Monday, October 6, 2014

Promotional Event: The Sinner's Bargain by Claire Contreras {Excerpt & Giveaway}

We're celebrating the release of The Sinner's Bargain by Claire Contreras! We have an excerpt and some teasers to entice you, so be sure to let us know what you think!

Author: Claire Contreras
Age group: Adult
Genre: Dark Contemporary Romance
Cover Design: Najla Qamber

Being pulled in different directions, Amara must choose what she wants to believe and whom she'll trust.


“Amara! Get in here!”

The sole of her left foot hadn’t even left the elevator floor before she was greeted with an order from Colin. She would have cringed, had she not known him; had she not already been dealing with his turbulent bipolar-like attitude for the past week and a half. Old Colin wasn’t this way. Old Colin, pre-Méchant Colin, was always calm, cool, collected and rather calculating, but never hot and cold like new Colin. As Amara lowered her purse-inspired briefcase to the floor beside her chair and walked over to his office.  His back was to her, affording her a view of his well-dressed backside clothed in a navy pinstriped suit and white dress shirt.  Although new Colin was a pain in the ass, he also made her a little hotter, if that was even possible, than old Colin.

“Good morning,” she said, stopping just inside the threshold of his office.  Amara rested her hand on the doorway and leaned into it as she waited for him to respond.

He scowled at her as he turned around. “You didn’t cancel my appointment with Mr. Winters for two o’clock.”

Her eyes jumped on a couple of items in his office, as her mind replayed yesterday before landing back on his angry gaze. “No. You had an appointment with Mr. White at two, I canceled it like you asked, and Brandon replaced it with an appointment with Mr. Winters.”

“Why would he do that?” he growled.

She shrugged in response.

“Okay, okay,” he said, repeating a silent mantra as he pinched the bridge of his nose. “Okay.” He looked up at her as if he found a solution. “I hope you’re hungry because you’re going to a cake tasting today.”

She blinked at him. “Excuse me?”
“I was supposed to go try cakes at two o’clock. Molly’s going to hound me—my mom is going to hound me—so you’ll be doing it for me.”

“Excuse me?” she repeated raising her voice, not for lack of hearing.

“You heard me.”

“I did, and I’m waiting for the punch line.”

He looked at her, face completely still, unmoved. His body was tight, she could tell from the way his jaw twitched and his hands were bunched up by his sides. Amara knew he wasn’t kidding, but she was hoping he would take it back. How could he want to purposely hurt her? He knew it would.

“Does it look like I’m joking?”

She blinked to fight the tears she felt coming. Amara knew he could be mean, but she didn’t expect him to be this insensitive. He had to know it hurt her to come to terms with the wedding, and a cake tasting was practically sealing the deal. Her gut was telling her to speak out; her mind was telling her to accept it and move on; and her heart was shredding apart.  Through her turmoil, Colin watched her through narrowed eyes.

“Colin, I can’t,” she said, finally. Her voice was small. It matched the way she felt perfectly. 

“Why not?” he asked, cocking his head to one side as he crossed his arms over his chest.

A million reasons flickered between them, beginning as small speckles of light and building into a bigger fire, a wild conflagration, with every moment their eyes searched the other’s. Amara’s heart accelerated and lodged into her throat until she felt like she was going to choke on the intensity of her feelings for him.

Light tears began to fall, unable to stay behind the wall she’d built for them. “Because as much as it kills me to joke about your impending wedding, as much as it hurts when we discuss Molly and I pretend it doesn’t, seeing cakes, trying cakes, picking out flavors… that would make it real, Colin. Don’t you see that? You know me better than anybody else.”  Can’t you see me breaking? She wanted to scream, but held it back. Barely.

For the first time since she’d gotten back to New York, she saw something other than distaste in his eyes. There was a shattering pain now that mirrored hers. Colin stood and slowly rounded his desk. She forced herself not to reach out to him as he stopped in front of her. Amara could smell him —could almost taste him from this proximity—but she kept her hands at her sides, waiting. Colin reached out, his fingers softly skimming down the sleeves of her white blouse, down her arm, until he reached the bare skin of her wrist.

“It is real, Amara,” he whispered.

Her eyes traveled up his perfectly pressed white shirt, to the spot where his collar was open, the knot on his tie already loosened, and finally his eyes, his intense, chocolate eyes. 

“I know, but you don’t have to rub it in my face every chance you get,” she said, finally gaining control of herself.

Colin dropped his hand from hers and laughed, his shoulders shaking in dry disbelief as he  looked away from her. “I feel like a string puppet, being pulled in all different directions. I don’t have a choice. What don’t you understand? I have to get married. I don’t have to like it, I don’t even have to like her, but it’s something I need to do. I wanted it to be you, and you threw it back in my face. And you have the audacity to stand here crying?”

“Why? Why do you have to get married before your birthday?” she asked, annoyance clear in her voice.

Colin turned away from her to stand behind his desk again. Clutching the sides of the polished mahogany, he leaned forward with narrowed eyes. “Because this company is riding on that, Amara. Because Lotus is riding on it. Because three of four of the companies my dad left behind in his will are dependent on whether or not I get married. If I do, I remain the majority share holder in them.”

Amara licked her lips and placed her hands on the other side of the desk, mimicking his stance. “And if you don’t?”
Colin didn’t answer right away, his eyes wandered from her full lips to her defined arms, her red nails, and back up to her eyes. “If I don’t, my uncle takes my place.”

“Benjamin? Would that be so bad?” Her voice was soft, belying the way her heart raced from the way energy crackled between them.

“It would be for Lotus, Mara. It would be for my mom, probably for my future,” he said, his voice losing its pretense.  And just like that, they were only Colin and Amara again, as they were before life got messy and smeared its shit all over them.


 (1) $25 Starbucks Gift Card,  (1)$25 Amazon Gift Card

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If you haven't read the beginning of Colin and Amara's story, grab The Devil's Contract now!

Author: Claire Contreras
Age group: Adult
Genre: Dark Contemporary Romance
Cover Design: Najla Qamber
Amazon | BN | Kobo | iTunes

About the Author:

Claire Contreras graduated with her BA in Psychology from Florida International University. She was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Miami, Fl, where she currently resides with her husband, two boys, and two American Bulldogs. 

Life is short, and it’s more bitter than sweet, so she tries to smile as often as her face allows. She enjoys stories with happy endings, because life is full of way too many unhappy ones.

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