Related to: 'Hello Life!'

December Book of the Month

Nikki and Damien continue in Take Me

I awake to an empty bed and the smell of frying bacon. I roll over to find my phone on the bedside table, then glance at the time. Not yet six. I groan and fall back among the pillows, but I don't really want to go back to sleep. What I want is Damien. I slide out of bed, then grab the tank top and yoga pants I'd left draped across a nearby armchair. I head barefoot out of the bedroom and move the short distance down the hall to the third-floor kitchen. We're standing in Damien's Malibu house, and the wall of windows that faces the ocean is wide open, the glass panels having been thrust aside to let in the breeze. The smell of the ocean mingles with the scent of breakfast and I breathe deep, realizing that I am content. Whatever demons had poked at me during the night, Damien effectively banished them. I glance toward the windows and out at the darkened Pacific. Waves glow white in the fading moonlight as they break upon the shore. There is beauty there, and part of me wants to walk to the balcony and stare out at the roiling, frothing water. But the siren call of the ocean is nothing compared to my desire to see Damien, and so I turn away from the windows and head straight to the kitchen. It is larger than the one in the condo I used to share with my best friend, Jamie, and it is not even the primary kitchen for this house. That is on the first floor, and could easily service a one-hundred-table restaurant. But this - the "small" kitchen - was installed as an adjunct to the open area that serves as a venue for entertaining, and since it is just down the hall from our bedroom, Damien and I have gotten into the habit of cooking our meals and eating in this cozier, more informal area. Usually we're joined by Lady Meow-Meow, the fluffy white cat I took custody over when Jamie moved out. I know Lady M misses Jamie, but she's also enjoying having the run of this huge house, and Gregory - the valet, butler, and all around house-running guy - spoils her rotten. Now I lean against the half wall that marks the break from hallway to kitchen. Damien is standing at the stove cooking an omelette as if he were nothing more than an ordinary guy. Except there is nothing ordinary about Damien Stark. He is grace and power, beauty and heat. He is exceptional, and he has captured me completely. At the moment, he is shirtless, and I cannot help the way my breath stutters as my eyes skim over the defined muscles of his back and his taut, strong arms. Damien's first fortune came not form business, but from his original career as a champion tennis player. Even now, years later, he has both the look and the power of an elite athlete. I let my gaze drift down appreciatively. He is wearing simple gray sweatpants that sit low on his narrow hips and cling to the curves of his perfectly toned ass. Like me, he is barefoot. He looks young and sexy and completely delicious. Yet despite his casual appearance, I can still see the executive. The powerful businessman who harnessed the world, who shifted it to his own liking and made a fortune in the process. He is strength and control. And I am humbled by the knowledge that I am what he values most of all, and that I will spend the rest of my life at his side. "You're staring," he says, his eyes still on the stove. I grin happily, like a child. "I enjoy looking at pretty things." He turns now, and his eyes rake over me, starting at my toes. "So do I," he says when his gaze reaches my face, and there is so much heat in his voice that my legs go weak and my body quivers with want. His mouth curves into a slow, sexy smile, and I am absolutely certain in that moment that I am going to melt. "You spoiled my surprise," he says, then nods toward the breakfast table where a tray sits with a glass bud vase displaying a single, red rose. "Breakfast in bed."

Business Plus

Demand (India Only)

Adrian Slywotzky With Karl Web, Er
Authors:
Adrian Slywotzky With Karl Web, Er

Demand is one of the few economic terms almost everyone knows. Demand drives supply. When demand rises, growth happens - jobs are created, the economy flourishes and society thrives. So goes the theory.It sounds simple, yet almost no one really understands demand, including the business owners, company leaders and policy makers who try to stimulate and satisfy it. Aimed at a business and general non-fiction readership, DEMAND is a book which searches for clues as to where demand really comes from, and why, and how we might control it.

Amanda Berry

Amanda Berry is a national bestselling author for Harlequin Special Edition books. Leaving behind a career as a public accountant, she followed her heart and began to write romantic fiction. Find out more about Amanda by visiting www.amanda-berry.com, and follow her on Twitter @amandasberry.

Bob Jebb

Robert Jebb was born in Shropshire in 1971 and was educated at Glanalmond College, Perthshire. He has worked as a copywriter in most London advertising agencies, which he didn't like much, then started his own agency, which he likes a lot. He lives in Oxfordshire with his wife Shazza, son George and shivering whippet Millie Bum Bums.

Bruno Tonioli

Bruno Tonioli was born in Ferrara in northern Italy in 1955. He begun his professional career as a dancer and came to London as a leading member of the Paris-based company La Grande Eugene before joining the Lyndsay Kemp Company. He has worked extensively in film, theatre and TV - and also in music business, choreographing videos, stage shows and tours for many artists including Tina Turner, Sting, Elton John, the Rolling Stones, Freddy Mercury, Boy George and Duran Duran. His TV credits include Not the Nine O'Clock News, Absolutely Fabulous, French & Saunders, The Brit Awards, Top of the Pops and The Royal Variety Show. Since 2004, Bruno has been a judge on BBC1's smash show Strictly Come Dancing; since 2005 he has also been a judge on ABC's equally successful show Dancing With the Stars in the USA.

Dale Shaw

Dale Shaw is a comedy writer who has written for a number of successful TV and radio things including Mitchell and Webb, School of Comedy, The Now Show, Russell Howard's Good News, The Impressions Show, Anna & Katy, Watson & Oliver, The News Quiz and some Muller Rice commercials.

Damien Weighill

Damien Weighill was born in Hartlepool and attended Northumbria University where he excelled at colouring without going over the lines. He lives in London where he works as a graphic designer and freelance illustrator.

Fleur De Force

Fleur De Force is one of the most successful beauty and fashion vloggers in the world. She started making videos on YouTube in September 2009, and has been building her global audience ever since. Her You Tube channel subscribers now stand at over 1.3 million bringing her into the top 1% Google approved YouTubers in the beauty sector. Her chatty, informative and accessible videos see her looking at her favourite beauty/fashion trends, products and advice and currently attract over 4 million views per month and some 180,000,000 views since she started.In addition to her You Tube channel, Fleur is an avid blogger - her blog attracts over 100,000 unique visitors per month.Fleur's first book The Glam Guide, published by Headline, shares all of her secrets and discoveries from makeup tips, wardrobe cheats, first-date points or healthy lifestyle motivation and it went straight to the top 5 of the Sunday Times bestsellers!She is a regular speaker at trade events including Beautycon and Vidcon and has been featured in Cosmopolitan, Miss Vogue, Company, Sunday Times Style and ITV This Morning.

Grace Victory

Hailed as the "Internet's Big Sister", Grace Victory is an award-winning blogger and YouTuber with over 23 million total views to date. Grace is a BBC documentary presenter and Summer 2016 saw her debut the hit documentary 'Clean Eating's Dirty Secrets'. Additionally she is a dedicated body image campaigner, has exclusively presented London Fashion Week and has worked with brands including L'Oreal, Clinique, ASOS and New Look, to name but a few.

Hugh Dennis

Hugh Dennis is an award-winning writer, actor and comedian best known for weekly satirical panel showMock The Week, Radio 4's The Now Show and BBC sit-com Outnumbered. He lives in Sussex with his real wife and his real children. To their annoyance he is interested in almost everything. He reads, runs, cycles, and is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

Jeannie Lin

Jeannie Lin is a USA Today bestselling and award-winning author best known for bringing Tang Dynasty China to historical romance. She also writes Opium War steampunk. Find her online at www.jeannielin.com, and connect with her on Twitter @JeannieLin, and Facebook at www.facebook.com/JeannieLinOfficialPage.

Joe Weller

Joe Weller, a.k.a @JoeWeller, is a 22-year-old British vlogger with over 4.3 million subscribers. When he's not making hilarious videos, exploring haunted buildings or playing football with his good friends The Sidemen, he also has a successful side-career in music and, last year, his single 'Wanna Do' was a UK official charts Top 10 hit.

Kevin Joslin

Kevin Joslin was born in 1958, so is really old enough to know better. He runs the TOGs website, www.togs.org, an online home for the bewildered followers of Terry Wogan's BBC Radio 2 shows, and has written a good deal of nonsense for those shows under a variety of assumed names.

Marcus Butler

Marcus Butler is one of the world's biggest YouTubers, and is still growing enormously quickly. Marcus's observations on the world are very popular and his love of film-making shines through in every video he creates.youtube.com/marcusbutler|youtube.com/moremarcus twitter.com/marcusbutler| instagram.com/marcusbutler|facebook.com/marcusbutlertv | Marcus Butler App

Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman is the author of over thirty acclaimed books and graphic novels for adults and children, including AMERICAN GODS, STARDUST, CORALINE and THE GRAVEYARD BOOK. His most recent novel for adults, THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE was highly acclaimed, appeared on the hardback and paperback Sunday Times bestseller lists and won several awards, including being voted Book of the Year in the National Book Awards 2013: 'Some books you read. Some books you enjoy. But some books just swallow you up, heart and soul' Joanne Harris. The recipient of numerous literary honours, Neil Gaiman's work has been adapted for film, television and radio. He has written scripts for Doctor Who, collaborated with authors and illustrators including Terry Pratchett, Dave McKean and Chris Riddell, and THE SANDMAN is established as one of the classic graphic novels. As George R R Martin says: 'There's no one quite like Neil Gaiman.'Originally from England, Neil Gaiman now lives in America.

Rhyannon Styles

Rhyannon Styles is a journalist, performance artist and musician. Her ground-breaking Elle column, 'The New Girl', charts her journey from male to female, where she bares all about her experience of transitioning. In her colourful life as a performer, career highlights include a show at the Guggenheim Museum NYC, dancing with Kylie Minogue on ITV and rollerskating naked at the Barbican art gallery. A star of the transgender community, Rhyannon was name-checked on Independent's Rainbow List as 'One to Watch'. Get up close and personal with Rhyannon online:Elle column: www.elleuk.com/tags/rhyannon-stylesWebsite: www.rhyannonstyles.comTwitter: @rhyannonstylesInstagram: @rhyannon_stylesYouTube: /RStyles

Rob Sheffield

Rob Sheffield is a columnist for Rolling Stone, where he has been writing about music, TV, and pop culture since 1997. He is the author of two New York Times bestsellers Love Is a Mix Tape and Talking to Girls About Duran Duran. He also appears regularly on VH1. He lives with his wife in Brooklyn.

Russell Ash

Russell Ash was best known for his annual THE TOP TEN OF EVERYTHING and other popular reference works, but he was also the author of numerous humour titles. His extensive research work encompasses biographical studies and genealogy. www.RussellAsh.com

Seth Casteel

Seth Casteel is an award-winning pet photographer with a passion for working with animals. His series of underwater dog photographs have brought him worldwide attention, entertaining and bewildering millions of animal lovers. He is based in Los Angeles and Chicago and is the proud 'dad' to two dogs, Nala the mini-labradoodle and Fritz, the Norwich Terrier.

Shawntelle Madison

Shawntelle Madison is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of speculative fiction and contemporary romance. She is a web developer who loves to weave words as well as code. Visit her website at www.shawntellemadison.com, follow her on Twitter @Shawntelle, and find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ShawntelleMadisonAuthor.

Stephanie Draven

Stephanie Draven is a national bestselling, award-winning, two-time RITA-nominated author of historical, paranormal, and contemporary romance whose mission is to write very smart books for very bad girls. Connect with her on Twitter @stephaniedraven, and visit her website at www.stephaniedraven.com.