Her Best Friend's Father #3
by Ayden K. Morgen
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Forget the rules.
Forget right or wrong.
Forget letting go.
When Roman Gregory's daughter caught him and Mila Lawson together in Santa Cruz, he swore he would face whatever he had to face to keep Mila by his side and win back his daughter. But now Talia isn't speaking to either of them, and their relationship has gotten a whole lot more complicated thanks to the violent gang gunning for the ATF agent.
Mila knows nothing good comes easy, but she never imagined being the reason Talia stopped speaking to her father. All Mila wants to do is fix what she broke before the man she loves loses his daughter for good…even if that means she has to break her own heart to do it.
For Roman, bringing Mila to Los Angeles with a gang war looming on the horizon is the most terrifying thing he's ever done. But now that he's fallen in love with the gorgeous blonde, he can't let her go. He will do whatever it takes to keep her safe and regain his daughter's trust…even if he has to walk away from his career to do it.
But neither Roman nor Mila could have foreseen the news that will change their lives forever.
When his worst fear becomes a reality and Mila is targeted, more than just their hearts are on the line. To save Mila's life and guarantee a future with her, Roman will do more than break the rules. He'll rewrite the rule book entirely.
Nothing will stand in his way. Not even the law itself.
Defend Me is the third part of Mila and Roman's steamy story.
**Only 99 cents!!**
Goodreads * Amazon
I glance up to find Roman frowning at me. His plate is empty. So are about half the containers strewn around the table. I look at the clock on the stove to find that it's fifteen until seven and we've been sitting at the table for almost an hour.
"What's going on, baby?" he asks, reaching out to drag my chair closer to his. It screeches loudly across the tile, but he ignores it until I'm right in front of him, one of his hands against my cheek. His expression is somber, worry evident in his eyes.
"I have to go to Sacramento on Sunday," I whisper, watching his face as he studies me as intently as always. "There's a conference my boss wants me to attend with them. I'll be there until Wednesday morning."
"You're thinking about going to see Talia," he guesses.
"Do you want to see her for you or for me?" he asks.
"I―" I frown, not sure how to answer that question. I want to see her because I miss her, and I hate that she's angry with me. I want to tell her…I'm not sure. I want to tell her that I love Roman, and that we never meant to hurt her. And I want to tell her that he's fucking miserable because she isn't talking to him.
I want to tell her that I don't want to be the reason that they're not speaking.
"I'm not giving you up," he whispers when a tear slips down my cheek. "If that's what you're planning on telling her, forget it, baby. I won't let you leave me because you think it'll make her happy."
"She's your daughter, Roman," I whisper. He always knows exactly what I'm thinking before I even verbalize it, so I don't even try to deny it. I'm so afraid the only way to fix things for him and Talia is by walking away. I don't want to lose him. God, the thought alone makes me feel like I'm going to break. But I don't know what the right thing to do is in this situation.
"And you're the entire fucking reason I breathe, Mila," he growls, his voice harsh.
My gaze flies to his again.
"Don't you get it?" he asks, the pain in his eyes breaking my heart a little bit. "I can't lose you any more than I can lose Talia, baby. You're…fuck. You're part of my goddamn soul." He grabs one of my hands and presses it against his chest, over his heart. "Every beat is for you. If you leave me…." Another wave of pain rolls through his eyes. "I've never needed much, but I need you here with me, sweetheart."
His words wreck me a little. I don't know what to do. If leaving means that Talia forgives him…isn't that what I have to do? My dad chose alcohol over me. I haven't spoken to him in over four years. I don't miss him, and I'm better off without him. It's different with Talia and Roman. Roman adores her, and they've always been close. I don't want to be the reason she doesn't speak to him ever again.
What am I supposed to do?
Her Best Friend's Father #2
No strings attached.
No messy emotions.
Those were the terms Mila Lawson offered Roman Gregory when they found themselves living together in Santa Cruz. Now that the ATF agent has his daughter's twenty-two year old best friend in his bed every night, he's finding it more and more difficult to deny what he's felt for her since the day they met.
With a drug cartel threatening to go to war and his daughter becoming increasingly suspicious, the last thing Roman should be thinking about is keeping Mila by his side. He's never wanted much, but he wants her…and he's willing to break more than a few of his own rules to convince the feisty little blonde to put her heart in his hands.
For Mila, falling for Roman might just be the most terrifying thing she's ever done. Trusting him with her body is one thing, but with her past still hanging over her, she knows all too well that the scary-hot man who drives her wild has the power to destroy her.
As their time in Santa Cruz draws to a close and the world beyond their little stretch of beach closes in on them, Roman and Mila will be forced to confront the truth about their relationship and make decisions neither could have imagined.
But who ever said falling in love would be easy?
Destroy Me is the second of three steamy novellas featuring Mila and Roman.
**Only 99 cents!!**
"You still haven't called Brady," Finn snaps as soon as I have the phone to my ear.
"Nope, I haven't."
"Goddammit, Roman," he curses. "Do you ever fucking follow orders?"
"You know I follow orders," I snap, grinding my teeth together. For ten years, I've followed Finn's orders. I've lived and breathed the rules, doing everything humanly possible to help close cases. I've given up a hell of a lot to do it, too. It pisses me off that he's questioning me now. I do my fucking job, and I don't complain.
But I'm not calling Brady. Because of him, I had to kill a man to keep his son safe, making myself a target for Jose Guerrero, el Demonio, and Pedro Francisco's cartel. I don't give a shit if they find me. But if they find Talia? Mila?
I will destroy Francisco's empire singlehandedly if that ever happens.
Finn rattles off a string of curses.
"What the fuck is up with you?" I demand. He's on edge, more pissy than usual.
"We may have a situation," he says with another curse.
Shards of ice stab into me as soon as the words are out of his mouth. I push off from the counter, fear pounding through me. Mila is here, asleep in my bed. If Guerrero's found this place—if he finds her—fuck. Panic like I've never fucking felt before shudders through me.
"Tell me," I say, clenching the phone in my hand so hard, I'm worried I might snap it in half.
"Some of Francisco's people kidnapped a DEA agent in Seattle." Finn curses again. "They blew up a fucking club with him inside. He barely made it out alive."
Panic begins to recede, allowing me to pull in a breath. My grip on the phone loosens.
"They were able to round up most of those involved, but another agent was shot in the process. From what we know, at least one subject with connections directly to Francisco got away. He's on the run, with what could be millions worth of some new drug they concocted."
"Jesus Christ," I swear, stunned. I knew the DEA had people on Francisco, but this is all news to me. And it's not the good kind of news either. The last thing anyone needs is some new drug in Francisco's hands. With that kind of leverage, he could corner the market on the drug trade, not just in Mexico and the United States, but everywhere.
His rush to get his hands on the guns Brady cost us makes a whole hell of a lot more sense now.
He's preparing to expand his empire.
"How the fuck didn't we know this?" I growl into the phone, frustrated.
"They weren't aware of the connection to Francisco until recently."
"Fuck me. It's too early for this shit."
"Yeah, well, had you called Brady like I fucking told you to do, you would have known about this three days ago," Finn says, still pissy about it.
"Are you calling me in?" I ask instead of taking that bait. As far as I'm concerned, it's the only important question right now. A few days ago, I would have welcomed him telling me to get back to Los Angeles. A few days ago, I was looking for any excuse to get the fuck out of here, away from temptation. Now though? I'm not ready to go back to work. I'm not ready to leave Mila.
Finn hesitates for a long moment and then sighs. "No," he says, allowing me to pull in a deep breath. "We're going to sweep up as many of them as we can and pray like hell we slow them down. There's no reason for you to come back."
He doesn't say the word yet, but I hear it anyway. I know how this works. If that drug makes it to Guerrero and el Demonio in Los Angeles, it's going to be an all hands on deck situation. I won't have a choice but to go back because we can't afford for him to gain any ground, and he will do whatever it takes to get that drug safely across the border. Even if he has to start a war to do it.
I stopped praying a long fucking time ago, but the urge hits hard and fast, throwing me off-balance. Only, I don't pray to slow them down or stop that war. No. I fucking pray to God that I don't have to leave Mila sooner than planned. Because that? That's what I'm fucked up about. Leaving her.
My entire adult life, I've been focused on my job. I gave up everything for it. I've had Mila in my bed for a week, and suddenly…nothing else seems to matter.
She's ruining me. Completely obliterating me. And God help us both, but I don't want her to stop.
Her Best Friend's Father #1
Don't get caught.
Never fall in love.
And steer clear of his daughter's friends.
The rules were easy enough for Roman Gregory...until Mila Lawson set out to break every single one of them.
When the twenty-two year old lands on the ATF agent's doorstep after a nasty breakup, he knows all too well that she's off-limits. At thirty-eight, he's almost twice her age, she's hurting, and the blonde bombshell is his daughter's best friend.
Mila knows all about wanting what she can't have. For four years, she's lusted after Talia McPherson's scary hot, terminally single father from afar. After walking away from her cheating ex and what she thought was her happily-ever-after, the last thing on her mind is jumping into a new relationship.
Until she find herself living with Roman in Santa Cruz...
Now all she can think about is making all those dirty fantasies come to life. With nothing left to lose, she makes him an offer he can't refuse: Two weeks of no-holds-barred sex. No strings. No commitments. No messy emotions.
Roman has no business agreeing to her insane proposition. He can't have her. He shouldn't even want her. But he's going to take her anyway… and he has no intentions of stopping until she's his completely.
If there's one thing Roman knows for a fact, it's that he doesn't lose. Ever.
Devour Me is the first of three steamy novellas featuring Mila and Roman.
**Only 99 cents!!**
"So I'm sorry about last night," I say, holding his gaze, refusing to fidget under the weight of it. My hand trembles, so I quickly set my coffee cup on the counter and cross my arms. "I never drink that much. I, um, I'm sorry I passed out and you had to take care of me."
He frowns at me, something shifting through his gaze so quickly, I can't make it out. He looks…I'm not sure. Like I've thrown him off-balance again, like he suddenly isn't sure what to expect from me. That little flash of uncertainty gives me the courage I need to finish what I have to say.
"I should probably also apologize for going into your room yesterday. It wasn't fair of me to invade your privacy like that. You had your door closed for a reason, and I should have respected that."
He stares at me, but doesn't say anything. He does that a lot, just watches me. Ever since I first met him, he's watched me like he can't look away. He looks at me like he knows me inside and out, and still hasn't decided what to do about me. It's unnerving and hot at the same damn time, and I have no clue what it means.
"You said you should apologize," he finally says.
"You said you should apologize." He tips his coffee cup up to his lips and takes a sip, watching me over the rim. Those blue eyes rove across my face, not missing anything. "You didn't say you are sorry."
"Oh." I wander toward the fridge, grimacing when my foot throbs.
"Is your foot still bothering you?"
"It's okay," I say, giving him a partial truth. It's not too bad, but it honestly feels worse this morning than it did yesterday. I think it may be getting infected. That's probably my fault for walking around barefoot all the time, but I like the feel of the floor beneath my feet. I love buying shoes, but I'm not big on actually wearing them.
I squeak when I'm suddenly lifted off my feet. My hands go to Roman's shoulders, clutching as he swings me up into his arms like I don't weigh anything. He doesn't seem to notice my weight at all, actually. It's honestly kind of hot. Damien was tall and lanky and he never picked me up. I'm only a size thirteen, but I always felt a little out of place next to him. Or maybe he made me feel out of place beside him. I'm not sure, but Roman doesn't make me feel that way.
He turns and plops me down on the island. The marble is cold beneath me, my thin shorts not offering much protection. The chill fades quickly when he runs his hand down my bare leg, leaving a trail of fire in his wake. A different kind of shiver rolls through me, and then he's propping my foot up to examine it, a furrow between his brows. I fight the urge to reach out and smooth that little wrinkle with my fingers.
"You need to keep this bandaged. It's infected." His fingertip runs across my instep and then he turns away.
He's back in seconds, the first aid kit in his hands. He pops it open and rummages through, setting aside various items before he finds what he's after. I open my mouth to tell him that I'm fine, but he glares at me before I can form the first syllable, so I shut up and sit patiently.
He cleans the cut with gentle hands, swabs ointment onto it, and then wraps a bandage around my foot.
"Thanks," I whisper when he's finished.
I expect him to let me go, but he doesn't. He looks up at me, his big hand still wrapped around my ankle. He's so close I can see little flecks of gold in his eyes, smell the coffee and minty toothpaste on his breath. I swallow hard at the heat in his gaze.
"You said you should apologize," he repeats his earlier comment now that he's done doctoring me up. "Are you sorry?"
"No," I whisper, unable to lie to him. Maybe I should be sorry for invading his privacy or throwing myself at him, but honestly, I think I'd do the same thing all over again. I want him, and I know he wants me too. Taking big risks and putting myself out there has never really been my thing, but I want to take one this time.
He slides his hand up my calf.
"Are you sorry?" I ask, my gaze locked on the play of emotions across his face. They swirl through his eyes so quickly I'm not sure where his head is at…what he's thinking…what he wants.
"No." His hand lands against my inner thigh, making me jump. "Easy, baby," he murmurs, placing himself between my spread legs.
"You apologized yesterday," I remind him, trying to ignore the way my stomach flips at the word baby. I love it when he calls me that.
"I lied." His mouth lands against my ear, his breath hot and heavy. "I'm not sorry for a fucking thing, Mila." His teeth clamp down around my earlobe. The sting sends a bolt straight to my clit. "You offered me two weeks," he says against my skin. "Did you mean it?"
He nips at my earlobe again like he's rewarding me for answering him. His hands skim across my thighs and then around to my hips. He grips me hard, holding me in place.
"I hope you're ready for me, sweetheart," he whispers. "It's too late to back out now."
Supporting Indie Authors: How You Can Help
Ayden K. Morgen
As an Indie author, one of the questions I hear most often is "How can I help support Indie Authors?" Without the backing of a publisher, being an author can be super stressful. Everything falls on the shoulders of the author, which means we spend as much time on things like creating ads and arranging marketing as we do actually writing or engaging with our readers. It can be a LOT to take on, so Indie Authors are always so grateful when readers want to help.
Personally speaking, some of my greatest friendships are with readers. Without their help and friendship, I'd probably still be floundering along, trying to figure it all out myself. They're some of my biggest cheerleaders, and are always the first to jump in when I'm overwhelmed with things to do. And let's be honest…I work 12 hour shifts in a 911 Dispatch Center as a Supervisor, and have been doing mandatory overtime since December (yeah…save me!). That doesn't leave a lot of time for writing related tasks. Heck, it doesn't leave a lot of time for life related tasks.
Like me, most Indie Authors have a full-time job, a family, and a never-ending to-do list. We're writing on a budget and trying to make the most of an ever-changing, ever-confusing industry. And we are always grateful for every little bit of help and support that comes our way.
Here are a few ways you can help your favorite Indie Authors. And don't fret. Most of these don't require spending money!
1. Read and Review – Reviews are a big deal. On Amazon, for instance, in order for books to go out in Amazon's marketing emails, the title has to have so many reviews. Books also have to have so many reviews in order for the author to advertise on services like BookBub. Most readers don't leave reviews, even if they loved a book. Taking a few minutes to write a quick review on sites like Amazon can be such a huge help. Reviews don't have to be long or profound, either.
2. Share their Work – Do you like a book or an author? Share their work with your friends and family. Post about it on your social media accounts. Heck, donate a copy of the book to your local library or suggest it for your Book Club. Word of mouth goes a long way when you're operating on a shoestring budget!
3. Buy the Book – Most Indie Authors make less than 10k a year. Releasing a new book or doing a sale can be a huge expense. Purchase a copy of their book on release day or during promotional sales. Rankings really do matter when it comes to getting books in front of readers. Grabbing a copy on release day helps give the book a boost, helping to put it in front of other readers. Grabbing a copy for a friend during a promotional sale is also a big help.
4. Ask to Help – A lot of authors aren't great at asking for help. We're introverts by nature and feel bad when we ask for assistance, even when it's really needed. Ask your favorite authors how you can help them. Maybe they need members for their Book Launch Team. Maybe they need Reviewers. Heck, maybe they just need someone to distract them from setting their next book on fire. Let your favorite authors know that you're ready and willing to help, and then follow through on the tasks you took on.
5. Join their Reader Groups – Reader groups are really popular right now. Ask your favorite authors about theirs and join in. Authors often post new book information, sales
information, bonus content, and a ton of other stuff to these groups. They also turn to their groups when they need help with various tasks.
6. Join their Mailing Lists – If your favorite author has a Mailing List, join it! Like reader groups, Mailing Lists often get all the goods! They're also a great way to keep up with new releases, sales, and events. I personally use mine to send out deals, exclusive content, freebies, sale information, and giveaways.
7. Engage on Social Media – With Facebook Pages having made the turn into "pay to play", you miss most of the content authors post on their pages unless you regularly engage or they pay to "boost" their post. Even if you like their page, if you don't regularly engage, you don't see the majority of their content unless they pay to boost it. Crazy, right? Like and share their posts, leave comments, drop by and say hello…stay engaged so you see new content without your favorite authors having to shell out even more money to reach you.
8. Say Hello – We love our readers and we love chatting with you, but we're not always the best at engaging. Like I mentioned earlier, we're introverts by nature, which means we sometimes need others to come to us first. Otherwise, we feel like we're bothering you. Tag us on social media, drop us an email, or send us a message. We promise we don't bite!
Ayden is the Amazon Bestselling author of the Ragnarök Prophesies series. She lives in the heart of Arkansas with her childhood sweetheart/husband of fourteen years, and their furry minions. When not writing, she spends her time hiking, reading, volunteering, causing mischief, and building a Spork army.
Ayden graduated summa cum laude with her Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and Forensic Psychology in 2009 before going on to complete her graduate degree in CJ and Law. She currently puts her education to use in the CJ and Social Services field.
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