet somehow lingering kiss. My lips tingle when he pulls away, and by the smug expression on his face, I know he knows the effect he has on me.

“Jordan,” I chastise, stepping away from him and nearly tripping over my stupid bike. Luckily enough, he catches me by the elbow, steadying me before I fall over like an idiot. “What if my parents are inside?”

“They’re not.” He grabs the bike from me, nudges the kickstand down and sets it in place on the sidewalk a few feet away from us. “Where’ve you been?”

His confidence makes me crazy. He’s so sure of himself, and I wish I had even an ounce of his self-assuredness.

I don’t. Not even close. He lives in another realm. I’m just a lowly peon compared to His Majesty, Lord Jordan Tuttle.

“I went over to Livvy’s,” I tell him when I realize he’s waiting for my answer. As usual, my mind wanders when I’m in his presence. “I wanted to make sure she’s okay.”

Jordan frowns. “She is, right?”

“Oh yeah, her mom just grounded her for life.” When he sends me a come on face, I readjust. “Fine, she’s grounded for a couple weeks. No phone. No Ryan.”

“It might do her some good, the no Ryan thing,” he mutters.

I say nothing. I don’t understand the relationship he has with Ryan. They’re friends. Then they’re not. They’re teammates always, and that’s something Jordan has to deal with no matter what.

“What are you up to right now?” I ask, hoping to change the subject.

He smiles. Reaches out to tuck a wayward strand of hair behind my ear. I feel that innocent touch all the way down to my toes, which are currently curling in my battered white Converse. “I want to take you out.”

My mouth drops open. “In public?”

The frown is back. It’s not fair, how attractive he still is despite the scowl he’s currently wearing. “Of course in public. What the hell, Mandy.”

I shrug, my cheeks burning with embarrassment. “We haven’t actually been seen together.”

He grabs my hand and pulls me in close. My body immediately goes hot and I wonder if he has some sort of powerful force field I can’t resist. “I want to change that.”

My gaze meets his and I can’t look away. He’s so sincere. So serious. “What happened between us last night was…”

“Real.” He kisses me again. Another brief brush of lips on lips, yet I’m decimated. Shaky all over when he pulls away. When my ex Thad kissed me, I never felt like this. Ever.

Never.

Ever.

Never.

“Maybe we were just caught up in a moment?” I ask tentatively. It’s like I’m always waiting for the bomb to drop. For the joke to be on me. No one in a million years would ever match me with Jordan Tuttle. Not even me. So what’s his deal? Why is he so persistent? I don’t get it.

I like it, but he also scares me. I don’t want to get hurt.

I don’t want my heart to be broken.

“Every time I’m near you, I get caught up in a moment.” One side of his perfect mouth tips up in this semi-smile that is absolutely adorable. I wish I had my phone out so I could snap a pic of him. “Maybe we need to give this a try and see if all we ever experience together is one giant moment.”

“That’s impossible.” The words are out before I can stop them and I slap my hand over my mouth, my eyes wide as I stare up at him.

Jordan actually laughs, shaking his head. It’s a rare sound, but wow, is it amazing. “Nothing’s impossible if you want it bad enough.”

I drop my hand, gaping up at him. “So are you saying that you want—me?

“Yes.” He dips his head, his mouth hovering above mine. “I do.”