Friday, January 31, 2014


A Blurb of Anonymity
New year, new beginnings. Alyssa McNeil is on a mission of breaking free of her comfort zone, reinventing herself, and forgetting the fact that her ex is getting married on New Year's Eve. She's in Belize for a week of sun, fun, adventure, and flirtation. Meeting Luke is an unexpected bonus…falling in love with him, though, simply isn't part of the plan.

Luke Picket is more than happy to go along with her idea of a no strings, uncomplicated weeklong fling. He embraces his bachelor lifestyle and can't see that changing any time soon. But when they find themselves trekking through the jungle and facing turbulent seas together, his hard heart softens.

But they'd agreed on anonymity, on a first-name-only-no-strings love affair, and neither wants to ruin the moment with unwanted declarations. Old beliefs are challenged. Doubts questioned. Will they stick to their deal and go their separate ways when the week is over? Or will the new year bring them a new attitude about love?

Excerpt of "Anonymity"

Her thoughts drifted to Luke. She'd admired how he'd laughed after tipping in the kayak, bantered easily with Rosie, smiled at her as if he'd known her for years, and had obviously made friends with the scuba divers who acted like he was a part of their group. He had a way about him, a magnetic pull. She grinned at the way his shirt had molded to his body. Yeah, even now as the rum haze wore off she wanted to strip him naked and explore that body. Laughing at her thoughts, she tossed the ring onto the pillow and closed her eyes.
The knock on her cabana door surprised her. Probably Rosie. Had she signed the bar receipt? She couldn't remember.
Showered and dressed in a loose yellow sundress, she walked barefoot toward the persistent knocking. She yanked the door open and stared. There he was, dressed in dry blue t-shirt, khaki shorts, and flip-flops. He tilted his head a bit to the side as he assessed her, his grin contagious as he held up the forgotten metal box.
"You forgot your treasure at the bar. I was a little hurt. I risked my life for this."
She rocked back on her heels, struck by how the blue of his shirt emphasized his eyes. "I thought you were going out with your friends."
"They're not my friends. I met them the other night, a diving club from Dallas or somewhere like that. We had a good time last night with my family at the bar that ended up with us all jumping in the pool fully clothed. I guess I left my shirt behind, but that's it." His shrug pulled the shirt tight over his shoulders. "We had a deal, didn't we?"
Every fantasy she'd ever had came to life in her mind. Sex on the beach, against a palm tree, on the deck, in the king-sized bed behind her...every image created a slow burn deep in her gut.
"Scared? I'm harmless, I swear. Rosie can vouch for me, she's known me for seven days now, that's the equivalent of a lifetime on this small island."
"Said the serial killer right before he pulled a knife."
"I know you want to." His voice had lowered to a seductive purr. "Come with me. Have some fun. Live a little."
She hadn't anticipated him showing up, not with the leggy brunette hanging all over him. She already had her e-reader prepped for a night of hanging out in the hammock listening to waves lap against shore. She gripped the frame of the door and stared.
"Dinner and a town tour. Simple," he said even as his gaze skimmed over her neck to her cleavage.
"Why do you want to keep our deal?" she asked.
His gaze snapped back to hers. "You're the most interesting thing that's happened to me in a long time. I want more of that. Simple."
"I'm not..." she'd almost said she wasn't brave, that she'd been dizzy from rum and travel, but the look in his eyes stopped her. "What's the matter?"
"Why do you think something's the matter?"
She squinted. Guilt shadowed his eyes, but there was something else there, too. "Did I miss something after I left?"
"I may have led people to believe you were my girlfriend." He winced without breaking eye contact. "Don't slam the door in my face."
"Are you afraid of the supermodel who was coming onto you, Luke?" She folded her arms across her chest and smiled at the idea of him using their brief flirtation as an excuse to ditch the group from the bar. "Do you need me to save you from the gorgeous brunette?"
"Save me, Alyssa. Please." He leaned a hip against the door and extended the box toward her.
"Are you bribing me with your found treasure? Interesting." She took the box and laughed.
"That's not much of a bribe. You should hold out for more." He winked, his good humor convincing her that she'd be a fool to say no.
She tilted her chin up, hoping the fact that her knees were buckling didn't show. Going or not wasn't a question of want...she definitely wanted. She caught her lower lip between her teeth and studied him through narrowed eyes. If she followed through with impulse, she knew she'd end up sleeping with him before the night ended. Did she want to cross that line? Did she really want to seize the moment, embrace carpe diem and all of that bullshit she'd been telling herself since getting on the plane in Denver? Those were the questions that made her hesitate.
"You won't regret it." His blue eyes danced with mischief, almost as if he knew exactly what questions tumbled through her brain. "Please come out and play, Alyssa."
She smiled at his boyish use of the word 'play.' "Since you said please...give me a minute to get ready."
Opening the box, she chose a bracelet laced with various colors of blue stones, brushed the sea salt and sand from it, and wrapped it around her wrist. She couldn't help but laugh.
Well, grandma, I'm definitely out of my comfort zone and taking chances.
Luke's gaze moved over her like a light caress. Rather than a predator or some sleezeball who picked up women on a whim, he resembled a confident man about to take a woman on a date. Black hair no longer stuck out in every direction; rather it fell lightly across his forehead and skimmed his ears. Salt no longer stuck to his neck yet the impulse to taste his skin beneath her tongue superseded all common sense. Exhilaration pumped through her veins at the idea of possibilities.
"I promised you fun and I always keep my word. Trust me," he whispered against her ear while she locked her door. His hand touched the exposed skin of her back.
Her hands trembled at her sides. Desire rushed through her like lava erupting from a volcano. Everything she'd wanted while sitting at the bar doubled in intensity. She turned within the small space between his body and the door and surrendered to temptation. Standing on tiptoes, she slid her hands over his chest and up to his shoulders.
"It's cliché to say I don't normally do this kind of thing, but I honestly don't. This is a first for me," she said.
"What part? The traveling solo part or the going out with a stranger in a foreign country part?"
"No past, no future." He slipped his hand behind her neck and stopped within a fraction from kissing her. "No judgment, no regret."
He surprised her by stepping back and snagging her hand. Laughing, he pulled her to the sand and toward the beach.
"Tease," she said, bumping her shoulder against his.
"You've been bossy enough—stealing my treasure, bullying me into taking you out—tonight I'm in charge."
"Oh, really?" She liked that idea more than she'd admit. The thought of him taking charge, being in control, turned her on in ways she hadn't imagined.
From the way he looked at her, either he'd read her mind or they were on the same page. 
They walked along the beach into town, hands grazing each other, arms touching. The stars shone like crystals in the night sky that meshed with the blackness of the ocean. Wind tossed her dress around her knees and plastered it to her thighs.
"Any excursions planned?" he asked after a lengthy silence.
"Tomorrow I'm going on the Lamanai trip to the mainland to see the Mayan ruins. I booked it online when I made the reservation here, but now I wish I hadn't." She watched a water taxi speed buy them loaded down with rowdy tourists.
"I'm on that trip, too."
She squinted at him. "No, you're not."
"I am. My family was here all last week and I have little nieces and nephews. No one wanted to do the adventurous things with me so I waited until they left." He smiled down at her, black hair falling across his eyes with the steady wind blowing inland. "I did see the zoo, though. Fun times."
"What did they think of you staying behind?" She pushed her hair behind her ears, wishing she had brought a hair tie of some kind.
"They're used to me doing my own thing." He shrugged and looked toward a passing boat. "What did your family think of you coming down here alone?"
"It's uncharacteristic." She fell into step with him as they resumed walking into town.
"You seem pretty adventurous to me." He winked and then laughed when she looked away. "I meant it when I said this was a simple dinner...after that, whatever happens, happens. I don't expect anything. Don't worry."
She felt the blush heat her face and purposely averted her gaze to the sand in front of her feet. Maybe he didn't expect anything, but she did. She swallowed the sudden flood of saliva at the idea of getting him naked. 
It's official; I've lost my mind.
She sighed and forced her thoughts away from sex. Okay, so maybe she hadn't slept with anyone since Scott and only one other man before him, which was years ago. Horny was an understatement. Luke made her crave skin-on-skin. She'd wanted him to kiss her, was a bit annoyed that he hadn't.
When music wafted down to the beach from one of the bars, he snagged her against him and pulled her into a dance. She laughed at the spontaneity.
"You're deep in thought," he said with a smile. "That's not allowed."
"No?" She laughed when he dipped her backward before snapping her back up to face him. "Are you always so happy?"
"I'm on vacation and dancing with a gorgeous blonde in the moonlight, of course I'm happy." He moved her into a tight circle on the beach. The feel of his body against hers created havoc with her nerves.
"This is crazy," she whispered, not entirely sure if she was talking about her reaction to him, their date, or the entire situation.
Give in, a voice encouraged from deep within her psyche.
She skimmed her fingers over his neck before sliding them into his hair. Grinning because it felt good to abandon inhibitions, she stood on her tiptoes and kissed him.
He slid his lips against hers, eyes wide open and reflecting moonlight. His hands gripped her hips. Slowly, they savored the taste of each other.
Tremors of desire began where their lips met and rocked through her body to her toes until she felt certain she'd collapse. Shaken, she locked her fingers behind his head and teased his lips with her tongue. He opened his mouth and deepened the kiss. Intense. Hard. Perhaps it was the beach or the aftereffects of Rosie's special concoction, but she'd never felt like this from a kiss.
With a gasp, he lifted his face from hers and stared into her eyes. His chest rose and fell against hers with each steadying breath.
"Why do I feel like I just dove off a cliff?" he asked without letting her go.
"Just go with it." She smiled against his chin before sliding down the length of him until her feet were firmly on the sand. Emboldened by the knowledge that his reaction mirrored her own, she laced her fingers with his.
"Oh, I'm going with it." He pulled her against his side. "I'm the go-with-the-flow kind of guy, remember?"

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Author Bio:
Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published fiction and nonfiction author. For twenty years, she's worked in the fields of journalism and advertising with a brief detour into the financial industry. Although she holds a BA in Communications & Journalism, she is a perpetual student of life who enjoys taking classes on a wide variety of subjects when time allows.
Smart is sexy, according to Easton, which is why she writes about strong female characters who have their flaws and challenges but ultimately persevere. She currently has three romantic suspense novels out in the world, Kiss Me Slowly, Riptide and Reckless Endangerment, and a contemporary romance novella, Anonymity.
Her memoir, Free Fall, released on September 1, 2013, and is dedicated to suicide prevention, awareness, and helping others navigate the dark journey of grief.
In addition to fiction writing, Easton also edits and freelances. She also speaks on subjects ranging from writing to widowhood. Some of her videos on romance writing have appeared on the international Writers & Authors television network. Current radio appearances are linked via this site and her blog Kisses, Caresses & Whispers in the Night.
Easton currently lives with her two teenagers in the Colorado Rocky Mountains where she gives thanks daily for the gorgeous view outside her window. She finds inspiration from traveling, the people she meets, nature and life's twists and turns. At the end of the day, as long as she's writing, she considers herself to be simply "a lucky lady liv'n the dream."

Amazon Author Page: view Author Amber Lea Easton

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