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Friday, October 9, 2015

The Rocked Series by Clara Bayard



She’s dreaming of a life of excitement and romance. He’s searching for something real.

When rock sensation Joe Hawk wanders into the diner where Liss works her dark night is brightened by his incredibly blue eyes and sexy smile. The attraction is immediate and every moment is charged with erotic heat.

The first impression is easy. Taking the next step is much harder. The plus sized beauty has to overcome her insecurities to take a risk on a man whose life is the opposite of everything she’s ever known and changing faster than either of them realizes.

From the first electric touch their chemistry is undeniable and the possibilities are endless.

Liss leaves everything she knows behind for an adventure of a lifetime. Life on the road is wild and intoxicating, a constant party that ends every night with laughter and passion. But when the plus sized beauty finds herself falling in love with Joe but out of love with his lifestyle, she has to decide who she wants to be and where that leaves her budding relationship.

Joe & Liss (Book 1-3):
All Romance | Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo |

Lost Weekend (Book 3.5)
All Romance | Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | 

Dex & Becca (Book 4-6):
All Romance | Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo |

Rocked In The Dark Julia & Rick (Book 7):
All Romance | Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo |

Rocked All Night Julia & Rick (Book 8):
All Romace | Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo |

Rocked In The Light Julia & Rick (Book 9):
All Romance | Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo |

Rocked in Paradise (Book 9.5):
All Romance | Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo |

Ding-ding! Ding-ding!

“Order up!”

I sighed and put down the towel I was using to wipe off the counter and walked the few steps to roll my eyes where he could see me. “Darrell, I’m right over there and we only have one customer. I don’t think the bell and the yelling are necessary.”

My boss shrugged and pushed the plate of eggs across the pass at me. “Sorry, kiddo. This old dog ain’t learning nothing new. I been ringing that bell for a hundred years and I’ll be ringing it on my way down to Hell.”

I couldn’t help but laugh. As much as working all night left me tired and out of sync with the rest of the world I did enjoy Darrell’s folksy weirdness. Over the past month we’d fallen into a comfortable rhythm to keep each other entertained while the diner was basically empty.

“You’re not that old, boss,” I reassured him as I grabbed two slices of toast to deliver to the only other person in the place.

Ding-ding! Ding-ding!

Darrell rang the bell again to get my attention. “God hates liars, kiddo. I’m older ‘n dirt and just as sour.” He laughed and went back to humming along to the radio that played softly in the kitchen.

I put the plate down in front of our customer and asked if she needed anything else, wondering idly if dirt was actually sour. That would probably depend on what kind and where it came from. There could be sweet dirt and spicy dirt. Sour dirt and bland dirt.

Depressed at the fact I was even thinking about it so much, I shrugged my shoulders a few times to clear my head. We needed to get the television fixed so there’d be something besides the all night oldies station to distract me before I went crazy (crazier?) and started taste-testing from the empty planters.

Trying to maintain what was left of my sanity; I checked all the napkin dispensers and straightened up the prep area. By the time that was done our only customer had finished and left and all was even quieter. I collected my twenty-five cent tip, showed it to Darrell with a sarcastic happy shimmy and sat down on a stool at the counter to wait for the sun to rise. Outside I could see a steady stream of people heading away from the diner. The concert venue down the street had just let out and the audience was clearly energized by the show, but not enough to want a middle of the night grease fix.

Darrell saw where I was staring and sniffed. “They used to flock in here. Sleep in the booths, puke in the restrooms, but it was fun to watch. Now they hit the fast food down the road and never even turn this way.”

“That’s a shame,” I said automatically, not really paying attention. My mind was elsewhere, imagining I had the kind of life that involved concerts with scores of friends and wandering down the street towards home together, high on the show and whatever we’d ingested during it. I missed having my pack of friends around me for nights of fun and laughing ourselves breathless. I could imagine the kids I saw out the window doing that, dancing until they collapsed and fell asleep with smiles on their faces. But that was not my life.

I shook off the fantasy as the door opened and someone stepped inside.

“You still open?” he asked the mainly empty room.

“Uh, yeah. Sit anywhere.” I stumbled getting up and darted around the counter awkwardly to grab him a menu.

The guy sat down right in front of me and flashed an exhausted, but bright smile. I stared at him like a lobotomized fool. He was insanely hot. Like magazine cover hot. Tall and thin but with clearly defined lean muscles under a tight black t-shirt. His hair was dark and slicked back, or maybe just wet. It framed a tanned face and the bluest eyes I’d ever seen. His mouth was almost femininely full and red, but that wide smile was slightly crooked in a way that made my insides turn to molten lava. There was a smudge of what looked like eyeliner or mascara under his left eye and it took all my self-control to keep from reaching out to wipe it away.

“So, can I see that or do I have to guess what’s in it?”

“Huh?” I looked down at my hand and realized I was gripping the menu like a security blanket. So uncool. “Oh yeah. Sorry.” I handed it over and when his fingertips brushed mine a shock went through us both.

“Oops.” He laughed and dropped the menu, unopened. “You okay?”

“Uh-huh,” was all I could manage.

“Sorry about the shock. Happens a lot after shows.”

“Oh, were you at the concert?”

He narrowed his eyes as if he thought I was making fun of him or something. “Yeah…”

“That explains the makeup under your eye.”

“Oh shit. I am not a normal guyliner wearer, I promise. Just lost a bet.” He swiped at his face a couple of times, managing to miss the little smudge completely. “Did I get it?”

I laughed. “Not even close. You can use the bathroom to check if you want.”

“Thanks,” he replied. “But I’m starved. I’ll order something first.”

“Okay. I’ll give you a minute with the menu.” I went to leave but he reached out a hand and touched my arm. His fingers were long and thin, but strong. Three had silver rings with mysterious symbols on them. I thought one might be a bird of some kind.

“Wait. Forget the menu. Tell me what’s the best thing for a late night hunger.”

I stared at him for a moment and thought the best thing for my late night hunger would be a long session involving the two of us on a bed in a dark room. But aloud I recommended the french toast and bacon.

“Yeah? How come?”

“Sweet and salty. Perfect for this late hour. Plus we make the bread here. Very yummy.”

“Works for me. And a big glass of water, please.”

I scribbled the order down and then shoved it at Darrell, who’d been uncharacteristically quiet so far. He arched an eyebrow at me and then turned to the griddle, still not saying anything.

I shrugged, poured the water and delivered it to the new guest star in all of my future sexual fantasies. “Anything else?”

“Nope. I’m good-uh, what’s your name?”


“Nice to meet you, Liss,” he said, sticking out his hand to shake. “I’m Joe.”

I took his hand and he shocked me again. This time it actually kind of hurt.

“Shit, sorry. Again.” He pulled back his hand and placed it on the counter. “Which way’s the bathroom?”

I pointed and he smiled as he stood. “I guess our chemistry is electric, Liss.”

If Darrell hadn’t laughed at me I would have stood there the whole time Joe was gone with my mouth hanging open in surprise. Was he flirting? With me? Nah, impossible. He was a sexy, too cool for school type with incredible eyes and stunning good looks. I was a chubby waitress with messy hair and mustard on my apron. Definitely not flirting. Right?

By the time Joe at back down I’d thoroughly convinced myself it was ridiculous to even consider that he might be interested in me and settled back into my night-long funk. When I brought over his food he smiled and dug in. Not wanting to hover, I stood over by the register and looked at my watch every five seconds to keep from staring at him.

However, he did notice and looked kind of hurt. “Um, I am I keeping you guys open?”

“No.” I laughed weakly. “We’re twenty-four seven here. I was just, um, trying to figure out how long I’ve been up.”

Joe grinned, mouth full of food, with a drop of syrup caught in the corner of his mouth. On anyone else it would be gross, but he made it work. The drop of syrup sliding down his chin helped. I wanted, with all of my heart, to lick if off for him. Oh my god, I felt terrible. Practically drooling on myself like I’d never seen a man before. But the truth was I suddenly felt like I hadn’t. At least not one that mattered. Joe was art in human form and close enough to touch.

“…know what you mean. Last week I was up for like forty-five hours straight. I think I might have started hallucinating. Weird colors everywhere.”

I had no idea what he was talking about, having been lost in a reverie of feeling bad for myself and my underutilized ladyparts. It’s possible that my habit of referring to them as “ladyparts” was a big part of the problem. That and most of the men I met at work were either over the age of seventy, long haul truckers or really skeevy. In some cases all three at the same time. The diner served good food but considering the neighborhood the clientele wasn’t exactly A-list.

Of course, neither was I. Most of the girls my age were either off in college, married with kids or working real jobs downtown. Me and my oversized thighs were stuck out here where the entrance of Joe was the most exciting thing to happen all year. Possibly for all of my life.

“…nothing like it. The comedown is rough but you can stay up for a week.”

He looked at me and I returned the gaze, blankly. “Um, yeah. But I won’t bore you with my stories anymore.”

“No!” I cried out, a little too loud. “I mean you’re not boring. I’m being rude.”

He grinned that wide, lopsided smile again and my knees actually felt week.

“I understand. And sorry for talking your ear off. It’s just…I don’t get to talk like a normal person much lately.”

I gave up on my pathetic attempt to play it cool and went to stand in front of him. Behind me I could hear Darrell washing dishes and scraping down the grill, which was my job. What the hell? Must have been my lucky night. Hot friendly guy in the place and getting to skip my least favorite chore? Nice.

“So how come you don’t get to talk like a normal person?”

“Well, you know,” he replied, running his fingers through his hair. It was drying in spiky cowlicks all over his head. Kind of adorable. “Ever since the single things are pretty wild.”

He looked embarrassed for some reason I couldn’t fathom.

“Yeah, I can see that.” I actually had no clue what he was talking about but didn’t want him to think I wasn’t paying attention. Again. So I just played along and nodded.

There was an awkward silence and I watched him fidgeting with his fork, noticing his beautiful hands again. “Are you done? Want something else to eat?”

“Nah. Hey, since it seems pretty quiet in here, why don’t you come sit by me? We can talk some more and you don’t have to feel like you need to keep serving me stuff.”

I looked over my shoulder into the kitchen but my boss was turned the other way, writing something. Probably inventory notes for the morning shift. “Hmm, okay. For a minute.” I walked around the counter, smoothing down my apron and climbed up on the stool next to Joe.

“So, what do you want to talk about?”

He turned to face me and I couldn’t help notice how tight his jeans were. And artfully distressed. “Anything. Tell me about your day. Or night, I guess. Anything interesting happen? Weird orders? A regular who loves strawberry sauce and peanut butter on his burgers or something?”

I laughed, finally relaxing, and told him the few fun stories I had from the night shift. Most involved people falling asleep in their food and cops getting emergency calls while stopping in for coffee, but Joe seemed to like them just fine. He kept his eyes trained on mine as I spoke, giving me all of his attention. It made me blush and smile.

Before I knew it we’d been talking for hours. Or rather, I had. After I ran out of diner stories I’d told him about my family, moving out on my own, high school stories and summarized the plots of the last three books I’d read. Joe had piped in with questions and comments occasionally but whenever I tried to steer the conversation to his life instead of mine he deflected it. It felt nice to have someone listen to me, if a little strange.

I was in the middle of explaining my favorite method of getting the first slice out of a pie cleanly when the morning staff of the diner walked in, their customary banter loud and jarring in the early morning. Joe seemed uncomfortable as soon as they entered and he reached into his pocket and dropped some money on the counter as one of the dishwashers eyed him strangely.

“Guess I better go. Thanks for the grub. And the company.” He grinned and walked out.

I’d wanted to say something—anything—but didn’t get the chance. I was surrounded by my co-workers and their chattering.

Still in a daze I finished my work, clocked out and left, the sun rising as I said goodnight. In the light the entire night felt like a dream. But as I rounded the corner there was Joe, leaning against the wall. He’d pulled on a pair of sunglasses so all I could see in his eyes was my own reflection. After such a long night my bedraggled appearance was not a welcome sight, even if he was. “Hey.”

“Hi. Sorry for leaving like that but I uh, wasn’t expecting a bunch of people to show up.”

“No problem.” I looked up at him and shrugged.

“Is your car parked nearby?”

“At my place. It barely runs and I live close.”

“Okay, then maybe I can walk you home?”

“Don’t you have somewhere to be? In bed?”

His face was inscrutable behind the glasses but the corners of his mouth quirked up a bit. “Don’t I wish.”

Clara Bayard is a wealthy business owner who, following the brutal death of her parents, used that wealth to create a secret identity and a lot of cool gadgets in order to protect the city she adores, and keep others from experiencing the same pain she did.

Wait, no. That’s Batman.

Clara is a just a regular gal living in the Mid-Atlantic region. She loves writing sexy stories about flawed people doing exciting things. When she’s not writing she enjoys talking to strangers in bars and marathon-watching TV shows everyone else has seen already.

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