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 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.
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.
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
Welcome to the book blitz for IMPERFECT, a standalone adult contemporary romantic suspense by Holly Carr. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis She isn’t looking for love. He’s running from it.
A workplace crush is supposed to be light-hearted. Frivolous, even. Just some daydream inspiration to make the hours go faster, or to fill in twenty boring minutes.
Sam isn’t ready to develop actual feelings for someone. Not with Logan still looming so large in her heart, and especially not when the subject of her infatuation is her new employer.
Alex doesn’t plan to fall in love ever again. Not after what happened with Victoria.
But fate seems determined to begin an unwanted love story, and a tentative romance blossoms as Alex and Sam battle the malicious sabotage of a rival company.
That is, until Alex’s evil ex-wife re-enters his life, threatening to take custody of their daughter.
Sam’s determination to help the desperate man stand up for himself brings the two would-be lovers closer, but Victoria’s antics only highlight to Alex the dangers of leaving himself vulnerable.
Can Sam convince him to set aside eleven years of stanch celibacy and give into his feelings?
And just how did he get that mysterious scar on his face?
This contemporary romantic suspense novel is perfect for readers with a soft spot for a hesitant love story, a single dad, and a relatable heroine.
Excerpt #2 Belatedly comprehending that her shock must have registered on her face, Sam placed her hand on his shoulder and tried to relax. A smile came tentatively to her face, but Alex’s returned expression was more distracted than anything. They began swaying in time to the music as he finally spoke.
‘Sorry if you didn’t want to dance,’ he apologised. ‘I didn’t want to talk to anyone else, and this seemed like a good way to keep people from interrupting.’
Sam shook her head. ‘Don’t apologise,’ she reassured him. ‘I like to dance. You just surprised me.’
Alex’s answering smile was more convincing than his last attempt. She became aware of his closeness as they moved through the throng, her thoughts straying back to their kiss. Her lips, jawline and neck were cool and tingling, contrasting against the rest of her heated skin. She felt vulnerable, like the private sensation on her skin was visible to him in some way.
Was he thinking about their kiss too, or was he preoccupied with their failed mission? Surprisingly, he soon revealed he was thinking about neither.
‘Where did you learn to tie such a perfect a Windsor knot?’ he asked.
Sam’s answering laugh was perhaps a tad giddy. She was relieved he hadn’t picked up on her neediness. ‘YouTube,’ she said. ‘My husband was terrible at it, so I had to learn how to do it for him. He claimed having little hands helped me, but really I think he just didn’t have the patience.’
She’d mentioned Logan without thinking, and almost stepped on Alex’s foot when her words caught up with her. She rarely spoke about her lost love, let alone so casually. The ease of her intimate admission overwhelmed her so much she almost missed Alex’s surprise entirely.
He’d gripped her hand a little tighter at the word ‘husband’, and she prayed he wouldn’t focus on her slip. To her relief, he didn’t mention it.
‘You do have small hands,’ he mused after a small pause. ‘And long fingers, come to think of it. Do you play an instrument?’
Sam chose to fall back on humour to mask how off balance she still felt. ‘That depends on your follow-up questions,’ she said. ‘Are you going to ask me to audition for your band, or are you just in the mood for a soulful rendition of “Three Blind Mice” on the recorder?’
Alex laughed out loud at this, attracting the attention of a few other couples around them. One woman seemed especially interested in their joke, forcing her dance partner to turn around so her back was no longer to Alex.
She was unpleasantly attractive, in the sort of way that was a little too well groomed. Her thin body was perfectly draped in an expensive silk dress, and her impeccably dyed and coifed hair was crowned by a fascinator Sam was sure at least one animal had died to contribute to.
The woman smiled predatorily at Alex, her talon-like nails gripping the shoulder of her dance partner a little tighter. Fine lines crossing her hands made a mockery of her too smooth face. She seemed decidedly more used to looking down her nose at people than smiling at them, however obnoxiously.
‘Alex,’ she said, nodding condescendingly.
Sam realised they knew each other, and she swiftly looked back at Alex.
He’d stopped dancing, his hand going limp and clammy in hers. His face was similarly slack with shock, and she suspected he wasn’t breathing. Whoever this woman was, Alex wasn’t pleased to see her.
The unpleasant woman’s smile widened at his obvious discomfort, and she pointedly turned her gaze to Sam. She sneered a little while looking the younger woman up and down, evidently not impressed with what she saw. Feeling defensive, Sam reminded herself she preferred to dress according to her own tastes, and not to suit the demands of current fashion. This skirt was her favourite piece.
‘Bit young for you, isn’t she?’ asked the woman, lazily. ‘Better get her some Botox if you want her to stay that way.’
Still visibly shaken, Alex didn’t respond.
The woman’s dance partner had a chuckle though and turned to smirk at them. His gaze lowered to Sam’s cleavage and lingered a moment, before looking back up at Alex. ‘Not going to introduce us?’ he asked, his face widening into a grin to rival the woman’s.
They both laughed at this, and Alex flinched.
Frightened of his reaction and sick of being sneered at, Sam let her big mouth do what it did best. ‘Excuse me,’ she said sweetly to the woman, gesturing to her fur and feather headdress. ‘Did you know your cat has caught a bird?’
Author Holly Carr
About the Author Holly Carr was born in Victoria, Australia, where she still lives today with her husband and a cat with no sense of personal space. She graduated from Deakin University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts (Public Relations), majoring in Literary Studies.
Holly first began writing creatively while she was at university, only setting aside her incomplete manuscript due to time constraints. It took ten years before she finally sat down to write again, and her first completed novel ‘IMPERFECT’ practically wrote itself. She enjoyed the experience so much she has already begun work on another.
When she takes a break from writing, she enjoys occasional visits from her grown-up son, pole dancing, eating far too much Mexican food, and pretending to know a lot about wine.
You can get the first two chapters of her forthcoming novel ‘UNLUCKY’ for free at her website www.hollycarr.com.au, or follow her on Facebook @hollycarrauthor and Instagram @holly_ylloh_holly.
Welcome to the book blitz for RETURN ALL, the second book in the adult contemporary romantic comedy series, Rebirth, by Eve Dangerfield. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis Hundreds of women have tried to win Derek over, but the only girl he’s loved is nowhere to be found…
Derek Hardiman has been crowned a football prodigy—but success came at the cost of his dorky high school sweetheart, Mara Temple. A decade after she left town, he still can’t imagine marrying someone who isn’t her…
Traveling for most of her twenties, Mara has returned home with a designer wardrobe, a sweet puppy, and a new last name. What better to keep her surly ex-boyfriend from recognizing her?
When Mara and Derek are thrown back into each other’s lives the obsession that began when they were teenagers returns in full force. Derek can hardly believe the goddess his once-awkward lover has become, and he’s determined to win her back. But Mara is determined not to give in to the hype surrounding her bachelor superstar ex. Unfortunately, Derek has always lived up to the hype. After all, a girl only has one daddy…
Should true love get a second chance?
Return All is a standalone second chance romance by critically acclaimed author Eve Dangerfield.
Excerpt #2 Buoyed by her secret, Mara padded toward the darkened door. Trance music pounded behind it. A low, almost violent sound that matched her panicked heartbeat. She imagined Derek pacing behind the door like a wolf. She knocked, her skin burning with excitement. She hoped he wasn’t there. And then the door swung open.
Derek wore his dark suit with the inelegance of men who were more comfortable bare-chested, but that only added to his power. He glowered at her like it was her fault he was so gorgeously penned in. His tattoos curled over his collar and cuffs, straining at his civility. His cologne smelled of wood fire and cherries and as he watched her, his gaze locked on her breasts, Mara was sure he was going to snap, tear her coat off and take her.
“Hi,” she whispered.
“Nice jacket.” He leaned against the doorway, looking her up and down. “What’s underneath it?”
Mara’s tongue stuck to the roof of her mouth.
He laughed. “I guess I’ll find out, huh?”
She moved to walk past him, but he pressed a hand to the other side of the door frame. “Where’s my hello?”
“Not that.” He turned his face to the side tapping his cheek. He was throwing down the gauntlet already.
She looked around. No one was in the hall. Why did it matter if she kissed Derek on the cheek? She stood on her toes, pressing her lips to him, and felt the stubble beneath his skin. His cologne mixed with his raw, dizzying animal scent and she exhaled, feeling dizzy. Then she caught a whiff of something she couldn’t place. She inhaled.
“Are you smelling me?”
She grinned. “You still smoke.”
He scowled. “Not all the time.”
“But tonight?” She pointed to the balcony she could see behind him. “Out there maybe?”
He looked away.
“I can’t believe it! You’re an athlete. You’re a role model.”
“That’s enough,” he growled, sliding a hand around her. “Get in here, Little Miss.”
Mara allowed herself to be bundled into the room. It was a lovely suite, white with a cream carpet and floor-to-ceiling windows. Derek directed her to the living room where a red velvet couch waited in front of a flat-screen TV. The coffee table was laid with platters of fresh fruit, cupcakes, and cookies. The hostess in Mara admired the effort, the girl wondered how much she was going to be expected to eat. She hated wasting food. Maybe Derek had arranged a secret orgy. Maybe seventeen other girls were due to arrive in matching bodysuits.
“Like the room?”
She could feel Derek staring at her ass, albeit through the coat. “It’s nice.”
A small huff. “You think it’s too expensive, don’t you?”
“No,” she lied.
“Glad to hear it.” He strode to a standing ice bucket where a bottle of Dom Perignon waited. “Drink?”
Mara swallowed. She wanted champagne, but not the time spent sitting around drinking it. “Maybe we could just…?”
“Go into the bedroom?”
Derek raised a dark brow. “You can’t even say it, but you want me to drop everything and fuck you like you’re some whore I booked for the night?”
Derek shoved his hands in his suit pockets. “Lemme get this straight. We used to try and grab fifteen minutes together before Maths and now we’ve got all the time in the world and you want to be strangers hammering away at each other again?”
Mara plucked a strawberry from one of the platters. “Pretty much.”
“What about what I want?”
Mara nibbled the strawberry. Tart sweetness spread across her tongue. “What do you want?”
“I want us to spend some time together before I take you into the other room and turn you out.” Derek’s jaw was set, his dark eyes unblinking. He had his game face on, and God only knew what that meant for her body. She needed to shift the vibe of this encounter, fast. She flashed him a smile. “But your card said—”
“It said to meet me here at 7. Not meet me here at 7 so you can get fucked and run out on me again, little girl.”
Mara ignored the surge of heat between her legs. “You sent me lingerie. You said you’d wear a suit. We both know what that means.”
“What does it mean?”
Damn him. He knew she couldn’t say it. She picked up a gingerbread cookie and bit into it, tasting spice and sugar. “Whatever. You lured me here under false pretenses.”
“What did I promise that I didn’t deliver?”
“You sent me an eye mask and ropes.”
“And I’ve yet to see either of them. Or the bodysuit. Where’s the proof you’ve got it on?”
Mara opened the coat, swishing it back and exposing the bodysuit beneath. A muscle leaped in Derek’s jaw. “The ties?”
She held out her Givenchy bag. “In here. Can we go to bed now?”
“Not yet.” He moved toward her, letting his feet hover before each step. He was teasing her, stalking her like a hungry animal. But she wouldn’t let him win. She’d keep snacking until he gave up and took her to bed.
A ghost of a smile passed over his face. “What am I going to do with you, Mara?”
She took another small bite of the cookie. “You make a deal with me?”
“That would set a bad precedent.”
He looked her over, his gaze dragging across her nipples. “Anything I want from you, I’ll take.”
She swallowed, almost choking on her biscuit. “Okay, well, anytime you want to start, I’m here.”
His face softened and that was scarier than his hulking presence in the doorway. “Mara… I know it’s been forever and a day, but come on. It’s me.”
He said it as though she should know which ‘me’ he meant. As though he wasn’t standing in front of her in a ten-thousand-dollar suit with a decade worth of new tattoos and stories she didn’t know. It struck her, how much of a stranger he was. The way he stood without slouching.
The way he talked, saying ‘precedent’ and ‘forever and a day.’
So much of what she remembered about Derek had frozen at the age of eighteen. To have him moving and talking in front of her was unnerving. It had been so much easier when he was screwing her brains out at the Sofitel. He’d been like a 3D printout of the man who’d driven her wild as a teenager.
She saw him kneeling on her grandma’s couch, looking at her with the same imploring eyes. ‘You’re the only person who’s ever meant anything to me, baby.’
To her horror, Mara found she was about one second away from crying. She stuffed the rest of the gingerbread cookie in her mouth, casting a quick glance at Derek. His face blurred between the boy she knew and the man everyone knew. She recalled the famous photo of him, walking out of a Vegas Casino with a stunning blonde on his arm. He’d a cigarette hanging out of his mouth and his sunglasses on. She’d only been able to endure that photo because she knew he’d gone beyond her. But now he was here, buying her underwear and strawberries and trying to talk to her. That wasn’t okay. She had nothing to say to this uncanny blend of man and myth. She wanted to exist in her own little world with minimal brush-over from his.
She squared her shoulders. “Derek, I’m wearing a bodysuit and heels. I came to your hotel room at night. I know you have… feelings about us. But I didn’t come here to talk about the past.”
His jaw tensed. “Okay.”
“I don’t want to sound rude. But I don’t want to go there.”
She flinched as he strode toward her, but he merely grabbed the champagne from the ice bucket. “So, you came here to get some dick, did you?”
Mara tried to smile. “Something like that.”
“So that’s all you want it to be between us? Just fucking?”
She recalled the laughing blonde under his arm in Vegas. “Yes, I do.”
He stood motionless and Mara wondered if he was going to ask her to leave. Then he tore the foil from the neck of the champagne. “Fine. Start acting like this is about fucking.”
About the Author Eve Dangerfield has loved romance novels ever since she first swiped her grandmother’s paperbacks. Now she writes her own stories about complicated women and gorgeous-but-slightly-tortured men. Her work has been described as ‘genre-defying,’ ‘insanely hot’ and ‘the defibrillator contemporary romance needs right now’…and not just by herself or those who might need bone marrow…OTHER PEOPLE! She lives in Melbourne with her boy and a bunch of semi-dead plants. She can generally be found making a mess.
Welcome to the book blitz for IT’S A WONDERFUL LIE, the first book in the adult contemporary holiday romance series, Heaven on Earth, by Wren Michaels. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
IT’S A WONDERFUL LIE (Heaven on Earth Series #1) by Wren Michaels
Synopsis He was sent to save her life, but ended up losing his heart, memories, and clothes.
Eden Credere should be in Barbados with her new husband. Instead, it was like she married Murphy and his law was ruining her life. She’d lost her dad, her job, her best friend, and her fiancé. After drowning her sorrows with rum and eggnog on Christmas Eve, she takes a tumble in a tree lot with a Douglas Fir, sending Eden over the edge.
Theliel has watched over Eden her entire life, from her first steps to her latest, where she dove in a tree lot. He’s always been there to save her, and this time should have been no different—until it was. As her guardian angel, he’s not supposed to be seen, but one corporeal slip-up later, and he’s got a lot of explaining to do.
As Theliel works to convince Eden why the world is a much better place with her in it, he finds himself the one falling, and it’s Eden who catches his heart. In a twist of fate, Theliel must not earn his wings, but his humanity by convincing Eden they’re meant to be together.
The only problem is neither of them remember who he is when he wakes up on Christmas morning in a snowbank with no memories and no clothes. With the magic of Christmas in the air, love in their hearts, a vision of yoga pants, and maybe a little help from their “friends”, all they have to do is believe.
Excerpt #1 Swiping my tearstained face, I made my way over to the myriad of trees and tried to make a quick decision. I had to get out of there fast. I couldn’t “people” anymore today. I would either end up a blubbering mess under the blow-up lawn ornaments or in jail from high-fiving the heartless cashier right in the face who couldn’t fork over thirty cents to help a kid buy a Christmas wreath.
In my unstable mindset, I made the poor choice to go for the nine-foot Douglas fir. As I yanked the leaning tree from the fence, little did I know I held a death trap in the palm of my sticky hand. The laws of physics mocked my existence as the tree toppled over, taking my five-foot, six-inch frame with it.
It’s completely true how your life flashed before your eyes in those last seconds of mortality. Mine happened to be stuck on repeat of Grayson stuffing Suzie as I cursed his name in all six languages I spoke. If he hadn’t cheated on me, I’d be in Barbados as Mrs. Jilani, not splattered on the floor of Trees-R-Us as the jilted Eden Credere.
Instead of hitting the cold, snow-covered ground, something strong cradled the back of my head, radiating a warmth that caressed my skin and soothed what should have been my shattered bones. I would have sworn there were no customers around me as I hid my ever-blackening soul in the back forty of the tree lot. No one could have caught me that fast. Then again, one hundred pounds of Douglas fir swallowed my face, so my vantage point skewed a bit.
“Thank you, Lord,” I whispered on the breath that whooshed out of my lungs.
A melodic yet husky chuckle vibrated around me, filling me with the same warmth that held my head in some bubble of safety. Maybe I did hit the ground, and the warmth was a pool of my own blood. It wasn’t out of the realm of possibilities with as much rum and eggnog as I’d consumed earlier.
“Believe me, I am not the Lord.” A voice surrounded me, and heat tingled straight to my toes, as if his tone resonated just for my ears.
“Oh good, because if you were, I’d be really upset that I’m meeting him in yoga pants and no makeup.” Sometimes the things that came out of my mouth missed the sanity filter in my brain.
Another chuckle vibrated against me before it halted, followed by a sharp intake of air. “You heard that?”
With pine needles burrowing into my closed eyelids, I couldn’t be sure I was actually talking to another person and not just myself. “Heard what?”
“What I said. I didn’t mean for you to hear it.” Worry strained his words as he softened his voice.
“You didn’t exactly whisper it, and seeing as how you caught me like a ninja, you had to be nearby. Which reminds me, I still have a tree on my face. I don’t suppose you’d help get it off me? I’ll buy you a coffee or a beer or something.”
“I’m so sorry. Of course. I…I was caught off guard. Let me help you up,” he stammered.
“Well, I suppose anyone would be caught off guard while having to dive for some stranger being eaten by a tree. Unless you’re like a lumberjack and see that kind of thing all the time.” The spiked eggnog I’d had for breakfast now seemed like a really bad idea as the stupid tumbled out of my mouth in droves.
His harmonious chuckle returned and enveloped me again, like tiny ripples of pleasure bouncing off my body. I loved this man’s laugh, and I hadn’t even seen his face. In the span of thirty seconds, I’d developed some freaky fetish where all I wanted to do was have him laugh near me so I could swaddle in the warmth and happiness of his voice.
Shit, what the hell did I put in that eggnog? Was it expired?
“Hold still,” the mystery man said.
He eased me to the ground. Cold snow soaked the back of my head, my hair sucking it up like a slushy. I cursed the blasted New Jersey winters in three ancient tongues. I’d probably pay for that later, but as an archaeologist, I rarely got to use all the dead languages I studied. Now seemed like a good time.
The tree whisked away from my face, and I blinked my eyes open. The gasp that followed sucked in so much cold air, an erratic series of hiccups erupted. Another sign I was more than likely drunk—Thor hovered over me, or at least he could have passed for his twin brother. Thick blond locks of hair danced across his broad shoulders in the light breeze, framing his marble-smooth, chiseled face. The bluest eyes I’d ever seen sparkled like an ocean, and if I stared into them long enough, I was sure they’d take me to a whole other world. Those eyes looked hauntingly familiar. Where had I seen them before?
“You’ve got quite the naughty mouth, Eden,” he said, warming me with his voice and a smile that probably dropped a lot of panties. He slid his arms under my back and lifted me from the ground as if I weighed nothing. Boy, would he have a backache in the morning.
“How do you know my name? Have we met before?” I blinked again, reassuring myself I hadn’t passed out and that I was indeed alive, awake, and in Thor’s arms.
“Um, your driver’s license was on the ground. Must have fallen out when the tree landed on you.” He glanced away from my inquiring stare.
Hmm, plausible, since I had stuffed my debit card and license in my pocket instead of carrying a purse today. I only planned on getting a tree and going right back home. I dared not go anywhere else on Christmas Eve with all the crazies on the road.
I slipped my hand into my pocket and found both cards there. Did he put it back? Surely I would have felt it. But it had been a while since I’d had a man’s hand in my pants. Grayson and I stopped having sex about six months before the marriage that never happened. He wanted the wedding night to be special. Yeah, so special because he was basting the neighbor.
Wait, he said I had a naughty mouth, meaning this dude knew I cursed in a dead language. Or maybe he assumed it was cursing, since Aramaic and ancient Greek sounded a lot like my angry Italian mother.
Author Wren Michaels
About the Author Wren hails from the frozen tundra of Wisconsin where beer and cheese are their own food groups. But a cowboy swept her off her feet and carried her to Texas, where she promptly lost all tolerance for cold and snow. Fueled by coffee, dreams, and men in kilts, Wren promises to bring you laughter, heart-fluttering romance, and action that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
Welcome to the book blitz for THE MAGI MENAGERIE, the first book in the young adult/new historical adult fantasy series, The Magi Menagerie, by Kale Lawrence. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway. For a limited time, you can pick up the eBook for just $1.99.
THE MAGI MENAGERIE (The Magi Menagerie Series #1) by Kale Lawrence
For seventeen years, Ezra Newport and his parents were habitual immigrants, traveling from their Ottoman Empire home across 20th century Europe. As the Newports migrate to Belfast, Ireland, Ezra wants nothing more to settle into a consistent life and lay the foundation of his architectural dreams. But after a strange, mechanical bounty hunter murders his mother and prompts the disappearance of his father, Ezra discovers that his parents had actually been on the run. Now, their enemies are targeting him, and they won’t stop until he is dead.
In a moment of desperation, Ezra’s fate collides with the Third Order of the Magi, a secret society dedicated to using their supernatural powers to protect their communities. With increasing violence around the world, the Magi are fairly certain they know who’s behind the attacks on Ezra and his family since the same group could also be threatening their own existence.
Both Ezra and the Magi’s survival hinges on knowledge only Ezra’s father has and the key to saving them could be buried within history itself. In a race across continents and time, both Ezra and the Magi must secure an ancient Babylonian artifact before hell is unleashed on the world. And, against all odds, Ezra must decide where his allegiances truly lie, despite what is written in the stars.
Excerpt #3 Diego
Not very many things had the power to piss off Diego Montreal.
Being held back? Of course.
Jonas’ embitterment toward his relationship with Stella? Without question.
Failure had to be the worst offender. Nothing could make him feel more incompetent than defeat, especially if that defeat had anything to do with Time Manipulation.
Diego screwed up his face in concentration, squeezing the edges of the quartz wand into his palm. Usually illuminated with natural light, the chief constable’s office was now shrouded in shadows, too tenacious for the weak desk lamp bulb and the evening gloom. The Souvenirs—the ring and the electric torch—had been laid out before him, alongside Norman’s heavy scrutiny.
This time, it had to work.
“Forgive me for my lack of understanding, but I honestly don’t see why this situation is different than the rest,” the constable grumbled as he lit a cigar and propped his feet upon the desk. “This should have worked the first time. After all, you’ve managed to view crime scenes before.”
Diego lifted his burning gaze to his boss.
Despite his flagrant tone, the constable spoke the truth, as much as Diego hated to admit it. Previous attempts had gone without a hitch. But for some unknown reason, these crime scenes proved resistant to his abilities. What seemed like the simple work of a madman with a fondness for the word “quietus” had an impenetrable exterior. Every time Diego turned back Time to view these events, a thick darkness cloaked whatever evidence remained. He had never seen anything quite like it in any of his Time Excursions.
Either his abilities were somehow being drained or someone was erasing history. Both scenarios did not sound particularly thrilling.
“Yes, well, I wouldn’t expect you to understand the technicalities of it,” Diego muttered.
“No, I don’t,” huffed Norman, “but there’s something I do understand, and it is that now, we aren’t the only ones dealing with this madness.” The constable reached into his top drawer and dropped a newspaper on the workspace, further disrupting Diego’s focus.
His eyes skimmed the recent headline but backtracked when he realized it was in French. What Diego could not ascertain from the print, he translated from the front-page photograph.
Plumes of fire and coal dust disrupted what once was a mining operation. Lifts, splintered planks, and glass fragments littered the work site, while flocks of ravens dotted the chaotic skyline. While the photograph neglected to show any of the dead or injured, it did provide a glimpse of something far more impactful: the painful emotion in their comrades’ faces, streaked amongst the grime.
Whatever had just taken place not only rattled the northern French countryside. It had shaken survivors to their cores.
La catastrophe de Courriéres.
“They’re saying more than a thousand people are dead,” said the chief constable. “What they are not saying—in the papers, at least—is that authorities discovered the word quietus painted in red across one of the communal shacks. I suppose you can understand why this is a bit higher of a priority now that it has crossed international boundaries.”
Diego gritted his teeth and pushed the newspaper away from the Souvenirs. “So, the Irish Republican Brotherhood is out of the question, I assume?”
Norman narrowed his eyes. “Most likely.”
“Right. Well, there’s only one thing we can do,” Diego began, once again tracing the Star of David in the air with his quartz wand. “Pray my theory will hold strong enough for me to bring something back.”
“Best of luck, kid,” Chief Constable Norman said through a puff of smoke. “Do me proud.”
Diego saluted him and pressed the crystal tip to the face of his pocket watch. Focusing on the time and date written on the scraps of paper beside its corresponding Souvenir, Diego internally beckoned the power of the stars to navigate to the exact moment when the Dunmurry boy lost his life. The clock hands wound backward in a savage spiral. The present world faded away, like streaks of paint drowned in torrents of water. He was now a sailor amongst the Sea of Time, directing the helm toward imminent disaster.
Author Kale Lawrence
About the Author Since the early age of 6, Kale Lawrence knew she either wanted to be an astronaut or an author. Obviously, the astronaut gig didn’t work out, so instead, Kale turned to fantastic fictional worlds. When Kale is not writing creatively, she works as a Marketing Manager at a pet product company, and pretends she’s an Olympic swimmer at the gym. She has also served as a board member for the South Dakota Writes organization.
In addition to books, Kale has lent her writing prowess to television, and her writing has been featured on nationwide PBS television programming, NBC newscasts, ABC newscasts, and the Travel Channel.
Kale currently lives in Sioux Falls, South Dakota with her feisty tortoiseshell calico cat, Emma Bug and sassy Siamese, Seattle Bean.
Welcome to the book blitz for WHAT HAPPENED TO COCO, a standalone young adult thriller, by V.B. Furlong. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis When a girl disappears, long-buried secrets resurface…
Coco is missing. Her room’s a mess, and her phone is left behind in her dorm at Lainsbury Hall School
Ella, Coco’s childhood best friend, is desperate for her to return, although she knows that if she ever sees Coco again, there’ll be a lot of explaining to do.
Bea knows that her new group of friends attracts drama, and she thinks she has the last shred of common sense between them all. Only, if that was true, she would leave Genevieve, her toxic ex, well alone.
Conrad is confident that Coco will return safe and well. Only, the way his secrets are unravelling, he’s worried he won’t be when this is all over.
Harrison and Coco are the perfect couple. Everyone knows that. But looks can be misleading. Even the smartest boy in school can make a terrible mistake.
In order to navigate the web of secrets and lies that Coco leaves behind, her circle of friends needs to unravel a few of their own.
But the question remains: What happened to Coco?
Excerpt #1 In the misty darkness lit only by a blue streetlamp, Ella knew that she was not alone. She turned and saw the faceless figure far down the drizzly street. It came towards her at speed. It didn’t seem to be moving, but she knew that it was gaining on her. She started to run, but her legs would not move. She was stuck, as though in quicksand.
When she dared check over her shoulder once again, the figure was only about five steps away, and she could see raspy breaths escape the black silhouette in a wispy white cloud. The scene whirred in front of Ella as she pulled on her legs, sobbing, begging them to move. But they would not. All she could hear was the breathing, slow and rattling, as though it was the figure’s very last. Four. Three. Two.
It was the skeletal hand on her shoulder that woke her. In the darkness of her room, she was alone. She turned her alarm off and felt uneasy in the silence. She was soaking wet, her back from sweat, her face from tears.
She washed her face, hardly daring to open her eyes and look into the mirror above the sink. She felt watched, hunted. As she brushed her teeth, she turned on all her lights and opened the dreary brown curtains that Lainsbury Hall School had placed in all the dorms. But even in her bright vanity lamps that took over her dressing table, drowning her in bright white light as she did her make up, her eyes darted around the corners of her mirrors, checking all angles of the room in the reflection for the faceless spectre. She was not herself today. Then again, she hadn’t been herself yesterday, either.
Author V.B. Furlong
About The Author VB Furlong is a trainee lawyer and writer of young adult novels living in Berkshire, UK. She wrote her first “novel” at aged ten and has not stopped since then. Through her writing she aims to explore many of the issues she faced herself growing up, in the hopes that others facing the same issues feel some solidarity. Her friendships are a huge part of her life and consequently is a major theme in her writing, exploring the way in which we interact with each other, especially in difficult times.
Originally from Mumbles, Swansea, VB Furlong enjoys the sun and the sea, and walking her three dogs across the cliffs. These walks have offered her inspiration for many pieces of writing, including What Happened to Coco which she is excited to introduce as a coming of age boarding school thriller.
Welcome to the book blitz for LICKING HER CHRISTMAS COOKIES, a standalone adult contemporary romantic romance/romantic comedy, by Alina Jacobs. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis In hindsight, opening a Christmas tree ornament shop in a small town was a terrible idea. The Thanksgiving turkey is still warm, and I’m already up to my eyeballs in debt from my failed business. To make matters worse, my knight in flannel never appeared—you know, the guy, the one who was tall, dark, and plaid, who had a friendly yellow lab and a truck and sold firewood, the one who showed the big-city heroine the true meaning of love and Christmas.
Yeah, he did not come rescue me. Instead, Matt Frost showed up like the Prince of Winter to yell at me about the rent I owed him. He did not feature in any of my Christmas fantasies. In fact, he was exactly the type of Christmas-hating alphahole billionaire in a suit I left Manhattan to escape. I can’t worry about him. I need to fix my life. I have to make a bunch of money before Christmas Eve or I’m a toasted marshmallow. No ornament will be left off this Christmas tree of desperation!
Gambling on the Christmas raffle that lets you win either ten thousand dollars, a giant snow globe, or a snack-addicted reindeer? Spin that roulette wheel and bring it on. Moonlighting as an elf for an irate Santa? Mama’s gotta get paid. Entering in The Great Christmas Bake-Off in hopes of winning the grand prize? Fetch me my custom elf apron. I so have this bake-off wrapped, ribboned, and in my Christmas stocking. Except when I’m paired with Matt the Grinch, I see my dreams of a debt-free Christmas going up in Yule log flames.
Matt Frost and I are not compatible baking partners. Especially not after he licks the frosting off my Christmas cookies while I scream. Not like that! He’s a Christmas-hating Scrooge who ruined my bake-off entry. I am not in the market for a Christmas romance. Especially not with a six-foot-five guy with ice-blue eyes and washboard abs. No, not even when he’s covered in frosting, standing in front of a decorated tree, and looking better than an edible Christmas card. Nope, not even then.
‘Tis the season for holiday romance! This is a full-length standalone holiday romantic comedy with nonstop Christmas and romance. If you love over-the-top small-town Christmas festivals, overbearing but well-meaning great-aunts, and smoking hot guys in nothing but a Santa hat who will melt the snow off the roof of your house, snuggle up with a spiked hot chocolate and get in the Christmas romance spirit!
Excerpt #2 “Now,” I said, waving the chocolate-covered spoon at him, “are you going to let your ex walk all over you or are you going to pick up a whisk and win this competition?”
His mouth was a thin line. Then his face relaxed in understanding.
“I know what you’re trying to do,” he said, giving me a flash of teeth. “You think you can play to my ego and help you bake. Too bad.”
“You need to help me!” I shrieked, finally giving up on the candy thermometer. Could you blame it? Who didn’t want to take a bath in a pot of warm chocolate?
“I need this win. You can’t do this to me.”
“I absolutely can.”
I picked up the pot and slammed it on the counter.
“You better fish that candy thermometer out of there,” Matt said in a mocking tone, stepping into my personal space bubble. “You might make someone sick.”
He was making me sick. I turned back to the stove to grab my fork. I had to win. The cheesecake had to go into the oven soon. We were running out of opportunities for him to help. I looked at the clock then the other bakers.
Ugh. Everyone else’s cheesecakes were already out of the oven and cooling.
My dish was a mess.
It won’t matter how good or bad it is if you get disqualified.
I couldn’t give up now.
I stepped up behind Matt, reached around him, and grabbed each of his hands.
He made a strangled noise as I pressed the full length of my body against him.
I think I severely miscalculated.
I was height challenged. And Matt was six feet five with long arms and huge hands that I could barely reach. I smooshed my boobs against his back… his very muscular, hard back.
“Get off of me,” he growled.
“We’re baking,” I squeaked.
I laced my fingers in his left hand, and before he could throw me off, I pulled the pot of melted chocolate closer. Then, with his right hand, I picked up one of the truffle balls and plopped it into the melted chocolate. His hands were large under my own, the tendons fluttering against my palms as he let me manipulate his arms. I adjusted myself against him, and he grunted slightly.
You really should have just stood next to him to do this baking puppetry, my mind chattered as I inhaled his scent, my nose pressed against the back of his suit jacket.
This was way too close. I forced his right hand to grab a fork and fish the truffle out of the chocolate.
“There. Now you participated,” I said as the truffle dropped onto the cooling rack with a plot. My voice sounded a little raspy.
It’s the weather—all this cold, wet air.
Matt turned back to me, eyes a deep blue.
“Was that so hard?” I asked.
“I don’t know. You were the one feeling me up. You tell me.”
“I have to get this cheesecake in the oven,” I blurted out before I could say something like “You’re hard enough to be a nutcracker.” Which would, one, be an idiotic thing to say and two, make Matt think I thought he was attractive, which I certainly did not.
I quickly made the rest of the truffles, keeping an eye on the clock.
Matt wasn’t even pretending to look at his phone. He was just watching me work. Periodically he would steal one of the truffles right as I finished it. The third time he did it, I tried to stab him with a fork.
“You could help,” I snapped at him.
“I already helped.” He gave me a smug look. “And now I’m just exhausted.”
“Guess someone doesn’t have any staying power.”
“I absolutely have staying power.”
“I doubt it. I bet that was why your ex left you,” I snapped back at him.
“You—” He bit back the curse word. He was probably going to call me a bitch. Which I probably was. That had been a low blow.
But I was stressed! Everyone else was done and putting the elegant finishing touches on their cheesecakes because they actually had a partner who would help. We had another hour left on the clock. It took a cheesecake that long to bake at minimum.
I was facing a loss. Not just my pride but everything. And it was all because of Matt fucking Frost.
“Or maybe it wasn’t your staying power,” I said shrilly, giving the cheesecake batter one more stir. “Maybe it was because you just stood around while she did all the work.”
“Fine, you want me to do the work?” Matt snarled at me. He snatched the bowl of batter out of my hand and emptied it into the springform pan, sending some of it splashing off the sides.
“You’re doing it wrong!” I protested.
Matt scooped up the rest of the truffles and dumped them in the batter where they sank in a lump off to one side.
“They have to be artfully arranged.” I tried to shove him aside so I could salvage my cheesecake.
Matt picked up the pan, holding it aloft while I jumped around him like a Chihuahua trying to rescue my cake.
“You’re ruining it.”
“I’m helping,” he taunted. He opened the oven and practically threw the pan inside. “You’re welcome.”
Author Alina Jacobs
About The Author If you like steamy romantic comedies with a creative streak, then I’m your girl!
Architect by day, writer by night, I love matcha green tea, chocolate, and books! So many books…
Sign up for my mailing list to get the free novella, AFTER HIS PEONIES, along with special bonus content, giveaways, and more!
Welcome to the book blitz for THE JOURNEY, the first book in the new adult fantasy adventure series, Death Island, by Kelsey Ketch. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway. For a limited time, you can pick up the eBook for just $0.99!
THE JOURNEY (Death Island Series #1) by Kelsey Ketch
Synopsis With her family name tainted by her great-grandfather’s crimes, Meriden Cummings could only dream of fleeing her oppressive life. Then she unearthed a piece of tanned skin, and her blood revealed an ancient map adorned with Mayan glyphs, launching her on the journey of a lifetime. However, she finds herself bound to the map, and there is a cost to her newfound freedom. One that will torment her mind as well as her soul.
After being shanghaied by pirates, Gregory Wilson escapes to a small English village where he runs into an obnoxious auburn-haired beauty. When he learns she is about to set sail on dangerous waters, he signs up to join her crew, hoping to defend her from the pirates seeking her great-grandfather’s treasure. But, will he be able to protect her from the ghost that haunts her or the curse running through her veins?
Excerpt #2 Gregory
I thought back to the night Baker had cornered us in the pub, rerunning every moment in my memory. “Meriden, there wasn’t any driver. The horse wandered into the alley on its own.” Though, I had to admit to myself, that seemed convenient.
“I know.” Her voice was barely audible. “But I saw him. His entire body is like my hand in my dreams, and his eyes are completely black.” She shivered, probably from a combination of her story and the cold breeze that whipped by. “And this wasn’t the first time. I’ve seen him in my village as well. I thought he was one of the Railings’ gardeners that died in the attack. Now, I think there’s something more to it. Like I’m either cursed or mental.”
God, she must’ve been terrified if she was confiding such things to me. “I doubt you’re either,” I told her. Yet something brought to mind what Baker had said.
“Her blood is cursed, Mr. Wilson. Tainted by her family’s greed. Much like your own.”
“When did you say you started seeing the ghost? Was it after the pirate attack?”
Meriden’s head shot up. “Yes, but not right after. I’d been out for weeks because . . .” She trailed off, momentarily. “Because of the map, which was created from my blood.”
By the look on Meriden’s face, she had drawn the same conclusion as I had. Bloody hell. Baker had been right. Her blood had been cursed, which was probably why she saw her veins turning black. I took the hand she kept rubbing and flipped her palm toward the starlight.
Nothing visible, yet knowing it was there made me sick with grief. I pulled her trembling body closer and gently stroked her hair.
“Whatever this is, curse or otherwise, we solve it together. I promise.”
Meriden only nodded. Her mind focused on other things. I looked in the direction of the star she often wished upon, thinking of making a wish of my own—a wish that Baker was wrong—only to see a shadow in the distance.
“Meriden, toward the northeast.”
Meriden gazed over at the horizon. Without a word, she pulled a spyglass from a sack tied to the guardrail, extending it to its full length. “Frigate,” she said under her breath, then leaned over the rail to call into the night. “Sails!”
About the Author Kelsey Ketch is a young-adult/new-adult author, who works as a Wildlife Biologist and Data Analyst. During her free time, she can often be found working on her latest work in progress. She also enjoys history, mythology, traveling, and reading.
Welcome to the book blitz for DOUBLE NEGATIVE, a standalone young adult contemporary romance, by Susan Marshall. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis Injured competitive swimmer Reece never wanted to be Vice Prez of West Hill High. It was her brother Jamie’s idea, just something to do until she could get back into the pool.
She knew that Jamie—who led his campaign with a striptease “election speech”—would be a complete “President Dumbass.” But Reece didn’t foresee that she’d fall hard for Jamie’s Student Council rival, Zain.
Zain is hot and intense, plus an amputee and a basketball star. Between Zain’s disability and Reece’s surgery, they have their challenges, but that deepens their connection—until he drops a bombshell about his accident. Suddenly, everything important to Reece starts to implode.
Struggling with issues of family loyalty, secrets, and scars, Reece must decide if real relationships are worth the heartache.
Excerpt #2 “It’s a good thing you called,” Zain said, his eyes narrowing. “Your brother needs to be kept in check.”
“What’s with you two, anyway?” I asked, returning his look.
“He’s lived this charmed life. I’ve busted my butt to get good grades, on a winning basketball team, Athletic Council Prez. He takes off his clothes, says ‘Free ice cream,’ wins Prez, throws out the rulebook. He’s not accountable, not for anything he does. And he’ll get into a good school. I know your dad’s some hotshot lawyer with big connections. He’ll pave his way. How is that fair?”
“Nothing’s fair. You work hard, then your shoulder gives out, but you come back even better.” And as soon as the words were out of my mouth, I wished I could take them back.
“Really? Not everyone comes back better. Not when someone runs over you with their car and smashes your leg so bad, they have to take half of it off. And you fight just to walk. And then more and more to get back on the court. In the end, I can only go so far. I’m hoping that I might be good enough for college, but adjusting to the prosthesis has taken a toll on my game. Once high school is over, so might basketball.”
“Shit, I’m sorry. When did this happen?”
“Two and a half years ago.” I sighed. “I don’t want sympathy,” he added, looking straight ahead.
“You’re the team captain, right?”
“Captain doesn’t mean you’re the best player. I’m pretty good, I used to be scholarship good, but I’m not so sure anymore.”
I pulled up in front of Zain’s house, a small, tidy-looking red brick bungalow with white trim and a carport. The only difference between his house and the ones on either side was the color of the door. Helped by a large, hanging white porch light, I could tell it was a deep navy blue.
I still hadn’t thanked him for bailing me out. I was grateful that he’d come, stopped the brawl, got everyone out, and helped with the mess. The situation had been tense. Someone could have gotten majorly hurt, not just bloody-nose hurt. We would have been in deep shit.
“I appreciate that you guys came.”
“I’m glad we got there when we did. It could have gone south. Fast.”
“It almost did. You’re not going to rat us out to DiFran, right?”
“I still have to think, but let me say I like having something on Jamie. I’d lose that edge if I blabbed.” I nodded.
Zain opened the passenger door and did his hop-strut thing out of Jenny. He shut the door, leaning into the window. “Come as your favorite sexual fantasy? That’s some theme for a freshman mixer.”
“Superheroes,” I said loudly, blinking. “Remember the shirt? I was Elastigirl? The capes? Superhero, not sexual fantasy.”
Author Susan Marshall
About The Author A lover of libraries, Susan obtained a Masters Degree in Library Science but found that she was too disorganized for that field. Instead, Susan worked at The Globe and Mail newspaper and then Seneca College. Four kids later, she decided to stay-at-home, spending her quiet moments indulging her love of writing.
The old adage is to “write what you know.” In Double Negative, Susan channels her experience as a parent of a teen amputee and her misguided belief that she was once an athlete. The inspiration for NemeSIS was the complicated sister dynamic in Susan’s estrogen fuelled household in Hamilton, Ontario. An avid reader, she loves e-books and falls asleep nightly to the soft glow, oblivious to what happened on the last page.
Susan lives in Toronto with her husband, three sons, a daughter, rescue dog Bean and Indy the cat.
Welcome to the book blitz for GOLDEN CROWN, the second book in the new adult contemporary sports romance series, Arthur Academy, by Kathleen Mare’e. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
GOLDEN CROWN (Arthur Academy Series #2) by Kathleen Mare’e
Synopsis “If the world is full of monsters, how do we know who wears the crown…”
In the dark of the night he bared his soul, delivering a shocking event that should’ve changed everything. So why in the light of day, does everything appear the same…? The further I’m immersed in this world he calls the ‘elite’, the more I don’t understand. And it’s not only his world I’m afraid I’m falling for, but the Golden Crown himself as well. But Pax still has secrets. And I want him to trust me, like a flame wanting fire.
Because despite his world being nothing as it seems, I’m not sure I could walk away even if I wanted to. Because the truth be told, I don’t want to.
I want him.
In the dark of the night I revealed a truth, delivering the brutal reality of what the elite really means. So why in the light of day, does everything appear the same…? It’s the same cat and mouse games, and the same political, power tricks where the Golden Crown is all they see. It’s all they want to see. Except for her.
But there are things I can’t tell her. Things I don’t think she’ll understand yet. And I need her to trust me, like a fire needing flame. Because despite me knowing what this world does to those who fall victim to it, I’m not sure I could walk away from Hendrix, even if I wanted to. Because the truth be told, I don’t want to.
I want her.
Excerpt #2 I took my lip beneath my teeth before opening my soul up as much as I was capable of. The words I were about to ask, meant more to me than she would ever know.
“I need you to trust me.”
I held my breath. Ready to wait for her reply but was surprised at how fast it actually flew from her mouth.
I stilled. “What? You trust me?”
I didn’t believe it. I was almost angry at Hendrix’s answer.
How could she trust me after everything I’ve put her through?
Everything I’ve hidden. It didn’t make any sense.
What also made no sense was her reaction either because she shook her head before taking a seat on the edge of her bed (which was too far away from me) where she played with the hem of her tee that was resting on her lap.
“Crazy huh? That I trust you. But… I can’t explain why I do. I’ve just always….”
“You’ve always what?”
She glances up, piercing my heart with her hazel eyes honing in on me with so much raw emotion. “I’ve always…” she starts, before seemingly coming to some realisation within herself. “When I was younger… I always sensed when things were wrong you know? Like that sixth sense that something bad was about to happen, or when danger was nearby. Even when I was too young to really understand my situation, I always knew deep down the kind of dangerous situation I was in. That it wasn’t normal. Well, it wasn’t everyones normal at least. I don’t expect you to understand, but I’m sure from those photos you saw that you have some idea of what I grew up in.” She pauses and my fists ball at the reminder instantly. I don’t have time to let that anger consume me though before she continues. “But I’ve just always trusted my instincts. They’ve never let me down and I guess in a lot of ways I’ve relied on it since I had no actual family to have my back. And…” she pauses again, nervously this time, when she notices me taking slow, measured steps toward her.
“And….?” I whisper, until I’m standing over her causing her head to tilt back to look up at me.
“And my gut? For some reason it trusts you Paxton. Despite you making me nervous, despite the things you say and the things you do. I feel safe around you. Protected. Like the only person capable of hurting me when you’re near – is no one else. Only…. you.”
My hand finds her cheek, letting her warmth seep into my palm. A palm, that was capable of so much destruction. So much hurt. But everything she just said was true. Because I’d always had this sense to protect her, like somehow our souls recognised the pain and destruction we both endured in our lives and wanted to somehow heal together. In most of our time together though, I wanted to protect her from me too. But this girl….
I held her as delicately as a guy like I could, when she gave me something of hers that was beyond precious. Her trust. I almost couldn’t believe she was giving it to me but it was something I was determined to keep. No matter the cost.
“You never asked me you know.”
“I never asked you what?”
“If I had something to do with… You never asked me.”
Her small fingers wrap around my wrist that’s still cupping her cheek and her eyes never sway from mine. “I may not know everything about you Pax, but I know you aren’t capable of something like that. I’ve been around monsters my entire life and you aren’t one. You’re not.”
I suck in a breath, wanting so much more in this moment when I breathe, “You called me Pax.”
She tilts her head, a knowing smirk crossing her delicate face. “It’s your name isn’t it?”
“I guess I like how it sounds coming from you.”
Then for the first time in a long time, I let myself feel…
About the Author Kathleen grew up in the south-western suburbs of Sydney, where family holidays by the beach and tormenting her two younger brothers, was how she spent her early years. But at the young age of 11, when she submitted a short story to a talented writing competition through the NSW schools program, not only did she win it, but she quickly found a love for it as well. Throughout her schooling, writing was a hobby, along with sketching and various sports. But fast forward to her adult years when she moved to Europe to follow her husbands field hockey dream, and her love for writing surged to the surface.
Her debut story, Cut, was penned over two years where her hobby seemed to lead to the completion of Pennys’ world. The rest of the series came the following year. Kathleen enjoys writing stories full of self-discovery, emotional journeys and of course, love. Something else she loves is hearing from her readers, so feel free to follow her blog or drop her an email.
For signed copies of her novels, more information about upcoming stories, or to follow her blog, please visit her website www.kathleenmaree.weebly.com
Welcome to the book blitz for CROSSROADS SAGA tenth anniversary special, the award-winning four-book young adult paranormal romance series by Mary Ting. See below for information on the series, buy links, an exclusive teaser excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
CROSSROADS SAGA 10th Anniversary Special by Mary Ting
Synopsis * * * READERS FAVORITE GOLD AWARD WINNER 2012–YOUNG ADULT * * *
Based on dreams the author had in high school-chapter 1 & 2.
Protecting her was his duty.
Falling in love was forbidden.
Loving her was all that mattered, even if it meant he would be exiled for all eternity.
Claudia Emerson’s life is about to change. It seems like a tragic coincidence when her good friend, who shares the same first and last name, dies in a car accident. Grief brings tumultuous dreams—but these are more than simple dreams. In sleep, Claudia travels to another world called Crossroads.
There, she meets Michael, a Nephilim–half angel, half human. Meeting him and being there changes her forever. It marks her as special, and that may not be a good thing. Now fallen angels and demons are after her, and it is up to Michael and the other Nephilim to protect her. Her dreams become a nightmare as secrets are revealed about who she really is and the true identities of the people she loves most.
Author Mary Ting
About the Author International Bestselling, Award-Winning Author MaryTing writes soulful, spellbinding stories that excite the imagination and captivate readers all over the world. Her books run a wide range of genres: science fiction, fantasy, and swoon worthy stories. Her storytelling talents have won her a devoted legion of fans and garnered critical praise.
Mary was born in Seoul Korea and resides in Southern California with her husband, two children, and two dogs—Mochi and Mocha. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Becoming an author was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother. After realizing she wanted to become a full-time author, she retired from teaching after twenty years..
Welcome to the book blitz for SHOPPING FOR A CEO’S HONEYMOON, the fourteenth book in the adult romantic comedy series, Shopping for a Billionaire, by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Julia Kent. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway. For al limited time, you can pick up the eBook for free!
SHOPPING FOR A CEO’S HONEYMOON (Shopping for a Billionaire Series #14) by Julia Kent
I am eating a piece of grilled white asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, drizzled with melted manchego cheese and coated in crushed pistachio, when my friend and co-worker Josh ruins my culinary orgasm by bringing up my honeymoon.
More specifically, my lack of a honeymoon.
And all I can do is grunt.
“I’m just saying,” he says with a sigh as he waves his bacon-wrapped, goat-cheese-stuffed date around on its toothpick like he’s the conductor of the Boston Pops doing a tapas bar gig, “you married a freaking billionaire. You deserve a honeymoon.”
“It’s not about what Amanda does or doesn’t deserve,” Carol insists on my behalf. As I chew, I give her a look that either says thank you or is so indecent, I need a cigarette and a fan, because damn, that asparagus is good.
“What is it about?”
“It’s about what they want. I mean, my God, Josh! Andrew bought her an estate as a wedding gift. I think he’s got all the good-husband bases covered.”
“Pfft. That? He’s a billionaire! That’s to be expected.”
“You’re pooh-poohing my husband’s gift to me? An estate in Weston, Massachusetts? It’s one of the most expensive zip codes in the country,” I say, parroting his affect.
“Hello? Billionaire? For him, that’s like buying a cheap condo behind the railroad tracks in Clinton. Declan bought Shannon an entire coffee chain.”
“This isn’t a competition,” I say, alarm making my pinot noir taste like vinegar.
“And he managed to give her a nice honeymoon in Hawaii.”
I lean in. “Define nice. Because those two still refuse to talk about their honeymoon.”
About the Author New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julia Kent writes romantic comedy with an edge, and new adult books that push contemporary boundaries. From billionaires to BBWs to new adult rock stars, Julia finds a sensual, goofy joy in every contemporary romance she writes. Unlike Shannon from Shopping for a Billionaire, she did not meet her husband after dropping her phone in a men’s room toilet (and he isn’t a billionaire). She lives in New England with her husband and three sons in a household where the toilet seat is never, ever, down.
Welcome to the book blitz for THE WORST BEST FRIEND, a standalone adult contemporary romantic comedy, by Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author Nicole Snow. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis Wall Street Journal bestselling author Nicole Snow returns with a hilariously uplifting standalone romance where two jaded friends next door bring their lost hearts home.
It’s all sunshine and butterflies until your brother’s best friend dropkicks your heart. I knew I had it coming with Weston McKnight. The Adonis next door. The fever crush. The always protector. The man who walked away after pulverizing my soul.
Seven years ago, he left our little town with a promise he couldn’t keep. I waited. I worried. I suffered. I stopped chasing dreams built on that boy’s mile-wide shoulders. Then I found the pig—and sweet chaos found me.
I had to rescue that poor squealing baby before he was roadkill. I didn’t know he belonged to Captain McGrumpy. I never guessed I’d collide with a scowling, moody, scary-hot West again. Same man. New secrets. Oh, but that all too familiar tension…
We’re stuck as frenemy neighbors for the next two months. Facing a dilemma with bittersweet memories and flaming glances. What’s the harm in seeking a little closure? Massive. Can we even use words without risking an all out kissing war? Well… Am I in trouble with my worst best friend again? Definitely.
Full-length romance thriller with a sticky sweet Happily Ever After forged from friends-to-lovers madness. Witness one broken man’s redemption quest to claim the girl he shouldn’t with so many small-town hijinks, countless dad jokes, and a little help from a bad-tempered pig.
Excerpt “Look at me,” I rumble.
“W-why?” she stammers with a sniff.
The moment our lips meet, it’s like a generator blown to pieces. A hundred thousand watts of raw electricity, hot and fast and furious, so wild with sparks it welds our lips together.
She gasps into my mouth and I groan back a curse. Her lips firm with surprise, then soften, giving way to the sudden attack of my tongue.
I’m no longer in control of my own body.
This kiss has its own rules, its own gravity, its own soul.
I’d be a complete fool to try to stop its energy.
Her lips are too soft. Too warm. Too perfect in every way, shape, form, and whimper.
When my tongue claims hers, soft and wet as a summer strawberry, she molds to my chest, dragging her body against mine.
I can’t separate my hot mouth from hers, even though I know full well I should.
Stumbling back a step is the only thing that saves us.
That’s what she does to me, her and her thieving, glorious lips. She knocks me upside the head and renders me fucking boneless.
I tear myself away violently, just a few inches, both of us staring in wild-eyed shock at each other, fighting to remember how to breathe.
Goddamn. My eyes slide to those ruby-red lips again with a need to bite her.
I can’t. I won’t.
But hell…one more time, maybe.
Just one more taste and then I’ll stop. I’ll pull back from the brink before we face annihilation.
It takes nearly all my willpower to crush my lips against hers, to roam her mouth every way I’ve wanted for years—fucking years—only to shove myself away.
Dammit all. My bright ideas especially.
I’m panting like a wild animal—breathing like I’m in disbelief—and for her, I want to be.
I also want it to happen again, a thousand more times.
Author Nicole Snow
About The Author Nicole Snow is a Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author. She found her love of writing by hashing out love scenes on lunch breaks and plotting her great escape from boardrooms. Her work roared onto the indie romance scene in 2014 with her Grizzlies MC series.
Since then Snow aims for the very best in growly, heart-of-gold alpha heroes, unbelievable suspense, and swoon storms aplenty. With over a million books sold, she lives for the joy of making two people fight with every bit of their soul for a Happily Ever After.
Current fan favorites include her Enguard Protectors series, accidental love novels, plus long beloved MC romance thrillers like the Grizzlies and Deadly Pistols.
Welcome to the book blitz for BEAST, the fourth book in the adult contemporary romance/fairytale retelling series, House of Misfits, by award-winning author, Cambria Hebert. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
BEAST (House of Misfits Series #4) by Cambria Hebert
A charismatic man cannot see beyond his own brilliant reflection, never learning that true beauty lies within. His selfish behavior draws the ire of a witch with enchantment on her wicked tongue. A fiery curse is unleashed, engulfing the self-centered man’s entire existence. When at last the flames are extinguished, he gazes upon his reflection to discover he is no longer breathtakingly handsome but condemned with scorched flesh and twisted scars.
He is no longer a man at all… but a beast.
While the ferocious beast rages, alienating everyone far and wide, a woman whose beauty is far more than skin-deep dwells in a world much simpler than his.
The beauty’s quiet life is disrupted when she is ambushed, threatened, and boldly steps in the path of her father’s debt. However, it’s not the thugs on her tail or the roaring beast testing her patience that threatens to be this sassy beauty’s downfall. It’s the way her heart flutters whenever he is near.
But some curses just can’t be broken, and really… How can she truly ever love a beast?
*Beast is book 4 in the House of Misfits series but it could be read as a standalone. There are mentions of the previous books & plots and the characters from the first three books do make appearances in Beast.
About the Author Cambria Hebert is an award winning, bestselling novelist of more than twenty books. She went to college for a bachelor’s degree, couldn’t pick a major, and ended up with a degree in cosmetology. So rest assured her characters will always have good hair.
Besides writing, Cambria loves a caramel latte, staying up late, sleeping in, and watching movies. She considers math human torture and has an irrational fear of chickens (yes, chickens). You can often find her running on the treadmill (she’d rather be eating a donut), painting her toenails (because she bites her fingernails), or walking her chorkie (the real boss of the house).
Cambria has written within the young adult and new adult genres, penning many paranormal and contemporary titles. Her favorite genre to read and write is romantic suspense. A few of her most recognized titles are: The Hashtag Series, Text, Torch, and Tattoo.
Cambria Hebert owns and operates Cambria Hebert Books, LLC..
Welcome to the book blitz for A WISH TOO DARK AND KIND, a stand-alone adult dark fantasy horror/urban fantasy, by M.L. Blackbird. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on his giveaway.
Among the immortals that inhabit our world, Arnaud Demeure is known as the man who can fulfill your one true wish or who can also conjure your worst nightmares.
Eight invitations are sent to eight immortals, and when Arnaud Demeure hosts a party, no one refuses his request. Why have they been summoned? Is it for a celebration or does a sinister fate await them? After all, in the ways of Magick, a party can also be a ritual to end the world.
As the mystery deepens, the attendees must overcome their personal grudges to unravel the threads of Demeure’s grand plan that has been centuries in the making. But, with one of the guests secretly working with their host to sabotage the group’s every move, it seems impossible to look behind the curtain to learn Demeure’s true intentions.
With each guest hiding dark secrets and darker intentions, will they be able to uncover Demeure’s mysterious motives or will the party prove to be the deadly nightmare that they each fear?
Excerpt #1 Had you walked with us on the roads of Paris in the old days, you would have heard many stories. And yet the nightcrawlers cared only about those talking of a man: Arnaud Demeure. The one with the gift to fulfill any wish. Only one rule—it had to be your one true wish.
If while walking in the shadows of a dark alley at midnight, you met one of ours and asked him, “What news do you bring, brother?” They would respond, “Have you heard of Arnaud Demeure?” And if by the witching hour, while hunting for prey, you talked with those of us who spy and report, they would tell you, “Arnaud Demeure . . .” So, when dark gave in to the light, on your way home to escape the sun, you thought, What’s my true wish, Arnaud Demeure?
Consider what you’d do if that fine little man invited you to his castle. Imagine, any wish you have he’d grant it, if it is true. They say the hardest thing for those like us is dying. Others say it is to stay human as time carries us around. But we are like you. We want something; we don’t know what it is and never get it. For you, it’s years, for us, centuries. Now you understand why that night many years ago, when I received his invite, against any logic, I accepted.
Author M.L. Blackbird
About the Author Born and raised in Sicily, M.L. spent most of his early life inventing stories and believing he could live in them. In high school, he spent way too much time watching B movies, playing video games, and reading everything he could get his hands on, provided it wasn’t recommended by any authority figure.
M.L. spent most of his college years and adult life writing in languages only machines can understand until he decided to put some of his stories on the page. After a few years spent in Scotland, now M.L. lives in Seattle with his wife, his cat, and a large assortment of books. When not writing, he still enjoys playing video games and explaining board game rules to his friends.
You can follow M.L. on: https://mylittleblackbird.com.