Sunday, February 11, 2018

***COVER REVEAL*** Once Bitten by Ashley Suzanne (Releasing 2/22)

Are you ready to see the cover for Once Bitten, the 1st book in the Three Weisman series?!?  Well, wait no more!!!!

A HUGE round of applause to Melissa Gill with MGBookCovers for this AMAZING cover!!!

I'm soooo very excited to share this story with y'all.  It was an idea that popped in my head around Christmas.  I sent a sample to a few friends who all but demanded (okay, they did demand) MORE!!!  I'm a proud book mama, today!!!  February 22nd, I can't wait.

I’m in love with my boyfriend’s brother.But before you judge me, you need to know the whole story. I’ve been in love with Walker Weisman for as long as I can remember. And when our summer romance turned out to be a short-lived fling, I was left destroyed.I fought hard, picked myself up by my bootstraps, and started to heal; tape and glue holding my heart together.  I leaned on my friends, started dating again and felt almost human … when Walker wanted a second chance.With my head and heart at war, a decision was needed—my boyfriend or his brother … 
Wanna read a sneak peek?!?!  HERE YA GO!!!!

CHAPTER 1 Max“Are y’all ready for the best damn Three Weisman New Year’s Bash ever?” Wes, the middle Weisman son screams from his perch atop the Steinway in the foyer.  If only his mother could see him now—shoes scuffing the top of her eighty-thousand-dollar piano, beer sloshing over the brim of his red, plastic cup …Logically, I know not every single partygoer hears his question, yet they all—roughly a hundred of his closest friends—hoot and holler in a chorus of contagious excitement.
I’ve known Wes—the Weisman family—my entire life and his antics aren’t anything new, or anything exciting, at least for me, anymore.  Unwilling to be as obnoxious as he’d like—yelling out like everyone else—I take a sip my half-full flute of champagne and tilt my glass toward him when I finish with a tight-lipped, phony smile.  A few of our mutual friends loudly sigh when Wes sends a wink my way and licks his lips suggestively.  I, however, fight the desire to roll my eyes.As the drunken fool fist pumps to the house music blaring through the speakers, the soles of his shoes definitely scuffing the top of the piano, I ignore his obnoxious behavior and turn to walk into the kitchen.  Then, and only then, when my back’s turned, my eyes roll so hard they just might stick that way, just like my mother warned during my wicked teen years.
Who, exactly, thought driving the hour from Tysdale to Cape Lane Shores was a good idea?  Noelle and Jade, my best lady friends … or at least who I thought were my best friends … who like signing me up for parties where my boyfriend’s so trashed he wouldn’t know if I was here or not.
I can’t be mad at them, though.  Well, not completely anyway.  When the Weisman brothers throw a party, it’s a ritual, one I’m a part of, so showing up isn’t truly an option.  The story of my entanglement with Walker, Wes and Wren Weisman goes back as far as I can remember.Since I was born, we all knew I’d marry into this family.  It wasn’t a secret.  Like most families, my mother and the matriarch of the Weisman Web started a plan to join our two clans.  Similar to when teenage girls doodle their names with the surname of their crush on a notebook … that kind of thing.Unlike the other mothers out there plotting against their children to create a super-dynasty, ours weren’t teasing; the china pattern was already on reserve along with a June slot at the club.  I wouldn’t be surprised if a marriage license application was already prepared, just waiting for which of the Weisman boys I’d choose … or would choose me.
I used to go out of my way to date boys as far from the ideal Weismans as I could find.  Then, I shocked even myself when one hot, summer night, being betrothed to this family seemed like the best possible outcome.  I wasn’t looking and there he was; a Weisman caught my eye and stole my heart. With my soul, I’d picked for myself a man I’d want to be with, forever not out of the question.  I didn’t need any prompting or corrosion from the House of Gilmore or House of Weisman.  I’d fallen in love, all by myself, with a Weisman.Just not Wes.  Never Wes.Years of longing and wanting became my reality Fourth of July weekend at a different, yet equally as infamous Three Weisman bash.  I could see myself waking up every morning, rolling over and kissing my Weisman husband …
“It’s a party, Max.  Loosen up a bit, let your hair down.  I know you have it in you.” His whisper, hot and heavy on my neck, sends a quiver through my knees just like it’s always done, and I bet always will.“Walker,” I breathe, barely audible.  Thank God for excessively loud, terrible music.  The last thing I want is for Walker to notice the hitch in my breath, pebbling of my nipples, the slight sway in my gait, the quake in my damn knees—but here he is, doing exactly that … noticing.  Trying desperately to mask the automatic, regardless-if-I-want-it reaction to his proximity, I correct my posture, square my shoulders and hold my head high.  Barely turning to face Walker, there he is, nearly on top of me.  So unbearably close, if I were to wet my lips, I’d be licking his.
“My hair’s just fine, thank you,” I quip, not giving him an ounce room to work the typical Weisman charm.  “Holy fuck you smell amazing!” I scream in my head.
Apparently, an inch isn’t needed for Walker to take a mile.  I hoped he would back away, if for no other reason than to keep me from climbing his body and losing any sense of sanity I possess.  He steps into me, bringing our bodies flush, his wandering hand skimming my waist until it finds purchase at the small of my back.  His voice doesn’t rise to compensate for the blasting music, but I don’t miss a word he says.  “Didn’t think you guys would be here.  My father invited you two lovebirds down to Cancun for the holidays, right?”“He did and I declined.  Spending a Christmas away from my own family?  You should know me better than that, Walker.”“Christmas was almost a week ago.  Why didn’t you go down after?”I don’t think my own parents question me this much.  Who the hell does Walker think he is?“I’m so sorry I didn’t run my plans past you before I made them.  Please accept my deepest apologies.  Also, should I be checking in with you for a draw on my trust, or keep going to my father?  Not sure based on your very parental inquisition.”  In typical Maxine Gilmore fashion, I use sarcasm and wit to hide my true feelings.
Walker Weisman, my heart capturing boyfriend turned soul-crushing ex, was my once upon a time, in a land far, far away, and they lived happily ever after.  Our breakup nearly destroyed me, and I didn’t think I would ever feel that kind of hurt again, yet here I am, balling my fists, digging my fingernails into my palms to distract from the tears that want to fall.  Clearly, the tape and glue I used to fix myself once is no match for weathering the storm a second go around.
On the outside, I purse my lips and make a move flee his orbit, but Walker has no intentions of letting me go, his gravity—and the hand splayed across my back—drawing me in closer in the most un-parental display of dominance I’ve ever seen.“It’s not you I don’t want to see.  Though, it would be nice if it wasn’t in the company of my brother,” he seethes, his fingers digging into my flesh.  Opposed to melting into his touch, I fight the urge and opt for a well-executed eye roll—my new favorite form of expression.
Like my mother always said, “Any woman of wealth knows when to keep her mouth shut and let her face do the talking.”  She’d be proud tonight.“Well Walker, if you didn’t want to see me with your brother, you should have done something about it.  You’re the one who killed from whatever we could have been.  I don’t know if it was fear … duty … you weren’t feeling it … you just wanted to get laid … it doesn’t really matter, but let’s be clear about one thing.  It was your choice.”  Okay, maybe my mother wouldn’t be beaming with pride.  I tried.  That counts, right?“So, somewhere in that brilliant, sexy mind you think that after we break up, it’d be a good idea to jump in bed with my brother?  That it wouldn’t ruffle any feathers?”  Walker’s anger rolls off his shoulders in waves and his words pack a punch … straight to my gut.  “And if you want to get technical, Max, I’m not the one who ended shit.  Last I remember, you ran when shit hit the fan.”We weren’t supposed to be like this.  Sure, we fought hard, but we loved harder.  We didn’t do petty or passive aggressive.  Yet, here I am, thinking of a comeback that’ll knock the wind out of him.  How’d we get to this point?I knew what I was getting into the moment Walker slid my panties down my legs as fireworks blazed through the sky last summer.  I knew exactly who he was and what he wasn’t capable of offering as he thrust into me, making me his, if only for that one night.  I’m the idiot who let her heart get caught up in a summer fling, I get it.  Which is exactly why I vowed not to let things get weird, though sometimes it gets harder than others.
He, however, isn’t supposed to act like a jealous, entitled brat when I get the fuck over it and move on … or at least pretend.  A little pissed I start dating Wes?  Sure, I can go along with that.  But all this?  Questioning my character, demanding answers, seething, white-hot anger … Unnecessary and to be honest, pretty damn confusing.“You know what Walker, you’re right.  I’m a whore; a brother hopping, bed jumping whore.  If you’ll excuse me.”  Pushing off his chest, I’m able to confirm his suspicions before I can’t speak past the lump in my throat or see past the tears in my eyes.  No way in hell he’s getting the gratification of watching what his words do to me.Walking across the room to where I can breathe a little easier, I risk a glance over my shoulder and find Walker standing in the same spot I left him, balled fists clenched at his side, wild eyes debating between chasing me across the room to give me another tongue lashing or carting me off to the nearest confined space … to give me another kind of lashing with his skilled tongue.  I have to turn back quickly and remind myself, before I return a crazed look of my own, all but inviting him to show me what he’s thinking, my heart isn’t completely healed and can’t take another emotional hurricane. 
“Baby, what are you doing?” Wes asks, sneaking up behind me and wrapping his arms around my middle, catching me completely off guard.  His lips brush sloppily against my neck, the scent of whiskey singeing my nostrils as his words float through the air.
In any other social situation, I’d smile sweetly and bat my eyelashes while kindly, discretely moving away from his public display of affection.  Tonight, though, with Walker’s stare burning my skin I play into Wes’ embrace, hopefully to show Walker I’m not interested in taking a trip down memory’s lane.
“Going to grab another drink.  You having a good time?”“Hell yeah.  Find me at midnight, okay?”“Absolutely.”Wes isn’t a bad guy; he’s really great, actually.  One of the best I know.  Platonically, we click.  Romantically, it’s not right.  We don’t fit.
We’ve always been close, but I’ve never seen him as anything other than a friend.  Our first date should have been our last.  Actually, it shouldn’t have happened in the first place.  This relationship has the capability to ruin what I’ve always considered an amazing friendship.  To further prove my point, as if my feelings aren’t enough, the reaction I have to him, to his proximity, isn’t what it should be when you’re in love.  When I walk in a room, he’s not the person I seek out … in a sea of people, much like tonight, his isn’t the first face I notice …  I don’t feel him before I see him. 
I can’t tell you if his feelings for me are genuine.  If when he sees his future, he sees me by his side.  I’m not sure if like me, he’s being a dutiful child, not wanting to disappoint his family.  I really hope that while he enjoys my company and spending time with me, if he looks in his heart he knows he’s only being a good son so when this façade implodes—because it absolutely will—our friendship won’t pay the price.
I just wish I had an inside track into the way the male brain works.  It’d sure up a lot of unanswered questions …Two of the three Weisman brothers I have down to a science.  Walker and Wren—the youngest of the trio and my very best friend—I can read like a book.  They’re predictable and reliable … for the most part.  Tonight with Walker has thrown me a little and I’m not sure what to make of it just yet.  Wes, however, he’s a tough nut to crack.  Where Walker and Wren have always made their intentions clear—no guessing to what they want—Wes is a little more calculated.  Maybe it’s the business side of his brain always at work, or he’s a little smarter, I don’t have that constant drop on him like I do his brothers.
Wren would tell me I’m pretty, and he’d mean I’m pretty.  Walker would tell me I’m brilliant, and he’d mean I’m brilliant.  Wes would pull my pigtail, and he’d mean to tell me he likes me.
Basically, Wes and straight-shooting are polar opposites.Right now, I’m just praying that Wes telling me to find him at midnight really means I can go crash in the guest room because he’s having so much fun, he won’t be upset if I’m not here to ring in the new year.  Probably not, but a girl can dream …Refusing to dwell in the land of maybes and what-ifs, I seek out Noelle and Jade and pretend like my brain isn’t running a mile a minute.  Thankfully they accept my invitation, or I’ll be surrounded by the snobs who usually show up to these things; the rich (because Daddy’s rich) and infamous (for getting trashed and acting trashy).  I swear, the best decision my parents made was allowing me to go to school in the city instead of private schools like the rest of these morons.
Trying for forget all my troubles, I throw my hands in the air, dancing without a care in the world.  My night’s starting to look up as I take to a tabletop, shaking my ass and grinding to the terrible music.
How’s this for letting my hair down and loosening up, Walker?“Yo, what time is it?” someone in the sitting-room-turned-dance-floor asks nobody in particular and nobody really answers.A few seconds later, the music’s muted, followed by some groans, until the TV comes on, the surround sound boasting the countdown.  “Twenty!” everyone yells, mirroring the numbers flashing across the screen.  “Nineteen!”Looking around, I don’t see Wes and exhale my relief.  As everyone gathers together, most coupling up, I jump off the table and slink into the dining room unnoticed.
Sixteen!”Moving further, just to hedge my bet, through the next set of double doors, I breathe a bit easier finding myself in the staff lounge.  The voices get farther away, the excitement dying down the more I get away and it feels amazing.
Nobody’ll think to look for me in here.  I may have just found the best hiding spot in the entire Weisman house.
Twelve!”“Where’s Maxine?”  Wes yells and gets a few responses, none giving up my location.“Shit,” I mutter to myself.  Of course, Wes would eventually realize I’m gone but I want a little longer.  As bad as I feel deserting Wes; him out there alone, I don’t budge.  I swallow the rest of my drink, leaving the cup on the table and jump on the countertop.  He may search, but he’s no super sleuth.  I’ll find a way to explain it later.  That is, if he remembers it tomorrow.Nine!”Closing my eyes, I lean my head against the bulletin board.  A few more seconds and clichés are tossed around like confetti; fresh starts and changes, diets and career paths. These people—most people—want to pretend life’s a storybook, as if like Cinderella, Midnight’s going to alter the course of their lives.
Auld Lang Syne, my ass.  Auld Lang Bullshit Babble’s more like it.  Maybe for them, certainly not for me.  These are my cards, and I have no choice but to play.  If they were honest with themselves, they’d realize the clock strikes twelve every single day, without fail, and if someone wants to make a significant change, they won’t need to mark it with a specific date; they’ll just do it.Six!”Surely, this will be the year the Weismans demand Wes proposes and my parents force me to accept.  There’ll be wedding planning and before I even graduate with my Bachelors, I’ll be having a bachelorette party, just in time for a June wedding … Those are the kind of changes I can look forward to …Three!”Someone pushes through the doors, their shoes smacking against the tile with purpose.  Assuming Wes found me, I keep my eyes closed, pretending to have passed out so his feelings won’t be hurt and I’ll skip the obligatory kiss.Two!”Wes doesn’t speak a word.  His hands come down on my knees, gently pushing them apart to fit his large frame between.
One!”“Happy New Year, Max.”  My eyes fly open to find mischief gleaming sexily in Walker’s.  Momentarily lost in his deep blue gaze, my breath falters and I don’t want to be anywhere but here.For the first time in forever, I’m unable to control myself.  Reaching up, I run my fingers through the barely-there scruff on his cheek, around the back of his neck and close the only space Walker hasn’t consumed, his predictable way of making me ask for what I want.  In this moment, I want him and he’s here, obviously wanting me, even if only for right now, it’s okay, seeing as I’m the one unable to offer more this time.  Oh, how the tables have turned.
“Happy New Year!!!” our friends cheer in the living room as the ball drops, signifying the start of new beginnings.  And here I am, kicking my fresh start off with a bang … in the arms of the only man to ever break my heart.  The only man with the capability of doing it again.  And I don’t care.Walker’s lips part, his tongue sliding against mine.  Moving his hands from my thighs, around to my ass and pulling me closer, if that’s possible, I keep mine firmly planted on the back of his head, holding him to me and relishing the feeling of control.  Our bodies meld together; his heart hammering against my chest, I completely give myself over to him, relinquishing my power and submitting to my wants. 
What feels like an eternity only lasts a few seconds, maybe a minute if I’m being generous.  By far, the best kiss of my life.  My greedy pants mix with Walker’s lustful groans, which only add fuel to the fire.  The only area we never had problems confirmed when I tighten my legs around his frame.
Walker’s the one who separates us—God knows it wasn’t going to be me—but lingers, not completely gone, his mouth hovering over mine.“Happy New Year,” he repeats, snaking out his tongue and licking his lips.“Right back at ya, Weisman.”  I recover and attempt to feign some indifference, but the effort’s futile … I’m not fooling anyone, especially Walker.  “God,” I whine, throwing my head against the bulletin board and shaking it slowly, irritated with my actions and inability to control myself in the one situation it should be easiest.
Instead of making fun of me, Walker takes the opportunity to graze his lips across my skin, starting at my collar bone and ending at the sensitive flesh just below my ear, where he leaves one quick kiss before whispering, “Don’t worry, Maxi I won’t tell baby brother I got you all hot and bothered, making damn sure it was me you were kissing at midnight, not him.”  The fucker winks and smirks—a deadly combination for any woman’s resolve.“What the hell’s wrong with you, Walker?  In case you missed the point earlier, you could have had me.  We didn’t have to be making out in the staff lounge, hiding from anyone or anything.  You decided that wasn’t what you wanted.  Not me.  That wasn’t my call.  You. Fucked.  It.  Up.”“If I made a mistake and want a do-over?”
“You don’t get it, do you?  You’re so used to money fixing everything, or those damn golf rules you and your dad used to joke about.  Listen, Walker, this isn’t a game.  There are no mulligans.  You’re shooting over par, Tiger.  Take the loss and deal.  It’s too damn late.  I’m not a fucking toy you want to rip out of your brother’s hand when he starts playing with it.  Act like a man and treat me like a goddamn lady.”
I hate him getting to me, and even more than that, giving him a reaction he doesn’t deserve.  Why wait until I’m kind of okay to start fucking with my head?  Who does that?“So, you’re saying I could take you?”  I can’t decide if the smug grin’s infuriating or endearing and I’m frustrated as hell trying to figure it out.
“No.  God.  What are you even talking about?” I yell, tossing a verbal flashbang into the air, directing any nearby attention to my hiding spot.
“I’m thinking if I tried to take you away from Wes, you’d come all too willing.  Am I wrong, Max?”“Yes, you’re wrong.  Dead fucking wrong.  Move.”“Not a chance in hell.  Not until you answer me, honestly.”  I hate him and his brilliant blue eyes.  I despise way his jaw ticks … his tell … knowing he’s going to get something he wants.  I loathe my inability to steer clear of him and his games.
“Come out tonight, it’ll be a blast,” they said.  All these theys … I wanna punch them all.“What?  Now, you want me?  Because you want me?  Or do you just wanna get at Wes?”When his answer’s not immediate, it hurts more than if he would have lied straight to my face.  I shove him hard enough he stumbles backward and I leap off the counter, running straight for the door.“Just don’t forget I had you first,” he says, his words loaded.As if I could forget …“And he’ll have me last,” I toss back, anger spewing off every syllable.  The first lesson they teach the pretty little rich girls who are bound to marry well … don’t just look like a bitch, be bitchy when the situation calls for it, and never let anyone think they have something to hold over your head; be the one with the leverage.Straightening my shirt and wiping the remnants of our kiss from my lips, I push open the door and run straight into a brick wall of muscle … otherwise known as my boyfriend.  “There you are, baby.  I’ve been lookin’ for you.”Before I can respond, Wes takes me in his arms and kisses me.  Stunned, I don’t kiss him back.  He’s too drunk to notice and completely misses the sharp intake of air, followed by the possessive growl from his brother.What a tangled web we weave …This is why girls should save their virginity until they’re married … not because society says so, but because it’s so much easier to not complicate life with an orgasm.  Especially when the boy you want to have sex with isn’t the same boy who you should be having sex with … see the dilemma?
Now how fast can I get out of the spider’s lair before my world implodes?  

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1 comment:

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