Excerpt

★BLOG TOUR, REVIEW & EXCERPT★ PLAY ON BY SAMANTHA YOUNG

Genres: Contemporary Romance

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PLAY ON by Samantha Young

Release Date: 12th September 2017

Nora O’Brien chased a dream from Indiana to Scotland, so sure it was the right thing to do. Three years later she was left in her adopted country with nothing to her name but guilt and regret.

Until Aidan Lennox entered her life.

Older, worldlier, a music producer and composer, the sexy Scot should never have made sense for Nora. But somehow in each other they found the light they were looking for, the laughter and the passion—the strength to play on despite their past losses.

But when life dealt Aidan another unlucky hand, instead of reaching for her he disappeared. The agonizing loss of him inspired something within Nora. It fired her spirit— the anger and hurt pushing her forward to take control and reach for her dreams.

Finally pursuing a career on stage while she put herself through college, everything is how Nora wants it. She’s avoiding heartbreak and concentrating on her goals.
Sounds easy but it’s not. Because Aidan is back. And for some reason he hates Nora.

He’s determined to be at war with her.

And she has absolutely no idea why.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UKiBooks USB&N | Kobo US | iBooks UK | Kobo UK | Smashwords |

Despite Seonaid’s warning that I couldn’t keep my feelings bottled up, I tried very hard to convince myself that I was okay with how things had played out with Aidan. That I needed to be okay so I could go on living my life in perfect contentment. While he gallivanted around the theater with his beautiful women and horse-assery.

Finding my Zen, however, was proving more difficult than I’d thought. I was a bundle of confused feelings. At war with myself.

So it wasn’t any wonder I reacted the exact opposite of how I’d hoped when Aidan finally confronted me in private.

Having to meet up with another student to work on an assignment we had for a tutorial, I hadn’t seen any point in heading home to Sighthill only to have to return to Tollcross for rehearsal. I’d grabbed a salad from a shop on Potterrow, and walked to the theater. I was ninety minutes early so no one was there. Thankfully, Quentin was usually at the theater during the day so the doors were open. When I got inside the auditorium, however, it was pitch black.

“Quentin?” I called out. “Are you here?”

My voice echoed.

Nothing.

“Anyone?”

But the silence told me I was alone. I wondered if Quentin had accidentally left the theater unlocked. I’d need to let him know.

Switching on the stage lights to make me not feel like I was about to become part of a horror movie, I found my way into an empty dressing room.

Eating my salad, I worked on a paper, waiting for the minutes to tick by.

A noise far off in the distance made me still like a rabbit caught in headlights. I cocked my head, listening, and sure enough, footsteps approached. Blood rushed in my ears as my pulse raced. I then cursed myself for being freaked out when it was obviously a cast member who was—I glanced at my watch—an hour early.

I waited, and the dressing room door I had left slightly ajar squeaked open.

My breath caught at the sight of Aidan filling the doorway.

He crossed his arms and his ankles and leaned against the jamb, staring at me dispassionately.

All I could do was stare back, my emotions whirling in a mess of feelings, like a tornado, with no thought to what it was sucking up into its wind funnel. “What are you doing here?” I finally said, my voice hoarse.

“I was sitting in the coffee shop across the way and I saw you come in.”

“You followed me?”

“I argued with myself about it for a while. But aye.”

Adrenaline coursed through me and made my hands shake. I curled them into fists and hoped I looked back at him with as much boredom as he was bestowing upon me. “Why?”

“Curiosity.” He shrugged.

“Curiosity?”

“Were you always such a heartless robot and I was just too fucking blind to see it?”

I flinched, knowing this was the moment I should tell him that Laine had lied to me. But I couldn’t get the words out. I wanted to and I didn’t want to.

So fear of him hating me and fear of him loving me left me in some kind of exasperated, frustrated no-man’s land. I shot to my feet. “If you came here to use me as your emotional punching bag, you can leave,” I hissed.

His eyes flashed and he pushed off the jamb, coming into the room. For the first time, I hated that I had to tip my head back to look up at him. “Not before I tell you what I really think of you, Nora, instead of hiding it behind the subterfuge of giving a fuck what happens with this play.”

“Aidan—”

“You are the biggest coward I’ve ever met in my life. You’re weak and emotionally defunct. What’s worse is how fucking manipulative you are—”

“Aidan—”

“I’ve never met anyone who had me so fucking fooled!” His chest heaved as his cool fled in the wake of his rage. “You lied and strung me along, fled when the going got tough, not once but goddamn twice, and I’m the idiot who let you do that to me.”

“Aidan—”

“But rest assured, Nora, you are the last woman who is ever going to make a fool out of me. I see you now. Who you really are. A fucked-up, selfish, self-involved, immature little—”

Whatever horrible thing he was going to call me next, I swallowed it in my kiss. Unable to bear his contempt any longer, but not knowing how to make it stop, I went with my gut.

And my gut told him to grab his T-shirt in my fists and use it to haul him down to my mouth.

What a mistake.

Because I remembered him now.

I remembered how beautiful he felt.

So when his hands gripped my forearms and tried to pry me off, I let him, only to slide my arms around his neck and cling on tighter, kissing him in desperation.

He grunted and grabbed my arms again and just as I feared he would shove me away, he broke. Aidan jerked me closer, his mouth opening under mine, his tongue searching for my tongue.

Quite abruptly, he was in charge.

 

If I ever deemed to make a list of favourite authors and reads, there’s no doubt Samantha Young and On Dublin Street would be on it. I remember naively thinking I would read a few chapters before bed, and then next realizing it was 4AM and wisely deciding stopping before I’d finished was not an option.

PLAY ON is a story that takes us back to Scotland, and back to the conflicted characters of Sam’s that I love so much. Nora O’Brien is an eighteen-year-old American girl who has lived the emotional heartache of someone twice her age. She’s left so much behind in Indiana, and is hopeful that her new life will bring her a sense of belonging and peace.

For those who “know” Nora, know that there’s a sense of unavailability to her. It’s a defense mechanism of hers and whether she accepts or not, it holds her back from forming meaningful relationships. It’s a defense she thinks has served her well until she meets a man who penetrates her amour and sets about an irrevocable chain reaction that forces her to confront the past she has run from.

So heartfelt in it’s telling PLAY ON is story of self-discovery and acceptance. As well as the story I enjoyed the imagery and pride that shone through when Samantha describes the backdrop of her story, Scotland. I’ve been lucky enough to visit and it’s every bit as beautiful as she describes.


 

About Samantha Young:

Samantha Young is the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of adult contemporary romances, including the On Dublin Street series and Hero, as well as the New Adult duology Into the Deep and Out of the Shallows. Every Little Thing, the second book in her new Hart’s Boardwalk series, will be published by Berkley in March 2017. Before turning to contemporary fiction, she wrote several young adult paranormal and fantasy series, including the amazon bestselling Tale of Lunarmorte trilogy. Samantha’s debut YA contemporary novel The Impossible Vastness of Us will be published by Harlequin TEEN in ebook & hardback June 2017

Samantha has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award 2012 for Best Author and Best Romance for On Dublin Street, Best Romance 2014 for Before Jamaica Lane, and Best Romance 2015 for Hero. On Dublin Street, a #1 bestseller in Germany, was the Bronze Award Winner in the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2013, Before Jamaica Lane the Gold Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2014 and Echoes of Scotland Street the Bronze Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2015.

Samantha is currently published in 30 countries and is a #1 international bestselling author.

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★RELEASE BLITZ & EXCERPT★ PLAY ON BY SAMANTHA YOUNG

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UKiBooks USB&N | Kobo US | iBooks UK | Kobo UK | Smashwords |

PLAY ON by Samantha Young

Release Date: 12th September 2017

Nora O’Brien chased a dream from Indiana to Scotland, so sure it was the right thing to do. Three years later she was left in her adopted country with nothing to her name but guilt and regret.

Until Aidan Lennox entered her life.

Older, worldlier, a music producer and composer, the sexy Scot should never have made sense for Nora. But somehow in each other they found the light they were looking for, the laughter and the passion—the strength to play on despite their past losses.

But when life dealt Aidan another unlucky hand, instead of reaching for her he disappeared. The agonizing loss of him inspired something within Nora. It fired her spirit— the anger and hurt pushing her forward to take control and reach for her dreams.

Finally pursuing a career on stage while she put herself through college, everything is how Nora wants it. She’s avoiding heartbreak and concentrating on her goals.
Sounds easy but it’s not. Because Aidan is back. And for some reason he hates Nora.

He’s determined to be at war with her.

And she has absolutely no idea why.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UKiBooks USB&N | Kobo US | iBooks UK | Kobo UK | Smashwords |

Despite Seonaid’s warning that I couldn’t keep my feelings bottled up, I tried very hard to convince myself that I was okay with how things had played out with Aidan. That I needed to be okay so I could go on living my life in perfect contentment. While he gallivanted around the theater with his beautiful women and horse-assery.

Finding my Zen, however, was proving more difficult than I’d thought. I was a bundle of confused feelings. At war with myself.

So it wasn’t any wonder I reacted the exact opposite of how I’d hoped when Aidan finally confronted me in private.

Having to meet up with another student to work on an assignment we had for a tutorial, I hadn’t seen any point in heading home to Sighthill only to have to return to Tollcross for rehearsal. I’d grabbed a salad from a shop on Potterrow, and walked to the theater. I was ninety minutes early so no one was there. Thankfully, Quentin was usually at the theater during the day so the doors were open. When I got inside the auditorium, however, it was pitch black.

“Quentin?” I called out. “Are you here?”

My voice echoed.

Nothing.

“Anyone?”

But the silence told me I was alone. I wondered if Quentin had accidentally left the theater unlocked. I’d need to let him know.

Switching on the stage lights to make me not feel like I was about to become part of a horror movie, I found my way into an empty dressing room.

Eating my salad, I worked on a paper, waiting for the minutes to tick by.

A noise far off in the distance made me still like a rabbit caught in headlights. I cocked my head, listening, and sure enough, footsteps approached. Blood rushed in my ears as my pulse raced. I then cursed myself for being freaked out when it was obviously a cast member who was—I glanced at my watch—an hour early.

I waited, and the dressing room door I had left slightly ajar squeaked open.

My breath caught at the sight of Aidan filling the doorway.

He crossed his arms and his ankles and leaned against the jamb, staring at me dispassionately.

All I could do was stare back, my emotions whirling in a mess of feelings, like a tornado, with no thought to what it was sucking up into its wind funnel. “What are you doing here?” I finally said, my voice hoarse.

“I was sitting in the coffee shop across the way and I saw you come in.”

“You followed me?”

“I argued with myself about it for a while. But aye.”

Adrenaline coursed through me and made my hands shake. I curled them into fists and hoped I looked back at him with as much boredom as he was bestowing upon me. “Why?”

“Curiosity.” He shrugged.

“Curiosity?”

“Were you always such a heartless robot and I was just too fucking blind to see it?”

I flinched, knowing this was the moment I should tell him that Laine had lied to me. But I couldn’t get the words out. I wanted to and I didn’t want to.

So fear of him hating me and fear of him loving me left me in some kind of exasperated, frustrated no-man’s land. I shot to my feet. “If you came here to use me as your emotional punching bag, you can leave,” I hissed.

His eyes flashed and he pushed off the jamb, coming into the room. For the first time, I hated that I had to tip my head back to look up at him. “Not before I tell you what I really think of you, Nora, instead of hiding it behind the subterfuge of giving a fuck what happens with this play.”

“Aidan—”

“You are the biggest coward I’ve ever met in my life. You’re weak and emotionally defunct. What’s worse is how fucking manipulative you are—”

“Aidan—”

“I’ve never met anyone who had me so fucking fooled!” His chest heaved as his cool fled in the wake of his rage. “You lied and strung me along, fled when the going got tough, not once but goddamn twice, and I’m the idiot who let you do that to me.”

“Aidan—”

“But rest assured, Nora, you are the last woman who is ever going to make a fool out of me. I see you now. Who you really are. A fucked-up, selfish, self-involved, immature little—”

Whatever horrible thing he was going to call me next, I swallowed it in my kiss. Unable to bear his contempt any longer, but not knowing how to make it stop, I went with my gut.

And my gut told him to grab his T-shirt in my fists and use it to haul him down to my mouth.

What a mistake.

Because I remembered him now.

I remembered how beautiful he felt.

So when his hands gripped my forearms and tried to pry me off, I let him, only to slide my arms around his neck and cling on tighter, kissing him in desperation.

He grunted and grabbed my arms again and just as I feared he would shove me away, he broke. Aidan jerked me closer, his mouth opening under mine, his tongue searching for my tongue.

Quite abruptly, he was in charge.


 

About Samantha Young:

Samantha Young is the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of adult contemporary romances, including the On Dublin Street series and Hero, as well as the New Adult duology Into the Deep and Out of the Shallows. Every Little Thing, the second book in her new Hart’s Boardwalk series, will be published by Berkley in March 2017. Before turning to contemporary fiction, she wrote several young adult paranormal and fantasy series, including the amazon bestselling Tale of Lunarmorte trilogy. Samantha’s debut YA contemporary novel The Impossible Vastness of Us will be published by Harlequin TEEN in ebook & hardback June 2017

Samantha has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award 2012 for Best Author and Best Romance for On Dublin Street, Best Romance 2014 for Before Jamaica Lane, and Best Romance 2015 for Hero. On Dublin Street, a #1 bestseller in Germany, was the Bronze Award Winner in the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2013, Before Jamaica Lane the Gold Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2014 and Echoes of Scotland Street the Bronze Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2015.

Samantha is currently published in 30 countries and is a #1 international bestselling author.

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★BLOG TOUR, REVIEW, EXCERPT★ CAN’T HARDLY BREATHE BY GENA SHOWALTER

Genres: Contemporary Romance

From New York Times Bestselling author Gena Showalter, comes the next standalone romance in the Original Heartbreakers Series—CAN’T HARDLY BREATHE!

New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter returns with an irresistible Original Heartbreakers story about a woman who’s never felt desired and the man who wants her more than air to breathe…

Bullied in high school, Dorothea Mathis’s past is full of memories she’d rather forget. But there’s one she can’t seem to shake—her longstanding crush on former Army Ranger Daniel Porter. Now that the sexy bad boy has started using her inn as his personal playground, she should kick him out…but his every heated glance makes her want to join him instead.

Daniel returned to Strawberry Valley, Oklahoma to care for his ailing father and burn off a little steam with no strings attached. Though he craves the curvy Dorothea night and day, he’s as marred by his past as she is by hers. The more he desires her, the more he fears losing her.

But every sizzling encounter leaves him desperate for more, and soon Daniel must make a choice: take a chance on love or walk away forever.

Amazon | Kindle | Barnes & Noble | Nook | Book Depository

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Hands trembling, she hooked the vacuum to the cart and rolled the cargo to the supply room…where her younger sister Holly was smoking a cigarette.

Coughing, Dorothea claimed the cigarette and stubbed the tip into an ashtray.

“Hey!” Eighteen-year-old Holly glared at her. “I wasn’t done.”

“You mean you weren’t done giving our guests lung cancer and stinking up the inn?”

“Exactly.” Ever the smart aleck, Holly tossed a piece of gum in her mouth and popped a bubble in Dorothea’s face. “Besides, we don’t really have guests, now, do we? Since you took over, only four people have stayed here. Mayor Trueman and his side slice, and Daniel Porter and whatever bimbo he happens to be banging.”

Not true! A few months ago, Dorothea had hired Harlow Glass, and everyone in town had rented a room to witness the former bully’s downfall.

Good times.

Dorothea hadn’t wanted to like Harlow, but dang it, something bad had happened to the girl in the years since

high school, and she’d changed. More than that, Harlow had done everything in her power to make amends, and eventually Dorothea had warmed up to her.

Now the beautiful brunette was married to reformed playboy Beck Ockley. The happy couple were expecting their first child in a few months.

A razor-sharp pang cut through Dorothea. Won’t think about my own—

Nope. Slam the breaks.

To ward off the oncoming pity party, she drew in a deep breath…slowly released it… Good, that was good.

She focused on her sister. Holly had pinned back the sides of her jet-black hair, the remaining locks tumbling all the way to the metal links anchored around her biceps. She’d paired a crimson corset top—her first pop of color in months—with a ruffled black skirt, ripped fishnet stockings and combat boots caked with mud Dorothea would have to clean from the floors.

In a town as small as Strawberry Valley, Oklahoma, Holly was a legend. Unique.

“My inn, my rules,” Dorothea said. “No smoking. Ever.” Besides, she suspected the teenager only ever lit up to aggravate her. Not once had Dorothea witnessed an actual puff.

“You’re worse than a Mogwai that’s been fed after midnight.”

A Gremlins reference? Seriously?

“No wonder Jazz left you,” her sister added.

Air hissed between her teeth. Holly might hate her guts, but the teenager loved to insult her, and this barb hit harder than most.

Rather than waiting for love, as Dorothea had dreamed, she’d settled for companionship, marrying the first guy to pay attention to her. Worse, she’d believed his words rather than his actions. I adore you and only want what’s best for you…for us.

4 STARS

From the outset I could tell I was really going to enjoy CAN’T HARDLY BREATHE. We’re introduced to a teenage Dorothea Mathis, she’s had a horrible time at school so far, but she’s positive and upbeat that this will be her year. When her tormentor sets her sights on her it soon becomes apparent she’s due for another year of ridicule, except this time her object of desire Daniel Porter comes to her defence.

Any visions of falling into one another’s arms are quickly quashed when Dorothea is the accidental voyeur to Daniel hooking up with another girl. Although heartbreaking for her, it serves as a reminder that boys like him don’t go for girls like her.

Years later and Dorothea back in Town to help run the family Inn. A failed marriage and stalled career behind her, it’s easy to see why she’s down in the dumps about things. That is until the object of her teenage affection rents a room in her Inn. She’s not the naive school girl she once was so if he thinks he can charm her with one of his smouldering looks, he’s got another thing coming.

Daniel’s primary reason for being home is help look after his father. He struggles with guilt for being away so long, but more seriously he suffers from the residual effects of being in the Army. Daniel doesn’t need distractions which is why he finds himself frustrated he can’t get his cute Inn keeper out of his head. He’s reluctant to start anything serious, but Dorothea quickly sets him straight. Any notions of having his cake and eating it are off the menu.

Here’s where the fun really starts. Who knew that Daniel had it in him to be so incredibly sweet? He really did well raking up the swoons from me. And Dorothea? Talk about under selling yourself. She has great comedic value and a much loved snarky streak.

CAN’T HARDLY BREATHE is a banter filled, cat and mouse chase and I enjoyed every cheesy moment of it. I absolutely love it when the tables turn, and Dorothea certainly did  fantastic job of making Daniel work for it.

 

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About Gena Showalter:

Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the spellbinding Lords of the Underworld and Angels of the Dark series, two young adult series–Everlife and the White Rabbit Chronicles–and the highly addictive Original Heartbreakers series. In addition to being a National Reader’s Choice and two time RITA nominee, her romance novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan (Red Hot Read) and Seventeen magazine, she’s appeared on Nightline and been mentioned in Orange is the New Black–if you ask her about it, she’ll talk for hours…hours! Her books have been translated in multiple languages.

She’s hard at work on her next novel, a tale featuring an alpha male with a dark side and the strong woman who brings him to his knees. You can learn more about Gena, her menagerie of rescue dogs, and all her upcoming books at genashowalter.com or Facebook.com/genashowalterfans

 

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★RELEASE BLITZ, EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY ★ THE TIME IN BETWEEN BY KRISTEN ASHLEY

Genres: Contemporary Romance

“She was the one then and nothing changed in the time in between.”

✮✮✮A story of past decisions gone awry, secrets that change directions, and emotional second chances, this gripping love story is what happens when two paths again collide. The final standalone title in New York Times bestselling author Kristen Ashley’s Magdalene Series, THE TIME IN BETWEEN is a rich, heartfelt love story available now!✮✮✮

Explore THE TIME IN BETWEEN and grab your copy today!

THE TIME IN BETWEEN (Magdalene Series #3) by Kristen Ashley

After a painful loss, Cady Moreland is coming to Magdalene to start the next chapter of her life. A chapter that began eighteen years ago but had a heartbreaking ending. The time in between was full of family and friendship, but Cady could never get the man she fell in love with all those years ago out of her heart.

Coert Yeager has learned to live without the girl who entered his life right when she shouldn’t and exited delivering a crippling blow he never would have suspected. The time in between was full of failing to find what he was missing…and life-altering betrayal.

But when that girl shows up in Magdalene and buys the town’s beloved lighthouse, even if Coert wants to avoid her, he can’t. A fire in town sparks a different kind of flame that won’t be ignored.

As Cady and Coert question the actions of the two young adults they once were thrown into earth-shattering circumstances, can they learn from what came in between and find each other again? 

Grab your copy of THE TIME IN BETWEEN today!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks | GooglePlay

 

5% of the proceeds from the first week of sales of THE TIME IN BETWEEN release will be given to HALO Animal Rescue in Phoenix, a no-kill shelter. HALO stands for “helping animals live on” and is a shelter started by a mother/daughter team of committed animal advocates who have done a huge duty for animals in this area, and continue to do so with unwavering love, support and energy.For more information on HALO or to donate to the work they do, go to http://www.halorescue.org.

And don’t miss the first titles in the Magdalene Series!

THE WILL
SOARING

Present day…

I took in the mess of the large, circular room we were in and at first saw nothing but the mess—decaying furniture, a soot-covered stone fireplace, a kitchen that might have been put in in the forties but had not only not been touched the last nine years, it perhaps had not been touched the last nineteen (or more).

Then I saw more.

The extraordinarily carved railing to the sweeping wood staircase that ran the curved side of the house. The red brick walls. The plank wood floors.

“Once upon a time, long ago,” the realtor was suddenly talking wistfully, “someone loved this place. Put that love into building it. Put that love into keeping it. Nine years and more when no one really gave a whit, and still you can see it once had a lot of love.”

Oh yes.

You could see that.

“It’s got a basement, more like a big crawl space,” the agent declared, surprising me with his quick change in tone back to businesslike and informative. “The furnace is down there. You can get down there through a door in the floor. The furnace was put in a while back, and full disclosure, though an inspection will catch it, it probably needs to be replaced.”

Through his words I stared at the fireplace, which scoured would be magnificent, and I noticed it didn’t have a chimney as such, but the smoke probably went out a vent in the wall.

“This floor has a powder room under the stairs,” the realtor kept on. “You can look at it if you want, but if you wanna save yourself that, I’ll just tell you straight, it needs to be gutted.”

I decided to take his word for it and told him that.

He looked relieved when I did before he stated, “Place has a garage, two car. Not in good condition, but think you saw that. Still, it’s close to the house and there’s a covered walkway to that door over there.” He pointed at a door that was across from the door we’d walked in. “Means you might feel a chill but you won’t get wet, unless it’s raining sideways, which happens.”

With a breeze that plastered my jacket to me on a sunny, early spring day, I did not doubt that.

“Garage has a loft space above it, which could be renovated as a studio rental if you’ve a mind to do that sort of thing. As for the property itself, it also has a building where the generators are stowed,” the realtor carried on. “Hook up for a washer and dryer and good space in there. Lots of it for storage. Which is good because there’s not a lot of storage in here for tools and Christmas decorations and whatnot.”

I glanced around seeing he was right. There wasn’t even enough cabinetry to house the things a decent cook would need in her kitchen. Though there was room for them. In fact, if you fought back the gloom, there was quite a bit of room.

“And there’s a place outside, could call it a studio, could call it a mother-in-law house,” he shared. “Whatever, it’s got goodly space, two bedrooms, big kitchen. Could be renovated to be a guest house. Or like I said, a studio if you’re artsy. Or you could rent it out like a B and B. I’ll show you all of that after we have a look at the lighthouse.”

“Thanks,” I replied.

“Now, since I mentioned full disclosure, you have to know it all,” the realtor continued.

Slowly, my eyes went to him.

When they did, he launched in. “Like I said, it’s automated. And like I said, you won’t really have to concern yourself with the functionality of that unless the electricity goes out, but then the generators automatically kick in. There are two. But you’ll need to keep fuel on hand to keep them going in case a blackout lasts awhile. And just to say, this is coastal Maine. We get weather. Blackouts can last awhile.”

When I nodded to share I took that in, he kept going.

“And if you’re, say, away on vacation, you need to make sure someone is playing backup in such a case.”

“Okay,” I replied when he stopped talking, thinking this probably wasn’t a good thing since I knew no one in Maine (or not anyone who wanted to know me) and thus couldn’t call on anyone to do something like that.

I also didn’t hold high hopes I’d make friends and win people. I hadn’t had a lot of success in that in my life.

And last, although Patrick believed it completely, I held no hope that the reason I was out there was going to come to fruition.

That being me having a happy ending.

That being what Patrick thought would be my happy ending.

Which might mean I’d have someone, a certain someone, or actually two (at least), even though I knew I never would.

 


Direct Link:https://video214.com/play/MJZhoh1adHTsjuN64Jl3TQ/s/dark

 

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About Kristen Ashley:

Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA and nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorize and she hadn’t taken her first breath!). Her mother said they took Kristen away, put her Mom back in her room, her mother looked out the window, and Gary was on fire (Dr. King had been assassinated four days before). Kristen’s Mom remembered thinking it was the end of the world. Quite the dramatic beginning.

Nothing’s changed.

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana and has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus, she’s blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her family was (is) loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. They all lived together on a very small farm in a small farm town in the heartland. She grew up with Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing, it keeps getting better.

 

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★RELEASE BLITZ, GIVEAWAY & EXCERPT★ EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN BY J.A. REDMERSKI

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EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN: A Novel by Jessica Redmerski

Release Date: 28th August 2017

Genre: Fiction & Literature | Post-Apocalyptic | Suspense | Romance

Thais Fenwick was eleven-years-old when civilization fell, devastated by a virus that killed off the majority of the world’s population. For seven years, Thais and her family lived in a community of survivors deep in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. But when her town is attacked by raiders, she and her blind sister are taken away to the East-Central Territory where she is destined to live the cruel and unjust kind of life her late mother warned her about.

Atticus Hunt is a troubled soldier in Lexington City who has spent the past seven years trying to conform to the vicious nature of men in a post-apocalyptic society. He knows that in order to survive, he must abandon his morals and his conscience and become like those he is surrounded by. But when he meets Thais, morals and conscience win out over conformity, and he risks his rank and his life to help her. They escape the city and set out together on a long and perilous journey to find safety in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Struggling to survive in a world without electricity, food, shelter, and clean water, Atticus and Thais shed their fear of growing too close, and they fall hopelessly in love. But can love survive in such dark times, or is it fated to die with them?

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK |

To be in with a chance to win a Kindle copy, enter here: ENTER

“One more night,” I said, not looking at her. “Give me one more night and I’ll get you out of this city.” All I could see in front of me was the scenario: I’d wait until very late, after most of the city was sleeping, and then I’d dress her in my military clothes, make her pin up her hair underneath a cap, strap a rifle to her shoulder, a backpack full of goods on her back, and set her atop the mare waiting at the stables.

“But there’s nothing for me anymore,” Thais said, wiping away the lingering tears on her cheeks. “There’s nowhere for me to go, and no one waiting for me there if by some miracle I make it alive. My mother and father are dead. My sister”—she looked up at me, and although I didn’t meet her gaze, I could feel her eyes on me—“my whole family is dead, and this world is dead and my soul is dead and everything that was once good and beautiful and right, is dead.”

I looked at her then, her words stirring me.

“That’s not true,” I said, and got up from the chair and crouched in front of her. “You may be the only good thing left in this world, and I’ll be goddamned if I let your light fade.”

Tears tumbled down Thais’ cheeks.

I took the gun that had fallen from her hand, tucked it into the back of my pants.

“Promise me you won’t try anything,” I said as I went toward the door. “Promise me on your sister’s soul, that you’ll stay in this room and wait for me.”

“Where are you going?”

“To get your supplies.” I placed my hand on the doorknob. “Don’t open this door for anyone.” I opened it to blackness; the candles that had been lit in the hallway had burned down.

“Wait,” Thais called out, and I stopped.

She stood up on wobbly legs.

“You said to get my supplies—are you sending me away alone?”

I thought on it for a moment. I’d never had any intention of going with her. I couldn’t. Not if I was going to keep others from following her.

“No,” I finally said. “You’re not going alone. I’ll go with you, at least until I can get you somewhere safe.”

“Is there anywhere safe, Atticus?” Her voice was soft, hopeless, and hearing her say my name like that did something to my heart. “Do you know where you’re taking me?”

I sighed. And I looked at the wall.

“Yes,” I lied, and then stepped out into the hallway.

Just before I closed the door I added, “Promise me.”

Thais nodded.

“I promise,” she said. “I’ll wait for you.”

About the Author:

J.A. (Jessica Ann) Redmerski is an international bestselling author and award winner who juggles several different genres. She began self-publishing in 2012, and later with the success of THE EDGE OF NEVER, signed on with Grand Central Publishing/Forever Romance. Her works have so far been translated into twenty languages.

Jessica is a hybrid author who, in addition to working with a traditional publisher, also continues to self-publish. The Portuguese rights to her popular crime and suspense series, In the Company of Killers, have been picked up by one of Brazil’s largest publishers – Suma de Letras; Paikese Kirjastus in Estonia; Ephesus in Turkey; Konyvmolykepzob in Hungary. The series has been optioned for television by William Levy.

EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN is Jessica’s newest love story.

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★BLOG TOUR, REVIEW & EXCERPT★ ROYALLY ENDOWED BY EMMA CHASE

ROYALLY ENDOWED by Emma Chase

Series: The Royally Series Book 3

 

Logan St. James is a smoldering, sexy beast. Sure, he can be a little broody at times—but Ellie Hammond’s willing to overlook that. Because, have you seen him??

Sexy. As. Hell.

And Ellie’s perky enough for both of them.

For years, she’s had a crush on the intense, protective royal security guard—but she doesn’t think he ever saw her, not really.

To Logan, Ellie was just part of the job—a relative of the royal family he’d sworn to protect. Now, at 22 years old and fresh out of college, she’s determined to put aside her X-rated dreams of pat-downs and pillow talk, and find a real life happily ever after.

The Queen of Wessco encourages Ellie to follow in her sister’s footsteps and settle down with a prince of her own. Or a duke, a marquis…a viscount would also do nicely.

But in the pursuit of a fairy tale ending, Ellie learns that the sweetest crushes can be the hardest to let go.
***
Logan St. James grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, in a family on the wrong side of the law. But these days, he covers his tattoos and scars with a respectable suit. He’s handsome, loyal, brave, skilled with his hands and…other body parts.

Any woman would be proud to bring him home to her family.

But there’s only one woman he wants.

For years he’s watched over her, protected her, held her hair back when she was sick, taught her how to throw a punch, and spot a liar.

He dreams of her. Would lay down his life for her.

But beautiful Ellie Hammond’s off-limits.

Everybody knows the bodyguard rules: Never lose focus, never let them out of your sight, and never, ever fall in love.

Buy Links: AMAZON | AMAZON UK | AMAZON AU | iBooks | B&N

Ellie

But then the mood shifts, as if the air becomes thicker, weighted, more . . . sultry.

Because slowly, Logan sinks down to one knee in front of me—looking in my eyes the whole time. In this position, I could touch his shoulders, comb my fingers through his thick, dark hair. He’s the perfect height for me to bend down and kiss his mouth—the perfect height for him to kiss me back . . . in a lot of places.

My breath hitches. And I wonder he feels it too.

There’s a sound of tearing Velcro, and Logan takes something off his ankle—a holster, with a small silver knife, about three inches long.

“Keep this on you all the time,” he says seriously. “Just in case. If you wear a skirt, the strap will fit around your thigh.”

And I almost laugh. Most girls get a ring from a guy on his knees. I get a murder weapon. But still, it makes me feel safe . . . watched over. Like I’m something precious that deserves to be protected.

I take the knife from him, testing the surprisingly solid, heavy weight of it in my hand. I press my index finger to the tip.

Logan grabs my wrist tightly. “Careful. It’s sharp.”

There’s a small, painless nick, a tiny bead of blood, so I put my finger in my mouth, sucking.

And Logan’s watching me again.

Watching my mouth.

His chest seems to rise just a little faster, and his throat ripples when he swallows. He bends his head, curves his strong back, and then I feel his hands on my ankle, securing the strap. His touch is warm and self-assured. It’s the way he always moves—confident and experienced. Logan knows his body and he knows how to use it, in every way possible.

I almost moan. The sound is in the back of my throat, but I keep it trapped. I never knew the ankle was an erogenous zone, but it sure as hell is now. A hot pulse of pleasure streaks from Logan’s fingers on my bare skin, up my thigh, between my legs.

And I throb there, growing swollen and heavy as he keeps his hands on me.

Can he tell? Does he know? He’s so aware of everything, always so attuned, I wonder if he can sense my arousal . . . feel it in the air that clings between us.

 

★4.5 STARS★

Describing Logan St. James as a fit as f*ck bodyguard is both accurate and a gross injustice the man behind the uniform. Being raised in an underprivileged area with a family that prides itself on their rap sheet, has not stopped Logan from living a life he is proud of. His role as personal bodyguard to the Royal family is one he is honoured to do and gives him a sense of purpose in life.

By personal request of the King, Logan is asked to watch over the Queen’s younger sister, Ellie. Much like myself as a reader he is instantly amused by her quirky personality and vivaciousness. They strike up a friendship that over the years transforms into a relationship filled with angsty forbidden undertones. And I dear reader could not get enough!

Having a sister who is The Queen has opened doors Ellie had daren’t peek behind. For starters there aren’t many girls her age that have their own personal bodyguard. Far be it of Ellie to think of Logan as that though. He quickly became her friend and closest confidant, and now as young woman his role in her life has changed once again.

The slow burn in this novel is the stuff dreams are made of. I was positively itching for these two to get together, but with a chilling outside threat made against The Queen, scratching that itch could dire consequences for all.

Royally Endowed is the third edition to series which you’d think would get harder for the author to top. Instead we get more laughs, bigger swoons and a wealth of smouldering steam. In short, Emma Chase writes an utterly delightful romantic comedy that I could not put down for love nor money.


About Emma Chase:

Emma Chase is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the hot and hilarious Tangled series and The Legal Briefs series. Emma lives in New Jersey with her husband, two children and two naughty (but really cute) dogs. She has a long-standing love/hate relationship with caffeine.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | NEWSLETTER | TWITTER | GOODREADS | READER FAN GROUP

 

 

 

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★BLOG TOUR, REVIEW & GIVEAWAY★ BEARD IN MIND BY PENNY REID

Genres: Contemporary Fiction

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Beard in Mind, an all new standalone in the bestselling, romantic comedy Winston Brothers Series by Penny Reid, is available NOW!

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All is fair in love and auto maintenance.

Beau Winston is the nicest, most accommodating guy in the world. Usually.

Handsome as the devil and twice as charismatic, Beau lives a charmed life as everyone’s favorite Winston Brother. But since his twin decided to leave town, and his other brother hired a stunning human-porcupine hybrid as a replacement mechanic for their auto shop, Beau Winston’s charmed life has gone to hell in a handbasket.

Shelly Sullivan is not nice and is never accommodating. Ever.

She mumbles to herself, but won’t respond when asked a question. She glares at everyone, especially babies. She won’t shake hands with or touch another person, but has no problems cuddling with a dog. And her damn parrot speaks only in curse words.

Beau wants her gone. He wants her out of his auto shop, out of Tennessee, and out of his life.

The only problem is, learning why this porcupine wears her coat of spikes opens a Pandora’s box of complexity—exquisite, tempting, heartbreaking complexity—and Beau Winston soon discovers being nice and accommodating might mean losing what matters most.

TEASER02

She’d taken the sofa, in her own house, and given me the bed. That didn’t make a lick of sense.

I crouched next to her, threading my fingers into the silky hair at her temples. “Honey.”

“Mmm.”

I bent to whisper, “Shelly.”

“Hmm?”

“I’m going to carry you to your bed. I’ll take the sofa.”

“Mmm.”

I grinned at her soft noises, at the untroubled expression on her face, and how her brow—even in sleep—still looked regal and stern.

Sliding my arms under her legs and shoulder, I picked her up. And, unfortunately, that woke her up.

She jerked in my arms. “What are you doing?”

“I’m taking you to the bed.”

“Don’t do that.”

“I don’t mind, I’ll take the sofa.” Our mouths were just inches apart, and hers was distracting.

She squirmed. “Put me down.”

Sighing unhappily, I did. I set her on her feet next to the couch. The blanket pooled at her feet and I stepped back to give her some space. It was dark, but I could see her just fine, and that meant I had to force my eyes to remain above her neck. The woman was wearing two pathetic scraps of fabric as pajamas. A thin little tank top and shorts. That’s it.

I set my jaw and turned to the side, waiting for her to walk past.

“Where are you?”

I glanced at her and realized she couldn’t see at all. She didn’t have a hand out, but the way her eyes were moving about the room gave away her blindness.

“I’m here.” I didn’t touch her, because if I did, I wouldn’t want to stop.

Shelly turned her head in my direction and took a deep breath. Still she didn’t reach for me. I didn’t know the specifics of what to expect after her Friday session, but I recalled Dr. West saying something about Shelly doing self-guided ERP exercises over this week.

“Can you see?” She licked her lips, her voice sandpapery. “Because I can’t see at all. It’s so dark.”

“I can see.” Unbidden, my eyes dropped to her body, to the swell of her breasts, the panel of bare stomach, the curve of her hips. Pinpricks of heat raised over my skin and I curled my hands into fists.

She shuffled forward and I caught her before she bumped into me, setting my hands gently at her waist.

“Let me take you to your room.” My voice was rough, for obvious reasons.

Saying nothing, she brought her hand to my forearm, her body gently colliding with mine. And then her hand on my arm slid up my bicep to my shoulder.

“Shelly.” I was running out of breath.

“I like this.”

“What?”

“Touching you.”

Oh fuck.

I held still and endured her hands moving over my body, down the front of my shirt, stopping at the hem, then pushing it up.

“Take this off.”

I did. I pulled the T-shirt over my head and let it drop to the floor.

We stood there, facing each other in the dark, not touching. Despite the session on Friday and the progress that had been made, I realized she wasn’t quite there yet. Dr. West was right, Friday was just a step, the first step. Shelly wasn’t able to initiate contact. Not yet.

Her hands balled into fists and she swayed forward, her breath struggling little puffs.

If anything was going to happen tonight, I had to initiate it. I had to be the one to touch first.

God, how I wanted her. How I wanted her above me, beneath me, surrounding me. But how could I?

“I know why I hesitate,” her voice was breathless, “but why do you hesitate?”

“Lots of reasons.”

“Give me one.”

“I don’t want to you use you.”

“I wish you would.”

That pulled a laugh from me, just a small relief from the mounting tension. My eyes moved over her body, an undeniable impulse to devour the sight of her, her legs, stomach, chest, then up her neck to her lips.

“You asked me on Saturday if sex was a big deal for me, or if it was you. The answer is both.”

She held very still, and I got the sense she was holding her breath, straining to listen.

“You are a big deal to me. I don’t want a fling. I don’t want a flirtation. I want promises.”

“What can I promise you?”

That you’ll love me. That I’ll be your priority.

She shifted her weight from foot to foot. A spike of anxiety that she might leave me like this had me acting without forethought. I lifted my hands to her waist again and immediately, her fingertips skimmed over skin of my lower stomach in response, making my muscles tense in hot anticipation. She grew more assertive as she caressed my sides, abdomen, ribs, chest, shoulders, and then back down.

Shelly stepped closer, a hint of thrilling contact between her breasts and my torso, and all the words and worries melted from my mind, died on my tongue, suffocated by the feel of her body, and the possibility of this moment.

Her finger hooked in the waistband of my jeans. “Take these off.” Her hand turned, her fingers and palm cupping me over my zipper.

Instinctively, I pressed myself into her touch even as I grabbed her wrist.

“Beau, I promise—”

She didn’t get to speak, because I kissed her, hard and wild, unbuttoning and unzipping my fly with one hand and bringing her palm inside my boxers with the other.

LIVE

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★4 STARS

At first glance it’s easy to peg Beard in Mind as an Enemies to Lovers romance.  Shelly Sullivan is the newly employed mechanic to the Winston family run auto shop and immediately clashes with Beau. He’s affronted by her hostility to not only himself but to the shops customers. He’s a genuinely easy going individual but there’s something about Shelly that raises his hackles.

Speaking of Shelly, it would take me a while to think of the last time I came across a character as complex as herself. Credit to Penny, she took care and attention with her in the way she was written. In some ways I think she used Beaus character as a device to ask the questions I as a reader and person wanted know.

The revelations in this story are not Shelly’s alone; Beau too experiences some life changing moments and in these moments of Beau’s vulnerability, it’s wonderful to see Shelly blossom and showcase personal develop.

I’m in awe of Penny’s ability to write a swoon worthy romance whilst concurrently tackling serious current issues. Beard in Mind is conscientious and thought provoking romance which was nicely balanced by its comedic value and heart fluttering feels.

I can’t get enough of this band of bearded brothers and am looking forward to what’s in store next.

 

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Enter the Giveaway!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ee2f7e8636/?

Meet Penny Reid:

Penny Reid is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the Winston Brothers and Knitting in the City series. When she’s not immersed in penning smart romances, Penny works in the biotech industry as a researcher. She’s also a full time mom to three diminutive adults, wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja.

PennyReid

Connect with Penny:

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★RELEASE BLITZ & EXCERPT★ ROYALLY ENDOWED BY EMMA CHASE

Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Romantic Comedy

ROYALLY ENDOWED by Emma Chase

Series: The Royally Series Book 3

Release Day: August 14th 2017

 

Logan St. James is a smoldering, sexy beast. Sure, he can be a little broody at times—but Ellie Hammond’s willing to overlook that. Because, have you seen him??

Sexy. As. Hell.

And Ellie’s perky enough for both of them.

For years, she’s had a crush on the intense, protective royal security guard—but she doesn’t think he ever saw her, not really.

To Logan, Ellie was just part of the job—a relative of the royal family he’d sworn to protect. Now, at 22 years old and fresh out of college, she’s determined to put aside her X-rated dreams of pat-downs and pillow talk, and find a real life happily ever after.

The Queen of Wessco encourages Ellie to follow in her sister’s footsteps and settle down with a prince of her own. Or a duke, a marquis…a viscount would also do nicely.

But in the pursuit of a fairy tale ending, Ellie learns that the sweetest crushes can be the hardest to let go.
***
Logan St. James grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, in a family on the wrong side of the law. But these days, he covers his tattoos and scars with a respectable suit. He’s handsome, loyal, brave, skilled with his hands and…other body parts.

Any woman would be proud to bring him home to her family.

But there’s only one woman he wants.

For years he’s watched over her, protected her, held her hair back when she was sick, taught her how to throw a punch, and spot a liar.

He dreams of her. Would lay down his life for her.

But beautiful Ellie Hammond’s off-limits.

Everybody knows the bodyguard rules: Never lose focus, never let them out of your sight, and never, ever fall in love.

Buy Links: AMAZON | AMAZON UK | AMAZON AU | iBooks | B&N

Prologue

Logan

Some men think with their cocks.

You know the type. Quick smooth-talkers, shifty eyes always scanning for a nice pair of legs, a set of full tits, or a tight arse they can pant after.

Other blokes think too much with their brains. You know that type too. Annoyingly careful, slow-moving, constantly parsing their words like they already know whatever they’re saying is going to come back and take a bite out of them.

I’m not either of those.

I always go with my gut. When it clenches with a warning, I act—no hesitation. When it tugs and nudges, I pause and reevaluate. When it twists and writhes, I know, guaranteed, I’ve cocked up big-time.

My gut is my best friend, my conscience, my most lethal asset.

And it has never let me down.

It’s my gut that drags me to her door. That roots me in place as I knock. That gives me the words—pleading, unfamiliar remorseful words—I’ll gladly say to make this right.

To get her back.

Because while my gut is brilliant, sometimes I can be a real fucking idiot.

Yesterday was one of those times.

“Ellie. It’s me—open up, we need to talk.”

I sense movement on the other side of the solid oak door—not in sounds or shifting shadows beneath it, but more of an awareness. I can feel her in there. Nearby and listening.

“Go away, Logan.”

Her voice is tight, higher-pitched than usual. Upset.

“Ellie, please. I was a twat, I know . . .” I’m not keen on begging from the hallway, but if that’s what it takes . . . “I’m sorry. Let me in.”

Ellie is difficult to anger, quick to forgive; she just doesn’t have it in her to hold a grudge. So her next words fall like an axe—cutting my legs right off from under me.

“No, you were right. The princess’s sister and the East Amboy bodyguard don’t make sense—we’ll never last.”

Did I actually say that to her? What the fuck is wrong with me? What I feel for her is the one thing in my life that makes sense. That matters.

But I never told her that.

Instead . . . instead, I said all the wrong things.

I brace my palm against the smooth wood, leaning forward, wanting to be as near to her as possible. “Elle . . .”

“I’ve changed my mind, Logan.”

If a corpse could speak, it would sound exactly like my Ellie does now. Flat, lifeless.

“I want the fairy tale. I want what Olivia has . . . castles and carriages . . . and you’ll never be able to give me that. I would just be settling for you. You’ll never be able to make me happy.”

She doesn’t mean that. They’re my words—the insecurities I put on her—that she’s hurling back in my face.

But God, it fucking hurts to hear. Physically hurts—stabbing deep into the pit of my stomach, crushing my chest, grinding my bones. I meant it when I said I would die for her . . . and right now, it feels like I am.

I grab the doorknob to walk inside, to see her face. To see that she doesn’t mean it.

“Ellie—”

“Don’t come in!” she screeches like I’ve never heard her before. “I don’t want to see you! Go away, Logan. We’re done—just go!”

I breathe hard—that’s what you do when pain wrecks you, breathe through it. Then I swallow bile, straighten up, turn around and walk down the hall. Away from her. Just like she wants, like she asked. Like she screamed.

My brain tells me to move faster—get the hell out of there, cut my losses and lick my wounds. And my heart—Christ—that poor bastard’s too battered and bloody to say anything at all.

But then, just over halfway down the hall, my steps slow until I stop completely.

Because my gut . . . it strains through the hurt. Rebels. It shouts that this isn’t right. This isn’t her. Something’s off.

And even more than that . . . something is very, very wrong.

I glance up and down the quiet hall—not a guard or a maid in sight. I look back at the door. Closed and silent and still.

Then I turn and march straight back to it. I don’t knock, or wait, or ask for permission. In one move, I turn the knob and step inside.

What I see there stops me cold.

Because whatever I was expecting, it sure as fuck wasn’t this.

Not at all . . .

Buy Links: AMAZON | AMAZON UK | AMAZON AU | iBooks | B&N

About Emma Chase:

Emma Chase is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the hot and hilarious Tangled series and The Legal Briefs series. Emma lives in New Jersey with her husband, two children and two naughty (but really cute) dogs. She has a long-standing love/hate relationship with caffeine.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | NEWSLETTER | TWITTER | GOODREADS | READER FAN GROUP

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★BLOG TOUR, EXCERPT & REVIEW★ BAD DEEDS (A DIRTY MONEY NOVEL) BY LISA RENEE JONES

Genres: Romantic Suspense

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Buy Links: Amazon USAmazon CA | Amazon UK | AudibleiBooks | Kobo | Paperback

Bad Deeds: A Dirty Money Novel by Lisa Renee Jones
Release Date: August 8th, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Would you bleed for the one you love?

To save his family empire from the grip of the drug cartel, Shane is pushed to the edge of darkness, forced to make choices he might never make. His father is dying. His brother is desperate to rule the empire and this means war and all gloves are off. His brother only thought he knew what dirty meant. Shane is about to give it new meaning. There is another war brewing though, and that one, is inside him, his battle between right and wrong, light and dark, and in the heat of the night, it is Emily he turns to for escape. Driving her to new limits, pushing her to accept a part of him that even he cannot.

In every one of Shane’s seductive demands, Emily can taste and feel, his torment, his struggle to save his family and not lose himself. But he is losing himself, and that is a problem just as dangerous as her secret, that still lurk in the shadows, a threat to the Brandon Family waiting to erupt. No matter where she and Shane have traveled, or will travel in the future, she can’t just sit back and watch him become everything he hates, everything he never wanted to become, everything she tried to save him from when she tried to run. It could be their undoing, the end. His end.

This is war, blood will spill, and someone in the heart of the Brandon family will not survive….

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“What is in your head right now?”

His eyes heat, darken. “You. Always.” He inches back and looks at me. “You’re mine. Mine to protect.” His voice is low, fierce, and he grips my panties and yanks them away. “Mine to fuck.”

I gasp and grab his shoulders. “Shane.”

His answer is to wrap his arm around my waist, pull me close, his cheek against mine, his fingers pressing into the V of my body. “Wet, just the way I like you,” he says, pressing two fingers inside me. “Wet for me. And too fucking perfect for my sanity sometimes.”

“That doesn’t sound like a compliment,” I pant out, grabbing the lapel to his suit as a sweet ache begins to build in my sex as his thumb strokes my clit.

“And no one else,” he murmurs, nipping my earlobe, “will ever touch you like this.” His fingers caress deeper inside me. “No one,” he adds, “will ever make you say their name like I want you to say mine right now. Say it.”

“Shane,” I whisper, and not because he wants me to, but rather because it’s there on my lips, the way I wish his tongue was on my lips now. “Shane, I—”

Seeming to know what I need, he cups my head and kisses me, long, slow, sensual strokes of his tongue that somehow make every touch of his fingers more intense.

“Come for me,” he murmurs, and this time when he kisses me, I start climbing that wall to release, and I’m there at the top in an instant. I stiffen while his fingers and tongue tease, please, and then I jerk, I’m over it, tumbling in an instant into shudders and shakes. Shane’s lips lift from mine as he breathes with me. His fingers slow as he eases me through the waves until I collapse against his chest.

He tangles his fingers in my hair and drags my mouth back to his. “And no one but me will ever make you come like that again,” he declares, the waves of his emotions beating down any embarrassment I might feel over having had an orgasm on his father’s desk.

“No one has ever made me feel what you make me feel, Shane.”

Bad Deeds Available

 

★4 STARS

When I think cleverly written sexy suspense, I think Lisa Renee Jones. Her Dirty Money series is one that sustains it’s intrigue, all the while building on the seductive romance between Shane and Emily.

Fans of the series will enjoy developments to the story as we see Shane delve deeper into the murky waters he adamantly vowed to avoid, and the temporary or not transformation to his relationship with his family.

As can be counted Lisa leaves us on another high octane moment guaranteeing we’ll want to stick around for the End Game.

 

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About the Author:

Lisa Renee Jones

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT series. Suzanne Todd (producer of Alice in Wonderland) on the INSIDE OUT series: Lisa has created a beautiful, complicated, and sensual world that is filled with intrigue and suspense. Sara’s character is strong, flawed, complex, and sexy – a modern girl we all can identify with.

In addition to the success of Lisa’s INSIDE OUT series, Lisa has published many successful titles. The TALL, DARK AND DEADLY series and THE SECRET LIFE OF AMY BENSEN series, both spent several months on a combination of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling lists. Lisa is also the author of the bestselling DIRTY MONEY and WHITE LIES series. Presently, Lisa is working on her Murder Girl/Lilah Love series to be published by Montlake.

Prior to publishing Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by the Dallas Women’s Magazine. In 1998 Lisa was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine.

Lisa loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her at http://www.lisareneejones.com and she is active on Twitter and Facebook daily.

 

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★NEW RELEASE & EXCERPT★ THE LAVENDER HOUSE BY HILARY BOYD

Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Published by Quercus

The delightfully warm and witty new novel on risking everything for a second chance at love, for fans of Kathryn Hughes, The Letter.

THE LAVENDER HOUSE by Hilary Boyd

Release Date: 8th August 2017
Publisher: Quercus

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Nancy de Freitas is the glue that holds her family together. Caught between her ageing, ailing mother Frances, and her struggling daughter Louise, frequent user of Nancy’s babysitting services, it seems Nancy’s fate is to quietly go on shouldering the burden of responsibility for all four generations. Her divorce four years ago put to rest to any thoughts of a partner to share her later years with. Now it looks like her family is all she has.

Then she meets Jim. Smoker, drinker, unsuccessful country singer and wearer of cowboy boots, he should be completely unsuited to the very together Nancy. And yet, there is a real spark.
But Nancy’s family don’t trust Jim one bit. They’re convinced he’ll break her heart, maybe run off with her money – he certainly distracts her from her family responsibilities.

Can she be brave enough to follow her heart? Or will she remain glued to her family’s side and walk away from one last chance for love?

Prologue

Nancy was in the kitchen preparing supper, listening to The Archers on the radio, drizzling olive oil over some summer vegetables for roasting, when her husband, Christopher, walked in and told her he was leaving. The July evening was breezy and cool, but the doors to the garden were open, the tortoiseshell cat from next door prowling around the tubs on the flagstone patio, rubbing his body luxuriously along the smooth earthenware sides of a pot of lavender.

Christopher stood across the room, the island worktop between them. He was dressed in jeans and his navy sweater, the high zip-neck brushing his chin, although the zip was partially undone. Thin, small and tidy, tanned from his endless walks in the Suffolk wetlands, his gray hair short, almost monk-like, he seemed determined, almost fierce, as he clutched his brown leather holdall in his left hand.

“Where are you going?” Nancy asked, holding up her oily hands, like a surgeon ready to operate, as she paused in her task of tossing the onions, zucchinis, peppers and baby tomatoes. “It’s nearly supper time.” She reached across to turn the radio off, using her elbow to press the green knob: Christopher hated The Archers.

“I’m going to see Tatjana.”

“Now? Why?”

Tatjana was the newest member of the Downland Singers, a small madrigal group Christopher had set up nearly thirty years ago. From Latvia, she had auditioned when Gillian Perry—Christopher’s protégée—had left because of her husband’s cancer. Christopher had been very enthusiastic about her, said she had an extraordinarily pure soprano voice. Which obviously—as Nancy was about to discover—was not her only asset.

Not answering her question, her husband said, “I won’t be back tonight.”

Nancy frowned, not getting it.

“I won’t be back,” he repeated.

“Won’t be back? Why not?”

“I’m staying with Tatjana, Nancy.”

And when Nancy, still baffled, continued to look blank, he added, by way of explanation, “We’re in love.”

She stared at him. From a man of sixty-nine, the words sounded made up, fatuous. Genuinely unable to take them in, she lowered her hands and reached for the kitchen roll, wiping the oil from each of her fingers one by one. “Well,” she said, “if that’s the case, you’d better get off, then.” Her gaze was fixed on his face and she saw his shock, almost bewilderment, at her reply; shock that must mirror her own.

“I’m sorry,” he said, looking away.

And she thought that he probably was, in his own way. Not a man to emote, nor someone who seemed to care much about anything in life except his music, Christopher de Freitas nonetheless considered himself to be a decent person. And a brilliant musician—although not all would agree. An Early Music specialist, he had studied classical guitar at the Royal College, then the lute. His madrigal singers were internationally famous among Early Music enthusiasts.

Nancy had met him when he came to the Royal Northern College of Music—where she was studying piano—to give a lute master class. Not that she was interested in the instrument as such, but her fellow student, Oliver, was, and she was interested in Oliver. But he was quickly forgotten as Nancy became mesmerized by Christopher’s penetratingly blue eyes—which lighted frequently on her as if he had singled her out for special attention—his mastery of the instrument, his fluent exposition of Renaissance music and madrigal forms. By the end of the two hours, she was hypnotized. Afterward she had gone up to thank him.

He had given her his card. “If you’re ever in London, look me up. I have a concert at the Cadogan Hall in June. I can get you tickets, if you like?” It was posed as a question, although she felt he assumed she would “like.” His confidence was absolute.

“You could have told me earlier,” she said now, as if she were speaking from outside her body, looking down on the middle-aged pair in their tidy, middle-class kitchen. No shouting, no drama, all perfectly polite, as she added, “I wouldn’t have bothered with supper.” Her body was screwed so tight, she seemed capable only of such inanities as she waited for him to go.

“Right . . .” her husband muttered, still hovering, as if he were reluctant to leave, whereas the exact opposite must be the case, Nancy thought. He must be desperate to get this scene over with, to escape his intolerable guilt. Desperate to lie with relief against Tatjana’s ample bosom.

That was the last word spoken in their thirty-four-year marriage.

Better than a note on the kitchen table? Nancy wondered, after three-quarters of a bottle of Rioja on an empty stomach, gazing at the vegetables still sitting forlornly on the work-top—like her, rejected, deemed not fit for purpose. Numb with shock, she didn’t cry. And after the whole bottle of wine and a couple of large shots of Christopher’s Glenfiddich, she realized through the drunken haze that she’d known for some time, like a painful bruise she couldn’t touch, what was going on between her husband and Tatjana Liepa.

Chapter One

Four years later

What the hell are you supposed to wear for a line-dancing evening in a Brighton pub? Nancy asked herself, as she flicked through the rail of clothes in her cupboard, vainly searching for an outfit for her friend Lindy’s sixtieth. Lindy had not been helpful.

“Oh, doesn’t matter, wear jeans and boots or something,” she’d said airily. But Nancy’s jeans were M & S jeggings—not even distant cousins to authentic Levi’s—her black boots better suited to a day’s work in a building society office than stomping the boards to a Dolly Parton song.

All the clothes that used to fill her wardrobe when she was still Mrs. Christopher de Freitas—sleek dresses and velvet jackets, black evening trousers, silk tops and beaded handbags—were long gone to the charity shop in Aldeburgh, and she didn’t miss them one bit.

I’ll look like someone who’s wandered in from one of Mother’s bridge evenings, she thought, ripping off a frumpy light-blue cotton shirt she’d tried on because it was sort of denim-colored. In fact, I dress more like my mother with every passing day. Which thought had her slamming her wardrobe shut and running downstairs, out of her cottage, across the gravel to the bigger house.

“Hiya.” Ross, her son-in-law, grinned as Nancy came into the kitchen, a curved, two-handled blade poised in his hands, the chopping board in front of him covered with a mound of bright green herbs. Beside him was a bowl of uncooked gray prawns, another of broccoli stems, a smaller one with chopped garlic, a bottle of soy sauce and a shiny red chili. Nancy smiled back, wondering if she ever saw him when he wasn’t attached to a knife and surrounded by ingredients. He had his own restaurant, the Lime Kiln, three miles away, and even when he wasn’t there—like today, Sunday—he still did nothing but cook every moment he was awake.

“How’s it going?” he asked, turning to skim the sharp metal blade back and forth at high speed across the herbs. Overweight, broad-shouldered and around six feet in height, he had shaved the last vestiges of his hair, leaving a gleaming dome, which seemed to heighten the beauty of his huge brown dark-lashed eyes, the fullness of his mouth and his strong, jutting chin. Pale from too much time indoors, if he wasn’t handsome he was charismatic, with a loud voice and a ready smile. Nancy liked him a lot.

“Not well,” she said, shifting Bob, the cat—female, but her granddaughters had insisted on the name—and flinging herself down on the faded green sofa, strewn with a bright and diverse set of cushions. “Is Louise upstairs? I need to find an outfit . . . I’m going line dancing.”

Ross’s eyes widened and he guffawed. “Line dancing? You’re kidding me. Wouldn’t have thought that was your thing, Nancy.”

“It isn’t, but it’s Lindy’s sixtieth birthday party. What can I do?” In fact it wasn’t the dancing that bothered Nancy—she loved dancing on the rare occasions when she got the chance. It was the party itself, any party, that wasn’t Nancy’s “thing.” Unlike her ex-husband, who seemed able to enter a room full of complete strangers and instantly bond with them, Nancy found socializing like pulling teeth, the low-grade panic never quite going away. And she’d barely been out in the years since the split. At first after Christopher’s defection she’d retreated, shut the doors of their white-painted Suffolk farmhouse on her friends and made endless excuses, which became increasingly implausible, to avoid their company, until they’d given up trying. Then, when she’d moved to the cottage just north of Brighton, three years ago now, teaming up with Louise and Ross, she had known no one with whom to party.

Before Ross had time to answer her, there was a shriek from the TV room. Hope, nine, and Jazzy, six, came barreling into the kitchen with shrieks of “Nana, Nana!” and threw themselves into her arms.

Clutching a large glass of Pinot, pressed upon her by Ross, some salted almonds inside her, Nancy plunked herself down on her daughter and son-in-law’s bed. Hope was already eagerly rummaging in her mother’s drawers and cupboards.

“Look, Nana,” she exclaimed, her large brown eyes—inherited from her father—alive with the drama as she reached on tiptoe and yanked down a shimmery gold knitted bolero jacket that would have been better suited, in Nancy’s opinion, to one of Hope’s Barbies than either her or Louise. “This is perfect for a party.”

“Umm . . . Maybe a bit . . . shiny?”

Louise chuckled at her mother’s expression. “Impulse buy,” she said, tossing a fringed leather jacket in butter-colored suede at her. “Perfect, no?” She turned to rummage along the rail again. “I’ve got some denim dungarees here somewhere . . . but maybe that’s a bit more farmhand than cowboy.”

Jazzy pulled her thumb out of her mouth. “Nana can’t wear dungarees to a party,” she said, her tone shocked. She was sitting beside her on the bed, watching operations carefully with her round blue eyes.

“What about these?” Louise, nodding agreement, brandished a pair of jeans. “These are better. They should fit and they’re real Levi’s.”

Her daughter took after Christopher in appearance: small-boned, slim, with well-defined, almost sharp features. She was shorter than her mother by about two inches, very like her father, with his deep-blue eyes. Only Nancy’s thick, previously dark-brown hair seemed to have survived the genetic inheritance, and Louise didn’t make the most of it, pulling it back in a short, severe ponytail. But she had a sort of gamine quality that Nancy knew men found attractive, and a charming smile that instantly softened her darting, nervy expression.

“Go on, try them on,” Louise was urging.

“Now? Maybe I’ll take them home . . .” Nancy was embarrassed in front of the girls, who were gazing disapprovingly at their mother’s choice of garments.

“No, come on. I want to see what you look like. Shoo, girls, let Nana change. I’ll call you when she’s ready.”

Once the girls had gone—she could hear them giggling outside the door—Nancy undressed to her T-shirt and knickers and pulled on the jeans and jacket. The jeans were a bit short and a bit tight around her post-menopausal midriff, but the jacket fitted perfectly. She eyed herself in the long mirror on the bedroom wall, Bob rubbing against her legs as she stood there.

“See? You look brilliant.” Her daughter grinned at her from the other side of the bed. “Very C and W.”

“C and W?”

“Country and western, Mum. Get with the program!”

“Ha! Of course.” She twisted sideways in the mirror, twitching her fringe on her forehead, her pure silver-white hair falling in a thick bob to just past her chin, accentuating her strong cheekbones and wide gray eyes. For a second she had a tantalizing glimpse of her younger self as she twirled in her daughter’s clothes. “I had a panic earlier that I was beginning to dress like Mum.”

Louise laughed. “Could be worse. Granny always looks incredible.”

“Yes, but she’s eighty-four! I have the exact same M & S jeggings as she does.”

“You and half the country.”

Nancy sighed. “I think I panicked because the other day she pointed out that I’m the same age as she was when Daddy died. And I thought she seemed so old at the time.”

“You’re not old, Mum. Sixty is the new forty,” Louise said briskly, shutting down Nancy’s worries as she always did. Her daughter spent a lot of time in a state of anxiety herself, and perhaps couldn’t cope with it in Nancy too. Nancy found it disconcerting sometimes, but perhaps it was better not to dwell on things she couldn’t change. It was just the creeping fear, new to her, that the rest of her life was already mapped out, that she would follow her mother’s example of safe, female company—notwithstanding Dennis, a septuagenarian fancy-man her mother’s friend had recently taken up with—filling the time left with bridge and Noël Coward, fancy cakes, cruises and Marks & Spencer, en route to the grave. Because although Frances had an enviable life for someone of her age, she seemed permanently discontented, disappointed at the way things had turned out.

“Found them!” Louise, who had been scrambling in the bottom of her cupboard, waved aloft a pair of ankle boots with small heels and pointed toes in light-brown suede, metal studs decorating the zip line. “These are almost cowboy.” She handed them to her mother. “They don’t quite match the jacket, but no one will notice that.”

“Will they fit?”

“Have a go. I’ve worn them a lot so they’re quite stretched.” She watched Nancy struggle into the boots. “Fantastic. Come in, girls, come and look at Nana.” She eyed her up and down. “You’re so classy, so elegant, Mum. You look good enough for any line-dancing party.”

New York • London

© 2016 by Hilary Boyd

First published in the United States by Quercus in 2017.


Praise for The Lavender House:

“Warm-hearted and with a beady eye, Boyd gets under the skin of her characters to show that falling in love isn’t limited to the young.”  — Sunday Express

“A warm-hearted story of families, trust and second-chance love.” — Sunday Mirror

“Hilary Boyd in her inimitable fashion has told the story yet again of mature love which, like an excellent vintage wine, is just waiting to burst out of its barrels.”— My Weekly    

“Boyd hits the bullseye with this story that will resonate with all women.”— For The Love of Books

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Hilary Boyd trained as a nurse at Great Ormond Street Hospital, then as a marriage guidance counselor. After a degree in English Literature at London University in her thirties, she moved into health journalism, writing a Mind, Body, Spirit column for the Daily Express. She published six non-fiction books on health-related subjects before turning to fiction and writing a string of bestsellers, starting with Thursdays in the Park. Hilary is married to film director/producer Don Boyd.

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

QUERCUS publishes under the imprints Quercus, MacLehose Press, Quercus Children’s Books, and Jo Fletcher Books. We publish a range of high-quality commercial, literary, and translated fiction, as well as nonfiction, science fiction, fantasy, horror, young adult, and juvenile titles. Quercus is a Hachette company.

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