Bump: A Secret Pregnancy Second Chance Alpha Bad-Boy Romance
Publication date: May 21st 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Our relationship is over. We’ve loved and lost. Or that’s what we thought. It was one drunken night at his sister’s wedding and we fooled around…a one-night hook up. And then we became XWB (exes with benefits) nothing serious–just for fun. There’s no way I’d ever get pregnant right?
“A surefire way to get pregnant is to have sex.”
I look at my ob-gyn, Dr. Wong, who I’ve visited every year for the last ten years, and for a while during my marriage what felt like daily.
“But you and I both know that’s impossible,” I say.
“You having sex?” she asks.
“No, me getting pregnant. That’s the impossible part. But…” If I think about it, the me having sex part is nearly impossible too—well, at least ever since Dave and I split up and I began my sex-less separated life. Until Becca and Jake’s wedding, that is.
“The test doesn’t lie. You my infertile-myrtle are with child.”
My heart drops to my knees. A mixture of surprise and shock and panic and sadness and…even in the midst of all those feelings, one emotion by the name of joy is there too.
“But, how? I mean—”
“Again, thought we covered this part, it’s the s-e-x that makes the babies come.” She makes the universal signal for sex by sticking her pointer finger through an o she’s made with her other hand.
“Ha, ha, very funny. It’s just ever since Dave moved out I…” Oh. My. Fucking. God. My jaw drops open, my eyes widen, and panic takes the pole position in the emotional cocktail sloshing through my belly.
“There it is!” Dr. Wong says and smiles wider. “Now you remember the sexy-times that led to the baby-making.”
“Oh shit.” I press my hand to my forehead.
“Not who you want for your baby-daddy? One night stand? Hotty-but-a-notty? I get it, we’ve all been there. You have options, you—”
“No,” I shake my head. “It’s not that, it’s just…” I take a deep breath and sigh. “How far along?” Although if I do the math, with regards to my near-celibate post-separation sex life, I’m pretty sure I know exactly when this baby-making expedition took place.
“Eight weeks?” she says. “That sound about right?”
“To the day,” I say.
The wedding. The fucking wedding that both me and Dave were in. Sure Becca made a beautiful bride, and Jake a gorgeous groom, and it’s been obvious to everyone but them for about twenty years that they should be together. How could I have known that me in a bridesmaid dress and Dave in a tuxedo would be like eating a dozen oysters on the half-shell and drinking a bottle of tequila at sundown? I close my eyes. Dave and I both ditched our respective dates and fell into the sack for a weekend recidivism sex fest. The beginning of our EWB arrangement: Exes With Benefits. Who’d think that any of this would cause me to get knocked up?
Especially after the six years of infertility treatments we endured while married.
I burp. “It explains that,” I say, referring to my burping, “and my weird fixation with green olives.”
“I’ve heard green olives before,” Dr. Wong says, nodding, “but for me it was turkey burgers with cheese. Could not get enough. With a Ben & Jerry’s chaser.” She rubs her tummy. “Good times, you know, until you have to take all the pounds off. So, pre-natal vitamins and we’ll set you up on schedule for visits.”
“Why now?” I ask, interrupting her.
Again she makes the sexy-time symbol. “Maybe you were horny?”
“No, no.” I shake my head. “Dave and I tried everything for so so so so long. Everything. Why now? And how? I mean I was told that the likelihood of me getting pregnant naturally was the same as if I was on the pill, used a condom, and spermicidal jelly all at the same time.”
“Ooops!” Dr. Wong says, shrugging her shoulders. “Man, the one thing I’ve learned in this gig is that Mother Nature? That bitch? She finds a way! When she wants something to happen it does. I have this crabgrass in my front yard and I’ve done everything but blowtorch it and still it lives.”
I squint at her. “You’re comparing my pregnancy to crabgrass?”
“Well…kind of. Not really. But what I’m saying is that life is magic and sometimes I have people who sit where you’re sitting and there’s nothing I can find that’s preventing them from getting pregnant and still they can’t seem to conceive. And then I have people, like you, who’ve tried and tried and tried and have every physical reason why they can’t get pregnant and wham-o! They’re knocked up! The common element is fertilization. For natural baby-making to occur, that happens with the sexy-time. And sometimes, not always, but sometimes when the infertility treatments end and the pressure is off, sometimes Mother Nature decides to slide on in there and give you a bump.”
“Yeah, a baby bump.” She makes an arc motion over her stomach. “But for you it’s gonna be a BIIIIG bump,” she says and makes a bigger arc over her tummy. “Me? I’m a cute short Asian woman, my bumps are much more compact.”
“Uh, thanks?” I say.
“Just going by what I’ve seen,” Dr. Wong says. “So like I was saying, we’ll get you started on the vitamins and a schedule.” Her words fade into the background and my mind wanders to the man who is the father of this baby that I’ve waited a lifetime to have. Shit. What am I going to do? How am I going to tell him? And how are we ever going to get through this? Especially since our divorce is meant to be final in the next couple weeks.
Maggie Marr is the USA Today Best Selling author of hot contemporary romance. She spends her days working in entertainment and her nights writing. Maggie loves all things pop culture and when she isn’t writing, she’s reading or binge-watching Netflix. Never miss a new release, sale, bonus content, or extras by signing up for Maggie’s newsletter here: maggiemarr.net
Under the Scrubs
Published by: Limitless Publishing
Publication date: May 21st 2019
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense
My life is ordinary, steady, predictable. And I’m okay with that. Working long shifts at the hospital is all the excitement I need.
But when a simple rescue-attempt goes wrong, I find myself in the arms of an arrogant, yet sexy FBI agent.
Kai Evans is what I’d call way out of my league. Yet, we end up dating. Sort of. That’s if you count fast-bike escapes and kissing while bullets fly around us as a date.
While Kai tries to keep me safe and alive, Tyler Moore–an ex FBI agent with a smart mouth–slithers into my life. Turns out, Kai and Taylor have a history. The kind that can’t be erased with a simple handshake.
Now it’s all about settling the score between them, and Taylor has the perfect weapon to use against Kai…
You’re bad-ass, Emilia. Keep cool, I chant silently. So what that he’s twice my size.
Yes, barging in when I’d seen a man picking a fight with a woman in the middle of a dark, empty street wasn’t my smartest move. She had a baby in the stroller, and I figured if he wanted somebody’s wallet, I could just give him mine.
The woman quickly left, and I’m now facing him alone. We’re a block away from the YMCA where I teach evening childbirth classes, an area that’s best avoided during the daylight, much less an hour before midnight.
He advances toward me with the crazy gleam on his face. A dim shine from the broken street light briefly illuminates an object in his hand. A knife. “Bad-ass, huh?”
Crap. Crap. Crap. My stupid habit of thinking out loud. I back away until I hit the wall of a crumbling building behind me.
“I’m sorry!” I shrink back as far away from the knife as possible. “I promise to never interfere with your business again! If you want, I can deliver your future babies, at no extra charge! Well, not yours, of course. Your wife’s.”
Shut up. Shut up, what are you saying?
He stares at me like I’ve just offered to pull a baby out of his behind, and I clarify quickly, “Yours and your wife’s. I’m an OB/GYN. I’ve just finished my residency, and I’m fully qualified.”
No effect on his you’re-a-crazy-lady look. I’m dead, all because of my big mouth.
“Listen to me! It was just a mistake, okay? I’ll never pretend to be bad-ass again, since it bothers you so much!”
He roars in laughter. And it’s not a haha-you’re-silly-but-cute kind, but the cackling of a man who has just stopped considering me as his one-minute of entertainment and began getting seriously annoyed. “You’re nuts,” he concludes.
No passing cars. The blinds on the building across the street are drawn. The chances of me making it across the street to the subway station before he smashes my head against the asphalt are slim to none. No escape. This is how many of those accidents shown on New York One Hot Minute happen: a nutty burglar and an even nuttier victim, although cuckoo in a different way, of course. What a terrible time to die. I was just starting to do my own deliveries, and now I’m not going to reap the rewards of the years of studying. I won’t be able to see mothers’ faces when they hold their babies for the very first time. I’ll just bleed to death and never—
The knife drops, sliding down my breast area and falling to the ground with a loud clank. A leathered-glove fist clasps around the man’s hand. My attacker’s body thumps against the asphalt, sent flying by the man in all black who throws a targeted blow at his opponent. The dark-clothed man is smaller in size, but he’s not wasting a single body movement. Every punch seems orchestrated, purposeful. His shoulder blades flex underneath his leather jacket. In a matter of seconds, the man on the ground stops fighting back and tries to cover his face. The man in black settles on top of the other man, squeezing his neck with his elbow.
Why am I sitting like a duck instead of helping my savior? The knife is lying on the ground next to me, and I should try to pass it to the good man, at the very least. He seems to know what he’s doing, with those precise punches…but what if this battle takes a wrong turn and someone gets seriously hurt, all because of me? They’re no longer wrestling, but the weapon might help the man keep the bad guy at bay until police arrives, right?
I pat him on his shoulder and offer him the knife.
He turns, and I meet the most striking blue eyes and the semi-moon of his curved lips. Dark scruff accentuates his powerful lower jaw with a tiny crater in the middle. And, holy crap, you know those cop shows where the heroes engage in fistfights and come out looking all put-together and tough, all without as much as breaking a sweat? Well, this man is panting a little, but apart from that and a little bit of sweat gathered on his forehead, I can’t tell he’s not on the set of that cable TV production with a few makeup artists who have just finished turning him into a swoon-worthy prime-time celebrity.
“You want me to kill him?” he asks.
“Oh, God, no! Don’t kill him!” He’s joking, right? He must be.
“You sure?” he whispers in a deep timbre that seems to shake some nerve endings in my body. Even his voice is out of this world, with a little bit of Clark Gable going on for him.
I drop the knife…away from both of them. “Please, let police deal with him.”
“I’ll never touch her again. She’s too bad-ass for me!” the thug interjects quickly.
“Bad-ass?” My white knight’s lips spread in a wider grin. A light twinkle plays in his eyes—a trace of humor on an otherwise rough canvas with a scar that runs down his left cheek all the way to his neck.
The screeching of police sirens sounds, and soon cops run toward us, their guns drawn.
Some of them carry serious weapons, revolvers or whatever those long firearms are. Oh God. What if they make a mistake? I dash between the officers and the men on the ground. “Wait! Don’t shoot!”
“Ma’am, we need you to step back!”
“Don’t fire! Please don’t hurt the wrong man!”
They hustle me out of the way as one of them pats my arm and informs me something about police never shooting those who aren’t fighting back. He may have said more, but at this moment the man in black gives me a small nod, and I stop paying full attention to the cops. My rescuer gets up and passes the bad man to the cops, all the while glancing at me sideways. He shows the cops his ID, and they exchange brief muted conversation, during which I’m able to gather that the woman with the baby called the cops and she will press charges. I reach into my purse to find my own identification just as I hear the officers say they won’t need my testimony.
In under a minute, the bad man is cuffed and hauled into the police car. Another hushed whisper between my protector and the cops, and they give me a friendly wave and walk away. “Have a good evening, ma’am. We trust you’ll get home safe.”
As soon as we’re alone, the man strolls toward me. It’s not a walk, mind you. It’s a swagger that’s only possible after you’ve just overpowered a huge bully without breaking a sweat. “I can’t believe you actually stepped in between me and their guns,” he says.
“They could’ve shot accidentally, and after you so bravely came to my rescue, that’s the least I could do. I mean, I didn’t think they would shoot a woman, so I’m not a hero by any means…not like you.”
“It was an extremely reckless move. Do you always jump head first into danger?”
“Oh, no.” Well, okay. I’ve just tried to meddle with a street thug’s business, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat if that meant protecting a mother and her baby. But I don’t do this sort of thing every day. Or ever. I’m just a doctor. I read books. Watch classic movies. I was thinking about picking up crochet, but I’ve been working late hours and could never make it to the weekly Embroidery Club. “You could say that was an idiosyncratic occurrence. I prefer to stay away from weapons of all sorts.”
“Good.” He smiles at me. “I’m Kai. Are you okay? You have a little bit of blood on your chin.” He leans down and examines a tiny scratch on my face. He smells like an expensive aftershave, much better than should be allowed after you’ve wrestled on the sidewalk. “My car is just around the corner. Let me drive you home. You shouldn’t be here alone this late at night.”
“Oh, you don’t want to drive me home. I live really far out in Jersey. I was about to take the subway to the bus station.”
“At this hour?”
“I’ve done this forever. It lets me catch up on my reading.”
“Not tonight. Come. I really don’t mind.” He offers me his hand.
Can I get into the car with a total stranger? What about the rules, the universal Do Not Do list your mom has taught you when you were little? But tonight he’s my hero, so if you think about it—what the heck. I deserve this one leniency.
I place my palm into his. Our skin touches. You know that tingly feeling when you brush against a man, and it’s all quiver and butterflies? I’ve never felt this before. Until now.
He places his other hand on the small of my back, directing me toward his car, and I follow. What’s more? I’ve already made up my mind. If he asks for my phone number, I’m going to give it to him.
Don’t judge. I’ve just narrowly escaped death.
Katerina Baker is a lucky gal who still attempts to have it all: full-time project management job that she enjoys, crazy family of four (with the ongoing threats of getting a pet to upset the family equilibrium) and writing.
Although on some days she is much more successful at managing her life than on the others, she still claims that she doesn’t want it any other way.
Katerina is represented by Sharon Belcastro from Belcastro Agency, and has a contract with Lachesis Publishing, who will be publishing her Romantic Suspense novel Under the Scrubs.
(Realm of Elestra, #2)
Publication date: May 15th 2019
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Steampunk, Young Adult
Since Mom died and left me with my abusive, drunkard of a father I don’t have much of a life. My only sanctuary’s hidden in the woods. At least until I find a jeweled dagger and it transports me to somewhere called Elestra. I seriously can’t believe this isn’t some crazy dream, with mechanical horses, cat people, demons, and even metal dragons.
I just want to go home, but everything is a disaster in Clock City.
Who’s this mysterious girl who appeared in Elestra? Alayna wears strange clothes and keeps complaining about something called a “cell phone.” She even has a demon with her who’s sworn a life debt, and now I’m bonded to her to help save the kingdom.
I’m just Sebastian, a secret tinkerer. How am I supposed to help her, and the rebellion, save the city? My life has flipped upside down, and I don’t know if I have what it takes.
No matter what happens it’s up to us to show the world what freedom truly looks like.
Q&A with Rebekah Dobson:
Name/Pen Name: Rebekah Dodson
Where do you get your ideas? Mostly from my muse, a close friend of mine, and watching people. And maybe a little from my students, lol
What is your writing process like? I get up at 4am most days and write 2500 words. My day starts at 6am, then I teach college classes from 9am-5pm five days a week. Some days it’s hard to get up at 4am, so I have to double up on weekends. Usually I get in about 10,000-15,000 words on a Saturday.
What is your writing Kryptonite? Quick burn romances. I can’t do it. My character talks and talk and fall in love SO slowly. It’s annoying sometimes.
How do you deal with writers block? I travel! Seriously. I take the train often, talk to people, go to big cities. I get tons of ideas!
Do you write under different pen names? Not yet!
When did you write and publish your first book? What was the name of your book? I wrote my frist book, Postcards from Paris, in December of 2013. I was in grad school at the time, and going through some rough things. I really poured my heart and some personal experiences into that book. A fellow students of mine started a publishing company and offered to publish it, and put a TON of faith into my work. Postcards was published on March 6, 2014! I’ve written a book a month ever since!
Who is your favorite author and Why? I love Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instrument series, but I’m also a huge fan of Stephen King, RA Salvatore, Terry Goodkind, David Gemmel, Nora Roberts, and Charlaine Harris. For India authors I adore Brooklyn Knight, Candace Osmond, and RA Steffan. Their books will ALWAYS be a one-click for me.
How many unpublished or half written books do you have? Probably at least 20. 30?
What kind of research do you do and how long before writing your book? I usually research as I write, to be honest. I rarely know what my characters are going to pull/do. The current series I’m working on it
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex? Not much, actually. My bestselling series, The Curse of Lanval, is from my male main character’s perspective, Guillaume Lanval. Most of my romances are from both male and female first person perspectives. I really enjoy writing from the male perspective, actually.
How long do you try to write daily? An hour or two. Some days I can only voice text a few sentences, but I get them in.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with good and bad reviews? All the time. The harsest one was when a reader gave me 3-stars before she “couldn’t remember the book.” That made me cry. I never advertise that book anymore, but I read it every few months and determine to be more interesting than that book. For good reviews I sometimes share them with the world, but primarily I have the same reaction. Every time someone leave me a review, good or bad, I just enjoy the fact someone read it!
What’s your favorite genre to read? Urban fantasy and high fantasy mostly, but I also love historical romances.
Do you hide secrets that only a few people will find or easter eggs in your books? OH yes. Most of my characters are related, and their worlds are fundamentally changed by Gill’s time traveling. I’m just hoping someone figures it out someday.
What was your hardest scene to write? In Postcards from Moscow, my ballerina, Jacqueline, was a pill addict, and I had to write a scene where Vasily, the man who loves her, finds her not breathing on a bathroom floor. He revives her, but then he walks away. It was so hard to write that scene because I wanted them to be together SO bad, but it wasn’t going to happen, not until Jaqui got her stuff together. A close second is the moment that Guillaume loses someone he loves in the my time travel fantasy, Merlin. When I had to kill that character I felt his anguish and I cried all the way through it with him.
Do you write with music in the background or does it have to be silent? I need music!! If it’s a fight scene for a fantasy novel, I’ve got to have some wacky Voltaire or Mary Cromwell or Shyfer James in the the background, maybe a little Cog is Dead or Steampunk Giraffe. I also love my 90’s romance songs (Savage Garden, Backstreet Boys, and Britney Spears) for romances. Sometimes you’ll even heard a little Five Finger Death Punch in there!
Do you have a favorite thing to snack on while you write? Gummy bears. It’s really an addiction at this point…
How much do your readers’ interests influence your writing? SO much. I actually have some fans that suggest directions and I almost always use them. My biggest fan is actually my beta reader now and I love her!
If you could tell your younger writing self anything…What would it be? PLEASE write that damn book and publish it, even though you don’t think you are good enough! I published my first book when I was 30, and I wish I hadn’t waited.
Any advice to other writers? Always get your product as polished as possible. Hire an editor, pay a lot for a cover. Find your tribe of other authors to support you and ask them for advice, often! Don’t pay for anything until people agree that it’s a good venture, otherwise you’ll waste a lot of money and time on poor quality professionals. Also, find your readers, and reward the crap out of them. Don’t lose those precious readers at any cost.
Rebekah Dodson is a prolific author of over 30 romance, fantasy, and science fiction novels. Her works include the series Postcards from Paris, #1 bestselling Curse of Lanval series, Life After Us series, and several stand alone novels and short stories. She has been writing her whole life, with her first published work of historical fiction with 4H Clubs of America at the age of 12, and poetry at the age of 16 with the National Poetry Society. With an extensive academic background including education, history, psychology and English, she currently works as a college professor by day and a writer by night.
H. Danielle Crabtree
(Fire & Reign, #1)
Publication date: May 21st 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Since the fall of the royal house, the four kingdoms have been divided and at war, leaving many without necessities to survive. Lady Myah Leicht would do anything for her people, even risk herself—the future high lady of Nordlin—to join her friends to raid supply convoys and storehouses belonging to the enemy army against her uncle and his council’s wishes.
Garrett wants nothing more than to be done with the Osten Elite Guard, but his position as master keeps him close to the queen and close the secrets the resistance needs. But only one secret he keeps matters to the future of the four kingdoms.
And that secret could burn Myah’s world to the ground.
The wind picked up, howling through the unsheltered channel. It prickled every inch of Myah’s skin, blasting through her damp clothes. A chill raced up her spine when the gust died.
It was not the wind marking her end, but the cries of the wolves.
Myah would die to their song.
“I find you baffling.”
He laughed quietly. “I get that a lot.”
“If you don’t want to blackmail me, then what do you want?” she pushed.
He leaned forward as if to get a better look at her in the moonlight. “To test a theory.”
“And what is your conclusion?” She was curious now, much less afraid, although still untrusting.
Garrett’s breaths were becoming ragged. His blood, warm and hot and sticky, dripped down his chest. He could feel the moisture on his skin. He blocked a swing aiming for his head, and then took a knife to his left side. It was shallow, but his muscles knotted. He stumbled backward, lost his footing as he slipped in the snow, and went down hard on his side.
When he looked up, the man’s arms were raised over his head, the blade angled to drive it through Garrett’s chest. His breath caught.
H. Danielle Crabtree graduated from the University of Oregon in 2004 with a professional journalism degree and worked in journalism as a writer and editor in Oregon and Arizona. She started freelancing as an editor in 2011.
Her poetry has been published in several literary magazines and anthologies, and she wrote with the G10 Writers group. Her first book with the group was published in 2011.
She lives in the heart of Oregon’s Willamette Valley with her two dogs. Outside her career in health care and her passion for writing, she enjoys hiking, gardening, and dog training, and she is pursuing a master’s degree in public health at Oregon State University.