Welcome to the book blitz for THE LIARS BENEATH, a standalone young adult romantic thriller, by Heather Van Fleet. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis A romantically dark YA thriller set in the backdrop of Iowa’s suspenseful farmlands.
After a tragic accident ends her best friend’s life, 17-year-old Becca Thompson succumbs to grief the only way she knows how: by wallowing in it. She’s a fragment of the person she once was—far too broken to enjoy the summer before her senior year. But when Ben McCain, her best friend’s older brother, returns home, Becca must face her new reality head on.
She isn’t interested in Ben’s games, especially since he abandoned his sister during the months leading up to her death. But when he begs for her help in uncovering the truth about what really happened the night of his sister’s death, Becca finds herself agreeing, hoping to clear up rumors swirling in the wake of her best friend’s accident.
An unhinged ex-boyfriend, secret bucket lists, and garage parties in the place Becca calls home soon lead her to the answers she’s so desperate to unveil. But nobody is being honest, not even Ben. And the closer Becca gets to the truth—and to Ben—the more danger seems to surround her.
Clearing her best friend’s name was all she wanted to do, but Becca is quickly realizing that the truth she craves might be uglier than the lies her best friend kept..
Excerpt It was almost midnight when I heard the knock against my window. Three soft and consecutive thuds, all of which match the beat of my heart. Why he chose that way to get my attention instead of texting, is a mystery. The kind of mystery I was way too amped up to question.
I wasn’t excited in the sense that I like him and want to spend time with him or anything. At least that’s what I told my racing heart when I first saw his smile from the other side of the glass. He’d been crouched on his belly on the roof of our porch like a stealthy spy, and the sight was something I’d never forget.
I’d thrown a hoodie on over the Tee I’m dressed in, pairing it with some denim cutoffs. Then I tossed my hair up into a messy bun and slid on some cherry Chapstick—but only because my lips were chapped. That’s it. No other reason whatsoever.
Once my Docs were on, I slid out my window and met him head on, the two of us jumping the five feet off the low hanging roof. I’d giggled uncontrollably when he landed on his butt instead of his feet, and he’d nearly pulled me down with him when he tried grabbing my laces. That would be the last time I’d ever not tie my boots.
“Guess what?” he whispered when we started to walk away from the house. “I researched your family tree today and found out that you, Becca, are the biggest sap.” He ended that statement with a tap to my nose. My freaking nose, for God’s sake.
He’d booped me.
My response—one which had been paired with a hard thump to his equally as hard abdomen: “You’re so dumb, you planted a dogwood tree and expected a litter of puppies.”
We both laughed at how stupid we sounded, yet at the same time it felt good to just be goofy. Or dare I say, normal. Though that word—normal—was a bit of a stretch when it came to the two of us anymore.
After that, Ben took my hand like it was the most natural thing in the world and proceeded to lead me to where we are now: the middle of the cornfield.
I trail my fingers over the silky corn stalks, marveling at their height and the way the midnight moon reflects off the green color. Nothing about this spot eases my frazzled nerves, of course. It doesn’t give me peace of mind like it once had when I’d come out here with Rose either. It’s kind of like the alcove in that sense—a spot tainted by a bad memory, despite the many good memories trying to override it.
Ben moves closer, our shoulders brushing.
“What are you thinking about?” he asks.
“Stuff.” That no longer matters. A time and a place and a memory that’s long past.
“Rose said you guys used to hang out here a lot.”
I shrugged one shoulder, unwilling to indulge in what happened the last time she and I had been out here. It’s not a huge thing, smoking weed and all, but for some reason, I don’t want Ben to know that it’d been my bucket list item, not Rose’s. It shows my age—how I’d been so young and inexperienced.
Not that I care what he thinks.
“It’s nice,” he continues. “Quiet too. I can see why you liked it.”
“We did some of our best thinking out here.” Thinking that was more along the lines of Rose smoking joints, while I stood by to keep watch.
“Hmm.” He nods, kicks the toe of his foot into the dirt. “I’m gonna go to that party on Saturday,” he tells me out of the blue.
I frown. “You think that’s smart after beating up Adam like you did?”
“Because Adam’s gonna be there.” He looks away, but I don’t miss the flex of his jaw—not even in the dark. “I don’t trust the guy.”
I turn him around by the shoulders, forcing him to stand in front of me. “What’s there not to trust, exactly?”
“Lots of things.”
“I’ve got facts that need exploring.” His lips purse.
“Yeah.” I roll my eyes. “Because you’re suddenly a detective now. I forgot.”
Adam wouldn’t hurt a puppy, let alone be behind Rose’s death. He used to talk big, but his love for my best friend was endless. Without a doubt, I know that’s who her secret boyfriend was. I just don’t get why they never went public.
“I’m more of a private eye, actually.” He covers one eye and curls the corner of his upper lip, making an argh noise.
“That’s a pirate, not a private eye, dork.”
“Either way, they’re both sneaky, right?”
I sigh, wondering if he’s always been this weird. Cocky, a smartass, and a huge instigator—that’s Ben. Not funny.
Author Heather Van Fleet
About the Author Heather Van Fleet is a stay-at-home-mom turned book boyfriend connoisseur. She’s married to her high school sweetheart, a mom to three girls, and in her spare time you can find her with her head buried in her Kindle, guzzling down copious amounts of coffee.
Heather graduated from Black Hawk College in 2003 and currently writes Adult contemporary romance. She is published through Sourcebooks Casablanca with her Reckless Hearts series and Bookouture with her Red Dragon series.
Welcome to the blog tour for IT STARTED WITH A LIST, the first book in the new adult contemporary romance series, Pacific Grove University, by Tinia Montford. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive look at the book’s playlist, and details on her giveaway.
IT STARTED WITH A LIST (Pacific Grove University Series #1) by Tinia Montford
With her college graduation looming, Vassa reflects on the past four years. After a devastating betrayal from her closest friend leaves her ostracized, she trusts no one. Now she is mega disappointed. No wacky misadventures, no drunken nights, and no regrettable mistakes that you can NEVER tell your parents. Work and class, class and work. That’s it. College is supposed to be the best years of your life… Right?
Vassa feels as though she’s cheated herself out of a full college experience. Notable with romance and boys and stuff. So, she makes a college bucket list. Then the worse thing ever happens. Her list falls into the hands of Lazarus Gilbert. King of the baseball team, sworn enemy (in her opinion), and her annoying upstairs neighbor. He thinks he’s found something fun to do. She thinks she’s in trouble. That’s until she discovers there’s more to Lazarus than he lets on…
With the pressures of post-college decisions and failing classes, can they complete the bucket list before the semester runs out? Are Vassa and Lazarus just too different to get along? Will they both come out winners in the end, or will she retreat to her safety-zone? Is it too late for her to learn to live and let live, and let love enter her heart?
Playlist Psycho!- MASN
Separate from You – sadgods, Powfu, Indii G.
Here – Alessia Cara
Torn Apart – Eredaze
Prom Queen – Beach Bunny
Hoodie – Hey Violet
Like a Radio – Keelan Donovan
Selfish – Stephanie Poetri
I Like Me Better – Lauv
I’m Yours – Alessia Cara
Next 2 U – Feyde
XO – Beyonce
Wind of Change – Scorpions
feelings fade – Garrett ash, RKCB
In My Head – Peter Manos
Stay – Post Malone
Fix You – Coldplay
Dancing With Your Ghost – Sasha Alex Sloan
Accountable – marc indigo
S.I.L.W.U. – Sara Diamond
Crash my Car – COIN
Love It If We Made It – The 1975
Don’t You (Forget About Me) – Simple Minds
Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) – Green Day
Author Tinia Montford
About the Author Tinia (TUH-NIA) Montford is a Pisces who’s a sap for romance, especially when there’s (tons of) kissing. Loves eighties sitcoms and will consume anything with chocolate. She graduated from the University of San Francisco with a degree in English and Graphic Design.
She is a world traveler having climbed a volcano in Nicaragua, scaled Angkor Wat in the blistering sun, and roamed the Acropolis of Athens. Oh, she also dabbles in short stories occasionally.
If you can’t catch her writing, you can bet she’s overindulging on poke bowls, listening to the same four songs, or chilling with her adorbs doggie. She is currently pursuing her MFA in Fiction..
Welcome to the blog tour for ONE SPRING BREAK, the third book in the new adult contemporary romance series, Wimberley University, by Sophie Stevens. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
ONE SPRING BREAK (Wimberley University Series #3) by Sophie Stevens
Pre-med student, Rosie Magee, has been called every slur imaginable by her obnoxious roommate, a foul-tempered fellow who drops food on the floor and poops wherever he pleases. If the insult thrower didn’t have scarlet feathers and a beak capable of shearing fingers, she’d happily kick him out. But her roommate, a macaw named Baby, belongs to her snotty sister Maria, and according to their mother, if the siblings want room and board, they’re stuck together until graduation. After scrimping and saving, Rosie has finally tucked away enough money to escape from her boyfriend-stealing sister and her evil, yellow-eyed minion for one spring break.
Wholesome. Good guy. Boy next door.
Engineering student, Erik Snider, never believed good guys finish last until his girlfriend has a one-night-stand with a local thespian, Tulsa Lester. She wants to reconcile, but Erik can’t forgive a betrayal so deep. When he learns she’s moved on while he’s still mourning their relationship, his roommate hatches a plan for revenge—ask out the prettiest girl on campus, Maria Magee, and take her to the spring formal his ex will be attending. Though not the vengeful type, Erik is desperate enough to agree in hopes a date with a gorgeous girl will help him heal, but pretty girls have agendas of their own. If he wants an evening with Maria, he’ll have to take care of her demanding macaw for one spring break.
When Baby escapes Erik’s care, Rosie ditches her vacation to help him find her sister’s macaw. As they fight off parrot hungry hawks and navigate trees with flimsy branches, they form a bond that might just verge on love. But nothing comes easily for Rosie. With a man-stealing sister who lives to torment her, and a best friend Tulsa who tore apart Erik’s relationship, happily-ever-after will be anything but smooth sailing.
One spring break brought them together.
An insolent bird… A hateful sister… A best friend with secrets… Will tear them apart.
Excerpt #3 “When did you have your keys last?” I ask.
“I locked the door to my place, saw Maria’s macaw, Baby, and came straight to your apartment. I could have sworn I had them in my hand, but I must have put them down when I ran after Baby. I just don’t know where! What if I dropped them out here?” Rosie scans the college lawn, a hopelessness settling over her. “They’re a needle in a haystack. I’ll never find them again.”
I squeeze her shoulders, but then immediately back off, afraid I’ll break her, and drop my hands to my sides. “We’ll find them. We just need to hurry before it gets dark. What time is it?”
Rosie pulls her phone out of her jean pocket. “A little after four.”
“Okay, we have two hours before the sun sets. You stay with Baby and trace your steps. Anywhere you walked out here, be sure to check. I’ll search the path back to the apartment and my living room.”
She nods, but she’s nibbling her bottom lip as though she’s not so sure this will work. Neither am I. After it gets dark, we’ll have no hope of finding them. “Be back in a few,” I say as I hurry off, keeping my eyes glued to the ground.
An hour later, I haven’t found them. I’m standing in the living room, my hands on my hips, staring out the front window at the receding light. What a crazy Sunday afternoon. Lost keys. A Vegas vacation gone to squat. A hurt bird in a tree who refuses to come down. Rosie’s sister, Maria, is going to kill me, and I should care. But even through all the mayhem, I keep thinking one thing. I get to spend more time with Rosie. Which is crazy. The girl has every right to hate me. I’ve ruined her trip to Vegas. I’ve nearly killed her sister’s bird, and the verdict is still out on that one because I might just finish him off by the end of the night.
There’s no way Rosie wants to spend a minute more with me, and yet I don’t want to let her go. I don’t want to be a fuckup around her, either. I want to show her I can be the hero. I can save the bird, get her on the plane to Vegas, and keep her sister from knowing about the hawk incident. I’ll even open my home to her so she can stay the night. If that doesn’t make her think better of me, nothing will.
“I’m going to hell for what I’m about to do,” I mumble. As the apartment complex’s custodian, I have a locked metal safe in my closet that holds every key to every apartment and storage unit in this place. I could unlock Rosie’s apartment in a heartbeat, but there’s no need for her to know that.
More time with Rosie. That’s what I want. And that’s what I’m going to get.
Welcome to the book blitz for LIGHTNING CRASHES, a standalone adult contemporary romance, by Marla Holt. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis The Tower Card: Upheaval, Crumbling Foundations, Chaos, Awakening
The Sun Card: Enlightenment, Joy, Success, Vitality
Rachel Ferrer fled the church when she was eighteen, burying her trauma to chase her dreams, only to have them thwarted when her husband died shortly after their son was born. Now she and her tarot-reading roommate do their best to get by.
Nicolas Rivera should be happy. He answered his call to the ministry and has held a position in the church he grew up in for more than a decade. He’s married and he loves his kids, but something in him has shifted and the life he thought he wanted doesn’t feel like it fits anymore. When his childhood best friend’s widow reappears in his life, Nicolas tells himself that his desire to be near Rachel is altruistic.
Until it isn’t.
Rachel and Nicolas have been on the periphery of each other’s lives for years, but when their worlds collide, attraction sparks, lightning crashes and the walls they have been hiding behind begin to crumble.
Lightning Crashes is an exvangelical romance that examines what happens when we build our lives on faulty foundations and what can happen when we leave that behind and step into the sun. Follow Rachel and Nicolas down the path of temptation, through their yearning slow-burn, and into their happily ever after.
Excerpt #2 Dex took a long swig of his beer. “For you, maybe.” Then he lifted his chin in a nod to someone behind Rachel, and she wondered who else she’d have to entertain. Before she could turn around, the backs of two knuckles traced down her arm, from shoulder to elbow.
Rachel knew who she’d find just from the spark of electricity that travelled up her arm and zapped her straight in the heart.
“Nicolas,” she said, not quite believing what her body was telling her, but there he was, standing a head taller than her after she’d jumped to her feet.
He wore a ghost of a smile as he said, “I know you’re hanging out with your friends, and I’m the last person you want to see, but I just wanted to say hello. I—” He ran the hand that had touched her arm through his overlong and surprisingly curly hair, and a part of Rachel deep inside, a part that she hadn’t realized had been holding tension, finally breathed.
“It’s so good to see you!” she said and flung her arms around his neck. Would she have done that if she had been entirely sober? Probably not. But it didn’t make it any less satisfying when he closed his arms around her waist. “I have missed you so much.”
Rachel pulled back just far enough so her intertwined fingers would catch behind his neck, and so she could look him in the eye. “Of course.” She cupped either side of his face with her palms and stared up at him. She could feel his blush rise in his cheeks at her attention, but that only encouraged her more. She slipped up onto the toes of her tennis shoes and placed a short, sharp smack of a kiss on his nose.
“I hadn’t heard from you,” he said as his hands squeezed her sides, and she had the urge to press into him, but resisted, suddenly becoming self-conscious that her reaction to him had been too exuberant.
“Likewise.” She took a step back, maybe allowing her hands to travel down the tiers of his shoulders before she stopped touching him altogether. His hands fell away from her too, but they still stood close enough that she could feel the heat of their physical attraction crackling in the air between them.
Author Marla Holt
About the Author Marla Holt believes in second chances, romance, and the radical notion that everyone deserves a happily every after. She’s living her own fairy tale, writing contemporary romance novels in her Kansas farmhouse with her husband, three boys, three cats, and flock of imaginary sheep.
Welcome to the blog tour for THE NORTH WIND, the first book in the new adult fantasy romance series, The Four Winds, by Alexandria Warwick. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
THE NORTH WIND (The Four Winds Series #1) by Alexandria Warwick
Synopsis Lush. Dark. Romantic. Introducing a newly reimagined tale written in the vein of Beauty and the Beast and Hades and Persephone.
Long before civilization, there were the gods. And before the gods, there was the earth, the celestial bodies, and air given flesh. They are the Anemoi—the Four Winds—and they have been banished to the four corners of the world.
Wren of Edgewood is no stranger to suffering. Her parents are gone. Survival is all she knows. For three hundred years, the land known as the Gray has been encased in ice, surrounded by a great barrier called the Shade, which protects the townsfolk from the Deadlands beyond.
But day by day, the Shade weakens.
Only one thing can stop the Shade’s fall: a mortal woman taken captive across the barrier, bound in wedlock to the dark god who reigns over the Deadlands. He is the North Wind, the Frost King, an immortal whose heart is said to be as frigid as the land he rules.
And the time has come for the Frost King to choose his bride.
The North Wind is a standalone, enemies-to-lovers fantasy romance, the first in a series sprinkled with Greek lore. Perfect for fans of Jennifer L. Armentrout, Laura Thalassa, and Scarlett St. Clair.
Playlist While drafting, I mostly listen to epic music or movie soundtracks. It’s very difficult for me to write to a song with lyrics, and instrumental music helps me get into whatever “mood” the book is that I’m working on. As this is a dark fairytale retelling, I searched for pieces that felt a bit eerie, or romantic. Here are some of the pieces I listened to when writing/editing The North Wind.
Für Alina by Arvo Pärt
Spiegel im Spiegel by Arvo Pärt
Turning Page by Sleeping at Last (instrumental version)
You Complete Me by A.R. Rahman
Experience by Ludovico Einaudi
River Flows in You by Yurima
Jane Eyre soundtrack by Dario Marianelli
Author Alexandria Warwick
About the Author Alexandria Warwick is the #1 fan of Avatar: The Last Airbender. She is the author of The Demon Race and the North series.
Welcome to the book blitz for CHECK YES, NO, OR MAYBE, the first book in the adult contemporary LGBTQ+ romance series, Meeting His Match, by Stormie Skyes. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
CHECK YES, NO, OR MAYBE (Meeting His Match Series #1) by Stormie Skyes
Hit on the sexy new firm partner looking him over…maybe?
For Aaron Cambrian, life is lived by checklists. No matter how promising, everything – jobs, potential partners, cars, drinks, food, etc – needed to meet all his criteria or he walks away.
Everything changes one night at the cocktail bar when his best friend challenges Aaron to abandon his list and ask the first hot guy who catches his interest if he can buy him a drink.
Thanks to his old nemesis alcohol, Aaron takes the dare! The next thing he knows, he finds himself in the condo of an absolute stranger! It was supposed to be one drink. One accidental kiss… Good thing he’d never see the guy again.
Wrong! When the sexy new partner at Kimball & Marks law firm turns out to be the hot stranger, Aaron is faced with a life-changing decision: keep the checklist or lose the hottest, most frustrating man who ever stole his heart.
ou know that opening moment in comedy movies when the main character wakes up screaming? The frame freezes, revealing that stupefied face—mouth agape, eyes wide—once they realized they’d done something stupid in a drunken binge. Sometimes the director wanted to give the audience more chances to revel in their humiliation, so he has them pull the sheets to cover themselves. Sometimes they see their mysterious partner and fall out of bed.
You get the picture.
That was me after realizing I wasn’t in my apartment in yet another, probably humiliating, line of horrible relationship/hookup decisions. I didn’t fall out of the bed, but it took all my willpower to replace the horrified scream with a gasp. Don’t misjudge. I didn’t make a habit of going home with strange men, letting them sex me into a stupor, then waking up wondering what the hell I did—or let happen to me—the night before.
About the Author A multi-published author of mystery, both Urban and Paranormal, Stormie returned to her love of romantic comedy and contemporary romance. If you love spicy, humorous, and near-erotica stories featuring sexy male protagonists and the men who love them, then look no further. Stormie’s paranormal mystery won quarterfinalist in Screencraft’s novel to screen contest and is a competing finalist in Chanticleer’s International book awards. When Stormie isn’t busy dishing out a new, hot romance, she’s busy blogging her love of books and helping writers become authors.
Welcome to the book blitz for THE OTHER BROTHER, a standalone young adult/new adult contemporary LGBTQ+ romance, by Jax Calder. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis What happens when you fall for the one person you can’t have?
Ryan has had seventeen years of being compared to Cody, part of his toxic fractured family, so you’ll forgive him for some epic eye-rolling when it comes to Mr Perfect. Although not related to him by blood, Cody has always been annoying background noise in Ryan’s life. It doesn’t help that Cody’s a high achieving musician, while Ryan’s life ambition doesn’t extend past catching the next wave.
One summer changes everything. It’s the summer when circumstances collide, and Cody and Ryan end up spending time together at Cody’s family’s beach house. It’s the summer Ryan teaches Cody to surf and Cody teaches Ryan to play guitar. It’s the summer when they become friends.
And then more than friends.
But when summer ends, Cody and Ryan are forced back to reality, where they must hide their relationship from their warring family members. And as tragedy strikes and family secrets buried deep in the past worm their way to the surface, their relationship is threatened. Can their feelings, which began in the summer sun, survive the winter ahead?
Note: This coming-of-age story contains sexual content.
Excerpt #2 The waves are dumpier today and Cody struggles. He curses as he falls off again.
“I just can’t find the right rhythm,” he complains. His hair is plastered to his skull, water slicking off his wetsuit. He walks a few steps to where I’m waiting for him so we can paddle back out together.
“Sometimes you’ve got to stop analyzing and just feel it,” I say.
“Feel the ocean?” He looks at me like I’ve lost my mind.
Which maybe I have. It’s starting to feel that way, at least when it comes to Cody. But I still stumble on. “Don’t you ever get that in music? Like, when you get to the point where you stop thinking about technique and worrying about being perfect and just go with your feelings?”
“Yeah, all the time,” Cody says as we brace for another wave. “I mean, you can be completely technically correct, but if you don’t get what the music is about, the feeling you’re trying to portray, then it comes out all robotic.”
“It’s the same out here. Stop worrying so much about getting it right and just feel it.”
Cody raises his eyebrow as we jump on our boards, but I can see his normal look of Cody concentration come over his face as he paddles out next to me. We turn around to face the beach, a few feet from each other. I keep one eye out over my shoulder, evaluating the approaching waves.
“Here comes a good one,” I call to him.
He nods and paddles frantically to build his momentum.
“Go, go!” I yell as the wave swell lifts me up, then leaves me behind as it barrels on toward the shore.
I give a whoop when I see the wave break, and Cody’s still there riding it. He pulls out just before the shallow water and gives me a thumbs-up.
Now it’s my turn to catch one, and somehow it’s an even sweeter ride than before.
After another half hour, Cody and I signal each other, and I catch a last wave in to meet him.
Cody waits in ankle-deep water for me. He runs a hand through his hair, shaking out the water.
“Strangely, what you said out there made sense,” he says as we start our trek home through the sand dunes, sand caking our feet like another layer of skin. “It’s like the difference of treating surfing as an art versus a science.”
I roll my eyes as I hitch my surfboard up under my arm. “Only you could turn this into a philosophy thing. You just had to stop worrying about being perfect.”
“You’re telling me I’m not perfect?” He throws me a grin, his tone teasing.
“I’m telling you that when you stop trying to be perfect and just feel, you’re better than perfect.”
I walk for another few feet before I realize Cody has stopped and I’ve left him behind. I slow down and turn back to face him.
He’s still standing on the path, staring at me, eyes wide.
I replay my words, and my shoulders stiffen, my cheeks heating.
We stare at each other for a few heartbeats.
“And you claim I’m the philosopher,” he says finally, starting to walk again, taking long strides to catch up with me.
We reach the house.
“Wetsuit off, right?” This has to be one of my favorite bits about surfing now. Cody in a wetsuit is one thing, but Cody in only board shorts is a whole other dimension of awesomeness.
I strip down: the wetsuit releasing my skin in a loud slurp.
Cody strips down too, showing off his tanned skin and taut muscles. He grabs the hose, a smile licking at his lips as he turns toward me.
I recognize the look of calculation on his face… because it’s normally on mine. I narrow my eyes. “Do it and die.”
He tilts his head. “Nah, see, I’m now approaching all situations with the question, What would Ryan do? And I’m sure if you had the hose, you would do this.” He lifts the nozzle up and sprays the water at me.
The blast of cold is a shock to my skin, causing instant goose bumps.
“I can’t believe you just did that,” I splutter.
“Payback’s a bitch.” Cody’s still grinning at me.
His grin fades slightly as I stalk toward him.
He lifts the hose and sprays me again, but I brace myself for the cold and don’t let it deter me from my mission. Which is to grab him and try to wrestle the hose off him.
Cody doesn’t relent, and so we scuffle. I use my superior weight to pin him against the side of the house. He stretches out his arm, holding the hose as far away as he can, but I clamp down on his hand. I try to twist the hose out of his grasp, but his fingers cling on.
“Let go of the hose.”
“Never,” he replies. His breath is coming hard and fast. Mine is too.
Our chests are pressed together, and his face is so close to mine I can see a scattering of faint freckles across his nose. My heart rate picks up to match my breathing. I’m sure he feels the frantic thumping where our skin touches, an up-tempo beat.
I drop my gaze down to his mouth for a second, which is a mistake because now all I can think about is kissing him. About how it would feel to have his red, slightly chapped lips pressed against mine. My mouth goes dry.
When I flick my gaze back up to his, Cody’s eyes are wide, his smile dimming as we stare at each other. I can’t escape the intensity of his blue eyes. I don’t want to escape it.
I stay pressed against him, feeling his chest heaving against mine, trapped in his gaze.
Author Jax Calder
About the Author Jax’s stories are all about light-hearted conversations and deeply-felt connections. She loves exploring exactly why two characters are the only ones who’ll make the other truly happy, and the journey they take to reach their happily-ever-after.
Jax lives in New Zealand and is a rabid sports fan, a hiking enthusiast and has a slightly unhealthy addiction to nature documentaries. As an extrovert who spends way too much time in her own head, she loves to connect with readers. Join her Facebook group Jax’s Crew (www.facebook.com/groups/jaxcaldercrew) for bonus stories plus exclusive excerpts from her upcoming books.
Welcome to the book blitz for TWO TRUTHS AND ONE LIAR, the first book in the young adult mystery/thriller series, High School Murder Mystery, by Deirdre Riordan Hall. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
TWO TRUTHS AND ONE LIAR (High School Murder Mystery Series #1) by Deirdre Riordan Hall
Synopsis Knives Out meets One of Us is Lying with a hint of the Inheritance Games. Like the original whodunnit, Clue, this suspenseful mystery also has three possible endings explaining what could have happened.
They all have secrets. They all have motives. They all tell lies.
Every year, at a prestigious boarding school, Professor Groff hosts the Midnight Masquerade. But this year, before the festivities, he’s discovered dead in his office. Yet six students still receive invitations. The same six students who’re questioned about his murder.
The show must go on. At the Masquerade, two additional students claim to know the truth. The lights go out and when they come back on, one of them is dead. Anyone could’ve been at fault.
Francisca blind in one eye and deadly on the rugby field. Toshi a number ninja and the campus punching bag. Taz who struggles with anxiety and lingers in the shadows. Fish the golden boy hiding wounds and not only in his heart. Caroline the heiress and the image of perfection. Gorgeous George the resident Greek God with nothing to lose.
The six receive anonymous notes, making them question themselves and the assumptions they’ve made about each other. Brought back together, they must prove their innocence before the all-school meeting the next morning, otherwise, they risk humiliation if their secrets are exposed exposed—and worse, if they’re found guilty.
It’s a long night of theft, danger, and threats by a secret society that shows Professor Groff was right during his final lecture.
Everything that can go wrong will.
Excerpt #2 Dean Hammond straightens a stack of papers then looks up. With a severe lift to her eyebrow, she scans those of us present, and then says, “Oliver Groff was found dead in his office at 3:22 pm, shortly after his last class of the day.”
A weight in my stomach sinks just as it did when Arpad made the announcement in the dining hall. Questions roll through my mind and collide when the realization hits me full force. He was alive, teaching earlier today, making dire pronouncements about how basically everything sucks.
Boy, was he right. Now, he’s gone.
The circumstances were different the first and second times someone in my life died but the familiar emptiness, the void, vacancy returns—or maybe it never left.
“Yeah, we heard—” George’s tone tells me he wants to say something more about loss and tragedy, something sentimental perhaps, but he’s hard-wired for nonchalance as the campus crush and most likely to smoke, hook up, and skip classes.
Caroline clasps her hands in front of her chest. Her knuckles pale. “I’m so sorry to hear that.” She pauses. “He was an…efficient teacher.”
I imagine she struggles to think of a nice thing to say about Groff. I sneak a glance at the others because I can’t be the only one wondering why we’re here.
Arpad already announced the news in the Refectory. There’s a good chance not everyone was there. Hammond inhales.
“Francisca Thompson-Sanchez, nice seeing you again.”
Francisca’s expression doesn’t suggest the feeling is mutual, although she is wearing a mud-streaked rugby uniform and likely feels as out of place in the plush office as I do.
“Can you please tell me where you were from the end of English class until now?” Hammond asks.
She focuses on something on the wall behind the dean but her hands tremble slightly. “I went to talk to Mr. Groff after class, but he looked, um, busy. Then I went to the bathroom.” She glances at Caroline. “Uh, then my dorm, followed by rugby practice, and then the Refectory.”
Arpad writes rapidly on a yellow pad.
Hammond’s penetrating gaze lands on a math whiz, gamer kid whose dorm room is by the day student room in my dorm. “I was at the Library then Refectory.” He speaks clearly, but he’s all-over sweaty.
“Tazmin King?” Hammond says, going down the line.
“Taz,” she corrects. Eyeliner stains the space around her big brown eyes like she’s been crying. “After class, I went to my dorm and then dinner. If Oliver died, it was because of a broken heart,” she blurts. Emotion streaks across her features, but she captures it and makes it disappear.
“And how would you know that, Tazmin?” Hammond’s tone is dark.
“It’s none of our business,” she answers. Then it’s as though she ghosts even though she’s still in the room with us. Hammond barely conceals a look of disgust.
“Moving on. John?”
“Maybe the professor was tired of his life and wanted to escape. Suicide? Or maybe he just wanted out. Faked it. On a plane to Tahiti.”
By Hammond’s pinched expression, I instantly realize this is the wrong answer. My sweat now rival’s Toshi’s. I cannot get kicked out. I cannot afford to go back to Burningham. Whatever this is about… I cannot lose my spot here.
“No, we found the body. Poetic though. However, the question was where were you this afternoon?” Accusation fills Hammond’s tone.
“I’m sorry, ma’am. I misunderstood. I was in the dayroom at my dorm, Varth Dader, then lacrosse practice in the lower fields.”
She glances at me dismissively and nods at Caroline. I know all too well not to allow relief to replace the nerves inside. Best to stay alert.
“I was with the Promenade committee, finalizing some items for tomorrow. Wait. You’re not canceling prom because of this are you?” Typical Caroline, always concerned about her agenda.
The goth girl, Taz, narrows her eyes. “It should be after the tree went up in a blaze and now Oliver, I mean Professor Groff, is dead.”
Hammond hardly looks at them. “Ladies, that’s none of your concern. Now, George. If you please.”
“I was in the student center. You can ask Mrs. Carson.” He smirks. Likely, he was hooking up with someone.
“Do any of you have a reason to want Oliver Groff dead?” Hammond’s question is like a stone thrown in a lake. The ripples of this implication could be devastating.
Author Deirdre Riordan Hall
About C.A. Rene Deirdre Riordan Hall is the author of the contemporary young adult bestsellers Sugar and Pearl as well as the High School Murder Mystery series. She’s in an ongoing pursuit of words, waves, and wonder. Her love language involves a basket of chips, salsa, and guacamole, preferably when shared with her family.
Author Hope Bolinger is revealing the cover to THE CASSANDRA CURSE, a standalone middle grade paranormal fantasy, releasing February 1, 2022. See below for the cover, information on the book, and a link to add it your Goodreads TBR.
Charity’s acts of kindness always end in disaster, but when one clown costume too many lands her in the Vice Principal’s office, she receives a mysterious note from a group called “The Cassandra Coalition,” asking her if she wants to be rid of the curse that seems to follow her.
The teens of the coalition claim to be cursed by a mirror world connected with their hometown known as Delphos. To make things worse, Delphos appears to be invading their world and turning people into zombies—either that, or someone switched all the coffee to decaf.
When one of their members goes missing, they’ll try to track her down, close the portal to their world, and find a way to end their curse, before the curse ends them.
Author Hope Bolinger
About C.A. Rene Hope Bolinger is literary agent, freelance author and editor, YA novelist, and obsessed with anything to do with theater.
Books include The Quiet and the Storm (Taylor University Press), Blaze (IlluminateYA), Den (IlluminateYA), Dear Hero (INtense Publications), and Dear Henchman (INtense Publications). She’s also contributed to books that were published by Broadstreet Publishing and New Hope.
When she isn’t busy adding to her 600+ bylines, or showing up in her town square dressed as Red Riding Hood, she loves to connect with readers. Find her at hopebolinger.com or connect with her @hopebolinger
Welcome to the book blitz for LOVE ON THE RUN, a standalone adult contemporary romantic comedy by Suzanne Rylee Ridolfi. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis Lily Hart is the semi-famous host of Love Lily, a podcast dedicated to love and relationships. Her bubbly enthusiasm for all things romance has caught the eye of a few swanky sponsors who offer her the chance to host a Valentine’s Day mega event. Unfortunately, Lily’s own happily-ever-after has hit a rocky patch. She’s not sure if Henry, her longtime boyfriend, is even the one. When they decide to discuss things over dinner, Lily’s left questioning everything she knows about love. She panics and calls for a getaway car.
Blaze Steel thinks the notion of love is a mythical fable made up to ruin his life. Instead of relationships he pours his energy into the opening of his new bar the Steel Taproom. Until it’s up and running, however, Blaze is forced to continue his duties as an Uber driver. When a frantic Lily jumps into the backseat of his car, Blaze doesn’t know what hit him. All he knows is he hopes he never has to lay eyes on this woman again.
Fate has different plans for them, as their paths continue to cross. When Lily realizes she can’t show up to her own event dateless, Blaze reluctantly agrees. No feelings, just a plus one. How hard could it be? After all, they’re the last couple in the world who would ever fall in love.
*For fans of sweet romance, Debbie Macomber books, and all things Hallmark. There is no steam, sweet short read.
Excerpt “It’s your counseling session, not mine. The dollars are adding up. Just let me know when you are ready to put me out of my misery and drop you off.”
“Well, that wasn’t very nice. I’m paying you handsomely so the least you could do is be nice.”
“I don’t do nice,” he says, gruffly.
I scrunch up my nose in an attempt to create an angry face at the grumpy driver. I inch my body forward to try to get a better look. It’s the first time I’ve actually looked at the man that I’ve spent the last few hours divulging my deepest insecurities to. The first thing I notice is the sandy colored hipster man-bun that sits on the back of his head. His chiseled jaw appears clenched. He does have a remarkable profile, with a nose sculpted to perfection. The five o’clock shadow hides just enough for intrigue. Beneath his thermal I see the shape of remarkably muscular biceps. The right sleeve is pushed up a bit, revealing tattoos covering his forearm. He is everything Henry is not. He can’t possibly digest the raw emotions of the situation. The front wheels hit an ice patch and the rear end swerves to the left. My body slams into the back of his seat. His muscular arms tug tight on the wheel to regain traction. In all my sobbing, I hadn’t paid much attention to the state of the roads or the crushing snowstorm barreling down on us.
My heart rises to my throat. It’s the first time that I have proof I still have a heart after my inexcusable actions. “I, I guess we could do a drive by first,” my voice struggles to eek out.
“Is that Kelly Drive?”
“Yes, that’s the address.”
And what does “drive by“ mean?” His eyes remain on the road. The car catches a slick slice of pavement, and we veer toward the curb.
The wheels struggle to gain traction on the icy pavement as my street comes into view. A wave of panic twists my stomach into a corset. “A drive by, I’m sure you did them a thousand times to see if a girl was home or had company etc. you know everyone does them.”
His blue eyes stretch under his raised eyebrows.
I continue, “I’ll lay down on the seat. You check if it’s safe to return.”
“What the hell does safe look like?” he barks.
“Tell me if Lola is in the window. If someone is home, she’s never in the window.”
“Who the hell is Lola?”
“She’s a white Shih tzu.” He shakes his head. I drop my body onto the seat. He pulls to a stop and the car continues to slide. “You can come up now. Your watch dog is still on duty. That will be $403.59.”
I’m propelled to an upright position. “You can’t be serious?”
“Dead serious. You hijacked my entire night. And I charge double in bad weather.”
Tears well up from deep inside, even though I was sure there were none left. “I, I’m sorry, you’re right. I messed up this whole night.” My fingers ruffle through my purse scrambling for money. I find a five in the zip front of the interior. A ten-dollar bill in my wallet and two crumpled dollar bills under my glass case.
“Oh, for God’s sake, just get out,” he barks.
“Take this. It’s all I have right now. If you come back tomorrow, I promise I’ll pay you the rest.”
“Lady, you couldn’t pay me enough to come back tomorrow.”
“Thank you, what did you say your name is?”
I open the door and step out; ice engulfs my heel. One foot begins to slide to the left and the other heads right. Clinging mercilessly to the door handle, I struggle to get traction. My legs begin to delve into a straddle. He appears over me. He’s much taller than I expected. With one hand he scoops me up and props me onto my feet, then slams the door and heads to his side of the car.
My eyes meet his, I smile at his chivalry. With a half-crooked smile I say, “The weather is horrendous. Text me to let me know you got home okay.”
“Not gonna happen,” he says before jumping in the car, slamming his door, and driving away.
Author Suzanne Rylee Ridolfi
About the Author Rylee is a hopeless romantic. She loves a cozy fireplace, a furry blanket and a romantic book. She strives to bring lovable characters to life.This has resulted in the creation of some of the most awkwardly charming heroines that are guaranteed to steal your heart. She’s a believer in happily ever after and is mildly addicted to fabulous shoes. She loves writing about her favorite things- Christmas, fashion, family, and the ability to go for your dream, no matter how grand. When not writing you can find her spending time with her husband and three children at their home in New Jersey.
Author Lynette Charrier is revealing the cover to BATTLE OF EIRBOR, the first book in the adult fantasy series, The Frelsarien, releasing March 2022. See below for the cover, information on the book, and a link to add it your Goodreads TBR.
BATTLE OF EIRBOR (The Frelsarien Series #1) by Lynette Charrier
About the Book
Title: BATTLE OF EIRBOR Series: The Frelsarien Series #1 Authors: Lynette Charrier Release Date: March 2022 Genre: Adult Fantasy Links:Goodreads
Synopsis One hundred years of peace have shattered, and the gods have sent the most unlikely of Heroes, mortals.
On the planet Eyon, one hundred years of peace are shattered when the kingdom of Elmoria invades the neighboring kingdom of Tharon. Desperate to regain their lands and citizens, the Tharians beseech the gods to deliver Frelsarien to them—mythical prophets who, in the past, have used the power of the gods to bring peace to the land.
Meanwhile on Earth, Idun, Ayla, and Colton have no idea their bloodlines carry a curse that enslaves them to the Overseers — supernatural beings whose divine rule stretches across the universe, earning them the status of godhood. After the Overseers come to collect them, the three humans learn that they must bring peace between two warring nations, or be damned to a life on this planet with no hope of returning home.
When the three Frelsarien arrive, the Tharians are disappointed to discover that the gods sent nothing but ordinary humans. Some give up hope that they will be of any help, while others cling to faith. The Frelsarien must either find a new way to prove their worth to the overseers, or attempt to develop the powers they were promised. In the face of adversity, will they be able to rise up to the challenge?
In a gripping page-turner, author Lynette Charrier pieces together an epic tale against a backdrop of tyranny, strength and resilience. Battle of Eirbor is the first novel in the Frelsarien series, a masterpiece of epic crossworld fantasy.
Author Lynette Charrier
About C.A. Rene Lynette Charrier was born in Manitoba Canada but grew up in Southern California. There she met her husband who whisked her away back to his hometown of Naples Florida. Not long after she earned her degree in interior design and quickly found a job in the field. However her true passion lies with the writing community. Ever since she was little she had been making up stories of distant worlds and far off galaxies. Now she’s excited to finally share those stories with the world.
Welcome to the book blitz for TEXT AND CONFUSED, the sixth book in the adult contemporary romantic comedy series, Accidentally in Love, by Melanie Summers and Whitney Dineen. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on their giveaway.
TEXT AND CONFUSED (Accidentally in Love Series #6) by Melanie Summers and Whitney Dineen
Synopsis I’m Toni Capella and I’m a bad-man-o-holic. (Hi, Toni!). If a guy lives on the eastern seaboard, is covered in tattoos, muscles, and motor oil, I’ve probably already dated and dumped him. But it’s a new year and for the first time in my twenty-nine years I’m determined to attract Mr. Right. I’m doing this by changing my type and my look.
So when super-hot contractor Cooper Flint walks into my office, I immediately put him on my ‘no way’ list. He embodies every bad boy trait there is. Besides, my eye is on another new co-worker, Sumner Livingston. Handsome, well-heeled, and professional, Sumner is nothing like my usual type, which I assume makes him perfect for me.
Determined to take things slowly for once, I insist Sumner and I keep our budding relationship separate from work. I even suggest we do our initial courting via text while we get to know each other better. Things are going beautifully and just when I’m starting to think he’s ‘the one,’ I find out there’s been a horrible mix-up. My boss accidentally gave me Cooper’s number, not Sumner’s, and I’m falling for Mr. Wrong, again.
Unfortunately, after I break it off with Cooper, I discover that Sumner isn’t the good guy he portrays himself to be. When Cooper rescues me from a compromising situation, I belatedly realize I might be been missing out on the man of my dreams.
Have I lost my chance at true happiness or is there some way I can convince Cooper I’m the woman he needs?
Excerpt #2 Archie isn’t at the office when I get there, so I let myself in, flip on the lights, and get a pot of coffee started. When I exit the kitchen, I discover I’m not alone.
“What are you doing here?” I demand none too kindly.
Copper looks like an ad for a Hallmark movie—jeans, hiking boots, parka, scruffy beard … My whole body reacts to him like I’ve stuck my finger into a live electrical outlet. Jolt, sizzle, burn.
“Archie asked me to meet him here.”
He shrugs. “I guess he’ll tell us when he gets here.”
I sit at my desk and open an online Scrabble game. The droid turns my opening play of “Quiz”—forty-four points, thank you very much—into quizzically, hitting the triple point box and nearly doubling my first play. This better not be an omen of the way the rest of my day will go.
The elevator opens, and Archie appears. “Hey, you guys. Thanks so much for meeting me here.” He seems harried and more than a bit disheveled.
“You okay?” I ask.
“I will be, but I have bad news.”
My blood runs ice cold, and I worry something has happened to Holly or the baby.
As though reading my mind, Archie says, “There’s a supply chain issue with getting all the lumber needed for the job.”
“Isn’t that Cooper’s problem? He is the contractor after all.” I don’t dare look at him while I say that.
Archie answers, “It’s a problem for all of us, because if we don’t get the lumber shipment on time, we won’t open on time, and there are a lot of people relying on us.” He takes off his camel hair coat. “I have a meeting with a friend who thinks he can pull some strings for us, but that means I won’t be able to go to New Hampshire with you.”
“So we’ll reschedule. No biggie.”
“We can’t,” he says. “We have several stops to make to scout locations for the next homeless village, and one of the properties is going up for auction over the weekend. I’d like to see if it’s right for us before we lose our chance at it.”
I’m confused. “How are you going to do that if you can’t go?”
“I hope to be able to get there tomorrow.”
“We’ll leave tomorrow then.” Why couldn’t he have told me this on the phone?
“You leave today,” he says. “I’ll join you tomorrow.”
“How am I leaving today? I don’t have a driver’s license.” I glance at Cooper and then it all comes together in my pea brain. Nonononononono.
Archie says, “I want Cooper there to help choose the next location. Since he was going to meet us there tomorrow anyway, he offered to take you up today so you could pick up the sign. I’ll meet you both at the lodge in the morning.”
“Why can’t we just pick up the sign tomorrow?” I demand. I do not want to go anywhere with Cooper Flint.
“The artist is going away. If we don’t pick up the sign today, we won’t be able to get it for two more weeks, which will mean another trip to New Hampshire.” Archie is stern and moderately overwhelmed.
I want to point out that the artist can ship the sign then, but I don’t get a chance because he adds, “Toni, please just go. I thought this all through, and the only way everything works is for you and Cooper to leave today.”
I can hardly stand here and tell him no. Not only would that be unprofessional, but he’s working hard, and I need to do my part.
“Fine.” Not fine, but what can I do?
“Thank you.” Archie shoots me two thumbs up and goes toward his office. “Have a safe trip. Call if you need anything.” Then he’s gone.
The air around me is suddenly a vacuum, and I struggle to catch my breath.
Copper picks up my overnight bag. “You ready?”
I force a nod, then, like I’m trudging through a four-foot snowdrift, I move in his direction.
I’m going to one of the most romantic places in America with Cooper Flint.
About Melanie Summers Melanie Summers also writes steamy romance as MJ Summers.
Melanie made a name for herself with her debut novel, Break in Two, a contemporary romance that cracked the Top 10 Paid on Amazon in both the UK and Canada, and the top 50 Paid in the USA. Her highly acclaimed Full Hearts Series was picked up by both Piatkus Entice (a division of Hachette UK) and HarperCollins Canada. Her first three books have been translated into Czech and Slovak by EuroMedia. Since 2013, she has written and published three novellas, and eight novels (of which seven have been published). She has sold over a quarter of a million books around the globe.
In her previous life (i.e. before having children), Melanie got her Bachelor of Science from the University of Alberta, then went on to work in the soul-sucking customer service industry for a large cellular network provider that shall remain nameless (unless you write her personally – then she’ll dish). On her days off, she took courses and studied to become a Chartered Mediator. That designation landed her a job at the R.C.M.P. as the Alternative Dispute Resolution Coordinator for ‘K’ Division. Having had enough of mediating arguments between gun-toting police officers, she decided it was much safer to have children so she could continue her study of conflict in a weapon-free environment (and one which doesn’t require makeup and/or nylons).
Melanie resides in Edmonton with her husband, three young children, and their adorable but neurotic one-eyed dog. When she’s not writing novels, Melanie loves reading (obviously), snuggling up on the couch with her family for movie night (which would not be complete without lots of popcorn and milkshakes), and long walks in the woods near her house. She also spends a lot more time thinking about doing yoga than actually doing yoga, which is why most of her photos are taken ‘from above’. She also loves shutting down restaurants with her girlfriends. Well, not literally shutting them down, like calling the health inspector or something–more like just staying until they turn the lights off.
She is represented by Suzanne Brandreth of The Cooke Agency International.
About the Author Whitney loves to laugh, play with her kids, bake, and eat french fries — not always in that order. Whitney is a multi-award-winning author of romcoms, non-fiction humor, and middle reader fiction. Basically, she writes whatever the voices in her head tell her to. She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband, Jimmy, where they raise children, chickens, and organic vegetables.
Gold Medal winner at the International Readers’ Favorite Awards, 2017.
Silver medal winner at the International Readers’ Favorite Awards, 2015, 2016.
Finalist RONE Awards, 2016.
Finalist at the IRFA 2016, 2017.
Finalist at the Book Excellence Awards, 2017
Finalist Top Shelf Indie Book Awards, 2017