Today is release day for FORD, the seventh book in the adult contemporary military romance series, 7 Brides for 7 Soldiers, by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Samantha Chase. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, and an exclusive excerpt.
FORD (7 Brides for 7 Soldiers #7) by Samantha Chase
Synopsis There are three things Ford Garrison wants more than anything: to build, to report to no one, and the chance to live his life without the prying eyes of the good folks of Eagle’s Ridge. Having spent ten years in the Navy as part of their construction battalion, he was able to live out most of that dream. Two out three wasn’t bad, right? Now that he’s out of the service, things aren’t falling into place quite as easily as he hoped and he ends up back home with all eyes on him.
It wasn’t as if Callie had gone out of her way to end up in Ford’s path, but somehow that happened all on its own and the town gossips were having a field day! Could she help it that she was living in the house Ford had hoped to claim as his own or that the work on his grandmother’s ranch meant they were living not fifty-feet away from each other?
Ford was determined to come home, do a job to help his grandmother and leave. Callie James is a distraction and she represents everything he has spent years running away from. Now he’s at odds with his friends, his family and himself about where his home and future are going to be.
Could he walk away from Eagle’s Ridge a second time?
Excerpt “What are you working on out here? More wreaths?”
With a soft laugh, she pulled back and stepped out of his arms. “I am. Doing something like this is normally very soothing for me. When I got home, I came right out here rather than going into the cottage.”
“And did it help?”
Callie shook her head. “Unfortunately, it was so quiet out here, and I’ve already made four of these wreaths so I didn’t even have to think about what I was doing.”
“So your mind immediately went to your mom.”
She nodded. “Exactly.”
Stepping around her, Ford examined the wreath. It looked exactly like the one she had given him for his grandmother’s front door, but now he took the time to look at the details. It seemed so simple at first glance, but when he realized how much time went into weaving the lights and how tedious that could be, he was more than a little impressed. The vine was fragile, and he knew he’d more than likely crush some of it if he tried to do it himself.
Unable to help himself, he reached for one of Callie’s hands and studied it. It was small and delicate. Her fingers were slim and smooth. No wonder she could do work like this. He looked at her face and saw her studying him, her expression serious.
And Callie rarely looked serious or intense. Her features were always relaxed or smiling. This was…different.
He brought her hand to his lips and kissed her palm. “I was just noticing how intricate this work is,” he said gruffly. “I’m a little in awe of what you do.”
“Me? But…what you do is so much more—”
Ford placed a finger over her lips and shook his head. “I’m in awe of you,” he repeated, and slowly pulled her in close again.
Callie’s lips parted on a soft gasp as her eyes met his. And those beautiful eyes seemed to have a million questions in them, and Ford only had one answer.
He kissed her.
Slowly. Sweetly. He savored her as she melted against him. She hummed as her arms wrapped around him and in that instant, Ford knew what he had to do.
He lifted his head and looked down at her. Her lips were wet and her cheeks were flushed and she was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. So many nights over the last week they’d been like this, and right now, Ford knew he wanted more.
“Come home with me, Callie,” he murmured against her lips before resting his forehead against hers.
Never had a single word sounded sweeter.
Get Caught Up on the Series:
Fall in love with seven sexy and irresistible soldiers who find their courage and heart tested like never before in the battle for love! This multi-author collaborative series of contemporary romance novels is brought to you by bestselling authors Barbara Freethy, Roxanne St. Claire, Christie Ridgway, Lynn Raye Harris, Julia London, Cristin Harber and Samantha Chase. You won’t want to miss a single one!
About the Author Samantha Chase is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller of contemporary romance. She released her debut novel in 2011 and currently has more than forty titles under her belt! When she’s not working on a new story, she spends her time reading romances, playing way too many games of Scrabble or Solitaire on Facebook, wearing a tiara while playing with her sassy pug Maylene…oh, and spending time with her husband of 25 years and their two sons in North Carolina.
Today is release day for THE ONE NIGHT STAND, the third book in the stand-alone adult contemporary sports romance series, Players, by authors Elizabeth Hayley.See below for information on the book, and buy links.
THE ONE NIGHT STAND (Players #3) by Elizabeth Hayley
Synopsis Gabriel Torres thought his life after Major League Baseball would be simple and quiet, or at least quieter. However, as he takes over running the exclusive Players Club, he finds himself continually embroiled in scandal and drama. Surely nothing, and no one could make his life any crazier…Right?
Rachel Adler is a blast from Gabe’s past who crashed back into his life with the finesse of a freight train. But she’s a welcome distraction. At least for a night.
Rachel has been working hard to become one of the top sports journalists in the country. She doesn’t have time for a long-term romance or irresistibly charming baseball players. A one-night-stand with the man who she knew would hit it out of the park was all she wanted.
But when she gets a tip that Gabe could have ties to one of the biggest sports stories in history, a story that could make her career, Rachel decides that maybe she has a little time for the sexy baseball player after all. As she gets in deeper with both her story and Gabe, Rachel begins to question who she is, what she wants, and what exactly she’s willing to sacrifice for her career.
Will the potential grand-slam romance be stopped short or will Rachel and Gabe be able to go the distance?
Authors Elizabeth Hayley
About the Author Elizabeth Hayley is actually “Elizabeth” and “Hayley,” two friends who love reading romance novels to obsessive levels. This mutual love prompted them to put their English degrees to good use by penning their own. The product is Pieces of Perfect, their debut novel. They learned a ton about one another through the process, like how they clearly share a brain and have a persistent need to text each other constantly (much to their husbands’ chagrin).
They live with their husbands and kids in a suburb of Philadelphia. Thankfully, their children are still too young to read.
Elizabeth Hayley’s writing motto is best captured by the words of Patrick Dennis: “I always start with a clean piece of paper and a dirty mind.”
We split the time on Goodreads, so those of you who have been communicating with us get “pieces” of each of us. We appreciate all of your support!
Today is release day for SWEET LIFE, the fifth book in the adult contemporary romance series, Sugar Rush, by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Nina Lane. See below for information on the book and series, and buy links.
SWEET LIFE (Sugar Rush #5) by Nina Lane
About the Book Title: SWEET LIFE Series: Sugar Rush #5 Author: Nina Lane Publisher: Snow Queen Publishing Release Date: December 12, 2017 Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | iBooks
Synopsis He knows if she’s been bad or good.
Amidst the sugarplums and mistletoe, fashion stylist Julia Bennett is every inch a scrooge. Known for her ice-queen ways, she’s having a meltdown over a botched business deal and an upcoming milestone birthday. Add the pressure of forced holiday cheer, and she’s ready to dive into the spiked eggnog and not come out until summer.
Warren Stone, president and owner of the Sugar Rush Candy Company, is determined to make Julia slow down and enjoy the holidays. As her friend and confidante for fourteen years, he knows her better than anyone. But when decking the halls leads them to an explosive, sexy night, everything suddenly changes.
Just when Julia thinks Warren is all she wants for Christmas, an old flame comes to town and reminds her of the carefree girl she used to be. As the new year approaches, Julia is forced to decide if she wants to relive the past or embrace the future.
About the Author New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Nina Lane writes hot, sexy romances about professors, bad boys, candy makers, and protective alpha males who find themselves consumed with love for one woman alone. Originally from California, Nina holds a PhD in Art History and an MA in Library and Information Studies, which means she loves both research and organization. She also enjoys traveling and thinks St. Petersburg, Russia is a city everyone should visit at least once. Although Nina would go back to college for another degree because she’s that much of a bookworm and a perpetual student, she now lives the happy life of a full-time writer.
Today is release day for ONE NIGHT TO FALL, the first book in the new adult contemporary romantic comedy series, Kinney Brothers, by Kelsey Kingsley. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
ONE NIGHT TO FALL (Kinney Brothers #1) by Kelsey Kingsley
About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited Title: ONE NIGHT TO FALL Series: Kinney Brothers #1 Author: Kelsey Kingsley Release Date: December 5, 2017
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romantic Comedy
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU
Synopsis Patrick Kinney wasn’t a god. He was a parasite, and nobody worships a parasite.
Patrick Kinney was a glob of sticky, persistent peanut butter stuck to the roof of Kinsey McKenna’s mouth, and she craved him.
In fact, she had been craving him ever since he set foot in River Canyon, Connecticut, when they were just three years old. And she hated it ever step of the way. (Well, sort of.)
But Patrick has a plan to fix it, and set the wrong things right. Can he turn it all around with one night and a sweet, but painful, trip down memory lane?
Fall in love again in this novella of firsts, second chances, and a little town on the coast of Connecticut, where everything meant everything.
ONE NIGHT TO FALL (Kinney Brothers #1) by Kelsey Kingsley (Full Cover)
Excerpt As my mother filled Mrs. Kinney in on our ages, my eyes had fallen upon a little boy, peeking through the long legs of his red-headed father. He was blonde, like his mother, and his skin was a stark white in the glow of the summer sun, just like his dad. After all this time, I have no idea how I can so distinctly remember a little boy, not to mention so fondly. But, in my mind, I can still see the way the light breeze tousled his bowl haircut. The way his little fingers clenched to the linen of his father’s pants. The tan and scuffed sandals that poked through the lively green of their front lawn, and the oceanic eyes that seemed to focus on mine with an old soul intensity. Too old for a little boy.
“Ah, she’s three, y’say? Like our Patrick here,” Mrs. Kinney seemed to sing in her melodic voice. “Come here, Paddy. Come say hi to your new friend.”
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Patrick Kinney.
Our fates were determined in that moment: your new friend. We didn’t have a choice, did we? We didn’t stand a chance.
Patrick was pulled from behind his father with an embarrassed chuckle over his boy’s reluctance, as the strong hand pushed him along faster than his little legs could move.
“Say hello to Kinsey, son,” Mr. Kinney commanded in his own special voice, wearing a friendly smile and mussing up the little kid’s hair.
I hadn’t expected a kid my age to also speak in that special voice, like his parents, but smaller and higher pitched. I also hadn’t expected his pudgy arms would wrap around my neck, pulling me into him for a hug. I remember wondering why he was hugging me, and then, God, why did I hug him?
Our parents laughed and fawned over us, as we stood there on their front lawn in a tight embrace. Neglected due to her age, because three was the age to be, Kate had run off to play with a ball that had come all the way from Ireland and the babies in Mrs. Kinney’s arms were there, but forgotten as they slept.
Nothing mattered, except for Patrick and me.
Author Kelsey Kingsley
About the Author Kelsey Kingsley grew up in the great state of New York, and still lives there with her family and a cat named Ethel. When she isn’t writing her fingers to the bone, she enjoys a good (or bad) book, reruns of Frasier, ruining the lives of her Sims, and singing and dancing in the kitchen. She somehow survives off a diet of tea, doughnuts, and French fries. However, she hates cheese and listening to people chew. You’ve been warned.
Today is release day for CAN’T GET ENOUGH, the sixth book in the adult contemporary romance series, The Original Heartbreakers, by New York Times bestselling author, Gena Showalter. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
CAN’T GET ENOUGH (Original Heartbreakers #6) by Gena Showalter
Synopsis New York Times best selling author GenaShowalter returns with a sizzling Original Heartbreakers tale, featuring a rough, tough bad boy brought to his knees by… a kindergarten teacher?
The king of one-night stands… To inherit–and destroy–his father’s business at long last, Brock Hudson needs a temporary wife. The ruthless ex-military heartthrob has always avoided romantic entanglements. Women are sweet, but vengeance will be sweeter. Or so he thinks. Only one woman will do, but the vulnerable beauty is more than he bargained for—sexier, wittier, and utterly irresistible.
The queen of the deep freeze… After an abusive first marriage, Lyndie Scott has sworn off relationships. But still she longs for a child of her own. Turns out, the brawler who used to frighten her with only a glance is the answer to her problems. She agrees to his proposal, with a caveat: spend every night in bed with her, then walk away for good when it’s time to divorce. Even if she’s pregnant.
A marriage of breathtaking inconvenience…
As the days pass too quickly and the nights heat up, Brock battles a sense of possession and obsession. Will the former commitment-phobe convince his wife they’re better off together, or will she pack her bags and go?
Excerpt “But… marriage? ”Lyndie asked. “I promised myself I’d never do the whole legal-ties thing again.” Straight white teeth nibbled on her bottom lip. “How long would our marriage last?”
“I don’t know exactly.” Anticipation blended with excitement, driving Brock mad in the best possible way. So close to victory! “I’ll need to find the employees of the Hud and Son Group new jobs before I dismantle the company. There will be no collateral damage on my watch.” The employees were innocent, and he wouldn’t leave them in the lurch. “If I had to guess, I’d say a month. Maybe two, but not likely.”
Her beautiful lips shaped the words, One month.
His father’s will had two stipulations: Brock had to be married in order to run the business and, if he planned to continue running it, he had to remain married.
Daddy Dearest had used the perfect bait. Miranda’s downfall. He’d known Brock would seethe as he imagined his mother rich, happy, and carefree.
What Brock hadn’t yet comprehended? Why his father cared about his relationship status at all. What made his father think a commitment would “bring him out of the darkness and into the light?”
Thankfully—and shockingly—there’d been no requirements for Brock’s wife. No “proper” pedigree. No reputation above reproach. No set family worth. The very requirements for the girls he’d dated in high school.
Little wonder he’d always gravitated toward wild, tattooed biker babes.
Lyndie was an anomaly, everything he’d never wanted but now had to have.
She gulped. “Would we live together?”
“Yes. For the sake of appearances, but also because your safety and peace of mind matter to me.” He would be on his best behavior. Would sidestep any conversations about the terrible things he’d done in the past. She would never know how much blood stained his hands. “I will continue to protect you from Rick Lambert. From anyone who threatens you.”
Her shoulders rolled in. “I’m a magnet for crazies, aren’t I?”
“Scottie, you’re a magnet, period.”
She drew in a deep breath, slowly released it. “I’m shocked to admit this, but I like the idea of having you here… which makes me not want to have you here. I can’t learn to rely on you. I must rely on myself.”
Craved her independence? “What if I promise not to ever cook your meals or clean the house or do anything gentlemanly?”
The corners of her mouth twitched. “That would help, yes.”
“We’d have to sleep in separate bedrooms though. I’m not going to get used to your warmth.” Twin pink circles stained her cheeks. A flush of embarrassment… or pleasure? “But, uh, just to be clear,” she said, and gulped, “you will want to have sex with me, yes?”
His excitement deflated. Did she not want to have sex with him? “Yes. I will. I do. I hope you’ll want to have sex with me.” Many times. Every night. “If you allow me into your bed, I will make your pleasure a top priority. But I will expect nothing, and I will never pressure you for something you aren’t willing to give. The money will be yours whether we sleep together or not.”
Her breath hitched. Her pupils grew, black spilling over amber. Her nails dug into her knees, as if… no way. As if she had to stop herself from reaching for him.
He went still. She wanted him. Lyndie Scott wanted him.
Do not pound your chest like a gorilla.
“I don’t want your money, Brock.”
Heart thudding against his ribs, he opened his mouth to tell her that he’d give her anything. If she wanted him to beg, he would beg. He had no pride. Not with her.
Shoulders squared, she added, “I want your sperm.”
Uh, what the what now? His brain short-circuited.
Groaning, she hunched over to anchor her elbows on her knees and cover her face with her upraised hands.
“I think I misheard you,” he rasped, but deep down realization had begun to click. Lyndie Scott had caught the baby fever. She might agree to marry him, but she expected a child in return.
Author Gena Showalter
About the Author Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the spellbinding Lords of the Underworld and Angels of the Dark series, two young adult series–Everlife and the White Rabbit Chronicles–and the highly addictive Original Heartbreakers series. In addition to being a National Reader’s Choice and two time RITA nominee, her romance novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan (Red Hot Read) and Seventeen magazine, she’s appeared on Nightline and been mentioned in Orange is the New Black–if you ask her about it, she’ll talk for hours…hours!
Her books have been translated in multiple languages. She’s hard at work on her next novel, a tale featuring an alpha male with a dark side and the strong woman who brings him to his knees. You can learn more about Gena, her menagerie of rescue dogs, and all her upcoming books on her website or Facebook.
Today is release day for CHRISTMAS SANCTUARY, an stand-alone adult contemporary holiday romance, by New York Times bestselling author Lauren Hawkeye. See below for information on the book, buy links, and an exclusive excerpt.
Nick Shepherd loves his life in Salt Spring Island, where he sculpts in a studio with the grizzled and talented artist Mike Nagorski. Mike’s estranged daughter, Emma Kelly, arrives in their quiet haven, and though Nick is immediately drawn to her, he tries to resist his feelings. There may be Christmas magic in the air, but Nick knows it can’t last forever…
Excerpt “Nick wasn’t sure how he knew someone was there, but something made him look away from his work. Standing not five feet away from his worktable was a leggy blonde dressed in fitted black pants and a thick pale-pink sweater. Her hair, a startling shade of white-blond, was pulled back neatly in a ponytail, and her arms were tightly crossed in an obvious attempt to ward off the cold that Nick didn’t feel when he was working.
Annoyed at the interruption, he pushed his visor up off of his face. The woman’s lips formed a soft O as she made a breathy little sound that caught his attention.
“Like what you see?” He grinned as his sudden desire eclipsed any irritation he felt at the disruption. “I’ve got more I can show you if you’re interested.”
This time when she inhaled sharply, the sound carried insult. “I’m looking for Michael Nagorski.”
Her voice—wow. If he’d been intrigued by her just because of the way her sweater hugged her curves, he was downright turned on by the slow drawl in her voice, sweet as a ripe peach. “I was told I could find him here.”
“Just you and me here.” Tugging off his protective mask and elbow-length gloves, he tossed them on the table and picked up a bottle of water, chugging half of it down in big, messy gulps. “And much as I like being all up close with you, you’re going to want to step back a bit. Be a shame for these sparks to hit that pretty face of yours.”
She frowned, her eyes narrowing, and he felt—almost—like he should bite his tongue. He’d perfected his flirtatious patter, and on the island here, even back on the mainland, it worked just fine.
This woman clearly wasn’t impressed. Nor was she moving to do what he said—instead she stayed exactly where she was. “You’re wearing far less than I am. That can’t be safe.”
He shrugged the comment off. Yeah, he should be fully covered when he worked. No, he wasn’t going to change his work uniform, now or ever. When he wore too much clothing, his creativity was stifled. He’d rather risk the scars.
Not that the piece he was working on was going all that well, anyway. Furrowing his brow, he glared over at the shelf that held Michael’s most recent creations. His mentor had never been blocked. Probably because he did his best work when he was depressed, a pretty habitual state of being for him.
That sweet southern drawl melted into his consciousness again, drawing his attention back to the woman standing in his garage.
“I said, when do you reckon he’ll be back?” The look in her pale-blue eyes was full of exasperation, and something about the way she compressed her lips tugged at his mind.
She looked like…no. No way.
“Who are you, exactly?” Stepping closer, he watched her spine straighten as he looked her up and down. The Game of Thrones dragon-lady hair color…the tall, slender frame. The same crinkle of frustration that Nick had seen on Mike’s face a million times, usually directed at him.
“My name is Emma Kelly.” Her words floated in honey, sweet and heavy. So different from Mike’s clearly enunciated voice.
She wasn’t old enough to be a sibling, yet the resemblance was undeniable. The next logical relation would be a daughter.
“I’m his…it seems that Mr. Nagorski would be…my father.” Well. That confirmed it.
Mike had never mentioned a daughter to Nick. Not that it was any of his business, but he was surprised. Shocked, actually. He’d met Mike ten years ago when he’d signed with the same agent as the older man. Mike hadn’t been too happy when Hannah had pushed him into mentoring her new client, and Nick hadn’t been overly thrilled to be receiving advice from someone who was so sure he was right all the time. Somehow they’d pushed through their differences, and Nick was pretty sure he was the closest friend that Mike had. Hell, the whole reason that he was on Salt Spring Island in the first place was to keep an eye on his friend, who was prone to slip into deep depressive episodes without someone nudging him along.
Okay, that was about half the reason. But it was a generous half. Mike was an antisocial creature, happiest when he was alone in the studio or camping in the woods, and Nick knew he was pretty much the only confidant that the other man had. Which was why he was startled that he’d never heard even a whisper of a daughter from his friend.
“The woman—Emma—cleared her throat, and Nick realized that she was waiting for more information. Where she could find Mike, probably, or when he would be back.
His attention went to her lips again as she ran a delicate pink tongue over them, leaving a sheen of moisture behind. Usually, when he was attracted to a woman, he didn’t hesitate to flirt, to use deliberately cocky words and arrogant charm to draw her into his bed. Or onto his worktable—that would work, too.
Emma, though? She was clearly not impressed by his tricks. He couldn’t deny that it intrigued him.
It occurred to him that the reason Mike had never mentioned her might be because he didn’t know she existed. As his friend, the best thing Nick could do was get her out of the way long enough for him to give Mike some warning.
Pulling his attention away from those full lips again, he felt a strangely strong surge of disappointment. Nick usually used sex to help him achieve that blankness of mind that he needed to chase away his grief, but he suspected that if he had this southern lady beneath him, it would be more than that.
She was Mike’s daughter. And there was no way he would hurt his closest friend by sleeping with his kid. Especially if Mike didn’t know he had one. So, she had to go. And he’d learned that the best way to chase women off was just to be himself—after all, there was a thin line between arrogant charm and asshole.
He looked up at her again, at her long legs and white-blond hair, both obviously inherited from Mike. The instant attraction to her was potent, yet at the same time the clear reminder of who she was—the daughter of his best friend—created an uncomfortable dissonance in his mind.
He and Mike had been friends for a long time. The fact that he even found Emma attractive was enough to bring guilt weighing down on him.
“Well, baby, I’m afraid Mike isn’t going to be coming back anytime soon,” he said as he turned back to his torch, reaching for his gloves. “So unless you want to stick around and entertain me until he does, I’m going to have to ask you to go.”
Author Lauren Hawkeye
About the Author Lauren Hawkeye/Lauren Jameson never imagined that she’d wind up telling stories for a living… though when she looks back, it’s easy to see that she’s the only one who is surprised. Always “the kid who read all the time”, Lauren made up stories about her favorite characters once she’d finished a book… and once spent an entire year narrating her own life internally. No, really. But where she was just plain odd before publication, now she can at least claim to have an artistic temperament.
Lauren lives in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, Canada with her husband, toddler, pit bull and idiot cat, though they do not live in an igloo, nor do they drive a dogsled. In her nonexistent spare time Lauren can be found knitting (her husband claims that her snobby yarn collection is exorbitant), reading anything she can get her hands on, or sweating her way through spin class. She loves to hear from her readers!
Today is release day for LOCKED-DOWN HEART, the third book in the adult contemporary military romance series, Combat Hearts, by Tarina Deaton. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
LOCKED-DOWN HEART (Combat Hearts #3) by Tarina Deaton
Synopsis Denise Reynolds’s tightly controlled life is thrown off kilter when she’s given custody of her young cousins. There are days she has a hard enough time getting herself out of bed, never mind two precocious kids.
If that wasn’t enough, Chris Nolton comes strolling back into town as suddenly as he left it. She’d broken her own rules and given him a chance once before, only to have him ghost on her. But he’s not there for her this time. No, he’s leading the FBI Task Force intent on capturing the kids’ biological father. A man who was sent to prison for manslaughter. A man who was released five years too early. A man who wants his kids back.
The past has a way of repeating itself and once again, Denise finds herself defending the innocent against the evil of world. One wrong decision, one second guess, could have devastating consequences. To protect the most important people in her life, she’ll need to trust the one man with the power to break her.
Excerpt Denise glanced through the peephole, then rocked back on her heels.
The bottom dropped out of her stomach then rushed up again to choke her. What the fuck? She stared at the door, trying to decide if she should open it or not.
Three more sharp knocks made the decision for her.
She unlocked the door and yanked it open.
“What the hell are you doing here?” she demanded.
Chris took a step back. Whether from the door opening suddenly, her, or her question, she wasn’t sure. He looks tired. It wasn’t her problem. Never was.
“Yes, Chris. What are you doing here?”
The lines between his dark eyebrows grew more pronounced. “What are you doing here?”
His strong jaw was covered with stubble, accentuating the lines of his mouth. A mouth that was surprisingly soft, especially when it grazed over her skin. Her nipples pebbled under her thin t-shirt. Damn her traitorous body. It’d been almost seven months since he’d ghosted, it should have gotten the message by now and forgotten him.
“I asked first.” She set her gun on the high shelf above the coat hooks and grabbed the zip-up hoodie hanging by the door, zipping it half way up.
“Why are you answering the door with a gun?” he asked.
“Because this isn’t the greatest neighborhood and some asshole was pounding on my door.” The neighborhood sucked. It wasn’t the greatest when Sarah bought the small three-bedroom house and it had only gotten worse in the last five years. She was pretty sure her neighbor two doors down was dealing. As long as he wasn’t cooking, and he kept it to his doorstep, she was willing to over look it. But Kimber and Kaden were going to her parents’ the minute the school year was over.
“Why are you here?” She enunciated the question this time. She needed a quick answer so she could work on forgetting Christopher Nolton. Again.
“I’m looking for Sarah Reed.”
Her shoulders sagged and she rubbed her hand over her eyes. “She’s not here.”
“When will she be back?”
Denise glanced over her shoulder. Sprocket sat in the opening of the short hall that led to the two small bedrooms at the back of the house. She let out a low woof and laid down, resting her head on her paws. She sensed Denise’s stress, but was doing what she’d been told to do.
Denise stepped out of the house and pulled the door shut behind her, leaving it cracked. Chris stepped back on the small concrete pad.
“She’s not coming back. She’s in the hospital with terminal cancer.”
Light dawned behind his eyes. “Shit. She’s your cousin.” Chris ran his hands over his hair. It had grown long and now curled around his ears and jawline. If it weren’t for the stubble and dark circles under his eyes, he’d look boyishly charming. Things she should not be noticing.
About the Author Tarina has spent her entire life in and around the military – first as a dependent and then as an enlisted Air Force member.
In 2015, a friend challenged her to complete NaNoWriMo. She dusted off one of the many stories she’d started over the years, threw it in the trash, and started all over.
Her debut novel, Stitched Up Heart, released in September 2016. The military gives her plenty of material to work with and she strives to create characters who authentically represent all facets of the military life – the good and the not so great.
Tarina is still active duty and a single mom of five-year-old twins. Her favorite hobby is sleep. She has delusions of retiring from the military and being a stay-at-home mom.
Welcome to the Release blitz for A VERY MARRIED CHRISTMAS, a holiday novella in the adult contemporary romance series, Silver Bells Falls, by Samantha Chase. See below for information the book, buy links, and an exclusive excerpt.
A VERY MARRIED CHRISTMAS (Silver Bell Falls #3) by Samantha Chase
Synopsis She’s ready to deck the halls… But not with wedding decorations.
For the most part, Melanie Harper has made her peace with her negative feelings toward Christmas. Thanks to her fiancé, she’s even learned to enjoy the holiday. But that doesn’t mean she wants to share it with her wedding day!
He’s dreaming of a white Christmas… Complete with a wedding!
Ever since they first met, Josiah Stone has done his best to show Melanie how magical Christmas can be. He’s gotten her to participate in parades, decorate trees and even celebrate the holiday, but asking her to marry him on Christmas Eve just might be more than she’s ready for.
Will this be a very Merry or very Married Christmas?
Excerpt “What?” she cried.
Josiah knew he was taking a big risk in presenting this to her—after all, Melanie had grown up hating Christmas. Hell, he’d only gotten her to have some good feelings toward the holiday in the last two years! But he knew if she’d just give him a chance, he’d be able to prove to her how a Christmas wedding would be amazing.
Jumping to his feet, he looked down at her shocked expression and did his best to keep his tone light and encouraging.
“Just…hear me out, okay?”
The look on her face said she would, but she certainly wasn’t happy about it.
“What could be better than getting married during such a festive time of the year?” he began but didn’t give her a chance to reply. “Think about it—everything, everywhere is already beautifully decorated. Any place we go won’t require much from us because it will already be decorated! The Poinsettias, Christmas trees, the lights…all that work will be done for us.”
“And everyone will be in town already so there won’t be a need for them to make a separate trip.”
“Who’s everyone? My dad is already here; he’s the only family I have and your family doesn’t live that far away. It’s hardly like they’d be making a huge sacrifice to come to town,” she countered.
“But all of our friends will be here too. You know how most people we know tend to travel either before Christmas or after the new year because they love all the festivities here in town Christmas week.”
Melanie let out a small sigh. “Look, I get what you’re saying. I really do. But…you know my feelings on Christmas.”
He immediately sat back down at her side. “And we’ve come such a long way, Mel! When we first met, you hated the holidays and everything about them. But after that first Christmas here, you changed. You saw how it all wasn’t so bad and—admit it—you even enjoyed it.”
She gave him a sour look. “I know that first Christmas was amazing but only because you made it that way for me. You went out of your way to make up for every single crappy Christmas I’d had since I was five!”
“And what about last year?” he prodded.
Another sigh. “You proposed last Christmas so of course that’s going to make for a great memory.”
“So you see…”
“But,” she quickly interrupted, “that doesn’t mean I want to get married during the month of December or anywhere near Christmas!”
He silently admitted to himself that he knew there were going to be some challenges in getting Melanie to see his way of thinking, but he was kind of hopeful that she wouldn’t be quite this hostile toward the idea. How was he supposed to convince her that this could be good for them? Great, even? What could he possibly do to show her how wonderful a Christmas wedding could be?
Author Samantha Chase
About the Author Samantha Chase is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller of contemporary romance. She released her debut novel in 2011 and currently has more than forty titles under her belt! When she’s not working on a new story, she spends her time reading romances, playing way too many games of Scrabble or Solitaire on Facebook, wearing a tiara while playing with her sassy pug Maylene…oh, and spending time with her husband of 25 years and their two sons in North Carolina.
Today is release day for IN BETWEEN THE EARTH AND SKY, a stand-alone adult contemporary romance, by Heidi Hutchinson. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object?
Remington Rohan was not a rule follower. Former model (though not one of the “super” kind), successful influencer and life coach. Currently paid to tell people how to achieve the best from their lives and careers. In other words, a complete contradiction to how he preferred to live—namely, on his own terms and without input from others.
Everything about his life was going according to plan. Until he started spending way too much time with a woman who defied his prejudices and challenged his beliefs.
Lydia Larkin was not a genius. Gifted, clever, and stubborn. Raised on star maps and Hendrix, she was born an explorer. Temporarily tied down to a private sector science job, she knew she was biding her time before she was off to discover and build something new. Not one to let society tell her who she was, she wasn’t about to let a professional influencer tell her she had to change to be happy.
Buckle up and brace for impact.
IN BETWEEN THE EARTH AND SKY by Heidi Hutchinson (Full Cover)
Excerpt “Guests are supposed to be announced.”
Remington jolted to a stop on the stairs leading up to Lydia’s apartment. The man at the landing below him shoved his glasses up his nose and crossed his arms.
Remington tried not to make it too obvious as his eyes skated over the peeling and patchy paint on the walls , or the dim overhead lighting because one or two bulbs hadn’t been replaced yet. It didn’t really give off “guests must be announced” type of vibe.
“Are you security?” Remington asked, slowly taking one step back down.
The man with the glasses pulled his shoulders back and stuck out his chin. “What resident are you here for?”
Remington narrowed his eyes and licked his bottom lip. But he didn’t answer.
Glasses huffed and rolled his eyes. “Let me guess, brunette, loud, and dangerous?”
Remington couldn’t help it, he cracked a smile. He wouldn’t describe Lydia as loud or dangerous.
“Brunette, smart, sassy,” Remington returned with a smirk.
“You tell 4B she can’t be having men come and go at all hours. She knows the rules.”
“I’ll be sure to remind her,” Remington sighed and continued up the stairs. How many men were stopping by to see Lydia? So many that her neighbors were complaining? Remington shook his head. It didn’t matter to him. He was just her friend.
With the first knock on the door, it swung open.
“Larkin?” he asked as he stepped inside, the hairs standing up on the back of his neck.
Light singing reached his ears and he followed the sound, his hairs going back to their regular place as he picked out the lyrics.
Led Zeppelin’s “Since I’ve Been Loving You.”
He stopped when he reached the open window to her balcony. If you could even call it that. A stone platform jutted out from the roof of the building and sloped down to the picture window in her living room. The glass of the window was removed and set against the wall. It was only a ten inch step up and out onto the platform.
Remington took that step and joined Lydia outside. Though she hadn’t noticed him yet.
Earbuds in, hair in a mess at the top of her head, jeans that had seen better days, and a wine-colored shirt with a band name on it he couldn’t read anymore because it had been rubbed off—she was bent over a small planter, crooning one of his favorite Led Zeppelin songs to the leaves.
Her body jolted and she sucked a breath when she caught sight of him.
“Newton’s second pair of knickers, you scared me,” she breathed out around a laugh.
Remington arched an eyebrow and lifted his chin to the plants before her. “Were you just singing to them?”
She glanced down and back up, not looking embarrassed in the least. “Don’t you sing to the things you love?”
He tilted his head at her question and she rolled her eyes. What a silly man he must seem to her. What kinds of things did she know and just kept right on treating him like he should know them too.
Author Heidi Hutchinson
About the Author Heidi Hutchinson was born in South Dakota and raised the exact right distance away from the Black Hills. She had an overactive imagination very early on, and wasted no time in getting most of her friends in trouble due to her unrealistic and completely ridiculous ideas. Seeing as she was so lazy and also afraid people would think she was bonkers, she didn’t write down any of the story lines that played out in her daydreams.
During her high school years, she took pen to paper and filled more notebooks than she is proud of with angsty, depressing, self-deprecating poetry. This led to her writing down more things: notes, ideas, character bios, plot twists that had no plot yet to twist. After years of cleaning up her own scraps of imagination with nothing solid to hold on to, she sat down and wrote the story that had been in her head the longest. Fueled by coffee and her unwavering and perfectly normal devotion to Dave Grohl, she discovered a writer living inside of her.
She still lives in the Midwest, though not as close to the Black Hills as she would prefer, with her alarmingly handsome husband and their fearless child. They eat more pizza than God intended and she listens to her music the same way she lives: loudly.
Today is release day for DEADLY PREMONITIONS, the sixth book in the adult mystery/romantic suspense series, Safeguard, by USA Today bestselling author, Kennedy Layne. See below for information on the book, buy links, and an exclusive excerpt.
DEADLY PREMONITIONS (Safeguard #6) by Kennedy Layne
Synopsis USA Today Bestselling Author Kennedy Layne continues the Safeguard Series with this fast-paced romantic suspense novel that leads the SSI team on the trail of a serial killer who continually seems to be one step ahead…
Coen Flynn has always done the right thing, even it meant siding against his own family. His sense of justice was what led him to take a job in law enforcement, though his choice of agency was a bit unorthodox. His current assignment was believed to be a simple protection detail. He was never supposed to be identified by his charge, but a murder took priority and changed the course of his mission.
Brettany Lambert’s life is suddenly rocked when she finds the body of a dead friend on the eve of what was supposed to be a special wedding. Now Brettany and Coen are trapped in the middle of a blizzard and their attraction will fuel the heat of temptation. Good intentions always have a way of backfiring, but his desired intent won’t matter if a notorious serial killer can finish what he started.
Excerpt Why would Townes come for her now?
That question nagged at Shailyn as she walked through the office door and down the long hallway to where the elevator banks were located. The black suit he’d been wearing made him seem to be a part of either the FBI or the U.S. Marshals Service. It was hard to believe that he would have joined the federal government in any enterprise, especially considering his affiliation to the one percent motorcycle clubs. She wondered if he was still a patched member bearing the Nomad rocker.
Why was she even curious?
What Townes did with his life was of no concern to her.
His voice brought her up short, as if a wall had appeared. There was a raspiness to his tone that was discernable only to him. She closed her eyes to ward off the onrushing memories, knowing she could never go back and reclaim her past from the wreckage.
“There’s nothing to say, Gunny,” Shailyn whispered, having no doubt that he heard her use his charter name. It wasn’t coincidental that the nickname for his rank in the Corps and his charter name were the same. He’d gone by that handle for so long that at one point a large number of his associates in the one percent world never knew his given name. She’d had the privilege to know that particular nuance due to the closeness of their relationship at the time.
She was afraid to speak in a normal tone for fear she’d break down, but she didn’t want to appear weak. She cleared her throat and gathered what courage she had left. It was easier to use his familiar nickname as a form of self-defense, letting him know that she was a part of the past he’d left behind. He was a remembrance she would have given anything to have back, but that would never happen.
“You shouldn’t have come here. You’re not welcome.”
Shailyn forced her legs to move forward once again. It was getting harder and harder to breathe the longer she remained in his presence. He had taken all the air out of the building. “Moss didn’t give either of us a choice.”
And there it was. He’d been forced to this conclusion. Townes hadn’t come to Maine for her. He’d come because of Moss. His intention wasn’t to help the U.S. Marshals transfer her to another small town under a different banal name in order to maintain her anonymity. He wanted Shepherd Moss, and the only way to draw him out was through her as bait.
“You always have a choice, Gunny. Moss isn’t in charge of your agenda. Or is he?” Shailyn braced herself as she turned around to face him. Her attempt at composure almost cracked before she managed to slip it in place. His grey eyes saw too much. She wondered if he could still read her like a book. She fought the urge to tug her black turtleneck a little higher to hide the scars. “It doesn’t matter. I still have a choice. And I’m choosing to go back to the life that was created for me. You don’t need me to solve your problems.”
“Moss will eventually find you.” Townes turned the tables a bit, causing her to question his original intention. “It’s only a matter of time.”
Shailyn came very close to asking why he thought she would be better off with him, but she stopped herself before the words could escape. He would take her sentiment the wrong way. It was abundantly clear that he still blamed himself for what had happened to her all those years ago. He couldn’t see past his precious, self-involved guilt to recognize the truth— only one man was responsible for what was done to her. His name was Shepherd Moss.
“Moss has had over four months to find me,” Shailyn pointed out, refusing to be drawn into a debate that neither one of them would win. “Other than you placing me at risk by bringing me here tonight, what makes today any different from yesterday?”
A strand of his long brown hair came loose from the tie at the base of his neck, but it didn’t hide the fact that his scar turned white in response to his clenched jaw. He seemed to think she was purposefully making his job harder than it needed to be in terms of her consent.
“What is it exactly you want from me, Townes?”
“I want you to come back home to Florida with me.”
Author Kennedy Layne
About the Author Kennedy Layne is a USA Today bestselling author. She draws inspiration for her military romantic suspense novels in part from her not-so-secret second life as a wife of a retired Marine Master Sergeant. He doubles as her critique partner, beta reader, and military consultant. They live in the Midwest with their teenage son and menagerie of pets. The loyal dogs and mischievous cats appreciate her writing days as much as she does, usually curled up in front of the fireplace. She loves hearing from readers–find out how to connect with her at www.kennedylayne.com.
Today is release day for A COLD DARK PROMISE, a novella in the adult romantic suspense series, Cold Justice, by New York Times bestselling author, Toni Anderson. See below for information on the book, buy links, and the exclusive excerpt.
A COLD DARK PROMISE (Cold Justice #9) by Toni Anderson
Synopsis A COLD DARK PROMISE takes place during the week leading up to the wedding of former assassin Alex Parker to FBI Agent Mallory Rooney, who meet and fall in love in the novel, A COLD DARK PLACE.
In the midst of wedding preparations, a shadowy figure from Alex Parker’s past reappears and threatens the joy he’s found with Mallory Rooney.
Four years ago, Jane Sanders’s rich and powerful ex-husband kidnapped their young daughter and Jane hasn’t seen her since. Now she finally has a lead on her location and she knows just the man to help her get her daughter back. Trouble is, he’s an assassin. And he terrifies her.
Despite his upcoming nuptials, Alex agrees to help, but it doesn’t take long for the routine operation to turn complicated—and deadly. Can the former CIA operative make it home in time to marry the woman he loves, or will his dark past destroy all hope for their future?
Excerpt Their breathing quieted. Heartbeats slowed and melded.
The dying sun cast long shadows through their bedroom window.
“You have to help her,” Mallory said quietly.
His arm curled over her hip, and he pulled her closer.
“I can take another week off work,” she said.
“No way are you getting involved in this.”
She looked over her shoulder and smiled. “You can’t stop me.”
He kissed her fingers and smiled sadly. “I know I can’t stop you, but if you insist on coming with me, then I won’t go.”
His silver gaze wasn’t angry or demanding. It was calm. Implacable. Mallory blew out a big breath of frustration. It was the first time Alex had refused to let her be involved in something. She knew he hid things from her occasionally. But the two of them had made a promise to one another the day investigators had uncovered her sister’s body.
No more lies.
And that was why he was telling her this now, she realized.
Her fingers gripped his, hugging him to her. “I don’t want something bad to happen to you.”
“I can take care of myself.”
She swallowed. “I know you can, but I don’t want you to have to take care of yourself. I want to look after you. I want to be the one watching your back.”
He ran a finger down her spine and followed it with his lips.
She closed her eyes. “You know what I mean.”
“I do. I feel it every time you go to work without me.”
But he let her go anyway, because she needed the space to do her job, and he respected that. He respected her.
She rolled onto her back. She didn’t want Alex to go on this job without her, but she knew she wasn’t the only one who needed space to work, even when that work wasn’t clearly defined. She touched his face.
“I can’t go.” Alex insisted, but there was no conviction behind his words. “We have a wedding to prepare for and a dog to look after.”
Rex was in the living room on the couch. He’d fetch a ball from dawn until dusk, but he was generally a couch potato which suited them both perfectly right now. Mallory intended to get a puppy or two after the wedding. She’d convince Alex by reminding him dogs were good security.
“All you have to do for the wedding is turn up— and write those place name cards. The wedding planner,” who Alex had nicknamed the General for good reason, “is doing virtually everything else including arranging transportation for all the guests who are flying in. I can make any last-minute adjustments and double-check on the flowers and still go to work every day next week. Hiring that woman is the best idea you’ve ever had.”
He laid his ear against her belly. “Not the best idea, but pretty inspired.”
She sank her hands into his hair. “When will you be back?”
“I imagine Wednesday at the latest.” He placed one large palm on her stomach and held her gaze. “I won’t take any unnecessary risks, and I won’t do anything stupid. If the child is there I will either figure out a way for the legat to get involved.” The legat was the FBI’s official presence in a foreign country. “Or I’ll sneak them away when no one is looking and bring her, and Jane, back to the States.” Alex kissed her stomach again. She knew he was impatient to meet the newest member of their family. “I’m not sure the daughter— Taylor— will remember her mother after four years.”
Mallory’s heart clenched, and her hand went to where their baby was kicking her low ribs. Alex linked their fingers. She already felt overprotective. The idea of someone stealing her baby… She swallowed hard. This was important. Jane Sanders had always seemed a little aloof, and no wonder. Her child had been stolen and the fact it was by the father made it no less heartbreaking for the mother.
Mallory touched Alex’s lips. “Don’t be late for the wedding. Promise?”
Silver eyes met hers. “I promise.”
Author Toni Anderson
About the Authors New York Times and USA Today international bestselling author, Toni Anderson, writes dark, gritty Romantic Suspense novels that have hit #1 in Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, the Top 10 in Amazon and Kobo stores, and the Top 50 in iBooks. Her novels have won many awards. A former Marine Biologist from Britain, she inexplicably ended up in the geographical center of North America, about as far from the ocean as it is possible to get. She now lives in the Canadian prairies with her Irish husband and two children and spends most of her time complaining about the weather.
Toni has no explanation for her oft-times dark imagination, and only hopes the romance makes up for it. She’s addicted to reading, dogs, tea, and chocolate.
Today is release day for THE NEGOTIATOR, a holiday novella in the adult contemporary romantic suspense series, Games People Play, by HelenKay Dimon. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
THE NEGOTIATOR (Games People Play #2.5) by HelenKay Dimon
Synopsis Lauren Gallagher’s life changed almost three years ago. After her husband disappeared at sea, she was left with a failing pleasure boat company and more than a few secrets. Now, after years spent rebuilding the business and paying off the pile of debts, she finally feels in control. But when she finds her husband, actually dead, on the floor, she becomes the leading suspect in his murder investigation.
Garrett McGrath wants Lauren in his bed, not his heart. He doesn’t do emotions, but every time he sees her, holding himself back gets harder and harder. When Lauren comes under suspicion for killing her previously presumed-dead husband, he knows he has to help her, any way he can.
But as the danger becomes more intense and Garret and Lauren grow closer than either planned, they’re in danger of losing everything…including their hearts.
Excerpt He rose from the dead.
Lauren Gallagher couldn’t come up with any other explanation. Her once-dead husband was very much alive and standing on the other side of her front door…and she felt nothing but numbness spreading inside her.
For a man who supposedly washed overboard in the middle of a violent storm, he looked pretty healthy. Big smile. Bright white teeth. Khaki pants and deck shoes. She forgot how much she hated the deck shoes.
The wattage on his super smile dimmed a bit as he shifted his weight from foot-to-foot and rubbed his hands up and down his arms. “Aren’t you going to let me in?”
Her mind went blank. The world literally flipped sideways on her and her stomach rolled. The whole time she could hear him talking but the words didn’t make sense. None of this made sense. She opened her mouth but nothing came out but a tiny whirling gasping sound. That’s all she could muster as she blinked, trying to process what she was seeing.
“Lauren? Why are you just standing there? Open this door.”
An order. The sharp smack in his voice sounded far too familiar. That fast it brought her crashing back to reality.
She really wanted to say no to his command. Not that she hadn’t mourned him. Even with the dysfunctional state of their faltering marriage at the time he disappeared, she had. She’d grieved for what could have been and dreams that fizzled out early in their time together. She grieved for his loss as she would an old friend, not as a person she viewed as her soulmate, if there even was such a thing.
That was less than three years ago. The police arrived and she dropped to her knees feeling sick and hollow at the idea of Carl gasping for breath as the water he loved so much overtook him.
Months had passed slowly after that. She’d been locked in a perpetual state of shock, topped off with a wallop of guilt because she’d visited a divorce attorney for the first time just before he disappeared. With him gone she’d found about the lies. His hidden debts and how he’d taken their business to the brink of bankruptcy, all while showing her fake bank statements he’d manufactured. He’d gone to a lot of trouble to carry on the ruse of pretending their finances were fine.
And then things had gotten even worse. All those whispers about Maryanne, the girlfriend who seemed to be an open secret to everyone except Lauren. The one who, unlike Lauren, did not have any debts or an unpaid mortgage or a business and house on the verge of bankruptcy. Maryanne Lightwood, the same woman who mysteriously walked out on her rent and left town right as Carl’s boat disappeared.
Lauren prided herself on being practical. She was skeptical of coincidences and not stupid, so confusion had turned to fury in record time. As the cool December wind blew in the front door of the small cottage now she realized the fury still simmered inside her.
She lived far enough from the water that the breeze wasn’t frigid, but it carried a bite. For the past few years early winter in Annapolis, Maryland meant an unwelcome amount of snow. This year had been mild. As someone who ran a pleasure boat and fishing tour business and depended on tourists, she thought she might get lucky this year and only have to survive a short off-season.
Apparently her luck had just run out.
“Lauren, honey?” Carl pulled on the handle of the screen door. When it didn’t immediately open, he shook it, rattling it on the doorframe. Still, it didn’t move.
She’d never been so grateful for her lock-the-door paranoia. He should be happy, too, because the thin screen might be all that was saving his sorry lying ass right now.
Under the numbness and shock lurked a layer of bubbling resentment and rage. She’d kept up the outward farce of being fine for so long that she’d started to believe it. Now the mask slipped. She wanted to throw open the door and pound on his chest and make him apologize for every wrong.
But Carl had never taken responsibility for anything in his life. Even now he had the nerve to stand there with a stupid look on his stupid face, as if she were the unreasonable one in not welcoming him home with a big hug. So, yeah, the door stayed closed for his protection because she knew once she unleashed she would not stop.
“Hey, what is this?” Carl’s hand dropped to his side as he frowned at her through the mesh screen. “Honey, I’m back.”
Honey? What kind of man checked out of his life for almost three years and expected to step right back in it, no questions asked? It’s as if he were empty inside, without a conscience. And he was so close to getting a kick in his junk.
“Yeah, I can see that.” She tried to swallow but couldn’t choke down the lump of anger racing up her throat. “Tell me where have you’ve been.”
“Lauren, Jesus. It’s freezing out here. Let me in.” He pulled on the handle again as if he expected a different result than last time. The door made a thumping sound as it hit against the frame. “What’s wrong with you? Snap out of it.”
He kept up that tone. Short, dismissive, demanding. The only time he hadn’t been obnoxious was during the years when she thought he was dead. Even then…
That’s all it took. Something inside her snapped and wave after wave of uncontrolled, boiling hot rage raced through her. He wasn’t the only one filled with attitude who possessed an I’m-done tone. “Where the hell have you been, Carl? You don’t contact me at all and then you just stroll up to my door. You rip my life, my work – my everything – apart and now act as if you’ve only been gone for an afternoon. What is wrong with you? What happened?”
“I was left for dead.” His surfer boy good looks faded a bit as his eyes narrowed. “Thanks in part to you.” Wherever he was he must have forgotten how locks worked because he rattled the door one more time. “Now open this.”
He was blaming her. Of course he was. She likely was as fault for the fact his hair wasn’t the same sunny blond it once was and he now had a few wrinkles at the corners of his eyes. He was forty-one, having celebrated two birthdays while he was gone. She doubted he was taking the transition out of his thirties all that well.
She’d been thirty-three and inching very close to thirty-four when he went missing and already back then he’d mentioned “hip spread” to her more than once. Hers, of course. Not his. She’d expected him to battle aging as fiercely as he’d fought to be the only one in charge of handling the bills. Now she knew why…because he hadn’t bothered to actually pay any debt with her name on it.
“You disappeared.” Right there, in that moment, she kind of wished he’d do it again and had to push back a wave of guilt that came with that realization. She’d had no idea how much hate festered inside her until he popped up again. The frowning, his ridiculous summer shoes in winter, that voice – it all worked on her nerves and it had been less than ten minutes.
“A wave hit the boat. It tipped and I went overboard.” He shrugged. “Are you satisfied now?”
Not even close. A hundred questions filled her head. “Who could be satisfied with that? What’s the rest of the story?”
His body language and easy dismissal of how his terrible choices impacted her life only made her more determined to understand what his days looked like during the last few years. Then maybe she’d let him in, but probably no.
He waved her off. “None of that matters now.”
“It does to me.” His short non-answers ticked her off even more, and she wouldn’t have said that was possible. “I deserve an explanation. A real one. All of the facts, not just pieces.”
He leaned in closer as his jaw tightened. “I said later.”
Wariness surged through her. She wasn’t afraid. No, scared wasn’t the right word. Carl had never been violent, never raised a hand or threatened her. But near the end he’d been distant and that had turned into flashes of meanness. Snide comments about how he’d married a woman but got stuck with a fisherman. Sneak attacks of blaming her that they didn’t make more money in the boating business.
So much confusion swirled around him and his stories and all that deception. She’d convinced herself he ran off with his girlfriend. Not that she ever admitted that to anyone or said the words out loud. No, there had been too much at risk.
To save her house and business she’d needed the insurance and a final judgment from the court about Carl’s fate. A confirmation that he was legally dead. She had to pretend to believe it. It had taken her almost two years to persuade the court and wrestle the business and house away from the legal No Man’s Land it landed in when he disappeared. The insurance company still had refused to pay on the claim. That meant she’d had to salvage what she could with him gone.
Now he was back, and as much as she hated it, they needed to talk. She tried even though as her brain screamed for her to slam the door. “I think we should–”
“I can’t believe you’re being a pain in the ass.”
Her head snapped back at the fury lacing through his voice. “Me?”
“Jake warned me you’d gone from grieving to stone cold in a matter of months.” Carl shook his head. “I didn’t believe it. Not after everything we’d been through.”
She lost the thread of the conversation as soon as Carl mentioned his brother. “Jake?”
“That’s where I’ll be. At his house.” Carl started to shift away from the door. “But get your act together and do it fast, Lauren. I plan on being in this house and back at work by Christmas.”
“That’s two weeks away.”
“I’ll be back tomorrow.” He made a face that suggested he was sick of her again already. “Be over your shock and ready to talk by then.”
Lauren watched Carl walk back down the path to the car parked on the street. She recognized the dark sedan. It belonged to Carl’s brother, which meant Carl went there first.
Her mind spun with questions about where he’d been and why he was back. She had no idea how he planned to explain and argue his way out of this…or why he thought he could walk back into her life now without any real explanation or sign of remorse.
A gust of cold air got her moving. She slammed the front door closed and rested her palm on it. Tried to breathe in, to think.
Her usual calm detachment abandoned her. Jumbled thoughts crashed into her brain. Panic rose in her chest, threatening to swamp her. Finding a lost husband should be a good thing. For her, it amounted to a nightmare. Her world tilted and all she wanted was to tip it right again.
Help. She never asked anyone for help. Not ever. She’d learned long ago that needing someone, depending on them, lead to heartache and disappointment. But Garrett McGrath’s face kept flashing in her mind. Sarcastic, charming, sinfully handsome Garrett. They’d met in the summer and he’d been asking her out for two months. Hanging around, texting, insisting he’d wait for her to be ready to date again.
The guy honed his Tall, Dark and Smoldering look and for some reason he’d decided to aim it full force at her. Probably had something to do with the thrill of the chase. That was the only answer she could come up with. Because once he knew her, really knew her, he’d back off. Any sane person would.
But right now, as the walls closed in and she struggled to hold onto a coherent thought, all she could do was think of his face. The dark brown hair and those big green eyes. That firm chin…and his uncanny ability to solve complex problems while making a joke and without breaking a sweat.
She glanced around her cottage. It had a beachy vibe with weathered white beadboard walls overstuffed blue furniture. It consisted of two small bedrooms, a bathroom and a joint living and eating area. Her refuge. The place she rented when she lost everything else. The same place Carl for some reason thought he had a right to live in.
She grabbed her cell off the couch and dialed the number Garrett had put in there when they first met. The phone rang and his deep voice came on the line. Voicemail.
She waited a few minutes. Gave herself a bit of a pep talk and mentally insisted she could handle this, just like she handled everything else.
Instead of leaving a message she texted him. She tried to think of the right thing to say. She went with the only words that made sense to her… You were right. Carl is not dead.
About the Author HelenKay Dimon spent the years before becoming a romance author as a…divorce attorney. Not the usual transition, she knows. Good news is she now writes full time and is much happier. She has sold over forty novels and novellas to numerous publishers, including HarperCollins, Kensington, Harlequin, Penguin Random House, Riptide and Carina Press. Her nationally bestselling and award-winning books have been showcased in numerous venues and her books have twice been named “Red-Hot Reads” and excerpted in Cosmopolitan magazine. She is on the Board of Directors of the Romance Writers of America and teaches fiction writing at UC San Diego and MiraCosta College. You can learn more at her website: www.HelenKaydimon.com.
Today is release day for RUIN YOU, the third book in the adult contemporary romance series, The Debt, by USA Today bestselling author, Molly O’Keefe. See below for information on the book and series, and buy links/ For a limited time, you can pick up the ebook of LOST WITHOUT YOU, book 1 in the series, for free.
The only thing that stands in the way of my revenge is her. The lying scheming daughter of the man who killed my parents. She has the secrets I need to bring down her father. And I’ll do anything to get them. I will lie to her. Steal from her. Use her. Ruin her.
It helps that our chemistry is explosive. What I’m not expecting is for her to be so sweet. And so strong. So…irresistible.
After so many years of lying and hiding, I finally have a place to call home. With people I can call a family. The Paintbrush Inn is my life now, and I won’t let anyone ruin it. When sexy and world-weary Simon checks in to the Inn, I never expect him to glance my way. I’ve spent my whole life blending into the background. Being overlooked and ignored. It’s been helpful, even though it’s lonely. And he’s way out of my league.
But our attraction is powerful. Undeniable. Dangerous. Because I can’t let anyone close. If the secrets I keep were to be revealed, my whole life would be destroyed. But something about Simon makes me break all my own rules. I’m letting him in to my home, my body, my life, never expecting he has his own secrets. His own lies.
About the Author Molly O’Keefe has always known she wanted to be a writer (except when she wanted to be a florist or a chef and the brief period of time when she considered being a cowgirl). And once she got her hands on some romances, she knew exactly what she wanted to write.
She published her first Harlequin romance at age 25 and hasn’t looked back. She loves exploring every character’s road towards happily ever after.
Originally from a small town outside of Chicago, she went to university in St. Louis where she met and fell in love with the editor of her school newspaper. They followed each other around the world for several years and finally got married and settled down in Toronto, Ontario. They welcomed their son into their family in 2006, and their daughter in 2008. When she’s not at the park or cleaning up the toy room, Molly is working hard on her next novel, trying to exercise, stalking Tina Fey on the internet and dreaming of the day she can finish a cup of coffee without interruption.
Today is release day for KAVANAGH CHRISTMAS, the fifth book in the adult contemporary sports romance series, Kavanagh Legends, by Sarah Robinson. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway..
KAVANAGH CHRISTMAS (Kavanagh Legends #5) by Sarah Robinson
Synopsis The heartfelt holiday conclusion to the Kavanagh Legends family saga revisits all the couples that readers have fallen in love with throughout the series. An angsty and loving Christmas novella, it’s the perfect goodbye to these Irish MMA fighters and a glimpse into what the future holds for them.
With the Christmas season fast approaching, the entire Kavanagh family is feeling anything but the holiday spirit. Commitments are questioned, relationships are tense, and bickering is nonstop.
However, when a crisis strikes and the family realizes that they might lose one of their own, they’ll come together to remember the reason for the season is first, and foremost, love and family.
Prologue Three Weeks Before Christmas Dee Kavanagh
“You’re kidding, right?” Dee turned away from the stove to look at her husband of forty years. “Not in your health.”
Seamus grumbled something under his breath, putting the piece of bacon he’d been about to eat back on the serving plate. “One piece of bacon with breakfast won’t kill me.”
“Pfft. You’re mad.” She shook her head, and turned back to stirring the scrambled eggs she was making for her grandkids. “Plus, save it for the kids. They’ll be down for breakfast in a minute.”
Her oldest son, Rory, was away on a romantic weekend trip with his wife, Clare, leaving their two children, Murphy and Brontë, under the care of Seamus and Dee. Dee was, of course, thrilled. There was nothing she loved more than being a mother, and now a grandmother. She would spend all day every day with her grandkids if she could, and her heart was filled to overflowing to have so many now.
At the reminder, Dee gazed at the photo go her grandchildren in a homemade popsicle-stick frame on her kitchen countertop that Murphy had made for her. The photo inside was silly and sweet—all five grandchildren making funny faces at the camera. Well, four of the five. Shea was in the back looking stoically at the camera, which wasn’t unusual for the teenager with special needs. Shea was Kieran’s wife, Fiona’s, biological sister, and when their mother passed away, Fiona and Kieran had adopted her.
Dee didn’t care one bit that they weren’t related by blood. Being loved and part of their family didn’t have a DNA requirement, and that was something she’d raised all her boys to know.
Next to Shea in the photo was Rory and Clare’s two children, Murphy and Brontë. Murphy was crossing his eyes and Brontë was sticking her tongue out, laughing. Gavin was on the floor in front of them, his little arm around Ava’s shoulder as they both made faces at the camera. Gavin was Kieran and Fiona’s son, and the youngest of the entire group. Ava was Jimmy’s girlfriend Sophie’s daughter from a previous relationship, and had been embraced by the family when Sophie and Jimmy began dating.
“Have you checked your sugar yet?” Dee asked, plating the scrambled eggs and adding a serving spoon before placing it on the kitchen table next to the bacon and biscuits.
“Not yet.” Seamus pulled a blood glucose monitor out of a kitchen drawer and began swabbing his finger with an alcohol wipe. He barely looked up at her, his answers always as succinct as possible. He’d always been brusque, but this was different.
His recent diagnosis of diabetes had thrown them a major curveball, and completely changed their lives. It was a struggle, however, because the man loved his carbs and sugar. Changing sixty years of unhealthy eating habits had caused a lot of friction between them.
Wiping her hands off on a towel, Dee approached her husband’s side and watched as he pricked his finger and dabbed a drop of blood onto a testing strip.
“See? Healthy as all hell.” He turned the monitor towards her when it displayed his results, which thankfully were in a great range. “You worry too much.”
“I know. I can’t help it.” Dee sighed, and glanced toward the hallway to make sure the kids weren’t about to walk in. Returning her gaze to her husband, she placed a hand on his upper arm. “Seamus?”
He grunted. Forty years and he couldn’t even respond with a word?
“Next month is our anniversary.” She blinked quickly, taming the tears that wanted to flow. “I was thinking maybe we book ourselves a trip. Or a cruise. Get away and celebrate.”
He shrugged and then began putting away his supplies. “Fine.”
That’s it. “Damn it, Seamus!”
“What?” He turned bewildered eyes to her. “What’s wrong?”
“You, that’s what. You’re being a fecking asshole. I know that I’m being strict with this new diet, but the doctor said you’d die. You were nearly in a coma, Seamus. Your sugar was hundreds above where it should have been. Do you know what that was like for me?” Her voice was cracking, full of emotion as anger and heartbreak surged through her heavily Irish accented words. “I’ve spent more of my life as your wife than I ever was anything else. Losing you…shite. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t wake up every morning and not have you next to me. I—”
“Dee…” Seamus reached out and grabbed her hand, pulling her to his chest and wrapping her in a hug. “Feck. I’m sorry. You know I don’t mean it. I’m a grumpy old bastard.”
“Such a bastard,” she mumbled into his shirt, sniffling, twisting her fingers in the fabric.
He chuckled, kissing the top of her head. “I know you’re just trying to keep me healthy. I’m trying, too. It’s hard, but I’m trying. I’d never do anything to shorten my time with you on this earth.”
Dee felt her heart soften again, the tension of their recent fiction sliding away. After almost forty years together, fighting was nothing new for them. In fact, it was one of the things they did best. He was an asshole, and she had known that the day they met, but he was also a wonderful husband and an even better father and grandfather.
“I love you, Dee.” He kissed her softly, and she felt the same flutter in her heart that he’d made her feel since the first time they’d laid eyes on one another. His voice deepened, developed a huskier lilt. “Maybe once the kids leave, I can show you how much.”
“Sweet talker,” she teased, whacking his arm before turning back to the table.
“Grandad!” Murphy came skipping into kitchen and tossed himself at his grandfather.
Seamus caught him just in time and swung him high above his head as the young boy’s laughter filled the air while he soared in the safety of his grandfather’s arms. “Hey, Murph! Did you sleep all right?”
“Eh.” Murphy shrugged and wiggled his way back down to the floor, turning his affections to Dee this time. “It’s okay. Hi, Nanna!” He squeezed her waist in a hug, his little head pressing into her stomach.
Dee picked him up and covered his cheeks with kisses. “Is my grandbaby hungry? Breakfast is ready!”
“Yes! Hey, Nanna, guess how old I’m going to be next week?” Murphy held up both hands, one with all his fingers up, and the other with only one. “Guess!”
“Hmmm.” She placed a finger on her chin. “I think twenty-seven, right?”
“No!” His laughter peeled out of him, warming her heart. “Guess again!”
“Nope!” Murphy sat at the kitchen table, kicking his feet back and forth underneath him.
His little sister, Brontë, toddled into the kitchen, still holding her favorite blanket, her thumb shoved in her mouth.
“Hey, baby girl, do you know how old your brother will be next week?” Dee scooped up the young girl and kissed her.
“Six!” She burst out, her wet thumb popping from her mouth.
“Is that right? Six? I can’t believe it!” Dee feigned as Murphy vigorously nodded his head in agreement.
Dee sat Brontë in a booster seat at the table and filled both of their plates with eggs and bacon. A mournful expression crept over Seamus’ face as he stared at his bowl of oatmeal and pushed around the apple slices on top with his spoon.
Murphy held up both hands, six fingers raised. “Six, Nanna! Mama says I’m getting too big. She cries when I say that.”
Dee chuckled. “Well, mamas wish their kids stayed kids forever. We get sad thinking about them growing up.”
“Are your kids growed up?” Murphy asked, spooning a large bite of scrambled eggs into his mouth.
“My first kid is your daddy, baby,” Dee reminded him, sitting at the table between her grandkids.
“Oh, right.” Murphy looked deep in thought as he considered what she’d said. “That’s weird.”
Seamus laughed at that one then ruffled Brontë’s hair. She beamed at him, and offered him a piece of bacon which he only pretended to eat with loud, chomping noises that made her giggle. Dee loved watching Seamus with their grandkids—the love between them was so beautiful.
“Did Daddy look like me when he was your kid?” Murphy continued his line of questioning. Actually, his questions never stopped. The boy was a sponge, asking everyone a million questions all day long. She didn’t mind one bit, though.
“His hair was a bit darker, and he was shorter. A little stockier. You’ve got your mother’s height and slim frame. Very lucky, because your mother is beautiful.”
“You’re beautiful, too, Nanna.”
“Thanks, Murph.” She smiled. Kids were a goddamn blessing. “Do you like the eggs? You’ve only eaten one bite.”
He pushed some more around on his plate. “I think I’m not very hungry.”
“You said you were.”
The little boy sighed, his shoulders slumping slightly. “I know. I changed my mind.”
Dee frowned, but squeezed his shoulder. “Are you feeling all right?”
He nodded. “Can I be excused? Grandad said I could play Xbox today!”
Seamus grinned, ignoring the look she shot him.
“Okay, but only for an hour. After that, no more electronics this weekend.”
“Whyyyy?” Murphy began to whine. “Just a little bit!”
“Hey, no whining,” Dee reminded him. “Santa’s coming in three weeks. We’ve got to be good to be on the nice list and get lots of presents.”
That reminder perked him right up. “I’m going to be the nicest boy on the whole list!”
“Good job!” she cheered, making a mental note to finish her Christmas shopping soon.
Murphy was already up and out of his seat, heading for the living room. They’d already made sure Rory set the games up before he left, so that the parental controls were on. For the life of her, Dee couldn’t figure out how to work the blasted machine herself.
Brontë smiled, her mouth full of food. “Nanna, can I have his bacon?”
“That’s my girl.” Seamus laughed, giving Brontë a thumbs-up. “My genes are strong.”
Dee rolled her eyes at her husband. “You can have one more piece, baby girl. Seamus, should I text Clare and tell her Murph isn’t eating?”
“Nah,” he replied. “I’m sure he’s fine. Let them have their romantic weekend in peace.”
“You’re right,” she agreed.
He lifted one brow, eyeing her. “You’re going to text her anyway, aren’t you?”
“Well, she’s a mom. She’ll want to know.” Dee was already pulling out her phone and scrolling to Clare’s name. “I’m sure she won’t mind.”
Seamus chuckled. “I love you, Dee.”
“Love you, too, baby.”
“I love you, both!” Brontë added herself to the conversation.
Dee smiled over her phone at the little girl, her heart overflowing.
Don’t miss the rest of the Kavanagh Legends.
“Fans of Lori Foster’s SBC Fighters series will love the MMA atmosphere of [Sarah] Robinson’s Legends.”—Library Journal
“This endearing story showcases Keira and Quinn’s easy banter, familiar warmth, and unquenchable heat.” – Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review, on Chasing a Legend
“One of my favorite MMA books to date.”—#1 New York Times bestselling author Rachel Van Dyken, on Breaking a Legend
“Those Kavanaghs really know how to make a girl swoon.”—New York Times bestselling author Katy Evans
“Saving a Legend is a gripping and sexy MMA romance with characters you’ll be rooting for long after you finish reading. Buckle your seatbelts and get ready for one amazing and hot story from Sarah Robinson.”—New York Times bestselling author Ilsa Madden-Mills, on Saving a Legend
“Raw, sexy, and romantic, Becoming a Legend is another perfect, steamy read about the heartwarming Kavanaghs.”—Kate Meader, author of the Hot in Chicago series, on Becoming a Legend
About the Author Aside from being a Top 10 Barnes & Noble and Amazon Bestseller, Sarah Robinson is a native of the Washington, DC area and has both her Bachelors and Masters Degrees in criminal psychology. She is married to a wonderful man who is just as much of an animal rescue enthusiasts as she is. Together, they own a zoo of rescues including everything from mammals to reptiles to marsupials, as well as volunteering and fostering for multiple animal shelters.
Today is release day for UNMASKED, a new adult contemporary sports romance/romantic comedy, by international bestselling author, Magan Vernon. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis Can a hotshot snowboarder de-ice the ice queen?
At twenty-six, Blake Tremblay is one of the oldest snowboarders in the game. His sights are set on the gold medal, and he knows it’s now or never.
Kelly Johnson has spent her entire life skating and winning. She’s had no time for friends or an active social life, earning her the nickname “Ice Queen” – in and out of the rink.
Blake makes a bet without knowing all the terms. His ego won’t let him back out, even though his target is none other than the American Ice Queen herself.
What are the odds the dreadlocked playboy can warm the frosty figure skater when the real games are unmasked?
Let The Games Begin.
UNMASKED by Magan Vernon (Full Cover)
Kelly opened her mouth to speak, but Logan got his words out first. “That sounds great. We could use a night out before the craziness begins.”
She turned, her blonde ponytail practically whipping me in the face as she glared at Logan. “Are you serious?”
Logan just smiled and shrugged. “Why not? We don’t have practice until later in the morning tomorrow, so let’s have some fun. Maybe see the city.”
“Well for one, we’re all world class athletes with a reputation to protect. We can’t just go around and get drunk and then end up on the news with some stupid alibi about being robbed that no one will believe,” Kelly said, the crinkles in her forehead becoming even more pronounced. I hated to admit it, but she was kind of cute when she was mad.
“I think we can all handle our liquor, and this is the winter Olympics, we have better stamina,” I replied, even though it wasn’t directed at me.
Kelly turned in my direction, putting her hands on those oh so curvy hips that I wanted to put many parts of my body on. “And second, we don’t know you. You’re some dreadlocked guy in a Canadian track suit. I’m not going to throw out everything we’ve worked for just for a night of fun.”
“When was the last time you ever had fun,” Logan grumbled.
If I was going to ever win the bet, I couldn’t give up on this. Win or lose, this girl needed to get the stick out of her ass, and I had just the one she could replace it with. “Look, Kel, can I call you that?”
“No.” She shook her head.
I smirked. “Kel. I’m just another athlete like you that has a lot riding on these Games. I promise we won’t do anything stupid. If at any time you want to leave, just tell us or I’m sure Logan here would be happy to take you home if we get too rough.”
She chewed on her bottom lip, and I wanted to run my tongue along her perfectly pouty mouth. I knew this girl was going to be a challenge, but I didn’t realize how much her being a challenge was turning me on. I’d have to adjust my pants before too long if she kept looking at me like that.
Author Magan Vernon
About the Author Magan Vernon has been living off of reader tears since she wrote her first short story in 2004. She now spends her time killing off fictional characters, pretending to plot while she really just watches Netflix, and she tries to do this all while her two young children run amok around her Texas ranch.
Welcome to the release week blitz for YOUR ONE TRUE LOVE, the eighth book in the adult contemporary romance series, Bennett Family, by USA Today bestselling author, Layla Hagen. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, and an exclusive excerpt.
YOUR ONE TRUE LOVE (Bennett Family #8) by Layla Hagen
This time, he refuses to let her slip through his fingers.
Daniel Bennett has no regrets, except one: letting go of the woman he loved years ago. He wouldn’t admit it out loud, but he’s been pining for Caroline ever since. But his meddling family can read him like an open book. So when his sisters kick up their matchmaking shenanigans, Daniel decides to play right along. After all, he built his booming adventure business by making the most out of every opportunity. And he has no intention of missing out on opportunity to be near Caroline.
Determined to keep her heart in check, Caroline Dunne knows better than to fall for Daniel’s charms again–even though the man is a walking temptation. Everything from his sexy smile to his charming banter makes her toes curl and her heart throb. Even with their lives going in separate directions, neither can ignore the magnetic pull between them, or deny their connection. But will they find the second chance they’ve both wanted all along?
Excerpt Wordlessly, Daniel picks me up, carrying me to the bedroom. How did I end up in his arms for the second time today? After breakfast, I was too sick to take it all in, but now… oh my, am I making up for that.
Every nerve ending where my bare skin presses against Daniel is perking up. The bits covered by the towel aren’t faring much better. A light shudder passes through me when Daniel lays me on the bed. To my dismay, he sits on the edge, pulling my left ankle in his lap, inspecting it.
“Does it hurt?”
“No.” I flex it a little, testing it out. “Definitely no sprain, but I’m going to have bruises tomorrow all over my left side. I think you bring me bad luck. I seem to have all sorts of accidents when I’m around you. First I nearly sprained my ankle at Blake and Clara’s wedding, and today—”
“You scared ten years off my life today.” Daniel shakes his head, putting my foot back on the mattress.
He’s frowning as he shifts his weight until he sits right next to my hips. I don’t like that frown one bit, but then I remember Daniel isn’t mine to make happy. Still, I can lighten up the situation.
“Hmm, now that you mention it, I can see two white hairs. Weren’t there before. Must have sprouted while I was asleep.”
Reaching out, I’m aiming to touch a random spot on his scalp, but somehow end up running my hand through his hair. Damn it, he’s not mine to touch. Why do I keep forgetting this?
My heart thumps wildly when I realize Daniel’s leaning into my hand as if… as if he’s been yearning for my touch as much as I’ve yearned for his. Has he missed me just as much?
I barely formulate the thought when he grabs my hand, kissing the inside of my wrist. I feel the contact reverberate through my entire body until my center is on fire. Goose bumps erupt everywhere on my skin, and I have no way to hide them. Daniel’s pupils dilate. I’m not the only one who is aroused.
“You look even more beautiful than I remember, Caroline.”
I shake my head. “I’ve put on weight.”
“You’re perfect. You’re—”
Daniel doesn’t finish the sentence. Instead, he leans over, sealing his lips against mine. Oh God, his lips. They’re so warm and feel so, so good against mine that I fist his shirt without thinking, pulling him even closer, scooting over to one side, making space for him.
Get your hands on the rest of the Bennett Family books:
Today is release day for THE FORTUNATE ONES, a stand-alone adult contemporary romance/romantic comedy, by USA Today bestselling author, R.S. Grey, See below for information on the book, buy links, and an exclusive excerpt.
THE FORTUNATE ONES by R.S. Grey
About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited Title: THE FORTUNATE ONES Author: R.S. Grey Release Date: November 1, 2017 Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance/Romantic Comedy Links:Goodreads | Amazon| Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU
Synopsis At Twin Oaks Country Club, there are the fortunate ones, and then there are the rest of us: the waiters, the caddies, the valets, and in my case, the cabana girls. Most days, I’m poolside in a pleated skirt, dishing out margaritas to tycoons and titans. It’s not exactly my dream job, but it does come with one perk…
He’s my silver lining in a custom black suit.
Besides being a legacy member at the club, he’s a tech mogul and Austin’s most eligible bachelor. Oh, and those dimples? Yeah, they make my stomach dip too.
On good days, I catch his sleek Porsche winding down the tree-lined drive. On better days, I steal a glimpse of his handsome profile as we pass in the hall. And on the absolute best day, I find him alone at the bar, looking for company.
“Come have a seat.”
Those four little words set me down a path I never could have imagined. Private planes, penthouse suites, and temptations around every corner make it impossible to keep my distance. His world feels decadent and wild—but overindulgence comes with a cost. Every kiss comes with strings. Every erotic encounter is a promise I’m not ready to keep.
When I pump the brakes, he hits the gas. James doesn’t want to go slow—he wants a commitment.
And the thing about the fortunate ones?
They’re used to getting what they want.
Excerpt “I missed you today,” he says, his heated gaze lingering on my body.
I step back, and he follows.
He looks like he’s cornering his prey.
“Apparently not enough to make it to dinner,” I point out icily.
“I called the restaurant and told them I’d be late. Didn’t they tell you?”
I cross my arms and glance away.
“Brooke.” He steps closer and gently lifts my chin, forcing me to look back at him. “Fight with me tomorrow.”
I narrow my eyes, angry with him for shelving this discussion so casually. To him, it doesn’t matter that I sat in that restaurant alone, looking like a fool for nearly two hours. He’s brushing off my anger, stepping closer and forcing his way past my defenses.
“I think I’d like to talk about it now.”
I catch the beginning of a smirk just before he leans in to kiss my cheek.
“Are you sure there isn’t anything you’d rather be doing right now?”
He uncrosses my arms and brings them up over his shoulders then steps closer, towering over me. My arms tighten around his neck, but still, I turn away, keeping my mouth from him. His breath hits my neck and he pulls me taut against his hard body, growing more impatient with every moment I try to resist.
“Brooke,” he whispers huskily.
My eyes flutter closed as he bends and presses a kiss to my cheek, my chin, then lower, tipping my head back so he can reach the smooth recess at the nape of my neck. I shiver and he groans, obviously aware of what his touch is doing to me.
Author R.S. Grey
About the Author R.S. Grey is the USA Today bestselling author of thirteen novels, including THE FOXE & THE HOUND. She lives in Texas with her husband and two dogs, and can be found reading, binge-watching reality TV, or practicing yoga! Visit her at rsgrey.com
Today is release day for CONDUIT, the first book in the new adult paranormal fantasy series, The Infinity, by C.C. Dowling, See below for information on the book, buy links, and a link to add it to your Goodreads TBR. Grab a copy from your favorite retailer, or get an ebook directly from the publisher for just $0.99!
Synopsis When college senior Jane Lamb dies suddenly, she discovers that the afterlife is less pearly gates and fluffy clouds and more standing in line at the DMV. But before she can spend eternity lamenting over her short, unremarkable life, she’s offered a do-over—as a Conduit, a reincarnated messenger contracted to reap souls.
Determined to do things right the second time, Jane takes the job and reincarnates as eighteen-year-old college freshman Liv Hartley. Only, the excitement for her new life doesn’t last. There are consequences to bearing the coveted infinity symbol tattoo marking her as a Conduit, and Liv quickly finds that getting a second chance doesn’t mean getting a better one. Possessive demons, stolen assignments, and a love life that’s decidedly complicated are all a far cry from the mundane existence Jane led. But with more questions piling up than bodies, there’s only one thing Liv knows for sure: life doesn’t get any easier after death.
Filled with sparkling wit, conflicted romance, and more spirit than a haunted mansion, Conduit is a fun-filled paranormal that explores the idea of regret, love, and what we would give to live twice.
Author C.C. Dowling
About the Author C.C. Dowling is an author who writes everything from gritty urban fantasy, to paranormal sci-fi, to steamy contemporary erotic romance (under a pen name of course!).
C.C. shares her love of writing with her love of singing, music, and science. She spent the first half of her college life performing, and the second half in a lab.
C.C. currently lives in America’s finest city, with her husband (the financial shaman), her two children (who love to play in the yard with the faeries, and her very real pet dragon (who guards the perimeter of her house at night).
When she’s not working or writing (which is still technically working), C.C. can be found playing a round of disc golf, or desperately trying to figure out which pair of sandals are the most appropriate for the harsh Southern California winters..
Today is release day for INKED MEMORIES, the eighth book in the adult contemporary romance series, Montgomery Ink, by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Carrie Ann Ryan. See below for information the book, buy links, and an exclusive excerpt.
INKED MEMORIES (Montgomery Ink #8) by Carrie Ann Ryan
Synopsis The Montgomery Ink series by NYT Bestselling Author Carrie Ann Ryan continues when the final Denver Montgomery sibling refuses to fall for his brother’s former flame—the company’s new plumber.
Wes Montgomery watched his entire family fall in love, and now finds himself ready to settle down. Except the one person he seems to find chemistry with is not only his twin’s ex, she also works for Montgomery Inc. But when the two find themselves in one compromising situation after another, Wes realizes he’s having second thoughts about the dynamic woman who’s burst her way into his life. Sure she sets off his temper, but she also makes him hot in every other way possible.
Jillian Reid never loved her best friend like everyone thought she should, so she pushed him away so he could have his future. Now, despite fighting it, she finds herself attracted to the one man she shouldn’t. When her father’s health takes a turn for the worse, and a danger no one saw coming show its face, she’s forced to turn to Wes for help. The two of them have fought off their attraction long enough, and each cave to the desire. But this enemies-to-lovers tale might have an ending no one ever dreamed of.
Excerpt Jillian tore off her shirt right beside her truck. Thankfully, she’d thought to put on her normal tank underneath like usual, even though she hadn’t planned to work that day. She needed a shower, but the fact that she’d washed her face and hands to the point of reddening her skin and was now pulling on a new shirt would at least take care of most of the damage.
Almost all of the crew was gone for the day since it had taken her much longer to do her job than probably anyone had planned. But, hell, it had been a much larger piece of crap bathroom than even Storm figured. Now, she was ready to go home, drink a beer— after her shower—and watch a Harry Potter marathon.
And didn’t that just sound like the most interesting life ever.
She sighed and honestly didn’t care all too much what others thought of that. She’d had a long day she hadn’t planned for, and she just wanted to relax her way.
After tossing her dirty shirt into the garbage bag in her truck since she knew there was no saving that particular piece of clothing, she turned and let out a silent screech. Her foot slammed into the curb, and her ankle twisted slightly. Hands out and braced for an ugly fall, everything seemed to go in slow motion as she tried not to hurt herself any worse than necessary.
Strong arms wrapped around her waist and pulled her up so her back pressed firmly into a very hard chest. Her heart raced since she still felt like she was falling even though she wasn’t, and she let out a slow breath.
Of course. Of course, it was him. It couldn’t be anyone else who witnessed her clumsiness and near accident. It had to be Wes fucking Montgomery.
Where was a crevice in the earth to swallow her up and take her away from this situation when she needed one?
“I’m fine,” she grumbled. “You can take your hands off me now.”
But he didn’t.
Instead, he turned her in his hold and looked her right in the eyes. “Are you sure you’re okay?”
She swallowed hard. Why hadn’t she noticed the brightness of his eyes before? Or the way his pupils dilated when he focused on something…namely her at the moment?
“I’m fine,” she repeated. And she was. Her ankle throbbed slightly, but it wasn’t even a sprain since she’d had enough of those to tell. She’d just tweaked it a bit in her clod-hopping way of walking.
He didn’t let go.
“Seriously, Wes. You need to stop trying to baby me, or whatever the hell you think you’re doing all the time. I’m not an idiot. I can handle myself. Why do you—?”
She didn’t even know what she was going to ask at that moment because her mind went blank at the first touch of Wes’s lips to hers. Her eyes closed of their own volition, and she leaned into him. That seemed to push him harder, and he deepened the kiss, his lips soft yet firm against hers as his tongue traced the seam of her mouth. She opened for him, tangling her tongue with his as she moaned.
The sound seemed to break them both out of whatever the hell they were doing, and they pulled apart as if struck, both left panting, their chests moving quickly up and down.
“No. Not going to happen.” She held out her hands, trying to catch her breath. “Nope. No way.”
Wes looked at her as if he hadn’t seen her before, his eyes a little wide. “It was…it was an accident.”
She didn’t even flinch at that, too numb from everything else hitting her all at once. “Fine.”
She turned on her heel, grateful she hadn’t actually hurt her ankle, and jumped into her truck before turning her engine and pulling away.
“Nope,” she muttered to herself again. “Not going to happen. I’m not going to do another Montgomery and fuck myself over. And I’m sure as hell not going to do a boss Montgomery. Nope. Nope. No. No. No.”
And if she kept repeating that to herself, she just might get the damn taste of Wes Montgomery out of her mouth.
About the Author Carrie Ann Ryan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary and paranormal romance. Her works include the Montgomery Ink, Redwood Pack, Talon Pack, and Gallagher Brothers series, which have sold over 2.0 million books worldwide. She started writing while in graduate school for her advanced degree in chemistry and hasn’t stopped since. Carrie Ann has written over fifty novels and novellas with more in the works. When she’s not writing about bearded tattooed men or alpha wolves that need to find their mates, she’s reading as much as she can and exploring the world of baking and gourmet cooking.
Today is release day for LEGENDS, the first book in the young adult urban fantasy series, Posse, by T. Hammond, See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
LEGENDS (Posse #1) by T. Hammond
About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited Title: LEGENDS Series: Posse #1 Author: T. Hammond Genre: Young Adult Urban Fantasy Release Date: October 26, 2017 Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU
Synopsis It should have been an easy job. Track the jackal. Locate the girl. Rescue said girl. Return bad puppy to the Council for questioning.
As leader of the Posse, a paranormal alliance, shapeshifter Lexa O’Clare thought she’d seen everything over the past millennia. Neither she, nor her vampire partner, Etienne, expected this case to be different.
A fugitive werejackal leads them to a secret lab where supernaturals are unwilling subjects in genetic experimentation. The Posse uncovers a conspiracy implicating high-ranking members of the Inter-species Council.
Can anyone’s motives be trusted?
Lexa: a shapeshifter sheriff who also proxies for humans killed before their destinies are fulfilled.
Etienne: a Knight Templar, turned master vampire.
Yasmin: a dragon who walked among the gods.
Jade: an historian & Fox-familiar to a cranky dragon.
Sentinel: a gargoyle who mourns the fall of Atlantis.
Richard: a witch with a target on his back.
Tris: a rare polyshifter with an eye for a sexy male.
Rhys: four months ago he was human…
Excerpt #5 Tris
“Good, gracious, I’d love a bite of that!” Sorcha gasped as she watched the naked wolf strut down the porch steps. In my efforts to adjust the porch swing cushion along my spine, I’d missed my opportunity for a full-frontal analysis. Not to worry—the view from the back was noteworthy.
He must have heard us. Without breaking stride, he looked over his shoulder and winked at my best friend.
It was unusual for Sorcha to notice nakedness, let alone comment, but I’ll admit she has unquestionable taste in men. This one was built in typical beluae-fashion—long, ropy muscles over a tall, broad-boned frame. The wolf had the dark-haired, sloe-eyed Latin looks characteristic of the Pyrenées Mountain Pack. Young members were already gathering for a mid-morning run along the beach, and unlike the more conservative shapeshifter race, werewolves were fairly blasé about nudity, making these vacations to Sorcha’s family in the Basque Country something of a visual feast.
“Sorch, that is so not for you. Look away, look away.”
“Can’t help myself, Tris. How in the hell does he not tip over onto his face, holding up something that size?”
“Superior werewolf balance?” I offered.
“Oh, man, my mouth is watering.”
“Seriously, Sorch, I can see the attraction, but you’ve gotta stop drooling. What would your boyfriend think?” I wasn’t sure who the flavor-of-the-week was, but I’d seen her canoodling with another wolf earlier this morning. With my chum, there was always a male friend, even if they passed through her life so fast I rarely got names.
“Huh?” She finally looked away from the sexy beluae to give me a puzzled frown. “What does Sancho have to do with cake?”
All right, now it was my turn to say it. “Huh? Cake? I thought we were talking about the wolf’s, err, package?”
“His…” Her face scrunched up in a particularly sour expression. “Ewww, you pervert. That wolf is my brother, Bennet. I wasn’t talking about his…his tackle and whirlygigs. Ewww!”
“But…” A glance toward her brother, who’d stopped at a large picnic table, showed me what I’d missed from my earlier examination of his, err, assets—a towering, three-tiered sheet-cake, balanced between his wide-spread hands. Now in profile, he chose to look up, meeting my eyes with a wide grin. Damn beluae hearing, he no doubt heard the whole exchange between me and his sister. In fact, looking around to an array of amused smiles, his siblings were also aware of my misunderstanding.
“I never saw…I thought…” I plopped my head into my hands, wishing I could disappear.
Sorch laughed. “Superior werewolf balance?” she parroted. “You’re so hysterical. This is why I keep you around.”
Author T. Hammond
About the Author T, a paranormal romance and urban fantasy author, feels writing is not a calling so much as it is a compulsion. No one is more surprised than she is when characters take over the plot and dialog, (re)directing stories in directions she had not (consciously) intended. Although T starts out each novel with a basic outline, she finds one or two chapters into the novels, not only have the characters shredded her outline into tiny unidentifiable pieces, they use the resulting confetti in a nose-thumbing parade.
T is fully convinced the writer is the tool a story uses to tell its tale.