No Holds Barred (Kismet Series, Bk 3)
Word Count –
Adult Contemporary Romance
(Scale of 1 to 5, Five being the Highest) – 1
Heat Level (See Scale Below) – 2
• Sweet – 1 (anything from no romance to sex behind closed doors)
• Mild – 2 (can contain several lovemaking scenes, without graphic language)
• Highly Sensual – 3 (can include hot, frequent love scenes, standard for mainstream romance)
• Erotic Romance – 4 (includes clinical/graphic terms for body parts and intercourse. It may include light BDSM, more frequent use of BGLT sex scenes, ménage and anal sex as long as its frequency does not outweigh normal sex. It must contain a romantic theme.)
• Erotica – 5 (highly explicit/graphic/frequent, may include heavy use of BDSM, GLBT, ménage and anal. Not entirely dependent on romance.)
Excerpt (1-3 per book) –
Excerpt 1 –
“You looked like you needed company, but I wasn’t sure you wanted me here after what happened,” he said when he saw the surprise on her face. From the way they ended things the last time he was here, he didn’t want to assume. The fragile friendship that he’d worked so hard to build, the time he took to get behind her wall, could all be gone now. He didn’t want that.
“Oh.” She stepped back and allowed him to step into the kitchen.
He saw the bottle of wine and the glass on the counter, knew that even though she was happy for her sister, she ached for a child of her own. His own heart ached to see her in pain, even if she kept it well hidden. He could see the strain of it on her face, in the tightening of her lips. “Got another glass?”
“You can have a beer,” Halle said. She opened the door to the fridge and grabbed him one.
He took it as a good sign that she hadn’t thrown his beer out. Maybe she didn’t want to get rid of him just yet. After he popped the top and took a sip, he watched her pour her glass of wine and waited for her to talk. If he pestered her, she clammed up. She had to want to talk about it on her own.
“Stop looking at me like that.” She shook her head, like she was trying to block his stare.
Her eyes narrowed. “Like you’re waiting on me to fall apart.”
“I’m not waiting on you to fall apart. You’re one of the strongest women I know.” He walked closer to her. She froze, glass of wine still in hand. “I’m waiting on you to tell me what’s wrong, so I can help you.”
Her eyes softened, the spite disappearing. “I’m not sure what to think about you anymore.”
Reminded of the emotional distance between them, he took a step back. He didn’t want to crowd her. “I’m still here for you, no matter what. But if you need me to leave, I can.”
She shook her head, a look of panic crossing her face. “No, don’t leave. I just…need to figure out what’s going on between us. I don’t want to lose our friendship. Luke, you have been there for me through all of this, even when I didn’t deserve it.”
“You’ve always deserved it,” he said softly. “Always.” He resisted the urge to step forward again. He wanted to pull her close, take all that pain away. Shoulder some of it for her.
“I’m not going to argue about that right now.” She drained the rest of her wine. “I still want us to be friends. When we kissed the other night, I thought maybe I was going to lose that. I need that right now. I’m not ready for another relationship, and I’m afraid if we push this, whatever this is between us, we’ll lose that. I don’t want to lose it, Luke.”
Her words pierced right through him, taking his breath. He had to catch it before he spoke again. “I don’t want to lose it either. I acted on impulse the other night, kissing you. You mean a lot to me, and if kissing you was a mistake, I can promise it won’t happen again.” He would keep the promise even if he had to develop an iron will.
Halle stared at him, not blinking, until she finally nodded. His heart started to beat again. “We can still be friends.”
He grinned at her. “Why the bottle of wine?”
She sighed. “Victoria and Nick are so happy. Everyone’s so happy, and I’m happy for them.” She took a deep breath, her chest rising and falling shakily. “It’s at times like this that I’m the most bitter. That I hate Trevor the most. He took that away from me. I could’ve had children already, but he always told me someday…when he was settled in his practice and we had time for it. We never had time for it.”
Luke’s chest ached watching emotions play across her face. Did she not see how much he hurt when she did? “You can still have children. You can adopt, or you can meet someone.”
Halle snorted. “Meet someone? I’m in no condition to start another relationship any time soon.”
“You never know.” He wanted to scream that he was right here, that he’d always been here, but she had to see it on her own. Pushing her could make him lose her forever.
Excerpt 2 –
It was weird how much Luke was at the forefront of her mind now. She drove toward his gym on her day off, wanting to say thank you for him bringing her lunch by buying his today. It was the least she could do when he was being so sweet to her. Or that’s what she told herself as she parked. It wasn’t about the kiss, or at least that’s what she convinced herself as she checked her appearance in her mirror before getting out.
The parking lot was practically full, so she had to walk from the back of the parking lot just to get to the door. Cool air enveloped her as she stepped inside. The place was busy, it looked like every machine was taken, and two men were sparring in the ring. A quick look, and she didn’t see Luke.
She did spot Matt, so she made her way over to where he was showing someone how to use the equipment. “Hey, Matt.”
Matt glanced over and grinned. “Hey, Halle. Luke’s in his office.”
“Thanks.” She turned toward the back, smoothing the skirt of the sundress she wore. It was just because it was hot outside; she wasn’t trying to impress him. The office door was shut, but as she approached it, she saw the blinds open. She slowed to a stop, her heart falling to her stomach when she saw the tall, leggy blonde standing next to him. He sat on the edge of his desk, and she was standing too close.
The blonde smiled at something Luke said and leaned closer. She wore tight black shorts, a tight racer tank, and her breasts were practically in his face. He was staring at a file in his hand, but he didn’t move away from the woman.
Halle spun on her heels and ran for the door. She felt so stupid for thinking maybe she wouldn’t be making a mistake again. Stupid for dressing up, for thinking that he cared, for coming here in the first place. Matt called out to her, but she ignored him. Once she got to her car, she took a few deep breaths. She wanted to cry, but she wasn’t going to. She’d wasted too many tears on men.
Excerpt 3 –
“Walking around in just a towel could get you in trouble.”
Halle jumped, grabbing at the towel as it fell. She pulled it around herself, knuckles white, and frowned at Trevor. “What the hell are you doing here?” A frisson of fear shot down her spine. “How did you get inside? I changed the locks.”
Trevor’s normally model-looking face was ruddy.
Halle could tell he’d been drinking, and that scared her more. He was always an asshole, but when he drank he was more of one. Not once had he hit her, but that was when he was trying to keep his good-guy façade up. She lifted her chin. “Get out. This isn’t your house anymore.”
He took a step forward, and she tightened the towel around her. “This is still my fucking house, bitch. You can’t take that away from me. I paid for it.”
“Yeah, well, now I do. You have no reason to be here.”
“What are you going to do?” He sneered at her like he used to, when it made her feel like she couldn’t do anything right.
“I’m going to call the police.” Halle moved toward her cell phone, which was on the counter.
He stepped in front of her, grabbing her arm and squeezing it hard.
She tried to yank her arm out of his grasp while still keeping the towel around her. She knew it was nothing he hadn’t seen before, but she never wanted him to see her naked again. The thought made her sick.
“I want my house back. My reputation. No one will really speak to me now that you spread lies about me.” He leaned closer, lips thin and white.
“I only told the truth.” She yanked her arm, this time hard enough to pull it free. She shoved him with her other hand and it caught him off-guard enough that he fell back. She raced to grab her keys and phone and got in her car. The only thing she could think of was to get to Luke’s. He made her feel safe.
After the devastating discovery of her ex-husband’s infidelity, Halle has spent the last year and a half trying to pick up the pieces. Complicated has become her normal state of being, especially when she starts to see Luke as more than a friend.
Luke has loved Halle since the moment he laid eyes on her in high school, but has been forced to keep his distance because of her marriage. Now that she’s single again, he’s hoping for the opportunity to finally make his move. Despite his questionable past, Luke knows it’s going to take a lot for Halle to open herself up and learn to trust him. Will he be able to break through the walls she’s built around her heart?
When sparks fly between Halle and Luke, will they be able to overcome the obstacles in their path and find the no-holds-barred love they both deserve? Or will everything come tumbling down around them?
Book Cover –
Buy Links –
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GGL8I4Q
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01GGL8I4Q
Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01GGL8I4Q
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01GGL8I4Q
Book Trailer – N/A
Playlist – https://open.spotify.com/user/1294175518/playlist/3bfU3HQYF8XoFo9acrT242
Character Casting (if available) –
Halle: Adelaide Kane
Luke: Luke Mitchell
Trevor: Simon Baker
Elevator Pitch (10 second pitch that you would share in line at Starbuck’s if asked to describe the book) –
Halle ex-husband cheated on her, destroying her trust in men. Luke is the man who’s loved her since high school. She wants to move past her insecurities and allow herself to love Luke, but Trevor may have left her more damaged than she thought.
Target Market Profile –
18-40-year-old women who like sweet and sexy romance. Also like suspense. Nurses may also like it.
Competitive Analysis Identify 3-5 books that are similar in genre and content. –
• The Perfect Hope- Nora Roberts
• Blurred Lines- Lauren Layne
• Torn Hearts- Claire Contreras
7 identifying terms. – romance, cheating, divorce, adoption, nurse, family
Editorial Reviews –