Here's a little teaser from MASQUERADE which is out January 7th. It's the first scene where Maddox and Bee meet. They're at the club where Maddox works security
I’m not really sure what makes me do it, but I push to my feet, walk over, and lean against the wall next to him. “You’re piece is pretty nice. Could be cleaned up a bit.” I point to his tat. He huffs. “And you’re an expert, right?” He makes it sound like it’s a ridiculous thought. I smirk because, of course, that’s the first thing people think. I don’t know why. It’s not like it’s so rare to be a female tattoo artist. We keep standing there. People are dancing all around, drinking and talking. He’s wearing an earpiece so it’s pretty obvious he’s security. After a few minutes, he tosses a glance my way. “You’ve got some nice work too.” The words seem to physically pain him to say. “Thanks.” All of my work was done by the Professor. He’s the old guy who taught me how to tat. I don’t really talk about the Professor because he’s important to me and I like to keep important things to myself. Most people wouldn’t get it anyway. “What’s your name?” he asks without looking at me. “Bee. Yours?” “Maddox.” I recognize what he’s doing. It’s so much easier to talk to people when you don’t have to look at them. Looking brings you closer and sometimes it’s too hard to get close. I was like that when I first came home. I’m still like that sometimes. Standing here, I realize I kind of get this guy. I think he might get me too and I don’t remember the last time I thought something like that. It’s not that I need him or anyone else to understand me. Still in this moment, it feels kind of good. “Maddox!” A guy yells from a few feet away. “You’re off early tonight. Go ahead and clock out.” Maddox turns to look at me. My skin sizzles under his stare. His eyes are gray and hot on me. Man, this guy is sexy, and for a second, I consider what it would be like to lose myself in him for a night. “You here with anyone?” His voice is low. A good girl would probably tell him she wasn’t interested. The kind of girl I maybe should be. The kind my sister is or my mom is. I don’t think it’s such a bad thing to let myself have a little fun. If I’m smart…safe, what’s the problem? “No.” I push off the wall so I’m standing right in front of him when he speaks again. “Do you want to leave with me?” “We go to a hotel, not a house. And it’s only one night.” “Isn’t that supposed to be my line?” He smirks. It’s the first time I’ve seen him do anything except scowl. “I’m all about equal opportunity, remember?” “Are you drunk?” “No, just had the one beer.” Maddox gives me a simple nod, then tells me the name of a hotel and says he’ll meet me there. To be sure, I walk over to a different bouncer than the first one who talked to him and confirm Maddox works here. You never know what kind of scams people will come up with and I need to confirm he’s legit. A few minutes later I’m in my car and driving to the hotel. Just one night. It’s been crazy and stressful getting everything ready for Masquerade and I really want to let go and have a little fun, with someone who’s safe because I’ll never have to see him again
After his father is put in prison for murder leaving his mother suicidal, Maddox Cross has always put his sister, Laney, first. Now living in Brenton, Virginia, Maddox has no idea what to do with his life, especially since Laney no longer needs him. One thing he does know is for the first time since losing football, he's found something else that's just for him--tattooing. When he meets a feisty young woman in the club where he works security, he has no idea that she has the ability to change his life forever.
Bee Malone has just moved to Brenton to open up her first tattoo parlor, Masquerade. Despite her young success, nothing is ever as it seems. After being kidnapped at a young age, Bee has difficulty being the daughter her parents lost and letting go of the "parents" she was raised with. When she meets Maddox, she's immediately attracted to him and what starts out as a one night stand leaves Bee wanting to connect with him in more ways than one.
Once Maddox finds out about Masquerade, he wants nothing more than to join Bee. But letting him in means trying to figure out who she is and she's not ready for that. And yet, as the two get closer, they find themselves leaning on each other more than they are comfortable with. Will their stubborn nature tear them apart? Or push them closer together?