Cover Reveal & Preorder
Title: Because Beards
Genre: Anthology, Romance
Cover Design: Jessica Hildreth
Photographer: Wander Aguiar
Cover Model: Jacob Rodney
Release Date: November 1, 2016
Be it a little scruff or a full length beard, there’s nothing more attractive than a man with a well-groomed face. Masculine. Powerful. Sexy. Devoted. Lose yourself in this tantalizing collection of original short stories by your favorite romance authors in support of a great cause. Hipster CEO, bartender, best friend, baseball player—just to name a few—these men all have one thing in common: they’re bearded for your pleasure and deliver one hell of a happy ever after.
All proceeds from this anthology will be donated to The Movember Foundation, an organization that supports charities in the research and treatment of prostate and testicular cancer as well as other men’s health initiatives.
Written by Alexis Alvarez, Faith Andrews, M. Andrews, Jeannine Colette, Hayley Faiman, Angelita Gill, Ace Gray, Ruthie Henrick, Scott Hildreth, Evie Lauren, Jerica MacMillan, R.C. Martin, Emmanuelle de Maupassant, Leslie McAdam, Maria Monroe, Adrienne Perry, J. Quist, Renee Rose, Kacey Shea, Martha Sweeney, and Tom Sweeney.
Excerpt One: No Joke by Kacey Shea
He leans forward, resting his elbows and forearms on the counter so our faces are inches apart. I’m trying to be pissed here, but with him this close I get distracted studying the way the blue in his eyes catches the dim light.
“People watching,” he murmurs, his tone a seductive allure.
“Huh?” I’m still lost in those eyes and don’t remember exactly what we’re discussing.
“The way you watch people. It’s something a writer does. Finds entertainment and joy in the mundane of life. It’s beautiful, really.”
“I never thought of it that way.”
“So, what is it that you write?” His voice is back to a casual pitch and I relax.
“Ah . . . I knew with that mouth you’d have to have a naughty side. What kind of romance? Fifty Shades or the Fabio-grandma type stuff?”
I roll my eyes. “You do realize there’s so much more to it than that?” A little laugh escapes my lips and his gaze drops to my mouth. I feel the need to lick the parched skin. Fuck. I’m so screwed.
“Only if you want to be,” he says and his eyes blaze with the same heat I feel all over my skin.
“You said, ‘Fuck, I’m so screwed,’ and not gonna lie. I’d like to help you with that.”
Excerpt Two: The Beard Made Me Do It by Scott Hildreth
I grabbed my purse, turned toward the bathroom, and began to walk away. Carefully placing each foot in front of the other, and at least attempting to look sophisticated, I intentionally walked past the bearded wonder positioned between me and the restroom.
As I walked by, I glanced over my shoulder.
I would have sworn our eyes met.
Maybe it was because I wanted them to.
Either way, he was the most handsome man I had ever seen.
After relieving myself of the afternoon’s alcohol, I stood at the sink and stared blankly into the mirror. Mentally preparing to talk to the magnificent stranger, I was convinced I had what it took – short of a little courage – to impress him.
I turned toward the door, inhaled a breath of bravery, and pulled it open.
Standing on the other side of the door stood the bearded wonder. Wearing a shitty little smirk, it appeared he knew I was coming. Although I had many things planned to say, and many more I wanted to say, I executed none of my plans.
Instead, I stepped to the side, gazed at him with wide eyes, and muttered a half-hearted apology as I passed. “Sorry,” I squeaked.
His hand gripped my shoulder lightly. “Wait.”
My legs began to shake. I turned around.
“You’re single, adventurous, and have no problem keeping a secret,” he said flatly. I couldn’t help but notice that his teeth seemed as white as the winter snow, but it was his beard that commanded my attention.
I stared back at it – and him – in disbelief.
His eyes narrowed slightly. “Am I right?”
My eyes were still fixed on his beard. I nodded. “Uh huh.”
He reached for my hand, turned toward the back door, and paused. “You’re going to come with me.”
Excerpt Three: How To Kill a Lady Boner by Ace Gray
I was bent over the pool table, about ready to sink the eight ball, when a pair of skinny jeans came into view. The legs those pants wrapped around were muscular, and the man was obviously tall. What was even better was that they barely contained what made a man a real man. I couldn’t help but smirk and shoot the ball right at, well, his balls.
“Nice one.” A smooth, rich voice traveled down my spine and made my skin goose bump. I was incredibly glad I’d worn a V-neck that put my cleavage on display. I tried to shimmy the well-worn fabric down as I stood up.
My face fell. Of course, a beard waited for me. One of the big ones you could easily confuse with a grizzly bear vagina.
On second look, The Beard waited for me. I scrunched my face up and bent back down to fish for pool balls so I could re-rack and move on. I kept my head down and my hands busy despite the full weight of his stare.
“Can I play?” he purred at me, literally purred like a jungle cat or something. I arched my eyebrows and looked up at him from underneath my lashes at the ridiculous sound.
“I’m playing with my friend. You can have winner if she doesn’t care.” My eyes dropped back to the table as I spoke.
“Deal.” There was a hint of laughter in his voice and it had me pursing my lips as I stood.
It only took a quick scan of the room to see Mandy had disappeared from my side. She was halfway across the bar, standing next to her brother and some bearded dude. Her hand rested on his pec as she threw her head back and laughed a little too loud. I’d been abandoned in favor of facial hair. Rough, haggard, stringy, wiry pubic hair. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes.
“Looks like you’re up,” I said begrudgingly.
“Don’t sound so disappointed. I’m decent enough.” His voice was laced with humor again.
“I’m sure you are.”
I shook my head and turned to pick up my pool cue. The Beard kept watching me, his eyes had a way of boring into the back of my skull that I felt resonate through me. When I turned around, he was chalking the end of a cue stick with long fingers and self-assured ease, while his eyes stayed fixed on me. He obviously hunted women like prey and, considering his face looked like something straight out of the year 1880, I wasn’t surprised. I had to stop myself from rolling my eyes again.
When he quirked his eyebrow up and stepped confidently toward me, I settled for shaking my head instead.
“My name’s Graham by the way. Graham Foster.”
He held out his hand and I eyed it like he’d extended a rabid weasel.
“I know who you are.” The very idea that he had probably run his hand through his beard kept mine in place. He probably grabbed his balls then stroked his chin and that made my stomach turn.
I bent back down and his crotch was in view again. His big, bulging, about to break free of his denim crotch. Apparently, my snatch was more alive than I’d originally thought. Even the hint of a giant salami made my knees falter. I shook my head and blew out a deep breath before I took a shot. The balls hit against each other with a crisp clack and then shot across the table.
“Are you a Seattle Sounders fan or something?” His laugh was still peeking out through his voice.
“Nah. I prefer Euro Leagues, actually, but the Timbers do just fine for an evening of entertainment.” I pocketed another stripe then shrugged.
“An evening of entertainment? Wow.” He laughed and it was husky, warm, almost like a blanket you could cuddle into during a Pacific Northwest winter. I wanted to lose myself in that laugh. “That’s all you see when you watch me? I’m like an old episode of Friends or something?”
“I was always partial to Sex and the City or Gossip Girl, but yeah, essentially.”
I nailed two balls in before missing. Only then did I stand and meet his gaze.
“You always this hard on a guy trying to buy you a drink?” He watched me plop onto a stool before bending over to work the solids.
I was treated to the perfect ass-shelf again and everything below my belly button clenched. He hit in two balls, each shot making his muscles ripple beneath his perfectly fitting clothes before missing a third. He’d made his way over toward my perch for the botched shot and, when he stood, we were almost pressed against each other. He turned, putting his chiseled chest smack in front of me. I sucked in a deep breath in spite of myself.
“I have a drink,” I stammered.
He wordlessly pulled it from my hand and slugged it back.
Excerpt Four: Fortune Favors the Beard by Alexis Alvarez
I got you a present.” I smile at him and bounce on my toes.
“Oh, you did?” His voice goes low and husky. “Can I unwrap it right now?” He undoes the top button of my blouse and flicks the material aside. “Can I guess what it is?” He drops a kiss onto my neck, letting his lips linger.
I close my eyes and sigh, enjoying the feel of his mouth and his hands on my body. “Of course. You get three tries.”
“Oh, I do? Just three?” He opens another button and cups my breast through the bra. “Here’s one.” He reaches back to squeeze my ass. “Two.” Then he strokes the front of my skirt right at the apex of my thighs, a touch that melts me even through the fabric. “And three. How about these three?”
“Good choices,” I murmur, grabbing both of his ass cheeks through his jeans. I’ll never get tired of his ass – so hard and sexy. “But there’s something else, too.”
“Something else? Really?” He bites my earlobe and I squeak out.
“A real thing! A present.”
“Oh, this is as real as it gets,” he argues, and smacks my ass once.
I yelp. “Something in a box.”
“I want the box,” he agrees, and laughs, rubbing more insistently.
I push his hand back. “First you can open this, though. Then you can have my…box. You’re gross.”
“You love it.” He’s arrogant and confident and he’s right. I do love it. But I really want to give him his present.
I grab a gift bag from the counter and thrust it at him. “Here. You can open it now.”
“For me?” His face lights up, eager, like a kid at Christmas, and he grabs out the fluffed up tissue paper and tosses it to the floor. “I still have no idea why you women put this crap in here.” But he’s pawing through it to get to the prize. “What it is?” He pulls out the small black velvet box and shakes it. “I hope it’s a jeweled butt plug that I get to put into your ass.”
“Stop! It’s not that. If I get you that, you’re not going to find it in a box. I’ll surprise you by wearing it to bed one night.”
His hands freeze on the bag. “Really?” I’ve never heard a more interested voice.