New Release, Excerpt, & Giveaway: Caught Looking -Jody Holford

Sometimes loving enough means letting go…

CAUGHT LOOKING
Jody Holford
Releasing April 25, 2017

Sometimes loving enough means letting go…

Major league baseball player, Ryan Walker, takes a mandatory leave of absence to escape the paparazzi and the false drug charges against him. All he wants is a little peace of mind out in the middle of nowhere.

Eager to rid herself of the empty socialite life, Frankie Vaughn moves to a rundown home in Minnesota that she inherited from her aunt. But Frankie is shocked at what she discovers inside: three young boys. When Ryan discovers that Frankie, his new neighbor, has taken on the three homeless kids as her own, he has a new hope for humanity.

Despite how easily and lovingly Ryan takes to Frankie and the boys, his past just might be the reason Frankie can’t adopt the boys. Now, Ryan must choose between loving them or letting them go. Can he walk away from what he’s been looking for all along?

Jody Holford is a multi-published author who has a soft spot for happily ever after. So much so, she tattooed the words on her arm. She’s a mom and a wife, a friend, sister, daughter, teacher, and book-lover. Her stories have a little bit of heat and a lot of heart. And maybe, some swoon-worthy moments that will make you smile.


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Excerpt
As he edged near the property line, he caught sight of toned, shapely legs swinging from the branch of a tree. His neighbor was doing pull-ups. On a tree.
“What the hell are you doing?” Ryan said the words to himself, his finger sliding off of the trigger. Frankie hadn’t heard him. Her earbuds’ cord was connected to the iPod strapped to her arm. He repeated his question, louder, and she startled, dropping from the limb she’d been holding. Pulling her earphones out, she smiled and gave a surprised laugh. Lust curled tight in his stomach at the sound. Which pissed him off since he didn’t need more complications in his life.
“Hey. Didn’t see you there, neighbor.”
She wiped the sweat off her brow with the back of her hand. Strands of hair were escaping the ponytail sitting high on her head. She put her hands on her hips, gulping in air, still smiling. His eyes roamed over the tone and definition of her arms. Arms weren’t supposed to be a turn on. They were just something to have wrapped around you. Along with legs. But legs were a turn on. Still, he couldn’t take his eyes off of her arms. They led up to sleek shoulders and a graceful collarbone. When his eyes met hers, she was grinning and he knew he’d been caught looking.
“You’re doing pull-ups on a goddamn tree?”
“Um, it’s my tree,” she said, looking back and forth between him and the tree. Small as she was, the tree didn’t look like it could hold its own branches, never mind a person’s weight.
“Actually, it’s smack in the middle of our property line. So stay the hell off it and get a pull-up bar.”
She rested a hand on the bark and smiled at him with something like fire flashing in those blue eyes. Her breath was a bit uneven, but firm. “I’ve never shared a tree with anyone. It feels like a big step.”
He bit back a smile. “Funny. This tree needs to be cut down. It’s rotted.” He kicked at the trunk to show her what he meant.
“Don’t kick our tree,” she said, not even trying to hide her smirk.
“It’s not safe.” Jesus. She was hard to be irritated with. Which, oddly, only irritated him more.
“And as much as I appreciate your neighborly concern, Ryan, I can take care of myself. And our tree. See, my home gym isn’t quite set up yet so I’m using what’s available. If you want, we can work out a schedule for tree use.”
There was as much sarcasm in her stance as in her tone. This time, the grin spread before he could stop it.
“You’re feisty.”
“You’re a jerk.”
“Yeah. But it’s still not safe. I have an extra pull-up bar in my garage. You put it in the frame of a doorway. I’ll grab it and bring it over,” he said, hoping the gesture served as an apology.
Which he was man enough to admit she deserved from him.
Frankie’s eyes widened and she took a step back, wariness overshadowing her amusement.
“No thanks. I’m not ready for visitors.”
He arched an eyebrow. “I wasn’t planning on coming for tea.”
She gave a rough laugh. “I don’t need anything from you, Ryan. I’ll pick another tree. Or do push-ups.”
She backed away, the unease in her eyes fascinating the hell out of him. She didn’t want him over. And not because he was a jerk. She waved one perfectly shaped arm over her head as she went back to her house.

He turned the weed trimmer back on, purposely turning his body in the other direction. He wasn’t going to stand around and watch her go, even across her yard. He’d never watch a woman leave again. Once was enough.

Excerpt, Giveaway, & Review: A Charmed Little Lie (Charmed in Texas #1) – Sharla Lovelace

Spinning a story of a joyous marriage to make 
a dying woman happy is forgivable, isn’t it?
A CHARMED LITTLE LIE
Charmed in Texas #1
Sharla Lovelace
Releasing April 18th, 2017
Lyrical Shine

Lanie Barrett didn’t mean to lie. Spinning a story of a joyous marriage to make a dying woman happy is forgivable, isn’t it? Lanie thinks so, especially since her beloved Aunt Ruby would have been heartbroken to know the truth of her niece’s sadly loveless, short-of-sparkling existence. Trouble is, according to the will, Ruby didn’t quite buy Lanie’s tale. And to inherit the only house Lanie ever really considered a home, she’ll have to bring her “husband” back to Charmed, Texas for three whole months—or watch Aunt Ruby’s cozy nest go to her weasel cousin, who will sell it to a condo developer.

Nick McKane is out of work, out of luck, and the spitting image of the man Lanie described. He needs money for his daughter’s art school tuition, and Lanie needs a convenient spouse. It’s a match made . . . well, not quite in heaven, but for a temporary arrangement, it couldn’t be better. Except the longer Lanie and Nick spend as husband and wife, the more the connection between them begins to seem real. Maybe this modern fairy tale really could come true . . .

Describe yourself in five words or less.
1. Snarky (Might be kind of scary that this was the first one that came to mind.)
2. Introverted
3. Sneaky
4. People-watcher (notice how I hyphenated to get an extra word? Yeah, see #3)
5. Dog-lover (it worked last time)

Can you tell us a little about your book? It’s about lying! LOL. Truly, it’s about when all your little white lies catch up to you, and what the hell do you do then? You make up a gargantuan sized one to cover them, and then hope it doesn’t swallow you whole. Unless it’s in the form of a hot sexy get-under-your-skin man….then by all means swallow! (I did not just say that.)
Lanie and Nick’s story was honestly one of my favorite books to write—EVER. It was so much fun, and such a runaway train ride with no hands! I loved literally watching them fall for each other, I loved Lanie’s spunk! I loved every second of it, and it birthed the town of Charmed, so I hope you will love it as much as I do.

If you had a theme song, what would it be? I Hope You Dance

Name one thing you won’t leave home without. My phone and a hair tie on my wrist. (That’s 2. Damn I have trouble following rules.)

What types of scenes are your most favorite to write? I adore writing intense scenes with either sexy-smexy chemistry burning up the page or fast snappy dialogue. Sex scenes before the sex…with the tease and the tension and the snarky back and forth talking…I love that. Also fights are a blast with all that emotion churning around. Dialogue is always the most fun. I groan to write description…
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers? Everyone says this, but seriously, never give up. I met Sandra Brown at a writer’s conference, and she was behind a table signing for a line of hundreds, and when I got up there I said “Everyone in this line wants to be you one day.” She looked at me and said, “You’re here. You’re already halfway there. Don’t ever stop learning and don’t ever stop writing. You’ll get here. One day, maybe I’ll be in your line.” I never forgot that. It hasn’t always been smooth sailing by any means, but my first book was published almost exactly 5 years ago, and now A CHARMED LITTLE LIE is my 10th published book, and I’ve just finished writing my 12th. Don’t give up on your dream. Also, remember that you write about life, and to do that you have to live. There are times (deadline evil times) that you have to stay in a cave and pound out words, but outside of that, find a balance and enjoy your life. It will show in your writing when you do…and when you don’t. If you write romance, kiss your husband every day. And if you are writing about hot sex and he is one of your readers, you’d better be prepared to give up the goods. Saying you aren’t in the mood after penning being banged against a wall—doesn’t cut it honey. 😉

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans? I wouldn’t be here without you, and I love and adore you so much for taking the time to buy my books and give my stories a try. And when you email or message me to tell me about it…oh my God you just don’t know the rainbows and unicorns that fill me up. Nothing is more important in this job than readers. When I make you happy…when I make you laugh or cry or feel something that you are moved enough to tell me about…my God, ice cream isn’t even as good as that. It’s close. But not quite. 😉

ANGIE’S REVIEW: I’m not one for steamy books, but there was something about this book that called to me.

Oh, it’s the fake marriage to appease the will of an aunt who didn’t quite buy her niece’s story and wants her to live in the house she left her, married and happy.

Gosh, I love books like this.

Lanie narrates the book, so we always know what is in her head. She so desperately wanted to be in a relationship, but had been burned one too many times. But she didn’t want her aunt to worry, so she told lie after lie after lie. I adored her even though she told so many lies.

Nick is down on his luck and needs money to help pay for his daughter’s tuition. It didn’t take much for him to agree to a three month fake marriage. He is sweet, sexy, and treats Lanie with respect…and some passionate kisses.

It’s so hard to write a review when you are afraid of spoiling it for someone else. This is one series that I can’t wait to get my hands on and read.

Ms. Lovelace’s writing is wonderful and I enjoyed the sweetness to sexiness to sweetness that was the the chemistry between Nick and Lanie. I can’t wait to see what she has planned next.

ANGIE’S RATING: ****
DISCLAIMER: I requested a review copy so that I could take part in the blog tour. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Sharla Lovelace is the bestselling, award-winning author of sexy small-town love stories. Being a Texas girl through and through, she’s proud to say she lives in Southeast Texas with her retired husband, a tricked-out golf cart, and two crazy dogs. She is the author of five stand-alone novels including the bestselling Don’t Let Go, the exciting Heart Of The Storm series, and the fun and sexy new Charmed in Texas series.

For more about Sharla’s books, visit www.sharlalovelace.com, and keep up with all her new book releases easily by subscribing to her newsletter. She loves keeping up with her readers, and you can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


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Excerpt:
The cake-eating contest was first, and I was playing for the bank. It was my favorite one of course.
“I’m a cook,” Nick teased, sitting next to me. “I’ve got this.”
“Just because you can make a cake doesn’t mean you can eat it,” I said, rolling my head on my shoulders and popping my knuckles. The four-layer cake in front of me was daunting. I formed a strategy, one slice at a time.
“Big words, Mrs. McKane,” he said.
Calling me that sent goosebumps trickling down my spine.
Why?
It wasn’t the first time. But something about sitting next to my husband in a goofy town festival cake-eating contest suddenly felt so domestic. So normal and real.
Focus, Lanie.
The bell rang, and we were off. We each had knives, but those of us with experience skipped that time consuming task. Hands worked just fine, and going for big bites with minimum chewing was optimal. The winner was Berty Carson from the barber shop, an elderly man who obviously had been practicing judging by the girth around his waist.
Still, I had three-fourths of my cake gone compared to Nick’s little over half.
“What was that, Mr. McKane?” I said, putting my cake-covered hand to my ear. “Was that the sound of losing?”
Nick grabbed my hand and stuck one of my fingers in his mouth, sucking the cake off with his tongue. Everything stopped for me for a moment, the world going on tilt, and he winked as he licked his lips.
“What was that, Mrs. McKane?” he said. “The sound of shock?”
Oh, what a dirty, dirty boy. He didn’t play fair. I would so remember that.

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: Lightstruck (Brewing Passions #2) – Liz Crowe

Brewer Ross has given up on love…until he meets a  

woman who turns his life—and brewery—upside down.

LIGHTSTRUCK
The Brewing Passion Series #2
Liz Crowe
Releasing May 30, 2017
Totally Bound

Brewer Ross has given up on love…until he meets a woman who turns his life—and brewery—upside down.

Ross Hoffman held the potential for a perfect life in his hands—a life with Evelyn, the only woman he’d ever allowed himself to love, their baby and…her husband, Austin Fitzgerald, who also happened to be his best friend. But the challenge of trying to make a threesome into something acceptable—let alone the thought of actually sharing Evelyn with anyone—forces him to bolt. Determined to put all thoughts of their relationship behind him, Ross jumps headfirst into a new brewery job in Colorado, and back into the sort of sexual decadence that he hopes will distract him from his misery.

When he agrees to assist Austin through a spate of brewery mishaps, he lays eyes on his true fate—in the form of the petite, mysterious and exotic Elisa Nagel. Hired as assistant brewer, Elisa is absolutely everything he believes he doesn’t want in a woman. But he’s drawn to her in ways he can’t explain, and he can’t help but fall hard, fast and deep, which places him square in the middle of her horrific, until now secret backstory.

Ross is determined that his love will conquer and overcome the horrors of Elisa’s past, allowing her to trust him with the only thing he desires—her heart.

Reader Advisory: This book contains a scene with attempted rape and violence, as well as a brief scene alluding to person being drugged and raped.

Amazon best-selling author, mom of three, Realtor, beer blogger, brewery marketing expert, and soccer fan, Liz Crowe is a Kentucky native and graduate of the University of Louisville currently living in Ann Arbor. She has decades of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as a three-continent, ex-pat trailing spouse.

Her early forays into the publishing world led to a groundbreaking fiction subgenre, “Romance: Worth the Risk,” which has gained thousands of fans and followers interested less in the “HEA” and more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”).
With stories set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch, in successful real estate offices and at times in exotic locales like Istanbul, Turkey, her books are unique and told with a fresh voice. The Liz Crowe backlist has something for any reader seeking complex storylines with humor and complete casts of characters that will delight, frustrate and linger in the imagination long after the book is finished.
Don’t ever ask her for anything “like a Budweiser” or risk bodily injury.


Cover Reveal: Preservation (The Walshes #7) – Kate Canterbary

Some things have to fall apart before they can be put back together.

PRESERVATION
The Walshes #7
Kate Canterbary
Releasing May 23, 2017
Vesper Press



Two lonely hearts.
Just once, she’d like to be someone’s first choice.
She’s strong-willed and spunky, but she’s left picking up the pieces from her ex’s lies and manipulations, and daydreaming about taking a scalpel to his scrotum.
Flying under the radar is what he does best.
He’s laid-back and loyal, but he wants the most off-limits woman in his world, and nothing will ever make that a reality.
An arrangement of mutual benefit.
Two months, four dates.
Five, if things go well.
Five at the most.
But possibly six.
Definitely no more than six dates.
Only the appearance of a romantic relationship is required, and they expect nothing more from their time together. There will be none of those benefits involved.
One wild weekend.

After waking up in bed together—very naked and even more hungover—the terms and conditions of their arrangement no longer apply. Now they’re faced with something riskier than exposing their fake relationship:  letting go of the past and zipping up the future.
Some things have to
fall apart before they can be put back together.

Kate Canterbary doesn’t have it all figured out, but this is what she knows for sure: spicy-ass salsa and tequila solve most problems, living on the ocean–Pacific or Atlantic–is the closest place to perfection, and writing smart, smutty stories is a better than any amount of chocolate. She started out reporting for an indie arts and entertainment newspaper back when people still read newspapers, and she has been writing and surreptitiously interviewing people—be careful sitting down next to her on an airplane—ever since. Kate lives on the water in New England with Mr. Canterbary and the Little Baby Canterbary, and when she isn’t writing sexy architects, she’s scheduling her days around the region’s best food trucks.

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Recent Release, Excerpt, & Giveaway: The Right Fit – Daphne Dubois

Maxine and Antony are about to discover a game of casual hook ups can 
lead to something neither one of them thought they deserved—the right fit.

THE RIGHT FIT
Daphne Dubois
Released April 12th, 2017
The Wild Rose Press

When Maxine Nicholls discovers her fiancé is cheating, she turns to fast food and nighttime soap operas, but her sister has a plan—unbridled rebound sex with a stranger.
As one of Toronto’s hottest players, Antony Laurent tallies scores on and off the ice, but when the chiseled defense man hits a slump, rumors of a trade to the minor league send him to ambush a managers meeting at a posh club.
That night a chance encounter ends up as an unforgettable evening of passion. But Maxine and Antony are about to discover a game of casual hook ups can lead to something neither one of them thought they deserved—the right fit.

Daphne Dubois writes contemporary romance and believes the right book at the right time can make all the difference. When she’s not putting her characters in compromising positions (ahem), she works as a registered nurse. A member of the Writer’s Federation of Nova Scotia, she lives in Eastern Canada, the most romantic place in the world.


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Excerpt:
She dropped her gaze and stared at his hands. God, they are big hands. Big hands, big… “Do you want a coffee?” she blurted out.
“A coffee? Non.”
“Or maybe you need the washroom?” She pointed down the short hallway that lead to her bedroom.
He looked down the hallway, then back to Maxine. “You want me to use washroom?” he asked seriously.
“No.” She backed up a few steps until she reached the kitchen counter. The heat under her dress was now slick and uncomfortable. She glanced down and saw a mint leaf sticking out of her cleavage. Classy lady.
The romance cover model ran a hand through his hair again, making his biceps strain under the t-shirt sleeve. Maxine suspected he’d practiced that move in the mirror a few times. “Then what do you want?” he asked.
A burst of nervous laughter escaped, but then her smile faded. “No one has asked me that in a very long time,” she said. Slipping off his jacket, she laid it on the counter, letting her finger trace the stitching along the zipper, trying to build up her courage. “Why did you follow me into the cab?”
“Because no one has ever run away from me before.”
Rolling her eyes, Maxine looked up and saw that he was smirking. “Rejection is a new thing for you, I’m guessing.”
“Is that what you call inviting me here?” He tossed the ball cap and it landed perfectly on the dining table. The floorboard creaked as he took a step closer to her. There was a spark of anticipation in his eyes.
“Hold on, cowboy,” she said, putting a hand on his chest. My God! His muscles are rock hard under his shirt. Who the hell is this guy? She cleared her throat. “What makes you think you can kiss me again?”
He was still as stone under her touch, but Maxine could feel herself falling into his stare. “You kissed me,” he said, his voice ridiculously smooth. “There is a difference, I promise.”
It wasn’t only the French accent, but the confidence in his voice that made her knees almost unhinge. Her hand was flat on his chest; his racing heart was keeping time with hers. “That sounds like a proposition,” she said.
“It can only be decided one way.” Then he repeated his earlier question. “What do you want?”
He was so close she could see the faint brown and black colors of his stubble. There was a cleft in his chin. What do you want? An image of the long white box hidden in the closet was ignored; all Maxine wanted at that moment was to mold herself into his arms and forget about the last four years. “Kiss me,” she said.
His fingers grazed her cheek, tucking a wave of hair behind her ear. “Un moment,” he said. “A man should be prepared.” He peeled the last mint leaf off her chest then placed it in his mouth.
Maxine giggled through a surprised expression, which faded into a sigh.
Then, with deliberate care, he brought his lips down to hers, perfectly fitting their mouths together. He gently moved his chin starting a slow pace, controlled but with a sense of held back urgency.
This was nothing like the hastily stolen kiss at the club.
The cautious seduction was almost too much for Maxine. She wanted to taste him fully, kiss him back hard—tackle this moment like Alexis Colby.

Release Day, Excerpt, & Giveaway: Walk of Shame (Love Unexpectedly #4) Lauren Layne

The City’s HOTTEST Cold War is here!
WALK OF SHAME
a Love Unexpectedly novel
Lauren Layne
Releasing April 18th, 2017
Loveswept

Sparks fly between a misunderstood New York socialite and a cynical divorce lawyer in this lively standalone rom-com from the USA Today bestselling author of Blurred Lines and Love Story.

Pampered heiress Georgianna Watkins has a party-girl image to maintain, but all the shopping and clubbing is starting to feel a little bit hollow—and a whole lot lonely. Though Georgie would never admit it, the highlights of her week are the mornings when she comes home at the same time as her uptight, workaholic neighbor is leaving to hit the gym and put in a long day at the office. Teasing him is the most fun Georgie’s had in years—and the fuel for all her naughtiest daydreams.
Celebrity divorce attorney Andrew Mulroney doesn’t have much time for women, especially spoiled tabloid princesses who spend more time on Page Six than at an actual job. Although Georgie’s drop-dead gorgeous, she’s also everything Andrew resents: the type of girl who inherited her penthouse instead of earning it. But after Andrew caps one of their predawn sparring sessions with a surprise kiss—a kiss that’s caught on camera—all of Manhattan is gossiping about whether they’re a real couple. And nobody’s more surprised than Andrew to find that the answer just might be yes.

Lauren Layne is the  New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen
romantic comedies.

A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career.

She lives in midtown Manhattan with her high-school sweetheart, where she writes smart romantic comedies with just enough sexy-times to make your mother blush. In LL’s ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books. 

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Excerpt
And who is he, you ask?
Andrew Mulroney, Esquire.
I know this because we moved into the building on the exact same day, and right before we got into a horrendous fight over whose movers should have access to the building loading dock first, he handed me his business card.
The thick white card stock declared that he had a fancy law degree to go along with the fancy suit he was wearing on a Saturday.
Andrew handed it over with such superiority, I actually wished for a half second that I had a business card of my own that would somehow be better than his. Like, lined with gold or something. No, platinum. With a diamond in the corner. It would be too heavy for him to hold, and he’d drop it, thus having to kneel at my feet to pick it up.
But then I realized it was just as well that I didn’t have a business card.
Because it would say . . . what? Georgie Watkins, professional party girl?
Anyway, I digress. Despite the high temps of that swampy July morning, the encounter had been the start of an epic cold war.
Me, the socialite in apartment 86A against the uptight esquire in apartment 79B.
I’m not entirely sure I’m winning the war, but I’ll never tell him that.
I let my gaze drift over Andrew, even though his appearance rarely holds any surprises. The man’s a lesson in sameness, like some sort of anal-retentive version of Groundhog Day.
There’s always the black mug with some healthy gunk inside held in his right hand, Tom Ford briefcase and Armani garment bag in his left, containing what I know to be a perfectly tailored three-piece suit.
Andrew’s coppery hair is perfectly styled, although I’d swear that there’s some natural curl in there threatening to disrupt his perfect order. I imagine that annoys him, so it therefore makes me happy.
Let’s see, what else about my nemesis?
He’s got a hard, unfriendly jawline that’s perfectly shaven.
Dark brown eyes, cold and flat. Black gym bag over one shoulder.
I suppose you could say he changes up his attire, because he does alternate between black and gray gym shirts. But considering that they seem to be the exact same fit, both colors molding perfectly to his impressively sculpted upper body, we’re not giving him any points for variety there.
Same goes for the lower half. The black shorts worn in summer have given way to sleek black sweatpants now that October’s upon us, but they’re both black and Nike, so we’ll give him no credit for changing it up there either.
The shoes, though . . .
I do a double take.
Well, well, well . . .
Instead of the usual black gym shoes, the man’s shoes are red. I don’t know how I missed it before.
I drag my eyes back up his body with a grin, and he gives just the slightest roll of his eyes to indicate that he’s noticed my slow perusal and isn’t fazed in the least.
“You went shopping, Dorothy!” I say happily.
He stares at me. “I don’t shop.”
Of course not. Far too frivolous.
“No, that makes sense,” I say, pointing at his feet. “Glinda would have given these to you.”
Andrew looks down at his Rolex watch. “I’ve got to go. Have a good day, Mr. Ramirez.”
“You too, Mr. Mulroney,” Ramon says with a deferential nod. “Enjoy your workout.”
“Yes, do,” I say, turning and watching as Andrew moves toward the front door of our building. “What’s on the schedule today? Treadmill, or just skipping down the Yellow Brick Road?”
Andrew Mulroney, Esquire, doesn’t respond. He doesn’t even turn before pushing through the revolving doors and stepping out into the still-dark autumn morning.
Now come on. Tell me that wasn’t at least a little bit fun, despite the ungodly hour.

Pre-Order, Excerpt, & Giveaway: Emergency Delivery (Love Emergency #2) – Samanthe Beck

Pre-Order, Excerpt, & Giveaway: Emergency Delivery
(Love Emergency #2)
– Samanthe Beck
Released March 16, 2016

Get EMERGENCY DELIVERY for $0.99 for a Limited Time!

EMERGENCY DELIVERY
Love Emergency #2
Samanthe Beck
Released March 16th, 2016
Entangled Brazen
Madison
Foley is determined to stand on her own two feet, no matter how wobbly her circumstances. Fate, however, keeps throwing her off balance, and then sending heroically hot paramedic Hunter Knox to save her.

She’s put men on the back burner until she gets her life on track.

But Hunter’s got other plans.

Decisions.
Decisions.

**Can be read as a stand alone**

Pre-Order the next Love Emergency Romance
EMERGENCY ATTRACTION
releasing April 17th, 2017
Ten years ago when Shane Maguire chose the Marines as his escape from some trouble of his own making, he only regretted one thing—leaving Sinclair Smith behind. Despite his best intentions, she ended upas the one that got away. Now he’s back, determined to reclaim everything he gave up, including Sinclair.

Sinclair is immune to Shane’s charms. She’s immune to stolen kisses behind the gym. And she’s definitely immune to that maneuver he did in the back seat of his car… Okay, maybe her hormones are susceptible,
but she has absolutely no desire to risk anything on the bad boy who broke all
his promises.

When a little emergency lands her at his mercy, he offers her a deal she can’t refuse. And this time, she’ll show Shane what it.
means to be left wanting…

USA Today bestselling author Samanthe Beck lives in Malibu, California, with her long-suffering husband, their turbo-son, and a furry ninja named Kitty.

When not dreaming up fun, fan-your-cheeks sexy ways to get her characters to happily-ever-after, she searches for the perfect cabernet to pair with Ambien.

Clean Excerpt:

“Not a mark on the car.”
Shane turned and walked back to where Sinclair stood with her skirt caught in the car door. “Or you?”
Her chin came up as he drew near. “That goes without saying.”
“Does it?” He dropped his gaze, and took a slow tour of some territory he’d once been intimately familiar with, starting at her bare shoulders and continuing to where satiny skin disappeared beneath blue silk. “I remember finding some extremely creative places to leave marks.” He ran his finger along the neckline of her dress. “So you wouldn’t get in trouble. You didn’t need to be as cautious with me.”
“I”—she broke off and swallowed—“I don’t remember…”
Oh, yeah. She remembered. He took the gift bag out of her hand and set it on the roof of the Mercedes. “I’ll let you in on a little secret, Sinclair.”
“What?” The word barely qualified as a whisper.
“I’m still extremely creative.” With that, he dropped to his knee, and peered behind her.
Her hand smacked his shoulder. “What are you doing?”
“Seeing if I can find a creative solution to your little predicament.” The position gave him an up-close look at the tangle of her skirt in the car door, the torn seam that rendered the dress un-wearable—he turned his head slightly—aaand the tiny, lacy, black panties that left mouthwatering portions of her ass bare to his view. Without doing any sort of motive check, he let his cheek brush the smooth flesh.
Muscles quivered in response. The hand on his shoulder switched to the top of his head, but she didn’t push him away. He trailed his lips across her thigh, automatically following the line of her panties where it hugged her hip and arrowed around front.
Her shuddery exhale triggered his inhale. Her scent stormed his senses, achingly familiar, and dangerously arousing. The molecules infiltrated his brain, coated the back of his throat, and left him dizzy from need. Balancing before her on both knees, taking a hip in each hand, he slowly closed in on the sheer triangle covering the prize.
“Shane…”
He took another hungry inhale. The tip of his nose skimmed the lace. “Yes?”
Those slim fingers slid down until her palm cupped the back of his head. Her thighs parted. “Ye—”
A car alarm shattered the silence and broke the spell lust and memories had woven around them. She jerked away, shoved her skirt down, and glared at him. “That’s not part of our deal.”
He stood, intentionally taking up the space she’d tried to carve out for herself. “Don’t kid yourself, Sinclair. That’s always been part of our deal.”

Preorder, Exclusive Excerpt, & Giveaway: Confessions of a Former Puck Bunny (Taking Shots #4) – Cindi Madsen

Every addict has their relapse.

CONFESSIONS OF A FORMER PUCK BUNNY
Taking Shots #4
Cindi Madsen
Releasing May 8th, 2017
Entangled Embrace

Confession #1:
I used to be a puck bunny, but after a hockey player broke my heart, I gave up all things hockey. Now I’m just focused on finding a way to pass my math class so I can graduate college.

Confession #2:
Ryder “Ox” Maddox’s deep, sexy voice sends fuzzy tingles through my entire body, and I’m powerless to stop it. Which is a big problem since the hot, surprisingly funny hockey player is my new math tutor.

Confession #3:
I can’t stop thinking about how ripped Ryder is from all his hockey training, and how fun it’d be to cross lines with him.

Confession #4:
I kissed a hockey player and I liked it.

Confession #5: If I’m not careful, I might relapse and fall for Ryder, and then I’ll be totally pucked.   

Every thought turned to how strong he was. How much I’d like to see all those muscles without a shirt in the way.
Once he’d counted off twenty-five, he stood and, as if he’d been reading my mind, peeled off his shirt.
I stared. Not subtly, either. Nope, totally unabashed, taking in every dip and groove of his sweat-glistened skin.
“Since we’re playing dirty,” he said, shooting his wadded shirt over to his bag. He grabbed my hand. “Last machine. I’m not sure you can handle it, though.”
“I’m not sure you can handle it.” As far as comebacks went, not my best, but I mentioned he was shirtless and crazy ripped, right?
He sat down on the leg machine, the one where the seat reclined at a forty-five-degree angle, and then he lifted the weighted bar that rested at shin-height with his legs.
He reached for my hand, and since I’d already talked trash, I took it, even though I was starting to think I wouldn’t be able to handle it. He pulled me toward him, and I had no choice but to run my shins into the weights or to straddle the machine. I chose straddling, but kept space between us like I had earlier.
My heart hammered against my rib cage, beating in time with his leg lifts, the steady clink of the weights filling the air. Ryder’s eyes remained locked on mine, and energy crackled in the air between us. He sat up enough to run his hands up my thighs.
A dart of heat shot through my core, and my breath lodged in my throat. Ryder’s fingertips skimmed the skin between my pants and shirt and desire danced across my nerve endings. Still our eyes remained fixed on each other, and I wasn’t sure I was taking in oxygen anymore.
A distant part of me whispered that if I didn’t stop this…whatever we were doing, I’d be in trouble. But fighting my attraction to him was exhausting and the ache that’d formed between my thighs grew more persistent, drowning out silly things like common sense.
I leaned over like I had before, my hands braced on either side of him. He lifted the weights again, and then he brushed his lips against mine. Just a quick slide of soft lips.
My throat went completely dry. I pressed my palm flat against his stomach and slowly slid it up, feeling his firm chest and the hammering of his heart, which echoed mine.
Ryder gripped my hips and pulled me down to sit on his lap, eradicating the space between us. He lifted the weights with his legs a few more times, each rep bumping me tighter to him. Friction was definitely happening, and with each lift, it became clearer and clearer how much it was affecting him as well.
The tiniest whimper escaped my lips and he raised an eyebrow that added even more smugness to the curve of his tempting mouth.
Two could play dirty. So I sank farther into his lap and he groaned.
Of course, all it did was give me dirty thoughts and turn me on that much more.
He lifted his legs two more times, the movement shaky. He slowly ran his fingertips up my arm, across my collarbone, up my neck, and then he reached back and tugged my hair free of its ponytail.
He drove his hand into my hair, cupped the back of my head, and for one torturous moment, time stopped, both of us suspended right there on edge of crossing lines.

Cindi Madsen is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance and young adult novels. She sits at her computer every chance she gets, plotting, revising, and falling in love with her characters. Sometimes it makes her a crazy person. Without it, she’d be even crazier. She has way too many shoes, but can always find a reason to buy a pretty new pair, especially if they’re sparkly, colorful, or super tall. She loves music and dancing and wishes summer lasted all year long. She lives in Colorado (where summer is most definitely NOT all year long) with her husband and three children.  

You can visit her Website, where you can sign up for her newsletter to get all the up-to-date information on her books. 

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Release Day, Excerpt, & Giveaway: Truly, Madly, Whiskey – Melissa Foster

Watch mysteriously sexy Bear Whiskey claw his way to 
his happily ever after with sassy, rebellious Crystal Moon.

TRULY, MADLY, WHISKEY
Melissa Foster
Releasing April 10, 2017
World Literary Press


A new sexy standalone romance by New York Times bestselling author Melissa Foster.

Eight months is a long damn time to have the hots for a woman who keeps a guy at arm’s length. But Crystal Moon is no ordinary woman. She’s a sinfully sexy, sass-mouthed badass, and the subject of Bear Whiskey’s midnight fantasies. She’s also one of his closest friends.

Just when Crystal thinks she has her life under control, scorching-hot, possessive, aggressive, and fiercely loyal Bear pushes all her sexual buttons, relentless in his pursuit to make her his.

The more Bear pushes, the hotter their passion burns, unearthing memories for Crystal that are best kept buried. But there’s no stopping the collision of her past and present, catapulting the two lovers down an emotional and sexually charged road that has them questioning all they thought they knew about themselves.


Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writessexy and heartwarming contemporary romance and new adult romance with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Melissa’s emotional journeys are lovingly erotic and always family oriented–perfect beach reads for contemporary romance lovers who enjoy reading about wealthy heroes and smart, sassy heroines.

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Excerpt

“Really, Bear. I can drop you at your place before I go to the fabric shop.” Crystal started the car, feeling more in control than she had inside the shop. She hated the way she’d frozen up when things had gotten hot between them. She wanted him. After putting herself through three years of therapy, dealing with not only the trauma of the attack, but the bullshit with her mother and the loss of her father, she was sure she could handle anything. She’d dated other guys since she’d left college without issue. Why did it have to be different with the only guy she wanted to be close to? It pissed her off that her past still owned a piece of her, and she needed to get over it before Bear got fed up and walked away for good.
“I have to go to the store anyway.” He flashed one of his smiles. “We might as well go together.”
“You need to go to the fabric store?” she said flatly, knowing he was bullshitting her. She realized her car smelled different, cleaner. The seats were shiny, the dashboard dust free. “Did you clean my car?”
“Detailed it,” he said casually, as if he did this type of thing every day. For all she knew, he did. “Changed your oil, topped off your fluids. You really need to do those things every three thousand miles.” He touched the doll hanging from her rearview mirror. “I dusted off this, too, even though I’m a little worried that it’s a voodoo doll.”
She wasn’t about to tell him it was a worry doll that she loved more than life itself.
“Bear.” She couldn’t suppress her smile about the voodoo doll as she drove toward the store. “You really need to stop acting like you have to take care of me. I appreciate you handling the inspection, which I’m paying you for, by the way. But you don’t have to do all these things for me. I already like who you are.” Even if I have a hard time showing it.
“I know you do,” he said, as cocky as ever.
Why is that such a turn-on?
“I didn’t do it to get your attention. Shit, six three, two thirty.” He flexed his biceps and winked. “You’re sitting next to Peaceful Harbor gold, baby. I’ve got your attention.”
She couldn’t suppress a laugh. “That you do, and probably half the women in this town.”
“Only half?”
He kept her laughing the whole way to the fabric store, and it was just what she needed. It really had been a long day. They’d hosted three parties, and one of the mothers was just about the most obnoxious woman on earth. She’d pushed her daughter toward pink frilly outfits for the first half hour, when all the little cutie had wanted was to dress up as a skateboard princess. Gemma realized Crystal was going to strangle the wench, and she’d calmly suggested the woman head down to Jazzy Joe’s for coffee. The rest of her day hadn’t been much better. Plus, she’d spent the morning overthinking everything about her relationship with Bear, which was probably why she’d freaked out when she’d really been dying to kiss him.
She parked in front of the fabric store. There were some things that just didn’t fit in the world as Crystal knew it, and Bear Whiskey clad in a tight black T-shirt that said Whiskey Bro’s across his massive chest, a pair of snug, low-slung black jeans, and leather boots strutting into Jennilyn’s Fabric was on the top of the list.
She pulled her list from her bag as his eyes coasted over the store. What was he thinking, coming with her? That was dedication she could not ignore. The epitome of commitment.
That is Bear.
My Bear?
She toyed with that as he draped his arm over her shoulder. She wondered what had taken him so long. She’d expected him to do it the second she’d stepped from the car, but he was probably in shock that they were actually going to a fabric store. She smiled to herself as he leaned closer and rubbed his nose along her cheek.
“Can I help you?” she asked with a laugh.
“You smell like jelly beans, and I happen to have a thing for sugary goodness.”
“You can’t seriously have that good a sense of smell.”
He pressed an unexpected, and deliciously warm, kiss to her cheek and reached into her purse, withdrawing a bag of jelly beans. “Hoarding? Or were we going to hide these later in your body and let me find them?” He moved his mouth beside her ear and whispered, “Blindfolded. With my hands tied behind my back.”
He nudged her deeper into the store. Holy crap. She’d stopped walking. Was she breathing? And was that a thing? Blindfolded? Hands tied behind his back? Oh, the control that would give her. She’d be at no risk of being overpowered. But would she want that much control? She imagined herself lying naked on her bed, watching as his greedy mouth moved over her breasts, down her belly, and she felt herself go damp.
No, no, no.
Ice cream. Ice baths. Cow poop!
Her body continued vibrating from the inside out. This was bad. Really, really bad. Like a virus she couldn’t shake. She needed an anti-Bear pill. Stat!

Pre-order, Excerpt,& Giveaway: Winning Dr. Wentworth (Sterling University #2) Rebecca Heflin

She’s benched her heart. His is on the injured
reserve.

WINNING DR. WENTWORTH
Sterling University #2
Rebecca Heflin
Releasing June 6th, 2017



She’s benched her heart. His is on the injured reserve.

Burned-out and broken-hearted statistics professor, Dr. Shelby Wentworth, returns to her hometown determined to escape the disgrace of a nasty divorce, shake off the taint of her ruined career, and start over. This time she swears she’ll live by the rule ‘don’t get your honey where you get your money.’ But an unexpected reunion with her former high school crush, not only makes her rethink her decision to return home, but also tempts her to break her one rule.

After a career-ending injury and his own disheartening divorce, former NFL quarterback, Nash Taylor, returned to his hometown to become the head coach of the Sterling University Bobcats. When his childhood best friend literally runs into him in the faculty parking lot, he thinks maybe it’s time to put his heart back in the game.

Nash, in the hunt for a division championship, enlists the number-crunching Shelby as his secret weapon. But Nash’s plan to help Shelby regain not only her confidence, but also her financial security backfires and lands Shelby in the same hot water that brought her home in the first place.

Will Shelby let the past dictate the future, or will Nash win her heart on his way to winning the championship?



NOW AVAILABLE 



Rebecca Heflin is an award-winning author who has dreamed of writing romantic fiction since she was fifteen and her older sister snuck a copy of Kathleen Woodiwiss’ Shanna to her and told her to read it. Rebecca writes women’s fiction and contemporary romance. When not passionately pursuing her dream, Rebecca is busy with her day-job as a practicing attorney.

Rebecca is a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), Florida Romance Writers, RWA Contemporary Romance, and Florida Writers Association. She and her mountain-climbing husband live at sea level in sunny Florida.


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Excerpt
Shelby Wentworth tossed her backpack across the console onto the passenger seat of her car then dropped into the driver’s seat and slammed the door shut. Closing her eyes, she took a deep, cleansing breath. At least, she tried to take a deep breath. After the contentious conversation with her ex-husband, the pain in her chest made it difficult to breathe.

Would she ever be able to leave the past behind and focus on rebuilding her career? Her life?

Pressing a hand to her sternum, she counted to five as she inhaled, held her breath for another five-count, then exhaled. The breathing exercise slowed her racing heart and calmed her. “That’s better,” she murmured.

Starting the car, she threw it into reverse and backed out of her spot in Sterling University’s faculty parking lot.

And right into a solid object.

The sickening crunch set her heart racing at warp speed this time.

Glancing behind her in horror, all she saw was a big gray behemoth.

With trembling hands, she put the car in park and jumped out to find a late-model dark gray Suburban, it’s rear passenger-side fender crumpled, but little damage otherwise. Her old Honda Civic, on the other hand, hadn’t stood a chance against the tank she’d backed into. The trunk was crumpled, and her bumper hung off the passenger side in a lopsided grimace.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a tall, athletic man stride around the back of the SUV.

Fear swamped her, and she covered her mouth with both hands. “Oh my god, I’m so sorry! Are you okay?” Bracing herself for the tirade, she backed away from him, holding her hands out in front of her.

“No harm done.”

What? That’s it. No yelling? No name-calling? No threats?

He adjusted his red Sterling Bobcats ball cap, leaning down to assess the situation then scratched his chin and stood up. “Okay. Maybe a little harm done,” he said with an easy smile. “Question is, are you okay?” He removed the aviator sunglasses he wore and directed his concerned gaze right at her.

“Nash?” The instant she saw those electric blue eyes, she recognized him. Butterflies took flight in her stomach, and not from fear this time.

He’d been powerfully built in high school, but that had been just a preview to the powerfully built man he would become. And although he’d left the NFL, he hadn’t lost his quarterback build.

They hadn’t seen each other since the day they’d graduated high school. But, despite her broken heart, she’d secretly followed both his college and pro football careers.

She’d been watching the day of the NFL draft, five years earlier, when the Denver Broncos called his name and he’d gone down on one knee and proposed to his college sweetheart, Stephanie Cummings, further adding to her heartbreak.

She’d also been watching the Broncos versus the Raiders the day he’d taken the hit that had ended his career.

And finally, she’d witnessed the press conference when Nash Taylor stood, tears in his eyes, as he gave up the sport he loved at the young age of twenty-seven, his beauty-queen wife noticeably absent.

It wasn’t long after that news of their divorce hit the headlines.

“Shelby?” he asked, his surprise evident in his expression.

“You remember me?” she couldn’t help asking.

“Of course.” He frowned. “Why wouldn’t I remember you? We were best friends back in the day.”

Were being the operative term.

A flush crept up her neck and into her face as she recalled her first kiss in the backseat of their best friend’s car. But the flush turned to heartache at the memory of Nash’s later betrayal.

“I thought your mom moved. Are you here visiting the university?” he asked.

“No. I, uh, I took an assistant professor position in the College of Arts and Sciences.” A step down for her, but she’d been lucky to get even that. She toed a piece of her car’s bumper that had fallen off in the collision.

“No kidding?” He rocked back on his heels. “How long have you been back?”

“I moved two weeks ago. I’m surprised I haven’t seen you before now.” She knew he’d moved back to his hometown of Sterling after he’d left the NFL and became the head coach of the newly formed Bobcats football team. It was the one of the reasons she’d hesitated in taking a job she’d so desperately needed. Being in the same town—and a small one at that—as Nash would be a constant reminder that she’d never really gotten over her high school crush.

“I’ve been . . . out of town.” He shoved his hands into the front pockets of his jeans.

“Oh.” She nodded as if she understood, but really she didn’t. Clearly there was more to that statement. An awkward silence fell.
“Look, I know the new police chief. Let me give him a call so we’ll have a report for the insurance companies.” He pulled a smartphone from his back pocket.

“Oh, but—” She’d really rather just pay for the damage than deal with the insurance . . . and have them raise her already-too-high rate. “Can we just handle it between ourselves? Of course I’ll pay for the repairs.”

“You sure about that?” He paused in tapping out the number.

“Yeah.” A nervous laugh escaped. She’d just add it to the long list of bills she currently struggled to pay. Maybe Nash would take it in installments for old times’ sake. “Why deal with all that paperwork?”

“I can’t let you do that.”

*****

Shelby wrapped her arms around herself, the body language unmistakable. She nodded. “I’ll get my insurance information.” She turned back to her car.

“No. I mean I can’t let you pay out of pocket. And don’t worry about the insurance. The deductible is probably more than what it would cost to repair the damage.” He could think of a better way for her to repay him. “How about you buy me dinner instead and we’ll call it even?”

She looked good, Nash thought. Better than good. The pretty tomboy had grown into a beautiful woman. She’d cut the long, light brown hair that as a teenager she’d worn almost exclusively in a ponytail, so that it just touched her shoulders, and she’d filled out in all the right places.

The shy smile was still there, although he didn’t miss the sadness in her amber eyes. Or the fear when he’d first approached her.
“What?” Confusion skittered across her face.

No surprise there, considering he was just as confused by his offer as she was.

He grinned. “You know, the meal you have at the end of the day? In the South we call it supper, in case you’ve forgotten.”

She’d lost some of that innocence he’d found so appealing so many years ago. Along with her accent. Guess that’s what happened when you received an Ivy League education.

She looked away and then back at him. Her eyes narrowed. “I just nailed the back end of your car, and you want me to have dinner with you?”

He had an all-consuming urge to gather her in and hold her close until the tension in her shoulders, and the sadness and fear in her eyes, retreated. But he doubted she would accept his sympathy. After they’d both left for college, he’d tried to hold onto their friendship despite the distance, but she never answered his emails or phone calls.

He knew he’d hurt her in high school when he took Leandra Lucas to prom instead of her, but he’d made a promise to a friend, and he didn’t break promises.

“Yeah, why not? Catch up. It’s been, what, eleven years since I saw you?” The day they’d graduated in fact. Him with decent grades and a football scholarship, and her as class Valedictorian. She’d headed off to Brown University for an accelerated program in mathematics the following week, and he hadn’t laid eyes on her since. Not even for their ten-year reunion last year.

She bit her lower lip then drew it into her mouth, and his eyes locked on like a heat-seeking missile. The memory of the sweet, hot kiss they’d shared in the back seat of Ethan’s 1993 Ford Mustang assaulted him.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

She was probably right. He just nodded. Clearly, she hadn’t forgiven him for what he’d done. Not that he could really blame her. He should have been upfront with her then. She would have understood. Maybe.

“I should probably give you my number so you can get me the repair bills for your car if you change your mind,” she said, returning his attention to the present.

“Right.” She stepped close and a light, clean scent tickled his nose. Like lemons, only sweeter. He tapped the number into his phone as she rattled it off to him, all the while wondering whether she wore perfume or if it was her shampoo. “But I won’t. Change my mind, I mean.”

“Okay. Well. Again, I’m really sorry about . . .” Her voice trailed off as she indicated the fender-bender.

“It’s just a car. Nobody got hurt, and that’s the important thing.”

“I’ll see you around.” Shelby rounded her car and climbed into the open driver’s side.

Realizing she couldn’t leave until he moved his car, he turned to do just that, but couldn’t help but wonder what twist of fate had brought Shelby Wentworth back into his life.

New Release, Excerpt, Giveaway, & Review: The Magnate’s Mail-Order Bride (The McNeill Magnates #1) – Joanne Rock

A mix-and-match mock engagement? 

THE MAGNATE’S MAIL-ORDER BRIDE
The McNeill Magnates #1
Joanne Rock
Releasing April 4th, 2017
Harlequin Desire



A mix-and-match mock engagement? 

Ballerina Sofia Koslov’s career is on the line when she’s accosted at the airport by a rich, reckless playboy who thinks she’s his mail-order bride! But the playboy’s levelheaded brother, Quinn McNeill, solves the media snafu with a switcheroo. He’ll pretend to be her legitimate fiancé to protect her reputation—and to protect his family’s business deals from her father’s wrath. Sofia’s one condition: they’ll share the spotlight as a loving couple but won’t share a bed. But soon Quinn’s gentlemanly ways strike a chord, and Sofia’s dying to renege on that condition and have a real fling… 



ANGIE’S REVIEW: I don’t really read “spicy” romances anymore, but I make an exception for Joanne Rock as her books are very tasteful and not overly graphic. I LOVE the characters she creates, they are always so well-developed. Her storylines are always easy to follow along and I have yet to read a book of hers that I don’t like.

I am a huge fan of mail order bride romances, though usually the ones that I read are set in the 1700 to 1800s. A modern day mail order bride story?! I jumped at the chance to read this book.

I adored Sofia from the get go. She is shy and awkward and really just wants to dance. Unfortunately her father would prefer that she get married and make babies; something Sofia doesn’t want at the present moment.

Quinn is just an all around nice guy who doesn’t have a past loaded with conquests, but is genuine and does his best to turn an awkward situation into one that’s not too embarrassing for either family. I found myself rooting for him and Sofia from the start and knew that they would never regret anything.

It’s so hard to talk about this book as there’s just SO MUCH that you need to experience yourself! Suffice to say, Joanne Rock has delivered once again and I’m SO looking forward to the next two books in this series.

ANGIE’S RATING: ****
DISCLAIMER: I requested a review copy of this book in order to participate in the Tasty Tours blog review tour. All opinions and thoughts are my own.



Four-time RITA nominee Joanne Rock has never met a romance sub-genre she didn’t like. The author of over seventy books enjoys writing a wide range of stories, most recently focusing on sexy contemporaries and small town family sagas. An optimist by nature and perpetual seeker of silver linings, Joanne finds romance fits her life outlook perfectly–love is worth fighting for. A frequent speaker at regional and national writing conferences she enjoys giving back to the writing community that nurtured and inspired her early career. She has a Masters degree in Literature from the University of Louisville but credits her fiction writing skills to her intensive study with friend and fellow author Catherine Mann. When she’s not writing, Joanne enjoys travel, especially to see her favorite sports teams play with her former sports editor husband and three athletic-minded sons.

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Excerpt:
“I never would have guessed your brother would spend a small fortune on a ring for a woman he never met.” She edged out of his grip. “I thought he was a romantic, not completely certifiable.”
Quinn’s smile faded. “I assure you, Cameron is neither.” He set the ring on the steamer trunk beside her. “I’ll let you decide whether or not to wear it in the morning. And in the meantime, I’d better let you get some rest.”
He rose to his feet, leaving a priceless piece of jewelry balanced on last month’s Vogue.
“Quinn.” She stood to follow him to the door then reached back to grab the ring so she could return it. “Please. I don’t feel right keeping this here.”
He turned to face her as he reached the door, but made no move to take the glittering ring.
“If you were my bride-to-be, I would spare no expense to show the world you were mine.” His blue eyes glowed with a warmth that had her remembering his kiss. Her breath caught in her chest and she wondered what it might be like for him to call her that for real.
Mine.
“I’m—” At a total loss for words. “That is—” She folded the diamond into her hand, squeezing it tightly so the stones pressed into her soft skin, distracting her from her hypnotic awareness of this man. “If you insist.”
“It’s a matter of believability, Sofia.”
“It’s only for one month.” She wasn’t sure if she said it to remind him or herself.
“We’ll work out the details tomorrow.” He reached to smooth a strand of hair from her forehead, barely touching her and still sending shimmers of pleasure along her temple and all the way down the back of her neck. “Sleep well.”
She didn’t even manage to get her voice working before he was out the door again, leaving her alone in a suddenly too empty apartment.
Squeezing the ring tighter in her fist, she waited for the pinch of pain from the sharp edges of the stones. She needed to remember that this wasn’t real. Quinn McNeill had only agreed to this mad scheme to clean up his brother’s mess. Any hint of attraction she felt needed to be squashed immediately, especially since Quinn was cut from the same mold as her father—focused on business and the accumulation of wealth. Her world was about art, emotions and human connections.
Her mother had taught her that people did not fall into both camps. In Sofia’s experience it was true. And since she wanted her own relationships to be meaningful bonds rooted in shared creativity and ideals, she was willing to wait until she had more time in her life to find the right partner. Romance could not be rushed.
“It’s only for a month,” she said aloud again, forcing herself to set the engagement ring on the hallway table.
Surely she could keep up her end of a fake engagement for the sake of appearances? She’d made countless sacrifices for her career, from dancing on broken toes to living away from her family on the other side of the globe to train with Russian ballet masters.
Ignoring the sensual draw of Quinn McNeill couldn’t possibly be more difficult than those challenges.
Yet, even as she marched herself off to bed, she feared she was lying to herself that she could keep her hands off the man anywhere near as easily as she’d set down the ring.

New Release, Excerpt, Review & Giveaway: You May Kiss the Bride (The Penhallow Dynasty #1) – Lisa Berne

In an unforgettable debut, Lisa Berne introduces you to the 
Penhallow Dynasty—men destined to marry, but hesitant to love.

YOU MAY KISS THE BRIDE
The Penhallow Dynasty #1
Lisa Berne
Releasing March 28, 2017
Avon Books

In an unforgettable debut, Lisa Berne introduces you to the Penhallow Dynasty—men destined to marry, but hesitant to love.

Wealthy and arrogant, Gabriel Penhallow knows it’s time to fulfill his dynastic duty. All he must do is follow “The Penhallow way”—find a biddable bride, produce an heir and a spare, and then live separate lives. It’s worked so well for generations, certainly one kiss with the delectable Livia Stuart isn’t going to change things. Society dictates he marry her, and one chit is as good as another as long as she’s from a decent family.

But Livia’s transformation from an original to a mundane diamond of the first water makes Gabriel realize he desperately wants the woman who somehow provoked him into that kiss. And for all the ladies who’ve thrown themselves at him, it’s the one who wants to flee whom he now wants. But how will he keep this independent miss from flying away?



ANGIE’S REVIEW: I love a good historical romance, especially if it involves a stubborn heroine who doesn’t feel like she needs a man (or hardly anyone, for that matter) in order to make it through life.

I adored Livia from the moment I started reading about her. She has her own mind and gives a hoot less about Society. Unfortunately for her, she lives with an aunt who is addicted to laudanum – laced cordials(not that anyone back then would admit to such a thing) and basically just lazes around the house moaning about this or that. Add in Mrs. Orr and her horrible daughter, Cecily, and I’d have no tongue left after biting it one too many times. No idea how she, Livia that is, managed to not do so!

Gabriel, well, I could take him or leave him. When he first meets Livia, he treats her like she’s stupid (though, in all fairness, Livia just stared at him for whole moments without speaking) and definitely earned the two hour runaround she gave him on how to find his way back to where he’d come from. Thankfully he changes as the book goes on.

Gabriel’s grandmother is a nasty piece of work. In fact, she may be even nastier than Cecily’s mother, who I feel is cousins with Satan. Both are disgustingly rude, talk down to everyone, and have a bloated sense of entitlement.

There aren’t enough situations where Gabriel and Livia are together, which stinks as I love good dialogue. For a debut book in what is a promising series, Ms. Berne has developed characters to admire, love, and absolutely detest. I was confused about the status of Gabriel and how the horrid Cecily jumped from the daughter of a viscount to an earl’s daughter (I do blame this on the editors from the publisher whose jobs are to catch and correct errors such as who is who in the Ton and where someone rates as far as aristocracy goes) aside, I look forward to reading more from Ms. Berne!

ANGIE’S RATING: ****

DISCLAIMER: I requested a review copy in order to participate in the blog tour hosted by Tasty Book Tours. All opinions are my own.

Lisa Berne read her first Georgette Heyer book at fourteen, and was instantly captivated. Later, she was a graduate student, a grantwriter, and an investment banker, but is thrilled to be returning to her roots and writing her own historical-romance novels! She lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest.


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Excerpt:
This was dangerous. If she bit her lip any harder, thought Livia Stuart, it would probably begin to bleed, sending a bright red rivulet dripping down her chin, and end up staining—in a spectacularly uncouth way—the bodice of her gown.
The bodice of the gown which, Cecily had casually mentioned, was hers from two years ago.
“And you’ve altered it so cleverly, I scarcely recognized it.” Cecily’s voice was soft and friendly, but in her pretty blue eyes there was, unmistakably, the gleam of cruel mischief. “I knew, of course, from the color, which is no longer quite in fashion.”
Short of telling Cecily to stuff it, there didn’t really seem anything Livia could say, but she was spared the necessity of trying to think up something polite when Lady Glanville, Cecily’s mother, turned her gaze to Livia and subjected her person to a comprehensive scrutiny.
“Indeed,” her ladyship finally said, with the gravity of one considering a matter of deep existential import. “That particular shade of rose was very popular. Princess Charlotte, I believe, favored it highly. I’m not at all certain, however, that it’s suitable for one of your coloring, Livia dear. It complements fair hair, such as Cecily’s, as well as a pale complexion, like hers. I’m sorry to say that you are rather brown.”
“She would be out of doors so much,” Aunt Bella interpolated in her vague, melancholy way. “I’ve told her repeatedly how injurious it is to both health and appearance, but I do not think Livia attends to me.” She sighed gustily, sending the faded ribbons of her cap a­fluttering. “I do not think anyone attends to me. I do not think I am listened to by—”
“Far be it from me to pontificate,” said Lady Glanville, “but one ought not to dwell on oneself, you know. We must always think of others. As Cecily does, for example. She could give her cast­off gowns to her maids, as most other young ladies do, but instead she insists that dear little Livia have them. It’s quite touching, really.”
“Your Uncle Charles doesn’t give you a dress allowance, does he, Livia?” Cecily’s tone was sympathetic. Too sympathetic. “But then, you don’t go anywhere, so perhaps it doesn’t matter a great deal.”
“No,” Livia answered flatly. “No, it doesn’t matter at all.”
Now it was Lady Glanville who audibly sighed as she glanced around the large drawing­room with its dated, shabby furniture, the wallpaper from a generation ago pockmarked with ghostly rectangles where valuable paintings had once hung but had since been sold. “It’s dreadfully lowering,” she said, “to see a gentleman’s family so reduced. Why, it was only ten years ago that we met nearly as equals.”
Livia felt her teeth grit. She’d been forced to participate in these occasional morning visits from Cecily— the Honorable Miss Orr—and her mother—the Right Honorable Viscountess Glanville—for years. Because they were wealthy and highborn, apparently their arrogance and rudeness were to be endured. Livia clenched her hands tightly in the folds of her gown.
Cecily’s gown.
“Well, there’s no use in dwelling on what can’t be changed,” went on Lady Glanville. “I am afraid that life simply isn’t fair. A disagreeable fact, but what can one do? Now, do stop frowning, Livia dear, for I’m delighted to tell you we’ve come for the express purpose of offering a little treat.”
“I’m all ears, ma’am,” replied Livia with what had to be obvious sarcasm, but Lady Glanville only said, with her arctic smile:
“We are hosting a ball next week. It shall be a kind of début for Cecily. In addition—”
“Mr. Gabriel Penhallow and his grandmother, Mrs. Penhallow, come to visit us!” Cecily said breathlessly. “The Penhallows! Of Surmont Hall! We met Mrs. Penhallow in Bath a few months ago. She wrote us a letter. He’s going to—”
“My dear Cecily, pray refrain from interrupting. It is most unbecoming,” said her ladyship. “As you know, Bella, earlier in the summer I insisted that Lord Glanville go to Bath in order to drink from the waters. His gout, unfortunately, had been paining him a great deal. The nobleman’s affliction! And I thought Cecily might benefit from mixing in a wider society, for it is sadly limited in this neighborhood. There are, alas, so few families of our caliber. As both the daughter of an earl and as a viscountess, I fear I cannot but be aware of how limited our acquaintance must necessarily be. Yet one must, in these rackety modern times, sometimes unbend, and here we are.”
“Too, too kind,” Aunt Bella murmured, evidently with real, if muzzy, gratitude. She took a sip from the delicate crystal glass on the little table at her elbow. In it was her cordial which, Livia knew, was heavily laced with laudanum.
Lady Glanville nodded serenely, and the peacock feathers in her elaborate silk turban waved gently, as if in agreement. “While in Bath, we had occasion to observe Mrs. Penhallow in the Pump Room. I distinctly noticed her looking at Cecily but, naturally, would not have dreamed of encroaching upon her. An earl’s daughter is as nothing compared to her. The Penhallows came to England with the Conqueror, you know, and it’s said that the Conqueror bowed to them. Thus, imagine our gratification when she sent the Master of Ceremonies to us, so that he could escort us to her and perform the introduction.”
“My knees were positively shaking!” Cecily put in. “But I curtsied quite well, didn’t I, Mama?”
“Creditably so. I had no occasion to blush. I must plume myself on my foresight in having you practice curtsying before we left for Bath. An hour a day works wonders. But I digress. Mrs. Penhallow and I spoke for some fifteen minutes, and at the risk of seeming boastful I must say that she was condescension itself! We dis­ cussed the weather and the dreadful state of the roads. I happened to mention Lord Glanville’s gout, and she recommended a treatment which—”
Her ladyship went on to recount further details of her conversation with the redoubtable Mrs. Penhallow, a personage of whom Livia knew nothing and cared less. Bored, she stopped listening and instead she looked at the rapt, lovely face of Cecily as she hung on her mother’s every word.

Release Day, Excerpt, & Giveaway: Kiss, Marry, Kill (Iron Clad Security #1) – Sidney Halston

He’s been chasing a memory . . .


KISS, MARRY, KILL
Iron Clad Security #1
Sidney Halston
Releasing March 28th, 2017
Swerve

He’s been chasing a memory . . .

It was just supposed to be a regular Thursday afternoon…and then he saw her. Sitting in seat L214, one seat over from his at the baseball game, right next to her douche of a soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend. An impromptu kiss for the kiss cam, and Jax knew his life would never be the same. Five years and a tour in Afghanistan later, Jax is back stateside running his own private security firm, Iron-Clad, with his best friend. He isn’t the man he used to be… but Megan isn’t the sexy and sweet, though sheltered, twenty-two-year-old he left behind, either. And she’s in trouble.

…but now they’re on the run.

Megan Cruz has made something of herself. She’s turned her dreams of pop stardom into a reality. But when a deadly stalker breaks into her home claiming to be her number-one fan, the only person she can turn to is the boy who got away. But Jax isn’t the same carefree charmer who stole her heart, then broke it when he joined the military. This man is seductive, hard, guarded. And he’ll do anything to protect what’s his.

USA Today bestselling author, Sidney Halston lives her life with one simple rule: “Just Do It”–Nike. And that’s exactly what she did.

After working hard as an attorney, Sidney picked up a pen for the first time at thirty years old to begin her dream of writing. Having never written anything other than very exciting legal briefs, she found an outlet for her imaginative, romantic side and wrote Seeing Red. That first pen stroke sealed the deal, and she fell in love with writing. Sidney lives in South Florida with her husband and children. She loves her family above all else, and reading follows a close second. When she’s not writing, you can find her reading and reading and reading. She’s a reader first and a writer second. When she’s not writing or reading, her life is complete and utter chaos, trying to balance family life with work and writing (and reading). But she wouldn’t have it any other way. 


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Excerpt:
“Promise me, you’ll be happy,” he sang from the other side of the door. “Promise me, you’ll always sing. Promise me you’ll never settle . . .” He jiggled the door handle. “Meggy? Where are you, my little mouse?” he said in a sing-song voice, sounding nice enough. Soft enough.
Safe enough. But Megan Cruz knew better. The man trying to lure her out of her enormous walk-in closet was deranged. Megan huddled in a corner behind all of her cocktail dresses, her knees pushed up and a butcher knife in one of her trembling hands. Just waiting. Waiting for the cops to show up, or for Ryan to finally find her. If she could stop breathing, she would. Trying to stay perfectly still and utterly quiet was an impossible feat with her hands shaking so violently. Surely he could hear her fear from where he stood on the other side of the door. If he walked deep enough into the closet, the dresses that served as a barrier between them would not be sufficient to shield her. And the fact that he’d broken into her house in the middle of the night was a good indication that he did want to hurt her.
Twenty minutes earlier she had been sitting on her bed, completely immersed in writing some lyrics in her notebook, when she heard the sound of a window shattering downstairs. Her house may have been huge, but it wouldn’t take long for whoever had broken in to find her, especially since her room was the first one up the grand staircase, even more obvious because of its huge double doors. Not about to sit and wait to find out if it was her stalker or a robber who had broken in, she immediately sent a text to her parents who lived close by, praying they’d understand the message: Break in. 911. Help! Then she silenced her phone and tucked it into her bra. She had also grabbed the enormous butcher knife she’d hid under mattress six months ago when Ryan had started sending her disturbing emails and letters.
At that time she’d thought he was just an overzealous fan and had worried she was being overly cautious, but now, as she cowered in fear, she realized how wrong she’d been. Megan actually held her breath when she heard the squeaky noise of the hinges of her closet door. He was inside now. Sweat dripped down her back and her heart pounded so loudly it seemed he had to have heard it. It felt as if it was going to physically come out of her chest, together with the sandwich she’d eaten a few hours ago. Peering under the hanging clothes she could see green
Converse sneakers moving closer to where she sat curled into a small ball, her arms around her knees.
“Oh Meggy, where are you? Sing for me, my naughty little mouse. Just one song. Just ‘Promise Me,’ that’s my favorite.”As he stepped closer, she tightened her grip on the knife.
“You’re supposed to make your fans happy.” His voice was louder and more agitated this time.
She could hear the fabric running through his fingers as he caressed her clothes, shifting the fragile curtain of dresses and shirts she was hiding behind.
“Oh, this is what you wore to the Grammys last month!” He pulled the dress out, and Megan tensed when a sliver of light cut through her hiding place. The small gap where the dress had hung made her more visible, and if he happened to look down he’d undoubtedly see her on the floor behind the rest of the clothes. She shut her eyes. “This is perfect. You can wear this when you sing for me at my house. Does anyone else know how much you love the chase, Meggy? Am I the only one that knows your secret? I have your new room all ready for you. We can play and sing all the time…It’ll be so fun, Meggy.”
His feet were moving slowly, as if he had all the time in the world. She could tell he was directly in front of her now by how close the sound of his heavy breathing was and by the way the rubber soles of his sneakers skidded against the wood floor. She shut her eyes harder and braced herself. She didn’t need her eyes open to see him—the memory was burned into her brain. His face was unassuming and his body unimposing. White skin, rounded cheeks, kind-looking face, maybe even cute, if he wasn’t a complete sociopath. He wasn’t too thin or too large, not too tall, not too short. Just an ordinary-looking guy. One you would smile at in line for coffee or at the grocery store. The non-threatening Good Samaritan who helped you with your flat tire. Completely harmless, completely average, except for his eyes, gray eyes that were a bit too large and had a slight tilt upward, reminding her of a cat. Gray eyes that could be considered attractive if it weren’t for the coldness behind them.
Megan didn’t want to die looking into that coldness. She didn’t want to die hiding in her closet, with the creepy man asking her to sing the song that was about the best four days of her entire life. The four days that also changed the course of her life. Ironic, she would potentially die thinking of those memories.

Release Day, Excerpt, & Giveaway: Hot for the Fireman (Boston Heat #1) – Gina L. Maxwell

It’s time to see how much heat this fireman can take…


HOT FOR THE FIREMAN
Boston Heat #1
Gina L. Maxwell
Releasing March 27th, 2017
Entangled Select

Ex-Army Ranger Erik Grady lives for the job. So when his chief at the Boston Fire Department offers him two choices—mandated therapy for supposed PTSD or a permanent desk job at the station, he reluctantly agrees to see a shrink. Only this doctor is unlike anything he expected. Female and curved in all the right places? Check. Hotter than a four-alarm fire? Check. The kind of woman that can heat his blood in and out of bed? Check, check. And oh, yeah, he just happens to have firsthand experience…

Of all the men to walk into psychologist Olivia Jones’ office, why did it have to be him? Her one-night stand isn’t playing by the rules of just. One. Night. She’s had her heart broken in the past, and no way is she going there again. And now he’s blackmailing her into three dates? Well, if that’s what it takes to make him see a different therapist, fine. She can handle it. So what if the chemistry between them is combustible? She’s a professional, damn it. She’ll date Mr. I’m Too Sexy For My Bunker Pants. But it won’t end in the fun he expects.

It’s time to see how much
heat this fireman can take…



Gina L. Maxwell is a full-time writer, wife, and mother living in the upper Midwest, despite her scathing hatred of snow and cold weather. An avid romance novel addict, she began writing as an alternate way of enjoying the romance stories she loves to read. Her debut novel, Seducing Cinderella, hit both the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists in less than four weeks, and she’s been living her newfound dream ever since.
When she’s not reading or writing steamy romance novels, she spends her time losing at Scrabble (and every other game) to her high school sweetheart, doing her best to hang out with their teenagers before they fly the coop, and dreaming about her move to sunny Florida once they do.

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Excerpt:

Shit, how much time had passed? A cursory glance at his watch told him it was now fifteen minutes past. Gritting his teeth, Erik gave the area a wide sweep of his gaze, searching for a stunning blonde with the face of an angel and a body made for sin…and came up empty.
Damn it, he swore that if she wasn’t here in the next—
“Looks like you’ve been waiting a while. Did she stand you up?”
The feminine voice came from behind and a little to the left and held a distinct amused lilt. Relief flooded his system faster than a dose of adrenaline shot straight into the bloodstream. Erik cracked a smile then did his best to school his features with the help of dragging a hand over his afternoon stubble. Without turning around or looking back at her he said, “Yeah, it’s starting to look that way. Probably just as well, though.”
“Oh?” He felt her take a step toward him, stopping behind his left shoulder. “Why do you say that?”
“I think she was only using me for my body.” She gasped dramatically, and he barely contained his laughter. “I know,” he continued, “it shocked me, too. I thought she liked me for the important things.”
He’d never seen her playful side—didn’t even know she had one—and that she showed it to him now felt like a huge fucking win. Unable to resist any longer, he turned to face her and take her in.
“And what are the important things?”
Erik stepped into her until she had to lift her face to maintain eye contact with him. Then he used a sex-roughened voice to say, “You know, like my collection of pre-Civil War coins and freakishly extensive knowledge of Sumatran orangutans.”
Amusement danced in her eyes, and in order to prevent breaking character, she bit the center of her full lower lip. An act he very much wanted to do for her. “What a coincidence,” she said, her tone a mix of seduction and innocence that had him harder than a Halligan. “Those are two of my favorite subjects. It’s been such a long time since anyone’s showered me with”—she peered up at him through thick lashes — “Sumatran orangutan facts.”
Christ, even her playful side liked to kill him. “Sweetheart, I’ll shower you with whatever facts you want,” he said with a wink, “as long as I get to use my hands while doing it.” Erik watched as her pupils dilated in response, filling him with satisfaction. “You’re late.”

Pre-Order, Exclusive Excerpt, & Giveaway: Walk of Shame (Love Unexpectedly #4) – Lauren Layne

The City’s HOTTEST Cold War!
WALK OF SHAME
a Love Unexpectedly novel
Lauren Layne
Releasing April 18th, 2017
Loveswept

Sparks fly between a misunderstood New York socialite and a cynical divorce lawyer in this lively standalone rom-com from the USA Today bestselling author of Blurred Lines and Love Story.

Pampered heiress Georgianna Watkins has a party-girl image to maintain, but all the shopping and clubbing is starting to feel a little bit hollow—and a whole lot lonely. Though Georgie would never admit it, the highlights of her week are the mornings when she comes home at the same time as her uptight, workaholic neighbor is leaving to hit the gym and put in a long day at the office. Teasing him is the most fun Georgie’s had in years—and the fuel for all her naughtiest daydreams.
Celebrity divorce attorney Andrew Mulroney doesn’t have much time for women, especially spoiled tabloid princesses who spend more time on Page Six than at an actual job. Although Georgie’s drop-dead gorgeous, she’s also everything Andrew resents: the type of girl who inherited her penthouse instead of earning it. But after Andrew caps one of their predawn sparring sessions with a surprise kiss—a kiss that’s caught on camera—all of Manhattan is gossiping about whether they’re a real couple. And nobody’s more surprised than Andrew to find that the answer just might be yes.

Georgie

Tuesday morning

Let’s talk about five a.m. for a second.

Also known as the worst hour of the day, am I right?

Here’s why:

If you’re awake to see five in the freaking morning, it means one of a few things, all of them heinous.

Scenario one: You’re on your way to the airport for an early morning flight. Heinous.

Scenario two: You’ve been out all night, and now your vodka buzz is fading, and you’re just sober enough to realize that the rest of your day will likely involve Excedrin, carbs, and indoor voices. Heinous.

Scenario three: You’ve got a crap-ton on your mind, and you’re lying awake in bed, staring at the ceiling, hating your life. Maybe hating yourself a little bit, I dunno, who am I to judge? Heinous.

Now brace yourself, because scenario four is the most heinous of them all: You’re awake at five a.m. because you’re an uptight prick whose schedule is even more rigid than your posture, and your life is an endless string of working out, the corner office, repeat. You’re also likely the type of person who subsists on protein shakes and kale smoothies, and you have been known to utter the phrase the body is a temple, thus solidifying what we already knew about you.

You have no friends.

But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.

See, it’s five a.m., and I, Georgie Watkins, am . . . kind of excited about it.

I know. I know. Four months ago I’d have bet my favorite vintage Chanel bag that there was exactly zero chance I’d actually look forward to the ghoulish hour of five in the morning.

And yet here we are.

I guess you could say there’s a scenario five on reasons to be up this early.

“Good morning, Ramon,” I sing, pushing through the revolving doors of the luxury high-rise on 56th and Park, the place I call home.

The concierge/security guard/all-around good guy glances up and gives me a friendly smile. “Ms. Watkins. Good morning.”

Usually the massive front desk is a bustling, busy affair. Starting at around seven, an army of well-dressed concierges will be smoothly facilitating the needs of impatient residents, as tiny dogs let out sharp, high-pitched barks of greeting from their Louis Vuitton carriers.

But that’s later.

Right now, the luxurious lobby is mostly silent, with just the lone overnight guy working the front desk, holding down the fort until the day guys arrive to handle the morning crush.

My new Tory Burch clutch tucked into my armpit, I hold up the box in my hands and waggle my eyebrows. “Brought you something.”

Ramon’s smile grows wider, brown eyes lighting. “My wife says you’re going to make me fat.”

“Tell Marta that the dad bod is totally in style right now,” I say, setting the box of donuts on the counter and lifting the lid. “Unless, of course, you don’t want a maple bacon donut?”

Ramon is already reaching inside the box, shaking his head in reverence as he lifts the sugary treat. “Still warm.”

“Well, technically the shop doesn’t open until five, but I’m such a loyal customer, they let me in a bit early,” I say, surveying the array of donuts and trying to decide if I’m in a chocolate kind of mood or if I want to risk the powdered sugar one.

Since my Alexander McQueen minidress is black (the archnemesis of powdered sugar), I reach for the chocolate as I set my clutch on the counter and fish out my phone: 4:58 a.m.

Two more minutes.

“How’s Marta dealing with the pregnancy of baby number three?” I ask, taking a bite of the donut and shifting attention back to Ramon, who’s already polished off his donut and is contemplating a second. I nudge the box toward him.

“She’s good,” he says. “Excited that we’re finally having a girl.”

“A girl!” I say, reaching across the counter and squeezing his massive forearm. “Congratulations, I hadn’t heard!”

“Just found out yesterday,” he says with a happy smile, apparently deciding that the occasion calls for another donut.

“Oh my gosh, I have the perfect baby gift,” I say, nibbling at a piece of my donut. “I saw this adorable Burberry onesie in Bergdorf’s the other day, with this precious little red bow—”

“Yes, because that’s what every infant needs,” a low voice interrupts. “A four-hundred-dollar piece of fabric that needs to be dry-cleaned. Don’t be ridiculous, Georgiana.”

I don’t have to look at my clock to know what time it is.

Five o’clock.

On the dot.

Not even bothering to turn around, I roll my eyes as my red nails tear off another piece of donut and pop it into my mouth. “Ramon, do you think you could talk to maintenance about adjusting the temp? It just got a little cold in here.”

Ramon’s been working here long enough to know my request isn’t for real. He’s not even paying attention to me. He’s already set his donut aside and has straightened up, practically saluting the newcomer.

“Mr. Mulroney. Good morning, sir.”

“Mr. Ramirez.” The voice is low and serious, a touch impatient, although not quite rude.

You know that adage that you catch more flies with honey? I’m not so sure it’s true. I bring donuts to the front desk guys just about every morning, and they adore me. I know they do.

But they respect him.

Giving in to the inevitable, I finally let my eyes flick to the side, my gaze colliding with a stern brown scowl.

I put on my widest, sparkliest smile, only because I know it drives him crazy.

As always, I see a muscle in his jaw twitch as I flutter my eyelashes.

“Good morning, Andrew,” I say sweetly.

“Georgiana.”

I resist the urge to roll my eyes. Only my late grandmother has ever called me that, and I’m pretty sure that’s because I was her namesake. Everyone else calls me Georgie. Well, okay, not everyone. Ramon and the other guys still insist on calling me Ms. Watkins, but I’m working on it. See: daily donuts.

I smile wider and push the box in Andrew’s direction. “Donut?”

His lip curls. In case you haven’t already gotten a read on this guy, he’s the type that sneers at donuts.

He lifts a boring black travel mug. “Already have my breakfast.”

“Blended-up quinoa sprinkled with a few bits of spinach and pretension?” I ask.

“Whey powder protein shake.”

“Sounds immensely satisfying.”

He takes a sip of the nastiness and watches me with cold brown eyes. “The body is a temple, Georgiana.”

There it is.

Full circle to my above commentary about what sort of people are up and about at five a.m.

Lauren Layne is the New York Times  bestselling author of over a dozen romantic Ccmedies.

A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career.

She lives in midtown Manhattan with her high-school sweetheart, where she writes smart romantic comedies with just enough sexy-times to make your mother blush. In LL’s ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books. 

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New Release, Excerpt, & Giveaway: Playing House – Laura Chapman

She’s a work in progress . . . He’s a fixer upper . . .


PLAYING HOUSE
Laura Chapman
Releasing March 21st, 2017

She’s a work in progress . . .

Bailey Meredith has had it. As an assistant at a prestigious interior design firm, she’s tired of making coffee and filing invoices. She’ll do just about anything to get out from under the paperwork and into the field for real experience. Then she sees an ad for a job that seems too good to be true.

He’s a fixer upper . . .

Wilder Aldrich knew she would be perfect for the crew the moment he saw her. His hit home improvement show only hired the best, and Bailey had potential written all over her. It isn’t just her imaginative creativity and unmatched work ethicthat grabs his attention. There’s just something about her.

With chemistry on screen, it’s only a matter of time before sparks fly behind the scenes as well. But with Bailey’s jaded views on romance and a big secret that could destroy Wilder and everyone he cares about, are either of them willing to risk it all for love?

Laura Chapman is the author of First & GoalGoing for TwoThree & Out, and The Marrying Type. A native Nebraskan, she loves football, Netflix marathons, and her cats, Jane and Bingley. Connect with her online on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and her website.

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Excerpt
Keeping a close distance, she followed Waverly up the cracked path to the house. Bailey took quick mental notes of her surroundings. The exterior needed a lot of work. The sagging roof missing gutters made her think they’d find the inside in similar disarray. They stepped through the front door, nearly tripping over Wilder Aldrich, who was measuring the entryway.
“Hey!” He sprang to his feet and out of their way. “What did I tell you about waiting until I gave you the all clear?”
“You were taking for-frickin’-ever, and some of us were freezing our tits off.” She pursed her lips and took on a warrior stance, seemingly daring him to say something else.
Conceding victory to her, Wilder turned and flashed an apologetic grin at Bailey. “Hey.” He offered a hand. Warmth permeated through the thin material of her glove. “Welcome to Casa de Waverly.”
Giving him a smug grin, Waverly sipped her coffee and faced Bailey. “Do you have a smart phone?”
Bailey stared blankly for a second, still dazzled by seeing Wilder up close. But she quickly snapped to attention and dug her phone out of her coat pocket.
“Good,” Waverly said after inspecting it. “While you’re on the job, I’d like you to snap some photos for our social media accounts. I’ll want to vet everything before we post it, but we need to start building the buzz for the next season while we’re filming. In exchange, we’ll cover your phone payments to take care of your data usage. Understood?”
“I can do that.”
“Good. Now . . .” She pulled out her own phone. It was the latest model that had come out on the market a month ago. With all of its reported bells and whistles, it put Bailey’s poor phone to shame. “I’m going to make a quick call. I’ll be back in a few minutes, and we can get started on,” she gestured around her, “this mess.”
She spun on her heel and waltzed out of the room, cooing into the phone.
Wilder cleared his throat, and Bailey turned to give him her full attention. She estimated he was only a couple of years older than herself—maybe in his late twenties or early thirties. He looked younger in real life than he did on TV. He was leaner and a little shorter—though she still had to crane her neck a little to meet his gaze.
He was also more handsome. Not the GQ model, your tongue-sticks-to-the-top-of-your-mouth kind of sexy. But he was hot in the same way the guy you sat next to in Chemistry was. It was enough to distract you from formulas and Bunsen burners every so often, but not enough that you’d ever set the lab on fire or forget to finish your final exam.
So far, he seemed much more serious. Where was the guy who scared Waverly with a stuffed dummy in a closet in the last episode she’d watched before calling an end to the marathon?
He was, she realized, studying her every bit as closely, with those hazel eyes speckled with green. Noting that, she didn’t feel quite as rude taking mental notes on the man in front of him.
At least she looked good. She’d laid out three outfits that morning in the hotel room. The first was a long, silky turquoise tunic that she’d paired with a pair of black leggings and knee-high boots. It was similar to the clothes Waverly favored on screen—only hers weren’t name-brand knockoffs. Then she had the casual jeans, a gray T-shirt that she could dress-up with a navy blue blazer. And there was option three: dark-wash, fit jeans, a chambray shirt, and a scarf. It was an ensemble that fell somewhere in the middle. It was the one that looked the most like her when she inspected herself in the mirror.
It was the one that felt most like her now in the middle of the foyer.
She wondered what he saw when he looked at her. Did he see a confident young woman ready to tackle major projects adeptly? Or did he see someone who was desperate to create, no matter what happened? Both were correct, but which one shone through right now?
Like a light switch, that triggered something in her. She offered her hand again. “We haven’t officially met. I’m Bailey Meredith.”

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