Wed
Aug 23 2017 10:30am

Tijan, J. Daniels, Helena Hunting, Bella Jewel, Tara Sivec Excerpt: Eye Candy

Tijan, Helena Hunting, Bella Jewel, Tara Sivec and J.Daniels

A frightfully good time! Dive into these Halloween novellas from bestselling authors Tijan, J. Daniels, Helena Hunting, Bella Jewel and Tara Sivec. Featuring stories set in the worlds of their popular series.

Tijan’s Fallen Crest crew are back for a weekend of mischief that takes a sinister turn; all four couples from J. Daniels’ Alabama Summer series gear up for Halloween in their own sexy ways, with a special surprise at the end; Helena Hunting’s characters from Shacking Up plan a Halloween gala that features a few ghouls and witches; Bella Jewel brings the chills and thrills in her suspenseful take on Halloween night; and Tara Sivec gathers the Holiday family together one last time as they try to make this ghostly holiday one to remember—or one they’d rather forget…

Cozy up with a mug of hot cider on a dark night and fall under the spell of this Halloween anthology!

Get a sneak peek at Tijan, J. Daniels, Helena Hunting, Bella Jewel, Tara Sivec's Eye Candy (available September 5, 2017) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

FALLEN CREST NIGHTMARE by Tijan

His eyes skimmed over my costume, then Heather’s. “Uh. Do I ask what you guys are?”

I snorted. “Not the time for that.”

“Okay.” He nodded, then his hand dropped from his neck. “Oh. Hey. Where’s Taylor?”

“My body’s temperature dropped two degrees. My blood was ice-cold again. “What do you mean?” I felt a lump form in my throat, and keep growing. I knew. I so knew what he was going to say, and I had known it from the beginning.

Something happened to Taylor.

He spoke, and a buzz started in my ears. His words sounded like they were coming from a distance. “She said she was with you guys today. She didn’t come to the party tonight?”

I saw Heather gasp. I didn’t hear it.

Her mouth dropped open. Her eyes shot to mine, and the small amount of color she’d gotten back drained once again from her face.

Something had happened to Taylor.

The alarms were blaring in my head, but I coughed, forced that fucking lump away, and managed, “Uh. I’ll give her a call once we get home.”

We couldn’t panic.

Not yet.

I had to get back to the house. I’d heard that ringtone. I’d rip the fucking house apart if need be. And if she wasn’t there, if she hadn’t just fallen asleep, or decided to use Nate’s room for some reason—or maybe she’d gotten locked in the closet, who the hell knew?—I wanted to get there and look first, and then I’d start raising holy hell all over again.

Mason felt my body tense, and shifted back to get a better view of my face. What he saw made a wall slam down over his features. He glanced from me to his brother, and his jaw clenched. His hand pressed harder on my back, but he controlled his voice. It came out like he was annoyed, but not too worried. “What’s the fastest way out of here?”

Logan paused in the doorway. His eyebrows pulled together.

Mason’s smile was strained. “So we don’t have to go through the whole haunted house part of it.”

“Oh.” Logan’s eyebrows smoothed back out. He gestured to the bedroom that our bathroom was attached to. “I’ll show you guys the back way.”

The short trek took forever. Every second that I had to pretend to be calm stripped a year from my life. I was almost shaking with the effort by the time Logan opened that last door and I saw the night air. I shot past him, but I couldn’t race for the street. I didn’t know where Mason had parked.

It was another few seconds that seemed like lifetimes before Logan waved us off and shut the door behind him again.

Mason didn’t waste time. “What happened?”

I gritted my teeth. “Where’s your Escalade?”

He pointed toward the back of the house. “I got a spot in the alley behind the house.”

That was enough. I tore out of there. I was the one who’d gotten hurt, so everyone else needed to keep up with me. I wasn’t slowing down.

Mason ran ahead of me, and had the vehicle unlocked and the engine started by the time I hopped in. Heather was a few beats behind, and once he took off and our seat belts were on, I said, “She didn’t answer her phone. All. Day. She didn’t answer.” I began searching the console. “Where’s my phone?” He didn’t show me fast enough, and my voice rose. “Where’s my PHONE?”

“Here. Here.” He pulled my and Heather’s phones out of his pocket.

I checked again. There were my calls for Taylor. I hit dial again. I had to try once more.

Nothing. It went straight to voicemail.

Panic rose up, like vomit.

I pushed it down, but my stomach wouldn’t stop clenching.

I choked out, “I called her when we left, and I heard the phone ring in the house.” Please be okay. “It stopped, and I called her again. It went through on my end, but I didn’t hear it again.”

What if . . . Terror spliced through me. Did I really want to follow through on that thought?

What if . . .

The phone had been ringing. The phone was there. She was there. She had been there. It had been ringing—then stopped. It didn’t ring again.

She would’ve called out.

She would’ve called me back, texted me back. She would’ve said something.

The phone was turned off.

Someone else was there.

Someone else turned it off.

I started shaking. I didn’t even know I was until Heather grabbed my arm, reaching around the seat’s divider from behind. She scooted to the edge of her seat and leaned forward, her cheek resting against where my shoulder was by my seat. Her hand gripped my arm. “We’ll find her.”

She’s gone by now.

I couldn’t say that, though. I couldn’t even shake my head. I knew. I knew!

She was gone.

SO MUCH MORE by J. Daniels

“I don’t know about this,” I say, giving the two ends of the rope a tug. “I get making this place look creepy for the party, but what about Nolan and Chase? Isn’t it kind of fucked up having nooses hanging from the ceiling with kids here? It’s morbid, right? What if Nolan is like ‘Uncle Weed, what’s that for?’ What am I supposed to say? No. Yeah, no, we’re not doing this.” I pull the rope off the beam. “The spiderwebs and ghosts we got up are enough. I’m not traumatizing kids and then getting my ass beat when I do traumatize them.”

Ben wouldn’t hesitate. He’d kill me. I know he would. It doesn’t matter how long we’ve been friends or how much my death might upset people—mainly the girls in the group.

I can’t imagine Luke shedding a tear over my demise.

Beth doesn’t respond, not even with a reassuring, “You’re being silly. Ben would never kill you,” and when I turn around to look for her, expecting an empty bar behind me to explain her silence, I see her standing in the same spot she was in a minute ago.

Behind the counter, rag in one hand and an apple she’s wiping off in preparation for tonight in the other. Bobbing for apples is one of the games she’s putting together for the kids. I didn’t think it was necessary to clean off the apples since they’re going in a big bucket of water anyway, but Beth thought it was important, and while I’ve been decorating, she’s been wiping pesticides off fruit.

Up until this point, she’s moved through the process rather quickly. Now, though, with her eyes fixated on the rope in my hand, she seems to be slowing down. Or maybe she just found the world’s dirtiest apple. I don’t know, but if she doesn’t move on soon, she’s going to take the skin right off that thing.

“Sweetheart.”

Beth’s eyes snap up, and her hand holding the rag stills. “Mm?”

She’s fresh-faced, no makeup on yet, has her hair pulled back in a messy pony with several pieces falling out by her ears, and looks one bend away from busting out of the Nirvana shirt she’s wearing. The material is stretched tight across her belly.

I smile at her.

My wife is sexy as fuck pregnant.

“What are you doing, Mrs. Tennyson?” I ask.

Beth smiles then, and fuck, what that smile does to me.

That’s her Reed smile. She calls it that, so it’s not weird that I call it that. And fuck anyone who says it’s weird.

I get that smile. Not them. Never them. So fuck off. I’ll call it what I want.

“Cleaning off the apples for the party,” she answers with a sweet tilt of her head.

I chuckle. “I think that one you got there’s good. You can probably move on.”

Beth blinks, looks down at her hands, and then quickly drops the apple into the large tin bucket on the bar. She huffs out a breath.

“You all right?” I cross the room and stop in front of her, folding the rope and setting it down between us on the bar top. I keep my hands wrapped around either end. “Beth . . .”

Lips parted, cheeks flushed, eyes wide and glassy, she stares at the rope.

I can hear her breaths leaving her. Ragged. Wanting.

Hungry.

“Uh . . .”

“I miss getting tied up,” she shares, lifting her chin to look at me.

My eyes widen.

She clears her throat, pausing for a breath. “Not that the sex we’re having now isn’t amazing, because it is,” she continues. “But it’s not you, Reed. You tie me up and you spank me and you do really dirty things, freaky things, awesome things, and you’re not doing them anymore. We’re having Beth is pregnant sex. And I miss Beth is just as much of a freak as I am sex. Because I am. I mean, you know, with you I am. And watching you with that rope is driving me crazy. Because I know what you can do with that rope, Reed. I know exactly what you can do with it. And I want that. So, yes, I agree with you. Hanging nooses from the ceiling is a bad idea. But you tying me up with that right now is not a bad idea. It’s a great one. It’s an idea that needs to happen before I explode.” Her shoulders sag. She places her hand on her swollen belly and nods once. “There. I said it.”

GETTING DOWN by Helena Hunting

“We need to pick costumes for the Halloween soirée.” We only have two and a half weeks left. That’s not a lot of time. I might need a dress customized. Ruby has the skill set required to do it, but I’ll need time to find the appropriate pieces to put together and she’ll require time to work her magic.

Armstrong looks up from his newspaper. “Why can’t it just be a masquerade? Why can’t I just wear a tux and put on a mask and you get a new ball gown that matches my tie and we’re done.”

“Because it’s not a masquerade party. It’s a Halloween soirée and we need to come up with coordinating costumes because that’s the theme. Your mother’s the one who picked it,” I point out. Although Mimi had a hand in making the decision, thankfully. Otherwise it would’ve ended up being extraordinarily boring.

Armstrong sets his paper down, possibly aware that I’m not going to let up until we make an actual decision. “Remind me what the theme is again.”

“Famous couples.”

“Why don’t we go as royalty. That’s simple. Then I can wear a tux and you can wear a ball gown and everyone wins because you’re dressed in a costume.” He smiles as if he’s come up with the best idea in the world and picks his paper up again.

I round the table. Armstrong is in his typical bed wear: a white cotton T-shirt and a pair of cotton pajama pants. The shirt fits a little loosely instead of hugging his chest and arms. Although he has a lean build, so that’s part of the reason.

His dark blond hair is a little longer, curling at the base of his neck and hanging across his forehead. I run my fingers through it, pushing it back.

The unexpected affection catches him off guard and he sets his paper down again, looking up at me. I take the opportunity for what it is and sit in his lap. Neither of us has to be at the office early. There’s plenty of time for morning activities of the pleasurable variety. Draping an arm over his shoulder, I ask, “What royal couple would you like to go as?”

He settles a hand on my hip. “What about Kate and William?”

I finger the curls at the back of his neck. “Kate has dark hair and William is losing his.”

“Hmm.” His gaze dips down to the gape in my robe. I’m wearing a pale satin sheath. My nipples are very prominent. “What about Prince Charming and Cinderella? That should be easy. Or Sleeping Beauty and Phillip.”

It would be a little odd that Armstrong is so familiar with the names of the Disney princes and princesses if his aunts and uncles didn’t have children who were significantly younger than he is.

“Or we could just go as Ken and Barbie.” I mean it as a joke, obviously.

“Your breasts aren’t large enough for you to pull off Barbie.”

I’m about to push out of his lap, but he tightens his grip on my waist. “I didn’t mean that in a negative way. Yours fit nicely in my hands.” As if to prove his point he cups them. “If at any time you become unhappy with their size, we can always visit a cosmetic surgeon and have them augmented.”

“You want me to get a boob job?” Never has he ever mentioned being unsatisfied with the size of my breasts.

“No. No. Not now. They’re quite perky. I just mean down the line, if things should change and it’s something you want.” He pulls at the tie on my robe, pushing it over my shoulders. He traces the satin strap and brushes over my nipple through the thin fabric. “Yes. More than adequate, really.” From Armstrong, that’s a compliment.

I suck in a quick breath. Armstrong isn’t really a morning sex kind of guy. It messes with his routine, which he’s very particular about. But we have all this time. What’s fifteen minutes? A quickie. Something to take the edge off. And maybe this time I’ll come.

I push the strap over my shoulder, exposing the nipple. It tightens at the kiss of cool air. “Maybe we should get naked.”

“Right now?”

I lift a shoulder and let it fall. “We have the time.”

He nods slowly, absorbing this potential deviation from his morning ritual. “We do.”

I go in for a kiss and he turns his head. “I have coffee breath.”

“I like coffee.” I kiss my way over his chin.

“We should shower first.”

“Why bother when you’re about to get me all dirty, anyway?”

“You know how I feel about . . . freshness.”

If there’s a way to kill a mood, it’s referencing freshness. I used to find the pre-sex-shower ritual adorable. He’d be all wet and smelling fantastic. I’d join him in bed when I was done cleaning up. There would be a very sexy inspection. At least it used to be.

I heave a sigh, pull my strap back in place, and grab my robe from the floor.

“Are you going to shower?”

How can a man be so damn oblivious? “No, Armstrong, I’m not going to shower.”

“I thought we were going to have sex.”

“Apparently I’m not fresh enough.”

“What about a blow job?”

I whirl around. “Seriously?”

“I’m hard now.” He gestures to his lap.

“I guess you’ll have to figure out what to do with that then, because I’m going to be busy solving my own damn problems.” I stalk down the hall to his bedroom and root through my overnight bag. It doesn’t take me long to find what I’m looking for. My travel vibrator. This sweet baby has gotten me through a few unsatisfying nights in the past few months. Now it’s going to take care of my morning problem, too, alone, in the bathroom.

UNSAFE HAVEN by Bella Jewel

I bang my fists on the door a few times, calling out, but nobody comes to my rescue. They must all be downstairs. Huffing, I turn and stare at the boxes. Just great. I’m in here, but I have no way of getting out or getting help. I left my phone in my purse, in the office. I bang on the door again, a few times, yelling louder and louder. A few minutes pass by, and I start getting a little more worried. Someone will come up here eventually, but it’s hot, and stuffy, and I want to get some work done, not be stuck in a damned closet.

I sit for a few minutes, wondering how the hell I’m going to escape this. Shrugging, I start sorting through the decorations. After a while, it’s getting a little harder to breathe, so I turn around and bang on the door again, calling out. Still no one. Feeling a little stressed out, I try to distract myself with the decorations again but I really don’t like the feeling I’m getting. My chest is tight and I’m starting to get a little panicky. I don’t think there is a human alive who likes being in a place where they can’t get out, even if it is only a closet.

I pound my fists on the door again, calling out a little louder, and a little more frantically. My voice is soft at the best of times, so it’s hardly loud. I still try, though. I’m just about to give up again when the door swings open. Not expecting it, I stumble backward. A scream escapes my throat and my legs flail around as I hit a box, falling right into it, bottom first, and crushing all the decorations. Two big hands reach down, curling around my arms and pulling me up. I come face to face with Oliver. He’s standing, holding on to me still, staring at me with those intense hazel eyes.

He’s classically good looking, with light brown hair that’s messy and falls over his forehead like it’s been made to do that. His skin is a soft brown, and his eyes a deep hazel. He’s got very masculine features to match his very large, very muscled body. A few tattoos snake up one arm and disappear underneath his dark shirts. The ones he always wears. He’s gorgeous, in a bad-boy yet breathtakingly beautiful kind of way. His tattoos and dark features give him an edge, yet there is also a softness about him.

“I’m sorry,” I whisper, looking up at him. “I locked myself in here. I wasn’t sure if anyone would hear me calling out.”

“I was coming to get more decorations when I heard you yelling. You hurt?” His voice is rich, thick, and husky. It matches him perfectly.

“Ah, no, I’m not hurt. A little embarrassed, but not hurt.”

He studies me. “You should be more careful. If nobody was up here, you might have been in here a while.”

I flush and nod, stepping back. He releases me, dropping his hands to his sides.

“I’m Jade,” I say, meeting his eyes for a second before looking away, cheeks still burning.

He smells incredible.

“I know,” he says, his voice low.

“And you’re Oliver.”

His eyes flash when I meet them again. “Yeah.”

“It’s nice to meet you,” I offer, extending my hand, feeling lame the second it comes out of my mouth.

He nods, reaching out and curling his fingers around mine, shaking my hand gently. It feels nice, really nice. I try to keep the blush from creeping up my cheeks. I drop his hand and he holds my gaze for a moment before looking back toward the decorations. “Need a hand? I’m looking for decorations too, so we might as well do it together.”

My heart races. The chance to work with him, maybe make some conversation? Yes please.

“That would be great, thank you. I’ll probably need help putting some of these up. I’m not very tall.”

His eyes drop down my body, and then he shakes his head, “No, you’re not.”

THE PUMPKIN WAS STUFFED by Tara Sivec

“We’re not naming our baby Hung,” I reply with a heavy sigh.

“Fine. But you should at least pick something with a Halloween theme.”

My mother nods, and everyone else silently agrees, including Scheva. The traitor. And then they all start throwing out ideas, each one more horrifying than the next, until no one is paying attention to the hayride or the Halloween decorations that we drive by.

“If it’s a boy, you could name him Jack, middle name O’-Lantern.”

“Noel’s favorite movie is The Nightmare Before Christmas. If they’re going to use Jack, his middle name obviously needs to be Skellington.”

“Pumpkin is an adorable name for a girl. It should definitely be Pumpkin.”

“What about Cock Goblin Stocking?”

“No, it should definitely be Blumpkin. Blumpkin Stocking,” Alex adds.

“What in the world is a Blumpkin?” my mom questions.

“Blumpkin is the act of performing fellatio while the recipient is taking a dump,” Alex informs us.

“That’s the most disgusting thing I’ve ever heard,” Scheva complains.

“That’s Urban Dictionary, baby. Do you see the kind of amazingness I was denied? I was meant for that website. Born to be an Urban Dictionary king, and I’ve been denied my rightful place on the throne,” he complains.

The hayride comes to an end with all the other families who were unfortunate enough to be on this thing with my family giving us strange looks as they continue throwing out name ideas. As we get off the wagon and head over to check out the pumpkin-carving contest entries, I’ve finally had enough and hold up both of my hands.

“All right, that’s enough. And while we’re on this subject, can we also discuss how everyone needs to start toning down their language? This baby is due in a little over a week, and you all need to start learning how to not swear in front of it. And don’t any of you say one word about how I’ve never mentioned this before. I’m pregnant and crabby and I can do what I want, including make spur-of-the-moment decisions about my child’s future well-being,” I tell them. “No more f-bombs, no more taking the Lord’s name in vain, none of it.”

“Why would we do that? That’s dumb,” Alex grumbles.

“Because you can’t swear in front of the forking baby! This bullshirt stops now,” I argue.

“We didn’t have to do that when Holly was born, did we, sweetie?” my dad says, ruffling the hair on top of Holly’s head as she walks next to him, holding my brother’s hand.

“Where da fuck punkins go?” Holly asks, looking up at him with her sweet, innocent face.

“Okay, I see your point,” Dad concedes, smiling down at his granddaughter. “Holly, we don’t say that word. It’s a bad word.”

“Da fuck, da fuck, da fuck!” she chants excitedly, jumping up and down.

Dad bends down and scoops Holly up into his arms, walking away from us to try and explain to her again about words she can’t use.

“Sam stands behind me, sliding his arms around my waist and placing them on top of my belly as he pulls me back against him. He rests his chin on top of my head as we watch everyone slowly make their way down the rows of tables covered with carved pumpkins, filling out voting cards to choose their favorite ones.

“Are you sure you don’t want to keep with your family’s tradition and pick a holiday-themed name for our baby?” he asks quietly.

“Cock Goblin Stocking is growing on you, isn’t it?” I joke.

I feel the rumble of Sam’s laughter against my back, and I rest my hands on top of his over my belly.

“Not exactly, but I don’t really want your family to disown me. They’re certifiably insane, but I kind of like them.”

Closing my eyes, I rest my head back against Sam’s chest, wondering how in the hell I got so lucky to find a man like him. It takes a strong man to deal with my family and actually love them. I’ve never felt more lucky than I do right now that I convinced him to come home with me and pretend to be my boyfriend that Christmas almost three years ago.

I have a feeling this is going to be the best Halloween ever, and I can’t wait to kick things off with Alex and Scheva’s wedding tomorrow.

***
Copyright © 2017 by Tijan, J. Daniels, Helena Hunting, Bella Jewel, Tara Sivec.
***
Learn more about or order a copy of Eye Candy by Tijan, J. Daniels, Helena Hunting, Bella Jewel, Tara Sivec, available September 5, 2017:

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Bella Jewel is a USA Today bestselling author of over 18 e-books, including the popular Alphas Heart eOriginal series with St. Martin's Press. She lives in North Queensland where she's working on her next novel.

Tijan is a New York Times Bestselling author of the Carter Reed Series, the Fallen Crest Series, and the Broken and Screwed Series among others. She lives in north Minnesota.

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of PUCKED, Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto. She writes contemporary romance ranging from new adult angst to romantic sports comedy.

Tara Sivec is a USA Today best-selling author and the Best Indie Author in the Indie Romance Convention Reader's Choice Awards in 2014. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two children.

J. Daniels is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Sweet Addiction series, the Alabama Summer series, and the Dirty Deeds series. J grew up in Baltimore and resides in Maryland with her family.

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nihcki
1. nihcki
This sounds really good. An excellent opportunity to try a few new-to-me authors as well. Thanks for the post!
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