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Denise Alicea

This blog was created by Denise in September 2008 to blog about writing, book reviews, and technology. Slowly, but surely this blog expanded to what it has become now, a central for book reviews of all kinds interviews, contests, and of course promotional venue for authors, etc


Hearts and Haunts Book 1

Paranormal Romance

Date Published:  01-10-2023

Publisher: Totally Bound Publishing


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Romance may not be all that awakens while two best friends renovate a
mansion rumored to be haunted.


If you kiss your best friend…

Halloween-loving Ren needs a new job. The only problem? The sole accountant
opening in her small town requires construction experience, which are skills
she lacks. Luckily, her best friend Leo— sexy, grumpy and completely
off limits— is a construction hotshot. Their relationship is perfect
as is, and, despite the intense chemistry, Ren refuses to ruin it with
romance. Leo agrees to teach her, with one condition— she must live on
site with him… and somehow survive the temptation.


You’ d better be sure…

Skeptic, sword-swinging Leo has loved Ren since she mistook him for a
hardware employee in the plunger section two years ago. While he took his
time winning her trust, she caged him in the friend zone. He’ s done hiding
his feelings, and living together— working, sleeping, playing—
at the Gothic mansion he’ s renovating will convince her that best friends
make the best lovers.


It’ s meant to be forever.

Ren resolves to resist Leo, even if he bends every rule. Discovering the
mansion’ s secrets— and lingering spirits, no matter what Leo
claims— offers distraction enough. But with her defenses splintering,
one kiss is all it takes to shatter every boundary, one night of passion to
believe in happily ever after… and one crumbling letter of unrequited love
to awaken ghosts forgotten. If Ren and Leo can’ t piece together the past
for two lost souls, they might lose more than their hearts.



Hours later, midnight darkness lured Karen from some dream she
couldn’t remember. She sat up and scrubbed her fingers through her
hair. Moonlight spilled through the windows and shimmered over walls,
softening the boarded-up hole across the room. The draped furniture slouched
in the corner like fallen curtains. She’d left her door ajar after
learning it didn’t latch right, another project added to her
learn-to-do list, and it remained open a wedge.

A silhouette darkened the doorway, and her pulse jumped. Leo eased past the
door, shirtless in the shadows. He looked at her, and his burning gaze stole
her breath.


Without saying a word, he padded toward the bed, his bare feet silent on
the rug, black boxers clinging to his muscular thighs.

With Leo, she never worried about appearances, but the silky tank top
she’d worn to bed left zero to the imagination. Her face warmed.
He’d have to be blind to miss how he affected her physically.

Something had to be wrong. He wouldn’t enter a woman’s bedroom
without permission or knocking, not even if she happened to be his best
friend. But the fire in his eyes erased all words from her brain, and when
he crawled onto the bed on all fours, holding her gaze, she melted. Holy
hell, he was a masterpiece, the powerful lines of his body hypnotic in the
muted light.

As he approached with animal grace, she couldn’t react, lulled by the
skewed sanity of the darkness and fantasy coming to life before her eyes.
Straddling her legs over the blankets, he didn’t stop until he planted
his palms on each side of her hips, caging her. Heat radiated from his bare
skin, easing the chill of the air on her naked shoulders and arms. His
breath brushed her lips.

“What are you doing, Leo?” The words hardly counted, more a
rasp in her throat.

Leaning in, he bypassed her mouth and nuzzled her ear. “Tasting
you.” He nibbled her lobe and tugged with his teeth, then licked the
sting away. “Hmm. Luscious.”

A shiver trembled through her as the stubble on his cheek scraped her jaw
and he pressed his lips to the sensitive spot beneath her ear. She fisted
the sheet to keep from touching him. She should stop him, push him away,
tell him to leave. But he trailed his lips to her shoulder, and the thought
spun away, beyond her power. Her eyes closed of their own accord.

Denying the touch she’d dreamed of for so long was impossible. The
fact that Leo was her best friend slithered out of reach. He rested his hot
hand on her hip, and the magic of his mouth killed everything except

“I’ve waited too long for you, Ren.” He sat back on his
heels, his knees spread on either side of her thighs, and cupped her face.
“Far too long.”


About the Author

 Once upon a time, a girl with flat hobbit feet dreamed of adventures in the
woods with an elven hero, fighting off orcs and saving magical rings. All
grown up now, C.J. Burright resides in Oregon (at least she got the trees).
While she faces her duties at the law office day job, she avoids writing
legal thrillers and instead turns toward romance—contemporary
(sometimes with a supernatural flair), paranormal or fantasy. With a 5th Dan
Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do, it’s no surprise she prefers feisty
heroines who aren’t afraid to jump into the fight. Her slivers of
spare time are spent working out, gardening, playing the latest
Assassin’s Creed, and rooting on the Seattle Mariners, always with
music. She shares a house with her husband (not elven, alas, but a fine
alternative) and a devoted cat herd while missing her daughter from afar. C.
J. is represented by Brittany Booker of The Booker Albert Literary

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Marisela Zuniga

Great excerpt, thank you for sharing


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