ALL I EVER WANTED, a new adult winter anthology
Winterfest is heating up in Abbott Springs…
As the town’s yearly festival kicks off, cold days turn into steamy nights, new flames will be ignited, and old romances will be rekindled.
All About Us by Marilyn Brant—All Sami Abbott ever wanted was permission to be herself. At home, she aims to be the perfect daughter but never measures up. At college, she’s the bold girl who had a one-night stand with sexy musician, Alex Hamilton. When he arrives unexpectedly in Abbott Springs, her worlds collide and she must reconcile the girl she tries to be with the person she really is.
All I Need by Caisey Quinn—All pink-haired rocker chick Everly Abbott thought she wanted was acceptance in her straight-laced hometown. But her best friend and bandmate Justin Cohen is about to show her that what she thinks she wants isn’t necessarily what she needs.
All for Love by Rhonda Helms—All Maya Monterey ever wanted was to belong. Happiest with the Abbott family, Maya’s been secretly in love with sexy pastry chef Oliver Abbott for years. With a flirty new look, she’ll pull out all the stops to get him to notice her. And if her plan fails, she’ll walk away from the only home she’s ever known—and Oliver—for good.
All or Nothing by Lexi Ryan—After years of placing the wrong bets, all Aubree Baxter wanted was someone to take a chance on her. Golden boy Kennedy Hale plays it safe in life and love, but to keep Bree in Abbott Springs, he’ll have to go all in.
From ALL ABOUT US by Marilyn Brant
My mind rushed back to thoughts of the two of us in October. In Alex’s hotel room. In that king-sized bed.
The way he’d kissed me until I’d felt lightheaded. Like I was levitating.
The way he’d run his fingers across my belly and I could feel the calluses on his fingertips. Rough and gentle at the same time.
The way our bodies found a perfect rhythm together. And how I’d purposely disrupted it when I pulled away that night. He was getting too close. Too close to knowing the real me, even though I’d given him all the wrong details.
“So, ready for some pizza?” he asked, steering me back toward the town square and the Italian restaurant he’d picked out for our dinner. Giovanni’s. As the only really good pizzeria in Abbott Springs, I’d been there hundreds of times, but never with Alexander Hamilton. Somehow I knew he’d make everything about it feel like a brand-new experience.
“Sure,” I said, moving closer to him. Hoping he wouldn’t take back his arm and break the connection between us.
He didn’t. Not until we were almost at the entrance of the restaurant and a man cleared his throat loudly behind us.
As we turned, I heard an all-too-familiar voice say, “Sami. How are you doing, sweetheart? Going to introduce me to your new friend?”
Alex took a good look at the man standing tall on the sidewalk a few feet from us and immediately lowered his arm.
From ALL I NEED by Caisey Quinn
“We should probably get back,” I said softly, knowing that if I leaned forward so much as an inch my lips would graze his. My chest must’ve been desperate for attention because it rose between us, thrilling at the contact when it brushed his.
“We probably should,” he agreed without moving.
I knew it was wrong, dangerous even. Justin Cohen had been my everything since…well since the first time he’d scooted his backpack over on the bench so I could sit next him at lunch. Sixth grade. He’d been my best friend, my band mate, my shoulder to cry on, my sweet, always-willing-to-listen best buddy ever since. Nearly ten freaking years.
But there was nothing sweet about the way he was looking at me now. His playing doctor on my ankle had been sweet. This was…something else.
Hunger hooded his eyes as we each waited for the other to make a move. The full weight of the fact that I wouldn’t stop him if he kissed me, the undeniable truth that I wanted him to, pressed down on me, but I held my own. His hands slid up my thighs, not an accidental graze but an intentional friction between our flesh. It was delicious torture, a kind I’d never known before. Painful and slow and sweet and…necessary.
This will change everything.
From ALL FOR LOVE by Rhonda Helms
Maya tightened her jaw and looked dead into my eyes. “Everything I love most in this world is in this town, Oliver.” Her voice hitched, and she swallowed. “How could I ever want to leave it?”
The air locked in my chest. My head rushed and buzzed with the hum of a thousand words battering at my brain. It was one thing to have your sister tell you how someone felt about you. Another thing to have the woman herself looking up at you, practically admitting those feelings.
Maya blinked, ripped her gaze from mine, and gave an awkward laugh, a dark flush stealing across her cheeks. “Oh, God,” she said on a broken sigh. “I…I can’t believe I just…”
Before I even realized what I was doing, I dropped my nearly empty cup and captured Maya’s face in my hands then pressed my closed mouth against hers. I felt her stiffen in shock for a brief moment, her cup plopping to the ground near mine, then sigh and melt into me like butter simmering in a hot skillet. She opened her mouth and drew me in, and I savored Maya for the first time.
Her scent, her taste drugged me instantly. Beyond the spices of the alcohol lay something deeper, something feminine that made me ache for more.
From ALL OR NOTHING by Lexi Ryan
A flood of light jerked me from sleep. I wanted to draw up the covers and go back to the dream. I wanted to send away the noisy light-bearers, whoever they were, but then I heard Kennedy’s voice and sat up in bed before I even remembered where I was.
“Who are you?” I asked, my eyes heavy, my voice crackling with sleep. Was I in Kennedy’s house or—
It all came back to me. My impulsive flight to Ohio. The cab ride to Kennedy’s small college. His roommate showing me to his room.
But this wasn’t my plan, falling asleep, being disoriented. I’d never planned for the leggy blonde standing next to Kennedy, her eyes bugging out so much I feared they might pop out of her head.
I blinked at her. Trying to understand why she might be here. Then two things happened at once: I remembered I was naked, and the blonde turned to Kennedy and slapped him across the face.
“What the fuck, Bree?” Kennedy growled. The blonde was already storming out of his room, and from the anger on his face, I could only assume her exit didn’t exactly work with his plans for the evening.
His words hurt, but not as much as the aggravation on his face. I guess I’d thought he’d find me nude in his bed and say something like, “Finally,” before pressing his mouth to mine and pulling his clothes off as quickly as possible.
Marilyn Brant is a USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of eight novels to date, writing in the genres of contemporary women’s fiction, romantic comedy, and new adult/mystery. Recently, the Illinois Association of Teachers of English selected her as their 2013 Author of the Year. As a former teacher, library staff member, freelance magazine writer, and national book reviewer, Marilyn has spent much of her life lost in literature. Her books have been featured by the Doubleday Book Club, Book-of-the-Month Club, Literary Guild, BOMC2, and Rhapsody Book Club, and they’ve won awards such as the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart, the Booksellers’ Best, and the Aspen Gold Reader’s Choice. She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her family, reads a lot of Jane Austen, and loves chocolate, old movies, and road trips with music blaring and the windows rolled down. Please visit her online at www.marilynbrant.com or find her on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/marilyn.brant and Twitter @marilynbrant
Caisey Quinn lives in a suburb outside of Birmingham, Alabama with her husband, daughter, and other assorted animals. She wears cowgirl boots most of the time, even to church. She is the bestselling author of the Kylie Ryans series and writes New and Young Adult books about country girls finding love in unexpected places. She can be found online at www.caiseyquinnwrites.com or on Twitter as @CaiseyQuinn where she spends entirely too much time chatting with readers, writers, and anyone who’s willing.
Rhonda Helms started writing novels several years ago and loves teen and New Adult romance. She has a Master’s degree in English and a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. She also freelance edits (visit rhondaedits.com to learn more about her services). When she isn’t writing, she likes to do amateur photography, dig her toes into the sand, read for hours at a time, and eat way too much cheese. Rhonda lives in Northeast Ohio with her family, dog, and a very loud cat. Visit her at rhondahelmsbooks.com for details about her and her books. You can also find her on twitter @rhelmsbooks or Facebook at facebook.com/rhondahelmsbooks.
A New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author, Lexi Ryan considers herself the luckiest chick she knows. Her books have been described as intense, emotional, and wickedly sexy. When not writing, she enjoys watching football, perfecting her chocolate martini, and reading her way to the title of Biggest Romance Fangirl Evah. A former college professor, her biggest fears include faculty meetings and large stacks of ungraded freshman composition papers. She now writes full-time from her home in Indiana, where she lives with her husband and two children and their neurotic dog. You can visit Lexi at her website www.lexiryan.com or find her on Twitter @writerlexiryan or Facebook at facebook.com/lexiryanauthor.
ALL I EVER WANTED is a winter anthology, complete with sledding races, spiked hot cocoa, and ice skating. Are you a winter lover?
Marilyn: I grew up in Wisconsin and now live in Illinois, so I’ve had to make peace with shoveling snow and scraping ice away every winter, LOL, but I can’t say I love the cold temps. I am very, very fond of hot cocoa (both spiked and unspiked), however, and I’ve always enjoyed ice skating and watching the Winter Olympics when they’re on.
Caisey: I love winter clothes, but the actual cold part, not so much!
Rhonda: For the most part, yes! But usually when I’m inside, sitting by a deliciously roaring fire. lol. I hate being super cold, but I do enjoy making snowmen, sled racing, and ice skating. I also like taking outdoor pictures.
Lexi: Maybe I’d say yes if it were a sweltering Indiana summer out my door right now, but instead it’s twelve inches of snow and negative windchills and I’m feeling like I really, really don’t like winter. But I sure don’t mind writing about it.
This anthology is really unique in that all the stories are connected and scenes from one story might appear in another. What was your favorite part about working on this anthology?
Marilyn: I loved the experience of getting to see a scene told in multiple viewpoints by our differing main characters. And it was fascinating to work so closely on a writing project with three authors whose stories I admire so much.
Caisey: Getting to see the many differences and similarities in each of our writing processes.
Rhonda: There was a community created by working so closely together that I’ve never experienced before. It really made me connected to my story and to the others. We were all vested in each other’s novellas, which I loved.
Lexi: We spent a weekend in Louisville to really nail down some of the continuity issues on the anthology. We worked a lot, but we also laughed more than I think I’ve ever laughed in my life. We writers spend an awful lot of time in solitude. It was wonderful to laugh with people who “get” the business like you do..
What was the most difficult part about putting it together?
Rhonda: Oh, all those nitpicky touches, the back-and-forth exchanges of scenes, then going over and over and over it all to make sure we didn’t mess up the timeline. FUN. lol
Marilyn: Yeah, Rhonda nailed it. There were a lot of details!
Caisey: What Rhonda said!
Lexi: To echo what Rhonda said…When we were in Louisville, we sat down at about 10am to start nailing down some of the details. We went page by page through each of our stories. “Oh, here your character says this.” “No, he wouldn’t change it quite like that. Change it to this.” “What’s Maya wearing that night?” “How would Kennedy be acting at the opening address?” Yes! Tons of details! But it was worth it to create what I think is a really unique product.
Obviously, a love of new adult romance brought you four together for this anthology. Name two of your favorite NA reads.
Marilyn: Aside from Lexi’s, Caisey’s, and Rhonda’s stories, which are awesome, I’ve also really enjoyed The Edge of Never by J.A. Redmerski and Violet Duke’s Resisting the Bad Boy.
Caisey: Oh gosh. There are so many good ones it’s hard to pick just two! My two faves of 2013 were probably Escaping Me by Elizabeth Lee and Break It Up by E.M. Tippetts.
Rhonda: Well, I love all of my fellow anthology authors’ works, lol. Seriously, they’re brilliant–make sure to check them out. But if we go beyond those, I also adored EASY by Tammara Webber and TANGLED by Emma Chase. So good!
Lexi: Oh, yes, I echo what everyone else said. Read them first! Obviously we enjoy each other’s work and that’s why we decided to do this together. After them, definitely EASY by Tammara Webber and ONE WEEK GIRLFRIEND (well, the whole series) by Monica Murphy.