Cover Reveal and Excerpt: Every Breath: Sarah and Benny

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EVERY BREATH
(SARAH AND BENNY)

by Liz Durano

Twelve years since he promised her his heart, can their love stay as strong as ever… even without that ring?

Twelve years since he promised her his heart, can their love stay as strong as ever… even without that ring?

For the last twelve years, Navajo environmental protection scientist Benny Turner has never missed spending a single Valentine’s Day with Sarah Drexel. But when a toxic waste spill in Colorado requires his presence, the unfortunate event couldn’t have happened at the worst time.

For the first time since they’ve been together, they’ll be spending Valentine’s Day apart.

But Benny has never been one to give up so easily. And he’s determined to give Sarah a Valentine’s Day she’ll never forget even if he has to move mountains to do it—or employ the help of a few friends…

This is a steamy Valentine’s Day novella featuring Dax’s sister Sarah Drexel and her longtime partner Benny Turner. It’s a slice-of-life story set in Taos, New Mexico where we first met Harlow and Dax in Everything She Ever Wanted. Featuring characters you’ve met in previous books in A Different Kind of Love series, this story is guaranteed with steamy feels and no cliffhanger!

AMAZON

EXCERPT

His phone buzzes from the bedside table and excusing himself, Benny reaches over me to retrieve it.

“Work?”

He shakes his head, returning the phone to the table and pulling me in an embrace. He buries his face in my hair. “My mother.”

I pull away, studying his face. “Why didn’t you answer?”

“Have you seen the time?”

“It could be an emergency.”

Benny doesn’t answer. He kisses my forehead and then my lips one more time before removing his arm from under my head and sits up. Now he really needs to get ready to go to the airport.

“Are you packed?” I ask instead, the silences growing longer between us again. It always happens when he’s about to leave for long periods of time. This is one of those times. Pipeline spills don’t get cleaned up in a day, certainly not when it happens on tribal land. There’s just too much red tape, even danger. The last time Benny was sent to consult at one of these things, someone shot at him with a rifle. Later, they claimed they thought he was trespassing. It didn’t even matter that he was driving a truck with official markings.

“Of course.” He gets up and heads to the bathroom, shutting the door behind him. A few seconds later, I hear the shower running. I get up and take a peek at his phone which buzzes again. This time it’s a text message from his mother.

Call me. Noelle is in town.

My chest tightens, my throat turns dry. I know that name.

Noelle.

I get up and walk out of the bedroom, making my way to the guest bathroom so I can wash my face and brush my teeth. Twelve years since we first kissed, why on earth am I still letting Noelle bother me?

But then, why not? She and Benny grew up together on the reservation. She’s also the woman Benny’s mother had wanted him to marry. They’d started dating when they were teenagers, attending dances together whenever he returned home from college in the East Coast where he’d earned a scholarship. While he wasn’t the first in his mother’s family to earn a college degree—his mother has an Associate’s degree in Business—he’s the first to earn a Doctorate.

That’s where I come in, setting Benny’s path a totally different direction from the one his mother had hoped for. I was completing my Bachelor’s in Nursing and he was working on his dissertation on Environmental Biology for his Doctorate when we met and the next thing everyone knew, we were inseparable and I had Dyami, a strong and beautiful baby boy with Benny’s eyes and lustful cry that could wake up the neighbors.

I stare at my reflection in the mirror, droplets of water clinging to my skin. Blue eyes, creamy skin and dark-haired, I’m what people have always called a curvy girl. Broad shoulders, wide hips, big boobs. Far from the ideal woman that many men I’d met in New York held on to when I went back there for my first two years of college.

How I wanted so badly to leave the quiet of Taos then, flying back to New York ten years after Dad uprooted me from everything I knew so Mama could live in Taos again. I thought I’d fit right back in like I never left it.
Only I’d changed.

What I thought I wanted—the hustle and bustle of Manhattan along with the status that came with it as Daniel Drexel’s oldest daughter—had faded into the tired rumblings and exhaust fumes of the city that never slept and a father whose affection for his only daughter turned into an expectation of perfection in everything.

Too bad I was far from perfect, and still am.

But at least, Benny loves him a girl with something more than skin and bones to hold on to. You’re more than just curves I can’t stop thinking about, Sarah, he’d say teasingly. There’s a woman in this body. My woman.

Shi’áád.

He just hasn’t put a ring on it, not since he first kissed me twelve years ago and promised to be mine forever.

RELEASE DATE: FEBRUARY 8, 2019

Amazon US ➭ https://amzn.to/2T2Csec
Amazon UK ➭ https://amzn.to/2Cv458L
Amazon CA ➭ https://amzn.to/2FGNXEo
Amazon AU ➭ https://amzn.to/2FwJ6X3

One More Day

… and Friends with Benefits will be live!

And from what I’ve heard from my ARC readers, they are loving it! Campbell has become the favorite right after Dax (sorry, but Dax, I guess is always first for many readers and I can’t blame them).

It’s also really steamy…

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Here’s an excerpt:

We stumble onto my bed, giggling as we land on the soft covers. I can’t get enough of her. My mouth travels along her cheek to the sensitive skin behind her ear, feeling her shiver against me as I continue my exploration down her neck. Her hands undo the buttons of my shirt, tugging it loose from my pants.

“Roll over,” she whispers and circling her waist with one arm, I roll onto my back while bringing her on top of me. As she straddles me, the lights from the neighboring buildings and the city below illuminate her exquisite form, casting her ginger hair in an ethereal glow.

I hold my breath, watching her slip off her dress in a slow striptease that makes me want to pull her down to the bed so I can take over. But I don’t. I like watching Caitlin take charge. I love watching her be herself with me, only this time, in a way that’s only meant for me.

Clad in only her bra and panties, she resumes her mission of getting my shirt off and with a little help from me, succeeds with a grin before blazing a trail of warm kisses on my neck and chest, all the way down my stomach. I’m so hard, her sex pressing against my erection not helping in any way. She’s determined to tease and undress me and by God, I’m letting her do it.

Until I can’t.

“You’re determined to tease me, aren’t you?” I murmur as she starts to unbuckle my belt, biting her lower lip in concentration.

“Maybe,” she whispers. “I never realized you worked out. You’re ripped.”

I trace her thigh with my fingers. “Thank you. But you never asked.”

“You never took your shirt off whenever you stopped by the house.”

“I didn’t have a reason to. Besides, it’s also been a year since I’ve seen you. I missed you last time, remember?”

My belt buckle forgotten, Caitlin slides up my body so we’re face to face again, her hair cascading along the sides of my face. I can smell her shampoo, sage and lavender. “Of course, I remember. I missed you. My partner in crime was MIA.”

“I was working, but I missed you, too.”

“No, you didn’t. You were traveling. Italy from what I heard.”

“Doesn’t mean I wasn’t working.” I gather her hair in my hand and push it to the side as we lapse into silence. I can feel her watching me, studying me. “What are you looking at?”

“You,” she replies, stroking my stubble with the back of her hand. “You’re all grown up.”

“I’m not the only one, Cait.”

diff-free-jordan

There are also two more days left to download Falling for Jordan for free. It’s where you get to meet Campbell and Caitlin for the first time before you get to dive into their story when it goes live on November 20.

Falling for Jordan http://getbook.at/jordan

Friends with Benefits http://getbook.at/campbell

Check out the series on Kindle Unlimited http://getbook.at/differentlove

 

 

Weekly Update #amwriting

I took this photo during my first trip to the Frick Collection in New York’s Upper West Side three years ago this week. It was from a free paper I picked up along the way and I still have it three years later. Sometimes I see the photo posted on other people’s social media feeds and it makes me happy knowing that the saying (and the photo) still makes its rounds years later.

It’s also a quaint reminder of why I write.

Now to the writing update…

So this week, I completed about 28k words but edited thousands out so my final word count is 23k. This is also the point of the story where I start to question myself and have to go back to the outline I had written. This is because I am faced with the option of extending the word count since, most likely, I will not be including the story in that holiday box set that requires closed-doors sex scenes. That’s not to say that the box set is a “clean romance” set. It’s just a holiday Romance box set featuring closed-door sex scenes. Unfortunately, I keep mistakenly referring to it as “clean romance” which baffles some readers and fellow authors as to why I signed up to be in a clean romance set when I write steamy romance stories.

Thing is, I didn’t sign up to be in a clean romance box set. I signed up to be part of a holiday romance box set with closed door sex scenes and no C, D, and F words. That I can’t remove the sex scenes without having my hero look like douchebag and the heroine a slut is simply one of the disadvantages of my style of deep POV writing.

This term “clean romance” also had me wondering. If a clean romance set meant no sex, what is a romance book WITH sex? The antonym to “clean” is dirty. So does that mean novels with steamy scenes in it are classified as dirty romance?

Oh, well… here’s an excerpt in the meantime.

I turn my attention back to the tree, not wanting to ruin a beautiful moment between longtime friends because in the end, that’s what we are—friends. Who cares if we’re sitting on a faux sheepskin rug buck naked? Besides, it had been my decision to have sex—and boy, other than the guilt I’m feeling right now, it was the best decision ever. I’ve always known Campbell to be this quiet, intense and driven kid and I’d never once considered him as anything but a friend mainly because I grew up with him. He’s the boy next door and whenever we get together, my partner in crime.

Who knew that between the sheets, he’s amazing? His hands, his mouth, his… I bite my lip. No, better not go there.

Still, I may not have the experience to make such a declaration that he’s an amazing lover—after all, I’ve only been with two men before tonight—but I’ve also never felt so comfortable, so sexy and so gorgeous with any man before. The way he makes love is just beyond words. And even if I could find the words, I won’t because most of it can’t be described using the alphabet, at least, not in a coherent arrangement.

I turn my head to look at him. I never realized how thick his lashes are. “I wanted it to happen, Cam.”

Campbell kisses my shoulder. “I did, too.”

Sunday Word Count #excerpt

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I got to 680 before everyone woke up and it’s time to get off the computer and step outside for a while.

That’s 11109 words into my holiday novella and so far, I think I may have found my groove. Caitlin and Campbell seem to be cruising right along and I couldn’t be happier. I’m hoping to get at least 2k more words in by tomorrow so crossing my fingers!

In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek at a section that I just finished.

***

By the time we make it to the theatre, the mere brush of his hand on my elbow or my hand leaves me feeling giddy, and somehow I can’t help but assume it’s no longer accidental. Even the theatre disappears whenever Campbell turns to look at me, all my senses heightened and focused on what he’s doing, on the words he’s saying. When he holds my hand as we make our way to the lobby during the intermission, I don’t see anyone else.

How long has it been since I’ve been with a man? Somehow I draw a blank. All I remember are the first dates that barely made it to first base, much less the second, my mind constantly on my research projects, meetings with my advisor, and that unwavering goal of making it to graduation and then finding a job.

But for tonight, I’m willing to toss all that out the window. I’m having way too much fun being with a man I’ve always felt safe with, my brother’s best friend and the boy next door. Only this time, something’s different. Somewhere between then and now, Campbell Murphy grew up and I never saw it until now.

Crack Open A Window

 

EXCERPT

From Barstow, we make our way to Flagstaff. I sit in the back seat next to Tyler, entertaining him with the toys I’ve brought along with me. Sometimes I catch Sawyer watching us in the rearview mirror. Sometimes he catches me watching him.

It’s a harmless game between us and I’m grateful for the distraction. I’ve never met any of Sawyer’s girlfriends before but I’ve seen pictures of them, or at least, one of them, a petite woman with a pixie haircut who Drew told me was a massage therapist and yoga instructor. I vaguely remember Drew saying that she was the reason Sawyer spent a lot of time in Sedona although that was a few years ago. The only thing I know about Sawyer’s love life so far these days is that he doesn’t wear a ring.

“You sure you don’t want me to take over driving?” I ask when I catch him looking at me again.

“Nah, I’m good. Take a nap if you want, Al. I got this,” he replies as I lean back in my seat. “You don’t mind country music, do you?”

So far, our playlist has included Phish and the Dave Matthews Band. No country music—yet. “I’d never have figured you for a country music fan, Sawyer.”

“I’m cycling through all the songs on my phone so I think country is next. I don’t think Tyler would appreciate heavy metal.”

I laugh, shaking my head. “I know I won’t, not with him in the car, but country’s fine.”

Sawyer grins. “Country it is then.”

By the time Kip Moore’s Bittersweet Company plays on the radio, Tyler is fast asleep. I prop one of the neck pillows I brought with me against the window and close my eyes. With nothing to look at but barren landscape and cars and trucks zipping past, I might as well join Tyler in his nap.

When I wake up, Tyler is wide awake and kicking happily on one of the stuffed animals by his feet. Sawyer looks at me through the rearview mirror before focusing his attention back on the road ahead.

“Are we there yet?” I stretch my neck, my body starting to get sore from all the sitting.

“Almost. About ten minutes.”

“Oh, good.” I look at Tyler who seems so content in his car seat before I realize why. He’s busy concentrating. “Uh-oh! I think Ty just went number two.”

“Eight minutes,” Sawyer says as he hits the gas. “You may need to crack open a window.”


PREORDER

Amazon US https://amzn.to/2JFoRF0
Amazon UK https://amzn.to/2l6RFM4
Amazon CA https://amzn.to/2JBd66r
iBooks https://apple.co/2l3n6a2
Barnes & Noble http://bit.ly/2HIa5LZ
Kobo http://bit.ly/2JwDrTc

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Three Days

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Already the ARCs went out and I really hope readers will enjoy Alma and Sawyer’s story. The paperback will be delayed because it took me forever to get things started and my cover designer won’t work on it until next week. But one thing’s pretty sure: I think I’m ready to let go and hand it to the universe.

Don’t forget to pick up a copy from your favorite retailer!

Excerpt

Alma sits in the front passenger seat this time, with a clip-on mirror on the sun visor allowing her to check on Tyler who is yawning as I get on Interstate 40. From here it’s four more hours before we get to Taos. We talk about music for a while before she turns quiet again, propping her bare feet on the dashboard as she leans back in her seat. Before long, she’s asleep, the neck roll cushioning her head against the window.

The deafening pop comes half an hour later and smoke and remnants of the rear tire go flying behind the trailer. A shudder reverberates through the SUV just before the vehicle veers to the right. Behind me, the trailer swerves precariously toward the second lane, the car behind me swerving just in time to avoid us. I ease on the brake as best as I can and make my way toward the shoulder, my knuckles white against the steering wheel.

Everything would have been fine but as the SUV slows to a stop along the side of the interstate, I might as well have been on the edge of some Afghan’s farm with my unit seconds before Smith stepped on the IED, the smell of blood and sulfur filling the air. And instead of Alma’s startled gasp, I hear the shouts of my fellow Marines as we do what we can to get out of the line of gunfire and RPGs.

Getdowngetdowngetdown!

Five More Days

While finalizing the playlist for Breaking the Rules, I realized I hadn’t shared some of the songs that inspired the story. There are a few but I’ll start with Sawyer’s song, Are We Too Late by singer/songwriter Tom Leeb.

Excerpt

Half an hour later, I step out of Tyler’s nursery and find Sawyer drying the last of the dishes and putting them away in the cupboard. Tall, broad shoulders, slim hips, he’s perfect in every way. He even puts the dishes away.

“How was the water pressure?” I ask as he turns to face me, drying his hands and setting the towel on the rack.

“Just like dinner, perfect,” he replies.

I hate having to put him on the spot but I don’t want to play any more games. “Sawyer, about the other day–”

“I’m not sorry for kissing you.”

“I’m not either. But why do I feel like you’re pulling away?”

“Because I promised Drew I’d take care of you, not take advantage of you.”

“Who says you’re taking advantage of me?” I ask. “You’ve helped me more than anyone I know. You offered this place when you didn’t have to. You drove with us when you could have flown instead. That’s not taking advantage of me at all. That’s being a… a good friend.”

“That’s the problem, Al,” he murmurs as he closes the space between us. “I don’t want to be just a friend.”

PREORDER

Amazon US https://amzn.to/2JFoRF0
Amazon UK https://amzn.to/2l6RFM4
Amazon CA https://amzn.to/2JBd66r
iBooks https://apple.co/2l3n6a2
Barnes & Noble http://bit.ly/2HIa5LZ
Kobo http://bit.ly/2JwDrTc

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