Hallie Athanas tried very hard not to smile as she heard MJ shyly ask her groom if he could dance with her. For a moment, Helios Andreadis, the powerful President of the world's most successful underground racing club, appeared pained. "Dancing is for sissies," he muttered under his breath, which Hallie easily heard since she was standing right next to them.
MJ's face fell. "Oh."
Helios glared. "Don't give me that look."
His nineteen-year-old bride blinked in confusion. "What look?"
Helios glared harder. "That look. Like I'm breaking your heart or something."
MJ smiled valiantly. "You are not."
Another moment passed, MJ smiling, Helios glaring...and then the President sighed. An exasperated smile curved on his lips. "Fine, brat but only for tonight, because it's our wedding day and I want you to know how much I love you."
And so it was that MJ Vlahos-Andreadis blushed the whole time Helios danced with her. She also ended up laughing out loud as Helios, who hated dancing, whirled around every second, faster and faster, so no one could ever capture their faces clearly with their cameras.
It was surreal, seeing the couple together, looking blissfully happy and in love, after what they had gone through in the past year. It was even more surreal that in this huge crowd only a few of them knew what had happened. Other people would look at Helios and MJ and probably think that a tomboyish Cinderella had found her Prince Charming in the person of a handsome, rich, and notoriously aloof bike racer. But Hallie knew better. And because she knew better, it made her want so much to have her own fairy tale ending with the man of her dreams.
The thought made her glance at Andreus Economou, the most badass member of the Afxisi. His official role in the club was Treasurer, but Hallie knew it was a euphemism at best. Unlike the others, she had taken great lengths to know what exactly Andreus did when he went off on his frequent jaunts around the world. At the start, it was because she was worried he'd have a mistress in every city he visited. But then she discovered what Andreus was really doing, and since then she had spied on his actions out of fear for his safety.
She checked her watch, which was fashioned like a bracelet, its straps made of rubies and gold. It had been thirty minutes since the dancing had started - and she just couldn't take it anymore. She had told herself she wouldn't embarrass herself tonight, but...she loved him. Maybe tonight, it would be different?
On the other side of the ballroom, Andreus stood like a Greek god, talking to the younger members of the club. While he wasn't as tall as the President, he definitely had a lot more muscle, requiring all his formal wear to be custom-made to fit his tough, hard body. Just looking at him made her mouth dry. He exuded such raw power, it just left her speechless at times, wondering how it was that being born with a silver spoon in his mouth hadn't been able to smooth and polish the rough edges of Andreus' personality. It was as if he was born with a gritty kind of manliness that no amount of sophistication could ever soften.
Picking up the skirts of her gown, Hallie slowly made her way to Andreus. When she was just a step away from his back, she waited for him to turn, knowing that Andreus was aware of her presence. He always was. They had that kind of connection. He was just so stubborn about ignoring it.
But still he didn't turn. Stubborn man. Did he think that was enough to dissuade her? Tiptoeing, she let her fingers drift on his shoulder. Just once, but slowly, savoring the excuse to be in contact with him. And then she waited, knowing that even if Andreus Economou would rather kill himself than date Yuri Athanas' younger sister, he had never really been able to resist her either.
One, two, three seconds of holding her breath passed before Andreus finally turned. He looked at her, his face intimidatingly grim. She looked back at him, a serene smile on her face. He did this all the time, too. But sooner or later, he would smile and everything would be---
Andreus suddenly cupped her elbow and led her away from his crowd of young fans. He looked down at her and said tightly, "Don't bother me right now, princess."
She didn't see that coming. He had always been rude and unfailingly blunt but...not like that. Not ever with her.
Hallie searched for a clue in his expression but couldn't find any. And he still didn't smile, making her own smile falter. "I'm not---"
"Just stay the hell away from me for now, Hallie. You're getting on my nerves---"
Someone from behind them snickered.
When Andreus spun around, Hallie saw that a couple of the club's fourth-year volunteers had overheard Andreus. "You should listen to the Treasurer," one of the girls said derisively. "It's time you found out you can't always have special treatment just because you're Yuri Athanas' kid sister."
***To be continued***
As a thank you to all those who stuck with Helios and MJ till the very end, here's something I thought you'd be interested in reading. Enjoy!
Here is the link to join the release party HAPPENING RIGHT NOW for Every Sunset Forever, the third book in R.E. Butler's Hynea Heat series. It started 12:00 pm EST (that's about over an hour ago) and will continue all the way to 9:00 PM. I'm slotted at 7:30 PM EST - that's 7:30 AM in Philippines time, which is not a prob for me since I always wake up early anyway during Sundays for church.
Anyway, the party is a blast - there are quizzes and prizes to be won EVERY 30 MINUTES. For my 30-minute slot, I'll be giving away 1 $5 Amazon gift card AND any ebook of mine (winner's choice). The question will be super easy - especially if you're a fan of the lovely R.E. Butler (like me!).
I hope to see y'all there!
Click is currently #287 on Amazon (yay!) as well as being #2 in the Movers & Shakers list and #79 for Hot New Releases, BOTH for the entire Kindle store. Not sure if those numbers mean anything to you guys, but it means A LOT to me, an indie author from the Philippines so yay! Thank you everyone for taking the time to stay with me (if you've read CLICK, you know those words mean something :D), Helios, and MJ until the very end.
P.S. Sorry for the humongous screenshot - I'm addicted to screen capping because it's the only way I can really convince myself I'm not dreaming. :D
Click is also #249 overall on Barnes & Noble, which is definitely something to celebrate as well since I have no idea to reach out to Nook readers so these fine folks are buying the book all on their own. :D
Finally, Click is also #67 on the romance chart (paid) of Apple's iBooks store. (Screenshot below).
So, really - thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!
Now, on to other stuff.
SPOILER ALERT! Please just highlight and read only if you're done with Click.
As you may have noticed, Click is my darkest book yet. I didn't plan it to happen this way. It just did. Similar to The Art of Forgiving a Greek Billionaire, lots of bad stuff happened in Click and the main characters - Helios and MJ - spent most of the time apart. Due to the feedback on Greek 4, I knew that Click would likely not be everyone's favorite book. And I totally understand - but again, that's how their story played out and I did my best to make up for the dark tone by making the epilogue a lot lighter and funnier. I think it's fitting, too, since eventually we all come to a point where we just have to shake off the bad stuff at the past, start fresh, and learn how to laugh and love again. :)
But anyway, you will definitely see more of Helios and MJ in upcoming Heart Racer books. I hope you guys can come with me on more journeys with the men of Afxisi!
P.S. For those who haven't read the books yet, CLICK is currently available in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and All Romance. I'm still waiting for it to go live on Buqo and Kobo.
Since I've been getting questions about when X or Y will be released, I thought you'd appreciate a quick recap of my release schedule. My books will be released in this order (no exact release dates but at least you know what's next)
1. CLICK - August 20, 2014
2. Meant to Be Yours
3. Greek 6: The Art of Kissing a Greek Billionaire
4. Wolf Games, Wolf Kisses
5. How Not to Be Seduced by Dukes 2: The Ice Around My Heart
6. Brimstone 2: Heart of a Duchess
In between those, I will be releasing a vampire book and a sports romance, both intended for different multi-author bundles.
Once we have all these books out, I'll then ask you guys to vote again so I know what you want to read next. I AM hoping however that I can have Awakened out by Halloween and maybe When I Moan sometime late this year. Could happen. Who knows? :D
So, I had a viral infection last week (I actually didn't know it. I visited the doctor yesterday and when I told him my symptoms, he told me I had one), which was really bad timing since I was working on one final read-through for Burn before having it published. Because I was semi-delirious, random thoughts were going through my head a thousand miles per minute. Thankfully, I was sane enough to ignore them.
These thoughts went something like ---
"Maybe...Helios would be crying here."
But then, in my mind I felt like the President was glaring at me but not saying anything because, you know, he only talks to MJ and not even me. So I ditched that idea. You just don't do what the President doesn't want you to do. You just don't.
"I think they're going to have sex now."
Awkward silence between Helios, MJ, and me.
It's like I'm the most insensitive person in the world, thinking they can have sex right away. I can hear imaginary witnesses demanding that I respect MJ's need for space and time to heal.
Me: Okay, okay, I just thought it was a good idea---
Them: NO. YOU ARE A HORRIBLE PERSON FOR EVEN THINKING OF IT.
Me: Okay, okay, I got it.
So that's basically it. Just another random working day for yours truly.
P.S. I sound less like a lunatic when I'm not sick. Really!
P.P.S. Thanks to everyone who's already purchased and read Burn! I hope you liked it and are looking forward to Click!
Here is where I talk about behind-the-scene stuff that readers may want to know more about.