The Story of Us by @TeriWilsonAuthr #Romance #Reading @Hallmark @InkSlingerPR


Today we have the excerpt reveal for Teri Wilson’s upcoming romance from Hallmark, THE STORY OF US! Check out the excerpt and be sure to pre-order your copy today!

Title: The Story of Us

Author: Teri Wilson

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Hallmark

About The Story of Us:

A box of love letters from the past
may hold the key to the future…


Jamie always adored True Love Bookstore and Café, and now she’s the owner. But businesses are struggling in her small town, and her beloved store is threatened by a new retail development scheme.


Sawyer, Jamie’s former high school sweetheart, startles her when he comes to town for the first time in fifteen years. She soon learns he’s the architect of the proposed development and he’s there to sell local business owners on his plan. Sawyer had no idea that Jamie had bought the bookstore and poured everything she had into it. If he takes it over, he’ll break her heart a second time.
Jamie’s discovery of a box of old love letters and valentines might hold the key to saving her shop. And after all this time, could love be in the cards for Jamie and Sawyer, too?

Pre-Order Your Copy Today:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Books A Million | Target

Exclusive Excerpt:

Sawyer’s gaze locked onto hers, and as much as Jamie knew she should look away, she just couldn’t. The lines around his eyes were new, as were the sharp angles of his jawline, but those warm brown irises of his were exactly the same. These were the eyes that had seen her at a time when no one else had. She’d been nothing but a quiet, book-loving dreamer, and he’d brought her out of her shell and shown her that the world could be every bit as colorful and vibrant in reality as it was in the novels she loved so much.

Meeting Sawyer O’Dell had changed her. He’d helped her become the woman she was today, because she’d loved the person he’d seen when he’d looked at her with those eyes—interesting, enchanting.

His.

What would it be like to feel that way again? To be loved and cherished by the only person she’d ever truly wanted to build a life with? To have her heart put back together by the man who’d broken it when he’d been just a boy?

The thought was intoxicating. It made her do things she knew she shouldn’t—like step closer to him so that their breath mingled together in the evergreen air, causing her to smile to herself as his gaze drifted slowly, purposefully to her lips. Her breath hitched as he dipped his head. She’d never wanted a kiss so badly in her life— not even when she’d been sixteen years old and he’d bent toward her in the exact same way for the very first time.

His hand was on her waist and his lips were just a whisper away—a heartbeat, a breath, a memory. And Jamie’s heart felt as if it were opening like a favorite book, one whose pages hadn’t been read in a long, long time. She let her eyes drift closed, because she knew this story by heart. The story of Sawyer and Jamie…

The story of us.

But in the sliver of a second before their lips met, someone said Jamie’s name, and the book slammed shut.

“Jamie?”

Her eyes flew open. She and Sawyer blinked at each other, as if they couldn’t quite get their bearings. Then they both turned their heads in the direction of the speaker.

No. Jamie’s stomach tied itself into a knot. It couldn’t be him. What on earth was he doing there?

She bit her bottom lip, still tingling from the missed opportunity. She’d been waiting fifteen years to kiss Sawyer O’Dell again, and apparently, she’d have to wait even longer. “Matt?”

About Teri Wilson:

Teri Wilson is a Publishers Weekly bestselling author of romance, women’s fiction and romantic comedy. Three of Teri’s books have been adapted into Hallmark Channel Original Movies by Crown Media, including UNLEASHING MR. DARCY (plus its sequel MARRYING MR. DARCY), THE ART OF US and NORTHERN LIGHTS OF CHRISTMAS, based on her book SLEIGH BELL SWEETHEARTS. She is also a recipient of the prestigious RITA Award for excellence in romantic fiction for her novel THE BACHELOR’S BABY SURPRISE. Teri has a major weakness for cute animals, pretty dresses and Audrey Hepburn films, and she loves following the British royal family. Visit her at http://www.teriwilson.net or on Twitter @TeriWilsonauthr.

Connect with Teri:

Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads

Enter Teri’s Giveaway:

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So, That Got Weird by Amelia Kingston #Romance #Read @InkSlingerPR @AKingstonBooks


Amelia Kingston is joining us today with an excerpt for her upcoming SO THAT GOT WEIRD! Check it out and be sure to pre-order your copy today!

 

Title: So That Got Weird

Author: Amelia Kingston

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: December 24th!

About So That Got Weird:

A painfully awkward love story.

Incomprehensibly awkward Elizabeth Wilde is desperate for love. Connection. Intimacy. After a lifetime of romantic failures, the twenty-one-year-old gamer realizes she needs help. Professional help. She needs…

A sex tutor.

The devastatingly hot jock Austin Jacobs is just the man for the job. As the reigning campus sex god, he has the playboy act down pat. But underneath those six-pack abs beats a broken heart. He doesn’t trust people and he sure as hell doesn’t believe in love.

The odd couple strike a deal. Four weeks of ‘tutoring’ for five thousand dollars.

When Austin coaxes Elizabeth out from behind her computer screen, the attraction they feel is undeniable. They’re both a little broken, but somehow their jagged edges fit. And when their world comes tumbling down on top of them, they each have to decide if this weird thing called love is worth fighting for.

 

Pre-Order You Copy Today:

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Exclusive Excerpt:

“Well, Mav.” I’m trying to annoy him, but secretly I like the idea that it’s something only I call him. Maverick. It suits him. “I made us a schedule, actually.” My voice has more uncertainty in it than I was hoping. I hand him the carefully thought-out schedule I crafted over the past few months.

“Of course you made a schedule,” he quips with a smirk. His smile only grows as he reads. “You made us a sex syllabus, a sex-abus.”

I groan. He continues undaunted.

“Four weeks, four topics. Looks like we round a base a week. This week’s kissing. Next week is touching, groping, fondling. Then, oral. Giving and receiving. Last week we hit a few home runs,” he offers.

Sex with Austin.

I get lost in my thoughts of what these next four weeks are going to be like. My body flushes and I cross my legs, fighting the building warmth between my thighs. It’s not like I haven’t pictured all this before, but now I’m starting to realize it’s actually going to happen.

You are going to lose your virginity to Austin Jacobs!

“You seriously think we need a whole week dedicated to kissing?” he challenges.

“It’s important to build foundational knowledge in a new subject before advancing to more challenging material.”

Oh my God, you’re such a nerd.

“Come here.” He saunters around the kitchen island and I stand up to meet him. He steps right into my body. I start to lean back, but he grabs my hands and puts them around his neck. The gesture highlights our height difference. I can barely reach without him having to bend down.

His fingers slide over the delicate skin of my forearms and down my sides, causing an effervescent tingle across my whole body. He wraps his arms around my waist, pulling me into him firmly. I’m so small in his embrace. It makes me feel dainty and weirdly feminine.

“Kiss me,” he demands.

“Now?” I swallow roughly.

“Now would be good.”

I don’t do anything.

I just stand there.

Kiss him!

Just do it!

He’s right here and he is asking you to do it!

My heart races, my stomach flutters. My throat gets tight. My mouth goes dry. I spiral into panic. Those beautiful blue eyes are bearing down on me expectantly, burning into me. I close my eyes, count to three in my head, and do it. I push forward on my tiptoes and quickly peck him on the lips. Peck is a generous term for the limp-lipped travesty that is my first attempt at a kiss.

“There,” I declare in placid triumph.

“Damn, I must be a horrible teacher. Is that what I showed you last night?” he says in mock disappointment.

I look down at his chest and shake my head, feeling like a kid who got caught sneaking candy before dinner.

“How did I kiss you last night?” It isn’t a rhetorical question. He wants me to answer.

“Deep,” I say without thinking. “A-And long,” I add with a shaky breath and a blush. That’s the only way to describe his kiss. Other than being simply amazing.

“Hey.” He lifts my chin up so our eyes meet again. “I know you’re nervous, but you shouldn’t be. This isn’t a big deal. I know you can do this.” Great, now Austin’s giving me a pep talk. Hello, Self-esteem. I’d like you to meet All Time Low. This is a whole new level of embarrassing.

Closing my eyes, I try to think back to his kiss last night. I take a deep breath and this time I pull him down to me. He leans down easily. I run through the checklist I made last night. I brush my lips gently across his as I tilt my head to the side. I place my lips on his, teasing his bottom lip with my tongue lightly.

“Open your lips,” I whisper against him.

“Yes, boss,” he quips. I stifle an annoyed sigh and slide my tongue into his mouth. He lets out a soft moan as his hands slide down to my butt.

Holy shit! You just made Austin Jacobs moan!

About Amelia Kingston:

Amelia Kingston is many things, the most interesting of which are probably California girl, writer, traveler, and dog mom. She survives on chocolate, coffee, wine, and sarcasm. Not necessarily in that order.

She’s been blessed with a patient husband who’s embraced her nomad ways and traveled with her to over 30 countries across 5 continents (I’m coming for you next, Antarctica!). She’s also been cursed with an impatient (although admittedly adorable) terrier who pouts when her dinner is 5 minutes late.

She writes about strong, stubborn, flawed women and the men who can’t help but love them. Her irreverent books aim to be silly and fun with the occasional storm cloud to remind us to appreciate the sunny days. As a hopeless romantic, her favorite stories are the ones that remind us all that while love is rarely perfect, it’s always worth chasing.

 

Connect with Amelia:

Newsletter | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

The Rancher’s Family by @BarbaraWDaille #NewRelease #Romance @HarlequinBooks


Cover original The Rancher's Family

 

Thanks for sharing my new release, Jacquie!

I love this cover!!

 

Book Blurb:

 

“Are you my new mommy?”

She certainly hopes so…

After a devastating loss, Cara Leonetti’s dreams of a husband and children are on hold. But Cowboy Creek’s local matchmaker thinks otherwise! And Cara finds herself unexpectedly entangled in the day-to-day family chaos of widower Wes Daniels and his two small children. She’s falling hard, but the strong, silent rancher doesn’t trust in love. Can Cara put her own fears aside and show Wes that they’re stronger together?

 

 

Excerpt from The Rancher’s Family:

When Cara closed the laptop, Wes reached out to help her to her feet. Though her hand was small, her grip was strong. Her fingers, slim and warm, fit perfectly in his.

 

Part of him wanted to keep holding on. The sane part of him made him release her hand the minute she stood upright.

 

“Thanks.” She spent a while putting the computer on the dresser, settling it just so and fiddling with the lid—all unnecessarily, as far as he could see. Finally, she said, “I have to confess.”

 

That explained the delaying tactics. He waited.

 

“I’d have made even better progress if I hadn’t been online most of the afternoon.”

 

“Don’t tell me. You’re an internet shopper?”

 

“No.”

 

“A closet gamer?”

 

“No, not that.”

 

“Addicted to hanging out outline?”

 

“Not that, either. I’m looking for a job.”

 

“Sounds like you have one—with Andi.” He expected her to laugh or at least smile. Wrong again. Her expression suddenly turned solemn.

 

“No, that’s just temporary. I really need to get back home.”

 

Yet another thing he knew about her—where she lived. “What’s the attraction in Phoenix?”

 

Now she grinned. “Oh…the heat, the saguaros, the local petting zoo. Just think of all the animals Mark could find there to inspire his drawings. Where does he get his interest in art, anyhow?”

 

Nice. With one quick question—and that stunning grin—she had deftly turned the conversation away from a topic she evidently wanted to avoid. Unfortunately, she had also led them to one he didn’t want to discuss.

 

Buy Links:

Amazon  https://www.amazon.com/Ranchers-Family-Hitching-Post-Hotel-ebook/dp/B07MW7JZZ1/

Barnes & Noble  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-ranchers-family-barbara-white-daille/1130314948?ean=9781488039881

Books-A-Million  https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Ranchers-Family/Barbara-White-Daille/Q30646677?id=7571848599780

Harlequin  https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781488039881_the-ranchers-family.html

Kobo  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-rancher-s-family

 

Barbara White Daille[1]

 

About Barbara:

Barbara White Daille lives with her husband in the sunny Southwest. Though they love the warm winters and the lizards in their front yard, they haven’t gotten used to the scorpions in the bathroom. Barbara also loves writing, reading, and chocolate.  Sign up for her newsletter to keep up with the latest in her writing life:  https://barbarawhitedaille.com/newsletter.

Find Barbara and her books:

Website  https://www.barbarawhitedaille.com

Newsletter  https://www.barbarawhitedaille.com/newsletter

Facebook  http://www.facebook.com/barbarawhitedaille

Twitter  https://twitter.com/BarbaraWDaille

BookBub https://www.bookbub.com/authors/barbara-white-daille

Goodreads  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/529361.Barbara_White_Daille
Amazon  http://www.amazon.com/Barbara-White-Daille/e/B002J6B0QQ

Harlequin  https://www.harlequin.com/shop/authors/23759_barbara-white-daille.html
Entangled  http://entangledpublishing.com/category/barbara-white-daille/

 

#FreebieFriday #BeachRead Edition


Summer Reading

I don’t know about you, but I find it extremely hard to concentrate on my writing in the summer. I’d much sooner be outside, in the garden, or lounging under the cherry tree reading all the amazing books on my TBR pile (which is ready to run away and hide, it’s so tall! lol).

I have deadlines I have to meet, but maybe, just maybe, they can wait another day or two. 🙂

How about you? Do you find summer distracting?

Here’s this week’s freebie links- enjoy!

A woman and child in danger teaches Nick life is worth living.

ALL SHE WANTS IS TO LIVE HER LIFE 

Abused, Sara Sheridan finds the courage to escape her husband. She has no interest in getting mixed up with another alpha, attitude-laden male. Especially with her ex hot on her trail. 

ALL HE CRAVES IS PEACE AND QUIET 

Marine, Nick Kelley prefers solitude, away from the memories haunting him. So what is it about his reticent neighbor and her child that tempts him to give it up? 

UNTIL LOVE GETS IN THE WAY 

Nick and Sara’s growing attraction  leads them down a dangerous path as her ex-husband closes in on the new life she’s made for her daughter and threatens to blow it all apart. 

Excerpt

“How did you find me?” Sara fell back as Tom pushed his way inside, followed closely by Sam, and then she caught sight of Fiona being led in by two other men. Her friend was cuffed, arms pulled taut behind her back. Her mouth, covered by a bright red handkerchief tied so tight it cut into her whitened cheeks, highlighted an obscene bruise. Her eyes, one of them black and blue, filled with tears, begging Sara to forgive her.

“GPS, my dear, you’ve heard of that I presume? I traced you from your own phone, that wasn’t very smart of you. So, this is where you’ve been hiding.” He waved the others into the room, locking the door behind them. “What, no kiss for your Husband? You do recall you have one of those, don’t you?”

He looked the same, so tall and handsome standing there in his perfectly pressed suit and tie, not a hair out of place. A wolf in sheep’s clothing. It was so obvious to her now. The narrow, cold eyes, the supercilious attitude, the rigid stance, the not-so-well-hidden-anger, had he always been that way? She didn’t like to think so. How could she have been so wrong about him? He’d pulled the wool over her eyes from the beginning.

Free Today!

Let the authors of Summer Heat tempt you with some mouth-watering recipes. Bacon-Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Pistachios, Decadent French Toast, Marinated Steak, Devil’s Food Cake, Beer-Steamed Mussels, Baked Apple with Custard Sauce, White Chocolate Cherry Scones. These are just a few of the wonderful dishes you’ll find in this unique cookbook. Each is linked to a novella in Summer Heat, a collection of sixteen sexy romances by New York Times, USA Today and other Bestselling Authors. The food is great, and each recipe will whet your appetite for one of the stories in the boxed set by giving you insights into the life of the author’s hero and/or heroine. So enjoy the fabulous food along with the outstanding prose from a seasoned group of authors.

Book Bites offers samples for 9 romance novels and novellas. We hope you will find them not only delicious but also arousing an irresistible craving for more.

So, you ask, what is this boxed set all about?
At no other point is passion put to the test as in dire times of war. From the American Civil War to WWII, from Vietnam to the War in Afghanistan to the Persian Gulf, the stories in this boxed set summon the strength of true lovers. 
Written by bestselling, award-winning, and USA Today authors, the novels and novellas in this collection tell of overcoming loss, injuries, and separation, to celebrate the victory of love. 
If you like Military Romance, Wounded Warrior Romance, Historical Romance, Contemporary Romance, or Romantic Suspense, this anthology invites you to triumph over the worst of conditions and find the courage to bring forth the best in us.

The Authors’ Billboard is proud to publish Book Bites 9. Enjoy a sampling —the first chapter or two — of a scintillating peek into the contemporary romances from award winning and NY Times and USA Today bestselling authors from two of our boxed sets: Unforgettable Heroes and Sweet and Sassy.

Can’t figure out which flavor you’d like tonight? Maybe these will fire up your appetite. After all, your Kindle isn’t completely full, right?

These seventeen teasers are for lovers of romance stories of all heat levels. They are available in their complete versions in: UNFORGETTABLE HEROES and SWEET AND SASSY

Sweet Home Alaska by @4BethCarpenter #Romance #SummerReading @HarlequinBooks @PrismBookTours


On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Sweet Home Alaska (Northern Lights #5) By Beth Carpenter Contemporary Romance Mass Market Paperback & ebook, 368 Pages July 1st 2019 by Harlequin Heartwarming

Some sparks last forever.

But once burned…

World traveler Dr. Scott Willingham is known for being calm and levelheaded—except where Volta Morgan is concerned. In the ten years since they parted, Scott still can’t forget her. Now he’s come to Alaska to find Volta and finally let her go, only to find their attraction is stronger than ever. Can Scott leave her behind one last time…or has he truly found a place to call home?

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Excerpt

Volta and Mike carried the portable unit through the door of the clinic while Bridget disappeared into the second room, where they could hear Paul’s voice: “That’s it, babe. You’re doing great. Ouch—” Volta chuckled to herself. She’d been on the receiving end of some of those hand clenches during labor. Lori was one of the gentlest people Volta knew, but sometimes it took a lot to make it through those big contractions.

“Hi, everyone. Bridget Hickel, flight nurse. Bad news, I’m afraid,” Bridget announced. “Mount Spurr blew its top, and we’re grounded.”

“The volcano erupted?” Daniel’s voice.

“Yes. We were already two-thirds of the way here, so we kept on coming. Unfortunately, we’re not flying out again until the ash cloud is gone. But we did bring an incubator. They’re carrying it in now.”

“Where do you want it?” Mike asked Volta, swinging his end around to fit it into the waiting room.

Let’s set it here for now,” Volta suggested, nodding toward a clear space against the wall. “It sounds pretty crowded in the exam room.” They set the unit on the floor.

“I’ll head over to Zeke’s and see what he knows,” Mike told Volta. “Unless you need me.”

She’d forgotten Mike’s cousin operated an air taxi service out of Sparks. “I don’t think so since we can’t fly, but I’ll call if we do. Thanks, Mike.”

Volta headed toward the exam room, but before she reached the door, another voice drifted out, reassuring and calm. “Good job, Lori. Not much longer now. Try to relax for a minute. Slow, easy breaths.”

Volta stopped in her tracks. She knew that voice, deep and smooth, with just a bit of drawl. But it couldn’t be. The owner of the voice she knew was working on the other side of the world. No doubt this was some other baritone-voiced doctor from Texas. The voice continued, “You’re at a ten. Doing great. Next contraction, you’ll be able to push.”

Other Books in the Series

About the Author

Once upon a time …

when Beth Carpenter was a little girl, she read everything she could get her hands on, and entertained herself on the school bus by making up stories in her head. Not a lot has changed. She’s still consuming books like M&Ms, and spends her days creating happily-ever-afters for her imaginary friends.

She lives in Alaska and Arizona with her husband and an aggressively affectionate fifty-pound lap dog. She loves to hear from readers.

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Tour Schedule

Tour Giveaway

1 winner will receive: – A copy of AN ALASKAN PROPOSAL – A neoprene pansy-print lunch tote – A $20 Amazon gift card

Please note: International entries welcome, but if the winner has no US mailing address, the substitute prize will be AN ALASKAN PROPOSAL and ALASKAN HIDEAWAY ebooks, plus a $20 Amazon gift card.

Ends July 17, 2019

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Grab Our Button!

When long-dead secrets surface, they’ll have to overcome their differences… The Lemon Sisters #Romance #BeachRead @JillShalvis @jennw23


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The Lemon Sisters by Jill Shalvis

Release Date: June 18, 2019

LemonSisters cover.jpeg

The Lemon Sisters, an all-new standalone contemporary romance by Jill Shalvis.

When Brooke’s older sister, Mindy, shows up at her door with her three kids in tow, she barely recognizes her sibling who looks like she’s on the verge of a total breakdown. While adventurous, wanderlust Brooke was always the problem child, eager to slip free of Wildstone and its small-town constraints, Mindy was the golden child, who never had a hair out of place or a GPA below 4.0. The Mindy that arrives at Brooke’s apartment however, is a far cry from the ever-perfect doctor’s wife.

Brooke’s further stunned when Mindy asks to trade places with her for a few days so she can pick up her pieces and put herself back together. What Mindy doesn’t realize is that Brooke is just as broken. Her sister needs her though, so Brooke takes the kids and returns to Wildstone.

But how does one go home after seven years away and what feels like a lifetime of secrets? It doesn’t take long for Brooke to come face-to-face with her past, in the form of one tall, dark, sexy mistake. But Garrett’s no longer interested, or so he says. Only his words don’t match his actions, leaving Brooke feeling things she long ago shoved deep.

The sisters begin to wonder if the childhood taunts were true, are they lemons in life? In love? True or not, they know one thing—you can’t run far enough to outpace your demons. And when long-dead secrets surface, they’ll have to overcome their differences and learn that sometimes the one person who can help you the most is the one you never thought to ask.

TLS - AN.jpg

Download your copy today!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2CrqBAf

Nook: http://bit.ly/2CqzYzY

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2YazSWj

Apple Books: https://apple.co/2Wh8Wml

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2ULl9Pw

Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/2TkD1zb

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2Iu9vW3

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Excerpt:

“Okay,” she said. “Time for me to go to bed.”

“Or you’re running,” he said. “Again.”

She closed her eyes and told herself to ignore the soft taunt. No matter what they’d been – or hadn’t been – to each other, she wasn’t looking for love with anyone, and certainly not a wash and repeat with the one man who could destroy her. It wasn’t as if she’d been a monk. She’d dated, but she hadn’t let anyone in. Not ever. Even Cole had complained about the brick walls she’d encased her emotions in.

And he was right. She could get involved to a point, but she always pulled back.

“You don’t have to run from me, you know,” Garrett said. “There’s no reason for there to be anything but honesty between us.”

Yes, there was… “Maybe I’m just not feeling it.”

Another soft laugh. “Okay.”

“Hey,” she said and poked a finger in his pec. His hard, ungiving, sexy pec. “If I was feeling it, you’d know.”

“Yeah? How?” he challenged.

“I’d be …flirty. I certainly wouldn’t be thinking of all of your faults.”

He grinned. How like a man to not be worried about his faults.

“So what are these so-called faults?” he asked, curious. Still not concerned.

“Well, for starters, you’re wearing black knit boxers with bananas on them.”

This made him laugh outright. “Someone sent me a subscription box. They come once a month. Last month’s pair had cocks all over them.”

“Like … chickens, or…?”

He was still smiling. “If you’re curious, I’ll be happy to wear them tomorrow and give you a peek.”

“Whatever,” she said. “And the fact that some woman sent you a subscription to undies is another reason I’m not feeling it. You’ve stayed friends with every single person you’ve ever met.”

“And that’s a fault?”

She shrugged. Of course it wasn’t a fault. It was the opposite of a fault. “Well, except for me, of course.”

“Because you don’t answer phone calls, texts, emails…” He tilted his head. “Tell me something.”

Oh boy. “What?”

“Why did you and your last boyfriend break up? That Cole guy.”

“I told you, he’s my boss.”

“But you’re sleeping together,” he said, his eyes holding hers prisoner. “Or you were.”

“How do you know that?”

He smiled grimly. “You just told me.”

Dammit. She crossed her arms over her chest. “We’re not together if that’s what you’re asking.”

“Why?”

“Why what?” she asked.

“Why aren’t you together?” he pressed.

“Because I don’t like him like that.”

Did his eyes warm very slightly, or was that her imagination? “Because you’re just not feeling it?” he asked mockily, using her words.

She rolled her eyes. “You think you’re funny. How about we talk about you. Tell me about the girlfriend you said you don’t have. The one who called you the other day for a hookup.”

“It wasn’t a hookup. She dumped me.”

She snorted. “Right. You expected me to believe a guy who looks like you do, and is funny and smart like you are, got dumped?”

“Actually, I expect you to believe whatever I tell you.” He shifted close until they were knee to knee. “Because I’ve never lied to you, Brooke. Never will.”

About Jill:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s sexy contemporary and award-winning books wherever romances are sold and click on the blog button above for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

Connect with Jill:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JillShalvis/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JillShalvis/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jillshalvis/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jillshalvis/

Tumblr: http://jillshalvis.tumblr.com

Newsletter: http://jillshalvis.com/contact/

Website: http://jillshalvis.com

 

Till There Was You by @MarieForce #NewRelease #Romance @InkSlingerPR


Today we are celebrating the release of TILL THERE WAS YOU, a contemporary romance title that is part of the bestselling Green Mountain/Butler, Vermont series by Marie Force. Check out the purchase links below.

 

Till There Was You by Marie Force

Available Now!


Book Blurb:

 

Being an adult has its advantages…

Lucas Abbott and his identical twin grew up sharing everything—including a reputation for funny, idiotic behavior. But now that Lucas is ready to shed that lovable-idiot image, grow up and have a real, adult relationship, the joke’s on him. He and his twin have fallen for the same woman.

Crushed and hoping a few days on the slopes will work out his frustrations, he heads for Stowe, Vermont. All thought of fun and relaxation flies away as a car spins out in a snowstorm, and his firefighter/paramedic training kicks into high gear.

Danielle Rowson is hoping to pick up the pieces and build a new life for herself and her daughter in Vermont. Winding up in a ditch in the middle of a blizzard isn’t part of the plan—and neither is the kind, sexy rescuer whose strong hands pull them to safety.

Lucas has been a little kid, a big kid and now an adult—and he discovers that adulting has more than one advantage. Especially when it comes to sharing with Dani and Savannah the one thing that’s his and his alone: his love.

 

Purchase Till There Was You now!

Kindle US | Apple | Nook | Kobo | Google

Order a signed copy from Marie’s store, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

 

 

Excerpt

Chapter 2

As usual, their mom had made pizza from scratch for their birthday—sausage and onion for him and pepperoni and peppers for Landon, along with special orders for the others. Normally, Lucas loved the traditions and the way his mother still paid attention to the details with each of her ten children, even though they were grown and some had kids of their own.

But tonight, with Landon and Amanda seated directly across the table from him, Lucas could barely swallow the delicious pizza or the beer his father had opened for him. He had nothing to say to anyone, which was rare in and of itself. Lucas Abbott always had something to say, especially in the midst of his boisterous family, all of whom had come to celebrate their brothers’ birthday. As the eighth child in a family of ten, one learned to speak up early or be drowned out by the noise.

When everyone was there, they were close to twenty people as his siblings were pairing off, getting married and having babies like wildfire these days. Their elusive, quiet brother Wade had shocked the living shit out of them recently by showing up with a wife none of them had met until after he and Mia had said “I do.” No one had seen that coming, but Wade seemed happier than Lucas had ever seen him. Mia’s long-lost father was throwing them a big wedding in Boston in June that everyone would be going to. Would Landon bring Amanda to that, too?

The noise level in the dining room was probably registering on the Richter scale. Normally, he’d be right in the middle of the fray. Tonight, he had a splitting headache.

Elmer nudged him. “What’s up with you?” Fortunately, his grandfather kept his voice down, so the question wasn’t heard by everyone else.

“Nothing.”

“Not like you to pick at the pizza. You’re more likely to inhale than pick.”

“I’m not that hungry tonight.”

Elmer’s white brows furrowed as he placed a hand on Lucas’s forehead. “You’re not feverish.”

Molly zeroed in on Elmer’s hand on Lucas’s forehead. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing. The pizza is great, Mom.”

Though she accepted his answer, he could tell by the way his mother looked at him that he hadn’t fooled her.

Per the tradition, she brought out one big cake, half chocolate for him and half vanilla for Landon, and they blew out their candles together. They’d done that twenty-six other times, and it had never once occurred to Lucas that he ought to have his own damned cake as a grown-ass man. Until now.

“Happy birthday, bro,” Landon said, giving him a warm smile.

“Same to you.” Lucas could barely stand to look at the face that was nearly the mirror image of his own. He felt naked without the beard that left almost nothing to distinguish him from his identical twin.

Clearly Amanda preferred Landon to him if the way she giggled at every stupid thing his brother said was any indication.

She’d worn her dark hair up tonight, which only accentuated her pretty green eyes and the smattering of freckles across her nose that he’d found both cute and sexy. He didn’t recall her giggling so much when they went out and was thankful for that. In general, giggling wasn’t something he found overly attractive in a woman.

But damn if he didn’t find the rest of her overly attractive. She was downright gorgeous. He’d thought so from the first time he saw her in the conference room, surrounded by sex toys as she indoctrinated the family on the line of products her company produced.

And no, it hadn’t been the sex toys that had gotten to him. It’d been her. The confident way she spoke about something that most people had trouble talking about in private, let alone in a room full of strangers, had really done it for him. This was a woman who owned her sexuality and her freedom to express it.

That’s where his attraction toward her had started. But it had only flourished during the evening they spent together talking with an ease he didn’t often experience with someone he’d just met.

They’d covered everything from their families to their hometowns to their favorite sports, movies, books, TV shows, and it had been… easy. Fun. He’d immediately wanted to do it again and had thought she felt the same way, but watching her now with Landon, he could see that she had found a connection with him, too. Perhaps a stronger connection than she’d found with Lucas. If that was the case, there was nothing he could do about it. The choice was hers to make, and she’d clearly made it.

He stood, taking his grandfather by surprise. “Where you going, boy?”

“Gotta get home. I’ve got an early morning tomorrow.”

“Where you got to be?” Landon asked.

“I’m covering for Denny.” Lucas referred to one of the paramedics they worked with. “His wife has an ultrasound, and they’re going to find out what they’re having.”

“Oh, cool.”

“You didn’t open your presents,” Molly said.

“I told you guys no presents.”

“When do we ever do what we’re told?” Linc asked.

Lucas took the time to open the gifts from his parents—some new tools for the shop, a sleeping bag to replace the one he’d trashed after the last camping trip, a pair of the cargo shorts he wore in the summer, a book about Lewis and Clark that he’d been meaning to get and a watch with GPS capability.

“Thanks, Mom. I love it all.”

“You’re very welcome.”

He appreciated that she seemed to get that he wanted out of there. But he hoped she knew it wasn’t because he didn’t love the time with his family.

Tomorrow, he would do the shift for Denny during the day, and then he had three days off before his next shift at the firehouse. That was enough time to hit the road and get out of town for a couple of days. If his brother was going to be falling all over Amanda, he didn’t have to stick around for the show.

After he said his goodbyes to the others, his mother met him in the mudroom.

“You really shouldn’t have gotten presents, Mom.”

She shrugged off the statement. “It’s fun for me to find things I think you’d like.”

“Well, thank you. For the gifts, the pizza, the cake. For everything.”

“Are you all right, Luc? You aren’t yourself tonight.”

“I’m all right. Just fighting off a cold.”

“Are you sure that’s all it is?”

“Yep.” The last thing he’d ever do is confess to anyone that he was jealous of his brother. Such a stupid, pointless emotion, and one he’d felt rarely enough to be unfamiliar with how to deal with it. He kissed his mother’s forehead. “I’ve got a few days off, and I’m going to take a run over to Stowe tomorrow.” One of his best friends from Bowdoin College lived there, so no one would question why he was going. They didn’t need to know that he wouldn’t be seeing Craig this time around.

“Supposed to snow tomorrow. Be careful driving.”

“I will. Don’t worry.”

“You know better than to tell me not to worry.”

“I’ll be fine. If there’s one thing your children know how to do, it’s take care of themselves. You saw to that.”

“True. I’m very proud of that.”

“Then don’t worry. I have snow in my DNA.” He hugged her and headed out the door before he had to see Landon and Amanda again. Was he being ridiculous running from them? Yes, and he knew it, but so be it. He didn’t want to deal with it, especially on his freaking birthday.

He got in the truck, started it and cranked the heat, hoping it wouldn’t take long to warm up. It was bloody freezing, as per usual for the last week in March in Vermont, where winter tended to hang on until after the first buds of spring appeared on the trees. Keeping an eye on his parents’ dogs, George and Ringo, who’d followed him outside, he backed out of the driveway and glanced back at the house to see his mom still at the door, watching him go.

Lucas hoped she’d forgive him for leaving the party early, but he’d needed to get out of there before he gave away how he was feeling to the whole family. This was all new territory for him. He wasn’t one to have secrets or things he wanted to keep hidden. What you saw was what you got with Lucas Abbott, and he had no clue how to navigate this situation.

Keeping an eye out for rogue moose, he drove to the family’s Christmas tree farm that was shuttered until spring planting. Normally, he loved the isolation and the serenity of life at the farm, but, like everything else the last few days, it didn’t bring the usual comfort. He was edgy, out of sorts, off his game and feeling lost in a sea of familiar places and people.

His plan to get the hell out of here for a few days was looking better to him with every passing minute. Inside the loft apartment over the barn, he started a load of laundry and pulled a duffel bag with the Butler Volunteer Fire Department logo from under the bed.

He and Landon were both lieutenants in the department, charged with handling most of the administrative work that earned them small salaries. Lucas’s was enough to cover most of his expenses, which were minor thanks to the fact that he didn’t have to pay rent. He got to live at the farm in exchange for keeping an eye on the place in the off-season and acting as the caretaker on behalf of the family business. Between his fire department salary and the sale of the furniture and other wood items he crafted, he eked out a pretty decent living, but his needs were minimal.

Would a woman like Amanda be satisfied with the life that had always more than satisfied him, or would she find it lacking? And since when did he care what anyone else thought of his life?

Since the best first date in history, that’s when.

He had put his laundry in the dryer and opened a beer when the phone rang. Seeing his grandfather’s number on the caller ID, he took the call. “What’s up, Gramps?”

“I was thinking about you on the way home and decided to give you a ring. You weren’t yourself tonight, and I’m wondering if I know why.”

Amused as always by his grandfather, Lucas leaned back against the kitchen counter and smiled. “Knock yourself out.”

“I think you and your brother have set your sights on the same woman, and that’s got you all turned around.”

Lucas knew he shouldn’t be surprised that Elmer had figured out his dilemma.

“Am I warm?”

“Pretty warm.”

“Ah, thought so. It’s a heck of a thing to meet someone who really strikes your fancy. Happened to me once upon a time, and it was the worst feeling in the world.”

Lucas stood up straighter. “When did it happen to you?”

“With your grandmother. I met her when she was dating my cousin.”

“No way.”

“Yes way, and it was awful, I tell you.”

“What did you do?”

“Nothing, and that was the hardest part. I loved my cousin. We were as close as brothers. I never would’ve done anything to hurt him.”

“Since I know how this story ends, I have to know how you ended up together.”

“She told him she fancied me.”

“Whoa! How did he take that?”

“Punched me in the mouth,” Elmer said with a low guffaw. “That’s how I knew she’d picked me.”

“Wow, Gramps. I had no idea.”

“We didn’t talk about it much after the fact. I remained close to my cousin until the day he died, and I went out of my way to make sure there was never any bad blood between us.”

“Did he ever get married?”

“Yep. Married a great gal a couple years later, and the four of us ran around together for the rest of his life.”

“I’m glad he ended up happy, too.”

“Believe me—so was I. Second-happiest day of my young life was standing up for him at his wedding.” After a pause, Elmer said, “You never really know what people go through before they end up with a happily ever after, son. It’s not always rainbows and unicorns or straight lines that lead from point A to point B. A lot of times, it’s hard and messy and painful.”

“Yeah,” Lucas said, marveling at how Elmer had homed right in on everything Lucas was feeling.

“But the most important thing is family. Your brother is your closest friend, your soul mate, if you believe in such things. The two of you have been like two peas in a pod from the word go. I’d hate to see anything come between you.”

“Me, too.”

“Then don’t let it, Luc. Amanda seems like a nice gal with a good head on her shoulders. If she’s taken a shine to Landon, well, then, there’s nothing you can really do about that. But being angry with him over it isn’t going to make it better for you. It’ll only make everything worse.”

Elmer was right. Of course he was. He was always right. “Very true.”

“I’m glad you agree. Amanda is only here for a short time. Brothers are forever.”

“Especially identical twin brothers.”

Elmer laughed. “Especially that. You okay, pal?”

“Yeah, Gramps, I’m good. This helped a lot. I’m going up to Stowe for a couple of days to ski and clear my head.”

“That’s a great idea. Have a wonderful time.”

“Thanks for calling.”

“Happy birthday, Lucas. I think this is going to be your best year yet.”

“I hope so.”

“Love you, son.”

“Love you, too, Gramps.”

Lucas put down the phone, feeling thankful for the unconditional love of his grandfather, who had always been a steady presence in his life. Elmer had made an excellent point. It would be foolish to allow a woman he barely knew to come between him and the twin brother who was also his closest friend. He wasn’t going to let that happen and would use the time away to get his head back on straight.

Amanda was a great person, and he really liked her. However, she certainly wasn’t the only woman in the world. If she had decided Landon was the one for her, Lucas would find someone else. Stepping aside was the right thing to do. He had no doubt about that after talking to his grandfather.

He couldn’t believe the story Elmer had told him about the early days of his relationship with Lucas’s grandmother. He’d never thought too much about how his grandparents might’ve gotten together, but he hadn’t pictured anything like the story Elmer had relayed.

The next day, after putting in a ten-hour shift at the firehouse that had included calls to a couple of snow-related fender benders and one elderly resident who’d needed transport to the hospital, Lucas set out for Stowe. Normally a ninety-minute drive, tonight it was slow going due to the snow that continued to fall. Lucas took his time, keeping the speedometer around forty and following in the tracks left by an eighteen-wheeler that was a mile or so ahead of him.

Driving in snow was second nature to him after growing up in northern Vermont. If Vermonters stayed home every time it snowed, they’d go weeks without leaving the house some years.

He’d called his friend Craig, who’d told him to use the house while he was out of town on business. Lucas had the security code to the house and was eager for some time alone on the slopes. Physical activity always helped to clear his mind, and he hoped it would have the usual effect on him this time.

He hated being out of sorts like this and needed to shake it off and get back to normal. Moping around wasn’t his style. At the peak of ski season in Stowe, he could also count on some good nightlife. Perhaps a night with a snow bunny would fix what ailed him. One thing he knew for certain was that getting out of Butler had already made him feel better than he had in days.

Two hours into the ride, he was yawning and guzzling the coffee he’d brewed at the firehouse to keep himself awake. His eyes were tired from staring into the snow that had seemed to intensify as he got closer to Stowe. Finally, he took the exit onto the local road that led to Craig’s place and found that it hadn’t been plowed.

“Awesome…”

He slowed the truck to a crawl, inching along while hoping he was still on the actual road. As he rounded a bend, he watched with horror as the car in front of him fishtailed wildly before pitching off an embankment into a ditch.

“A baby is God’s opinion that life should go on.” —Carl Sandburg

 

 

 

 

Purchase Till There Was You now!

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—————

CHECK OUT THE REST OF THE GREEN MOUNTAIN/ BUTLER, VERMONT SERIES

Welcome to Vermont and the Green Mountain and Butler Series, featuring the Abbott family, proprietors of the Green Mountain Country Store, and their Coleman cousins. Since All You Need Is Love was released in 2014, the Abbott/Stillman/Coleman clan has stolen the hearts of readers, and Fred the Moose has earned himself a cult following. Hope you enjoy Butler!

Green Mountain Series

Book 1: All You Need Is Love (Will & Cameron)

Book 2: I Want to Hold Your Hand (Nolan & Hannah)

Book 3: I Saw Her Standing There (Colton & Lucy)

Book 4: And I Love Her (Hunter & Megan)

Book 4.5: You’ll Be Mine, Will and Cam’s Wedding Novella

Book 5: It’s Only Love (Gavin & Ella)

Book 6: Ain’t She Sweet (Tyler & Charlotte)

Butler, Vermont Series (a continuation of the Green Mountain Series)

Book 1: Every Little Thing (Grayson & Emma)

Book 2: Can’t Buy Me Love (Patrick & Mary)

Book 3: Here Comes the Sun (Wade & Mia)

Book 4: Till There Was You (Lucus & Danielle)

———————–

AUTHOR INFORMATION:

About the Author

Marie Force is the New York Times bestselling author of contemporary romance, including the indie-published Gansett Island Series and the Fatal Series from Harlequin Books. In addition, she is the author of the Butler, Vermont Series, the Green Mountain Series and the erotic romance Quantum Series. Duchess By Deception is the first in her new historical romance Gilded Series, that will continue with Deceived By Desire in September 2019.

Her books have sold more than 7.5 million copies worldwide, have been translated into more than a dozen languages and have appeared on the New York Times bestseller list 30 times. She is also a USA Today and Wall Street Journalbestseller, a Speigel bestseller in Germany, a frequent speaker and publishing workshop presenter as well as a publisher through her Jack’s House Publishing romance imprint. She is a three-time nominee for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award for romance fiction.

Her goals in life are simple—to finish raising two happy, healthy, productive young adults, to keep writing books for as long as she possibly can and to never be on a flight that makes the news.

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He sees me—the real me… On the Rocks by @KandiSteiner #NewRelease #Romance


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On the Rocks by Kandi Steiner

Release Date: June 13, 2019

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On the Rocks, an all-new standalone contemporary romance by Kandi Steiner.

Noah Becker is nothing but trouble.

That’s what Mama told me when I was a kid, kicking his pew in church and giggling at the games we’d play. It’s what the town said when his father died and the Becker brothers went wild.

And it’s on repeat in my mind the day I walk into the whiskey distillery where he works to buy a wedding gift for my fiancé.

He’s trouble.

Dirty, sweaty, rude trouble.

No matter how many times I repeat it, I can’t escape Noah in our small Tennessee town. And the more I run into him, the more he infuriates me. Because he sees what no one else does.

He sees me—the real me.

The me I’m not sure I’m allowed to be.

I’m Ruby Grace Barnett, the mayor’s daughter. Soon to be a politician’s wife, just like Mama and Daddy always wanted. Soon to fulfill my family’s legacy, just like I always knew I would.

Until the boy everyone warned me about makes me question everything, like whether the wedding I’m planning is one I even want.

Everyone said Noah Becker was nothing but trouble.

If only I had listened.

A stand-alone, contemporary romance.

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Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

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Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/OnTheRocks

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Excerpt:

 

I watched from the sidelines as Betty schooled Noah on the final dance scene from the classic movie — and one of her favorites. Noah, bless his heart, took it in stride. He held her hands, spun her gently, even went under water completely to give Betty some sort of “lift” that made her feel like Jennifer Grey.

That was when her smile was the largest — her eyes closed, face cast upward, arms out in the same iconic flight stance that the actress had done.

If I wasn’t laughing so hard, I might have cried at the sentiment.

After a dozen more run throughs, Betty called for a break, and the two of them swam up to the side of the pool where I sat. Betty took the lemonade I offered her, sipping and hollering across the pool at Mr. Buchanan — who was seated under the umbrellas. Noah rested his arms on the concrete edge, crossing them and resting his head on his forearm before he peered up at me through lashes still dripping with water.

His eyes were an endless blue, the light from the pool reflecting off them like a tropical dream.

“Enjoying your entertainment this afternoon, Miss. Barnett?”

I bit my lip against a smile. “Very much so, Mr. Becker. I never knew you were such a great dancer.”

“Oh, you should see me on the actual dance floor. I can two step and waltz and cha cha with the best of them. And don’t even get me started on what happens when ‘Watermelon Crawl’ comes on.”

“I’m sure it’s quite entertaining,” I mused, still dangling my feet in the cool water.

“When do I get to see your dance moves?”

I barked out a laugh at that. “Um, that would be approximately… never.”

“Never?” he asked, popping his head up off his arms with a look of injustice. “But you’ve seen all my moves, now. I show you mine, you show me yours. Isn’t that the deal?”

“I never agreed to that.”

He narrowed his eyes, running his forefinger and thumb over the stubble on his chin before he nodded. “I see…” Then, a wicked gleam came over those blue steel eyes, and before I could so much as scream, his hand wrapped around my wrist, tugging forward until I was off the ledge and under water.

I popped up instantly, not even able to open my eyes against the chlorine yet before I was swinging at him. “Noah!”

He laughed, catching my advances easily and pulling me into him. I blinked several times, shaking the drops from my eyes before I glared up at him.

“You jerk. Mama’s going to kill me for ruining my hair.”

“Mama will live,” he said, and then one arm wrapped around my waist, the other taking my hand in a leading position. “Now, let’s dance, little lady.”

With one pull of my hand and push of my hip, I spun away from him, reeling back in like a yo-yo and falling in line with his steps before I realized what was happening. Surprise ripped through me, brows shooting up to my hairline as he somehow managed to smoothly twirl me around that metaphorical dance floor even with water hitting us waist deep. My feet felt sluggish, the moves slower than if we were in boots on a hardwood floor, but somehow, that made it even more fun.

I laughed and laughed as he danced me around — until he had the bright idea to flip me like a swing dancer. I emerged from the water beating on his chest again, which just made him laugh harder. And when we were breathless, Noah tugged me to the side of the pool again.

“Thank you for the dance,” he said, both of us still breathing heavily as he wrapped his strong, rugged hands around my waist. For a moment, he just held them there, the rough pad of his thumbs smoothing over my exposed hip bones. My smile fell, chest still heaving as my eyes slipped to his lips.

I didn’t know why I looked at them.

I didn’t know why I couldn’t look away.

Noah swallowed, tightening his grip on my hips before he lowered in the water a little and helped push me back up onto the edge of the pool where I’d been seated before. Once I was steady, he released his hold on me, backing away with a distant look in his eyes that I couldn’t decipher before he tore them from me and looked at Betty, instead.

 

 

About Kandi:

Kandi Steiner is a bestselling author and whiskey connoisseur living in Tampa, FL. Best known for writing “emotional rollercoaster” stories, she loves bringing flawed characters to life and writing about real, raw romance — in all its forms. No two Kandi Steiner books are the same, and if you’re a lover of angsty, emotional, and inspirational reads, she’s your gal.

An alumna of the University of Central Florida, Kandi graduated with a double major in Creative Writing and Advertising/PR with a minor in Women’s Studies. She started writing back in the 4th grade after reading the first Harry Potter installment. In 6th grade, she wrote and edited her own newspaper and distributed to her classmates. Eventually, the principal caught on and the newspaper was quickly halted, though Kandi tried fighting for her “freedom of press.” She took particular interest in writing romance after college, as she has always been a diehard hopeless romantic, and likes to highlight all the challenges of love as well as the triumphs.

When Kandi isn’t writing, you can find her reading books of all kinds, talking with her extremely vocal cat, and spending time with her friends and family. She enjoys live music, traveling, anything heavy in carbs, beach days, movie marathons, craft beer, and sweet wine — not necessarily in that order.

Connect with Kandi:

Mailing List: bit.ly/NewsletterKS

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Kandi Steiner may be coming to a city near you! Check out her “events” tab to see all the signings she’s attending in the near future:

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No Place Like Here by @ChristinaJuneYA #YA #NewRelease @PrismBookTours


On Tour with Prism Book Tours

No Place Like Here By Christina June Young Adult Contemporary Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 288 Pages May 21st 2019 by Blink

From Christina June, author of It Started with Goodbye and Everywhere You Want to Be, comes No Place Like Here, a modern twist on Hansel and Gretel.

Ashlyn Zanotti has big plans for the summer. She’s just spent a year at boarding school and can’t wait to get home. But when Ashlyn’s father is arrested for tax evasion and her mother enters a rehab facility for “exhaustion,” a.k.a. depression, her life is turned upside down.

The cherry on top? Ashlyn’s father sends her to work with a cousin she doesn’t even know at a rustic team-building retreat center in the middle of nowhere. A self-proclaimed “indoor girl,” not even Ash’s habit of leaving breadcrumb quotes–inspirational sayings she scribbles everywhere–can help her cope.

With a dangerously careless camp manager doling out grunt work, an overbearing father trying to control her even from prison, and more than a little boy drama to struggle with, the summer is full of challenges. And Ashlyn must make the toughest decision of her life: keep quiet and follow her dad’s marching orders, or find the courage to finally stand up to her father to have any hope of finding her way back home.

Fans looking for stories with elements of drama, romance, friendship, and an unflinching look into navigating and improving even the most difficult parent-teen relationships need look no further.

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Chapter 1

 

There is never a good way to find out your father is going to prison. Some are worse than others, though. For example, learning that your father has committed tax evasion via a social media post is on the top five worst ways list.

I might have missed it, if I hadn’t logged on to see if my best friend, Tatum, had posted any new messages for me. We’d spent the last school year apart—me at boarding school in the Shenandoah Valley and her at home, just south of Washington, DC—and we had been making plans for not only my big return home, but for the upcoming school year. Not that I’d actually asked my parents if I could come back for senior year yet. But I would. Soon.

And there, below a photo of Tatum and her boyfriend, was the news article from the Washington Post about my father. And the cherry on top? Cassie Pringle, the girl down the hall, hadn’t even posted it. Her mother had. With the message, “Cass, doesn’t this guy’s daughter go to your school?” Thanks, Mrs. Pringle.

The headline was the worst: “Millionaire Real Estate Developer Evades IRS.” It made my father seem like some creepy super villain who was ducking into shadowy alleys to avoid getting caught by the police. But, in a way, it wasn’t that far off. Instead of an alleyway and the police, my dad hid from the federal government behind a shiny exterior and seemingly pristine business.

I inhaled and exhaled in short, panicky little bursts as I skimmed the first few paragraphs.

Prominent. Community leader. Disappointing. Seven years without paying. Dead to rights. Plea hearing. Guilty. Sentenced. Jail time. No comment.

 

 

Other Books by the Author

 

About the Author

Christina June writes young adult contemporary fiction when she’s not writing college recommendation letters during her day job as a school counselor. She loves the little moments in life that help someone discover who they’re meant to become – whether it’s her students or her characters. Christina is a voracious reader, loves to travel, and hopes to one day be bicoastal – the east coast of the US and the east coast of Scotland. She lives in Virginia with her husband and daughter. She is the author of IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE, EVERYWHERE YOU WANT TO BE, and NO PLACE LIKE HERE.

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Relatively Sane by @WhitneyDineen #RomCom #Reading @XpressoReads


Relatively Sane
Whitney Dineen
(Relativity Series, #2)
Publication date: April 1st 2019
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Contemporary

“The Masterson clan is back and funnier than ever in this delightful tale. Dineen’s comedic timing is pure gold!” -Jennifer Peel, Bestselling Author of My Not So Wicked Stepbrother

Catriona Masterton’s family is not normal.

Her father has a passion for taxidermized animals that he dresses in the family plaid. Her mother has a penchant for hoarding kitchen gadgets and other oddities that leave her sanity in question. Her grandmother, Nan, has never met a swearword she doesn’t like.

Despite all this, party-planner Cat leaves the hustle and bustle of New York City to move back to her tiny hometown outside of Chicago. She even buys her parents’ farm with plans to turn the barn into a stylish wedding venue.

Enter House to Home Television’s Renovation Brothers. Cat gets accepted as one of the show’s projects, bringing two gorgeous brothers to her doorstep. Unbeknownst to Cat, the TV hosts are behind a secret her newfound boyfriend will go to great lengths to keep hidden.

With all the upheaval—her parents’ chaotic move, her grandmother joyfully causing trouble wherever she goes, a film crew documenting her home being torn apart, and her boyfriend’s odd behavior—Cat’s starting to wonder if signing up for a reality TV show was a big mistake.

Will the renovation be a success? Or will secrecy and jealousy make Cat regret the day she packed her bags and left New York?

Find out in this hysterical tale packed with small-town charm, family drama, and true love.

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Book 1, Relatively Normal, is FREE for a limited time only!

EXCERPT:

As a kid, I had an ongoing fantasy. I’m waiting for the school bus to pick me up in front of my family farm, when a shiny black Lincoln Town Car pulls up next to me. A very attractive woman in the back seat rolls down her window and bursts into tears. She gasps, “Buffy, is that you?” (Note: I might have been enthralled with the television show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer at the time. I was definitely a fan of the name.) The woman and her equally handsome husband leap out of the car and throw their arms around me, engulfing me in a cloud of Chanel Number 5 and Versace Man.

Between sobs of joy, she calls to her husband, “Charles, it’s our baby. It’s really her!”

They tighten their embrace and I become the filling in a Pendleton wool sandwich. This wonderful, loving, perfectly ordinary couple, decked out in city clothes, explains how there was a mix-up at the hospital where I was born. Their baby and another were returned to the wrong bassinets after feeding time. They only discovered the truth when the person they thought was their daughter ran off and joined the circus as it passed through their town.

The woman says, “We knew then and there a mistake had been made. A child of ours would never dream of such nonsense.”

In retrospect, I realize I hadn’t thought this through very well. I should have wondered what kind of parents wouldn’t go after the child they’d raised and save her from a life of carnie living. At the time, I was too involved in my fantasy and the comforting explanation of why I was growing up in a near-insane asylum—a.k.a. Masterton Hall, a.k.a. an old farm house in Central Illinois. It was much easier to convince myself that I didn’t belong to the people who laid claim to me. I was Buffy Summers and my real family wasn’t embarrassing in the least.

This fantasy got me through some tough times. Like when my grandmother Nan called my little league coach a fukakta screwball who needed his eyes examined, I consoled myself that we didn’t share the same blood. As such, the shame I was feeling wasn’t really my own.

When my dad showed up to all my school functions wearing a kilt and boasting about the joys of being Scottish, I was comforted that the wrong girl was being called Catriona Masterton. When my mother bought six sauerkraut crocks because they were on sale, even though she hated sauerkraut, I said to myself, “Cat, these aren’t your people. Don’t lose hope. Your real parents will find you and take you away from all this.” When my brother Travis started to walk around the house in my mom’s high heels, I reminded myself that Buffy was an only child.

It wasn’t until high school that I finally accepted the Summers were no more than wishful thinking on my part, and that I belonged to the Masterton clan, hook, line, and sinker. Part of my acceptance was because I’d fallen head over heels in love with my childhood playmate, Sam Hawking.

Sam and I frolicked in the mud, learned to play cards, and studied for science tests together before discovering more adult games in the hayloft of my family barn. He gave my life meaning. He was enough reason to give up my dream of belonging to a normal family. If I wanted a life with him, I needed to stay right where I was. Goodbye, Summers Family! Hello, kooky Mastertons.

Sam made me feel things I’d never felt before. My body blossomed under his touch, my heart filled to the point of bursting, and my dreams shot out of the stratosphere. There was nothing he and I couldn’t do, be, or achieve as long as we were together. While my family was as odd as they came, around Sam I felt relatively sane. I’d even given us a celebrity couple name, SamCat.

Tragically, as often happens with first loves, we ultimately went our separate ways. The end of high school was the end of us. I was crushed, as it wasn’t my idea to break up, but college eventually softened the pain and my life moved on. My subsequent move to New York City propelled me into adulthood, which is where I met Ethan.

For two years, Ethan and I were a good couple. We were grown-ups together. We paid a mortgage, put money away for retirement, and we planned a wedding. Ethan was as different from Sam as I could find in a man. He’s what I thought I wanted, what I thought I needed. I was wrong.


Author Bio:

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

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Not your ordinary thief… The Gate to Eden by @CathyMcDavid #Audiobook #Romance @PrismBookTours



On Tour with Prism Book Tours

The Gate to Eden
By Cathy McDavid
Historical Romance, Western
Audiobook, 10 Hours and 33 Minutes (also in Paperback and ebook)
January 12th 2019

Expert crackshot Maddie Campbell will do whatever it takes to survive in this female Robin-Hood-of-the-Old-West story – including evading bounty-hunter-for-hire Scott McSween who’s intent on bringing her in.

Not your ordinary thief, widow and mother Maddie Campbell likes to think her wealthy victims are merely “donating” to herself and the hundreds of other widows and children left abandoned by the mining company after a devastating accident took the lives of their menfolk. Maddie’s secret excursions are quite successful…until ruggedly handsome former lawman Scott McSween arrives in Eden to investigate the recent string of crimes.

Despite her efforts to throw him off track, they can’t resist each other. He knows she’s somehow involved and is determined to draw out all her secrets in the most exquisite ways – with soft caresses and passionate kisses. But when finally confronted with the truth – that Maddie is actually the thief he’s been hired to hunt down and bring in – will Scott choose the woman he loves or his duty to the law?

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Excerpt

Edenville, Arizona Territory

1887

THADDEUS NEWLIN DIDN’T LIKE prostitutes. He’d worked too hard and too long building his empire only to risk losing it by succumbing to some dreadful disease acquired from a barroom whore.

He did, however, like women and partook of their pleasure as often as his pressing schedule allowed. Young women with long hair, ample curves, and clear skin were his preference. And innocent — if only in looks. No soiled doves ever found their way beneath his blankets.

His secretary, Zachariah Forrester, had assumed the task of procuring this evening’s entertainment, as he always did when the mood for companionship struck Thaddeus. Mr. Forrester recruited from the residences and ranches of whatever town they happened to be visiting. As times were tough and money tight, he seldom encountered any difficulty locating a willing female who fit his boss’s exacting specifications. Then, like all good secretaries, he conveniently disappeared for several hours after escorting the young woman to the steps of Thaddeus’s private railroad car. Neither did he ask any bothersome questions at the end of the night, regardless of the woman’s disheveled condition.

“Very nice,” Thaddeus said as he watched the pretty little thing standing in front of him slip the narrow sleeves of her camisole off her pale shoulders. Mr. Forrester had done well tonight, and Thaddeus considered giving his secretary a bonus.

“I ain’t never been with a man like this before,” the woman said shyly, lowering her eyes to the richly carpeted floor. “You’re my first…you know.”

Thaddeus doubted the truth of her statement. She might not be a prostitute in the strictest sense of the word, but she’d certainly done this before. The large nipples visible through the material of her camisole and the roundness of her belly attested to previous childbirth. Not that Thaddeus cared. In fact, he preferred experienced women. Just not worldly.

“You don’t have to be nervous, my dear.” He played along with her pretense. “I promise to be gentle.” And he would be gentle. Until the end.

She lifted one stocking clad foot and placed it on the edge of the pinstriped settee, near to his leg. Thaddeus felt himself stirring and smiled. He might be past his prime and have only half the hair atop his head he did at twenty, but he’d not yet lost his ability to perform.

Reaching out a large hand, he stroked her smooth, and surprisingly muscular, calf. “Why don’t we see what we can do about removing this stocking?”

The woman — he couldn’t quite remember her name — pressed a knuckle to her lips. “It were a long walk here from my place. Can I use the…the…chamber pot first?” It clearly pained her to have to ask for the convenience.

“Of course. It’s in there.” He pointed toward a door leading to his sleeping quarters.

She ducked behind the door, quiet as a mouse. No sense wasting time, Thaddeus thought and kicked off his boots. Next, he stood, removed his pants, and tossed them aside. They landed haphazardly on the elegant cherry wood rocker he’d had shipped all the way from Boston last year. By the time he completed undressing, he’d begun to wonder what was detaining his lovely guest.

Wearing only his long underwear, he walked to the door of his sleeping quarters and knocked. “Are you all right, my dear?”

His only answer was a soft scuffling sound.

“Hello.” He knocked again, and the brass knob twisted. Thaddeus smiled and moved away from the opening door. “There you are.”

“So, I am.”

The door swung wide, and the smile on Thaddeus’s face died as the end of a Colt revolver was jammed into his protruding gut.

 

 

 

About the Author

As a sophomore in high school, NY Times, USA Today, and Amazon bestselling author Cathy McDavid won a local writing competition with her self-illustrated children’s book. Who knew that small triumph would eventually lead to a career writing contemporary romances with over 1.3 million books sold? With forty-seven titles to date, Cathy is also a member of the prestigious Romance Writers of America’s Honor Roll. This “almost” Arizona native and mother of grown twins recently married her own real-life sweetheart. After leaving the corporate world four years ago, she now spends her days penning stories about good looking men who ride the range or fight fires or hunt creatures all while sweeping the girl off her feet. It’s a tough job but she’s willing to make the sacrifice.

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What would you do if your child was taken? Desert Rose by K. Moore #Suspense #amreading @InkSlingerPR @runs2ny


Today we have the release day blitz of DESERT ROSE by K. Moore! I am so excited to share this new psychological suspense with you—check it out and order today!

 

Title: Desert Rose

Author: K. Moore

Genre: Psychological Suspense

About Desert Rose:

In an instant, Jennifer’s life is forever altered.

 

When her ten-year-old daughter, Sarah, is abducted in Dubai, expats Jennifer and her husband Kevin are thrown into an unimaginable nightmare. With very little help provided by the local authorities and the US Embassy, Jennifer watches her life erode away and the tension in her marriage increase. Driven by rage and desperation, she is forced to make decisions she never thought possible.

 

An investigation without answers. A cover-up. A conspiracy. A betrayal.

 

There is no turning back.

 

What would you do if your child was taken?

 

 

 

Desert Rose was named ‘Most Promising Manuscript’ at the 2018 Alaskan Writers Guild Conference.

 

Grab Your Copy Today:

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Exclusive Excerpt:

The longer their silence fills the crowded room, the more I can hear my own heartbeat echoing off the tight walls. They are closing in, suffocating my sanity.

The policeman kicks off from the wall and repositions himself in front of the door. “Hello, madam. I am Mulazim Ahmed. I think we will wait until your husband gets here before we continue, yes?” His accent is heavy, his words and demeanor dismissive.

I blink once. Mulazim is Arabic for lieutenant. Why is a lieutenant on duty in the mall—and during Ramadan? The rank sounds too high and important for the position of a glorified mall cop. I’m not complaining. Maybe he’s the person who can help.

I slightly incline my head to show him I heard his words, frustrated we’ll waste more precious moments. The proof of my daughter’s abduction is screaming at us from the still on the screen, but we’ll wait. Wait for the man of the family to progress the investigation.

“Yes, sir. He shouldn’t be too long.”

I look down to Liam and squeeze his hand in reassurance. This must be completely daunting for him. He squeezes back, letting me know he’s there, not because he’s all right. I don’t expect him to be all right, and he definitely doesn’t look it. I’m sure that the fear and worry I see on his face are reflected on mine—skin drained of color and eyes wide in shock, darting around the room and back down again.

“Dad should be here soon,” he whispers, ever the boy emulating a man.

 

About K. Moore:

K. Moore is an Australian braving the sub-zero Alaskan temperatures with her husband and two sons while battling agitated moose, nosey brown bears, and a Karelian bear dog named Hathor. She’s an avid reader, hiker, and CrossFit enthusiast. If you manage to locate a decent bottle of gin and a chair at the bar, she might be convinced to regale you with tales of her global travels. Without the gin, you’ll have to find the evidence within the pages of her stories and poetry.

 

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Skating on Thin Ice by @jacqbiggar #RomanticSuspense #NewRelease


Skating on Thin Ice is Here!

This project began as a contemporary opposites attract romance, but it soon took on a life of its own and morphed into a fast-paced suspense instead!

Blurb

Sam Walters has made a deal with the devil.

In order to win a much-needed contract as physical therapist to one of the NHL’s leading hockey teams, Sam must delay the recovery of their sniper, Mac Wanowski. The trouble is, the more she gets to know the taciturn hockey player, the more she aches to help him.

Mac ‘The Hammer’ Wanowski chased the Stanley Cup dream for too many years. Last time he was close it had cost him his wife. As injuries continue to plague the team, Mac works to catch a killer and keep the woman he’s come to love from the hands of a madman.

Hockey can be a dangerous sport, especially when millions of dollars are at stake.

International: http://books2read.com/SkatingonThinIce

Add to your reading list: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43293227-skating-on-thin-ice

Recommend on BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/skating-on-thin-ice-the-men-of-warhawks-book-1-by-jacquie-biggar

Exclusive Excerpt

Sam lay on the ground at Mac’s back, mewling cries of terror crawling up her throat and blocking any possible clues of their assailant’s location. Someone was freaking shooting at them. Who got up in the morning and decided, I’m going to shoot someone today. Couldn’t he tell they weren’t deer or moose or whatever the hell he was aiming at?

Shaking, she ran trembling fingers over Mac’s torso, praying like she’d never prayed before that he hadn’t been hit. “I’m sorry I knocked you over,” she sobbed. “Please, M… Mac, talk to me. I’m so sc… scared.”

“Shh,” he snarled, throwing a hard glance over his shoulder. His gaze narrowed. “Are you hit?”

Shocked into silence, she dabbed her brow and lowered her hand to stare blankly at the reddish-brown streak staining the threads of her white mitt. “I….” She swallowed hard. “It’s a scratch, I’m fine.” They had bigger problems at the moment.

He considered her for a moment, then gave a short nod. “Probably some dumbass hunter. We’ll stay low for a bit, see if he moves on.” He turned his attention to the trees, searching out the monster in their midst.

Sam ducked her head to make a smaller target. Her cheek brushed the sandpaper-like surface of the snow and she inhaled the crushed pine needles under their bodies. Her mind filled with images of her family; Dad teaching them to fly fish, Kevin racing his tricycle to keep up to her and her friends, Mom encouraging her to go after her dreams. She covered her mouth to hold back the sobs. Would she ever see them again?

When she’d seen that gun pointed their way, her heart stopped. One second, she’d been contemplating the best place to hit Mac with her snowball and the next she’d seen that hunter and instinct had taken over. If he’d been shot… well, he wasn’t. If they got out of this in one piece, she was calling Uncle Thomas to pick them up. A mountain cabin was no place to be during hunting season—unless your name was Davy Crockett.

“I think he’s gone. We should be safe now.” Mac rolled onto his back and winced.

Contrite, Sam laid a hand on his broad chest. “Did I hurt you? I’m sorry.”

He turned his head to meet her gaze. “Who taught you to tackle like that, an old boyfriend?”

She smiled. “My brother, actually. He went to college on a football scholarship.”

“Ahh. Remind me to thank him sometime.” He closed his hand over hers and squeezed. “You’re quite the woman, Samantha Walters.”

Sam melted under the warmth of his regard. “Maybe you can meet him after we get off this mountain.”

He stiffened. “I’m not going anywhere.”

She sat up, oblivious to danger. “Are you nuts? You can’t be serious. What if something happens and you’re up here all by yourself? Who’s going to help you then, you big oaf?” Frustrated, she rose and dusted off her pants, keeping an eye out for any movement in the forest around them.

Maybe because of the gunshots, or maybe it was due to their little squabble, but the cheerful chirping chickadees and raucous squawks of jays had been replaced by an eerie silence. The shadows had lengthened since they’d started out just after lunch, and now stretched long, dark fingers through the broad branches of towering hemlock and fir trees. It all served to reinforce Sam’s decision; she was going back to the city where she belonged—with or without Mr. Tough Guy Wanowski.

“Can you get up on your own?” she asked, reaching for the discarded crutches. When she turned back, it was to see Mac, powerful arms braced, balancing his weight on the palms of his hands. In the next instant, he pushed upward, as smooth as a puma’s pounce, and landed on his feet with barely a wince.

Show off. Still fuming, Sam tossed him his crutches and clumped toward the cabin, wishing she could ditch the awkward snowshoes and sprint to safety. They walked in silence for about ten paces before Mac had to ruin it.

“Are you always this tempestuous?”

The dulcet tone of his voice scraped on her last nerve. “Aren’t you the least concerned? That hunter had a scope, he had to see us.” She stomped her foot, sending a puff of snow into the air.

“I know,” he said, so quietly she stopped to hear him better. He met her gaze and shrugged. “It’s not the first time.”

The Stand-In Boyfriend by Emma Doherty #YA #Romance @InkSlingerPR


Today we have the excerpt reveal of THE STAND-IN BOYFRIEND by Emma Doherty! Check it out and be sure to grab your copy on March 12th!

 

Title: The Stand-In Boyfriend

Author: Emma Doherty

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: March 12th

About The Stand-In Boyfriend:

Livy Chapman is in love with Jessie Stephenson. It’s that simple. She has been for years but he only see’s her as his best friend. His best friend who copies her homework, relies on her to bail him out of trouble and who he hooks up with other girls in front of.

 

Enough is enough and when Chase Mitchell, star of the soccer team, and all round Mr. Popular steps in and convinces her that they can do each other a favour by pretending to date, Livy is just crazy enough over Jessie to agree to it.

 

I mean, Chase is just her stand-in boyfriend. Nothing could go wrong. Right?

Exclusive Excerpt:

“What’s wrong? Everything going okay with you and Jessie?”

“I don’t know where he is.” My eyes flash around the room, but he’s not in here either. Where the hell did he go? He wouldn’t just leave would he?

“I’m sure he’s around. He must have gotten stuck talking to someone.”

I shake my head. For some reason, I have a bad feeling about this, but I don’t know why. I mean, yeah, I was gone for half an hour so of course he’s not just going to stand there on his own and wait for me, but there were a lot of people in the kitchen—he could have just joined them, and he said he’d wait for me. We had a connection, didn’t we? He wouldn’t just walk away. “Have you seen him?”

Sophie shakes her head. Her eyes narrow in concern and she takes a step closer to me. Anyone else would laugh and tell me I’m being stupid, but Sophie knows me too well for that. She knows I’m getting anxious and panicky. “Should I come look for him with you?”

I shake my head, glancing behind her at Mark and Jackson, who have been joined by more of their crowd. “No, no. You’re right, he’s probably back in the kitchen by now and I just missed him.” I force a smile then back out of the room. I turn back in the direction I came from, intent on returning to the kitchen and even trying subtly to do some of those breathing exercises the child psychologist I saw in middle school told me to do when I start to get anxious. I walk past the huge spiral staircase in Aaron’s hall.

I pause, my heartbeat hammering my chest, and I don’t know what makes me do it but I step up onto the first step, and then the next, and the next, until I’m heading upstairs with my eyes locked ahead of me. I know what goes on in the upstairs bedrooms at these parties. Every Monday morning, the Grove Valley High rumor mill is in full swing talking about who hooked up with who.

But Jessie was waiting for me!

Jessie was looking at me like I was special, like he was finally seeing me differently and something was definitely happening, but that doesn’t stop the sickening feeling in my gut. Despite the fact that my heart is pounding and I can feel my hands shaking, I know I need to rule this out.

I get to the top and look down the hall just as a girl in my trig class emerges from the first bedroom on the right with a boy I don’t recognize. She smiles sheepishly as she passes me, the cocky grin on the guy’s face making it clear what they’ve been up to. I force myself to smile, ignoring the dead weight in my stomach as I take a couple of steps farther along the hallway.

I suddenly feel stupid. What the hell am I going to do now that I’m up here? I’m certainly not going to go knocking on any doors just to check if Jessie is behind one of them. The thought alone makes me blush bright red. He’s probably downstairs in a corner talking about his latest video game obsession and I’m stalking the halls of Aaron’s mansion. I almost laugh out loud at the sheer ridiculousness of the situation. I decide to try to find a bathroom now that I’m up here, hoping it’s obvious from the outside that it’s a bathroom and not a bedroom, and continue walking, assuming the bathroom will be at the end of a hallway. I take a right at the end (seriously, that’s how big Aaron’s house is—the hallway leads onto another), and that’s when I stop dead.

That’s when I feel my heart crack in two.

That’s when I find Jessie.

With Courtney. Making out against the wall.

Somehow I manage to not say a word as I watch them kissing…as I watch his hand under her top, groping at her body…as she makes these ridiculous noises like she’s in some sort of adult film, dropping her hands to his belt buckle and starting to undo it.
I feel like I’m going to throw up.

I start to back away, tears already in my eyes, and I swear, I swear Courtney looks my way for a split second and a smirk covers her face when she sees me standing here. Then Jessie reaches for the handle of the door she’s leaning up against and they both tumble into the room, slamming the door behind them.

I am so stupid. I am so, so fucking stupid. My body starts shaking and fresh tears roll down my face. How could I think tonight was going to be it? How could I be dumb enough to think Jessie might actually like me back? I swipe away at the tears, heartbroken that he’s just dismissed me after what felt like a new beginning, but at the same time angry at myself. I should have known. I should have known better than to think I might actually get what I want, and I can’t cover up the sob that escapes from my throat.

“Uh…” I jump out of my skin at the voice behind me. “Are you okay?”

I whirl around to see Chase Mitchell standing there, looking the most awkward I’ve ever seen anyone look. I turn my back to him and swipe at my face, trying to get rid of the tears, which won’t stop falling.

“Yeah,” I reply. “I’m fine.” It’d be more believable if my voice wasn’t cracking as I speak. I wait to hear his footsteps back away, sure the sight of a crying girl is enough to make him run for the hills, but instead he steps around me while I stare at my feet.

“Livy.” I shake my head frantically. I can’t look up. I can’t face anyone right now, not when it feels like I’ve just had my heart ripped in two. “Livy,” he says again softly, and something about his voice, the way there’s no mocking lilt and the concern in his tone make me look up at him. He’s standing by the door opposite the one Courtney and Jessie are in, and he pushes it open. “Come in here. It’s Aaron’s room—no one will see you in here. It’s been locked so there’s no one inside.”

I nod, because honestly what else can I do at this point? My body won’t stop shaking and I’m having no luck stopping the tears. I just need to sit down for a couple of minutes and pull myself together before I have to face the party again.

Once inside the room, I sink down onto Aaron’s bed and look down at my hands, twisting my fingers together in a desperate attempt to stop them from shaking. I can’t believe how stupid I am. I can’t believe I let Sophie convince me this time might actually be different. I’m in here feeling like my world has ended while Jessie is across the hall having sex with his ex.

“Are you okay?” Chase asks again.
I startle slightly at his voice. I wasn’t expecting him to stick around. I wish he’d disappear; I don’t want anyone seeing me like this.

I force a smile and look up, but it wobbles as fresh tears tumble down my cheeks at the memory of Courtney looking at me. She must have been at the party all along and seen me with Jessie in the kitchen. She clearly took my absence as her opportunity, and Jessie certainly didn’t look like he had any objections.

“Honestly, I’m fine. Something happened earlier at home and I was just thinking about it,” I lie.

Chase doesn’t look away from me. “I saw Stephenson go into that bedroom with Courtney,” he tells me.

And there it is. My humiliation is complete. Chase Mitchell is witnessing my meltdown after watching my best friend hook up with his ex.

I look away, swiping my hand across my face. God knows what I look like right now. My makeup is probably running everywhere. I let out a sigh and feel my shoulders sag even farther.

“He doesn’t see you, Livy.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I whisper. “I told you, I was just thinking about something that happened earlier.”

“Liv—”

“Chase, please,” I plead, another errant tear streaking down my face. “Just leave me alone, okay? I can’t deal with anyone seeing me like this.”

He doesn’t reply as I squeeze my hands and try to focus on pulling myself together, but after what feels like an eternity, I hear the door open then click shut behind him. I burst into tears all over again because not only is Jessie back with Courtney, now everyone in school will know what a pathetic loser I am.

About Emma Doherty:

Emma Doherty was born in Yorkshire, England. She attended university in Newcastle before moving to London. She loves to travel, write, spend time with friends and family and hear from her readers.

 

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The Sheriff Meets His Match is #Free #Romance #Reading


The Sheriff Meets his Match

When a jaded sheriff is drawn to an exasperating woman in trouble, anything can happen

Jack Garrett has been stung by love in the past, but he can’t deny his attraction to the new receptionist, Laurel Thomas.

When trouble comes to Tidal Falls, Jack worries that Laurel Thomas is in over her head.

Laurel loves her dysfunctional family, but dreams of a place to call home. Just as she settles into a new life, her old one catches up to her and delivers chaos to the town.

Can these two strong personalities find a way to trust in each other enough to give love a second chance?

2015 JABBIC Winner!

Reviews

Review:

Ya just gotta love Jack…. Jack is the sexy sheriff in the town of Tidal Falls who has dedicated his life to his job and raising his daughter. You see, Jack’s ex-wife took off and left him not only a broken man but a single man with a child to raise on his own. Needless to say Jack has closed off his heart to longterm relationships.

But when a sassy, totally disorganized yet gorgeous women, Laurel, comes to town and is given a temp job at the Sheriff’s office, it test’s Jack’s ability to not only resist her but to stay sane. Needless to say these two push all the wrong buttons while trying to fight an attraction neither wants to admit, especially when her uncle comes to town. (Laurel’s uncle is a professional con-man and often running from the law). And once again, he brings trouble to Laurel’s door.

This is a funny, lighthearted romance that will keep you laughing at this crazy bunch while guessing what in the world is going to happen next.

I Huge WTG to Ms. Biggar for this delightful tale in the Lonely Hearts series.

By Barbara Barber

Sheriff Jack Garrett, the hero of Jacquie Biggar’s The Sheriff Meets His Match (Wavefront Publishing 2015), Book 4 of the Wounded Hearts series, has no time for love. He is barely over a nasty divorce, trying to raise a challenging teenage daughter, and then there are his regular duties as Sheriff of Tidal Falls. Well, maybe he’s not over his divorce. He’s still hurt, angry, and struggling to get back to where he was before it all happened. It helps that he’s a hunk and has any number of women ready to assist him on any given day. Or night. But no one interests him until Laurel shows up, the temporary receptionist while Angie–the regular–is away. Laurel is sassy, energetic, and gorgeous. Oh–she’s also a con artist. She wants to retire but her Uncle–the man who introduced her to the con artist life–keeps dragging her back into it. Now, Uncle Max needs Laurel’s help with the final swindle, the last one and then he can quit. Laurel tries to turn him down but he reveals that this con will free his daughter from the clutches of a money hungry, nasty husband. The problem is, it’s in Sheriff Garrett’s backyard and while he may be a hunk, he’s also pretty sharp.

This is a fast-moving sexy story that might or might not end well for Laurel and the Sheriff but it sure will tantalize their spirits. This is highly recommended for those who love romance stories. Be warned: This is a novella so be prepared for nonstop fast-as-lightning action that ends in about 146 pages.

Jacqui Murray

Excerpt

“Are you just going to watch us, Daddy, or are you going to help?” Tina stood grinning quizzically at him, her hands on her narrow jean clad hips.

Jack’s mouth quirked. No one did attitude like his girl. “I was waiting on you two hens to quit clucking so we could get down to work,” he teased.

“Sure, you were. Did you know daydreaming is an early sign of the onset of dementia?” She threw him a string of lights and he grimaced at the knotted mess.

“I thought I taught you to respect your elders?” he said, and grinned at Laurel’s sputtered laughter. “See, Miss Thomas agrees.”

She shook her head and the hat slid south. A quick catch righted its position. She handed the glass ornaments over to Tina and picked up a second one from the supplies. “Leave me out of this, you two. I’m just an impartial observer.”

She turned and carefully hung a shiny red bell on one of the nearby branches, giving it a little flick with her fingertip that resounded through his core. A snow globe of a festive village followed, then she lifted a blue velvet Santa from the box and stood for a moment contemplating the best location. Jack was about to suggest a bare spot on a lower branch when she stretched up on a death defying pair of candy apple red heels and damn near stopped his breath. Her modest, knee-length skirt slid inch-by-tantalizing-inch up her thighs, revealing shapely legs and a taut heart-shaped derriere. Her furry white sweater lifted to play peek-a-boo with a cherry blossom branch tattooed onto the small of her back. Jack’s fingers itched to touch the engraved symbol of feminine strength. His mouth watered with the urge to nuzzle her neck below her raised chin. To turn her into his arms and pick up where they’d left off. To…

“Dad, you’re making it worse.”

Tina’s voice jarred him awake. What was he doing fantasizing with his daughter right there in the room? And over someone who probably wouldn’t even stick around until spring either. He glanced down and saw the jangled mess he’d made of the lights and swore under his breath.

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The Corner of Heartbreak and Forever by @Addison_Cole #Romance #Reading @InkSlingerPR


Today we have the release week blitz of Addison Cole’s THE CORNER OF HEARTBREAK AND FOREVER! Check it out and be sure to grab your copy today!

 

Title: The Corner of Heartbreak and Forever

Author: Addison Cole

Genre: Sweet Romance

About The Corner of Heartbreak and Forever:

Fall in love with Addison Cole’s rich and romantic storytelling, and discover the magic of the Montgomerys.

In The Corner of Heartbreak and Forever…
Leaving New York City and returning to her hometown to teach a screenplay writing class seems like just the break Grace Montgomery needs. Until her sisters wake her at four thirty in the morning to watch the hottest guys in town train wild horses and she realizes that escaping her sisters’ drama-filled lives was a lot easier from hundreds of miles away. To make matters worse, she spots the one man she never wanted to see again-ruggedly handsome Reed Cross.

Reed was one of Michigan’s leading historical preservation experts, but on the heels of catching his girlfriend in bed with his business partner, his uncle suffers a heart attack. Reed cuts all ties and returns home to Oak Falls to run his uncle’s business. A chance encounter with Grace, his first love, brings back memories he’s spent years trying to escape.

Grace is bound and determined not to fall under Reed’s spell again-and Reed wants more than another taste of the woman he’s never forgotten. When a midnight party brings them together, passion ignites and old wounds are opened. Grace sets down the ground rules for the next three weeks. No touching, no kissing, and if she has it her way, no breathing, because every breath he takes steals her ability to think. But Reed has other ideas…
**

The Corner of Heartbreak and Forever is a Sweet with Heat novel and conveys all of the passion you’d expect to find between two people in love without any graphic scenes or harsh language. If you’re looking for a more explicit romance, pick up the steamy edition, Embracing Her Heart, written by New York Times bestselling author Melissa Foster. Addison Cole is Melissa’s sweet-romance pen name.

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Excerpt

“Grace…” Even after a decade her name tasted sinfully good rolling off his tongue.

Her hand slid from the doorknob, hanging limply by her side. She opened her mouth to speak, but no words came. A long moment later, “Reed,” slipped from her lips like the secret he’d once been.

His gut clenched with longing. He couldn’t help but study her—and that angered him as much as it eased the worries about his ability to feel that had plagued him for years. He hadn’t been all in with a woman since Grace, and he’d begun to think he’d exaggerated what he’d felt when they were together. But there was no misreading the heat thrumming through him. She looked incredible, and confused, and as her hand settled on her hip—the hand he remembered all too well digging into his back when they’d made love all those years ago—he realized she also looked angry. Definitely angry.

But still incredible.

In the space of a breath he was fighting the urge to figure out how to spend time with her and recapture the fire between them despite everything she’d put him through.

“Are you done gawking?” she snapped.

“I…Sorry. You caught me off guard. I was expecting to see your parents.” He held her gaze, forcing a smile even though he suddenly felt stuck somewhere between a teenager caught peering through a window, a jealous ex-boyfriend, and a lust-filled man.

She folded her arms over her chest, forcing a barrier between them, and smirked.

Ouch

At least he hoped it was a smirk rather than a scowl. After the clues he’d missed with his ex-girlfriend, Alina, who had been sleeping with his now ex-business partner, he no longer trusted his instincts where women were concerned. And when it came to Grace Montgomery, he’d never been able to think past the emotions she stirred within him and the future he’d hoped they’d have. She was the tsunami that had obliterated everything else in his world, and as he struggled to find his voice, he fought the urge to tangle his hands in her thick, lustrous hair and remind her of what she’d walked away from.

“I hope you don’t look at my mother like that,” she snapped.

“What? No. C’mon, Grace.” In her eyes he was probably a quintessential jerk, checking her out without any thought to their past. In reality, he’d been taken just as off guard by his leering as she was. “I don’t usually—”

“Don’t usually let your eyes wander?” She scoffed. “Right.”

“Believe it or not, yes,” he said angrily. “Who do you think I’ve become? I didn’t expect you to walk out here at all, much less wearing nearly nothing and…” He tried to figure out what to say next, what to feel

“Why are you here, Reed?”

He didn’t need this. Not when he had just begun rebuilding his life. After being screwed over by Alina, he’d vowed to stay away from anything that made his head spin, and Grace definitely made his head spin.

He studied her, while trying not to at the same time. The chip on her shoulder was bigger now, overshadowing the sexy smirk on her lips. She’d always exuded confidence, but somehow that, too, seemed more intense. His heart thumped harder with the memory of the first time he’d spotted her standing on the sidelines in her cute cheerleading uniform as he headed out to the football field. She’d challenged him with her glare, as if she were playing on the rival team rather than cheering for them. She’d hated that cheerleading outfit, but man, he’d loved it. And that challenge she’d emitted? He’d taken her up on that in a hot second.

But she’d kicked him to the curb once, he reminded himself. Why was he giving her any consideration at all? He had a job to do, and sure, he’d momentarily lost his footing and checked her out, but it wasn’t like that was a crime. She was hot, and they had history. That’s as far as it goes.

About Addison Cole:

SIGN UP for ADDISON’S Sweet with Heat newsletter. Fun, flirty romance with a dash of heat. www.AddisonCole.com/Newsletter

DOWNLOAD the first book in Addison’s Sweet with Heat: Seaside Summers series free: READ, WRITE, LOVE AT SEASIDE here on Amazon.

Addison Cole is the sweet alter ego of New York Times and USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Melissa Foster. She writes humorous and emotional sweet contemporary romance. Her books do not include explicit sex scenes or harsh language. Addison spends her summers on Cape Cod, where she dreams up wonderful love stories in her house overlooking Cape Cod Bay.

Addison is proud to be part of the Main Street Romance family, a partnership with bestselling authors Nancy Naigle, RaeAnne Thayne, and Chris Keniston, bringing sweet happy-ever-after love stories to the Main Street Romance community. Join them at www.MainStreetRomance.com ~ open 24/7 just for you.

Addison enjoys discussing her books with book clubs and reader groups and welcomes an invitation to your event.

Connect with Addison:

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In Shadows by Sharon Sala #Suspense #BookReview


To protect her, he must remain a ghost…

Jack McCann has been in love with Shelly since they were teens. They married just out of college and right before he went to work as an undercover agent for the FBI. When he can, he slips away from his assignments to see her.

Jack has been undercover on his latest case for months, investigating a weapons-smuggling business. But just as the FBI is set to make the bust, Jack’s cover is blown. The last thing he feels as he crashes through a warehouse window and into the open water is a bullet piercing his back. The last thing he hears is Adam Wu promising to destroy everyone Jack loves.

Shelley’s worst nightmares come true when the FBI arrive at her doorstep to bring her the news. But she doesn’t know the truth: Jack survived the shooting and will do anything to keep his beloved wife safe—even if it means hiding in shadows…

 

 

Biography

Sharon Sala is a long-time member of RWA, as well as a member of OKRWA. She has 100 plus books in print under her name and her pen name, Dinah McCall. She is published in five different genres – Romance, Young Adult, Western, Fiction, and Women’s Fiction. First published in 1991, she’s an eight-time RITA finalist, winner of the Janet Dailey Award, four-time Career Achievement winner from RT Magazine, five time winner of the National Reader’s Choice Award, and five time winner of the Colorado Romance Writer’s Award of Excellence, winner of the Heart of Excellence Award, as well as winner of the Booksellers Best Award. In 2011 she was named RWA’s recipient of the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award. Her books are New York Times , USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly best-sellers. Writing changed her life, her world, and her fate.

 

My Review

This book was a mixed bag for me.

It starts out with undercover FBI agent, Jack McCann sneaking home in the middle of an operation for a quickie with his wife, who obligingly opens her legs and says,

“Oh my God, oh my God.” Seconds later she was in her husband’s arms, returning kiss for kiss, pulling off his jacket as he removed his shoulder holster, unbuckling his belt so he could push the jeans down his legs.

Sala, Sharon. In Shadows . MIRA Books. Kindle Edition.

This is seconds after her house alarm sounds a warning that someone shut it off and a big, dark shadow of a man appears in the doorway. Now, I don’t know about you, but I would have freaked out and thrown a lamp at his head, at the very least.

The suspense amped up somewhat after this and there were a few page-flipping moments, but for me this book fell flat.

I give In Shadows three lovely kisses- Not her best.

The clock is ticking for a wealthy Duke… Duchess by Deception… @MarieForce #Historical #Romance @InkSlingerPR


Today we are celebrating the release of DUCHESS BY DECEPTION by Marie Force. This is Marie’s first historical romance title and is part of the Gilded series. Grab your copy now!

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DUCHESS BY DECEPTION by Marie Force

A Gilded Novel

Available Now

Book Blurb:

In New York Times bestselling author Marie Force’s dazzling historical romance debut, the clock is ticking for a wealthy Duke who must marry by his thirtieth birthday—or lose his title…

Derek Eagan, the dashing Duke of Westwood, is well aware of his looming deadline. But weary of tiresome debutantes, he seeks a respite at his country home in Essex—and encounters a man digging on his property. Except he’s not a man. He’s a very lovely woman. Who suddenly faints at his feet.

Catherine McCabe’s disdain for the aristocracy has already led her to flee an arranged marriage with a boorish Viscount. The last thing she wants is to be waylaid in a Duke’s home. Yet, she is compelled to stay by the handsome, thoughtful man who introduces himself as the Duke’s estate manager.

Derek realizes two things immediately: he is captivated by her delicate beauty, and to figure out what she was up to, Catherine must not know he is the Duke. But as they fall passionately in love, Derek’s lie spins out of control. Will their bond survive his deception, not to mention the scorned Viscount’s pursuit? Most important, can Catherine fall in love all over again—this time with the Duke?

“…Force has crafted a masterpiece with the perfect amount of romance.” —Starred Review from Publisher’s Weekly

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Excerpt

Chapter 2

The next morning, Derek rode his black stallion Hercules out of London, heading for his country estate in Essex. He’d left without a word to the London household staff. They’d discover soon enough that he’d taken his leave and would send word to Anthony before the day was out. After taking their orders from Anthony during Derek’s adolescence, some of them were more loyal to his uncle than they were to him.

Following weeks of being cooped up in the city, Hercules seemed as anxious as Derek to return home, so Derek gave the big horse his head, and they made good time. They stopped only once for food and water, and Derek was grateful not to be recognized at the roadside inn. Otherwise, he might’ve been detained while the innkeeper tried to impress him. That was why he’d worn simple leather breaches, a white linen shirt and riding boots. After weeks on parade before the beau monde, it was a welcome relief to blend in with the unwashed masses.

Within a few hours, Derek and Hercules reached the southeastern corner of Derek’s vast estate and headed north. During the long journey, Derek had tried to put aside his disappointment over another failed Season and focus on the many tasks that awaited him at home. Here he knew who he was and what was expected of him. In polite society, all the lines became fuzzy, and he was forced to become someone he barely recognized.

If the pattern of years past was repeated, he could expect a dark mood to set in soon after he arrived home and settled back into the monotony of daily life, alone as always. That he had to go back, choose one of the simpering debs, apply for a special license and speak his vows sometime in the next ten days made him shudder. The thoughts were enough to get the dark mood started early.

It wasn’t that he didn’t like women. Oh no, he loved women. He loved their soft skin, their endlessly alluring scents, their long hair and lush curves. Other than his horses, he loved nothing more than losing himself in a willing woman. Sadly, in his corner of the country, suitable women were few and far between.

During the second of his many Seasons, Derek had befriended a courtesan named Kitty who saw to his more basic needs during his semi-regular visits to the city. While he liked and admired her, it wasn’t lost on him that were it not for the easy familiarity he shared with Kitty, he might’ve settled into a marriage long before now.

He’d never expected to reach the age of nine and twenty still unattached with no prospects on the horizon, not to mention any hope of producing an heir he could shape and mold into the future Duke of Westwood. The idea of constraining his own son to the life of a duke pained him, but Derek planned to live to a ripe old age, giving his son the chance Derek never had to experience life before being shackled with endless responsibilities and obligations. Perhaps he’d even take drastic steps to change the barbaric marriage rule in the family tenet, so his son would never feel the pressure that now threatened to suffocate Derek.

He chuckled softly. Getting a bit ahead of yourself, old sod. You can’t even find a wife, and you’re already making plans for the son you’ll never have at this rate.

He thought about how thrilled his Uncle Anthony would be to push Derek aside and take on the title he’d coveted all his life, even while pretending to have Derek’s best interests at heart. With these thoughts weighing heavily on his mind he almost missed it. A man was digging feverishly in a glade set back from the road. Derek reined in Hercules. “Whoa, boy.”

The horse snorted in protest.

“Easy.” Derek patted the horse’s neck while he watched for a minute before urging Hercules toward the digger. As he approached, he noticed the man wasn’t very tall. His ill-fitting clothes were caked with dirt, his boots scuffed and his breathing labored as he went about his work with single-minded determination, oblivious to the fact that he was being watched.

“You there!” Derek called out.

Startled by Derek’s sudden appearance, the man dropped the shovel and fell back on his rear.

Suppressing the urge to laugh at the shocked expression on the man’s dirty face, Derek dismounted and approached, offering a hand to help him up. From what Derek could see under the brim of the cap the man wore, his features were delicate, almost effeminate, and his filthy hands seemed too small to wield such a heavy shovel.

Ignoring Derek’s offered hand, the young man scrambled to his feet, rubbing his hands on his pants in a nervous gesture.

“Don’t even think about running,” Derek said. Dark eyes filled with fear stared back at him. “What do you think you’re doing digging here? This is private property. Anything you uncover belongs to the Duke of Westwood.”

The young man’s face twisted with scorn, but still he didn’t speak.

Derek noticed the other man’s hands were trembling. “I won’t harm you. I just want to know what you’re doing.” When that got him nowhere, he bent to retrieve the shovel. “If you won’t answer my questions, I’ll have to confiscate this.”

Uttering an animalistic growl, the man lunged for the shovel. As he and Derek crashed together, his threadbare cap flew off his head, and long, curly blond hair spilled down his—or rather her—back.

Deep navy-blue eyes stared up at him as she quaked in terror.

Shocked to realize his trespasser was a woman who was deathly afraid of him, Derek reached out to steady her. “Easy now. I won’t hurt you.”

She released a gasp as her legs seemed to collapse beneath her.

Derek caught her just before she hit the ground in a dead faint. By holding her over his shoulder, Derek managed to struggle the featherweight woman and her small valise onto Hercules. Once astride, he arranged her so she rested against him. Right away Derek could feel the heat of her fever through his shirt. Her hair was matted with grime, and she smelled, well, less than fresh. Derek wondered how long she’d been battling the elements on her own and when she’d last eaten.

Tightening his hold on his passenger, Derek urged Hercules into a canter. They arrived at Westwood Hall less than an hour later. Derek’s cousin Simon, butler Rutledge and several footmen met them.

“Your Grace!” Rutledge cried. “We had no idea you’d be home so soon!” He curled up his regal nose at the sight of the ruffian with Derek. “And who have you brought?”

“I encountered her out on the south quarter. She’s burning up with fever.” Derek signaled one of the footmen, who approached to relieve him of his passenger. “Take her to the blue guest room.” Derek dismounted and handed the reins to a second footman. “And send for the doctor right away.”

“Yes, Your Grace,” Rutledge said, gesturing to the second footman as he, Derek and Simon followed the man carrying the sick woman into the house.

“Who is she?” Simon asked.

“I have no idea. She was digging in the glade when I came across her.”

“Digging for what?”

“She passed out before I could ask her,” Derek said as he rushed inside with Simon on his heels.

Mrs. Langingham, the housekeeper, met them in the foyer, taking over for the flustered butler. “Oh, Your Grace, you’re home so early!”

“As usual, London failed to keep me entertained. Would you please have one of the maids draw a bath for the young miss? She’s dirty and ill.”

“Of course.” Mrs. Langingham signaled to a maid, who scurried off.

“I’ll see you later,” Derek said to his cousin as he followed the footman carrying the woman up the stairs. At the doorway to the room he’d assigned her, he hesitated. It wouldn’t be proper for him to be in her bedchamber. Even though he had no idea who she was or where she’d come from, he worried about her reputation, nonetheless.

The footman set her on the bed and came to the door.

“Thank you,” Derek said, his eyes on the woman. He stood watch over her until the maids had her bath ready in the bathing room he’d recently installed.

Mrs. Langingham bustled into the room after them, barking out orders and taking command. “Now off with you, Your Grace. We’ll take good care of her.”

“If she comes to,” Derek said, acting on instinct, “don’t tell her where she is or who found her.”

“As you wish.”

“I’ll check on her later.”

“We’ll take good care of her,” Mrs. Langingham said again as she ushered him out the door. “Don’t worry yourself.”

Derek left the room, but he didn’t want to. For some odd reason, he wanted to stay and care for her himself. To peel the filthy clothing from her petite body and bathe what looked to be weeks of grime off her, to wash her long hair and towel it dry by the fire. He wanted to crawl into bed next to her and hold her until the fever broke and she could tell him why she’d been digging on his land. So far all she’d done was growl at him, but the desperation he’d heard in that growl had touched him deeply.

He could go back, clear the room and take over. But Mrs. Langingham had helped to raise him, and he’d never shock her that way. Walking toward his own bedchamber at the other end of the long hallway, Derek decided he’d go back as soon as they had her settled in bed. Hopefully by then the doctor would have arrived.

***

An hour later, Derek returned to check on his new ward and stopped dead in his tracks at the bedchamber doorway. The woman was propped against a small mountain of pillows, her damp golden curls forming a halo around her freshly scrubbed face. A porcelain complexion, pretty pink lips and a button nose completed a rather captivating picture. He’d been oddly drawn to her when she was dirty and smelly. But now he needed her to awaken so he could find out everything there was to know about her.

While he stared at her, she began to thrash in the bed as if in the midst of a frightening dream.

“What’s wrong with her?” he asked, riveted by the fear he saw on her face.

“She’s been terribly agitated, Your Grace,” Mrs. Langingham said, wringing her hands.

“Can’t you do something?” he asked the doctor. Reeking of whiskey, the old man had clearly been dragged from the village pub. Derek moved to the foot of the bed for a closer look.

“She’s quite ill, Your—”

“Don’t call me that,” Derek snapped. “Until I find out more about what she’s after, I don’t want her to know who I am or where she is.”

“I doubt she’s paying much attention to what we are saying, sir.”

“Regardless, can’t you do something to make her more comfortable?”

The doctor shook his head. “If she doesn’t wake in the next day or two, we can bleed her.”

“Absolutely not.”

“But Your, I mean, sir, there may be no other choice.”

Derek had yet to hear of anyone who’d been better off after bleeding than they had been before. “No talk of bleeding. For God’s sake, no one does that anymore.”

“It can still be highly effective,” the old man huffed.

Derek decided then and there it was time for a new doctor in the village. He’d begin the search as soon as possible.

“I can’t help but notice,” Mrs. Langingham said to Derek, “that she seems to calm somewhat when she hears your voice.”

He moved to the side of the bed, took the young woman’s work-roughened hand and held it between both of his. “There now, you’re safe here. Try to rest.” Before his astounded eyes, she relaxed into the pillows, but her fever-reddened cheeks worried him. Turning to the doctor, Derek said, “Will she recover?”

The doctor picked up his bag of useless tools. “She’s young, and though she’s somewhat malnourished, she’s strong. There’s no reason to believe she won’t recover. Try to get some tea or broth into her.”

Mrs. Langingham, who’d been hovering at Derek’s shoulder, nodded vociferously. “I’ll see to it personally.”

“I’ll do it,” Derek said.

“But, sir,” Mrs. Langingham protested, “it’s not proper!”

“You said yourself that my presence calms her. And besides, who will know?”

She wilted under the intensity of his gaze. “As you wish. I’ll have the tea sent up.” She bustled from the room.

As the doctor prepared to leave, Derek stopped him. “Not a word of this in the village. Do you understand me?”

“Yes, sir. I’ll check on her tomorrow.”

After closing the door behind the doctor, Derek went to stand by the bed. Hands in pockets, he studied his guest so intently that he never heard Mrs. Langingham’s return. She set the tray of tea and broth on the bedside table.

“I’ll take it from here,” Derek said.

“Your Grace,” she whispered, her expression scandalized.

“That’ll be all, Mrs. Langingham.” He sent her a warm smile. “Thank you for your assistance.”

“You’ll need to put a towel under her chin.”

“I can handle it. I’ll see you in the morning.” Derek waited until the housekeeper left the room before pouring the tea and waiting for it to cool. Once it had become somewhat tepid, he sat on the bed and arranged his patient so she reclined against his chest. Remembering the towel Mrs. Langingham had recommended, Derek tucked it under the woman’s chin and over her shoulders and then reached for the tea.

The heat from her feverish body seeped through their clothing to warm him. “Come now,” he said softly. “Let’s have a little sip.”

She strained against his tight hold and turned her head away from the cup he held to her lips. Her mouth opened, and he was able to get her to drink a small bit without her choking. It took more than half an hour, but he managed to get most of the cup into her. He wiped her face with the towel and started to settle her back in bed.

But she turned into him, her head on his chest, and began to murmur in her sleep.

Now this, Derek thought, was definitely improper. Regardless, he couldn’t seem to bring himself to leave her, even though her fever was making him overly warm.

“No,” she muttered. “Don’t. Please don’t.” She stiffened, as if in pain, and let out a low moan.

“It’s all right,” Derek said, combing his fingers through her glorious mane. “I’ve got you. You’re safe here.”

“Don’t hurt me. Please don’t.”

Derek tightened his hold on her. “You’re safe. No one will hurt you.” He realized his shirt was damp and looked down to see tears on her fever-brightened cheeks. Brushing them away, he ached to know who she was, who had hurt her, and what had brought her to his corner of Essex.

He spoke softly to her until she once again relaxed into a deep sleep. The long, eventful day finally caught up to him, and his eyes drifted closed. His next conscious thought was one of struggle. Someone was fighting him with everything they had. He startled awake to find his patient battling her way out of his embrace.

“Wait,” he said. “I won’t hurt you.”

“Release me this instant!” Her voice was low and cultured, and the sound stirred him profoundly.

Derek did as she asked, and she sprang from the bed.

Arms folded across the front of the thin night rail Mrs. Langingham had found for her, she glared at him as she wobbled on unsteady legs. “Where am I? Where is my clothing? Who undressed me?”

“You’re at Westwood Hall. The housekeeper bathed and dressed you.”

Her face flaming with embarrassment, she grabbed a blanket from the foot of the bed and wrapped it around herself. “And who resides here?”

“The Duke of Westwood.”

She made a face of supreme distaste.

Derek bit back the urge to laugh.

“I have no desire to be the guest of a duke. If you’ll find my clothes, I’ll be on my way.”

“I believe they were burned.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“They weren’t fit to be rags.”

“They’re all I have!” Her pale face lost what color it had left as she swooned.

Derek bolted from the bed to catch her and settled her back in bed. “You’re ill. You can’t go anywhere until your fever breaks and you regain your strength.”

Dark blue eyes filled with tears. “I can’t stay here.”

“What has the duke ever done to you?”

“Not a thing.”

“Then why are you so opposed to being his guest?”

“I’d feel the same about any peer of the realm,” she said with a haughty lift of her delicate chin.

“And why is that?”

“I have my reasons. Who are you anyway?”

Derek’s brain froze.

“Have I asked a difficult question?”

“Of course not,” Derek said, recovering. “I’m Jack Bancroft, the duke’s estate manager.”

“You’re not a peer?”

“No, ma’am.” Derek wasn’t sure why he lied, except that he wanted to know more about her and already understood that he’d get nowhere with her as the Duke of Westwood. That, alone, made her different from every other woman he’d ever met.

“Good,” she said, visibly relieved.

“Now that I’ve given you my name, will you return the favor?”

She rolled her plump bottom lip between her teeth. “Catherine.”

Derek lowered himself into the chair next to the bed. “Pleasure to meet you, Catherine.”

“How did I get here?”

“I brought you. Do you remember our encounter in the woods? You were digging.”

“And you took my shovel.”

“The duke tends to frown upon strangers digging on his land without his knowledge or permission.”

Her eyes flashed with anger. “Oh, what does he care? He has thousands of acres. What’s one small hole to him?”

“It’s still his land, and thus his hole. Why don’t you tell me why you were digging?”

Her eyes widened. “My bag! Where’s my bag?” Clawing at the blankets, she tried to get up.

“Stay there. It’s right here.” He crossed the room to get the threadbare valise and brought it to her.

She did a quick inspection and then clutched it to her chest, eying him warily. “Did you look inside?”

“I did not.” Dropping back into the chair, he propped his feet on the foot of the bed. “You haven’t answered my question. Why were you digging?”

“I was looking for something that belongs to me,” she said, her gaze darting to his feet on the bed and then back to his face. Her expression told him that if it were up to her, he and his feet would be expelled from the room immediately.

Confused, Derek said, “So, you’ve been here before?” He was quite certain he’d remember her.

“No. My grandmother has.”

“And she left something behind?”

“I don’t wish to discuss it any further.”

“I can’t help you if I don’t know what brought you here or why you were willing to risk your health and well-being in pursuit of it.”

“Why would you want to help me?”

With every passing minute Derek grew more fascinated by her. He forced himself to project a sense of calm when he was anything but. “The duke has gone abroad to America for the summer.” Even though he surprised himself with the easy lie, his face remained neutral. “I’ve nothing much to do in his absence. If you’re looking for something, I might be able to help.”

“I don’t require your assistance. If I could just borrow some clothing, I’ll be on my way.”

“I’m afraid I can’t allow that.”

“You can’t, or you won’t?”

“As the duke’s estate manager, I oversee everything involving the land. I can’t permit a stranger to dig unsupervised.” He sent her his most charming smile. “You wouldn’t want to cause me trouble with my employer, now would you?”

“I don’t see why you can’t just let me go and forget you ever met me.”

Derek gave her his most charming smile. “My lady, you are quite unforgettable.”

“And it is quite unseemly for us to be alone together in a bedchamber.”

“No member of this household will speak of it.” He would see to that. “You were sick. I thought you’d be more comfortable waking up to someone you recognized, even though our association was brief.”

“And how precisely did you end up in bed with me?”

“I fed you some tea and then you fell asleep. I didn’t want to disturb you. And you seemed . . . ”

“What?”

“Frightened. Has someone hurt you?”

Catherine gasped. “Of course not. Why would you say such a thing?”

“You were speaking in your sleep.”

She put a hand over her mouth. “I wasn’t.”

Derek leaned forward and rested his elbows on the bed. “Who hurt you, Catherine?”

Shrinking back from him, she sank deeper into the pillows. “No one,” she said in barely more than a whisper.

“Let me help you.”

“I can’t stay here. I won’t accept charity from the aristocracy.”

“The way I see it, you don’t have much choice. You’re sick, weak, most likely far from home, alone, unprotected. Need I go on?” When she only glowered at him, he continued. “I can help you, but only if you’re honest with me.”

“And what will you tell the duke?”

“He is to be away for some months and trusts me to manage his affairs in his absence.”

“I can’t stay in his home. I just can’t.”

“We may be able to make other arrangements, so you wouldn’t have to stay under his roof, per se.”

She stared at him, mouth agape. “Why would you do such a thing for someone you barely know?”

“I told you. It’s all too quiet around here when the duke is away. Helping you will give me something interesting to do.”

She gave him an arch look, which, along with her fever-reddened cheeks, only added to her overwhelming appeal. “And what, pray, will you expect in return?”

He feigned shock. “My dear lady, I may not be a peer, but I am a gentleman.”

“A gentleman who somehow found his way into my bed the day we met.”

Derek couldn’t help but smile at her witty retort. “For that I would offer my most heartfelt apologies if I hadn’t so enjoyed holding you while you slept.”

“You’re outrageous,” she huffed.

He shrugged. “I speak only the truth. I have a proposition for you.” Was it his imagination or did she shrink further into the mountain of pillows?

“What kind of proposition?”

“You’re looking for something that’s clearly important to you. I can provide access to the area in which you wish to look as well as food and shelter for as long as you’re a guest on the estate.”

“In exchange for?”

“The truth. Tell me who you are, what you’re looking for, how you managed to get so sick and dirty, who you’re running from and anything else I should know in order to justify my actions to the duke.”

She rolled that plump lip between her teeth once more, sending a sharp bolt of lust straight to Derek’s cock. Had he ever envied another’s teeth before? Not that he could recall. He watched an array of emotions cross her expressive face—fear, trepidation, longing, desperation, distrust and despair. That last one made him feel small for forcing himself on her when she clearly wanted nothing more to do with him.

Even though he’d been less than truthful with her, he hadn’t lied about wishing for something interesting to occupy his time. Since he was supposed to be in London for another few weeks, his schedule was open, and his regular duties delegated to others.

He extended his hand. “Do we have a deal?”

She glanced at his hand and then at his face. “Do I have any other choice?”

“Not if you wish to continue digging on the duke’s property.”

Scowling, she held out her hand. “Fine.”

As Derek enclosed her soft hand between both of his, a charge traveled through his limbs to settle in his groin, and he wondered just who was fooling who.

—————————-

AUTHOR INFORMATION:

Marie Force is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 50 contemporary romances, including the Gansett Island Series, which has sold more than 3 million books, and the Fatal Series from Harlequin Books, which has sold 1.5 million books. In addition, she is the author of the Butler, Vermont Series, the Green Mountain Series and the erotic romance Quantum Series, written under the slightly modified name of M.S. Force. All together, her books have sold more than 5.5 million copies worldwide!

Her goals in life are simple—to finish raising two happy, healthy, productive young adults, to keep writing books for as long as she possibly can and to never be on a flight that makes the news.
Join Marie’s mailing list for news about new books and upcoming appearances in your area. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter @marieforce and on Instagram. Join one of Marie’s many reader groups. Contact Marie at marie@marieforce.com.

 

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Unraveling the Truth About Love by @Addison_Cole #Romance #Reading @InkSlingerPR


Today we have the release week blitz of UNRAVELING THE TRUTH ABOUT LOVE by Addison Cole! I am so excited to share this sweet romance with you—check it out and be sure to grab your copy today!

 

Title: UNRAVELING THE TRUTH ABOUT LOVE

Author: Addison Cole

Genre: Sweet Romance

About UNRAVELING THE TRUTH ABOUT LOVE:

Discover the magic of the Bradens, and fall in love with Addison Cole’s rich and romantic storytelling.

In Unraveling the Truth About Love…
Small-town overachiever Riley Banks has finally scored her big break–working in Manhattan as a fashion design assistant for her childhood crush, Josh Braden. She enters her new job hoping to make a name for herself and–just maybe–explore the romance that slipped through her fingers way back when.

Josh Braden has models at his beck and call, a staff that never says never, and an elegant clothing line for the holiday season. When he hires Riley Banks, he expects her to learn the business from the ground up. But the girl next door turns out to be much more than he remembered.

When Josh and Riley’s friendship heats up, every steamy kiss, and every passionate caress stirs a love they cannot deny. But when Riley designs a wedding gown that would cause even the most jaded fashion editors to swoon, Riley’s mentor accuses her of stealing the design.

Facing indisputable proof and the mistrust of her lover, Riley is not sure she can take the heat of life in the fast lane of the fashion industry–and Josh is forced to choose between the woman he loves and the career he adores.

***

Unraveling the Truth About Love is a Sweet with Heat novel and conveys all of the passion you’d expect to find between two people in love without any graphic scenes or harsh language. If you’re looking for a more explicit romance, pick up the steamy edition, Friendship on Fire, written by New York Times bestselling author Melissa Foster. Addison Cole is Melissa’s sweet-romance pen name.

 

Get Your Copy Today:

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More of The Bradens at Weston:

A Love So Sweet

Our Sweet Destiny

Unraveling The Truth About Love

The Art of Loving Lacy (on pre-order for May 8th)

Excerpt

Riley Banks hurried down Thirty-Seventh Street in her red Catherine Malandrino dress and Giuseppe Zanotti leopard-print, calf-hair pumps. It was the week after Thanksgiving, and Manhattan was buzzing with the feverish zeal of the holidays.  Riley slowed her pace to catch her breath. Tomorrow I’ll find the courage to take the subway. Maybe. She tugged her coat tighter across her chest to ward off the chilly air and silently hoped that nobody would figure out that she’d purchased her outfit on Outnet.com, an online designer outlet store. She felt like such a hypocrite, heading to her first day at her new job as one of world-renowned designer Josh Braden’s assistants wearing discounted clothing. The thought turned her stomach—but not as much as showing up in her hometown jeans and cowgirl boots would have. She was a long way from Weston, Colorado, and she’d spent the last few weeks gathering discount designer clothes and practicing omitting “y’all” from her vocabulary.

She stood before the thick glass door of Josh Braden Designs and took a deep breath. The sign above the door read, JBD. This is it. She closed her eyes for a split second to repeat the mantra she’d been playing in her mind like a broken record for weeks: I’m educated, knowledgeable, and eager. I can do this.

A warm hand on her lower back pulled her from her thoughts.

“Have any trouble finding us?” Josh Braden stood beside her with a friendly smile and perfectly shorn, thick dark hair. His black Armani suit fit his lean, muscular frame perfectly. A few years earlier, he’d been named one of America’s Most Eligible Bachelors. Back then she hadn’t given the magazine cover a second thought. He was in New York, and she was back in Colorado, so far removed from him that she’d still thought of him as Josh Braden, the boy she’d had a crush on for too many years to count. Now, standing on the streets of New York City beside the man whose name rivaled Vera Wang, she felt the air sucked from her lungs.

His deep voice sent a shiver right through her. Not only had she had the good fortune to be reconnected with Josh when he was back home visiting his family, but during his visit, the two of them had also spent a few days getting reacquainted. Riley hadn’t been sure if it was her crush going haywire or if there was something more real blossoming between them, but those few days had each felt a little more intimate than the last. And while their lips never touched and their bodies remained apart, she’d felt like they were always one breath away from falling into each other’s arms.

 

 

About Addison Cole:

SIGN UP for ADDISON’S Sweet with Heat newsletter. Fun, flirty romance with a dash of heat. www.AddisonCole.com/Newsletter

DOWNLOAD the first book in Addison’s Sweet with Heat: Seaside Summers series free: READ, WRITE, LOVE AT SEASIDE here on Amazon.

Addison Cole is the sweet alter ego of New York Times and USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Melissa Foster. She writes humorous and emotional sweet contemporary romance. Her books do not include explicit sex scenes or harsh language. Addison spends her summers on Cape Cod, where she dreams up wonderful love stories in her house overlooking Cape Cod Bay.

Addison is proud to be part of the Main Street Romance family, a partnership with bestselling authors Nancy Naigle, RaeAnne Thayne, and Chris Keniston, bringing sweet happy-ever-after love stories to the Main Street Romance community. Join them at www.MainStreetRomance.com ~ open 24/7 just for you.

Addison enjoys discussing her books with book clubs and reader groups and welcomes an invitation to your event.

Connect with Addison:

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Talia Spencer’s life is the epitome of boring and predictable. But then she meets him… What Happens in Vegas by @KatherineGarbera #Romance #Read @PureTextuality


Talia Spencer’s life is the epitome of boring and predictable. But then she meets him

The first time she meets Casey Waltham, she’s buying condoms…for her grandmother. And of course drops them accidentally at his feet. Face plant.

The second time she sees him, she’s this close to landing her dream job and is celebrating at a club. Two chance encounters in the same day–that’s got to be a sign, right?

He’s charming and flirty and just what Talia needs for the night.

But it was just supposed to be a hook-up. At least, that’s what she thought…until he turns out to be her new boss…

 

Promo Graphic - One Night Gamble by Katherine Garbera - 2

 

About the Book

One Night Gamble
by Katherine Garbera

Series
Jokers Wild Book One

Genre
Adult
Contemporary Romance

Publisher
Entangled Brazen

Publication Date
January 14, 2018

Purchase Your Copy Today!
Amazon  |  Entangled Publishing  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  iBooks

 

 

Chapter One

Damn.

Talia Spencer glanced down at her leg and then cursed again. The run in her pantyhose had spread all the way up her leg. She’d considered going without them, but she hadn’t had time to shave her legs this morning and she was all Chewbacca down there. She glanced at her watch as she drove down the highway. The interview was in thirty-five minutes.

She couldn’t be late. The Jokers Wild Casino was the newest on the Vegas Strip, and she desperately wanted a job there. She’d been intrigued the moment she’d first heard about it. The casino was co-owned by three Las Vegas mavericks—a gambler, an illusionist, and a daredevil stunt performer. Even now, her stomach churned when she thought of some of the stuff the third partner had done.

As much as she hated Las Vegas and resented the casinos that had been such a dominant part of her childhood, she needed a good paying job that she could use to springboard herself out of Nevada.

Sami Shroft, her best friend, had heard about the job through the office grapevine and put Talia’s resume in for her. Sami liked to push and Talia was the first to admit that she needed a shove every now and then. She’d been raised by her grandmother—and her father, when he was flush with money.

He had been a charmer when Lady Luck was on his side, and he would splash out money like a high roller, even though he had only been a small-time gambler compared to the whales that frequented casinos. That had led to her dad getting in deep with several loan sharks. It had only been after his death from lung cancer, just days before her eighteenth birthday, that they’d learned how much he’d gambled.

The Jokers Wild Casino was probably one of the few on the Vegas Strip where she could enter without her last name being recognized. Most of them had repeatedly kicked her father out after he’d lost too much and become belligerent.

She signaled to change lanes, cutting off a sports car whose driver honked at her, but she just waved and muttered thanks under her breath, then turned just as the light switched to yellow.

Of course, there were no spaces near the front of the grocery store she’d promised her grandmother she’d stop at before her meeting, and she really didn’t have time to drive up and down looking for a good spot, so she pulled into the first empty one she saw and then grabbed her purse as she got out. This was insane.

Her phone was blowing up with messages from a group chat she was in with the Sexy Silvers. It seemed her Gran had a hot lunch date with Glen View retirement village’s version of Zac Efron. He was charming, good-looking and had managed to use those two things to work his way through many of the women in the senior community. Gran was susceptible to his charm—she’d mentioned more than once that she thought he was hot. Talia shook her head and grudgingly smiled. Yeah, her Gran wasn’t the sit home and knit type. She kept her hair dyed jet black and styled, and wore cooler clothes than even Talia did. But as hip as Gran thought she was, Talia knew she was also a bit old-fashioned when it came to men. Gran’s date was at six. The charmer didn’t eat during the early-bird menu hours, so that meant that Talia would have time to make it home before her grandmother left, if she hurried.

She picked up another pair of stockings so she could change before her interview, then walked toward the area of the store where she knew they sold condoms. Gran didn’t need a STD.

She paused in front of the selection. There were a lot of choices.

A lot.

She grabbed her phone and texted her best friend Sami.

Talia: Which condoms are the best?

Sami: Hot damn, girl! Do you have a date?

Talia: Gran does. I’m late for my interview. Wine and whine tonight?

Sami: Yes. I don’t know on the condoms. Most guys have a preference. I guess you can’t get Gran to ask. <laughing eyes emoji>

Talia: No. TTYL

She grabbed the first box her fingers touched as she turned on her heel and bumped into someone solid. The impact jarred her entire body and she felt the box slip from her fingers as she glanced up into eyes that were blue. The kind of blue that dominated the sky on a clear spring day. He had thick lashes and his eyebrows were dark brown and neatly groomed, she noted, as one of them arched.

She backed away and shook her head.

“I’m sorry. In a bit of a hurry,” she said, bending to pick up the condoms. Then she realized he might think she was rushing to have sex. “It’s not what you think.”

He winked at her. “None of my business.”

She just shook her head and moved around him and down the aisle toward the self-checkout. She glanced at her watch.

Five minutes later, she was opening the door to her ten-year-old hatchback that had seen better days. She stood next to the car for a minute, letting the heat escape, then glanced up at the sound of the low growl of an expensive engine. She’d worked the car show one year as a model when she’d been sixteen, so she was pretty sure the vehicle was a Bugatti Veyron. She’d been thrilled when her father had gotten her the gig…until she’d found out that she’d been working to pay off one of his debts.

The car pulled to a stop next to her and the passenger window slid down slowly. “Need a lift?”

“Uh, no. Thanks. Just letting my car cool down before I get in,” she said. “Nice ride.”

“I won it in a card game last weekend,” he said.

A wave of disappointment went through her and she shook her head. Of course he was charming and hot, but none of that mattered now.

“You’re a gambler,” she said. Gran said not everyone who placed a bet was like her dad, but she wasn’t going to take the chance.

“Wow. I’ve never heard so much loathing in one word before,” he said.

“Sorry…baggage.”

He was driving a Veyron and was no doubt flush most of the time. Not like her father, who hadn’t ever really had money unless he’d been to visit one of his loan sharks.

“I’m a responsible—”

“Let me stop you there,” she said. “I know that gambling only hurts those with no self-control.” She turned to look inside her car. “I think I’m good to go now. It’s been interesting meeting you.”

“You too, brown eyes,” he said before he drove away. She watched him leave for another minute before she got in her own car and drove away.

Her pre-interview session was due to start in fifteen minutes, so she had to hurry to the Jokers Wild Casino. She ran inside and checked in before asking for the ladies’ room. She changed her hose and then touched up her lipstick.

She needed this job.

Just like her dad had needed the dice to hit seven or eleven every time he threw them. Desperation. She had to shake it off.

She looked at herself in the mirror, meeting her own brown gaze.

“You got this.”

Jokers Wild was the key to her finally getting out of Vegas. And that was something she’d wanted for a long, long time.

Casey Waltham was a poker playing phenomenon and had won his first million days after his eighteenth birthday. In the last ten years, he’d made more money than even he knew what to do with. He had the best toys that money could buy, and had learned that real friends hung around when life got shitty. In his case, those friends were his blood brothers—Darien Mitchell and Nicholas Pine.

They’d purchased one of the older casinos on the strip that had been in desperate need of a revamp. They’d torn it down and then invested in the areas where they all excelled. Casey was in charge of the day-to-day operations and running of the casino. Currently, he was in the process of introducing a new high-stakes poker room, with a game that would be played at the end of the month. But for it to be as successful as he knew it could be, he needed to hire a new social media/community manager.

Darien had overseen the design and construction of the high-stakes stunt stadium. It was state of the art and would be used for Darien’s show during the winter months. He wasn’t ready to give up touring during the summer yet. So, instead, during the hotter months, Darien had booked a few monster truck shows and other motor-based sporting events.

Nicholas’s arena was taking slightly longer because of the intricacies of illusion and magic—stuff that Casey didn’t understand but knew was important to ensure that Nicholas could complete his showstopping illusions every night. Once it was finished in about six months, the Jokers Wild would be officially complete and open for business.

So far, they were getting good press but the publicity manager wanted someone who understood social media in a way that he didn’t. And since none of them knew how to delegate, they had the human resources department vetting applicants before they conducted the final interviews.

“Did you look at the list? I still don’t think I’m going to be able to add anything to the interviews,” Darien said as Casey walked into the executive office suite filled with floor to ceiling glass windows that offered an unobstructed view of the strip.

Darien wore his blond hair longish in a way that Casey’s new assistant said made him look like a rogue and had a tattoo sleeve on one arm that was part memorial to his deceased father and part tribute to the legend that Dare had become. Darien had followed in his father’s footsteps and was a badass motorcycle stuntman who took his show all over the world.

“We’ve already discussed this. Either we are all in or we hire a management company,” Nicholas said from the corner. Tall, with close cropped black hair, Nick tended to dress all in black because he said it made his eyes seem more mercurial since they were an icy gray color. Nick was a master illusionist who was world-renowned for both his street magic and his arena shows. Casey figured that appearing mercurial only added to his mystique.

“Calm down, Houdini, I’m not saying that,” Dare said. “You know I’m not really good with people.”

“What’s that got to do with the interviews?” Nick asked.

Dare rubbed the back of his neck. “Nothing. I just thought I’d throw it out there and see if you two would give me a pass.”

“Nice try. But we’re not going to let you just do the fun stuff,” Casey said. “The files are over here. I think we should review them and have some questions ready for each of the candidates tomorrow.”

They all settled around the large table in his office. It was a poker table, but for now, it was serving as a conference table until he decided what his office should look like. Casey tried to concentrate on the candidates, but he kept remembering the girl from the grocery store—the one buying condoms.

Why he was interested, he didn’t know. She’d pretty much made it clear she didn’t like gamblers, and he’d made his fortune playing poker. Vegas was like that—a mixed bag of those who believed in luck, and those who had been dragged along with them. He rubbed the back of his neck.

“We need to talk before the hiring manager comes in,” Casey said, pulling his thoughts back to the business at hand. It was time to forget about her smile and those long legs that had kept him in a state of fascination as she’d walked away from him.

“We need a list of things we want to communicate about each of our lines of business,” Casey said.

Darien shifted in his chair, stretched out his legs, and pulled a piece of paper from his pocket. “I’ve got a list I compiled with Rio’s help. He has been good at getting the crowds at our shows this summer to engage.”

Rio was Dare’s younger brother and had been the one who’d pushed Dare into joining him and Nick on the casino. Rio hated living on the road and since they were the only family the other one had, Dare had decided to make their traveling show a permanent one in the Jokers Wild Casino. It would be a stunt bike spectacular.

“He also wants to offer some classes on stunt riding to our guests. It’s something he hopes the new social media manager will set up, as well as create and manage a community,” Dare added.

“I have a list as well,” Nicholas said, producing it with a snap of his fingers.

“Do you have to do that?” Dare asked, annoyed.

“Yes,” Nicholas said. “It’s part of who I am.”

Darien just shook his head. “That’s like saying I should have roared off the elevator on my Harley.”

“You could have, but that’s not the same as what I did,” Nicholas said, an odd look coming over his face. “It’s second nature to me now.”

“I think it’s fun,” Casey said. “Definitely do it when we meet with the candidates. As for me, I need the new hire to focus on the big poker tournament that we are hosting to open the high-stakes room and a few other things.” He paused and looked at his friends. “A lot depends on us making a good hiring choice here. We should have a final list for Friday. Send your stuff to my assistant and I’ll have her forward it to the candidates so they can be prepared.”

“I can’t be here for the final interviews,” Darien said. “Do you care if Rio sits in for me?”

“Why not?” Casey asked.

“I have to meet with the team about the new show, as well as finish talking to our bike supplier.”

“Can’t Rio do that?” he asked.

“Yeah, but he’s better with people. Besides, he’s the one who will have to work with this person,” Dare said.

“It’s fine with me,” Nick said. “But you can’t delegate everything to Rio, you know.”

“I know.”

“Okay,” Casey said, bringing the group’s focus back to business. “The World Poker Championship is going to take a lot of my energy right now. Winning the bid to host it was a huge win for Jokers Wild. I want to make sure that it’s better than anything anyone has ever seen.”

“You will. Are you playing?”

“Hell, yeah. I’m not about to invite the best players in the world to my backyard and not test myself against them.”

After getting some ribbing about his lack of confidence, Casey wrapped up their meeting and walked down the hall to his office. He couldn’t seem to get his mind off the girl at the grocery store. He wished he’d gotten her name and number, just in case. In a city as big as Vegas, the odds of them running into each other again were slim.

She had mentioned baggage, leading him to assume that she’d been involved with someone who’d had a gambling addiction. He understood how easily that could happen. Luckily, he had always known his own limits, but there were dealers in Vegas—and at tables all over the world—who preyed on those who couldn’t resist trying to change their luck. In fact, that was why he’d come home.

His mom had been one of those people. From a very early age, Casey had realized he needed to learn how to bluff and play the odds, just to keep a roof over their heads and her out of jail.

Some of the people who had fed her addiction were on his list of players confirmed for the tournament. And Casey was going to make sure they didn’t ruin the lives of anyone else.

The pre-interview had gone well. And if she didn’t feel like it was bad luck, she’d even admit to herself that it had gone really well. Ms. Adana at the Jokers Wild Hotel and Casino had been really impressed with her resume and had approved her for the next step—a meeting with the owners at ten a.m. tomorrow. She glanced at the poster that hung on the side of the building, which showed the three owners. The first was Casey Waltham, poker player extraordinaire. He’d won his first multimillion-dollar jackpot before he was twenty-one, and had a reputation for being cold as ice at the table and away from it. The poster portrayed his trademark look—Armani shades and a dark hoodie hiding his features.

She assumed there were people who’d met him and never had a clue who he was.

Then there was Nicholas Pine, master illusionist. He had silver-colored eyes and always dressed in all black. For his shows, he favored designer suits, but for his street magic, he usually wore black jeans and a fitted T-shirt. She’d actually seen him a few years ago doing his act outside the Bellagio. He’d made someone’s cell phone disappear, then reappear in the base of one of the streetlamps. She still couldn’t figure out how he’d done it.

The third partner was Darien Mitchell. He looked like a badass, and had a smoldering sexuality about him that, no doubt, had women falling at his feet. But to Talia, he seemed like he’d be a lot of fun for a short time and then a lot of work. He was the son of famed motorcycle stuntman Ken Mitchell, and he had grown up in his father’s shadow. Then three years ago, he’d surpassed his father by pulling off a stunt that was as dangerous as it was legendary.

If everything went according to plan tomorrow, she’d be working for them. Her job would be to make sure that they were putting out the right message on social media and creating a community around the casino that would be entertainment-focused.

She wasn’t going to lie—she was damned excited about the thought of getting this job. But right now, she had an errand to run. Gran had texted that she needed a bottle of Schnapps so she could make her famous Sex on the Beach cocktail for Mr. Edmonds before they went out, so Talia dashed into the liquor store on the corner, texting with Sami as she waited to pay for the bottle.

Sami: Let’s celebrate your new gig by going out tonight. Don’t say you can’t. I already called your Gran and she’s got a hot date with Mr. Edmonds.

Talia: I know. That’s why I had to pick up condoms earlier. But I don’t have the job yet…

Sami: I’m sure it’s a done deal. They’d be stupid not to hire you. So meet me at my place at eight. Let’s go out and let loose before you get overwhelmed by all the work at your new job.

Talia: Okay.

Sami: Can’t you pretend to be happy.

Talia: <a string of emojis and a gif of girls partying> Better?

Sami: It’ll do, donkey.

Talia: Where are we going?

Sami: Let’s check out the Jokers Wild. I have some comps for drinks that they gave out at work.

Talia: But I might be working there.

Sami: You will be working there. All the more reason to go out tonight, before you have to be on your best behavior.

Sami had a point, but then, she usually did. Talia and Sami had been friends since the sixth grade, when Sami’s family had moved to Hendersonville—a Vegas suburb—and Talia had been assigned to show the new girl around. Now, Sami was doing the same for her. Talia would have a better idea of how the casino worked if she’d been there with Sami beforehand.

Talia: Sounds good to me.

Sami sent back a thumbs up, which Talia knew meant that her friend’s boss was back in the office. Sami worked in the cash control vault for one of the other casinos on the strip. She was a payroll clerk and spent all day matching deposit receipts to the cash and credit card slips that were sent in.

Her job sounded incredibly boring to Talia. But her friend, who was of Indian descent and drop dead gorgeous, and always got offers for modeling work whenever they went out, seemed to love it. She liked numbers, and said they could be trusted.

But Talia knew they couldn’t. Not when they were on the lighted screen of a slot machine or on a pair of dice being thrown on a green velvet table.

“Next,” the cashier said.

She pocketed her cell phone and put the bottle on the counter. She’d drop off the Schnapps and the condoms and Gran should be good to go.

Once she’d paid, she went to leave. But as she did, someone held the door open for her.

“Thanks!”

“No problem. Looks like you’ve got a fun night planned, brown eyes,” he said.

It was the gambler with the sexy smile.

Again.

She didn’t believe in luck, having seen it turn false more than once. “I guess you wouldn’t believe me if I told you it wasn’t for me.”

“Not judging,” he said.

But his mouth was. He had a wry smile on his face and she couldn’t help but notice the shape of his lips. They were full and looked incredibly kissable… She shook her head. She’d spent too much time thinking about Gran’s hot date.

“Goodbye,” she said.

“Catch you around, brown eyes,” he said.

She glanced back at him. “I have a name, you know.”

“Let’s see if we meet again. Then we can exchange names.”

“Why?”

“Fate,” he said.

She shook her head. Of course he believed in fate. He probably thought luck existed too…just not the bad kind. Really, she should be glad he didn’t want to know her name. She didn’t need another gambler in her life. She’d just managed to climb out of the hole her father had left her in.

 

Tour Wide Giveaway!

To celebrate the release of ONE NIGHT GAMBLE by Katherine Garbera, we’re giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner!

GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Open to internationally. One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Entangled Publishing.  Giveaway ends 1/18/2019 @ 11:59pm EST. Limit one entry per reader. Duplicates will be deleted.  CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

 

 

About Katherine Garbera

USA Today bestselling author KATHERINE GARBERA writes emotionally sexy contemporary romances. An Amazon, BN & iBooks bestseller, she is also a two-time Maggie winner and has more than 7 million copies of her books sold worldwide.

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