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romance novel

A Steamy, Geeky Book Excerpt


A Steamy, Geeky Book Excerpt

Let’s get steamy.

I’m working on my forthcoming book, First Time Player, and am LOVING the chemistry between Lu and Wes.

In fact, I’m loving it so much that I couldn’t keep it to myself.

So! Here is a excerpt for your reading pleasure. Hope it doesn’t leave you too, um, bothered. ;)

Chapter 7


“And you, Wes — what do you want to do with me?” Her words were heavy with a bold and unabashed hunger. And yet they held a barely perceptible tremble of vulnerability that made Wes want to cradle her body close, not to blend their flesh into one — although he certainly wanted that, too — but to protect this woman whose brisk exterior only served to shield the sensitive soul it housed.

Some ancient instinct deep within him rose, wanting to be not only her lover but also her defender. I wondered if she would allow me to be either, or if she only wanted me for the night.

He thought about how, over the course of his life to this point, he’d lucked out on love even while he’d done so well in nearly every other endeavor he put his hand to. But for some reason, he seemed to attract women that only wanted what they saw without attending to his heart. They wanted his body, but for one night or two.

Wes wanted more. He wanted a woman who would let him pursue her, romance her, win her hand. He wanted a woman who would fall back in love with him, with his heart and mind. A woman to share life with.

He knew exactly what he wanted, and what most women offered him? That was exactly the opposite of his desires, and he never said yes to that which was not right for him.

So he’d retained his principles — and also his virginity.

Wes swallowed hard. He wondered if he, inexperienced as he was, could give Ana what her dark eyes were asking him for. And at the same time, everything in him longed to try.

He didn’t know if she wanted him for this night or a string of nights or for forever. She probably didn’t know herself.

But for some reason, with her, he didn’t care. Unlike every other woman who’d wanted him, he didn’t give a shit about how long Ana wanted him for. He would take anything and everything she was willing to give him.

Because this connection, this pull to each other that they both clearly felt — and had been feeling for a long time? He couldn’t walk away from it. He wouldn’t.

He looked at their fingers twisting together, and then at Ana’s eyes, where need and doubt swirled together.

“I want to be as close to you as you’ll allow,” he said, voice husky with his own hunger. “I’ll sit on a bench outside and hold your hand and watch the moon rise and set, or I’ll take you back to my hotel room and make love to you all night. I’ll do anything for you, and with you, Ana. What do you want?”

The worry washed from her eyes, and her full lips turned up at the corners. “I want you to kiss me. Now.”

Wes grinned. “I was hoping you might say that.”

He slid his hands around her waist, fingertips digging into those delicious curves, pulling her to him so that their hips pressed together. She reached up to Wes, clutching his collar and tugging his head down to hers. He hesitated a moment, teasing, lips a breath away, exhalations hot against each other’s faces. And then he tasted her, plying her mouth with his own.

The kiss was soft and hard at the same time, and she tasted like sweet fire and cinnamon. Wes pulled back to press his lips at the corners of her mouth, then crushed back into her full on. She gave a little sigh and yanked on his collar, opening her mouth and teasing his tongue with hers.

He could feel himself growing hard, ready, and he ground his pelvis against hers. She must have felt his arousal, because she grabbed a handful of his ass, drawing his hips into her even more.

Without warning she released him and stepped back, leaving Wes gasping and blinking in shock. The sudden space between them felt cold, drafty, and he longed to return to the heat of their embrace.

“Is everything okay?” he managed, struggling to get his body under control.

A flirty smile flickered across her face. Ana reached out a single hand without stepping closer, taking his.

“More than okay.” Tossing him a last searing glance over her shoulder, she headed for the door of the con bar, leading him by the hand. He followed, eager and willing to submit to her control.

Wes let her lead him through the venue’s foyer and to the main entrance. Here she paused, winding herself around him and flicked her tongue over his lips before diving in for a bottomless kiss that practically made him see stars.

It felt like the kiss lasted a moment, or forever. When she pulled away, she said, voice guttural. “I want you, Wes. Tonight. Take me to your hotel.”

He closed the space between them, cupping her face in his palms and planting blossoming kisses across her cheeks.

And then it was his turn to lead her, fingers entwined, his low belly pulsing with primal desire, ready to let Ana make him hers.

Wes and Lu's story releases December 31st. Grab your Kindle edition of First Time Player for just $0.99 here.


A Free Romance Novel For You, Love


A Free Romance Novel For You, Love

Free book alert!

Are you preordering my new sweet/hot geek romance First Time Player? (And, um, HUZZAH to a new sweet hot book coming out! it’s a nerd romance — yes please! I can’t wait to share this one with you!)

Send me a screenshot of your receipt and I'll send you a free surprise book!

Email your receipt to me at poppy(at)poppyparkes(dot)com and I’ll email you back with a free book.

And! Want a free excerpt to go with your free book? Join our Facebook community, Happily Ever After Addicts, and read the scene where Wes and Lu lock eyes for the first time in First Time Player.

Wes and Lu's story releases December 31st. Grab your Kindle edition of First Time Player for just $0.99 here.



A Sneak Peek Inside THE GALA GIRLS Book #1!


A Sneak Peek Inside THE GALA GIRLS Book #1!

Here’s a little look at what I wrote today on the first book in my forthcoming THE GALA GIRLS trilogy. I’m so in love with Esme and Nate, and can’t wait for you to really meet them.

When the cafe door banged open while Nate was in the middle of rinsing out the blender after making a frappe, he heard it. Glancing over his shoulder, his mouth dropped open in surprise.

“Hey,” Esme said, waving apologetically from the other side of the bar. “Sorry about disappearing.”

He turned off the sink, leaving the blender carafe in the basin, and dried his hands, turning to her. “No worries. I’m sorry I haven’t called you since we went out.”

“It’s okay. I didn’t either,” she pointed out. “And anyway, that’s kind of what I’m here about.”

He leaned against the bar, raising his brows. “Oh yeah?”

“Go out with me? There’s a movie playing at the independent theater and —“

“Yes.” He smiled, arching a brow.

She faltered. “But — I didn’t — you don’t even know what I was going to ask you to do.”

“I don’t care. If you’ll be there, I’ll be there.”

A pink flush crept up her neck. “Oh. Well, then, excellent. “How’s Wednesday night?”

“Any night is perfect. Every night.” His voice was dead serious, making her eyes widen.

But when her gaze met his, something in her eyes was steely and hot. “Tonight then. I’ll pick you up. Just before seven.”

He leaned in closer. “I’ll be ready.”

The flush reached her cheeks, and she bit back a playful smile. “I can’t wait.”

Then she turned on her heal and sashayed from the shop, his eyes following her hips.

“That,” Henry said, walking behind Nate bear a basket of dirty rags he was taking to the back to launder, “went much, much better.”

Nate couldn’t stop a beaming smile from splashing across his face. Suddenly the news about Bradford couldn’t hold a candle to the flowery scent of Esme still hanging in the cafe.

Want to be the first to know when this book is available to devour? Sign up for my mailing list here and I’ll personally send you an email (and probably a discount!).


3 Reasons to Read Romance Novels When Everything Sucks


3 Reasons to Read Romance Novels When Everything Sucks

I wasn’t always a fan of romance novels. In fact, I wasn’t even sold on the idea of reading them at all. Weird for a romance writer, right?

But that was before I allowed myself to try them (formerly very academic Virgo here so, yep, “allowed” is the right word 🙈). And definitely before I allowed myself to enjoy them and see the value in them.

Once I did, though, there was no going back for me. And while it can be tempting to see the romance genre as fluffy, saccharine, unrealistic, and useless, I believe that it is anything but.

Even when the world — or your personal world — feels like it’s falling apart.

In fact, especially then. Read on to learn why.

1. Romance Novels are Happy

Okay, okay, so romance authors definitely put their characters (and their readers) through the wringer a bit — or a lot — between boy-meets-girl and happily-ever-after.

But that’s the thing — by definition, a romance novel must end happily. The main love interests always end up together. The boy gets the girl, she gets a ring put on — however you like to put it, a romance novel always ends with two happy main characters together, in love.

It’s predictable, sure. But it’s also really nice.

Let’s be real. Life is hard sometimes. Or maybe a lot of times. And if you’re anything like me, existence on this planet in general has escalated in difficulty across the board in the last couple of years. When I look around at the political climate, at who’s in charge of making the world’s biggest decisions and what they’re choosing, at the actual climate and its degredation . . . it’s easy for me to slip into a glum mood at best and despair at worst.

So something that is (after some required plot twists) simple and happy and makes you feel all warm inside? That’s not a bad thing. Not by a long shot.

2. Reading Romance Gives Your Brain a Break

Not only is romance by definition happy and dopamine-boosting, its almost egregiously optimistic boy-always-gets-girl formula provides another service for our brains — it gives our overworked minds a break.

The world of a romance novel is, for all its twists and turns in the middle-ish parts, pretty simple and formulaic. We know what to expect — and if you market a book as romance that doesn’t deliver on the genre’s expectations, your readers will not be pleased.

Combined with the fact that love stories end happily, this means that romances give our brains a much-needed (and deserved) break. We can’t overthink about what feels like the end of the world all the time, otherwise we’d go insane. It’s important to take breaks, for our mental health.

And romance novels are a nice way to take a break. So your love story indulgence? It’s not just an indulgence — it’s one way to take a necessary and healing break.

3. Romances are Really Fun

Romance novels provide some great brain benefits. But you know what? They’re also just plain fun. These stories allow us to revel in our fantasies, to perhaps try on something naughtier or more illicit than we might act in our day-to-day lives, and to simply enjoy.

And that’s awesome. It’s okay for something to be just for fun. In fact, it’s pretty damn fantastic.

I know of so many women (and men) who hide the covers of their romance novels when they read in public for fear of being judged (I’m guilty of this, too).

But there’s nothing worth being critical about reading romance novels. They’re awesome. They can be sexy and silly and sassy and mysterious and spooky — but they’re always just plain fun.

Let yourself have fun. It’s not only therapeutic, it’s pretty darn enjoyable, too.

So go for it, romance fans. Indulge, guilt-free, and know that this is one way you’re being kind to yourself.

Okay, your turn. Why do you think it’s a great idea to read romance novels, particularly when the world feels like it’s a dumpster fire? Tell us in the comments!