Contest Day One – Laid Bare

So let’s kick off the contest with Laid Bare, shall we?

Copyright 2009, Lauren Dane
All Rights Reserved, The Berkley Publishing Group

Todd would have wondered if the apartment number was wrong but there were only three on this floor and the funky folk-art knocker clued him in.

She opened, looking surprised and slightly harried. “I’m sorry! I was on the balcony writing. I was so in my head I lost track of time. Come in.”

He followed her inside and when he closed the door, he noted the locks. Four of them. In a ridiculously secure high rise building.

His question about the locks died as he entered the loft and got a look at the place. Floor to ceiling windows fronted the living room, giving a grand view of downtown and a slice of the water. Light, natural woods marked the cabinets and built-ins as well as warmed the floors.

He kicked his shoes off and left them near the door.

“You don’t have to take your shoes off. Come in, make yourself at home. I made margaritas, you want?”

He looked at her, her hair loose to where sway of her back began in earnest, big hazel eyes looking back through arty little glasses. She was even more beautiful in her otherness than she was ten years ago.
“Damn, you’re something else to look at. You know that?”

She smiled and he noted the lines next to her mouth. Not from age, but the kind of lines only life can put there. He wanted to thumb across them, smoothing them out, sliding away whatever pain had put them there to start with.

“Is that a good something else or a bad something else? Because it’s pretty ridiculous that a man only looks better as he ages but women not so much.”

With two strides he was there, just inches away from her in that sexy top and short, flowy skirt of hers. Her legs were still sexy as were her bare feet.

“Good.” He traced a fingertip over the curve of each breast where it heaved out the top of her shirt. From his angle he caught the shadow of her nipples and the memory of the rings shot straight to his cock. “You look amazingly sexy, Erin. Beautiful.”

“Mmmm. Good answer.”

The silence between them wasn’t awkward, it was fraught with sexual tension and he let himself revel in it. He’d be inside her that night so why rush? Why not just enjoy it?

“Margarita sounds good.”

She licked her lips and turned, the skirt flaring enough that he got a good view of her pert ass in some pink boyshort style panties. God he loved those.

“Are you hungry?” she asked as she salted the rim of the glass and poured the margarita over ice.
“You remembered.”

“What?” She smiled at him, putting the glass on the bar before him.

“That I like margaritas on the rocks.”

“Of course.” She shrugged.

“Yes, I’m hungry. You’re quite the cook, by the way.”

She put a covered pan in the oven. “I wish I could say I’m usually more on the ball, but when I’m writing, I lose track of time. I put together some enchiladas earlier. They just need to heat. Why don’t you sit down there and keep me company while I pull together everything else?”

He hopped up on a stool and saw her guitar in a case near the open doors to the balcony.

“You mentioned writing. Writing music? I heard you made it big out in LA. Are you still doing that?”

“Yes. Big is a matter of perspective I suppose.” She shrugged. “I write for Adrian, he’s still in the biz. He has a house on Alki with a studio. We record together there.”

“Do you still tour and stuff?”

Her face froze. He was a cop for many years, enough to know when someone had been shaken by a question. She licked her lips and then breathed out. “No. But Adrian does. He gets groupies camped out at the end of his driveway and stuff. I just write music and do studio work. I like it better that way. No groupies camped out, I can walk down the street without being recognized. I like my privacy.”

There was a bigger story there but he’d wait to hear it later. He’d only been back in her life for hours. “So the café is like a sideline?”

“It’s a nice way to keep myself working, leaving the house every day.” She shrugged as she began to shake a bottle of dressing for the salad she’d just prepared. “We can eat on the balcony, there’s a table out there but it’s getting a bit windy. Or in here where it’s not.”

He laughed and she cocked her head.


“I’d forgotten how much I liked your laugh.”

“As compliments go, that’s a good one. How about in here? You have some view.” He helped her carry plates and silverware to the table she’d indicated.

“I like it up here.”

She sashayed off and returned with a plate of fresh fruit and cheese. He’d liked to watch her ten years ago but had always told himself to stop. Now, he sat and openly ate her up with his gaze.

That afternoon when he’d left her café, he’d run around town finishing up his errands, stopping by to check in on his parents, going to the hardware store and the whole time, he’d come to grips with his situation. He wasn’t going to run from what he felt anymore. From what he was.

Today’s Prize is a copy of Laid Bare – signed if in trade paper, or sent directly via Amazon for your Kindle (BN doesn’t have gifting options, sorry!). International entries are most welcome. All you need to do is reply to this question: Do you like books with family relationships in them?

I’ll choose a winner tomorrow, August 23rd and post it here. Winners are responsible for checking back to see if they’ve won and to claim their prize within two weeks. Good luck!

61 comments to “Contest Day One – Laid Bare”

  1. Pat L.
    August 22nd, 2011 at 4:56 am · Link

    Awesome contest. I love your covers!

    And Yes I love family stories. 🙂

  2. Amy Kathryn
    August 22nd, 2011 at 5:08 am · Link

    I do like to see the dynamic of other people’s families even if they are fictional. It sometimes makes me feel better about mine!

  3. jessi
    August 22nd, 2011 at 5:13 am · Link

    Yep love reading books that have strong family connections either within them or as a series, as that makes them more real to me, and allows me to connect and escape from reality for awhile. 😛

  4. L
    August 22nd, 2011 at 5:14 am · Link

    I do love to read about families. I have sisters – no brothers, so I love reading about them.

  5. Virginia C
    August 22nd, 2011 at 5:27 am · Link

    Umm-Hmm! I love the simmering sensuality and sentiment in this excerpt! “Laid Bare” sounds terrific!

    I am an only child, and all of my immediate family is gone. I did not get to marry and have my own family. I am fascinated by the “dramedy” of large families! Great families make for sensational series! I read more stand-alones than series. However, when I am hooked on a series, I will collect the entire set. Whether it’s great characters or an intriguing story line, or both, I’ll stay with it until the end. I do believe that some characters and scenarios are better suited to one intense edition that’s perfect just as it is–don’t mess with it! Some story lines work better on a larger scale, and they might just be too much for one book. They develop more slowly, with characters coming and going along the way. In the final analysis, it’s always the ability of the storyteller to spin a great tale that makes the difference.

  6. Iris
    August 22nd, 2011 at 5:29 am · Link

    I like them very much! Because of the family connection in a series, you get to know the family in the first book and when a family member get’s their own you book, you already like them and know a lot about them. It gives more depth to the story. The other characters from the first book get another appearance, so you’ll know more about what happened to them after the story ends.

    I also come from a rather large family (there’s 4 of us) so it’s nice to see how other brothers and sisters act with each other. I recognize a lot 😉

  7. Chris @ absolutely adequate
    August 22nd, 2011 at 5:44 am · Link

    I love storylines with family relationships – especially when there’s sequels!

  8. Michelle AB
    August 22nd, 2011 at 6:25 am · Link

    I do enjoy books/series that deal with families. I like the different personalities of the siblings and how they interact with each other. With the Brown siblings I like how they depended on each other to help them through some of the rough times they had and how they welcomed each others mates into their family. Series like these warm my heart because we hear about so many families breaking apart. Thank you Lauren for these loving and real family stories.

  9. steph j
    August 22nd, 2011 at 6:31 am · Link

    I like stories with families because it allows the readers to see another side to a character. How you deal or don’t with your family is different than how you would with a potential mate. Plus only your family can truly drive you crazy.

  10. Diane Mc.
    August 22nd, 2011 at 6:35 am · Link

    You see more into the character.

  11. Melanie S.
    August 22nd, 2011 at 6:39 am · Link

    I really like to read books with family relationships in them, because there you can see how a character interacts with his family and in the majority of cases you will learn more about his past and childhood.

  12. C-M
    August 22nd, 2011 at 6:56 am · Link

    I enjoy books more when there is a family relationship involved. It makes the characters more realistic to me.

  13. Kathleen
    August 22nd, 2011 at 7:06 am · Link

    To read about a family and to watch the stories unfold is amazing. I am always waiting for the next story to come out. I love it when the member of the family is mentioned in the next book and you get a glimpse of how the relationship is doing.

  14. Maryam
    August 22nd, 2011 at 7:11 am · Link

    I loved this book! And often reread it. It was so emotional and had me in tears in a couple of spots. The Brown family is got to be one of my favorite series.

  15. Ren
    August 22nd, 2011 at 7:12 am · Link

    I always love read book with family theme. Maybe because even I already at my twenties something,time to go out from my home, I still live with my family. What I love is dynamic between family member, and the fact, even they mad to each other, they still support if one of them have a problem 🙂

  16. Tamara Hoffa
    August 22nd, 2011 at 7:24 am · Link

    I love books with family connections, love pretty much all series type stories, even if they are not familial

  17. RebeLovesBooks
    August 22nd, 2011 at 7:45 am · Link

    Yes, I love books with families! I especially like series featuring different family members.

  18. Lorraine Rodriguez
    August 22nd, 2011 at 8:04 am · Link

    I Love family relationships. You learn so much more about the charaters that way. And if they happen to be in a series, you get to go back and visit them in the books that follow. I love catching up with charaters I love and miss. 😛

  19. Sabrina R.
    August 22nd, 2011 at 8:34 am · Link

    I love books with family relationships in them. Having a sense of the family dynamic of the main character(s) helps the reader understand the way the characters life was shaped. I love reading on my Kindle and have gotten to where I buy all books within a series at once so that I can read them in order – it helps keep the thought process straight as I think about all the different ways the characters shape each other’s lives.

  20. Robin K
    August 22nd, 2011 at 8:53 am · Link

    I think that most books have some type of family element. This being the case it would be hard not to like or at least accept it. I would say that I do like it a little more light with the focus on the main characters.

  21. Maja F
    August 22nd, 2011 at 8:57 am · Link

    Yes, I absolutely love reading about families. Maybe because I am an only child so I feel kind of lonely and it is nice to see different dynamics of people, even if fictional.

  22. Christine
    August 22nd, 2011 at 8:57 am · Link

    Love books w/ family relationships gives you the opportunity to get to know many characters and revisit them over the course of a series.

  23. Chele Blades
    August 22nd, 2011 at 9:28 am · Link

    I do like the family series’ mostly when they involve hot alpha brothers….never want it to end..

    thanks for the chance

  24. Ju Dimello
    August 22nd, 2011 at 9:41 am · Link

    Hi Lauren!!!

    I got held up at the top – by the cover – on a stare-fest 😉 Lovely! From the placement of his fingers to her tattoos.. 😉 :Swoons:

    I had a pre-defined notion that in a romance it is best to focus on the hero / heroine than on the family 😉 But having read books that include families, I must say, I LOVE reading about each character (in the form of a series), knowing how the earlier pair are doing in present scenarios…and love the dynamics and the richness the family brings to the story!

    Congrats on your new release!!! Thanks so much for the fabulous giveaways. Count me in.

    judimello AT gmail DOT com

  25. Angie M
    August 22nd, 2011 at 9:51 am · Link

    I love stories with families in them! 🙂 One of the reasons that I love your books is because of the strong sense of family, even if it is a family of friends. Laid Bare has a special place in my heart because it is the first book of yours that I read and I fell in love with your characters and your writing. Looking forward to your fall releases!

  26. elaing8
    August 22nd, 2011 at 10:01 am · Link

    You have such great covers Lauren.Love this series.
    I do like reading stories with family relationships in them.

  27. Missy_G
    August 22nd, 2011 at 11:21 am · Link

    Love this book…i have it in eBook but not in paperback which i would love!! I love stories with families it is great way to keep in touch with past characters.

  28. Spav
    August 22nd, 2011 at 11:25 am · Link

    I love to read books with families. Especially if they are part of a series and almost all the family members get a HEA.

  29. Ilona
    August 22nd, 2011 at 11:26 am · Link

    As I love reading most anything the simple answer is YES.

  30. Danny
    August 22nd, 2011 at 12:06 pm · Link

    I love reading books with family relationships, it’s great to see characters again that you liked in previous books

  31. Rachel Riddles
    August 22nd, 2011 at 12:20 pm · Link

    I love love love books about families! I think the Chase’s and Brown’s have been some of the best I’ve read. I think because even in books after their own it’s fun to see the H/h of the previous book and see how they’re doing.

    This was the first book of yours I read. Made me cry like a baby!

    Congrats on the upcoming releases. 🙂

  32. Jordan H
    August 22nd, 2011 at 12:43 pm · Link

    I love books with family relationships. I have two brothers and a large extended family so I can relate to books with meddling families 😆

  33. jeanette8042
    August 22nd, 2011 at 12:43 pm · Link

    I love books with family relationships in them and I can’t wait for Adrian’s book to release to read more about the Brown family!

  34. Diane Sadler
    August 22nd, 2011 at 1:03 pm · Link

    I love your contests and your books! Keep them coming.

  35. Rosemary
    August 22nd, 2011 at 1:04 pm · Link

    I like books with family relationships. It allows you to see new dimensions of a character’s petsonality you wouldn’t get to see otherwise.

  36. Joder
    August 22nd, 2011 at 1:14 pm · Link

    I’ve read this book already and absolutely loved the chemistry between all members of the triad. It’s a highly emotional story and sexy to boot! So you don’t need to put me in the running for a copy. I did want to answer today’s question though….

    I LOVE books featuring families. I like the special connections they have and how it affects every aspect of their lives and relationships. I feel like a part of the family myself when reading the books and feel a sense of loss when these series come to an end.

  37. Jimena D.
    August 22nd, 2011 at 1:58 pm · Link

    Yes, I do love books with family relationships. The Brown Siblings series is especially interesting with family relationships since they have no parents so they’re family ties seem even stronger because of it and they’re very protective of one another which effects any outside romantic relationships the characters might have.

  38. Jane
    August 22nd, 2011 at 2:43 pm · Link

    I really do enjoy books and series that feature family relationships.

  39. Sherry S.
    August 22nd, 2011 at 3:00 pm · Link

    I love reading books that deal with family relationships. I love seeing how the author have them interact and deal with problems.

  40. Marlene Breakfield
    August 22nd, 2011 at 3:41 pm · Link

    I love books with family relationships in them. Many books on my keeper shelf are series about families.

  41. maria pena
    August 22nd, 2011 at 4:38 pm · Link

    I love reading about families especially about brothers and there love lives!

  42. Chris
    August 22nd, 2011 at 4:40 pm · Link

    I love series that have family relationships that connect them. Then you get glimpses of couples that have already had books!

  43. Monikarw
    August 22nd, 2011 at 4:42 pm · Link

    I love the excerpt and yes I enjoy books of families!:) I like to follow on previous stories! 😉
    thanks for keeping the contest open to internationals! 😛

  44. Linda
    August 22nd, 2011 at 4:45 pm · Link

    Yes I like books with family relationships as long as it’s not incestuous. Not between the hero/heroine anyway. Villains are exempted! (talk about discrimination)

    Love the cover of the book!

  45. Viki S.
    August 22nd, 2011 at 4:49 pm · Link

    Yes, I like books with family relationships. I really like the brown siblings. Thanks for the giveaway.


  46. Raonaid Luckwell
    August 22nd, 2011 at 5:26 pm · Link

    Families in stories give more depth to a character, so yes, I like when books have family relatioships.

  47. Jessie
    August 22nd, 2011 at 5:42 pm · Link

    I love books with family relationships.

  48. Amanda Coughlin
    August 22nd, 2011 at 6:25 pm · Link

    I think that family relationships in books are interesting especially when they follow normal family lives.

  49. infinitieh
    August 22nd, 2011 at 6:31 pm · Link

    Family relationships are important in life and in fiction. They give depth to a character.

  50. Pamk
    August 22nd, 2011 at 7:52 pm · Link

    I like them especially the ones your write. I’d still like to read polly’s story, Maybe as a freebie or novella lol.
    scrtsbpal at yahoo dot com