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giovedì 14 settembre 2017

BLOG TOUR: "Sledgehammer" by P. Evangelico- EXCLUSIVE EXCERPTS


by P. Dangelico Publication Date: September 11, 2017 Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

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Amber Jones is in a pickle. And when I say pickle, I mean deep do-do. She knew she shouldn’t have gone to her ex’s New Year’s Eve party. And she reeeaally didn’t mean to almost burn down his house. It was the chafing dish’s fault, dang it! Now she needs a good lawyer, stat. But where to find one? All work and no play make Ethan Vaughn a very sad and lonely lawyer. Not to mention horny. He really shouldn’t have agreed to help his best friend’s wife’s bestie with her imbroglio. Now she’s remanded on bail––and living in his house. The woman is a walking, talking category five hurricane. And considering his track record with women, he needs to stay as far away from this one as possible. Problem is, he just can’t seem to make himself.

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Cam DeSantis’ life is a hot, steaming pile. How else would you describe losing your husband, your job, and your money all at once? Desperate times call for desperate measures, so when salvation comes in the form of one intolerable a-hole, who just happens to be the starting quarterback for the vaunted NY Titans, she has no choice but to accept his offer as a live-in nanny slash teacher for his eight year old nephew. Now all she has to do is find a safe place in her mind to hide whenever she feels the need to throat punch him into tomorrow…which is often.
Calvin Shaw has zero interest in women. Wait, wait––let me rephrase that. He loves women, he just doesn’t want anything to do with ‘um. Not since his wife, presently ex-wife, got knocked up by the guy she was cheating on him with. Problem is––there’s one living in his house. And he doesn’t know what’s worse, that he promised to be civil, or that he’s attracted to her.

Excerpt 1

Deputy D leads me down a long corridor to a metal door with a tiny glass window. He said lawyer. Camilla couldn’t pull off that act if her life depended on it––too honest and transparent. Which means she found someone on short notice. On New Year’s Eve, no less. My best friend is a holy freaking rainmaker.

I’m bouncing on the balls of my bare feet, craning my neck to look through the small window. All I want to do is go home, crawl under the covers, and not come out for a week while I nurse my battered ego back to health and the promise of freedom is making me antsy. For the first time tonight, I feel marginally better. Until Dipshit unlock the door. Until I get a super clear view of whom is on the other side of it and then I don’t feel better. No. As a matter of fact I feel worse. Just like that the shred of optimism I was fostering a minute ago circles the drain.

Camilla’s husband’s best friend. He’s standing with one hand shoved in the pocket of his perfectly tailored tux. The top of his shirt drapes open, bowtie ends hanging down, eyes glued to the screen of his cell phone. 

No, no. God, don’t do this me. I’ll be good. I swear I will.

I blink and blink, hoping and praying, but no, I’m not imagining it. This nightmare is real. I start to back out, and Deputy D slams the door shut behind me, the sound grating on my already inflamed nerves.

“What are you doing here?” My voice sounds strangely high and sharp.

He glances up. His thickly lashed brown eyes skim my face, take note of the black eye makeup which is undoubtedly half way down my face, work their way lower to the ripped edge of my silver mini dress, then descend all the way to my bare feet. My toes curl in reflex, hiding from his scrutiny.

I’m dying a million tiny painful deaths. A million. If there’s a personal circle of hell for each and every one of us, this is mine.

I’m convinced that men like Ethan Vaughn are put on this planet to make the rest of us feel bad about ourselves. He’s too…perfect. I hate that word, I really do, but there’s no other way to describe this dude. A face and body that would make Adonis bristle in envy, successful, impeccably dressed. He’s neat. He’s very neat. It’s past midnight and he’s still pressed and clean. How the fuck is that possible? I bet he rinses his recycling before placing it in the blue bin. 

I don’t buy it. I just don’t buy it. My bullshit meter tells me something’s off. Or maybe it’s my black soul. Whatever, one of those two tells me that beneath the picture perfect surface, he may secretly be a homophobe, or rude to waiters, or mean to animals. Who knows, maybe he likes to kick cats when no one is watching.

Mr. Perfect is still staring, and has yet to say a word. Nor does he have to. My skin is burning from his shrewd assessment. 

Take a good look you sick, cat kicking motherfu…

“I was under the impression you needed a lawyer.” His deep voice is even and unaffected. Is he under the impression that I need him to get me out of a parking ticket? What’s next, a yawn?


Excerpt 2

“I want to know exactly what this is going to cost me because if it takes me holding up a bank, I’m paying back every cent.”

“I think we’ve established that you’re not cut out for a life of crime. Besides, Calvin’s already paid up.”

“Then I’ll pay Calvin back. I want the exact amount.”

I get a long-suffering sigh, coupled with a raised eyebrow. “The amount is zero.”

The stretch of silence that follows leaves me drained, whatever energy I have left leeching out of me. What’s the point of fighting it? Really? It doesn’t make a lick of difference anyway. Way too often it seems my life is on a fixed track headed nowhere I want to go.

I steal another glance at my new room mate. He did nothing to deserve this. This is nobody’s fault but my own. Time to embrace the fact that I will be at this man’s mercy for the next three months. And God knows I could’ve done a heck of a lot worse than living with Fancy McButterpants in what is sure to be a fancy apartment. Best to start off on the right foot.

“Look, Vaughn, I get that I’m not your favorite person. I don’t know what kind of favor you owe Cal that would require you to volunteer as tribute, but here we are, stuck with each other for the next…what is it that you said?” Arching a dramatic eyebrow, I add, “The next three months. I think we can manage to stay out of each other’s hair for three months.” I make a show of staring at his perfectly styled dark brown hair. “Even though you use a ghastly amount of hair product.”

At this, he frowns and squirms in his seat. “I do not use hair product.”

“Agree to disagree. Anywho, this should be easy enough. You work days. I work nights. We’ll hardly see each other. Absolutely no danger of anyone accidental humping.”

His reaction comes swiftly. His head whips around, guilt and surprise splashed across his supermodel worthy features. Finally––a genuine show of emotion. Score one for team Jones. Satisfaction turns the corners of my mouth up. No doubt about it, my life is a dumpster fire if this is the highlight of my evening.

His attention slides back to the road ahead. Three long minutes of heavy silence follow. “I didn’t mean––”

“Easy there, counselor.” The last thing I want is a long, awkward apology from him. “No harm, no foul. Hurting my feelings would require that I care what you, or any man thinks, and I assure you I don’t. Quite frankly, after tonight, I am this close to moving to the Isle of Lesbos. All I need is your legal expertise and a bed to sleep in for the next three months.”

He blows out a deep breath, his body relaxing while his hands tighten on the burl wood steering wheel. “You have it.”

I turn in my seat to face him. I want him to see how sincere I am when I say this, “And I appreciate it. I know this sucks for you, too.”

Holding my steady gaze, he gives me a curt nod.


Excerpt 3

Nostrils flaring, sweat dripping down a chest that belongs in a Magic Mike sequel, Vaughn stares back at me for what feels like a lifetime. So long I may need Botox. So long I’m starting to fidget under his pointed though slightly detached examination of me, myself, and I.

The song ends and the silence breaks the weird vibe traveling between us. And when I say weird, I mean not good, not good at all. Huh. What’s his problem? I mean, besides having a total stranger live in his house and invade his privacy. Could be my vivid imagination is acting up.

Yeah, that’s it. Probably lack of sleep. Probably.

He walks over to the sound system and shuts it off. When his attention returns to me, his lips twitch as his gaze zeros in on my t-shirt. Still reeling from the discovery of all the muscles standing before me, I have to check to see what it is that’s amusing him.

“That’s, umm, an interesting choice of nightwear,” he finally says.

Cam and I have been exchanging prank Christmas gifts for the last ten years. This one is a personal favorite of mine. On the front of the oversized t-shirt, The Duck U Lookin’ At? ducking spellcheck is written in bold black letters. On the back, there’s a cartoon drawing of a duck flipping the bird.

I freaking love this t-shirt.

His chocolate brown eyes work their way down the length of my shirt, pause where it ends at the top of my thighs, linger for a while, then slide down to my feet. A baby v appears between his brows. “Is that supposed to be chocolate ice cream?” He’s referring to the top of my fluffy brown slippers. The ones I bought at the mall because they’re a perfect metaphor for my life.

“It’s the shit Emoji.”

“I was afraid of that,” he mutters. Picking up a gray t-shirt off the floor, he starts wiping his chest.


Excerpt 4

“I’ll help you pack.”

Yeah, not happening, but I’m too tired to argue with him. Glancing around, his eyes fall on my unmade bed––and stay there.

“Are you here to do a health inspection, or help?”

That snaps him out of whatever is going on in his head. I get down on all fours, my attention momentarily diverted as I grab my suitcase from under the bed. Bad move. Real bad. Because when I glance up, I find him in the process of opening the top drawer of my dresser.

“No! Not that one!” I screech.

Too late. Too effing late. Vaughn is staring at the contents of the drawer, his expression frozen. Until I see his lips move. He’s counting them. Oh dear, he’s counting them. His eyes grow a little wider. He finally reaches seven and stops. Little does he know that eight is in the Amazon box near the front door.

“Don’t touch,” I say, with an exaggerated smirk.

A quick scowl darkens the perfection that is his face. “I wasn’t planning to.” His attention returns to the contents of the drawer. When he starts to close it, I decide to double down because it’s that kind of night.

“Might as well leave it open. I have to pack those.”

That perfectly styled head slowly turns in my direction. I get a blank, assessing stare. He thinks I’m messing with him, but I’m not. When I continue to stare back in silence, he blinks twice and rubs his face.

“You’re bringing all of these?” he says more than asks, his tone reeking of disbelief. His doubt earns him a one shoulder shrug.

“I can’t bring Jamie and leave Wes. Those two are an item. Sometimes I’m in the mood for Gabriel, sometimes Garrett. And Zeke has abandonment issues. He’ll get upset if I leave him behind.”

Guilty as charged. I name my vibrators after my book boyfriends. If you have a problem with it, get on your high horse and go file a complaint with the Bureau of I Don’t Give A Stinking Shit.

 P. Dangelico

P. Dangelico loves romance in all forms, shapes, and sizes, cuddly creatures (four legged and two), really bloody sexy pulp, the NY Jets (although she’s reconsidering after this season), and to while away the day at the barn (apparently she does her best thinking shoveling horse crap). What she’s not enamored with is referring to herself in the third person and social media so don’t expect her to get on Twitter anytime soon. Oh, and although she was born in Italy, she’s been Jersey Strong since she turned six.

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