Love’s Design by K.L. Ramsey is out next week!
On June 8, 2018 | 0 Comments

I am thrilled to tell you that Love’s Design by K.L. Ramsey is out next week, in e-book and paperback. So these are the last few days you will be able to pre-order the e-book at the sale price of $2.99 until the release date June 14th.  I want to give you a chance to sample the third book in the wonderful, Relinquished series, so here is the Prologue and Chapter One.

Prologue

Shephard Jackson couldn’t believe that April Magness was friends with his sister-in-law, Karlie. His assignment was to keep a close eye on her, but on his day off, she was someone else’s problem. Which led him to his next thought, who in the hell was watching her and his family, now? It made him crazy knowing that someone, who was possibly dangerous, was hanging around his siblings, parents and his nieces and nephews. What could he do? He couldn’t let on that he knew who April was or what she knew, that would ultimately put everyone else in danger.

It was just crazy that Karlie and April knew each other from when Karlie lived in Georgia, before she married Drew. What were the odds that his assignment would show up at his family’s cookout for Christ sake? What if they found her here? What if they tried to hurt her, here, in front of his family?

April had been Shep’s assignment for the past five months. And to be honest, she wasn’t a hardship to watch. Her sexy little body and those curves drove him crazy most nights, while he watched her from his truck. He felt like a peeping Tom, watching her through binoculars, as she made dinner and watched TV. He watched her when she took her bath every night, longing to be the one undressing her, washing her, fucking her. But that job was left unfulfilled, as far as he could tell. He never saw her with any man and that made him so crazy, he almost stormed into her little townhome many nights. But his job was to keep her safe, not fuck her; and wasn’t that a shame.

Drew and Ryan pulled up a seat on either side of Shep and he could tell that his brothers were going to give him some shit. As the youngest brother in the family, he was often the butt of jokes and the receiver of many wedgies. Still, he knew that in a pinch, they would always be on his side.

“So, little brother, how long are you staying in town?” Drew slung his big arm around Shep’s shoulder and sideways bear hugged him.

“Yeah, how long will we get to annoy you before you head back to Tennessee?” Ryan tried to pull Shep in the opposite direction, also bear hugging him. Shep just smiled and shrugged them off. Although he was the baby, he was bigger than both of his brothers.

“I leave tonight. I have someone watching Mandy but she gets antsy after a bit.” Mandy was his golden retriever and at six months old, she could really tear some shit up if she was left too long. Sometimes, Shep wanted to move back to Alabama to be closer to his family but other times, he was happy to live two hours away, in another state. Besides, his cabin in the woods was worth the trip. He loved the isolation and solitude. If his family had a “black sheep,” he’d be it.

“Ya know, that pretty little brunet that you are stalking with your stare, she lives in Tennessee too – not far from you.” Drew looked pleased with himself as if he read his brother’s diary and knew exactly what he was thinking.

“What sexy little brunet?” Shep played stupid. Letting his brothers know that he found April attractive or even knew her, was not an option.

“He didn’t say ‘sexy’, dumb ass,” Ryan slapped Shep on his back, “he said ‘pretty’.”

“So, you do find her sexy then?” Drew couldn’t seem to help his smile. “Good to know,” he too slapped Shep on the back. Yeah, it was time to go. His brothers were getting in his business and messing with trouble that they shouldn’t mess with.

Shep stood to say his goodbyes, making the rounds with his family, squeezing each of his nieces and nephews until they giggled and squirmed. When he made his way to Karlie, he rubbed his sister-in-law’s very pregnant belly, “Not too much longer, huh?” Karlie smiled and kissed him on his cheek.

“You’ll come back to see your new niece or nephew, right?” He nodded, a little sad that another Jackson was going to be coming into the family and he was still completely alone. The truth was, he longed for what his two older brothers had but in his line of work, meeting women was hard to do. As a police detective, his nights were usually spent on stakeouts and his days were filled with paperwork. That didn’t leave much time for finding the right woman and settling down.

“Shep, have you met April?” Shep turned at the mention of her name and practically ran into her. Shit, meeting April Magness was not part of the plan.

“Hello,” Shep extended his hand and met her beautiful green eyes with his. The way she looked at him, he worried for a moment that she had seen him around, possibly even watching her.

April smiled and returned his handshake, “Karlie has told me so much about you.” Her smile didn’t touch her eyes. “It’s nice to meet you.”

“I hear you decorated Ryan and Jenna’s new house?” Shep needed to get out of there, but he didn’t want to be rude or spook April. After all, getting this close to her really wasn’t the plan.

“I sure did – I’m an interior designer. I owed Karlie a favor; otherwise, I generally don’t drive two hours to design a house.”  This time her smile did meet her eyes and Shep couldn’t believe how beautiful April was up close.

“I hear we live in the same town. I could use a ride home. Drew picked me up today to come here since my car’s in the shop. Would you mind giving me a ride?”

Shep panicked. What was the department’s protocol for something like this? Each second that ticked by seemed like a giant cluster fuck waiting to happen.

“Sure.” What else could he say? Telling her ‘no’ might tip her off. “I’d be happy to drive you home, just let me say goodbye to my parents.” April nodded and Shep strode away wondering what to do next.

April and he made their way from the party to his pickup, when his phone rang. Shit, his Sargent.

“Sorry, I have to take this.” He tried to gain some distance from April, to have a private conversation but Ryan’s driveway didn’t give him much space.

“Jackson,” he barked into the phone.

“What in the hell do you think you’re doing, Jackson? Your assignment is to watch Miss Magness, not fucking date her! Why the fuck am I hearing from Simmons that you are leaving your family’s fucking cookout with April Magness?”

Yeah, they were being watched and the Sarge wasn’t too happy about the whole mess.

“Sorry, but I really can’t talk now. I’m giving someone a ride home from my brother’s party. Can I call you later?” Shep knew that April was listening, although she tried hard not to.

“You better fucking call me later, Jackson. I think we need to discuss a few things.” The Sarge hung up and Shep cursed inwardly.

“Girlfriend?” April smiled up at him.

“What? Um, no. It’s just work.” Shep helped lift April up into the king cab of his Ram truck and damn it she felt good in his hands. He longed to put his hands all over her body, but he shut her door instead.

Yeah, this whole idea was a cluster fuck.

 

Chapter One

Shep wasn’t quite sure what he was supposed to do with April once he got her home. The crazy thing was he was on duty tonight to sit and watch her, outside her townhome. What was he supposed to do, drop her off at her front door, tell her it was nice to meet her and then sit in his truck and stalk her the rest of the night? He loved his job and he loved protecting innocent people. The problem with protecting April was, he didn’t know if she was innocent or not. He wasn’t sure if she was someone who needed his protection or if she was someone he needed to protect others from. Either way, she was his job right now and he was damn good at his job. He worked hard to get where he was in such a short time. It was almost three years ago that he decided to join the local police academy. He got a degree in criminal justice and his mom was hoping that he’d become a lawyer but that was never in his heart. He had known, since he was a young boy, that he wanted to become a police officer and that decision seemed to disappoint his parents more than he ever wanted to. He just followed his dreams, he wished his parents could accept that.

After he graduated from the academy he was offered a job in Tennessee and he jumped at the opportunity. It was not only a great offer, but it was a good excuse to leave Alabama. Things with his mom were a little rocky and he was ready to put some distance between his family and himself. His brothers, Drew and Ryan, had both settled down and were popping out kids like they were in a competition with each other. His little sister, Maddie, was in her last year at the University of Alabama. He was always the black sheep of his family. Being the youngest boy, he never seemed to find his niche in his family’s dynamic. So, he packed up all his shit and moved two hours away. He bought a little fixer-upper log cabin, out in the middle of nowhere; and he has never been happier.

Except now – sitting next to April in his pick-up truck, he wasn’t so fucking happy. This whole situation could have been avoided if he would have just made up some excuse, like he wanted to, and skipped his brother’s housewarming party. But, he had one of those moments where he felt that he needed to spend more time with his family. All in all, he loved seeing his brothers and their wives and kids. He longed to have what they had; to find the one woman who was meant for him, and have kids. But when his mother started riding his ass about being twenty-five and still single, he couldn’t get out of there fast enough. Then, when he got roped into driving April home – he wasn’t sure what the protocol was about a detective driving home the person who was under surveillance. Really, how in the hell did this happen?

He tried not to look over in her direction but when April heaved a deep sigh and started fidgeting, he couldn’t help but glance over at her. She was gorgeous with her long brown hair and fire engine red lipstick that she painted on her pouty lips. He wanted to kiss and lick all her lipstick off while wrapping her long ponytail around his hands. Yeah, he knew that he was fucked but watching her for five months hadn’t done much to curb his libido or desire for a woman that he wasn’t sure he could even trust.

April must have taken his glance as an invitation to start up a conversation. Shep guessed that continuing with the silent treatment was too much to ask.

“Um,” April squeaked and cleared her throat, “I really appreciate you driving me all the way back to Tennessee.”

“Yeah,” Shep’s throat felt a little dry, “It’s not a problem. As you know, I live in the same town.” Shep hadn’t felt this nervous talking to a girl since he was in high school.

“Well, it’s a small world,” April seemed like she didn’t really know what to say to him, either. She started fidgeting again, looking out her window. He felt like a heel, making her so nervous. He knew that he could do better to help ease her nerves without blowing his cover. As far as she knew, he was just Drew’s little brother.

“So, tell me about your design business.” Maybe he could get some information from her to help with his investigation. Of course, everything she would tell him would have to be off the books. It wasn’t like he could formally question her and have any of it hold up in court.

April pulled her attention from the landscape and smiled at Shep, taking his breath away. “Thank you for that,” she reached across his center console and covered his hand with hers. He immediately felt sparks shoot up his arm and he wanted to pull away, but he needed her to be comfortable, so he wrapped his hand in hers and squeezed.

“I’m feeling a little out of sorts lately; a little nervous. Thanks for trying to strike up a conversation.” She squeezed his hand in return and turned her attention to the passing landscape again.  “I guess you could say that I’ve just been a little on edge lately. Life just isn’t going like I planned.” Shep loved the little southern twang that played with her voice when she talked to him – sexy. He loved a country girl. God, he needed to just get laid and get it out of his system. Otherwise, April was going to turn into trouble that he didn’t need.

“I’m sorry to hear that, April.” Shep caught himself rubbing his thumb over her little, soft hand that he held in his and he froze.  April seemed to sense his tension, pulling her hand back to rest on her lap.

“Business is going well.” So, she was going to keep things formal? “As you know, I just finished up most of your brother’s house. I hope that Jenna likes it, I know that she wants to become a designer. I just hope I didn’t step on her toes with what I did to her home. Ryan and Karlie came up with the idea to have me do the main living room, master bedroom, and kids’ rooms. I guess with all of their little ones,” April sighed, “Jenna doesn’t have a whole lot of time for decorating.”

This time, Shep couldn’t help himself, he was the one to reach across and take April’s hand in his, linking their fingers. She seemed to feel the same longing that he had, for what his brothers found with their women.

“So, is their someone special in your life? Do you have any kids?” He already knew the answer, but he needed to pretend to be ignorant when it came to April Magness.

“Well, no. Would you be holding my hand if you thought that I had a husband or kids?” Good point, smart girl.

“Um, no. I just assumed that since you grabbed my hand first, that you were single.” April seemed to accept his reasoning, but boy was it hard to pretend that he hadn’t watched this beautiful woman for the past five months. She had even played some major roles in his late-night fantasies.

“So, how about you, Shep.” He couldn’t help but freeze, like a deer in the headlights. He didn’t really want to talk about himself. He couldn’t go with the truth but lying to her wouldn’t be easy. “Do you have anyone special in your life?”

Well, that one was easy to answer, “No.”

“How can a good-looking guy, like yourself, not have anyone special?” She seemed surprised by his lack of relationships, his mother would approve of April. “I mean, look at you – seriously, no-one?”

Shep checked his reflection in his rear-view mirror, making sure that she was seeing the same guy he saw every morning. He wasn’t ugly but all he could see was someone who was tired and with no promise of sleep anytime soon, his reflection likely wouldn’t change.

April laughed, pulling his attention away from his reflection, “You seemed confused, Shep. You don’t see it? I mean those baby blues of yours with that light brown hair a girl would love to run her fingers through – totally hot. And your body – how many times a day do you work out? Your arms are almost the size of my thighs and I’m guessing you have a six-pack under that t-shirt?”

He could feel his face heat and knew that he was blushing. Seriously, he was like a fucking school girl. April laughed again. “Well, I’m happy that I am so amusing,” he growled with a serious scowl. “Geeze, you’re not too shy about telling people what you think, sweetheart.”

Now it was April’s turn to blush and Shep couldn’t help but laugh. “Well, I just call them like I see them Shep. And, you’re hot.”

Yeah, he really needed to change the subject because her talking about how she noticed his body only made him want her more. It was nice to be noticed for a change. His life seemed to be a revolving cycle of the gym, work, food, more work and sometimes sleep. He hadn’t had a soft, warm female under or over him, for that matter, in about six months now. His poor dick had probably forgotten what a pussy felt like. At the thought, his underused appendage seemed to stand up and take notice of April – yeah, down boy.

“So, what do you do for a living?” April’s change of subject grabbed his attention and he felt a spilt-second of panic. Now, he couldn’t tell her the truth, because she would most certainly bolt. He’d been trained to be undercover but lying to April felt wrong. She seemed too open and honest with him. But, he couldn’t forget that this woman was probably trouble.

“I own a construction company,” the lie rolled a little too easily off his tongue. It was his go-to cover, since he had worked construction in high school and college, he would at least know what he was talking about if someone asked too many questions.

“Huh – I didn’t expect you to be in construction.” April was studying him, and he feared that she could see through his lie. “I think I imagined you being something more…heroic.” April’s blush was adorable. “I mean, I was thinking more along the line of fireman or ENT, or even police officer.” She shrugged, “Do you like working in construction?”

Now it was Shep’s turn to shrug. He found it interesting that she thought of him as a policeman. It was almost like she knew him and that made him a little uncomfortable. Could she see through him or did she just have good instincts? He wanted to be done talking about himself. Telling one lie was easy but after a while, they just seemed to spiral out of control. The last thing he needed was to get caught in a lie. The two-hour ride felt more like two days. He just needed to keep his shit together for another hour or so, drop April off at her house and be on his way.

“Yeah, construction is great. Owning the company is a perk since I really don’t like working for others.” He spied their tail out his rear view and cringed inwardly at how true that statement was. Sarge was going to hand him his ass tonight after he dropped off April. Working for other’s and taking orders sometimes sucked – hell, it sucked all the time.

“To be truthful, I’d love to get out of construction and start my own security business.” Shep knew that he was letting her into his life with this admission, but he couldn’t seem to stop himself. He wanted to share his dream with her, and well, she was the first woman to ask him about his work in a very long time. April rubbed her thumb over his knuckles, reminding him that their hands were still joined. He’d almost forgotten their connection.

“See,” she beamed, “I knew you were a hero. I think you would fit as someone who protects others.” Yeah, definitely time to change the topic.

“So, I’m getting kind of hungry – you wanna grab a bite?” Shep regretted his question before it was even completely out of his mouth. What the fuck was wrong with him? He knew that his sergeant would have a fit, but he really didn’t want his time with April to end. Yeah, he’d have to be careful with how much he divulged to her, but she was surprisingly easy to talk to and if he could get any information to help his case, a little dinner out with a gorgeous woman wasn’t too much of a hardship.

She seemed nervous and a little fidgety again, pulling her hand from his and he immediately felt the loss of contact.

“April,” he ran his newly free hand through his hair and swore. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be so forward. If you’re not comfortable with going to dinner with me, well – just forget that I even asked.” Shep regretted playing his hand too soon. The last thing he meant to do was scare April off or worse, spook her. His sergeant would have a complete meltdown if he blew cover and scared her into running. That would mean five months of hard work down the toilet and one pissed off boss. To top it all off, if April ran, she could be running right into danger. The guy that she was supposedly hiding from was no joke. He’d kill her as soon as he got his hands on her. Well, unless Sarge was correct and she was in on the whole thing. Shep just couldn’t see that being the case. Since he started watching her, he got the feeling that she was in danger. She was constantly looking over her shoulder whenever she was out in public. She seemed genuinely scared and he couldn’t stand to see the fear in her eyes. He wanted to bet on her; wanted to believe that April was innocent in the whole mess, but he just wasn’t sure.

“Shephard, I just – I’m not sure that you should take me out. I don’t want you to get hurt and I’m afraid that is all I will do to you, hurt you. If things were different, I would love to have dinner with you.” Her smile didn’t touch her eyes and Shep couldn’t help but take her hand back into his.

“Honey, I’m not sure what you are thinking, but I’m just looking to have dinner. I don’t think that either of us could be hurt over dinner.”

“I was involved with a dangerous man and he’s not the type to just let something or someone go. I just don’t want to get you involved in my crazy, Shep.”

Now he was getting somewhere. He didn’t want to seem too pushy, but he needed to take a chance while he still had one. “I know of a little pizza place, about thirty minutes from home. Why don’t we grab a pie and take it back to my place? I have a new puppy and I’m pretty sure she’s probably torn through my sofa by now.” He tried flashing her his smile but all that did was seem to make her even more nervous.

“I think that will be okay. I do love puppies, well I should say that I love all animals. I’ve never really had a pet.”

“Not even as a kid? We always had dogs when I was a boy.”

“No, they really don’t let you have pets in foster care.” April barked out a laugh. “Don’t get me wrong, I stayed with one nice family, at the end of my time in the system, but they didn’t allow pets.”

“I’m sorry,” Shep ran his thumb over her knuckles, hoping to soothe her. “How long were you in foster care?”

“My parents both died when I was eleven, car crash.” She almost whispered the last part. “I didn’t have any other family, so I went into the system.”

“Do you have any brother or sisters?” Shep wanted to pull her into his lap and hold her. Thank God he was driving and couldn’t act on his stupid instincts.

“Nope, just me,” she was watching the landscape again, and Shep could feel her sadness. He hurt for her. “You’d think after all this time that I’d have it more together and maybe at least be adult enough to own a goldfish. Honestly, I didn’t see my life turning out this way but I’m making a few changes and who knows – maybe next year will be my year.”

Shep pulled her hand to his lips and gently brushed her knuckles with a kiss. April gasped and tried to pull her hand away but he only tightened his hold. “I’m sorry that you had to go through that, April.”

The rest of the ride to the pizza shop was quiet. Shep couldn’t figure out how her past stay, in the foster care system, never showed up in his paperwork on April, when he got the case. Someone somewhere fucked up and he needed to find out why that little piece of information wasn’t with her file. A part of him felt like a complete dick for wondering if her story was real. He lied to her about what he did for a living. Hell, he pretended to have no knowledge of her before meeting her at his brother’s party. As if he never watched her undress and then fantasize about her in the shower, after his shift finally ended. So yeah, it was possible that she just lied to him but the tear that ran down her cheek told him otherwise. If April was lying, then she was a damn good actress to boot.

He thought he knew just about all he needed to know about April Magness but here she was surprising the shit out of him.

 

A couple of our latest stories are on NetGalley, looking for reviewers.

Patrick by Callie Carmen.

Perilous Love by Jan Selbourne.

Naval Maneuvers by Dee S. Knight.

 

If you have anything you would like to add or share, I’d love to hear your comments here on the blog, the BVS Facebook page, or my Facebook page. We have a twitter page too, and we are always happy to follow people that follow us.

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You can find our latest, and soon to be released books at Black Velvet Seductions.  You can sign up for the newsletter.

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Our latest releases.

A Woman’s Secret by C.L. Koch is out now!

Love times Infinity by K.L. Ramsey is out now! Click here to read Chapter one.

Her Lover’s Face by Patricia Elliott is out now! Click here to read the Prologue and Chapter one.

Naval Maneuvers by Dee S. Knight is out now! Click here to read Chapter one.

Perilous Love by Jan Selbourne. The e-book is out now! Click here to read the Prologue and Chapter one. viewbook.at/Perilous-Love-PB

Love’s Patient Journey by K.L. Ramsey is out now! Click here to read the Prologue and Chapter one.

Patrick by Callie Carmen. is out now! Click here to read Chapter one

Love’s Design by K.L. Ramsey. The e-book is available to pre-order at the sale price of $2.99 until the release date June 14th.

Coming soon.

The Brute and I by Suzanne Smith, release date to be confirmed.

A Bride for a King by L.J. Dare, release date to be confirmed.

Shadow Visions by Gabriella Hewitt, release date to be confirmed.

Home by Keren Hughes, release date to be confirmed.

Love’s Promise by K.L. Ramsey, release date August 8th.

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