Book Blitz – Excerpt + Giveaway – CHRISTMAS AT THE LAKE (Great Escapes) by Charlotte Blake

CHRISTMAS AT THE LAKE Book Blitz

Welcome to the book blitz for CHRISTMAS AT THE LAKE, the second book in the adult contemporary romance series, Great Escapes, by Charlotte Blake. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

CHRISTMAS AT THE LAKE (Great Escapes #2) by Charlotte Blake

CHRISTMAS AT THE LAKE (Great Escapes #2) by Charlotte Blake

About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited!
Title: CHRISTMAS AT THE LAKE
Series: Great Escapes #2
Author: Charlotte Blake
Genre: Adult Contemporary Holiday Romance
Release Date: September 10, 2017
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU 

Synopsis
Sometimes love gets forgotten …

Hugely successful Lexi Stuart is used to guys pursuing her, but for all the wrong reasons. Sure, she’s beautiful and rich, but the men in her life never seem to want anything more serious than just sex. It’s a stark reality she’s become used to.

As a code writer in Silicon Vally, Adam Hunt doesn’t have to worry about money. And as a heartthrob in general, he doesn’t need to worry about attracting women, either. But when he meets Lexi during a Christmas holiday in Lake Tahoe, he’s floored that she won’t give him the time of day after one wild night together.

Now, this sports bum is about to take Lexi on the ride of her life. All she needs to do is hang on!

18+
NOTE: This STAND-ALONE romance contains very steamy love scenes. All of the books in the Great Escapes series can be read in any order.

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Excerpt
Sweeping views of the lake and the surrounding land were better than all of the other views she’d seen put together. Several chairs were situated by the windows with small drink tables between each pair. Two pool tables dominated the inner space, but that wasn’t all. There were three dart boards, and, she was delighted to see, two machines of skee ball. 

“Oh, I love skee ball!” Lexi said, walking up to to one of the games. “How do I get the balls to come down?”

“Over here at the bar is a basket full of coins you can use to release them.”

She immediately went to the basket and grabbed a handful.

“I’ve never been very good at it,” she said, putting one of the coins into the slot. 

Six wooden balls descended into the holder, and she was immediately distracted from both the tour and Adam. She took her first shot, ten points. Her second, ten points. 

“I told you,” she said. 

But on her next one, it went so far awry of her intended direction it landed in one of the fifty point cups.

“Ha! Look at that!” She smiled triumphantly. 

Adam clapped appreciatively. 

“I think we’ve seen all we need to for now, Mary. The lady seems to have found her activity for the morning.”

Mary laughed. “Well, if you two need anything else, don’t hesitate to come down to the office. There’s a fully stocked bar over there in the corner. Help yourselves.”

“Thank you for the tour, Mary. This place is wonderful.” Lexi still had her eyes on the machine. 

“You’re quite welcome. I’ll leave you to it.”

Adam walked up next to Lexi, swiping one of the coins she had placed on the edge of the machine. 

“Now this I’m good at.” He aimed his ball expertly and immediately sunk one into the fifty point cup.  

Lexi was not deterred. She didn’t care about winning this game. It was simply fun for her. She made a mental note to have one of the machines installed in her apartment when she got back home. 

“So,” Adam said, finishing up his game. “I think our minds were supposed to be on pool.”

“I know. Just a few more balls.” She was in heaven, completely distracted from everything else she’d had on her mind.  

Adam walked over to set up the pool balls. “Just a few.”

But she didn’t stop. Finally he walked up behind her and whispered in her ear. 

“You said you’d play me at pool, remember?”

The feeling of his lips brushing against her ear made her breath catch. She leaned down, bowling the last ball, then she turned. They stared at each other for a few moments. Then he moved in for a kiss. 

It was forward of him, a risk. 

But his lips were soft, delicate. He put one hand on the small of her back and drew her body toward him. The feeling of his body up against hers made her giddy. Usually, the men she was with stripped her down right away, not caring about the tease.

But this Adam … he knew how to do things. She was suddenly thrilled, filled with anticipation. 

“Are you ready?” he asked.

“For what, exactly?” she purred. 

“For pool.” His words were quiet, suggestive.

“Are you sure that’s all you want to do?”

“For now.” He separated himself from her, walked over to the pool table, and grabbed her a cue and a piece of blue chalk. 

She slumped as he walked away.

Whoa.

She couldn’t remember feeling the way she did now. She wanted him to take her upstairs, that was for sure. But her finely honed veneer was starting to crack a little. She was so used to being in charge. But he seemed to be leading this little game of theirs.

Just once, she reminded herself. Maybe twice.

Or maybe the whole trip. 

Her family didn’t need to know, though she imagined they might figure it out. Her older brother, Andrew, and his wife, Amanda, had been hounding her for years about her need to find someone to settle down with. But why? So she could pop out a couple of kids? That wasn’t a life she wanted. Her work was too intense, too busy to be able to raise a child. Maybe when she was older, when there was no time left and she had made her fortune large enough to really sustain her for the rest of her life, then she could look for a man to hang onto and have children with. Or not; she could just do it on her own.

It was how she’d done everything since her mother had left her all that money. She was guarded, and trusted few. And that was fine with her. Her mother had been the same way, only with a dash of never-good-enough to hold over Lexi’s head.

It made it hard to leave work, even for the holidays. Even though her mother had passed years ago, she still felt the same pressure to perform. The same pressure to be the best at everything. No room for error. It was an expectation that both helped her rise and held her down. There was no winning. Not even now.

“I’ll let you break,” he said, wrenching her out of her thoughts. “Since you’re so terrible at this game, I feel it’ll be more fair to let you have the first shot.”

She smirked and walked over, taking the cue he’d offered and hanging it back up on the wall. She chose a shorter one more suited to her and rubbed some of the chalk onto the tip. 

“You set the balls up wrong.” She leaned over the table, getting ready to take the first shot.

“I thought I just needed to keep the white one out.”

“That’ll be fine. I’ll beat you either way.”

But it didn’t work out that way. She was definitely talented at pool, but he was a perfect match to her skills. At the end of the first game, only three balls remained, two of hers and the eight ball. It was his turn and he sunk it without any trouble at all.

“You know, I’m starting to feel like maybe we should be making bets,” he said.

“No, I’m not betting you anything, you filthy liar.” She was laughing, but part of her was angry with herself for having given up the game so easily. “Best out of three.”

“You’re on. But not before a little taste.”

He walked up to her, leaning her gently against the table, and unloaded one of those kisses again. She tried hard not to gasp this time, but she couldn’t help it. She was tempted to toss the cue away and head upstairs. Her body was getting warmer and warmer every time he touched her. And in a way she wasn’t used to. 

But there would be time for that later. It was only ten in the morning, and the snow was still coming down outside. She’d have at least two nights alone at the lodge with him. Hopefully.

So she picked up her cue and started searching through the pockets for the sunken balls, rolling them onto the table. 

“Let me show you the right way to set the balls,” she said.

“I know the right way. I was just playing you. Are you sure you want to play again?” He walked up behind her and put his hands on her waist. 

Oh, boy. 

She turned.

“We have all day for that,” she insisted as his mouth traveled to her earlobe, giving it a little bite. “Now hands off so I can show you how this is really done.”

But she had barely cracked the balls when he was on her again. It was getting harder and harder for her to resist him. She felt sure that she’d be up in his bedroom by noon. 

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Author Charlotte Blake

Author Charlotte Blake

About the Author
I am happy to call the San Francisco Bay Area home, where I lives with my husband, two kids, one dog and three cats. I started writing at an early age, but have only been writing novels for the past five years. I love the idea of love conquering all, and that is what drove me to begin the Great Escapes series, where the reader follows couples meeting up in exotic locations around the world. In this series, each book is a stand-alone, and each can be read in any order.

But readers, be forewarned, there is a healthy amount of steam in these books!

Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy Great Escapes!

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Where to Find Charlotte Blake
Goodreads | WebsiteFacebook | Twitter

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Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Book Blitz – Excerpt + Giveaway – BETWEEN YOU AND ME by Lynn Turner

BETWEEN YOU AND ME Book Blitz

Welcome to the book blitz for BETWEEN YOU AND ME, a stand-alone adult contemporary romance, by Lynn Turner. See below for information on the book, buy links, a couple of teasers, a deleted scene, and details on her giveaway.

BETWEEN YOU AND ME by Lynn Turner

BETWEEN YOU AND ME by Lynn Turner

About the Book
Title: BETWEEN YOU AND ME
Author: Lynn Turner
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Release Date: September 20, 2017
Genre:
Adult Contemporary Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Synopsis
Love at first sight strikes Seattle Scientist Finnegan Kane at the worst possible moment, paralyzing him as he’s pitching his cutting-edge idea to powerful New York venture capitalist Emanuela Monroe…

Finn survived the crash that killed his parents when he was sixteen. Twenty years later, his smart devices are about to redefine what it means to be disabled.

Emanuela makes dreams come true for a living, but still longs to fulfill her own. Despite Finn’s stunning secret, she thinks his idea might be worth the risk…and he’s determined to show her that he is, too.

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BETWEEN YOU AND ME Teaser 1

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Deleted Scene #1
Christmas Eve

Finn removed the large gift box he’d hidden in Emanuela’s closet and set it on the bed in front of her.  He sat at its edge, his obvious anticipation of her opening it almost as great as hers. “Happy Christmas Eve, Emmi.”

She smiled and, at his nod, lifted the lid.  “Whoa.”

She reached in, carefully lifting the model house from the box.  It was alabaster in color, and the detailing was incredible. She recognized the floor-to-ceiling windows at the south end and gasped, turning it to admire the familiar wrap-around deck.  There were grooves indicating the planks of wood the deck was made from, and exterior lighting just like the ones on the house Finn rented in Penn Cove. She fingered the tiny fibers that made up the rigid parts of the house.

Her eyes narrowed. “You printed this?”

He nodded again. She giggled at his body language. He was as still as a log, his ears perky, eyes bright–If he’d had a tail, it would have wagged.

“Finn?”

“Take the roof off. Have a look inside.”

She lifted the ends of the roof and it came completely off. Inside was a perfect replica of the interior, each room complete with removable furnishings and detail equally as stunning as the outside—like the natural granite of the free-standing fireplace in the living space and the logged walls of the bedrooms.  Perfect—except there seemed to be extra space.

She frowned. “I don’t remember that being there.”

He grinned, crinkles appearing at the corners of his eyes. “That’s because it isn’t there yet.  Turn it again, but this time go slow.”

Her head jerked to the side, but she did as instructed, turning the model until the front of the house faced her again. There, just out front, was a tiny signpost that read “Sold.”

She yelped.  “Oh my God!  When?  I thought he wasn’t selling?” Her voice grew higher and squeakier with each question.

He shrugged. “I made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.”

“Finn!”  She smacked him impatiently.

He laughed, lifting his shoulder against her assault.  “My offer was more than fair—well above market value. I could tell he wanted to keep it, but after I told him it held sentimental value for me—and that he could buy a house almost anywhere with what I was offering—I convinced him to sell.”

She could have cried.  She loved that house, but was resigned to living somewhere else, convincing herself that anywhere with Finn would be home.  Maybe it was selfish, but she’d been heartbroken at the prospect of someone else living there, getting to watch the sunrise—their sunrise—every morning.

She pointed to the extra space again, her voice barely above a whisper. “And this?”

“A bigger office, a den, a pool—whatever you want, Emmi.”

She slid the model to the side, enough to clear the space between them, and beckoned him to her with her finger. “I’m so happy,” she whispered against his lips.

“That’s all I want.”

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BETWEEN YOU AND ME Teaser 2

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Author Lynn Turner

Author Lynn Turner

About the Author
Lynn Turner inherited her writing gene from her mother, who created fantastic tales about witches, invisible worlds and talking animals, and read them to her children at night. Lynn isn’t as great with the voices as her mother, but Rome wasn’t built in a day.

She discovered romance far too young, when a mission to find a young adult fantasy title led her to historical romance. She spent hours skimming those sumptuous pages, drinking in the vivid descriptions of settings and clothes, feisty heroines and looming lords, and poetic language. (She may or may not have enjoyed the PG-13 bits too, tucking a new title beneath her pillow at night).

She enjoys character-driven narratives most, and anything that transports her someplace else. Passionate about food and travel, she features healthy doses of both in the stories she crafts. Above all, she is dedicated to writing inclusive stories that explore what it means to be imperfectly human.

When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling, dreaming of traveling, or watching old Samantha Brown travelogue videos and wishing she had her job. She and her husband share their home in California with their two extraordinary children, and hope to add a little furry one to the family very soon..

Where to Find Lynn Turner
GoodreadsWebsite | Facebook | Twitter

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Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Chapter Reveal – THE HEIRESS by Cassia Leo

THE HEIRESS Chapter Reveal

Gloss Publishing, LLC and New York Times bestselling author Cassia Leo are releasing the first chapter from THE HEIRESS, a stand-alone new adult romantic suspense novel, releasing September 26, 2017. See below for information on the book, pre-order links, an exclusive first look at Chapter 1, and details on her giveaway.

THE HEIRESS by Cassia Leo

THE HEIRESS by Cassia Leo

About the Book
Title: THE HEIRESS
Author: Cassia Leo
Publisher: Gloss Publishing, LLC
Release Date: September 26, 2017
Genre:
New Adult Romantic Suspense
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooksKobo | GooglePlay

Synopsis
A new heartfelt and suspenseful stand-alone novel from New York Times bestselling author Cassia Leo.

How much is love worth?

Twenty-two-year-old Kristin and her single mom have always struggled to make ends meet. When her mother’s body begins to deteriorate after many backbreaking years of working as a housekeeper, Kristin must say farewell to her college dreams and hello to a full-time job waitressing. She doesn’t really mind. After all, giving up on her dreams will be her penance for that one horrible night.

Her luck begins to turn when she meets Daniel Meyers. Daniel is sexy and funny, but most importantly, he wants to get to know the real Kristin. It doesn’t hurt that he’s also extremely wealthy and intent on protecting her. Kristin feels safe with him. She wants to open up to him, to share the details of the awful night that changed her life. But she can’t shake the feeling that Daniel may be keeping a dark secret of his own…

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Chapter 1 – Taken Care Of
The dimly lit stairwells in our five-floor walk-up in the Bronx smelled even more like cat piss than usual.

The August humidity had a lovely way of extracting the aromas that were usually trapped inside the dingy walls of our building. I tried to breathe through my mouth as I climbed the final steps to the fifth floor. But when I stepped into the corridor, a bright yellow notice taped to the front door of apartment 502 made me gasp, and the sharp smell got sucked into my nose again.

I gagged, then marched toward my apartment. “What the actual fuck?”

My curse came out much louder than I’d anticipated.

Dropping my canvas bag of groceries on the floor, I quickly snatched the paper off the door, but not quickly enough. Mr. Williams walked out of his apartment as I bent over to stuff the notice into my grocery bag.

“Good morning, Mr. Williams,” I said, breathing far too heavily for a casual walk to the bodega. “How’s your day so far?”

He tilted his head a bit as his dark eyes remained focused on my bag. “Is that an eviction notice?”

I unzipped my purse and dug frantically through the receipts and half-used drugstore makeup, which had probably been there since I dropped out of college two years ago. “It’s just a mix-up,” I replied with a chuckle when I found my house key. “Same thing happened a couple weeks ago. At least this time it happened on a Monday morning instead of a Friday night. I’m heading straight to the property manager’s office as soon as I get these groceries in the fridge.”

“Is everything okay with you and your ma?” he asked through narrowed eyes.

“We’re fine,” I said, forcing a smile. “Thank you so much for asking, but we’re just fine. This is just a huge mix-up.”

Mr. Williams scratched his scraggly white beard, which sparsely covered his chestnut-brown skin. “Okay,” he said, slowly nodding. “Well, if you need anything, don’t you hesitate to holler at this old fool.”

My smile widened, and this time it was genuine. “Thank you, Mr. Williams. I promise I’ll do that.”

He stuck his chin out and beamed with pride. “That’s a good girl. You take care now,” he said, then ambled back into the apartment across the hall.

When I was five, I often wondered if I was invisible—not metaphorically speaking, but actually invisible. I would watch in complete silence as my mom came home from a fourteen-hour shift, cleaning up other people’s messes. She’d collapse onto the sofa, turn on the evening news, and eat her dinner with a tired smile. Then I’d retreat to my bedroom and dream of a world where I existed.

It wasn’t until a fateful evening in September two years ago, my fingernails peeling off as I desperately clawed my way up a highway embankment, that I finally realized how tangible I was, how heavily I was anchored to this merciless world.

Now, as I rushed inside the humid apartment I shared with my mother in the South Bronx, I wished I could be invisible again.

Closing the door softly behind me—so as not to attract the attention of any more neighbors—I power-walked into the kitchen and tossed my canvas grocery bag onto the counter. Yanking out the bright yellow eviction notice, I contemplated the ten-digit phone number scrawled on it in black marker.

No. I wasn’t going to give those incompetent pricks at the property management office the courtesy of calling before I showed up. No way would I give them time to come up with some trumped-up violation that my mother or I had supposedly committed.

Despite the fact that our building was more than a hundred years old and in serious disrepair, the bylaws consisted of a list of rules—I kid you not—at least sixty pages long. The list was mailed to us every year with an offer to renew the lease—with another rent increase, of course. And every year, the list got longer.

One rule actually stipulated we were not allowed to walk around in high heels after ten p.m. I supposed it was a good thing I had no social life. I was in no danger of violating that rule.

Of course, whatever bone the management was picking with us now was probably not due to anything I did or didn’t do. The eviction notice was almost certainly a response to what I had threatened to do. Three weeks ago, I threatened to file an ADA—Americans with Disabilities Act—complaint if they didn’t fix the loose handrails in the stairwells.

When my mom and I moved into this apartment more than ten years ago, my mom was in excellent physical shape. Despite the fact that she had spent most of her life working as a housekeeper, she had managed to take good care of her body. Until she fell off a ladder at home and shattered her kneecap. Three surgeries later, she was desperate to return to work so I could return to NYU, but no one would hire her back.

If the eviction notice was left on our door, that meant my mom wasn’t home when the notice was served, which meant our neighbor Leslie had come by to take her shopping.

I put the groceries away and stuffed the eviction notice into my purse before I left the apartment. I thought of leaving a message with Leslie’s family, but decided against it. I didn’t want to worry her or my mom.

Leslie was a stay-at-home mother with two kids in high school and a husband who drove a bus for MTA. She helped my mom up and down the stairs once a week to go shopping. Having amazing neighbors like Leslie and Mr. Williams was one of the many reasons I was hesitant to move to another apartment building with an elevator.

One subway ride and nine blocks of walking in the glaring summer sun later, I arrived, sweaty and determined, at the front doors of Golde Property Management. I entered through the glass double doors, which squeaked on their hinges as I pushed my way inside. The black and gold confetti design on the linoleum looked like something straight out of a ’70s discotheque. The faux oak furniture in the waiting room, with the wood-grain laminate peeling off the corners, confirmed that I had stepped into an office stuck in another century.

In the decade since we moved into our apartment, and ever since I began paying the rent a couple of years ago, I’d never had to visit Golde Property Management. I always paid the rent on time, and I always agreed to the new lease terms. If I had known that they were living in the ’70s, I wouldn’t have bothered asking them to bring our apartment up to modern building standards.

Nonetheless, I needed to clear up this eviction nonsense. The last thing I needed was for my mother and me to be thrown out on our asses over a clerical error.

The receptionist sat at a desk behind a sliding-glass window at the back of the waiting room. She watched me approach without even attempting to smile.

I slid the yellow eviction notice across the counter onto her side of the glass. “I want to know what this is about.”

She spun in her chair to face the computer on her left, positioning her fingers over the keyboard. “What’s the property address?”

“Twenty-four eighty-three Hughes,” I replied sharply.

She typed in the address, then her eyes scanned down to the lower-right part of the computer screen and stopped. “It says here that the eviction notice was posted today at 10:02 a.m. by the Bronx County Sheriff’s Department due to violation of the rental agreement. The violation listed here is nonpayment of rental dues in the amount of $7,050.”

I couldn’t help but laugh. “Are you kidding me? Our monthly rent is $1,175. That means $7,050 is what, like, six months’ rent? We’re not even late one month, let alone six. I want to speak to a manager.”

She rolled her eyes as she picked up the beige phone handset and dialed an extension. “Is Jerry in his office?” she asked the person on the other end. “I’ve got a tenant here who says she’s paid up, but she just got served.” She sighed as she balanced the handset between her ear and shoulder. “Well, tell him when he’s done with his meeting that I got someone waiting for him up here. Okay? Okay.” She hung up the phone and looked up at me with a bored expression. “He’s in a meeting with an investor. You’ll have to wait a few minutes.”

I wanted to protest for the simple fact that if I caused a scene it might ruin their chances with this investor, but I decided not to press my luck. “I’ll be waiting right over there,” I said, nodding toward the tweed sofa in the waiting area.

Taking a seat on the sofa that smelled like desperation, I picked up a copy of the NY Post from the coffee table. The paper was dated thirteen months ago. This place needed an investor more than my mom needed a disability-accessible apartment building with an elevator.

Of course, my mom would never admit that she needed anything.

The eldest of four sisters, my mom left her small hometown in South Dakota to make her way in New York City when she was just nineteen. After a brief brush with homelessness, she started cleaning houses and saving up money to start her own cleaning business. Not long after that, I was born, and her dreams of being her own boss were tossed out the window.

I had just finished reading a story about a feud between the hosts of two popular YouTube channels when a door leading into the back office opened. The first man who stepped into the waiting area—whom I assumed was Jerry—looked to be about sixty years old, and wore brown slacks and a short-sleeved blue button-up shirt, the fabric thin enough to show the dinginess of the tank top he wore underneath.

The second man who walked through the door looked more like a mirage than a man.

He was no more than twenty-eight years old, wearing a sharp navy-blue suit and a swagger in his step that said he didn’t just own the place, he owned the world. His dark hair was short, but not so short you couldn’t help but notice it held the perfect amount of wave. Every inch of him, from his prominent brow to his broad shoulders and beyond looked sturdy. This man was built to last a thousand lifetimes.

But it was his face that made me wonder if I was actually staring at a desert mirage.

His strong jaw and brilliant green eyes looked as if they’d been chiseled by Michelangelo. As a former student of sculpture at NYU, I could make that type of comparison in the more literal sense.

If this investor bought out Golde Property Management, I’d probably sign a hundred-year lease.

I shrugged off this ridiculous thought. It wasn’t as if this wealthy godlike man was going to send my next lease renewal along with a handwritten marriage proposal.

Will you be my wife? Check yes or no. Please send reply in the enclosed envelope with full rent payment by the first of the month.

“Are you Kristin?”

I snapped out of my absurd fantasy to find the man I suspected to be Jerry staring at me as he held the door to the back office open. “Excuse me?”

“Are you Kristin Owens?” he replied. “Here about the eviction notice?”

His question set my blood on fire with anger. “Yes. I want to know what this is all about,” I said, getting to my feet as I held the yellow paper in front of me. “We’ve paid our rent on time every single month for the past ten years. If this is about me threatening to—”

Jerry held up his hand to interrupt me. “Okay, okay. Let’s go into my office,” he said, his expression a mixture of shame and anger, probably because I just made a scene in front of his potential investor. He looked up at the man. “I look forward to hearing from you again, Mr. Meyers. Jennie over there can validate your parking.”

Mr. Meyers cocked an eyebrow as he looked me over. “Maybe I should sit in on this.”

Jerry waved off the suggestion. “Oh, no, this is just routine admin stuff. It will be over in two minutes. Don’t want to waste your time.”

I stared at Jerry, making no attempt to avoid looking directly at the huge hairy mole protruding from his temple. “So now I’m a waste of time?” I asked. “If you think you can get away with—”

“Excuse me,” Meyers interrupted, taking a step forward. “Earlier, you said you’ve paid your rent on time every single month for the past ten years. So, forgive me if I’m wrong, but that allows you to continue living in the unit until any further disputes are settled in court. Am I right?”

Jerry shook his head. “But she hasn’t paid her rent,” he insisted. “I thought it was strange when the computer spat out the notice, but they only come up when a tenant is coming up on six months past due. Computers don’t lie. People lie.”

“Are you fucking kidding me?” I shouted. “Are you calling me a liar? You piece of trash. I swear to God, I will bury you in so many legal—”

“Whoa-whoa-whoa…” Meyers interrupted again. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” he said, casting a calm, confident look in my direction, holding my gaze for a moment before he turned back to Jerry. “You said computers don’t lie, but they do sometimes glitch. You even said you thought it was strange the computer spat out her name.”

“Yeah, but it doesn’t randomly spit out names all day long,” Jerry objected.

Meyers nodded and pressed his lips together in an expression that said he understood where Jerry was coming from. This guy was good. He was refereeing this dispute like a seasoned mediator.

“But it’s possible the computer got it wrong,” Meyers continued as he looked back and forth between Jerry and me, smiling when I crossed my arms over my chest. “How about this? I’ll pay the past-due amount until you can figure out the glitch in the system. Does that sound fair?”

I narrowed my eyes at him. “Who the hell are you?”

His veneer of confidence cracked for just a fraction of a second before he regained his composure. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you,” he replied. “You’re right. It’s very presumptuous of me to think I could settle this with the swipe of a pen. Forgive me.” He turned to Jerry and gave him a curt nod. “I have some…thinking to do. I’m not sure your organization is a good fit for us. We’ll be in touch.”

“Wait!” Jerry shrieked. “I think she was just taken by surprise with your offer. Right, Christina?”

“Kristin,” I corrected him. “And I don’t need him to pay my rent. I already paid it. I need you to fix this!” I crumpled the yellow eviction notice and dropped it at his feet.

“I can’t,” Jerry replied as Meyers quietly made his way to the receptionist’s desk. “My lawyer handles the evictions. He won’t close the file until the rent’s paid in full. I can’t pay him if I don’t have your money.”

“You have my money!” I yelled so loudly I could almost hear my vocal cords snap.

I cursed myself as tears stung the corners of my eyes. Blinking them away, I glanced over my shoulder, expecting to find Meyers staring aghast at my lack of control. He probably wasn’t accustomed to that sort of thing in his perfect world of privilege. But he wasn’t there. He was gone. I didn’t know if I felt more relieved that he hadn’t witnessed my outburst, or disappointed that the only sure way out of this eviction mess—at least, temporarily—had just walked out of my life.

God, why didn’t I just let him help me? It wasn’t as if I knew the guy. I didn’t need to maintain some foolish sense of pride in front of him.

I was becoming more and more like my mother every day.

“It’s taken care of.”

I looked up at the sound of the receptionist’s bored voice.

She waved a piece of paper in the air, which looked suspiciously like a check. “He took care of your rent,” she said, looking annoyed.

I turned to Jerry, but all he did was shrug.

What the fuck just happened?

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THE HEIRESS Teaser

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Trailer

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Author Cassia Leo

Author Cassia Leo

About the Author
New York Times bestselling author Cassia Leo loves her coffee, chocolate, and margaritas with salt. When she’s not writing, she spends way too much time re-watching Game of Thrones and Sex and the City. When she’s not binge watching, she’s usually enjoying the Oregon rain with a hot cup of coffee and a book.

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Where to find Cassia Leo
Goodreads Website | NewsletterFacebook | Club CassiaTwitter | Instagram

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Giveaway
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Book Blitz – Excerpt + Giveaway – I STOLE HIS CAR (Love at First Crime) by Jessica Frances

I STOLE HIS CAR

Welcome to the book blitz for I STOLE HIS CAR, the first book in the adult romantic suspense series, Love at First Crime, by Jessica Frances. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

I STOLE HIS CAR (Love at First Crime #1) by Jessica Frances

I STOLE HIS CAR (Love at First Crime #1) by Jessica Frances

About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited
Title: I STOLE HIS CAR
Series: Love at First Crime #1
Author: Jessica Frances
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Genre:
Adult Romantic Suspense
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Synopsis
She stole his car, so he stole her heart…

I saw something I never should have seen.
I took something they wanted back.
I was desperate.
Alone.
Hunted.
So, I did something I never would have normally done.
I stole a car.
Not just any car.
His car.
Now I have no choice but to trust him.
Only he can help me get out of this mess.
Then, when we both become hunted,
And when feelings begin to complicate things,
Can I still count on his protection?
Can I trust what is happening between us to be real?

Because, as some people say: there is nothing quite like love at first … crime.

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Excerpt #3
“I promised to protect you,” he says, not moving his hand and pushing his hips harder against me so my back is flat against the door.

“And you did. You told me to get out. You kept me calm, and we got away.”

“But it could have so easily gone wrong. You should have been safe there.” He sounds self-reproaching.

“This will all be over soon.” I lift my hands to his face, careful of where he appears to be hurt. “You said that. We can make it just a little bit longer.”

“I don’t think I can go through that again …” He is whispering now, his husky voice full of emotion.

“You won’t. They might have known where we were before, but they don’t have a clue now. We’re safe, right?”

“We’re safe,” he affirms, finally moving his hand from my chest and up over my shoulder, over my neck, and then cupping my face. “I want you so badly.”

His words cause my breath to hitch and desire to pool low in my belly. I already guessed as much, but hearing his words, listening to them echo inside my head, sets off a chain reaction I can’t stop.

I have wanted him since the first time I laid eyes on him.

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Author Jessica Frances

Author Jessica Frances

About the Author
Jessica lives in Adelaide, South Australia. When she is not writing, you can find her reading, napping or watching excessive amounts of TV. Connect with her on Facebook and Goodreads.

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Where to Find Susan Mallery
Goodreads | Website | Facebook

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Giveaway
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Blog Tour – Excerpt + Giveaway – SECOND CHANCE GIRL (Happily, Inc.) by Susan Mallery

SECOND CHANCE GIRL Blog Tour

Welcome to the blog tour for SECOND CHANCE GIRL, the second book in the adult contemporary romance series, Happily, Inc., by New York Times bestselling author, Susan Mallery. See below for information on the book, pre-order links as well as buy links for YOU SAY IT FIRST, book 1 in the series, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

SECOND CHANCE GIRL (Happily, Inc. #2) by Susan Mallery

SECOND CHANCE GIRL (Happily, Inc. #2) by Susan Mallery

About the Book
Title: SECOND CHANCE GIRL
Series: Happily, Inc. #2
Author: Susan Mallery
Publisher: Harlequin
Release Date: September 26, 2017
Genre:
Adult Contemporary Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | GooglePlay | Audible | BAM! | IndieBound | Book Depository | Powell’s
Book 1 Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | GooglePlay | Audible | BAM! | IndieBound | Book Depository | Powell’s

Synopsis
From the #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Susan Mallery, read the second irresistible installment in the Happily Inc series!

Mathias Mitchell’s easy smile hides a world of hurt. After the worst kind of family betrayal, he moves to Happily Inc., California—the wedding destination town supplies a steady stream of bridesmaids, perfect for his “no promises, no pain” lifestyle. Yet he can’t stop watching for his beautiful, elusive neighbor on the animal preserve behind their homes.

Gamekeeper Carol Lund knows she’s not special enough to attract an alpha male like Mathias, so his offer to help her adopt a herd for her lonely giraffe is surprising—and his determined seduction, even more so. But just as she finally welcomes him into her bed, his careless actions crush her heart. Will she give him a second chance to prove she’ll always come first in his heart?

Don’t miss You Say It First, the first book in the Happily Inc series.

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SECOND CHANCE GIRL Teaser 1

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Excerpt #4
Carol couldn’t remember how the standing date with her friends had begun. Perhaps it had existed before she and Violet had moved to Happily Inc and they’d simply been invited to join in. Regardless, it was one of her favorite times—enjoying a couple of hours with the women in her life.

The hosting duties rotated and whoever served as host chose either lunch or dinner and provided the entrée and drinks. Everyone else brought something and a good time was had by all.

If the weather cooperated, Carol always picked lunch when it was her turn. Her friends joined her out by the largest grove of trees on the faux savanna. Her father and uncle set out a big table and chairs for them. Carol had a camp stove where she heated the chicken she’d cooked that morning and would warm the tortillas. The other ingredients for the taco bar were ready in plastic containers and she’d made a sparkling pink non-alcoholic punch to add a festive touch.

“Hi!” Silver Tesdal called as she walked along the path. The tall, leggy platinum blonde carried a shopping bag in one hand. “I always feel as if I need a passport when I come here. I love it!”

They hugged, then Silver set down her bag. “I have the strangest dessert ever, but I think it’s a real find. We’ll have to see.”

Carol eyed the plain white bag. “Now I’m curious.”

“As you should be.”

Before Carol could ask more, the other women arrived. Her sister Violet, Natalie Kaleta from the gallery, Pallas Saunders who owned Weddings Out of the Box, and Wynne Beauchene, owner of the town’s graphic design and print store.

Violet, who knew about the tacos, had brought chips, dip and guacamole. The other women contributed a green salad and cookies. Carol reached for the champagne glasses she’d carted along, then nodded at Pallas who was doing her best not to grin too broadly.

“Show them,” Carol told her friend.

Pallas laughed, then held out her left hand. A diamond solitaire sparkled on her ring finger.

Violet, Silver and Wynn shrieked, then lunged for their friend and started a group hug. Carol was waved in and they all hung on in celebration.

“How long?” Violet demanded when they’d released each other. “When did he propose?”

“Saturday at the Under the Sea wedding.”

Silver looked from the pink, bubbly drink to Carol. “You knew.”

Carol raised a shoulder. “I helped Nick pick out the ring. He had it narrowed down to three and texted me pictures from the jewelry store.” She’d been surprised Nick would ask her opinion but then had guessed he’d asked Mathias to name a woman who could be trusted not to spill the secret.

She smiled at Pallas. “So if you don’t like it, it’s my fault.”

Pallas clutched her left hand to her chest. “What’s not to like? It’s beautiful.”

Carol passed out the drinks and they all toasted their friend, then sat down to lunch. She quickly heated tortillas for everyone and they served themselves from the taco bar and salad, then took their seats.

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SECOND CHANCE GIRL Teaser 2

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Happily, Inc.

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Author Susan Mallery

Author Susan Mallery

About the Author
#1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming and humorous novels about the relationships that define women’s lives—family, friendship, romance. She’s best known for putting nuanced characters into emotionally complex, real-life situations with twists that surprise readers to laughter. Because Susan is passionate about animal welfare, pets play a big role in her books. Beloved by millions of readers worldwide, her books have been translated into 28 languages.

Susan lives in Washington state with her husband, two ragdoll cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur.

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Where to Find Susan Mallery
Goodreads | Newsletter | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

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Giveaway
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Book Blitz – Excerpt + Giveaway – THE DOWNFALL OF CATIE BLOOM (Bloom Sisters) by Brooke Stanton

THE DOWNFALL OF CATIE BLOOM Book Blitz

Welcome to the book blitz for THE DOWNFALL OF CATIE BLOOM, the third book in the adult romantic comedy series, Bloom Sisters, by award-winning author, Brooke Stanton. See below for information on the book, buy links for all three books in the series, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

THE DOWNFALL OF CATIE BLOOM (Bloom Sisters #3) by Brooke Stanton

THE DOWNFALL OF CATIE BLOOM (Bloom Sisters #3) by Brooke Stanton

About the Book
Title: THE DOWNFALL OF CATIE BLOOM
Series: Bloom Sisters #3
Author: Brooke Stanton
Release Date: September 18, 2017
Genre: Adult Romantic Comedy
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo
Book 1 Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo
Book 2 Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Synopsis
Catie’s little white lies have finally caught up to her…

The award-winning Catie Bloom is back! And she’s still got it all—a husband, a successful career, and she’s America’s #1 Domestic Goddess. Except, it’s a big fat lie. She can’t cook, she’s a slob, and her husband left her years ago. But she’s trying to leave the lies behind and become an honest woman. Too bad someone already knows her secrets…

Catie’s life comes crumbling down when she’s outed on national TV by a person she trusted. And in that instant, she loses everything—her job, her sister, and the man she loves, Sam Harding. So much for “the one.” When Catie needs Sam the most, he disappears…with his ex. Then two miracles happen: a new man steps into the picture, eager to help Catie, and a New York socialite hires her to do the one thing she’s truly talented at: interior design. The great news: the multimillion-dollar loft Catie’s designing will be featured in all the top design magazines. The bad news: Catie has to keep her involvement a secret.

As she tries to find a way back into the design world without revealing her secret project, Sam returns. And with him comes a twist she never saw coming.

Will Catie find her happily ever after, or will her past lies ruin her future forever?.

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Excerpt
In the back corner of the bar, there’s a woman tucked away from the revelry. Something about her makes me stop. At first, it looks like she’s laughing, but she wipes her eyes and I see she’s crying. Then she lifts her head, and I feel like one of the skis above the bar has kicked me in the gut. I suck in air, but I can’t seem to get any down. The room is spinning, and for a moment, I feel like I might pass out.

How can she be here? I step closer but keep hidden behind a group of older men, devouring pizza and beer, their faces chapped from the slopes.

It’s definitely her. Liv.

Why is she here and not in Manhattan with her husband? Is she on assignment? But she doesn’t write for the sports section. She’s a metro reporter and only writes about local news. There’s nothing local about this comp.

The air escapes my lungs in a rush when I spot Sam standing above the table where Liv sits. He’s been here a day, but he already has a touch of Raccoon face—white half-moons down his cheeks under his eyes, the bottom of his face pinkish from the sun and wind.

He slides into the booth next to Liv and puts his arm around her and pulls her in tight, comforting her. He kisses her head, and the love on his face is unmistakable. So is the pain. The pain of seeing her in pain.

His eyes glance up and widen in surprise when he sees me. I step back, bumping into a young man, his beer spilling down the inside of my sweater, the liquid cold against my skin.

I hurry out of the bar and rush back toward the lodge, but as I turn the corner, I hear Sam’s voice calling my name. A few moments later, his hand grabs hold of my arm, turning me around as his bright-blue eyes capture mine, as they always do, making my rapid breathing stop short.

“You’re early. You’re supposed to be coming in tonight,” Sam says. His voice sounds surprised but not upset. “Where’s your luggage?”

“At the hotel.” I step back, and he drops my arm. “What is she doing here?”

“Oh, she…” Sam rubs his hand over his face, considering something. “It’s…I don’t think she’d want me to say. She needs to escape her life for a while. She got some bad news.”

“Well that’s not your problem.” The words sound harsh, especially after I saw how upset she was. But what the hell is she doing seeking comfort from Sam? In Tahoe?! She has her own damn family. “You shouldn’t have to comfort her.”

“Catie, show a little compassion. Look, if I told you what was going on, you’d understand, but I promised her I wouldn’t say anything.”

“Compassion?!” I spit out, shocked at his words. “My whole life was flipped on its head and beaten to a pulp. My career is over, and I’m hanging on by a string here. I don’t have many people I can count on right now, but you should be one of them.”

“If I told you what’s going on, you’d understand.”

“Then tell me.”

His forehead crinkles, and worry sits on his face, showing his internal struggle. I can’t believe this. I can’t believe he’s standing there acting as if she has any right to him and his loyalty. He was going to propose, and she cheated on him. With his friend.

Unless…seeing her the other night sparked all the old feelings in him. It wouldn’t be the first time it’s happened. Doesn’t everyone have the-one-that-got-away somewhere in their past? Well, maybe not everyone, but lots of people do. And maybe Liv is the one. Not just the one that got away, but the one.

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Author Brooke Stanton

Author Brooke Stanton

About the Author
After her own misadventures in New York City, LA, and London, Brooke Stanton now lives in sunny South Florida. She’s an award-winning author who has contributed to Natural Awakenings Magazine, wrote a column for Examiner.com, and is the author of The Bloom Sisters series.

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Where to Find Brooke Stanton
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Giveaway
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Release Day – HONEST INTENTIONS (Safeguard) by Kennedy Layne

HONEST INTENTIONS Chapter Reveal

Today is release day for HONEST INTENTIONS, the fifth 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 the exclusive excerpt.

HONEST INTENTIONS (Safeguard #5) by Kennedy Layne

HONEST INTENTIONS (Safeguard #5) by Kennedy Layne

About the Book
Title: HONEST INTENTIONS
Series: Safeguard #4
Author: Kennedy Layne
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Genre:
 Adult Mystery/Romantic Suspense
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

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.

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HONEST INTENTIONS Teaser 2

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Chapter 1
“Brettany?” Coen set his half-drained glass of orange juice back on the counter as he regarded her with curiosity. He misunderstood her silence. “Shepherd Moss has been quite busy in Florida, very far from here. It’s doubtful he’d make his way this far west. It’s a risk for him to travel even a short distance.”

Brett didn’t want to talk about murder, serial killers, or anything that had to do with his chosen profession or what she’d stumbled into last weekend. The storm had ended hours ago, the snow plows were out clearing off the streets one by one, and the sun was shining in a clear bright sky. It was a new day and one she wanted to celebrate with him.

She drained the rest of her tea and carefully placed her cup in the sink. This was it. There didn’t seem to be enough oxygen in the air, but that might be due to the fact that she’d stopped breathing. Her adrenaline spiked just enough as she walked around the kitchen island.

“Are you okay?” Coen asked cautiously, turning his stool slightly to the left so that he was facing her. “You haven’t—”

Brett closed the distance between them before she could change her mind. She slipped her fingers underneath the leather of the holster that seemed to be a permanent fixture over his shirt and pulled him close.

“Give me this one morning before you leave,” Brett whispered imploringly, searching for any sign that he was willing to ignore this attraction between them. Her heartbeat faltered when the rich brown of his eyes darkened in sensuality. “No strings. No expectations.”

“You don’t want to do this with me.” Coen raised his arms and gently clasped her wrists to stop her from sliding her hands up behind his neck. “I’m not—”

“Looking for anything serious?” Brett finished for him, although she inferred his statement as a question. “You might not believe this, but I’m not expecting you to want that with me. The plan I’ve laid out for myself doesn’t include a man in your line of work. I do want that white picket fence with a husband who will play baseball with our son in the backyard…but not for some time to come. In the meantime, I’m not without desire, Coen. I’m a woman with sexual needs…and I want to be with you very much before we part ways. I warned you there was a chance I’d take you up on what you had so temptingly dangled in front of me. Well, here I am…just like you wanted.”

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HONEST INTENTIONS Teaser 1

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Author Kennedy Layne

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.

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Where to find Kennedy Layne
Goodreads Website | Newsletter | Facebook Twitter | Instagram
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Blog Tour – Excerpt – WILD FOR YOU (Love With Altitude) by Daisy Prescott

WILD FOR YOU Release Day

Welcome to the blog tour for WILD FOR YOU, the third book in the adult contemporary romance series, Love With Altitude, by USA Today bestselling author, Daisy Prescott. See below for information on the book, buy links, and an exclusive excerpt.

WILD FOR YOU (Love With Altitude #3) by Daisy Prescott

WILD FOR YOU (Love With Altitude #3) by Daisy Prescott

About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited
Title:
WILD FOR YOU
Series: Love With Altitude #3
Author:
Daisy Prescott
Release Date: September 14, 2017
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Synopsis
Cowboy fantasies. Oh boy, do I have them. I blame the shiny belt buckles and those chaps. Mother of pearl buttons, those chaps.

After getting dumped by my Not Future Husband, I’ve decided to spend the summer in Aspen exploring new adventures. First on the list is rugged, sexy rodeo champion Justin Garrison, who seems happy to accept the challenge.

What if I fall in love with the real man behind the fantasy?

Being the charming cowboy is an easy role to play. Whenever I’m on the back of a horse or riding a bull, everything’s simple, uncomplicated. Running my family’s ranch and trying to keep the past buried are a lot harder.

When my path crosses with a beautiful brunette at a rodeo, I’m not looking for more complications. Feisty Zoe Saragossa’s not a typical buckle bunny and I’m definitely not her type.

Can a city girl fall for a real cowboy?

Wild for You is a standalone, slow burn cowboy romance. It’s part of the Love with Altitude series of standalone romantic comedies set in Aspen, high in the Rocky Mountains.

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WILD FOR YOU Teaser 3

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Excerpt #1

Zoe

Justins warm, rough fingers cradle my hand like its something precious. I blindly follow him through the bar to the dance floor. He could probably lead me right out the door and into the night, and I wouldnt protest.

Its the first time weve touched skin to skin for more than a minute, and my body responds like hes flipped a switch, flooding light where darkness has loitered for months.

The warmth from his hand around mine is the sun breaking through storm clouds.

On the small stageonly two feet higher than the rest of the flooris a quartet of older men playing old fashioned country tunes. One has a slide guitar splayed in front of him. The tunes are upbeat, but the lyrics I catch could drive anyone to drink whiskey for breakfast.

Justin leads me to the far edge, where its less crowded with couples rotating counter-clockwise around the floor.

Trust me.With a jerk to my hand, he spins me around to face him. He lifts my left hand to his shoulder and rests his on my back near my bra strap. Its a formal position with lots of room between our bodies for the Holy Spirit. Or at least the big gap makes me think of dancing supervised by Catholic nuns.

Whats so funny?The corners of his mouth curl up.

Nothing,I say with a shake of my head. Im nervous.

Dont be. Ive got you.The smile he gives me is nothing but sweet and genuine.

All I ask is you catch me before my face plants on the floor.

He barks out a chuckle. Promise.

Swear on your belt buckle. Or Cisco.

Hes still chuckling when he meets my eyes. Take me at my word.

Beneath his black Stetson, his eyes are dark as a night without stars. It would be so easy to get lost in them forever. He begins talking again and I try to focus on his words and not the trifecta of his eyes, his hand on my back, and mine touching his shoulder.

Were going to go quick quick, then slow slow. Step on your right foot first.He lifts and lowers his feet to demonstrate. Follow me. When I want you to turn, Ill put a little pressure on right here. Can you feel that?

Yes, yes I can. I nod as he flexes his hand against my bra strap.

Good, now open your hand and rest your palm on my shoulder.

Im fondling his shoulder. It is everything and more. Strong, rounded with muscle, and hard as a rock. A girl could have fantasies about his shoulders. I add it to my collection.

Here we go.He smirks.

Dancing with Justin is like skiing in fresh powder. Effortless and smooth. Even though Im dancing backward, he leads me around the floor, weaving us through the other couples. With a gentle press of his fingers on my shoulder blade, he guides me through a turn. Amazingly, I dont trip.

You look surprised,he whispers when Im back in his arms.

Its an understatement for how Im feeling right now.

Im a minute from turning into a pile of swoony goo. Never in my life have I swooned over a man before.

But Justin isnt a regular guy.

Hes a cowboy.

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WILD FOR YOU Teaser 4

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Author Daisy Prescott

Author Daisy Prescott

About the Author
USA Today Bestselling Author Daisy Prescott writes romantic comedies with heart.

Her Modern Love Stories feature characters in their thirties and forties finding and rediscovering love in unexpected and humorous ways. Her Wingmen books star regular guys who often have beards, drive trucks, and love deeply once they fall. Look for her new Rom Com series, Love with Altitude, in 2017.

Born and raised in San Diego, Daisy currently lives in a real life Stars Hollow in the Boston suburbs with her husband, their rescue dog, and an indeterminate number of imaginary house goats. When not writing about herself in the third person, Daisy can be found traveling, gardening, baking, or lost in a good book.

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Where to find Daisy Prescott
Goodreads | Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | Amazon
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Blog Tour – Excerpt – COLD MALICE (Cold Justice) by Toni Anderson

COLD MALICE Blog Tour

Welcome to the blog tour for COLD MALICE, the eighth book 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 an exclusive excerpt.

COLD MALICE (Cold Justice #8) by Toni Anderson

COLD MALICE (Cold Justice #8) by Toni Anderson

About the Book
Title: COLD MALICE
Series: Cold Justice #8
Author: Toni Anderson
Release Date: September 12, 2017
Genre: Adult Romantic Suspense
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | GooglePlay

Synopsis
When an international ring of sex traffickers kidnaps an eight-year-old girl in Boston, FBI Agent Lucas Randall heads undercover. But his rescue operation goes disastrously wrong and Lucas barely escapes with his life. Now the ruthless traffickers are hunting him down, along with everyone else who threatens their operation.

Computer expert Ashley Chen joined the FBI to fight against evil in the world—evil she experienced firsthand. She has mad skills, and deadly secrets, and once she starts working with Lucas, she also has big trouble, because after years of pushing people away, she’s falling for the guy. The feeling is more than mutual, but as Ashley intensifies her online pursuit of the trafficking ring, her traumatic past collides with her present and suddenly Lucas can’t tell which side she’s on. And as the case escalates into a high-stakes game of cat and mouse, it turns out Ashley isn’t the only one with something to hide.

If neither can trust the other with their secrets, how can they trust each other with their hearts?

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Excerpt #1
No way would Cole be involved in something as despicable as murder. There had to be a reasonable explanation. Should she ask him about it? And say what exactly? Hey Cole, where were you this morning? Out committing double homicide?

What if he lied? Worse— what if he told her he was involved? Then what would she do?

Dread took a tight hold of her innards and gave them a slow, painful twist.

She pressed her hand hard against her stomach. Could it be, despite all her efforts, he’d turned out like their father after all?

No. She refused to believe it. Cole was the one person in the world whom she believed in and she wasn’t going to sacrifice that trust on the basis of a piece of paper.

There was no way Cole was capable of murder. Maybe the file belonged to one of his buddies? Should she talk to the cops?

Hell, no. That was not an option. That would involve answering a lot of questions she didn’t want to deal with.

One thing she did know. Her brother couldn’t know she’d snooped through his stuff. She gathered up his paperwork, rushed back to the office, opened the filing drawer and slid each piece of paper back into its respective folder. With shaking hands, she pulled out the black file and debated whether or not she should take it with her.

And what? Become an accessory? That realization had fiery panic licking along her nerves. The last thing she needed was anyone connecting that file to her. She wiped the cover and the pages she’d touched with her sweater and eased it gingerly back into place using the sleeve of her cardigan.

Everything appeared like it had before. She shut the drawer and ran back into the kitchen and stood there, trying to catch her breath. Then she crammed her belongings into her laptop case, washed up her cup, dried it, put it away in the cupboard. Rearranged the kitchen table into its familiar mess. She stuffed her arms into her coat sleeves, searched around to make sure no trace of her visit remained.

She took a breath. It looked precisely like it had when she’d let herself in thirty minutes ago.

She left, locking the door behind her, and sat in her car for a moment, trembling, her heart racing as her carefully constructed world fell to pieces.

Then she remembered whom she was dealing with. Her brother, whom she’d watched take his first steps, whom she’d walked to kindergarten, whom she’d taught to stand up to bullies. Her brother, whom she knew and loved with every molecule of her being. Not some violent jerk who liked guns or fighting, but a registered Democrat who bought her flowers on Valentine’s Day when she was single and called himself a feminist. For his birthday this year, he’d asked her to adopt an endangered species from the World Wildlife Fund in his name. No way would Cole commit murder, but she needed to know what was going on and how he was involved.

Blind trust was for the gullible and foolish. She’d rather put her faith in facts and empirical data. Unlike people, numbers never lied.

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COLD MALICE Teaser 6

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Author Toni Anderson

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.

If you want to know when Toni’s next book will be out, visit her website (http://www.toniandersonauthor.com) and sign up for her newsletter. If you want to read other fascinating stories about life in a city that, during winter, is sometimes colder than Mars, friend her on Facebook: (https://www.facebook.com/toniannanderson).

Where to Find Toni Anderson
Goodreads | Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest
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Blog Tour – Excerpt + Giveaway – MACON by Marie James

MACON Blog Tour

Welcome to the blog tour for MACON, a stand-alone adult contemporary romance, by Marie James. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

MACON by Marie James

MACON by Marie James

About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited
Title: MACON
Author: Marie James
Release Date: September 14, 2017
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Synopsis
Tossing a middle finger to Macon, Georgia as I made my way to Nashville was always the dream. Sing country music, go on tour, top the charts—with my popularity growing every day, I was on my way.

But then a gust of wind blew up your skirt, and those white cotton panties had me hooked. I didn’t know your name, and you turned down every attempt I tried to throw your way. But I knew you were different, even though you told me I was the same.

“Friends” is what you offered, and I played by your rules, but, Adelaide Hatfield, you have to know, from that day, it was only you.

I just hope I can make you see how much you mean to me before we both drown in the sorrow of what heartbreak can truly be.

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Excerpt #3
“Who says I want you to keep your hands to yourself?”

“Addi,” he growls, fidgeting in his seat.

“Axton,” I tease.

“You’re playing with fire,” he warns.

“Maybe I want to get burned.”

“Never,” he promises. “But I can guarantee you’ll feel my heat.”

“Sounds fun,” I say, wiggling in my own seat.

We spend the next half hour eating and tossing so many innuendos at each other, we’re both near combustible by the time we leave. His hand on my back on the way to the truck feels electrical, his touch sending zings of need from my head to my flip flop covered feet.

“Which room?” I ask the second we walk through the door of our suite.

He distances himself from me, taking a seat on the small sofa rather than entering one of the bedrooms available.

“Addi, I didn’t bring you here for that.” His hands run through his hair. “I don’t want you to think the only reason I asked you here was to get in your pants.”

“You’re thinking too much,” I say as I push his hands out of his hair and straddle his lap. “No one could convince me to do anything unless I already had it in my mind in the first place.”

“So I’m the one here under false pretenses?” His words are playful, but for some reason, Renee’s situation pops into my head. “I’m not trying to manipulate you.”

I pull away, trying to crawl off his lap, but his hands are still on my hips.

“You don’t have a manipulative bone in your body,” he insists. “But I can’t live with your regret. I have enough of my own.”

“No regrets,” I promise against his mouth as I sweep my lips across his. “Promise.”

He still pulls away, hands on my cheeks. His eyes stay on my mouth long enough to make my skin feel like it’s on fire.

“This step, if we take it where I think we both want it to go, you’re mine. No more running. No more telling me to spread my wings and fly.”

I want to agree immediately, but my overanalyzing brain puts my fired up libido on the back burner.

“What are you saying?” He grins.

“You know what I mean.”

I shake my head. “You need to put it in words.”

His hazel eyes find mine, softening to a cool olive green. “I want you in my life. Friends don’t kiss.” He pecks my lips, pulling away when I try to take it further. “Friends don’t make each other come so hard it hurts.” Another brief kiss. “Friends don’t want to spend the rest of their lives making each other happy.”

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MACON Teaser

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Author Marie James

Author Marie James

About the Author
Marie James is a full-time, working mother of two boys and wife of 13 years. She’s spent almost her entire lifetime living in central Texas, with only short stays in South Carolina, Alabama, and Florida. She’s always wanted to write novels and currently has 16 titles under her belt. Her passions include reading everything under the sun and plotting out new books to write in the future.

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Where to Find Marie James
Goodreads Facebook | Facebook GroupTwitter | InstagramYouTube | Bookbub | Amazon

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Giveaway
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Book Blitz – Excerpt + Giveaway – WRONG (Wrong Series) by Jana Aston

WRONG Book Blitz

Welcome to the book blitz for WRONG, the first book in the new adult contemporary romance series, Wrong, by New York Times bestselling author, Jana Aston. See below for information on the book, buy links for the entire series, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

Wrong (Wrong #1) by Jana Aston

Wrong (Wrong #1) by Jana Aston

About Book 1 – FREE September 19 only!!!
Title: Wrong
Series: Wrong #1
Author: Jana Aston
Release Date: October 7, 2015
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo
Book 2 Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo
Book 2.5 Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo
Book 3 Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Synopsis
I have a history of picking the wrong guy. Gay? Player? Momma’s boy? Check, check and check.

Now I can’t stop fantasizing about one of the customers at the coffee shop I work at between classes. It’s just a harmless crush, right? It’s not like I ever see this guy outside of the coffee shop. It’s not like I’m going to see him while attempting to get birth control at the student clinic. While wearing a paper gown. While sitting on an exam table. Because he’s the doctor. Shoot. Me.

But what if, for once, the man I’ve had the dirtiest, most scandalous fantasies about turned out to be everything but wrong?

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WRONG Teaser 1

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Excerpt #2
“Sophie, he’s going to be back for more. Trust me.”

I load a tray of cupcakes and slide them into the bakery case. “I don’t know, Everly. He’s really sophisticated and clearly lives a lifestyle a long ways from Cowbell Lane,” I say, referencing my grandparents’ home in Willow Grove.

“Bitch, please. The guy is pushing forty and you’re a hot co-ed with a brand-new tight, shiny pussy. He’ll be back.”

My eyes widen. “Everly, Jesus!”

“Just saying.” She holds her hands up in mock defense before breaking into a huge grin.

“You don’t really think he’s forty, do you?”

“He just turned thirty-six in August.”

“How do you know that?”

“Google.”

“You Googled him?”

“You didn’t?” Everly looks aghast.

“Uh, no.” Truthfully I thought about it, but I didn’t want to get any more invested in him than I already am.

“Well, look what the pussy dragged in.” Everly is smirking.

“Everly, that’s not the saying. It’s ‘cat.’ ‘Look what the cat dragged in.'”

“Oh, I think I’ve got the saying right. He’s here.”

My stomach explodes in nerves as I glance towards the door. Luke is here. I wondered if he’d stick to his normal Tuesday routine and stop here for coffee. I’ve figured out this Grind Me location is between his Rittenhouse Square condo and the student clinic, but it’s hardly the only route he could take or stop he could make.

My heart is beating so fast as I take him in. Is he going to speak to me or go back to just ordering coffee and leaving like he has the last several weeks?

He’s in a navy suit today, crisp white shirt and a silvery blue tie. And then my heart stops beating so fast. There’s a hand on his arm. I follow that hand to the redhead from Saturday night.

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WRONG Teaser 2

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Author Jana Aston

Author Jana Aston

About the Author
ana Aston likes cats, big coffee cups and books about billionaires who deflower virgins. She wrote her debut novel while fielding customer service calls about electrical bills, and she’s ever grateful for the fictional gynecologist in Wrong that readers embraced so much she was able to make working in her pajamas a reality. Jana’s novels have appeared on the NYT, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists, some multiple times. She likes multiples.

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Where to Find Jana Aston
Goodreads | Website | NewsletterFacebook | Facebook GroupTwitter | Instagram | Amazon

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Giveaway
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Release Day – BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE (Sex and Sweet Tea) by Juliette Poe

BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE Release Day

Today is release day for BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE, the third book in the adult romantic comedy series, Sex and Sweet Tea, by New York Times bestselling author, Sawyer Bennett, writing as Juliette Poe, See below for information on the book, buy links, and an exclusive teaser.

BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE (Sex and Sweet Tea #3) by Juliette Poe

BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE (Sex and Sweet Tea #3) by Juliette Poe

About the Book
Title: BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE
Series: Sex and Sweet Tea #2
Author: Juliette Poe
Publisher: Big Dog Books, LLC
Release Date: September 14, 2017
Genre:
 Adult Romantic Comedy
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | GooglePlay

Synopsis
Things in Whynot, NC have gone to the dogs, and that’s just the way the town’s only veterinarian, Laken Mancinkus, likes it. No matter if she’s up when the rooster crows, or working until the cows come home, Laken never leaves an animal in need. So when a gorgeous Yankee comes begging for help herding some wily goats, Laken is up to the task.

Jake McDaniel is looking for a tax break, and what better way than to take up…farming? This ex-football player turned businessman turned unwitting goat farmer is up to his knees in goat drama. Runaway goats, dehydrated goats, and a baby goat that wants no one other than him, Jake needs more help than he cares to admit. Good thing the sexy veterinarian is right there to coach him on how to be a farmer. The only problem is, Laken’s not looking for anything more than a good time, while Jake is looking for his forever girl.

Will the baby goat, and Laken, be enough to get Jake to stay? Or will he take his tax break and hoof it back to Chicago? One thing is for certain…what happens on the farm doesn’t always stay on the farm.

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BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE Teaser

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Author Juliette Poe

Author Juliette Poe

About the Author
Juliette Poe is the sweet and swoony alter ego of New York Times best selling author, Sawyer Bennett.

A fun-loving southern girl, Juliette knows the allure of sweet tea, small towns, and long summer nights, that some of the best dates end sitting on the front porch swing, and that family is top priority. She brings love in the south to life in her debut series, Sex & Sweet Tea.

When Juliette isn’t delivering the sweetest kind of romance, she’s teaching her southern belle daughter the fine art of fishing, the importance of wearing Chucks, and the endless possibilities of a vivid imagination.

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Where to Find Juliette Poe
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
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Release Day + Giveaway – MACON by Marie James

MACON Release Day

Today is release day for MACON, a stand-alone adult contemporary romance, by Marie James. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

MACON by Marie James

MACON by Marie James

About the Book
Title: MACON
Author: Marie James
Release Date: September 14, 2017
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Synopsis
Tossing a middle finger to Macon, Georgia as I made my way to Nashville was always the dream. Sing country music, go on tour, top the charts—with my popularity growing every day, I was on my way.

But then a gust of wind blew up your skirt, and those white cotton panties had me hooked. I didn’t know your name, and you turned down every attempt I tried to throw your way. But I knew you were different, even though you told me I was the same.

“Friends” is what you offered, and I played by your rules, but, Adelaide Hatfield, you have to know, from that day, it was only you.

I just hope I can make you see how much you mean to me before we both drown in the sorrow of what heartbreak can truly be.

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Excerpt
“I watched this last night, and I just want you to see it too.” Renee clicks on a video.

His voice, belting out the words of a well-known song, pushes from the small speakers. They don’t give him the justice he deserves. His voice, his presence, demands the acoustics of an arena and countless eyes of a sold out crowd.

“Do you see what I mean?” Renee asks, pointing to the screen.

The video was recorded just to the left of where he was looking, and I know where his eyes were—locked with mine. I felt each and every one of them last night as if his choice of songs were hand-picked for me. It warmed me then, and I can’t deny the heat filling my blood as I watch now.

“He’s enraptured by you,” Mandy whispers, as if speaking too loud will break the spell he has over me.

“He’s a performer,” I counter.

“If it were only about performing, he would be looking around, trying to make each person there feel like he’s singing to them.” I sense Renee’s gaze on the side of my face, but can’t pull my eyes from the dark-haired man on the computer screen. “He only saw you last night.”

I could never believe that. Trusting it would be harmful. To my heart. To my mental health.

I run my finger over the track pad of the mouse and close the video.

“And he only saw someone else three days before.”

I click on another video—one I’ve watched a dozen times, and let myself fantasize in more detail than I ever should’ve allowed.

Axton’s voice channels through the speakers as he looks into the camera with raw emotion. His words vow his devotion, promise his love, his future, and every thought to that person.

“I’m not special to him. He sings like this all the time.”

Both of my sisters remain quiet, and why shouldn’t they? There’s no questioning the way he’s making the person with the cellphone camera feel. I was her last night. It’s awesome in the moment, but confronted with the truth of his philandering, I have no interest in anything involving Axton Lane.

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MACON Teaser

Author Marie James

Author Marie James

About the Author
Marie James is a full-time, working mother of two boys and wife of 13 years. She’s spent almost her entire lifetime living in central Texas, with only short stays in South Carolina, Alabama, and Florida. She’s always wanted to write novels and currently has 16 titles under her belt. Her passions include reading everything under the sun and plotting out new books to write in the future.

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Where to Find Marie James
Goodreads Facebook | Facebook GroupTwitter | InstagramYouTube | Bookbub | Amazon

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Giveaway
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Book Blitz – Excerpt + Giveaway – AFTER THE FALL (Seven Winds) by Katy Ames

AFTER THE FALL Book Blitz

Welcome to the book blitz for AFTER THE FALL, the second book in the adult contemporary romance series, Seven Winds, by Katy Ames. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway. Pick up the ebook for just $0.99, this week only, or read for free with Kindle Unlimited.

AFTER THE FALL (Seven Winds #2) by Katy Ames

AFTER THE FALL (Seven Winds #2) by Katy Ames

About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited!
Title: AFTER THE FALL
Series: Seven Winds #2
Author: Katy Ames
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 11, 2017
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU 

Synopsis
If there was one man in the world Grace Fitzgerald never wanted to see again, it was Mark Donovan.

Sinfully handsome, famously flirtatious, unerringly cocky. Paragon of men. Archetype of entitled a**holes. As a guest at her luxury hotel, Mark was impossible.

As the new owner of her hotel, he’s become a nightmare. The kind that wakes Grace in the middle of the night wishing she could forget how right his lips felt against her own, how tempting his fingers were against her skin.

But for all of the challenges that Mark and Grace face working together, nothing can prepare them for the undeniable attraction that flares every time they battle for control. Or the secrets that linger in the luxury of the Seven Winds Villa.

With no way of escaping each other or their pasts, can they possibly survive life on the island after they fall?

A steamy, standalone romance from Katy Ames, author of After the Island.

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Excerpt
“Mr. Donovan. This is Grace Fitzgerald from the Seven Winds Resort,” she shouted through the door, digging out her master key. “Is everything alright, sir?” The only answer was a loud thud. “Sir, I understand you’re having an issue.” Though not one that warranted so much noise, she thought. Steeling herself, Grace continued, “Mr. Donovan, I’m coming in.”

Grace swiped her key and pushed open the door, stepping into the luxuriously understated living room of the Seven Winds Villa. Looking around, Grace confirmed that nothing was glaringly wrong, at least not on the main floor.

Taking a second glance, Grace registered that the villa’s sole occupant had left a wide array of debris scattered across most of the available surfaces. More cups and a few plates of discarded food were stacked on the coffee table bracketed by the living room sofas. A laptop was open, its screen black, abandoned on the corner of a side table. As she made her way over to close its lid, Grace’s foot connected with something on the floor. Whatever it was rolled away, only coming to a halt when it encountered a throw pillow left carelessly near one window.

Grace scowled as she retrieved the bottle from the floor. Glenrothes 1970. The five- thousand-dollar bottle of Scotch was completely empty. Perhaps you should make sure he isn’t in the pool. Face down. On that morbid thought, she raced to the terrace beyond the French doors and checked the infinity pool on the patio below. Empty. Thank God.

At the same time, a loud crack split the air beneath her.

“Shit, shit, shit.” Grace dropped the forgotten bottle and ran down to the lower level. Whatever she’d expected to find on the ground floor of the resort’s most expensive villa, this wasn’t it.

There, sprawled on the ground, eyes closed, lips skewed in an off-kilter smile, wearing nothing more than a wrinkled pair of shorts, was Mark Donovan, co-founder and CEO of D&A International. Sinfully handsome, wildly successful, obscenely wealthy, unerringly cocky, undeniably brilliant, famously flirtatious. And, Grace was horrified to realize, unconscious and sporting a wicked cut above one eyebrow.

“Oh, no, no.” Grace rushed towards him and crouched over Mr. Donovan’s motionless form, her hands fluttering just above his face. Get a grip, Grace. Check to see if he’s breathing, check to make sure nothing is blocking his airways. She focused with a deep breath and shifted her brain to autopilot.

Grace’s pulse calmed substantially when she saw Mr. Donovan’s chest rise in a steady, heavy breath. Definitely not dead. Thank the good Lord. Grace tipped her head back in relief. Skimming her fingers across his forehead, she gingerly checked the cut to make sure nothing was lodged in it. The blood had stopped, a dark red trickle disappearing into the ashy-brown eyebrow that arched defiantly even then. Running an assessing glance across his head and body, Grace confirmed that other than the bruise blossoming beneath the cut, Mark appeared to be perfectly fine. Though unconscious.

An incoherent mumble broke free of his lips, followed by a muffled snore. Grace amended that last part. Not unconscious. Asleep.

Slumping back, Grace rearranged herself so she could sit more comfortably on the floor, her eyes fixed on her unwitting patient. Mark was stretched out and motionless, giving Grace an unparalleled view of his starkly beautiful face and meticulously sculpted body. His eyes were closed and Grace’s gaze wandered across the sharp ridges of his cheekbones and refined slope of his nose, both of which drew her attention down toward his wide, generous mouth, his lips parted, soft puffs of air brushing the strong, supple lines on every exhale.

Determined to ignore her sudden impulse to taste those lips, Grace shifted her eyes away. But she only got as far as the tanned skin of his neck, Mark’s pulse kicking with a regular rhythm at the base, just above the wide stretch of his collarbone. Refusing to stare, Grace attempted to focus on something innocuous. Like her cuticles, or the weave the carpet. Or the inviting water of the pool outside. But a particularly deep inhale dragged her back, this time her attention landing on the long planes of his broad chest, light wisps of blond hair dusting the hard curves that came to an abrupt halt against the repetitive ridges of his abdomen.

Grace, you need to stop staring. Seriously. Stop staring!

But Grace’s eyes had a mind of their own. She could hardly blame them. As Mark breathed, the play of the muscles across his stomach and sides was hypotonic, the slopes and dips elegantly formed, exquisitely defined. Grace’s mouth formed an ‘O’ as she tracked his torso to where it tapered into sharp angles before stretching beneath the waistband of his shorts. Of its own volition, Grace’s tongue slipped across her lower lip as she caught the hint of dark ink dancing across the shadow of one hipbone.

God help her, he was beautiful. Every delicious detail all the more enticing at that precise moment because his eyes weren’t flashing in disdain. And his voice wasn’t dripping with irritation. Mark Donovan, silent and still, was perfect.

Awake and entitled? Not so much.

“Typically, I expect a woman to buy me one drink, at least, before she gets to enjoy such an up-close and personal view.”

Grace squeaked in surprise and tried to scramble back, but Mark anchored one of her wrists in a warm, inflexible grasp.

“You had an accident. I found you on the floor. I was making sure you weren’t injured.”

Confusion, then recollection flashed in the deep indigo of his eyes. Pressing his free hand to the bump on his forehead, he cocked his lips into a crooked grin. “From what I can tell, my injuries are up here. Not”—he nodded in the direction of his crotch—“down there.”

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Author Katy Ames

Author Katy Ames

About the Author
Katy Ames loves a good story. Whether through blogs, books, or live events, she’s been an avid story teller her entire career.

With a bachelor’s in English Literature, Katy is happiest when curled up on her favorite sofa with a captivating read, whether it’s the Romantic poets or contemporary romance. A good glass of bourbon doesn’t hurt, either.

Katy lives with her husband and son in Washington, D.C. When she’s not writing or reading, she’s very enthusiastic about fancy cheese, late nights & lazy mornings. Only two of which she gets to enjoy on a regular basis.

Katy is a member of both the Romance Writers of America and the Washington Romance Writers.

Sign-up for Katy’s newsletter to receive exclusive content & info about new releases.

Where to Find Katy Ames
Goodreads | Website | NewsletterFacebook | Twitter

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Giveaway
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Book Blitz – Excerpt + Giveaway – FALLING FOR YOU (Great Escapes) by Charlotte Blake

FALLING FOR YOU Book Blitz

Welcome to the book blitz for FALLING FOR YOU, the first book in the adult contemporary romance series, Great Escapes, by Charlotte Blake. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway. You can currently pick up the eBook for just $0.99 or read for free with Kindle Unlimited.

FALLING FOR YOU (Great Escapes #1) by Charlotte Blake

FALLING FOR YOU (Great Escapes #1) by Charlotte Blake

About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited!
Title: FALLING FOR YOU
Series: Great Escapes #1
Author: Charlotte Blake
Genre: Adult Contemporary Holiday Romance
Release Date: September 10, 2017
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU 

Synopsis
Sometimes love finds you whether you want it to or not …

Grace Clark is a star at her job as an art director at Boston’s biggest advertising firm. But inside she’s still mourning the loss of her sister two years ago. Losing Mia and a failed engagement have been enough to keep her heart on lockdown ever since.

Luke Arnold is tired of relationships that don’t go anywhere. Usually women are all over him, but it’s been years since he’s met someone he could really fall for.

But when he sees Grace from across the room at the Redview Lodge, he can’t keep his eyes off her. They meet in the New Hampshire mountains over Thanksgiving, and they find in one another something that neither of them expected.

18+ NOTE: This STAND-ALONE romance contains very steamy love scenes. All of the books in the Great Escapes series can be read in any order.

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Excerpt
It seemed everywhere she went, his eyes followed her. Not in a creepy way, but intense. It made her feel nervous. She didn’t know what to think about it. At dinner, it seemed that every time she looked in his direction, his gaze was on her again. Was he even talking to his dinner mates? After a while, she realized, she was looking at him, too. 

And he was definitely worth looking at. From a distance she could tell that he was tall and broad, and by the way his t-shirt clung to his body, definitely well built. He had wavy brown hair, not long, but not cut short, either. She liked the way it would fall into his eyes and he would brush it away.

The whole thing was really sort of embarrassing, but also intriguing. She liked it that she could look up from the conversation at dinner and always find him staring. And he didn’t seem weird; she could tell by the large group of boisterous friends surrounding him at the table. He just seemed … curious.

Once the meal was over, she hugged her parents goodnight. 

“See you in the morning, hon,” her mom said. “Are we going on the hike, then?”

They had been browsing through a brochure the lodge had given them, both an advertisement and a map.

“Yeah,” Grace said. “I think we should, don’t you?”

vv

“Definitely,” her father said. “We need to get out there and take in these leaves before they all fall away. See you at breakfast.”

“Okay, seven?” 

“Let’s make it eight. We’re on vacation,” he said, elbowing her. 

She walked with them to the elevator, then realized she had left her sweater draped over her dining chair. 

“Oh,” she said. “I left something. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

She turned back and found that their waiter was already headed her way, sweater in hand. 

She smiled, taking it from him and wrapping it around her shoulders.

“Thanks.”

She turned around, back toward the elevator.

And there he was. Waiting.

For a moment, she thought about hiding behind the huge display of flowers that sat on one of the entry tables. Could she get away with it? Would it look like she truly was admiring them and not just avoiding him?

Why was she so nervous?

No, she couldn’t stall, not without being totally obvious. She would look like an idiot. 

She took a deep breath and headed over to wait for the elevator, just taking the smallest of glances up at his face. For the first time all night he wasn’t looking at her, and just a hint of a smile played along the corner of his mouth. 

The elevator opened and he waited for her to enter first. She hit the button for three, and he didn’t say a thing.

We’re on the same floor.

She didn’t dare look at him now, not when he was standing so close. Her heart was thudding in her chest, and it was all she could do to not check to see if his eyes were on her again. 

The elevator reached the third floor and opened. 

He was waiting for her to exit first, but she found her feet were stuck to the floor of the elevator as if they were glued to it. 

Move.

“Goodnight,” he said, his voice deep and silky.

She started and ducked her head to leave the elevator, turning right. She could feel the flush starting in her chest and heading up her neck to her cheeks. 

Why hadn’t she said something?

She glanced back and he stood in front of the elevator, this time smiling wide as he watched her leave. 

Oh, my God.

She didn’t risk another look, just tried to act like she wasn’t trying to rush away from him. 

Suddenly, she realized that she didn’t even know her room number. She had been downstairs since she’d arrived, and hadn’t even bothered to come up to check things out. 

She reached into the back pocket of her jeans and found the envelope that held the room key.

361.

She glanced up at the numbers, but as she rounded the corner to the left, she realized that she was going the wrong way, that she should have turned left out of the elevator instead of right. 

Now what? What if he was still standing there, somehow knowing that she’d gone the wrong way?

She sneaked up to the corner and listened, and there it was, the sound of his room door closing behind him.

She allowed herself to breathe.

Then, expecting him to appear at any moment, she rushed down the hallway until she found her room number, jammed the card into the slot and launching into the room, pulling the door shut behind her. She stood with her back against it, panting as if she’d been running from a predator. Quickly, she turned around and looked through the peep hole on the door. 

The hallway was empty. 

She sat down right there on the floor, shaking a little. 

What the hell is wrong with you?

Why was he looking at her? She wasn’t so much to see, was she? She had nice, long brown hair, which she wore up in a bun most of the time. Her figure was reasonably attractive, she supposed, and her face was sort of pretty. But Mia had always been the beauty in the family. Mia had gotten her mother’s looks, while Grace had inherited her face from her father’s side of the family. Pretty, but not beautiful.

So why was she so surprised? 

It had been the intensity of his gaze that had thrown her. And when she had stood next to him in the elevator, she realized just how big he was. Her heart gave another thud at the memory. Nice arms. Nice smell. And tall. 

She shook her head, trying to throw the memory of his scent off of her. She took a deep breath, got up, and walked farther into the room. 

The space was beautiful, with vaulted ceilings that mirrored the ones in the dining room. The room was on the top floor, and just visible through the sliding glass door she could see the lake rippling in the moonlight. 

On her way into the room she had passed a mini-bar stocked with candy and a couple of those two-serving bottles of wine. She cracked the red one and poured herself a glass into one of the bathroom cups. Walking up to the window again, she started to calm down. She opened the door and almost went outside when she realized it. What if he was standing on his deck, too? Did he have one? One whole side of the building faced the lake, the other side, the trees. She hadn’t seen which room he went into; his could be right next door to her for all she knew. 

She settled for leaving the door open and pulling up the desk chair to sit inside and enjoy the view from there.

Stupid. 

But she couldn’t handle any more tonight. As the room gradually became colder, she slowly drained her glass, then closed the door and dug around through her suitcase. She was exhausted. It was only nine, but it was just late enough for her to not feel too embarrassed with herself for going to bed. 

She changed, slid into the silky sheets, and clicked off the light. She lay in the dark, her mind distracted, able to think of only one thing. 

Why shouldn’t he have been looking at her, anyway? She’d had plenty of date offers since Brett, but just as she was starting to get over the heartache she had felt about his lies, Mia had her accident. Since then, her dating life had been easy; she had simply said no to every request. All of them. She couldn’t risk getting into another relationship now, not after all that had happened. Because whoever it was with would eventually leave her, just as Brett had. 

Just as Mia had.

Wouldn’t he?

She rolled over, her head swimming slightly from all the wine. But just as she was dozing off, the image of the man’s eyes appeared before her. 

No. Definitely not a good idea.

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Author Charlotte Blake

Author Charlotte Blake

About the Author
I am happy to call the San Francisco Bay Area home, where I lives with my husband, two kids, one dog and three cats. I started writing at an early age, but have only been writing novels for the past five years. I love the idea of love conquering all, and that is what drove me to begin the Great Escapes series, where the reader follows couples meeting up in exotic locations around the world. In this series, each book is a stand-alone, and each can be read in any order.

But readers, be forewarned, there is a healthy amount of steam in these books!

Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy Great Escapes!

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Where to Find Charlotte Blake
Goodreads | WebsiteFacebook | Twitter

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Release Day + Giveaway – BLACK (All the King’s Men) by Donya Lynne

BLACK Release Day

Today is release day for BLACK, the eighth book in the young adult fantasy/paranormal romance series, All The King’s Men, by Donya Lynne. See below for information on the book, buy links for the entire series, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

BLACK (All the King's Men #8) by Donya Lynne

BLACK (All the King’s Men #8) by Donya Lynne

About the Book
Title: BLACK
Series: All the King’s Men #8
Author: Donya Lynne
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Release Date: September 12, 2017
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords
Book 1 Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords
Book 2 Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords
Book 3 Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords
Book 4 Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords
Book 5 Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords
Book 6 Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords
Book 7 Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords

Synopsis
Micah Black thought he was the last of his bloodline. He was wrong. Dead wrong.

Micah just found out he has a brother. Ronan, the cat burglar who broke into his apartment and stole the ankh he’d been entrusted to protect, has turned out to be none other than his own flesh and blood. But that’s not the only revelation he uncovers about his family. After centuries of thinking his father was killed during the war, he learns that his father is alive. Still suffering the loss of Micah’s mother, his beloved mate, but alive.

The discoveries continue to pile up as more tightly held secrets and shocking surprises come to light, upending Micah’s world, sending him into a whirlwind of emotions and memories of war, love, and death. But it’s what King Bain reveals that throws Micah for the biggest loop. One that will chart a new path for Micah’s future and change the course of the coming war between the vampires and the drecks forever.

In the much-anticipated eighth book of the emotionally-wrenching, heart-stopping All the King’s Men Series, you see Micah as you’ve never seen him before. You will meet new characters pivotal to the survival—and hearts—of the characters you’ve come to love. Aliases will be revealed, alliances will be formed, and new enemies exposed as paranormal forces converge in a battle to decide who will ultimately rule humanity.

Recommended for fans of J.R. Ward, Lara Adrian, Kresley Cole..

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BLACK Teaser 1

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Excerpt
Approximately 950 years ago

A steel-tipped arrow whizzed past Micah’s head as he and Malek battled their way through the rush of drecks pouring through the village from all directions. Metal on metal rang out as the village’s males took up their swords and engaged the enemy. It was their duty to defend the females and humans against this unprovoked, peacetime raid.

Who was Micah kidding? They weren’t in peacetime, anymore. This attack was enough proof that the drecks had risen up against them once more like some kind of fungus rot on their cultivated fields. No matter how many diseased plants you pulled, the shit just kept coming back.

Would the godforsaken war ever end? It had raged off and on for centuries before Micah’s birth, and, at this rate, would continue for centuries to come, even under the guise of peace.

Micah whistled to get Malek’s attention. When his friend and fellow warrior turned, Micah pointed to the top of a nearby ridge.

“High ground!” He had to shout over the roar of infernos consuming nearly half the cottages in the village, casting blazing heat that scorched his skin and singed his long, braided hair, coating him with soot and ash.

Malek nodded, pulled the strength from only God knew where, and hoofed it up the steep incline behind Micah.

Micah’s lungs pumped hard as his legs churned, propelling him higher as the burn and fatigue in his muscles grew so great that his thighs almost locked up in protest. But somehow, he pushed through the pain. The safety of his family depended on him. Katarina had fled to the forest at the first sign of attack, and thank God for that, but he refused to leave even one dreck standing who could pursue her and the other vampires and humans who had escaped.

But he didn’t know where his parents were. Surely, his father was engaged with the enemy, but he had yet to sense that his mother had found safety. On the contrary, what he felt vibrating in his soul was impending doom.

Another arrow flew past him, this one close enough to catch the side of his arm, nicking his flesh. Blood already spilled from multiple wounds all over his body, so this one merely added to the collection. None of his injuries were life threatening, but eventually, the loss of blood would weaken him. There was no time to spare.

He and Malek reached the top of the ridge and Micah turned, pulling an arrow from his fully stocked quiver as he brought his bow up in front of him. Malek did the same.

From here, the damage to their village robbed him of breath. It was a total loss. More than half the structures were consumed by flames or already falling into piles of smoldering rubble.

Beyond the steel tip of his arrow, Micah saw a dreck toss a torch on one of the remaining cottages. Calming his breath, he lined up the blue-tinted creature in his sights, held for a moment, and then released the arrow.

It impaled the dreck square between the eyes.

Malek took out another.

One by one, he and Malek sniped the enemy from their advantageous location, killing the drecks gradually but steadily as they worked their way along the ridge that surrounded the village, moving toward his parents’ cottage on the far end.

Behind him, he could feel the first sign of sunrise spreading light across the horizon. They needed to hurry so the vampires had enough time to seek shelter in the forest beyond the fields or in any of the remaining dwellings not taken by fire.

As Micah’s quiver neared empty, he caught sight of his uncle Rory, engaged with three drecks. Rory was a deadly male, fighting like a banshee unleashed by the devil himself. His skin and clothing were red with spilled blood, streaked with fresh, blue blood of the drecks, which quickly faded to red. No doubt Rory had killed half the invaders himself.

“I’m empty,” Malek said beside him.

Micah handed him one of his last two arrows. “Me, too.”

The good news was that the number of the fallen enemy was greater than that of the villagers. Drecks were no match for vampires, and their dead and dying bodies littered the cobbled paths and open spaces of their village, their blue blood running in rivers into the grass, where it pooled and gradually turned from blue to purple to red.

Just as he nocked his last arrow, Micah turned in the direction of his parents’ cottage. With the faint light of the pending sunrise granting him greater breadth of vision, he found his childhood home. His father was nowhere to be seen, but his mother stood in front of the open door, a sword in her hand, facing off against a pair of drecks.

Micah’s heart raced as a premonition of dread shocked his mind’s eye.

His mother was not a fighter. Not at the level needed for this kind of combat. Not against a trained enemy, and especially not against two of them.

As one attacked, she lifted the sword, blocking the dreck’s blade. But she wasn’t fast enough to counter the second dreck as he lunged forward, holding a pair of short swords, and sliced into her abdomen.

“NOOOOOO!” Ignoring the fatigue in his muscles, Micah took off at a sprint, traveling the top of the ridge like a streak of lightning.

“Micah!” Malek called as he gave chase.

His mother staggered backward, toward the open doorway as if she were trying to block the way inside, blindly swinging the sword at her attackers, unwilling to surrender even as her knees wobbled.

“No! Mother!”

Like a true warrior, she refused to give an inch, despite her rapidly weakening state. Mustering what must have been the last of her strength, she surged with determination, parrying her foe and driving her sword into his belly.

The next seconds flashed by in an instant, even though Micah saw the events unfold as if through a thick, slow-moving fog. The dreck she impaled fell, his body spasming in the throes of death. The second dreck moved in, blades flashing. His mother was left unprotected, alone, and without a weapon. Micah stopped and raised his bow, determined to save her.

Just as he released his arrow, the glint of cold steel dripping with vampire blood rose over her. Would the arrow find home before the dreck’s blade did? The firelight reflected off the sword’s edge as it fell in a swift descent.

Micah held his breath, his heart and soul flying alongside the arrow blazing a trail in the distance between them.

The sword sliced into his mother a split second sooner than his arrow lodged into the center of the dreck’s back.

“NO!” Micah burst into a run, barreling down the steep decline of the ridge, falling, tumbling, then regaining his footing as he reached the base.

With Malek hot on his heels, he vaulted the simple wooden fence and charged into the small square of land surrounding his parents’ cottage, leaped onto the dreck, who was still alive, and drove his dagger into the beast’s heart, releasing a savage war cry.

And he kept stabbing, long after the dreck was dead, turning the foul creature into nothing but tenderized meat.

“Micah, stop!” Malek remained a safe distance from his swinging dagger, but Micah could feel his desperation.

He couldn’t stop. He had to keep stabbing. Had to keep destroying that which had taken what he loved. His anger—his fury—required vengeance.

Malek pushed dangerously close, dodging Micah’s dagger as it plunged through the air and into the dreck’s chest, and grabbed him by the collar as he raised the blade again. “Micah! Your mother! She needs you!”

They were the only words that could have gotten through to him.

The bloody dagger in his hand halted in midair then dropped to his side as he swung his rage-hazed gaze around to where his mother lay in the flattened grass.

“Is she alive?” He abandoned the gore he’d created and lurched toward her.

“Barely.” Malek’s dismal tone said all Micah needed to know about his mother’s fate, and he froze, meeting his best friend’s eyes with a sense of foreboding. “She doesn’t have much longer, Micah.” Malek bobbed his head in her direction. “She asked for you.”

The breath caught in Micah’s raw throat, scorched by hot smoke and strained from shouting. Then he sprung to life and scurried to his mother’s side, falling to his knees. He took her hand. It already felt too cold. Too small. Too . . . lifeless.

“Mother . . .?”

Her eyes blinked open as if just that simple act took too much effort. “Mi . . . cah.”

Tears blurred his vision, but he forced down the sob that threatened to break through his throat. “I’m here. You’re going to be okay.” He squeezed her hand and brushed the bloody hair off her face.

She weakly shook her head as the corners of her lips turned up knowingly. She knew she was dying. This was her end, and nothing could stop it. Then she shifted her gaze to the open door of the cottage. “Your father . . . needs you . . .” Her breath rattled in her lungs like shackles being tugged by the Grim Reaper. “In . . . side.” She tried to lift her arm but couldn’t, instead pointing in the general direction of the doorway.

Micah glanced toward the cottage.

And that’s when he saw it.

His father’s booted foot lay on the floor, in the shadows, unmoving, just beyond the door.

“Go . . . to . . . him . . .” His mother’s voice was quickly fading, no louder than a whisper now. “Needs to . . . give . . . you . . .” Her hold on his hand weakened. Her body relaxed. Everything in her went slack.

“Mother . . .?” Micah turned back toward her, only to find the light that had been in her eyes moments ago was now gone. She was gone. Her soul claimed and taken to the other side. “Mom?” He shook her. But it was useless. She was dead.

Tears trailed down his cheeks as he bowed his head. “I will kill every last one of them, Mother,” he vowed on a whisper. “I promise not a single dreck will remain when I am finished avenging you.” He bent forward, placed his palm over her silent, unbeating heart, and kissed her dirty, abraded forehead. “I promise.”

There was no time for more. The remaining drecks were quickly closing in, and he had to save his father.

Pulling the strength from deep within, he leaped to his feet and rushed into the cottage. His father lay on his stomach in a pool of blood, his hand outstretched toward the large wooden chest against the wall. Its lid was open, the contents scattered as if his father had been searching through them before he fell.

There was so much blood. Too much.

“Father?” Micah crouched and rolled over the heroic male he had always admired and looked up to. No less than a dozen wounds seeped his life-giving blood.

“Son . . .” His father’s voice rasped from him as if from a ghost.

“Father . . . I’m getting you out of here.” He began to lift him, but his father protested.

“No . . . no time . . . I’m not . . . going to make it.” His skin was already so pale it was a wonder he had any blood left to sustain him. “Save yourself. Save your mother.”

Micah didn’t have the heart to tell him she was already gone. Hot tears stung his eyes once more. “I will.”

“Take . . . the chest”—his father let out an ugly cough that speckled his lips with blood—“with you.” He turned his head toward the large wooden structure only a few feet away.

There was no way he could take that with him.

“It’s too heavy.”

His father shook his head. “No. Inside. The chest . . . smaller one. The box . . .” He coughed again, and it sounded like his lungs were filling with what little blood he had left. “Take it. Protect it. The ankh . . . inside . . . keep it safe.”

Micah looked inside the large chest, and, there, to the side, was a smaller one. No wider than the length of his hand and as deep as three of the leather-bound books Kat enjoyed reading. It was ornately carved and secured by a disproportionately heavy lock. He lifted the chest and secured it under his arm as he returned to his father.

“I have it.”

“Take it . . . go . . .” His father held out a key fastened to a knotted length of leather. “Hurry . . .” His father’s midnight blue eyes glanced through the open door toward the east. “The sun . . . almost . . . here . . .” He winced and groaned then fell silent as his body went lax.

“Father?” Micah knelt closer. “Father?

“Micah!” Malek’s frantic voice shot through the doorway. “Hurry!”

There was no time. The drecks were coming, and the sun was close behind. He had to leave.

He plucked the key from his father’s loose grip and tucked it into the pocket of his cloak, stashed the small chest in his father’s pack, which he slung over his shoulder, and then crossed his forearm over his chest as he faced his father’s lifeless form. “I will avenge you, Father.” He glanced out the door at his mother. “I will avenge you both.”

With one last sorrowful glance toward his father, he breathed in the last inhale of air he would ever take inside the home he grew up in. Never again would he set eyes on the male who had taught him how to hunt, how to track prey, how to kill, how to be a good mate, and how to lead an army. A male more powerful than a tidal wave, stronger than a gale-force wind, and more respected even than the king. A male who had been, was, and would always be his hero.

His father was dead.

Or so he thought.

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BLACK Teaser 2

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Author Donya Lynne

Author Donya Lynne

About the Author
Donya Lynne is the bestselling author of the award winning All the King’s Men and Strong Karma Series and a member of Romance Writers of America. Making her home in a wooded suburb north of Indianapolis with her husband, Donya has lived in Indiana most of her life and knew at a young age she was destined to be a writer. She started writing poetry in grade school and won her first short story contest in fourth grade. In junior high, she began writing romantic stories for her friends, and by her sophomore year, she’d been dubbed Most Likely to Become a Romance Novelist. In 2012, she fulfilled her dream by publishing her first two novels and a novella. Her work has earned her two IPPYs, five eLit Awards, a USA Today Recommended Read, and numerous accolades, including two Smashwords bestsellers. When she’s not writing, she can be found cheering on the Indianapolis Colts or doing her cats’ bidding.

Where to Find Donya Lynne
Goodreads | Website | NewsletterFacebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Amazon | Bookbub

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Release Day + Giveaway – SUPERHERO SYNDROME (Solstice Survivors) by Caryn Larrinaga

SUPERHERO SYNDROME Release Day

Today is release day for SUPERHERO SYNDROME, the first book in the new adult scifi/urban fantasy/superhero series, Solstice Survivors, by Caryn Larrinaga. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

SUPERHERO SYNDROME (Solstice Survivors #1) by Caryn Larrinaga

SUPERHERO SYNDROME (Solstice Survivors #1) by Caryn Larrinaga

About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited!
Title: SUPERHERO SYNDROME
Series: Solstice Survivors #1
Author: Caryn Larrinaga
Publisher: Twisted Tree Press
Genre: New Adult Science Fiction/Urban Fantasy/Superhero
Release Date: September 12, 2017
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU 

Synopsis
Tess McBray was dying. The Solstice Syndrome had no cure, and she resigned herself to an early grave. But just when she gave up on survival, all her symptoms mysteriously disappeared.

All but one symptom, anyway. Something is wrong with Tess’s hands. They absorb any material they touch, and her skin turns to wood, or steel, or concrete. It doesn’t take this comic-book obsessed 21-year-old long to figure out what’s going on: somehow, she’s developed super powers. And she’s not the only one; across the country, people are coming forward and sharing their gifts with the world. In her own city, where the police are battling a human trafficking operation, a masked vigilante called The Fox is saving lives and stopping criminals.

Tess doesn’t know where she fits into this new, super-powered world. But when people around her start disappearing, she can’t just sit on the sidelines. Teaming up with The Fox might be the only way to rid her city of evil and save the people she loves most.

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Excerpt
I felt someone’s eyes on me but ignored them. I knew what I looked like. I knew how my hazel eyes had started to look too big for their sockets and how my swollen joints looked wildly out of proportion with my thin limbs. I snuggled into the blankets and pulled out my sketch pad, drawing the people around me to keep my fingers warm. In front of me, a short woman with poofy red curls was digging around in a picnic basket, handing sandwiches to the two small children who sat beside her. To my right, a middle-aged guy with glasses was cringing as he tried to pop the cork on a champagne bottle. I flinched when he finally succeeded. The cork shot off into the trees, and the people around him laughed nervously, probably as happy as I was that they hadn’t lost an eye.

A lump formed in my throat, and I gripped my pencil tighter as I sketched. Everyone here had a future. They had something to look forward to tomorrow… and the day after that. Once the meteor shower was over, they’d go home to warm kitchens and cups of hot cocoa and talk about how perfect and beautiful the night had been.

And I… well, I’d be here until someone found me, I supposed.

The sky above us was rapidly darkening. Millions of stars shone, and everyone in the clearing stared upward, waiting for the show to begin.

The universe did not disappoint.

Sometime around midnight, a streak of light appeared above me. I gasped as it bolted partway across my field of vision before vanishing. A few minutes later, another appeared. Then another. It was unlike any meteor shower I’d ever seen, and from the gasps and oohs around me, I could tell I wasn’t alone in my awe.

I tasted salt. When did I start crying?

The cold seeped through my jacket and Davies’ blanket, stinging my skin, but it didn’t bother me. My tears could freeze right on my face for all I cared. I could melt into the ground beneath me and not even feel it. There was no looking away; I was riveted by the magic above me.

Three lights appeared in the sky at once. They were much brighter than the streaks that had preceded them, and they tore through the stars like soldiers rushing into battle. My eyes went wide. I knew it had to be an optical illusion, but they appeared to be coming right at me.

As the meteors sped toward the clearing, a rushing sound filled my ears, growing louder with each breath. A wave of nausea hit me, and I realized I was about to pass out. It’d been happening a lot lately. The edges of my vision fuzzed into blackness, but the cluster of meteors shone in the center, still appearing to speed directly at me.

This is it, I thought.

This was no ordinary fainting spell. It was different; I could feel it. The skin from the top of my head down to the soles of my feet began to tingle and burn, and my heart pounded in my ears.

These were my last moments.

A face, so much like my own, swam in front of my eyes. My sister smiled at me, but her eyes were filled with sadness.

“Goodbye, Bethany,” I whispered.

And the world went dark.

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Author Caryn Larrinaga

Author Caryn Larrinaga

About the Author
Caryn Larrinaga is a Basque-American mystery, horror, and urban fantasy writer living in Utah with her husband and cats. Her debut novel Donn’s Hill (March 2017, Immortal Works Press) garnered rave reviews from fans of the cozy mystery and paranormal genres, and her new urban fantasy Superhero Syndrome (September 2017, Twisted Tree Press) will be out this fall. Watching scary movies through split fingers terrified Caryn as a child, and those nightmares inspire her to write now. She lives in a 90-year-old house with a colorful history, and the creaking walls and narrow hallways send her running (never walking) up the stairs from her basement. Exploring her fears through writing makes Caryn feel a little less foolish for wanting a buddy to accompany her into the tool shed.

When her fingers aren’t glued to her laptop keyboard, Caryn also enjoys binge-watching Netflix with her husband, reading, playing video games, and filling up her phone’s flash memory with pictures of her cats. She loves music and plays the bass guitar. Caryn is an active member of the League of Utah Writers and the Utah Chapter of the Horror Writers Association.

Where to Find Caryn Larrinaga
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Twisted Tree Press

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Giveaway
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Release Day – COLD MALICE (Cold Justice) by Toni Anderson

COLD MALICE Release Day

Today is release day for COLD MALICE, the eighth book 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 an exclusive excerpt.

COLD MALICE (Cold Justice #8) by Toni Anderson

COLD MALICE (Cold Justice #8) by Toni Anderson

About the Book
Title: COLD MALICE
Series: Cold Justice #8
Author: Toni Anderson
Release Date: September 12, 2017
Genre: Adult Romantic Suspense
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | GooglePlay

Synopsis
When an international ring of sex traffickers kidnaps an eight-year-old girl in Boston, FBI Agent Lucas Randall heads undercover. But his rescue operation goes disastrously wrong and Lucas barely escapes with his life. Now the ruthless traffickers are hunting him down, along with everyone else who threatens their operation.

Computer expert Ashley Chen joined the FBI to fight against evil in the world—evil she experienced firsthand. She has mad skills, and deadly secrets, and once she starts working with Lucas, she also has big trouble, because after years of pushing people away, she’s falling for the guy. The feeling is more than mutual, but as Ashley intensifies her online pursuit of the trafficking ring, her traumatic past collides with her present and suddenly Lucas can’t tell which side she’s on. And as the case escalates into a high-stakes game of cat and mouse, it turns out Ashley isn’t the only one with something to hide.

If neither can trust the other with their secrets, how can they trust each other with their hearts?

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COLD MALICE Teaser 5

 

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Excerpt
He sat in his car, staring at the house, knowing she was inside watching him right back.

The unexpected attraction had caught him off guard. He’d forgotten what it felt like to actually want someone. But he couldn’t afford to start something with the daughter of one of the most notorious white supremacist leaders in history. That would not look great on his résumé.

That stupid hug had knocked him off balance and made him sit here like a damn stalker. He’d hoped to neutralize some of the antagonism his turning up out of the blue had created and keep her onside should he need her help in the future. But now the fresh scent of her shampoo invaded his nostrils, and the feel of her soft skin tantalized his senses. The sight of her in that damp robe— knowing that she was naked underneath— had distracted the hell out of him. And damned if that embrace hadn’t felt like coming home.

Chances were she wasn’t involved in the current murders. It didn’t seem likely that an accountant, raised by a woman of color, would turn around and start killing people based on her daddy’s evil doctrine. But who knew? He’d seen crazier things in his career. Tomorrow he’d check out her alibi and cross her off his to-do list.

More’s the pity.

And so what if his mind turned dirty. It wasn’t going to lead anywhere. She was off limits. And he was in control of his wants and needs.

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COLD MALICE Teaser 6

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Author Toni Anderson

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.

If you want to know when Toni’s next book will be out, visit her website (http://www.toniandersonauthor.com) and sign up for her newsletter. If you want to read other fascinating stories about life in a city that, during winter, is sometimes colder than Mars, friend her on Facebook: (https://www.facebook.com/toniannanderson).

Where to Find Toni Anderson
Goodreads | Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest
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Blog Tour – Excerpt + Giveaway – HOLLY FREAKIN’ HUGHES by Kelsey Kingsley

HOLLY FREAKIN' HUGHES Blog Tour

Welcome to the blog tour for HOLLY FREAKIN’ HUGHES, a stand-alone adult contemporary romantic comedy by Kelsey Kingsley. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.

HOLLY FREAKIN' HUGHES by Kelsey Kingsleyv

HOLLY FREAKIN’ HUGHES by Kelsey Kingsley

About the Book
Title: HOLLY FREAKIN’ HUGHES
Author: Kelsey Kingsley
Release Date: August 1, 2017
Genre:
 Adult Contemporary Romantic Comedy
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Synopsis
31-year-old HOLLY HUGHES is happy with her life. She’s a moderately successful teen advice columnist living in a tiny studio apartment on the Upper East Side with her boyfriend STEPHEN and their cat CAMILLE. She has grand plans of marrying Stephen and having his babies, until Stephen announces that he is in fact gay and in love with someone else, his boss ANTHONY. This twist of fate is the beginning of a slew of life-changing events in poor Holly’s life. Her boss fires her from the magazine for being too old, leaving her unemployed and unable to keep her apartment.

With nowhere else to go, Holly moves back to Long Island to live with her younger sister LIZ and 3-year-old niece ANNA, and takes over as Anna’s babysitter until she can find the confidence to get herself back on her feet.

As a part of her babysitting routine, Holly takes Anna on bi-weekly trips to the local bookstore, where they attend Story Time. On one occasion, Anna just so happens to run face-first into 36-year-old BRANDON DAVIS, a tall, handsome man who just so happens to be an international best-selling author of a fantasy book series. Holly is unaware of this bit of information, and remains oblivious as their friendship and love for each other grows.

When Brandon faces his personal qualms toward his career and confesses who he is to her, Holly is left to face her own issues with inadequacy.

The story deals with acceptance for one’s position in life, forgiveness, and overcoming the feeling of simply not being good enough.

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Excerpt #4
FOR MANY PEOPLE, WHEN ASKED what they consider to be the most romantic holiday, they would promptly respond with, “Valentine’s Day.” I supposed they wouldn’t be incorrect in their feelings, given the day’s amorous history and commercialized sentiment, but no, for me, it has always been Christmas Eve.

There was something in that intimate hush that lulled over the Earth, that momentary sense of peace that brought those Wise Men travelling through the desert all those years ago. The desire and need to be closest to those you care for most, the magical awe of the twinkling lights on the Christmas tree, and the sensual kiss of the fireplace against rosy cheeks. All of it combined, painted a picture of cozy warmth, one to fall in love with over and over again.

And to me, that was exactly what love should be.

But of course, that wasn’t the type of love I had found myself in. I was in the torturous kind that left me lying awake when I should have been sleeping; tossing and turning through the stresses of wondering if her feelings for me ran as deep as mine for her. Wondering how I had allowed myself to get into such a predicament. Wondering how the hell it was I would confess my true identity to her. Wondering why the hell I had approached her in the Reade’s parking lot all those months ago.

Brandon the Nice Man.

I had come close the night before, under the mistletoe in Bill’s shop. The guilt of her not knowing had hit me hard in the gut after a kiss that had manifested into something of a tornado of emotion. I had been within millimeters of telling her everything when the world suddenly appeared around us, and the reality of her being unavailable drove a stake through my heart.

The Reade family urged me to run after her in some display of storybook valiance. I thought about it for a few moments, allowing enough time to pass for her to get into her car and drive away; subconsciously deciding that it wasn’t the right time long before she had even reached the shop’s jingling door.

But would there ever be a right time, I thought, rubbing a hand against my jaw.

My thoughts had left me entranced by the twinkling lights on the Christmas tree in Nick’s living room, oblivious to the other guests around me. A far stretch from the one leading the Wise Men to Bethlehem, I wished upon the gaudy tinseled star that I could blink and suddenly be one of the few dozen couples jammed into Nick’s house. With my arm around Holly’s waist, gabbing about the new addition to our house or a new recipe we tried as our contribution to the holiday spread.

I blinked, and while I wasn’t surprised to find myself still alone on that couch, it took a hard bite against my inner lip to keep myself together. I squeezed my eyes shut and pushed a hand through my hair, and wished for the lovesick teenager in my mind to give it a fucking rest.

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Author Kelsey Kingsley

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.

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Where to find Kelsey Kingsley
Goodreads | WebsiteFacebook Twitter | Instagram

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Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Chapter Reveal – HONEST INTENTIONS (Safeguard) by Kennedy Layne

HONEST INTENTIONS Chapter Reveal

USA Today bestselling author, Kennedy Layne, is unveiling the first chapter to HONEST INTENTIONS, the fifth book in her adult mystery/romantic suspense series, Safeguard, releasing September 19, 2017. See below for information on the book, pre-order links, and the exclusive excerpt.

HONEST INTENTIONS (Safeguard #5) by Kennedy Layne

HONEST INTENTIONS (Safeguard #5) by Kennedy Layne

About the Book
Title: HONEST INTENTIONS
Series: Safeguard #4
Author: Kennedy Layne
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Genre:
 Adult Mystery/Romantic Suspense
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

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.

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HONEST INTENTIONS Teaser 2

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Chapter 1

One week ago…

The shrieking howl of the bitter cold wind pierced through the walls of the tiny log cabin as it endeavored to find a way inside.  The flames of the blazing fire reflected a thousand tiny flickers on the river rock hearth as it rose through the rafters and beyond.  The view was mesmerizing as the dancing columns of blue and yellow fluttered briefly in their efforts to consume enough oxygen.  

The crisp night air finally succeeded in finding an otherwise tiny gap in the roughhewn pine logs that nevertheless continued their valiant fight to keep Old Man Winter at bay.  The tail ends of each curling spark were like desperate souls trying to fight for their survival.

The irony of that useless battle wasn’t lost on her as the fire consumed its fuel.

Brettany Lambert slowly ran her hands up her arms and over the soft fabric of her chain-knit sweater in a vain attempt to absorb the warmth emanating only a few feet from the fire.  The electricity had gone out hours ago, the backup generator had failed to start, and the wind chill had already dipped well below zero.  The night proved to be long, but she didn’t have to spend it alone.

She shot a glance toward the window that usually offered her a charming view of Mount Evans, but all she could see were large, distorted snowflakes battering the windowpane that Jack Frost had decorated with a whimsical etching of the winter winds.   

Beyond that?  

Nothing but darkness.

The Colorado mountain range was picturesque in the middle of winter, but it certainly wasn’t her idea of an idyllic place to host a romantic wedding.  Who wanted to say their vows against a backdrop of a wind chill that was in the double digits?  Add on to that the fact that each of the guests had to use snowmobiles or an arctic cat to reach their destination.  That should have clued in the future bride and groom that a classic Aruba beach wedding would have been much more appropriate—in addition to being a lot warmer, even during the latter part of the season.  Eighty-two degrees sounded pretty good right now.  

Brett sighed in resignation as she reached for the scarf she’d strung up over the coatrack earlier.  She personally would have preferred any Caribbean location, but her proposal had been tossed aside like a bad penny the moment the wedding planning had begun over a year ago.  She usually tried not to dwell over where she stood on the friendship scale, but at that moment she had been shoved aside given that certain souls born in the West Elk Mountains of west-central Colorado were strange breeds anyway.  It was as if exposure to all those dark winter months affected their perception of what was obvious to everyone else.

The bride had listened to her maid of honor, despite all the other opposing views.  Heidi had thought Louise and Chad marrying where they met would be romantic, but it turned out to be a total disaster.  The wedding journey had started off with the incredibly difficult task of finding a heavy winter coat that would cover a traditional wedding dress.  Unfortunately, the beautifully added layer wasn’t needed by the end of the rocky passage to wedded bliss.

Chad had decided the day before the ceremony was the perfect time to bring up old wounds, unearthing some deep-seated bitterness that had never been completely wiped clean.  Louise had been all but blindsided as the groom had heatedly declared that the wedding was off, although most of the still sober guests suspected an alcohol-soaked bachelor party was to blame.  It instantly caused their family and friends to take sides.  

“Complete idiots,” Brett muttered in fondness, wrapping the cashmere scarf around her neck before lightly binding the ends together.  “Any Caribbean island would have sufficed.  But no, we had to come to a place that resembles Antarctica.”

She loved them both dearly and didn’t want either of them to throw away a life together over a past mistake that had been rehashed over and over again until there was nothing but ashes.  Louise and Chad thrived on drama, though.  It followed them no matter where they went—even on their wedding getaway to the great white north.

Luckily for them, all the guests were now stranded on this isolated mountain range until the storm lifted and permitted everyone to take what snowmobiles and conveyances there were across the pass to safety.  Until then, it gave Chad and Louise’s family and friends time to try to talk sense into the two of them…at least those who weren’t in favor of a total and complete separation.  

Had that been Heidi’s plan all along?  She never did like some of Chad’s friends.

Brett shrugged into the horribly expensive parka she’d specifically bought for this trip, ignoring the path her thoughts had taken.  She wasn’t one to judge, and that certainly wouldn’t help the situation now that everything had blown over, so to speak.  The bottom line was that she could either stay out here in this tiny, frosty cabin she’d been assigned to for the whole weekend and go stir crazy, or she could join the others up at the lodge and see if the massive hoard of proffered nuptial booze was still available.

It wasn’t that the main inn was some kind of colossal log structure that could fit hundreds of guests.  It was much more of a larger cabin…maybe triple in size as the one she was currently staying in with a large kitchen to host the twelve or so guests occupying the camp.  It also helped that the lodge had a larger generator that worked even at these temperatures.

Brett checked herself over one more time, taking in her winter jacket, scarf, gloves, and waterproofed Ugg boots.  She had somehow drawn the shortest straw without even realizing it when she’d been assigned the cabin farthest from the lodge.

Suddenly, the scene from Jurassic Park popped into her head when the actors drew lots to see who would race those velociraptors through the utility tunnels to turn the power back on to the contaminated pens.  

She honestly hadn’t minded the distance in the least, until the storm had hit.  Watching the groundskeeper string rope from each cabin had put the dangers of such extreme weather into serious perspective.

Brett finally gathered the courage to crack open the hatch.  

The wind was stronger than she had expected.  She barely maintained her hold on the side of the door as a strong gust tried to rip the wood from her fingers.  The snowfall didn’t feel like the normal white fluffy flakes collecting on the ground, but instead like pelting ice crystals trying to penetrate her cheeks similar to little needles.  She pushed down her gathering irritation that they could all be lying on the beach somewhere enjoying the trade winds with those umbrella drinks to drown their disappointment with the cancelled ceremony.

Brett turned away as she pulled the door closed behind her, not bothering to lock the latch.  One, she trusted everyone here not to snoop.  Two, no other sane person not stupid enough to attend this debacle could possibly be this high up on the mountain range in this crappy weather.  Three, there was nothing of value that she’d brought with her other than her laptop anyway.  It wasn’t like her computer was even of any use, considering there wasn’t Wi-Fi or any other type of cellular service that could be activated to reach the Internet.  

This area was as primitive as it got, which was why a shiver ran up the back of her neck that had nothing to do with the bitter cold.  God help them should anything happen that would be considered a real emergency.  They were a very long way from medical rescue help.  There would be no life flight helicopter with this storm, just a whole lot of pain for a very long time.

Another shriek of wind jarringly howled as the strong gusts of frigid air traveled through the ancient pines surrounding the campground.  Had she not been listening to that exact same eerie sound all evening, she would have thought it was a screaming banshee somewhere off in the distance.  It was downright terrifying.  Mother Nature at her worst.  Brett breathed a little easier as the screeching wail slowly faded.

She had no choice but to expose her face to the harsh elements as she looked for the knotted rope that would guide her toward the lodge.  It occurred to her that the knots were evenly spaced at ten foot intervals.  She reached into her right pocket and pulled out a small black lithium battery flashlight they had all been given by the groundskeeper.  That vital contribution alone should have clued her in as to how severe these conditions could develop from a simple prediction of two to four inches into something truly monstrous as the system stalled swirling over the top of the range like a miniature hurricane made up of icy winds.

The meteorologist had certainly gotten this one wrong.   His ass should be fired.

Brett focused the beam in the direction of where the rope had been tied off to a small stake in the ground ahead of her.  She had no trouble locating the line tied to her post on the front porch, though it was rather difficult to walk against the wind out in the open.  At least seven inches of heavy snow had already dropped with many more expected according to the last radio transmission she’d heard this morning before the power and the wedding failed.  

Now one of the children’s songs from Frosty the Snowman got stuck in her head.  

Put one foot in front of the other…

Each step Brett managed to undertake took effort, but it wasn’t quite so hard with the joyful melody in her head.  She mentally kept track of her pace, figuring she wasn’t even halfway to the next cabin and even farther from her intended destination.  That was okay.  Her daily runs kept her in fairly good shape.  It was getting a little hard to breathe, but she chalked it up to the altitude and the temperature.

“Ahh!”

Brett tried to catch herself as her boot caught on something solid buried in the snow.  Not even her tight grip on the rope could keep her upright.  The cushion of the thick white blanket did nothing to stop the blunt force of her body hitting the ground with a muted thud.  She landed on her hands and knees abruptly.  The impact instantly sent her good spirits and the merry little melody packing.  It didn’t help that she’d lost her hold on the tiny flashlight.  The item in question had landed about four feet in front of her.

“Damn it,” Brett muttered in frustration, instantly lifting both hands in the air as she sat back on her legs.  She tried to shake out the snow that had stuck itself into the sleeves of her jacket, but it was too late.  “Ugh.”

The cold slush had already melted against her wrists and was instantly soaked up by the material of her sweater sleeves.  It didn’t help that the thin denim of her jeans became saturated by the cold moisture around her knees in spite of her long johns underneath, though her boots were well insulated and protected her ankles and feet.

There was always a silver lining, right?

Well, she couldn’t stay outside in these unforgiving temperatures forever. She quickly reached for the rope that was now shoulder height above her.  She finally caught onto the coarse twine, but she didn’t stand.  Instead, she scooted forward on her knees and reached out toward the bright light illuminating the snow like a brilliant beam driving up into the night’s sky.  

Wait.

What was on top of the snow?

Blood?

Brett instinctively closed her gloved fingers into the palm of her hand.  Her mind immediately rejected the grisly word it had formed, her heart breaking for whatever poor animal had been hurt in such a harsh winter storm.  She couldn’t stand to think of such an innocent creature suffering in pain.

She tried to look around, but it was a futile effort.

Had the critter found shelter, food, and water?

Brett maintained her hold on the rope as she reached over the splatters of red dots for the flashlight.  She followed the trail with the beam, easily making out the darker circle that had already melted the snow underneath.  

That was a lot of blood for an animal.

“Shit,” Brett muttered, left with a decision that could very well be detrimental to her own health.  She wanted to help whatever animal was bleeding so profusely, but she didn’t want to put herself in any danger of getting lost in the winter landscape.  It could be a bunny rabbit or a doe some hunter had wounded that simply needed a bandage and some shelter in order to recover.  Or it could very well be a very large black bear, in which case she would immediately regret her choice of not leaving well enough alone.  “This is the kind of crap that gets me into trouble.  Nothing like this would have happened in Aruba.”

Brett’s parents had to deal with more strays than any other mother and father in their old neighborhood.  She really should have become a veterinarian, but teaching kids had seemed less daunting than Taming the Shrew, her ode to her favorite classic author.  How wrong she’d been, but she could ruminate about her life’s choices another time.  A wounded animal was somewhere close by, and she couldn’t leave them to fend for themselves in this crap.

She made a rash decision to quickly check out how far the trail of blood went with every intention of turning back once she reached the outer edge of the camp.  She wouldn’t venture any farther than the back clearing the cabins were in.  Taking in how far she’d already walked, Heidi or Martin’s cabin had to be to the right of her current location.  Her search should be safe enough, if she discounted the fact that she was starting to shake from exposure to the cold.

The pool of blood that had soaked into the ground happened to be right underneath one of the other ropes, so Brett grabbed ahold of the thick twine and cautiously proceeded to follow the trail.  She didn’t want to inadvertently stumble upon a wounded animal, so she slowed her steps.  The critter would almost certainly react in defense of itself, most likely striking out at her.  It wouldn’t do to have them both hurt and bleeding.

Brett couldn’t stop her teeth from chattering as the cold moisture from her denim and the wetness from the sleeves of her sweater started to soak into her skin.  It didn’t help that the wind had once again picked up to a howl, propelling the little needles directly into her face.  She blinked several times, unable to stop her eyes from watering as the forceful gusts refused to relent.  

After halting her progress a couple of times to wipe the tears from her cheeks with the back of her gloves, she finally managed to find the end of the blood trail.  Surprisingly, it was on the doorstep to one of the cabins.  Had someone already taken whatever it was inside?

She lifted the flashlight and shined the beam on the assigned number.

Four.

That was Heidi’s cabin.

Brett surmised that the animal must have curled up underneath the small awning, but a slow swipe of the artificial light revealed nothing of interest.  

Well, that wasn’t exactly true.

A splatter of blood was literally at the threshold of the door.  

Had Heidi heard the injured animal and brought it inside?  

“Heidi!” Brett called out after a couple of knocks on the door.  “Heidi, open up!”

No answer.

As a matter of fact, the wind had died down and the snow appeared to be falling at a slower pace as the flakes leisurely found their home with the others on the ground.  It had become eerily quiet as the echo of her voice faded in the clearing.

The smell of firewood burning drifted through the air from every direction, reminding Brett that everyone was trying to ride out the storm and stay warm.  Had Heidi brought the wounded animal inside to keep it warm or had she taken it up to the main lodge?

Brett looked over her shoulder, shifting her hood after she’d released her hold on the rope.  She swiped the beam of the flashlight over the area, though she found no one else around.  That wasn’t surprising.  All the other guests were probably enjoying a late dinner and trying to patch up Chris and Louise’s relationship so that tomorrow’s ceremony could continue without further delay.  

Brett would knock one more time, just in case Heidi was still inside.  She might need help bringing the little critter up to the central cabin.  

“Heidi?” Brett called out with a bang of her fist to the frozen wood, certainly not expecting the door to unlatch and swing open from the simple force of her knock.  She instinctively used her shoulder to push open the entrance upon sensing the heat from inside…only there was no fire.  There was only darkness…and the distinct smell of copper.  “Hello?”

Heidi must have already left to join the others, leaving her fire to burn itself out.  Brett was well aware that leaving a roaring fire burning in the hearth when no one was present wasn’t the brightest of ideas, but this campground had no electricity at the moment.  The only structure she knew of with a working generator was the main lodge, but that didn’t help the individual cabins once the main power to the camp had failed.

It also didn’t help to extinguish the strong odor of what could only be blood.  

Had Heidi been unable to save the animal, or had she sought help from the others?  Brett’s curiosity always got the better of her, and now was no exception to that rule.  She quickly swiped her arm in one long motion, only wanting to confirm that the animal hadn’t been left behind.  It took more than a few seconds for the sight before her to penetrate the deep-seated denial that her mind instantly created.  

The gruesome image trying to form in her mind was of Heidi’s sightless, cloudy, dilated eyes staring directly into the beam of Brett’s flashlight, but that couldn’t be right.  

Her friend couldn’t dead.  

That wasn’t right.

“Heidi?” Brett took a step closer because the name falling from her lips came out as nothing but a whisper as her breath billowed in the air.  Heidi wouldn’t be able to hear her.  She hadn’t been loud enough to be heard properly.  She cleared her throat and tried again.  “Heidi?”

Brett’s boot slipped out from under her.  She tried to catch her balance, but there was nothing for her to grab ahold of as she swung her arms wildly and caught nothing but air.  She landed hard on her side where her hip took the brunt of her body weight.  Unfortunately, her flashlight once again slipped away from her grip and rolled a couple feet away.  

Panic had already started to infuse itself, because there was no way she could accept the scene which was painted in front of her.  This had to be a horrible joke—a very sick and cruel joke.  That didn’t stop the horror of what could possibly be reality bubble into a scream that never released.  Brett was too busy scrambling for the flashlight and crawling toward the beam that was now directed toward herself.

“What—”

Brett stared in revulsion at the red, thick coagulating liquid coating her hand.  She’d first thought her palms had landed in the melting snow she’d brought in with her boots, but this…this was all blood.  

Heidi’s blood.

“No, no, no,” Brett chanted over and over as she finally picked up the flashlight and swung the light back toward Heidi.

Was this real?

Oh, my God!

Heidi’s lips were parted as if she were silently screaming, while her eyes were trained on something no one on this earth could possibly see.  Her normally ivory white skin had lost its vibrancy, reminding Brett of the glue her class used to make arts and crafts.  She’d never be able to glue glitter on construction paper again without recalling this grisly image.

Blue.  The color of Heidi’s lips and her discernable veins were blue.

Her friend was almost certainly dead.

And the blood.  

There was so much blood.

Brett swallowed against the bile in her throat as she attempted to stand without falling.  She recognized the need to call for help, but she couldn’t get her body to agree to move.  No one would hear her anyway.

All she could manage to do was stare in horror at…death.  

Death had come knocking without a wedding invitation.

Heidi was too young to have her life cut so short.

Terror unlike anything Brett had ever experienced settled over her like a cold blanket at the thought that someone had done this to Heidi.  There had been no wounded animal.  The blood outside had been Heidi’s and someone had brought her inside to bleed out.  

Icy spindles wrapped themselves around Brett as she finally grasped the understanding that this hadn’t been an accident.

Someone had done this to her friend.  

Someone had committed murder so far away from the rest of the world.

And that someone had to still be here in the campground, trapped by the storm…trapped here with her.

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He hadn’t had time to finish what he’d started.

Anger morphed into rage, but he had no outlet.

Not now that the body had been discovered.

That had been taken from him the moment Brettany Lambert had walked into Heidi’s cabin.  He’d been trying to cover the tread of the boot marks he’d left in the snow when he’d heard a muffled cry, alerting him to the fact that he hadn’t been alone anymore.

Brettany had walked right by him, not even realizing she had been arm’s length away from the sharp blade of his knife.  He should have stabbed her then and there, dropping her in the snow.

Now, he had to watch from afar as the beam from her flashlight finally faded from his sight as she entered Heidi’s cabin.  He waited in the darkness for the satisfying scream to carry through the air.

It took longer than he thought it would.

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HONEST INTENTIONS Teaser 1

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Author Kennedy Layne

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.

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Where to find Kennedy Layne
Goodreads Website | Newsletter | Facebook Twitter | Instagram
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