After identifying her employer’s dangerous enemies, Jessica Jakes takes refuge at the compound of the Raven Riders Motorcycle Club. Fellow Hard Ink tattooist and Raven leader Ike Young promises to keep Jess safe for as long as it takes, which would be perfect if his close, personal, round-the-clock protection didn’t make it so hard to hide just how much she wants him—and always has.
Ike Young loved and lost a woman in trouble once before. The last thing he needs is alone time with the sexiest and feistiest woman he’s ever known, one he’s purposely kept at a distance for years. Now, Ike’s not sure he can keep his hands or his heart to himself—or that he even wants to anymore. And that means he has to do whatever it takes to hold on to Jess forever.
I’m thrilled to be here celebrating the release of my 21st book, HARD AS STEEL! After a midnight break-in at her apartment, close friends and Hard Ink Tattoo co-workers Ike Young and Jessica Jakes are forced into hiding—and forced to confront the feelings they’ve always denied for one another. I have always adored friends-to-lovers and forced proximity stories, and HARD AS STEEL delivers that and more, including a taste of both my award-winning and best-selling Hard Ink and upcoming Raven Riders series! Check out this excerpt:
“Last rule while we’re here,” Ike said. “No busting my balls.”
“I wholly object to that one. I’m already going to die of boredom out here. You have to let me have some fun.”
Ike got right up in Jess’s space, so close that she had to tilt her head way back to look him in the eye. “You think I don’t see how you use humor to deflect when you’re scared? But I see it, Jess. I see you. So let me be clear. You are not gonna die. Not on my watch.”
A riot of reaction erupted inside Jess’s head. The uncertainty of being laid so bare. The scary satisfaction of being seen when Jess always worked so hard to only reveal what she wanted of herself. The red hot lust caused by Ike’s hard body being pressed so close to hers.
Despite the heat inside the house, Jess nearly shivered at the intensity Ike was throwing off. She became aware of him the way you become aware of the electricity in the air before a summer storm—slowly, insistently, magnetically. Her lips parted as she scrambled for a response, but her nipples were pebbling against his chest which made her wonder if he’d be able to feel her piercings there.
Ike took a small step backward, but it was enough to break the crazy physical connection pinging between them. Had he felt it too?
“Okay, so, no dying,” she said. To her own ears, her voice sounded like a throaty purr. “And, um—” She swallowed hard, trying to gather her wits about her. “—the boredom part?” She peered up at him, hoping against hope that she wasn’t the only one as affected by whatever had just passed between them.
Ike’s eyes narrowed as if he was on to her game. “Nick and his team know what they’re doing. Hopefully this situation will get resolved fast and you won’t have to be here that long.”
“Right,” she said. Jess hoped that, too. She wanted her friends safe and their enemies to be gone. For good. Still, she couldn’t help but wonder if Ike was eager for her to be out of here. In all the years she’d known him, she’d never been to his apartment in the city, nor had he ever invited her out to the Ravens’ compound for any of their parties or the races they ran at their dirt racetrack. It had always felt like, on some level, Ike held her at a distance. That there was a part of his world he didn’t want to share—with her, at least.
And now, here they were for the first time ever, hidden away from the world in a tiny cabin. All alone.
Get a grip, Jess. This isn’t some romantic cabin getaway.
Right. Ike wasn’t here with her because he wanted to spend time with her, he was here because she’d asked for his help, because he was a good guy, and because he knew she needed protection.
When Nick’s team finished its investigation and nailed their enemies, she’d go back to her regular life, and she and Ike would go back to being friendly colleagues. It was already embarrassing enough that everyone knew she’d unknowingly slept with one of the bad guys. The last thing she needed while they were stuck together here was to make it clear how much she wanted Ike. And cared about him. Despite the fact that she had no chance with him whatsoever.
Which meant Jess needed to put her fantasies about Ike Young aside. Once and for all.
3 signed copies of Hard As Steel with Hard Ink and 1001 Dark Nights swag for 3 winners