Series: Raising Hellfire MC, #1
Published by Swerve on July 11th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
In Burned by Lust, Biker, Hard Corban, is set to take over the Raising Hellfire MC and doesn’t have love on his agenda. But Lee Delevinge, a raven-haired burlesque dancer running from her past, is set on burning up his heart. When their fling takes a serious turn, could they have the relationship they both crave?
In Burned by Blackmail, Briony Wilde is desperate to save her biker bar from a millionaire developer. When Cole Knight walks into her bar, all green eyes and sharp suit, she allows herself a little distraction, only to find he’s behind the development that threatens everything she holds dear. Solution? Blackmail him into an engagement. Obviously. After such a shaky start, could their relationship have any chance of changing from a forced arrangement to something real?
Welcome to the gritty biker world of the Raising Hellfire MC series where these L.A. bikers drink hard, drive fast, and dig deep for love.
“De Winton brings the sass and the smexy as Cole and Briony burn up the sheets in this must read biker romance.” — USA Today bestselling author Amy Andrews
This sexy 2-in-1 set features Burned by Lust and Burned by Blackmail – previously released as individual titles.
Google Play: https://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN9781250142559
RIDE ME RIGHT: August 8, 2017
Bike mechanic Lucy Black is running out of luck. With an attitude louder than a Harley engine, her mouth is always getting her in trouble and she’s been fired, again. Desperate for money to send home to support her kid sister, Lucy takes a housekeeping job at Wilde Hotel, the adopted home of the Raising Hellfire MC. After a steamy moonlit encounter with a dark stranger, Lucy is horrified to find out he’s her new boss so she’s more determined than ever to make her hotel stay brief.
Jake “The Iceman” Slade is drowning in guilt and can’t give himself a break. A tragic accident on set made him step away from his job as a real life action hero in the film lots of Hollywood. Now he’s reluctantly agreed to run his half-sister’s hotel, Wilde’s, while she’s away, trying to keep it—and himself—from going under. Lucy is the kind of trouble he can’t afford, but can’t seem to resist. But with an equally troubled past, will Lucy be the fire to melt his frozen heart?
Ride Me Right is a sexy, emotionally intense read that will take readers on the ride of their lives.
Google Play: https://books.google.com/books?id=Na0kDwAAQBAJ
Burned by Blackmail – Bonus Scene – ©2017 Michele de Winton
“I can’t believe you thought this was a good idea,” Briony hissed.
“I never said I thought this was a good idea. But the invitation had your name on it so it’d be rude if you didn’t show. Michael Hardy owns half of downtown L.A. and it’s his party. I need his investment in so put your snark in a box and act nice.” Cole Knight kept his eyes studiously on the red carpet flowing down the ostentatious hallway rather than looking at the woman next to him. Looking at her had been what had gotten him into this mess in the first place. Okay, not just looking. Looking didn’t feel half as good as what they’d shared. But right now, with her in the thinnest slip of pale blue silk he’d ever encountered, just looking at her was enough to make him want to pull her into a side room and see if the miniscule straps holding up her slip would melt under his fingers.
“Don’t touch that. Or that,” he said as Briony’s fingers reached for a stupidly expensive ornament. “This might only be Michael’s city crash pad but it’s worth more than three times what your hotel is.”
“Please don’t tell me you’re going to be a whiny little bitch all night.” Briony snapped.
Cole snorted. “I guess there’s a first time for everything, but being called a whiny little bitch? Can’t say I had that on my list of possibilities.” He finally made eye contact with the woman next to him and Briony Wilde raised a sharp eyebrow that spoke as much about her biker background as it did about her attitude. In her eyes he saw the miles she’d eaten up as she drove across country on her Harley. In her eyes he saw the dark and dangerous lessons she’d learned from years of running a biker bar. “That look isn’t helping,” he said.
She huffed out a sigh. “What look? You mean my resting bitch face?”
“Nothing resting about it,” he growled. “But if you could smile it might help convince people that you’re happy to be wearing a stack of diamonds on your finger rather than being pissed you had to lower your standards from a Harley no-hoper to me.”
“They might think you’re a real man for finding yourself a woman who stands up for herself.”
“If you say so.”
Taking Briony to his first fundraiser since he’d moved to L.A. wasn’t only a bad idea, it was probably his worst idea ever. Except of course the one that ended with a ring Briony’s finger and a stack of paperwork that said if he didn’t go through with this farce of an engagement she’d show the world a sex tape with him mouthing off about his competitors. Then hello defamation case.
“Game face on, Wilde,” he said, as they walked down the hall toward the ballroom where the other guests would be waiting. “Here we go.”
“Michael, Paul, Jeremy, Juliette, Fiona, Harry, Margaret, Jen, Sean.”
Startled, Cole stole a glance at Briony and found her face set in concentration as she muttered the list of names under her breath. She’s nervous. The idea that she was taking this seriously, that she’d paid attention to the names of people attending and was trying to memorize them shocked him as much as seeing her in the blue silk dress in the first place. The dress had stolen his breath. That she actually gave a shit about getting through this night without it turning into a total cluster-fuck made his body hot. All over.
All the snark, all the mouthing off, was it just a defense mechanism? “Just go full L.A. and call everyone Darling.”
She gave him a death stare and he found his face twitching towards a smile. When she looked at him like that, all hot chocolate eyes and her mess of thick, wavy brown hair, she was two parts temptress and ten parts challenge. And he had always liked a challenge.
“Darlings, so glad you could make it. God that dress is gorgeous.” An actual Housewife of Hollywood stood at the entrance to the huge ballroom.
“You’re too kind,” Briony gushed in some sort of posh pastiche. “Cole didn’t think I should get it because he can’t keep his eyes off my ass in this silk. He says it’s too distracting to get work done.”
The woman’s laughter rang out like a peal of tiny crystal bells. “Oh dear. Well I guess being a suitable companion is a skill in itself, isn’t it?”
Cole saw Briony’s mouth twitch into a sneer but she hid it when he squeezed her elbow, hard. Holy hell this is going to be a long night.
Safely inside without Briony saying anything else awkward, Cole took a deep breath. The room was full of L.A.s biggest investors, developers and influencers. His development was in full construction mode but if he wanted to fill the shops, penthouses and restaurants when it was finished, he needed these people greedy to have a slice of his pie. “I know my pop thinks butter wouldn’t melt in that pretty mouth of yours and if you prove him right and get those women eating out of your hand then I’ll buy you a new kitchen for your bar. But if you get overwhelmed and need out, give me a signal.”
“You mean like tap my nose three times?”
He turned as she tugged on his arm. “I thought you were kidding. A signal? Really? You can’t be serious.”
“Have you ever known me not to be serious? Some of them,” he waved at an assortment of heavily jeweled and botoxed women in a corner, “would like nothing more than for you to spill your drink down that gorgeous dress. Or better still, come back from the ladies with it tucked into your panties.”
“I’m not wearing any panties.”
He closed his eyes in a long blink. “You did not just say that out loud.” The mental picture of her creamy ass, naked under the silk, did nothing to settle his already racing blood, and Cole had to fight hard to stop the rush of heat to his groin making him groan.
“I have to say, for a guy who wants this to go well, you’re not doing a very good job of calming me the fuck down.”
There it was again. Cole’s eyes snapped open and he remembered she was nervous. Very nervous. It was easy to forget under all her big talk. “Just keep things light and lose the fake posh accent. And try not to mouth off like you did with Juliette back there.”
“You call that mouthing off?” Her eyes widened again. “Shit, I’m screwed. I thought that was keeping it light.”
Cole rubbed at his face. “Less talk about your magnificent ass, which they will all be green with jealousy over, and more talk about…I don’t know, their pets and children.”
Getting left alone had to happen, but Briony wasn’t quite ready for it to be so early on in the evening. When Cole was whisked away by some L.A. darling or other, she found herself surrounded by the Housewives of Hollywood, unaccompanied and exposed to their overly whitened teeth and polished nails. Pets and children, you can do this. But the women around her had no intention of letting her off that easily.
“So, Briony is it? Are you and Cole both new to L.A.?”
“Oh no, I grew up here.”
The women’s face’s all lit up with the potential for gossip and Briony had to fight the urge to stuff her fist into her mouth. Idiot.
“Really? I’m surprised we haven’t met before. Where did you go to school?”
Think. Fast. “I was home-schooled. My father had a bunch of tutors live in with us.” It wasn’t exactly a lie. She hadn’t gone to school much growing up, and the Hell’s boys had taught her more about life than any of the English and math classes she’d bothered to go to.
Pets and children. “What about you ladies. Any of you home-school your kids?”
The false eyelashes of Housewives of Hollywood suddenly stood out stark and black as their faces paled in concert.
“Only joking, I mean that’s what nannies are for right,” Briony said with as bright a smile as she could manage.
The Housewives lost their look of panic and Briony let out the breath she’d been holding. She scanned the room for Cole and saw him deep in earnest conversation with two men in matching black tuxedos. He wasn’t going to thank her for busting into that little pow-wow.
Turned out she didn’t need an escape route.
“I need to powder my nose. Ladies?” The lady of the house, Juliette, chirruped and a chorus of the Housewives of Hollywood agreed with her before they all trailed away. The remaining few dissipated round the room and Briony breathed a sigh of relief. One on one she could deal with, but all of them, in a pack? It was only a matter of time before she told one of them to get her overly primped head out of her overly bleached asshole and the whole night would come tumbling down.
Conscious that she was standing conspicuously by herself in a room where that was frowned upon, Briony headed for the buffet. It was tucked into the corner of the room and if she went to the very end of the long table she was almost out of sight.
On the table in front of her were at least thirty different variations of fabulousness, none of which she could identify. She tried one. “Ohmigod yum.” A caramelized date and raspberry taste was balanced by some crunchy chocolate and nut coating that was going to haunt her desert craving dreams for ever.
Briony looked down and just about burst out laughing. “Well screw me sideways, hey there little guy.” Bending, she petted the tiny bundle of fluff at her feet. He seemed to enjoy it, too much. Then—oh no he wasn’t. The little fluff-myster started humping her leg, vigorously. Just managing to hold back her mirth, Briony scooped up the bundle of fur. It licked her hand. Turning its collar over and reading the name she finally lost out to the snort that had been threatening to explode out of her mouth all night. “Butch? Seriously? If you think you’re butch then you need to get out more.”
It sniffed at her hand. “Hungry huh?” The tiny grey stub of a tail wiggled enthusiastically. Briony picked up an appetizer at random. “What’s this one.” Holding the dog with one hand, Briony put another morsel into her mouth. “Ugg, caviar roll. Here you might like it.”
Butch licked the remnants of the fishy treat off her fingers and then turned its doleful eyes up to her, clearly asking for more.
“Yep. We’re both stuck here. Might as well see what we can do to enjoy ourselves hey?”
For the next ten minutes, Briony tried all the nibbles on the table and indulged the dog’s gargantuan appetite, but was careful not to give it any chocolate.
The dog hickuped and Briony laughed before putting it down. It scampered under the table and she missed it immediately.
“Hey there Butchywoochywoowoo.”
Her snort this time was half laugh, half choke and Briony had to put a hand to her face to make sure the egg-roll she’d partially chewed didn’t come out her nose. A man straightened, the dog now in his arms and gave her a quizzical look.
“Sorry,” she managed when she was able to speak again. “Butchywoochywoowoo was just too…”
His face broke into a grin. “I know. It’s a terrible name, my wife’s fault. She thought it was ironic. I’m not sure she knows what that means.” The man at the end of the table was the least ironic looking person Briony had ever met. Sleek black tuxedo, perfectly groomed grey hair, a glint in his faded blue eyes as he stood, tall and imposing in front of her.
She walked out of the shadows down the table to where the man and dog stood. “He’s adorable,” she said, and for the first time that evening, meant it.
“I know,” the man said conspiratorially. “I pretend that he’s a pain in the ass, and he is, aren’t you?” he chucked the dog under its chin. “But look at that little face.”
Briony smiled. “I won’t tell anyone.”
“Good. Any of these fuckers find out that a Schnoodle can turn me into a walking pile of mush at fifty paces and they’ll use it against me in a heartbeat.”
“A what now?”
He grinned, clearly enjoying their banter. “Schnoodle. Don’t ask. My wife wants a Yorkipoo next but that’s a step too far for me.”
Briony threw her head back and laughed, properly. God it felt good. But now that she was back on public display at the other end of the buffet she was aware that faces turned in their direction. A few too many for her liking.
“We haven’t met before have we?” He put out a hand. “I’d remember a laugh like that. I’m Michael.”
“Briony,” she said, shaking his hand. “I’m told I’m a loud mouth.”
“So am I,” he said and gave her a wink. “Heads up, wife alert.”
Briony looked up and saw Juliette, Head Housewife, wafting over to them, probably prompted by Briony’s cackle. “You’re that Michael?”
He raised an eyebrow at her and grinned.
“Darling, I see you’ve met Cole’s new fiancé,” Juliette said in her sing song way.
“Cole’s new woman? Huh. That fits actually,” Michael said. “Congratulations.”
“Yes. Quite.” Juliette’s face made it clear that she didn’t think it fit at all. “I need to introduce you to someone,” Juliette said, pointedly jerking her head across the room. “I’ll take Butch, thank you.” She grabbed the tiny dog and snuggled him into her rather miraculous cleavage. But she must have squeezed him too tight as the tiny dog gave a yelp and then…Butch let loose a long stream of vomit. All down Juliette’s dress.
The whole room went silent. Instantly, Cole was at Briony’s side.
“Holy mother of gross.” Briony couldn’t help herself.
Michael roared with laughter and Juliette gave him a stare that would have killed a lesser man at ten paces, but the billionaire didn’t even blink.
“What did you do to him?” Juliette said to Briony. Every word was laced with venom and Briony felt the room’s eyes digging under her skin looking for a place to hook in and enjoy the spectacle.
“I’m so sorry. I guess maybe he overate? I didn’t know dogs liked caviar but this little guy sure does.” Briony said, trying her best to ignore Cole’s dark glare.
Michael dissolved into laughter again and Juliette stamped her foot. “You let her feed him caviar?” Juliette’s voice rose to reach glass shattering heights.
“Butch is fine. Look at him, no harm done,” Michael said and Briony sent him a silent thank you and a quick smile.
The dog started sniffing at the vomit on Juliette’s dress as if he was about to lick it and she gave a little shriek before batting him away with her free hand.
Cole stepped forward. “Briony really is sorry. Please let me send you a new dress tomorrow.” He took Juliette’s spare hand and squeezed it, ignoring the fact that she had dog vomit down her cleavage. Juliette’s face calmed and her mouth settled back into its vaguely pissed off pout. “Thank you. At least someone around here has manners. Now if you’ll all excuse me, I’ll go and change.”
Briony had given Cole the nickname Slick when she first met him. Now it seemed like she’d got it just right.
Michael slapped Cole on the back. “Juliette has plenty of dresses. Buy one for your new fiancé instead. Thanks for coming.” He walked off and Briony felt Cole’s grip on her arm tighten.
Time to go.” Cole’s voice was quiet, dangerous.
“Michael said it was okay,” she whispered at Cole as they fled down the corridor.
“Of course he did, what else do you think he’d say in front of all those people?”
“Indeed. But if you could stop talking, at least till we get to the car, I think we’ll all be better off, don’t you?”
Just then Cole’s phone pinged and he reached into his inner jacket pocket for it as the valet brought the car round.
“Ha.” His face suddenly lifted and when he looked at Briony, Cole’s eyes had their touch of viper green on display. “I take it all back. Seems like I might owe you that kitchen after all.” He turned his phone to show Briony the screen. It was a text from Michael:
Got yourself a firecracker there boy. haven’t laughed that much in ages. keep her. and if your development allows dogs, put me down for a penthouse suite.
Being a writer was not what Michele was supposed to be when she ‘grew up’. But then neither was being a dancer! It’s no wonder a little sparkle of the stage is often in her work. Living in in New Zealand with her husband and two small boys after traveling a plenty, she writes from an office where the sound of the tapping keyboard is the only distraction. Okay, that’s a lie. Those boys are noisy, and busy, and into everything, but then, what boys ain’t She finds wine very useful for tempering reality, and chocolate helps too, especially when it’s mixed with alcohol.
Michele likes her heroines smart and sassy. Girls can do anything right? But the heroes have to be a match as well, so you can count on men who know just how to make a woman melt. And she always kisses and tells. Come distract her on Twitter (@MicheledeWinton), Facebook or on her website.