{Excerpt | Giveaway} The Promise: A Story of The Quake (A Sinner’s Grove Novella) – A.B. Michaels

HE’LL RISK EVERYTHING TO KEEP HIS
WORD

THE PROMISE: A Story of the Quake
A Sinners Grove Novella
A.B. Michaels
Released June 24th, 2016
Red Trumpet Press

HE’LL RISK EVERYTHING TO KEEP HIS WORD
April 18, 1906. A massive earthquake has decimated much of San Francisco, leaving thousands without food, water or shelter. Patrolling the streets to help those in need, Army corporal Ben Tilson meets a young woman named Charlotte who touches his heart, making him think of a future with her in it. In the heat of the moment he makes a promise to her family that even he realizes will be almost impossible to keep.
Because on the heels of the earthquake, a much worse disaster looms: a fire that threatens to consume everything and everyone in its path.
It will take everything Ben’s got to make it back to the woman he loves—and even that may not be enough.
The Promise, a stand-alone novella, is the latest offering from A.B. Michaels’ multi-genre series “Sinner’s Grove.”

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Born and raised in northern California, A.B. Michaels holds master’s degrees in history and broadcasting, and worked for many years in the public relations and marketing fields. An avid quilter and bocce player, she currently
lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband and two furry “sons” who don’t seem to realize they’re just dogs

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Excerpt:
I was rolling out a pie crust, thinking about how Richard and I were going to break the news of our broken engagement to my father, when a man entered the kitchen. I looked up and thought perhaps I was imagining things. The stranger was tall and dark, with a full but neatly trimmed beard and mustache. He was wearing a light flannel shirt and dungarees and held a felt hat in his hand. His eyes were . . . they were Ben’s eyes. I stopped what I was doing, caught my breath, and immediately reached to check my hair, forgetting that my hands were covered in flour.
“Miss Lindemann?” he asked in that same calm, comforting voice I remembered.
“Corporal Tilson?” At once I realized I must look a fright, with my hair coming out of its coil and my apron covered with flour dust and spatterings of dough. My heart was dancing in my breast and I tried to settle down by breathing slowly.
He walked toward me, wearing a slight smile and gazing at me with those beautiful gray eyes. I was caught by them, like a most willing prey.
“You’re . . . you’re not in uniform,” I managed to say.
He looked down at his shirt, as if he’d forgotten he was wearing anything at all. “I’m on leave,” he said. He held his hands out and grinned. “This is the real me, I guess.”
I couldn’t help myself, I grinned back and held out my own arms. “And this is the real me, too.”
We both laughed, and if you asked me what the sensation was that arced between us in that moment, I’d tell you it was joy. Pure and simple joy.
But all too soon I remembered he wasn’t mine to feel joyful about. He belonged to another. I tried to put us back on more formal footing.
“You’ve come a long way,” I said. “I trust it’s because of your promise to Berry.”
He nodded. “Among other things, yes. I said I would be back, and here I am.”
“I know Berry will understand about not finding the doll,” I said, attempting to reassure him. “But I’m very glad you came. She was so hoping to see you again.”
He looked at me, his eyes growing more intense. As he stepped closer, he asked, “Were you hoping to see me?”
I could feel the blush starting at the base of my neck and working its way up. If he only knew how much I’d hoped.

Read Angie’s review HERE.

{New Release| Excerpt} A Fairytale Bride (Chapel of Love # 0.5) – Hope Ramsay

A FAIRY TALE BRIDE 
Chapel of Love #0.5
Hope Ramsay
Released June 7th, 2016
Forever Yours
A CHAPEL OF LOVE SHORT STORY



After a very public career disaster, journalist Jeff Talbert-Lyndon wants to escape from the world. Picturesque Shenadoah Falls, Virginia, seems like the perfect place to relax and regroup before heading back to real life. But when he discovers the charming bookstore Secondhand Prose – and its lovely, slightly overwhelmed owner- he finds a
part-time job and a very tempting reason to stay…



Melissa Portman is fighting a losing battle when it comes to saving her grandmother’s store – and selling the historic building may be her only option. Yet when a handsome stranger wanders in one day, she wonders if her very own fairytale is just beginning…

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Hope Ramsay is a USA Today bestselling author of heartwarming contemporary romances. Her books have won critical acclaim and publishing awards. She is married to a good ol’ Georgia boy who resembles every single one of her Southern heroes. She has two grown children and a couple of demanding lap cats. She lives in Virginia where, when she’s not writing, she’s knitting or playing her forty-year-old Martin guitar.

{Free Novella | Pre-order} Hot as Hell (Deep Six Series #0.5) – Julie Ann Walker

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HOT AS HELL
Deep Six #0.5
Julie Ann Walker
Released June 1st, 2016
Sourcebooks Casablanca
An exciting prequel novella to New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julie Ann Walker’s thrilling new Deep Six series
Harper Searcy didn’t want to fall for a soldier, but she couldn’t forget her hot Navy SEAL friend or their one night stand. When the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan where she works comes under attack by terrorists, there is only one man she knows who would move heaven and earth to rescue her: Michael “Mad Dog” Wainwright.
“The Deep Six series is going to be one exhilarating ride.” –RT Book Reviews

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DEVIL AND THE DEEP
Deep Six #2
Julie Ann Walker
Releasing July 5th, 2016
Sourcebooks Casablanca

The former SEALs of The Deep Six return in a sizzling series from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julie Ann Walker.
A COVERT MISSION
Maddy Powers’s life revolves around cocktail parties, political fundraisers, and charity events – but she can’t forget the daring former SEAL who appropriated her father’s yacht a few months ago … or the scorching kiss they shared before he disappeared into the deep blue sea.

SPARKS A FLAMING DESIRE
Bran Pallidino carries a dark secret behind his lady-killer eyes – one that keeps him from pursuing a serious relationship with Maddy. But when she’s taken hostage during a trip to the Dry Tortugas, the men of Deep Six Salvage drop their treasure hunt for a sunken galleon and embark on a dangerous mission to save Maddy.

WITH EARTH-SHATTERING REPERCUSSIONS
As they fight her merciless kidnappers, they discover this isn’t a simple hostage situation, but something far more sinister. Passion boils between Bran and Maddy, but what good is putting their hearts on the line if they don’t survive the dawn?
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Julie Ann Walker is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of award-winning romantic suspense. She has won the Book Buyers Best Award, been nominated for the National Readers Choice Award, the Bookseller’s Best Award, the Australian Romance Reader Awards, and the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA award. Her books have been described as “alpha, edgy, and downright hot.” Most days you can find Julie on her bicycle along the lake shore in Chicago or blasting away at her keyboard, trying to wrangle her capricious imagination into submission.

Be sure to sign up for Julie’s occasional newsletter at: www.julieannwalker.com



{Review | Excerpt | Giveaway} A Match Made in Heritage (Heritage #1) – Annie Stiles

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A MATCH MADE IN HERITAGE VIEW
Heritage View #1
Annie Stiles
Released May 4th, 2016
Soul Mate Publishing

A socialite by chance not by choice, Gen runs away to a charming small town to reinvent herself as the girl-next-door and falls in love under false pretenses. 


Despite having been raised by a man-eating, social-climbing mother, Genevieve Garnier is a hopeless romantic. She has successfully parlayed her sentimental nature into a prestigious Manhattan wedding planning business, but cannot make it down the aisle herself.

As another hectic wedding season winds down, Gen finds herself burned out and at a crossroads in life. She retreats to the charming Hudson Valley town of Heritage View to reinvent herself as girl-next-door “Jane”, complete with a charming cottage and apple pies baking in the oven. Gen is determined to simplify her life in Heritage View and keep her wedding business humming, without letting the two worlds collide. Michael Carlisle waltzes in and turns her plans upside down.

Michael is smart and successful, with enough guarded-heart intensity and magnetism to curl any woman’s toes. He stays out of the social fray in Manhattan, so he doesn’t recognize Jane as socialite wedding planner Genevieve. It’s a good thing, because he hates pampered socialites and avoids them nearly as much as he avoids girl-next-door types. That leaves our heroine 0-for-2. To make matters worse, it turns out that Michael is dear friends with the Hunter family, “Jane’s” new best friends. He has relationship baggage of his own to battle, but Michael can’t seem to stay away from Jane.

Will they repeat the mistakes of the past?

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Excerpt
“The way you’re wielding that wooden spoon, I can see that I’ve startled you.” He held his hands up in mock surrender, the twinkle in his eyes making way for a smile that completely spoiled his attempt at appearing contrite. “I mean no harm. You have no cause to spoon me to death.” He was teasing her openly now, and Jane stifled the unwelcome romantic image that he’d just unwittingly conjured.
“Oh, I’m so sorry.” With a nervous chuckle, she lowered the spoon she was still unconsciously grasping. “Force of habit, I’m afraid. I’m from the city.” Why had she told him that? Wasn’t incognito her goal? Clearly, the FBI wouldn’t be soliciting her for undercover work anytime soon. She smoothed her disheveled apron moaning internally at the cheesy move in light of his obvious sophistication. Buck up, camper, you are acting like a freshman in high school.
“Ah, yes. I should have recognized the paranoia and aggression. Comes with the territory, huh? Whereabouts?”
At her blank expression, he prompted, “Where are you from?”
“Where? Err, New York.” So much for witty repartee. Good grief. Really, Gen?
His smile was openly curious and more than a hint amused, the effect so potent as to be more than a bit butterfly inducing. Her brain sounded an alarm of recognition. Her heart began to sink. Not particularly original, but clichéd or not, butterflies in her stomach were her own early-warning system. Butterflies in the stomach were not technologically advanced and rather akin to plucking petals from a daisy in sophistication but nevertheless, flawlessly accurate at predicting trouble of the masculine variety. Did women still swoon nowadays? Swooning was like fainting, right? She’d have to remember to look it up. Gen had read about swooning women a million times, but this was the first time in her life she had understood the impulse.
“Yeah, the city.” He winked at her. “I think we’ve established that.”
“I—”
“Let’s start over.” He moved forward a step and held out his hand to her. “Hi, Jane. I’m Michael.”

Annie Stiles was practically born with a book in her hand, but the writing came later. A daydreamer by nature, Annie always secretly wanted to be a romance novelist. It wasn’t until her youngest child started kindergarten that she buckled down and turned that dream into reality. She is fascinated by characters on the page and in real life, and talks with her hands so much that people have been known to duck.

When not on her laptop, she likes to putter in her garden. Annie lives in the beautiful Capital-Saratoga region of New York State with her college sweetheart husband and their two children. They are all owned by two cats.

Annie writes satisfying, character-driven contemporary romance.


Rose-colored glasses are standard issue.

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Angie’s Review: There are books where you want to talk forever about them and all that happens, but reviews are not the best place to go on and on. Not if you don’t want to spoil the book for others, that is. So I’ll do my best to not spoil this for anyone!

I love how driven Genevieve is. Tired of everyone’s crap, it’s no wonder she needed to get away, by using an alias and just relax from scrutiny. She’s humorous, smart chic, and knows what she wants…even if she’s scared by what she truly wants.

I adore Michael, who is damaged and not at all looking for a long-term relationship, and his grandfather. Heritage View sounds like my type of town – especially as I live in a small town in Upstate New York (30 minutes above Saratoga).

A Match Made in Heritage View is a book that you can (and SHOULD) read in one afternoon. Stiles is an author whose books will always be on my auto-buy list.

Angie’s Rating: ****

Disclaimer: I was provided with a review copy in exchange for my honest opinion and participation in the review tour.

{Review |Giveaway} From This Day Forward (The Wedding Belles #0.5) – Lauren Layne

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FROM THIS DAY FORWARD
The Wedding Belles #0.5
Lauren Layne
Released June 6th, 2016
Pocket Star


Sex and the City meets The Wedding Planner in this prequel to USA TODAY bestselling author Lauren Layne’s The Wedding Belles series about three high-powered New York City women who can plan any wedding—but their own.

Up-and-coming wedding photographer Leah McHale’s career is on the rise–thanks in no small part to the Wedding Belles, the elite New York wedding planning agency that always throws top-tier business Leah’s way. So when one of the Belles asks Leah to fill in at the former First Daughter’s wedding, Leah is overjoyed to say yes–until she finds out who she’ll be working with.

Jason Rhodes is the one man who was able to capture Leah’s heart and, once he had it, promptly stepped all over it and left her broken. Now he’s working side-by-side with her at the biggest wedding of the season and Leah is determined to give him the cold shoulder. Despite his persistence, she is not going to fall for his charming, impish ways again. Not even if he still has that killer, irresistible smile…


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Lauren Layne is the USA Today bestselling author of more than a dozen romantic comedies. She lives in New York City with her husband (who was her high school sweetheart–cute, right?!) and plus-sized Pomeranian.

In 2011, she ditched her corporate career in Seattle to pursue a full-time writing career in Manhattan, and never looked back.

In her ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books.

For a list of all her works, please be sure to check out her official website!

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Angie’s Review: I love novellas, though I know most people don’t. I especially love them when I have an appointment and need something to read while waiting. Or on rainy afternoons, cuddled up in your favorite chair while you listen to the rain fall and want to get lost in another world.

I especially love wedding stories, because who doesn’t like to read about someone’s special day?

Leah is a feisty redhead who is a bit jaded when it comes to love and romance. Especially thanks to Jason, who is one cocky man who has a very bitter past. I loved their chemistry and how they worked together.

Layne doesn’t play when it comes to steamy love scenes and she’s not one to let romantic misunderstandings take over the whole plot. I am very much looking forward to reading the next installment of what is going to be a very promising series.

I received a review copy in exchange for my participation in the book tour. All opinions are my own.

Angie’s Rating: ****

{Review | Excerpt | Giveaway} A Common Scandal (The Grantham Girls #2) – Amanda Weaver

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A COMMON SCANDAL
The Grantham Girls #2
Amanda Weaver
Releasing May 30th, 2016
Carina Press
Finishing school taught Amelia Wheeler how to put on a well-mannered performance—when she’s not bored and looking for trouble. Lady Grantham’s is behind her and now it’s time for Amelia to keep her promise to her dying mother: marry a title and leave her wild days behind.
That promise would be much easier to keep if Nate Smythe hadn’t just reappeared in a London ballroom. The son of an impoverished sailor, Nate—Natty, as he used to be called—has grown up to become handsome, rich and polished. He claims to be looking for a proper bride who can advance his business interests, but that doesn’t stop him from seeking out Amelia every chance he gets. Challenging her. Kissing her.
Suddenly, struggling against her simmering passion is the least of Amelia’s problems—one of her titled suitors is hiding a desperate secret that could stop Amelia from pleasing her parents or finding happiness with Nate. As a weeklong house party threatens to derail her hard-won future, Amelia must decide: fight against disaster or act like the lady she’s promised to become?

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Amanda Weaver has loved romance since she read that very first Kathleen E. Woodiwiss novel at fifteen. After a long detour into a career as a costume designer in theatre, she’s found her way back to romance, this time as a writer.

A native Floridian, Amanda transplanted to New York City many years ago and now considers Brooklyn home, along with her husband, daughter, two cats, and
nowhere near enough space.

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Excerpt
Despite knowing the sort of marriage she was destined for, she’d resisted making a choice for so long because she’d hoped in time she might encounter a suitable man who sparked some kind of fire in her. But not once, in all her forays into Society, had she met a man who raised more than mild curiosity. She’d read about flaming passions and heated kisses in the lurid, forbidden novels she had traded with Vic and Grace, but her blood had never been stirred by a flesh-and-blood male. She’d begun to think those passions were the invention of novelists and no man could ever make her feel that way. And now one had, and he was hopelessly out of her reach. It was wretched, wanting something she couldn’t have.
“What’s the verdict? Does Cheadle love you madly or not?”
She didn’t trust herself to look at Natty, knowing her insides would plunge in an unwelcome, delicious way. When he came near her, it was as if her whole body stretched luxuriously and unfurled. Terribly unhelpful, when she was determined to send him packing and behave.
“I’m sure the answer will always be ‘not’, regardless of the state of the petals and irrespective of whatever he might proclaim. Isn’t Lady Julia waiting for her glass of punch or something?”
“Pardon?”
“The lovely Lady Julia Harrow. I saw you sitting with her. Surely she’s missed you by now.”
“Somehow I doubt it,” he muttered. “And what of Cheadle? Surely he’s climbing the walls pining after you.”
She sighed and turned to face him, tossing the last of the ruined flower to the ground and brushing her gloved fingers together. “You know he’s not, Natty. Men don’t pine after me, only my money. The only reason anyone at these things speaks to me is because of my fortune.”
“I’m speaking to you and I have my own fortune, thank you very much.”
“You only speak to me to tease me.”
“You used to like it when I teased you.”
“I’m not a child anymore.”
“Obviously.”
The word hung between them for a moment, rife with meaning. He might have only meant she was all grown-up and out in Society, except his eyes made a lightning- fast perusal of her body as he said it, so fast, he was likely unaware he’d done it. In a rush, it broke over her that Natty was aware of her in the same way she was aware of him. Not as an old playmate from his childhood. As a woman. He was as affected as she was, even if he was spending his evening paying court to Julia Harrow.
His eyes made their way back to hers and they both held the gaze. This newly discovered knowledge sizzled through her body. Her skin flushed and her breaths grew shallow. Natty’s eyes stared into hers. His lips parted slightly, as if he, too, was baffled by this sudden shift in the air. The atmosphere around them felt charged, the way it did when thunder began rattling the windows and lightning lit the night sky, but still the rain refused to fall. At any minute the clouds could collide and deluge the world, but until then, all the energy of the universe danced on the breeze.
She wanted to tease and flirt with him to see how far things would progress. She wanted to see the skies open up. She wanted to be drenched by the rain.

{Excerpt | Giveaway} Kiss Me That Way (Cottonbloom #1) – Laura Trentham

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KISS ME THAT WAY
Cottonbloom #1
Laura Trentham
Releasing May 31st, 2016
St. Martin’s Paperbacks

A river divides Cottonbloom in two: the upscale enclave on the Mississippi side and the rundown, rough and tumble side in Louisiana. They’re worlds apart—but nothing can build a bridge like love…

Cade Fournette never had it easy Cottonbloom. He stuck around long enough to raise his orphaned siblings and then hightailed it out West—and never looked back. Even though he’s made a success of himself in Seattle, Cade never lost the toughness and the angry edge that helped him survive down South. His only weak spot: the girl he left behind…

Monroe Kirby came from the wealthy side of town, but that didn’t protect her from her mother’s drinking—or her mother’s boyfriend. It was Cade who did that, on a long-ago hot September night, before he disappeared…along with a piece of her heart. Now Monroe is a physical therapist who can fight for herself, and it’s Cade who could use some conditioning when he makes an unexpected return back home. Will he and Monroe pick up where they left off and finally explore their mutual passion—or will the scars and secrets of the past divide them once more?


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Don’t miss the next Cottonbloom romance 
coming June 2016
51wJRJsAJrL._SX304_BO1,204,203,200_
An award-winning author, Laura Trentham was born and raised in a small town in Tennessee. Although, she loved English and reading in high school, she was convinced an English degree equated to starvation. She chose the next most
logical major—Chemical Engineering—and worked in a hard hat and steel toed boots for several years.

She writes sexy, small town contemporaries and smoking hot Regency historicals. The first two books of her Falcon Football series were named Top Picks by RT Book Reviews magazine. When not lost in a cozy Southern town or Regency England, she’s shuttling kids to soccer, helping with homework, and avoiding the Mt. Everest-sized pile of laundry that is almost as large as the to-be-read pile of books on her nightstand.

Excerpt
“You left Cottonbloom without telling me. Without saying good-bye. I want to know why.” Monroe hadn’t meant for the words to come out at all, much less with such vehemence.
“It was complicated.” Cade broke eye contact. “You were a good kid in a bad situation.”
“Weren’t you a good kid in a bad situation?”
He shifted toward her, bracing a hand on the dash and laying his other arm over the back of her seat, invading her space. She didn’t retreat. His intensity spurred her heart rate into an erratic gallop, yet she wasn’t intimidated. Perhaps it was only echoes of the past, but he made her feel safe, even when he was the one she should be scared of.
“I grew up fast and tough.” His voice contained more than a hint of warning.
“You were nice to me,” she said softly.
“Don’t fool yourself into thinking I’m nice. I wasn’t then, and I’m sure as hell not now.”
He ran a callused finger down her cheek, the rasp igniting her nerve endings like a flint. His hand continued south and wrapped itself in her braid, the slight tug on her scalp sending shivers through her body in spite of the sun bearing down on the truck. Her nipples felt tight, and she hoped her tight sports tank masked her sudden, inexplicable arousal.
He pulled her braid, forcing her toward him. She didn’t fight him. He dropped his face next to hers, his coarse beard hair caressing her cheek, his mouth close to her ear. “If I see something I want, I go after it and get it by any means necessary.”
“How very Machiavellian.” She tried a laugh, but it came out more like a stuttering sigh. His scent hooked her even closer, and her lips grazed the outer rim of his ear.
He pulled back, his green-eyed gaze roving her face. She returned the favor, noting the faint brackets around his mouth, the crinkles at his eyes, the thick beard. A full-grown man. Yet was he so different from the boy she remembered?
“Ovid.” The movement of his lips jammed the cogs of her brain. The word made no sense. Her confusion must have been obvious, because the mouth she stared at tipped up in the corners, deepening the grooves. “The Greek philosopher Ovid, not Machiavelli, actually wrote: The end justifies the means.”
“Ovid. Of course.” Apparently, Monroe had slept through that philosophy class at Ole Miss. The fact that high-school dropout Cade Fournette was quoting Ovid made her wonder what other mysteries she might uncover if she went digging.
Just when she was ready to grab a shovel, he released her braid and slipped away. His limp was less pronounced as he took the stairs holding the cane parallel to the ground. Although he’d physically released her, she felt bound to him in some other fundamental way, incapable of tearing her eyes off him until he disappeared behind Sawyer’s front door. Even then, she sat, unable to drive away for a long minute.
How could the simple brush of Cade’s finger ignite a fire when other men left her cold? As her arousal ebbed, she realized something else. She’d just been manipulated by a master. He hadn’t explained why he left.
She spent the evening going through the motions of her life, eating when her stomach growled and heading to bed when her eyes felt heavy. A few short hours ago, her life had been tidy and predictable and boring. Cade Fournette’s return had spun her into chaos.

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(Review |Excerpt | Giveaway} A Daughter’s Dream (The Charmed Amish Life #2) – Shelley Shepard Gray

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A DAUGHTER’S DREAM
The Charmed Amish Life #2
Shelley Shepard Gray
Releasing May 24th, 2016
Avon Inspire
In Shelley Shepard Gray’s second book in her Charmed Amish Life series, a young teacher and farmer discover they have much in common, especially when it comes to healing old wounds from the past…and finding love in one another.

Rebecca Kinsinger has always dreamed of being a teacher. But when she’s given the opportunity she’s been waiting for at Charm Amish School, she’s dismayed to discover that teaching is hard work—work she’s afraid she’s not very good at.
That is, until Lilly Yoder joins the class. A thirteen-year old who’s just lost her parents, Lilly is in need of someone like Rebecca. For the first time since starting her new job, Rebecca feels a sense of purpose. But when she meets Lilly’s uncle, Jacob, his good looks and sweet, easy-going temperament are hard to ignore. How can she even
entertain romantic thoughts of Jacob when his niece is her student?
Suddenly becoming Lily’s sole caregiver, Jacob Yoder never thought he’d be a single parent—or a farmer. Having been living in Florida as a carpenter, Jacob feels more at home wielding a hammer than a backhoe. The only bright spot in his life is Rebecca Kinsinger. As Lily and Rebecca develop a bond, Jacob’s fondness for the pretty teacher grows, too.

But when a fateful accident brings them together, Rebecca and Jacob must choose between duty and desire. Will they follow the path before them? Or set out to find true happiness…and true love?
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From Chapter 1:

When the last of the students were gone, Rachel turned to Rebecca and smiled. “Danke for helping me today, Rebecca. You were a lifesaver.”
The praise was as embarrassing as it was unwarranted. “I don’t think that was the case at all, Rachel. I tried my best, but chaos reigned. I don’t know what happened—I was sure I could manage things easily for an hour.”
She chuckled. “Don’t fret. You did fine. It’s simply in children’s natures to stretch their boundaries. They like to push a bit, just to see when someone will push right back.”
“Well, they certainly pushed.” They also won. Again, Rebecca wondered how it was possible for her to work so well with hundreds of grown men at the lumber mill but be putty in twenty-five children’s hands. “I see I have a lot to learn about managing a classroom.”
Rachel waved off her concerns. “Don’t be so hard on yourself. Any job takes time to learn. I’m sure I would be a nervous wreck managing things like you do at the mill. Whenever I’ve come to visit Marcus, I’ve seen you at your desk, surrounded by demanding men and ringing telephones.” She shivered dramatically. “Give me children to manage any day.”
“That’s nothing. All it took was practice.” Hearing her own words, Rebecca grinned. “I guess I just need some more practice with the children.”
“You do, especially if you are serious about wanting to take on this job one day.”
“I am serious. But I don’t want your job,” she assured her quickly. “Simply a teaching job at one of the Amish schools in the area.”
“If that is what you want to do, I’m sure you will succeed just fine,” Rachel said. “I’ve never seen you back down or give up in all the years I’ve known ya.”
That was a nice compliment. Rebecca hoped Rachel was right in this case. She’d had a dream of being a teacher for years, but had never been able to give it much attention because of the demands of the mill.
However, after last year’s terrible accident at the lumberyard, which had killed five men, including her father, Rebecca had decided the time had come to stop putting dreams off and start putting them into practice. It was simply too bad that her first opportunity to be in charge of the classroom had gone so badly.
Not wanting to dwell on herself anymore, she looked at Rachel closely. “Did everything go all right with your appointment?”
“Jah.” A small, secret smile appeared on Rachel’s face before vanishing.
Just as Rebecca was about to ask what that smile had been about, a man appeared at the door, his hand resting on the shoulder of a shy-looking thirteen-or fourteen-year-old girl. “Excuse me. Is one of you the teacher?”
While Rebecca found herself staring rather dumbly at the man who was entirely too handsome to be any teenager’s parent, Rachel lifted one of her hands. “I am,” she said in a sweet voice. “I’m Rachel Mast.”
“Hi,” the newcomer said with a tentative smile. He was a bit older than Rebecca, and was wearing a long-sleeved light green shirt and heavy boots peeking out from beneath his dark trousers. Rebecca also noticed his mesmerizing green eyes.
After squeezing the girl’s shoulder once, he dropped his hand. “My name is Jacob Yoder and this here is Lilly,” he said a bit awkwardly. “I need to enroll her in school.”
Rachel smiled at the girl.
As did Rebecca. Looking at the teenager, Rebecca noticed that she, too, had green eyes. But instead of dark brown hair like Jacob, she had dark auburn. She also seemed to be blessed with skin that tanned instead of freckled. She was a pretty girl who was going to be beautiful one day.
“Hiya, Lilly,” Rachel said in her sweet way. “Like I said, I’m Rachel Mast, the teacher here at Charm School.”
“Hi,” Lilly said. She met Rachel’s eyes briefly before looking down at her tennis-shoe-clad feet.
“Did you just move here?” Rebecca asked. Though she didn’t know every Amish family in Charm, she recognized most.
“I just arrived here from Florida,” the man said.
“Welcome to Charm, then,” Rachel said easily. “This is my friend Rebecca Kinsinger. She volunteers here from time to time.”
Feeling a bit tongue-tied, Rebecca lifted a hand. “Hiya.”
Jacob glanced her way, then stilled. “Hi. It’s, ah, it’s nice to meet you,” Jacob said.
Rebecca belatedly realized she was probably smiling so broadly that the dimple in her right cheek was showing.
When he didn’t add anything else, either about himself or Lilly, Rachel cleared her throat. “Rebecca’s family owns the lumber mill. Do you work there?”
“Nee. I’m a farmer.”
Still looking at her feet, Lilly smiled for the first time.
When Jacob noticed her expression, he laughed. “Lilly’s smiling because I’m currently not much of a farmer. I keep making mistakes right and left. We just moved in with my parents, Lilly’s grandparents. I’m afraid farming is as unfamiliar to me as building houses in the Florida heat would be for most of the men around here.”
“Someone recently told me to have patience with my wishes and dreams,” Rebecca ventured, unable to keep from smiling at him. “Maybe that would work for you in this case, too?”
“I hope so.” He smiled back at her. “My daed is counting on my help.”
“I bet you both will get the hang of things here in Ohio in no time,” Rachel said. “Things are different from Florida, for sure, but the people are just as nice. Everyone helps each other, just like always.”
“Only he needs to get the hang of things here,” Lilly said, slowly coming out of her shell. “I’ve been living in Ohio. I was just over in Berlin.”
Just as Rebecca was going to ask why they’d been living in two different places, Rachel said smoothly, “How about the two of you come sit down? I have some paperwork you’ll need to fill out before tomorrow’s class.”
“What kind of paperwork?” Lilly asked. “Is it a test?”
“Nothing of the sort,” Rachel said. “I simply need some basic information. We’ll worry about schoolwork and figuring out where you’ll fit in best tomorrow.”
Jacob nodded. “That sounds like a plan. Now, what time should Lilly get here? Seven thirty? Eight?”
Feeling like she was in the way, Rebecca gathered her things. “I’ll be seeing you, Rachel. You know where to find me if you need my help.”
“It was good to meet you, Rebecca,” Jacob said.
She felt her cheeks heat. Seeking to cover it, she smiled more brightly. “Danke. It was gut to meet the both of you.”
“See you soon, Becky,” Rachel said before turning her full attention toward the man and the teenager.
It seemed to be another indication of Rachel’s expertise in the classroom. In less than an hour, Rachel had returned from a doctor’s appointment, taken back control of her class, counseled Rebecca, and was now greeting a new student and her father. She was able to manage multiple tasks easily and accept transitions with hardly a blink of the eye.
Rebecca, on the other hand, was juggling a dozen questions about the students, asking herself how she could have done things better, and wondering why Lilly hadn’t been living with her father until recently.
Rebecca stewed on all that had transpired that morning as she walked down the short sidewalk toward Main Street. It was time to go back to Kinsinger Lumber, where she usually worked at the reception desk eight hours of the day. Today it would only be for a few hours, but it was sure to be busy. She’d be lucky to have a minute to grab a cup of coffee.

Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time Hold Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike
trail.

 
Angie’s Review: A Daughter’s Dream is the continuation of Ms. Gray’s the Charmed Amish Life series. Whereas book 1, A Son’s Vow, mostly concentrated on Darla Kurtz and Lukas Kinsinger, book 2 concentrates on Lukas’s sister Rebecca and newcomer Jacob Yoder. While Darla is mentioned throughout the book, Lukas is still a main character of this installment.

Ms. Gray is a mastermind when it comes to interweaving storylines. I had very little problem keeping up with the four stories, though Rebecca and Jacob were the focal point.

I found Jacob to be sweet and the consummate gentleman. Though he had a thriving life doing what he loved (working in construction) in Florida, when he learned about his brother and sister in law dying, leaving their young daughter an orphan, he left Florida to move back home to care for his niece and live with his parents. He also tries to learn to farm, with some hilariously disastrous results. He always put Lily’s needs and his responsibility to his parents before anything else, which may not always be a good thing, but he did what he thought was best at that time.

Rebecca is so sweet, but I became frustrated with her several times. She never fully seemed to come into her own and tried to pursue a dream that she realized very soon that she was not exactly suited for. Sure, she was good with children…just not more than a few at a time. Regardless, I loved watching Rebecca find her place in not only her family, but in her pursuit of self worth, where she belonged in the world, and not playing the coy game when it came to her relationship with Jacob.

Lukas…he’s still as prickly as ever, even now that he’s married to Darla! He seemed to not care about his sister’s feelings at times, and then in other instances he knew what she needed before Rebecca knew what she needed. He is definitely a conundrum.

I hope in future books that Peter and Lilly will be revisited and that we learn more about Rachel and Marcus; that man is DEFINITELY hiding something.

Note: I received a review copy of this book in exchange for my participation in the review tour as well as my unbiased opinion.

Angie’s Rating: ****

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{Excerpt | Giveaway} Good Girl – Lauren Layne

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GOOD GIRL
Lauren Layne 
May 17th, 2016
Loveswept


In this
steamy novel from the USA Today bestselling author of Blurred Lines, country music’s favorite good girl hides away from the world—and finds herself bunking with a guy who makes her want to be a little bad.

Jenny Dawson moved to Nashville to write music, not get famous. But when her latest record goes double platinum, Jenny’s suddenly one of the town’s biggest stars—and the center of a tabloid scandal connecting her with a pop star she’s barely even met. With paparazzi tracking her every move, Jenny flees to a remote mansion in Louisiana to write her next album. The only hiccup is the unexpected presence of a brooding young caretaker named Noah, whose foul mouth and snap judgments lead to constant bickering—and serious heat.
Noah really should tell Jenny that he’s Preston Noah Maxwell Walcott, the owner of the estate where the feisty country singer has made her spoiled self at home. But the charade gives Noah a much-needed break from his own troubles, and before long, their verbal sparring is indistinguishable from foreplay. But as sizzling nights give way to quiet pillow talk, Noah begins to realize that Jenny’s almost as complicated as he is. To fit into each other’s lives, they’ll need the courage to face their problems together—before the outside world catches up to them.

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Excerpt:
Jenny
A week ago, I had my first burrito baby.
I mean, I didn’t know I was even pregnant. Thank God I have the tabloids to tell me these things.
It happens that way sometimes, at least in Hollywood, land of the flat bellies.
See, if your belly isn’t completely flat, if maybe you’ve put on a few pounds courtesy of a penchant for extra guacamole on your Chipotle burrito . . .
Bam. You’re at the grocery store buying tampons and M&M’s and you glance over, and there you are, all over the rag mags. Pregnant.
Or at least accused of it.
Because the tabloids don’t seem to care that it’s been quite some time since a guy’s been near my . . . ahem. Apparently in Hollywood you don’t need a guy. All it takes to get “knocked up” in L.A. is a tortilla the size of a hubcap and an avocado or four.
Let me be clear: I am not pregnant.
I just like to eat. A lot.
To be honest, up until last week, when I naïvely ordered extra sour cream while wearing a tight-fitting T-shirt that apparently accentuated the fetus that wasn’t there, I hadn’t really thought a lot about Hollywood beauty standards.
I mean, for starters, I’m not Hollywood. At all.
I live in the Hollywood Hills, yes. I rent a Hollywood director’s home, yes. Even did a tiny cameo in a movie a few months back.
But I, myself, am Jenny Dawson.
A country singer.
Don’t.
Roll.
Your.
Eyes.
I get that country music can be polarizing, I do, I really do. But I swear I don’t twang about dead dogs and dusty highways. I just write songs about real life. My life. And then I sing them.
Formerly in the shower, and now on the radio.
Where was I going with this?
Oh, right. Hollywood. And how I’m not it.
It’s not that I hate Los Angeles. Sure, the traffic sucks, and the women of SoCal have more than their fair share of silicone between the shoulders, but the city’s got its good points too. The weather. The ocean. The shopping.
But the paparazzi thing has been getting under my skin.
I’m not one of those girls who moved here to get famous. I was already famous, courtesy of All of Me going double platinum last year.
When my agent and label suggested that some time in L.A. might be good for maintaining my “mainstream” popularity, I didn’t really fight it. See above points about weather and ocean.
But I wasn’t counting on being quite so center stage all the time.
I certainly wasn’t counting on the fact that I’d be embracing the homemade smoothie revolution. And actually, embracing is a strong word. Let’s just say I had to actually read the instructions before I knew how to work the fancy blender. And yes, I may have allowed my weight gain, and the tabloids’ notice of it, to shame me into the land of kale and quinoa.
And there you have it. The backstory of why I’m currently standing in the kitchen of a rented house, wearing yoga pants and a pink sports bra, and trying to work up the courage to ingest the green goo in front of me.

Lauren Layne is the USA Today Bestselling author of more than a dozen contemporary romance novels.

Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. A year after moving from Seattle to NYC to pursue a writing career, she had a fabulous agent and multiple New York publishing deals.

Lauren currently lives in Manhattan with her husband and plus-sized Pomeranian. When not writing, you’ll likely find her running (rarely), reading (sometimes), or at happy hour (often).

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{Review} The Promise: A Story of The Quake – A.B. Michaels

29952198

Synopsis: HE’LL RISK EVERYTHING TO KEEP HIS WORD

April 18, 1906. A massive earthquake has decimated much of San Francisco, leaving thousands without food, water or shelter. Patrolling the streets to help those in need, Army corporal Ben Tilson meets a young woman named Charlotte who touches his heart, making him think of a future with her in it. In the heat of the moment he makes a promise to her family that even he realizes will be almost impossible to keep.

Because on the heels of the earthquake, a much worse disaster looms: a fire that threatens to consume everything and everyone in its path.
It will take everything Ben’s got to make it back to the woman he loves—and even that may not be enough.

The Promise, a stand-alone novella, is the latest offering from A.B. Michaels’ multi-genre series “Sinner’s Grove.”

Angie’s Review: I have a deep abiding love for historical books. When I was asked if I would read and review this book I jumped at the chance, especially as it was set in a time period that I wasn’t that knowledgeable about.

San Francisco is rocked by a powerful and deadly earthquake the morning of April 18, 1906. Thousands are left homeless, while thousands more perish in the rubble. The United States Army moves in quickly after the quake to keep order and peace in the aftermath, including putting out fires, fixing water mains, and creating a large and orderly tent city on the grounds of the Presidio to house as many homeless people as they possibly could.

I was fascinated by the fact that the tents were set up in districts and that the lanes between sections had street names. Shop owners quickly set up shop where they could to sell goods and there was even a restaurant/pub.

I found the history that Michaels incorporated into the story line to be powerful. In less than 200 pages she is able to weave what should be an impossible love story among the tragedy that has hit a once booming city.

Charlie is a strong female lead who quickly takes charge not only of her sister, but of her aunt who refuses to leave her home because she can’t bear to be away from the memories of her deceased husband and young son. She falls instantly in love with Ben, the corporal who happens upon the women after Marget’s house is basically destroyed.

Young Berry seemingly steals the “show” from the love story that is developing between Ben and Charlie, as she believes with a child’s faith that Ben will not only find Miss Evie, the rag doll that her mother made her before her death, but that he will find the women wherever they end up.

I cheered on Ben as he was able to face insurmountable odds to not only locate the doll, but to also do what he can to find the women, believing that Charlie is his One, all the while keeping the peace amidst the wide-ensuing panic, and being honor-bound to stick his nose where it doesn’t always necessarily belong.

I was not fond of Richard, Charlie’s suitor back home, as he seemed to like playing Janie, his and Charlie’s childhood friend, and Charlie against each other. Charlie is sure that Janie is in love with Richard, and he is hellbent to make Charlie his wife and basically control everything that will happen in their lives, down to the number of children they will have.

Marget, I both felt sorry for her and wanted to throttle her. I could appreciate her depression over losing her husband and son, but when she was bossy over the girls I wanted to pop her upside the head with her cane. Thankfully Berry steps up and puts their aunt in her place…who doesn’t seem to mind.

I enjoy reading about people who fall in love instantaneously and know that they’ve found their One…probably because as soon as I looked at my husband I knew that he would be the one who I’d spend the rest of my life with (and twenty one years later I am glad that I went with my instinct). Things don’t work themselves out immediately, there’s plenty of obstacles to stand in the way of them, but where there’s a will, there’s a way.

I would love to know more about Amos and Jennie as they are perfect secondary characters.

I highly recommend this book and can’t wait to read the others in this series.

Of Note: Coarse language, fighting, kissing scenes, but no open or closed door love scenes.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Rating: ****

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8189786

Author Bio: A native of northern California, A.B. Michaels earned masters’ degrees in history and broadcasting, and worked for many years in public relations and marketing. Now that she’s an empty nester, she has time to write the kinds of stories she loves to read. “I love creating flawed characters I can relate to, who have to make difficult choices, and who long for the most natural thing in the world: to love and be loved in return.” Currently Ms. Michaels lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband and two furry creatures who are unclear on the concept that they are just dogs. In addition to writing, she loves to read and travel. A dabbler in fabric art, she also plays bocce in a summer league. Her latest stand-alone novel, The Depth of Beauty, is part of her award-winning, multi-genre series, “Sinner’s Grove,” which follows the lives of family, friends and colleagues associated with a world-famous artists’ retreat on the coast of northern California.

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(Excerpt | Giveaway} Silent Hearts (Hamilton Stables #3) – Melissa West

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SILENT HEARTS
Hamilton Stables #3
Melissa West
Released May 10th, 2016
Lyrical Shine

The Hamilton brothers have horse racing in their blood, and their sprawling Kentucky farm is the family’s pride and joy. But they’ve got plenty of passion to spare…

Nick Hamilton has always known he’d take the reins of the family business when his father died, but that doesn’t make it any easier when the time comes. Especially with his two siblings tempted by a shrewd offer from a huge corporation to buy Hamilton Industries. Needing advice, Nick turns to his sensible childhood friend, Becca Stark—and finds her suddenly grown-up beauty ignites brand-new confusion, and crystal clear desire…
Becca has loved Nick for as far back as she can remember, but she decided long ago that telling him would be a mistake. Stubborn, strong Nick doesn’t see her as anything but the tomboy she used to be—or does he? As she helps him untangle his feelings about the ranch’s future, the familiar bond between them heats into an explosive attraction—and
the kind of love that just might take the lead…

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Excerpt:

Becca closed the freezer and then, missing its wonder, she fanned herself with her tank top. “It’s time I reconsider a move up north, but then snow and driving in snow.”
“Yeah, that’d be pretty dangerous with your track record.”
She continued to fan herself. “What? It was one mailbox, not the whole street.”
“Two mailboxes.”
“All right, fine. Two. But I bought them replacements.” She grabbed a flyer from her stack of mail, folded it in half, and used it as a makeshift fan. “Ahhh.”
“What are you, menopausal or something?”
She pointed at him. “Watch your mouth, boy.” He laughed, the sound so glorious she almost closed her eyes again so she could bask in it, but then that would be all sorts of awkward, and Becca tried to maintain her cool around her best friend. Even if right now she was anything but cool in every sense of the word.
“Now spill it.”
Becca pulled out a bottle of water and leaned a hip against the counter.
“You could at least drink with me.”
“It’s five thirty. I like to keep my alcoholic tendencies for nighttime hours.”
“It’s P.M. That stands for nighttime.”
“Wow. Is that what that Ivy League education of yours taught you? ‘Cause you might want to ask for a refund. At least a partial, right? Because night starts with an N, not a P, and time starts with a T, not an M. And, in fact, P.M. stands for post meridiem, so you can send me that money they give you for the refund.”
“All right.” Nick pulled out his wallet, counted out several bills, and tossed them onto the counter. “Now go turn on the damn A/C. It’s hot in here.”
With a loud, long, and drawn-out sigh, Becca pushed the money back toward him. “You know I’m not taking that.”
“Well, I’m not taking it back, so take it or burn it.” He shrugged. “It’s nothing to me.”
“See that right there? That’s why you can’t get a solid date. No girl wants a guy who burns money. I mean seriously. Not only is that six shades of insane, but hello, fire hazard, right?”
He cracked a smile and she grinned back, lost in those amazing blue eyes, crystal clear even through his glasses. Years and years around him and she still couldn’t pinpoint the exact shade. They were sky blue with flecks of navy and turquoise. They were perfect…he was perfect.
And now she’d drifted into lala land again.

Melissa West writes heartfelt Southern romance and teen sci-fi romance, all with lots of kissing. Because who doesn’t like kissing? She lives outside of Atlanta, GA, with her husband and two daughters and spends most of her time writing, reading, or fueling her coffee addiction. 

For sneak peeks at upcoming works, prizes, and more, join Mel’s Madhouse: https://www.facebook.com/groups/MelsMadhouse

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{Excerpt | Giveaway} Worth the Wait (Divine Island #1) – Julie Ann Levin

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WORTH THE WAIT
Divine Island #1
Julie Ann Levin
Releasing May 17th, 2016
 

Tropical beaches and second chances…
As a rule, Chase Hammond avoided going home to Divine Island whenever possible. But when his father has a heart attack, he’s left with no other choice but to go back and hope that he can avoid trouble and stay focused.
Recently divorced and struggling to keep all the elements of her life together, Natalie Rey has absolutely no desire to make her life any more difficult than it already is. But when Chase Hammond shows up on her doorstep, the man who rejected her years earlier, she’ll have to do her best to avoid the monumental distraction.
The last thing either of them needs is their sizzling chemistry getting in the way of their goals.
Can Natalie resist the sexy man who broke her heart years ago?
Will allowing him back into her life only lead to more heartache?

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Can’t wait for more?
CRAZY FOR YOU, Divine Island Book Two
Releases June 14th

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Excerpt:
How did Chase get himself into these situations? He was a mess if there was a pretty girl around. That’s all there was to it. He tried the door handle. It didn’t open. He closed his eyes, exhaled, and jiggled the knob a little harder, but still, nothing.
“Hey, watch it. You’re going to break it.”
He gave her a long look.
“Even more. You’re going to break it even more.”
He turned around in a circle, automatically searching for another way out. “What is it with you and handles?”
“If you’re looking for tools, they’re on the other side of the door. All I have here is this wrench.”
He took the wrench from her but set it down on the shelf. “A wrench isn’t going to do much good anyway.”
“I’ll call someone,” Natalie said. She picked her phone up off the shelf as the phone vibrated, signaling a text message. “Oh, wait, it’s your brother.”
“Which one?”
“Dylan,” Natalie said.
Chase’s shoulders relaxed. Dylan would get them out. “That’s a lot of texting to ask someone to unlock a door. What are you two talking about?”
“Nothing,” Natalie said, looking down at her phone. “He says you need a place to stay.”
Leave it to Dylan to jump the gun. Shouldn’t Chase be the one arranging for a place to stay? “What’s the verdict?” Chase asked her. “Make it worth your while.” Dear God, was he flirting with her?
At that, Natalie’s eyes swept up and down Chase’s body before locking in on his gaze. She looked away, blushing. “Well,” she said, “I haven’t seen you in ten years. I’m a little in shock, and embarrassed. Give me a second to assimilate.”
He winced. “It’s been eight years, and I’ve looked into every other option.”
“I didn’t say no.”
She didn’t say yes either. “Listen, I’ll stay with my parents.”
Natalie wrinkled her nose. “That’s not even a cottage for two, Chase. It’s a blessing your mom isn’t over five feet tall and doesn’t take up much room. It’s like goldfish in there.”
“Goldfish?”
“If you keep them in a small bowl, they stay small. You put them in a big bowl; they get big.”
“Why are you embarrassed?” he asked.
“Because… I broke everything,” she said, sweeping her arm across the bathroom.
“You’re embarrassed because you’re not good at plumbing.” Chase considered that he might never understand Natalie. He moved to stand behind her and read over her shoulder as his brother pleaded Chase’s case.
Natalie: First sign of a tenant, he leaves. Now I have a favor.
Dylan: Name it.
Natalie: We’re locked in the bathroom.
Dylan: You and Chase?
Natalie: It’s not what you think. He was helping me with a leaky faucet.
Dylan: Right… A leaky faucet. Be there in 5.
Natalie turned her attention back to Chase. “Dylan is on his way. You can stay here in the rental. Don’t worry about rent.”
His eyes narrowed. “We’ll talk about rent later. Dad is recuperating. I’m sure I’ll be here a week max, and then it’s back to Japan.”
Chase slid down the wall and sat on the tiled floor. Natalie mirrored him. He caught sight of her toenails, painted a cheery, pale pink.
“Cute,” he said.
She smiled and searched his face. “You look tired.”
He paused before settling back against the wall. “Gee, thanks.”
“Sorry, I just meant—”
He patted the air between them. “I know what you meant.” He must look bad. Was it the long travel, or worry over his father that made him look so ragged? A seventeen-hour flight from Japan to Florida, followed by a three-hour drive to his hometown of Divine Island would do it, alright.
“He’s better than you’d guess,” she said. “And it makes your mom happy when I visit to check his vitals.”
Chase’s face softened.
“It’s no big deal,” Natalie said, appearing uncomfortable with the look he gave her. “I’m not an RN, yet. All I do is check his blood pressure.” She shrugged. “Your mom could do that.”
Chase shook his head. “It’s a big deal, Nat.” According to his mom and siblings, Natalie was definitely a big deal. “I’m pretty sure they’re one blood pressure monitor away from naming a wing of the inn after you.”
“The inn doesn’t have wings,” she said.
“For you, Nat, they’d build them.”
Natalie took in a big, shaky breath and failed at looking relaxed. Well, sweetheart, he was feeling it too. Turned out eight years and a few thousand miles of distance didn’t solve a damn thing.
“You know…” he said, cupping the back of his neck. “I didn’t come to Divine right away because of work.”
Natalie shook her head in quick back-and-forth movements. “I don’t know why you’re telling me this.”
“Dylan had everything under control, so I hopped on a plane the minute I could get away.”
Natalie frowned. “Nobody is wondering about that. Japan is far away, and your dad was out of the hospital faster than anyone could have predicted.”
Chase nodded. It was typical of her to accept his excuse without question when it had been fear that held him back.
“Tell me about these jobs you’re working on,” she said.
“Change of subject?” he asked.
She shrugged. “Don’t say I never threw you a bone.”
He coughed and shook his head with a smile. “My team bid on a project to design a skyscraper in Tokyo. We’ll win the bid, and then it’s back to Japan for a year.” He leaned his head back until it rested on the wall. “Dad’s health could change my plans, though.”
“He’s great, Chase.”
He ran his hands through his hair, mussing it up.
She forced a shaky laugh. “God, I feel like such an idiot. You flew across the Pacific to see your father, and I locked you in a bathroom.”
“I’m the one that shut the door, right?”
“Right.” She snapped her finger and pointed at him. “This is all your fault.”
“Don’t you have a management company to do the repairs?”
“No.”
“You’re handling the property all on your own?”
She shrugged. “I applied to get it on the city’s historic registry. This house, the rental, is a newer addition. It just has the regular problems that any house has. My house, on the other hand, is hanging on. But it’s so old. It needs serious restoration. It’s way more work than I anticipated.”
“Alex is such an asshole,” Chase said, which summed up his complete estimation of the man. How he had ever called Alex his best friend was incomprehensible.
Natalie tried at an indifferent smile. “I married him. So, what does that say about me? And how do you know about what happened with Alex?”
There was no room for it in the bathroom, but Chase stretched his legs out and folded his hands on his stomach. She watched his every movement, so he watched her every movement, liking the way she made wild curls in her hair with her fingers. She always had great hair. It was a mess half the time, but still, great fucking hair.
“I haven’t been on the island, but I still talk to my family more than you’d think. It’s abnormal how much we call. They’re all obsessed with video conferencing, and they’ve come to visit me on jobs.”
“And the best your siblings can come up with is gossip revolving around my failed marriage?”
His head tilted to one side. “It’s not gossip. And besides, it’s either that or I have to hear about Ellie’s boyfriends. I ask about you; they tell me what’s going on. How Alex talked you into buying this property and then left you in a shitstorm.”
“It’s not all that dramatic,” Natalie said.
He would bet money it was.
“I’ll be okay once I finish school and get a steady tenant.” She leaned her head against the wall and raised her voice. “If I can ever get a stable tenant.”
Chase shook his head back and forth. “You’re doing it wrong. You have to stand up with your arms in the air when you make a plea to the rental gods.”
She gave him a rueful smile. “I would try anything.”
God, he felt good—happy to be locked in a bathroom with Natalie, when he should be with his father.
“I thought you were already a nurse,” Chase said.
“I am, but I want to be a Registered Nurse. That way I can supervise and have more responsibility.” Natalie’s eyes were downcast as she absently picked at the dried paint on the tiled floor. “Also, it will make my parents happy. It’s not as good as being a Doctor like my sister-in-law, but my mother might let up a little.”
“She’s giving you a hard time?” Chase asked.
“You know, the whole, we sacrificed everything for you speech.” She took a deep breath and sighed. “My turn for a subject change. You ask about me?”
He cocked his head to one side. “Don’t you ask about me?”
“Why, did Ellie tell you I asked about you?”
He grinned, and Natalie pursed her lips—the story of their lives.
“Ellie talks too much,” Natalie said.
“She’s your friend,” Chase said.
“Best friend, but maybe I should be rethinking the relationship.”
He winked and reached out, placing his hand on her calf and squeezing. Natalie froze and nibbled on her bottom lip. Chase’s eyes zeroed in on her mouth—full, perfect lips.
“I’m walking into the bedroom,” Dylan said from beyond the locked door. “Don’t be doing anything naughty.”
As if they had been doing something naughty, Natalie shot up from the floor. She slipped on water and grabbed for the towel rack to keep herself upright. The metal bar came clear off the wall in her hand, and she fell flat on her back.
“I was just kidding, but I can come back if you guys need another minute.”
“She slipped and fell, you idiot,” Chase said. He leaned over her and helped her sit up. “Are you okay?”
Natalie nodded.
“Let me guess. You were going to fix the towel rack today too?”
“No.” She swatted at his hands that were touching her head, and then her arms and her back as he checked for injury. “I fixed the towel rack last week, and would you please stop that?”
He grinned. “You’re adorable,” he said, and then helped her up into a standing position.
The door handle jiggled, and Chase heard the drill through the door. “Today, Dylan.”
“You want to get out of there yourself, asshole?”
Chase returned his attention to Natalie. “You’re sure you’re not hurt?”
“Nothing broken,” she said. “Only my pride of course.”
Dylan opened the door. “The prodigal son returns.” He hugged Chase, and they slapped each other on the back. Chase wondered if Dylan was trying to dislodge a few organs while he was at it. Chase was tall, but Dylan had him by two inches, and when he patted him on the back, it hurt.
“It’s good to see you,” Chase said.
“Good to see you too. We’d see a lot more of each other if you came around more often. Oh, I don’t know, more than every three years.”
“I’m here now, aren’t I?”
“Yeah, it just took Dad having a heart attack, over a week ago, for you to come.”
“Why don’t you tell me what’s really on your mind?”
Natalie held her hands up between them and then appeared to remember she’d dropped the towel when she fell. She crossed her arms in front of her chest over her see-through shirt.
“Alright, I need to finish fixing the faucet, and get ready for work.”
“I said I was going to fix it, and I’m going to fix it,” Chase said. “I’ll see Dad, and then come right back.”
“You don’t have to fix it,” she said. “Look, I’ll call the plumber.” She paled. “Did I just say those words in that order?”
Chase picked through her toolbox. “It’ll be working before you get home.”
“But—”
“Nat,” Dylan said. “Let the man fix the faucet. It will give him an excuse to get away from Mom obsessing over her neglectful son.”
“I’m not neglectful,” Chase said. “She just likes me more than you. That’s why she obsesses.”
“You’re both kidding yourselves,” Natalie said, backing away through the master bedroom. “We all know Levi is her favorite, but don’t ever tell Ellie I said that.”
Great, he was now knee-deep in plans to repair her bathroom. And he’d touched her, a lot. He could tell with his two eyeballs that she wasn’t injured, but still he’d touched her and all those glorious curves. There were reasons he’d avoided Divine, and one of those reasons just became crystal clear.

After everything that had just happened, Natalie still had to go to work. “I’m leaving,” she said, talking to herself. She kissed Dylan on the cheek and squeezed his arm. “Later. Thanks for the rescue.”
“Where’s my kiss?” Chase asked.
“Maybe if you’d seen her this century, you’d get a kiss,” Dylan said.
Calm as you please on the outside, but shaking on the inside, she closed the gap between her and Chase. She went up on her tip-toes. “It’s good to see you, Chase.”
His head turned slightly, and she ended up kissing him on his jaw, which felt more intimate somehow.
The sandpaper kiss was heaven. She stepped back, managing to maintain eye contact. “Dylan has a set of spare keys he can give you to this house.”
Unable to stomach all the Hammond testosterone in one place, Natalie left her rental. She crossed the gravel walkway over to her house that sat on the same property. Her body was humming from a Chase over-dose. Warning: Standing in close proximity may cause shortness of breath and intoxication.
Maybe one of the doctors would be so kind as to give her a lobotomy at the hospital tonight. Or they could induce selective amnesia. Because Natalie could not deal with still being attracted to Chase Hammond.

Julie Ann Levin grew up in Miami, Florida. She graduated from Florida State University with a degree in English, majoring in Creative Writing. She loves to read all genres of Romance and especially loves contemporary, suspense, and paranormal.

She is known to binge read and is always binge writing.

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{Excerpt | Giveaway} Secret Baby Scandal (Bayou Billionaires #4) – Joanne Rock

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SECRET BABY SCANDAL
Bayou Billionaires #4
Joanne Rock
Releasing May 1st (Digital)
Releasing May 10th (Print)
Harlequin Desire

His proposition: pretend they’re a couple to end a scandal. But she has secrets of her own…

Tatiana Doucet has dealt with sexy, arrogant athletes most of her life. But Jean-Pierre Reynaud is a whole different animal—in bed and on the field. Unbeknownst to him, their one amazing night produced a son. Now her family’s biggest football rival is back, offering a seductive wager she can’t
refuse.
Jean-Pierre despises the media. When rumors fly, he knows a fake relationship is the perfect diversion for the tabloids—and Tatiana’s unbridled passion is the perfect diversion for Jean-Pierre. But when she drops a baby bombshell, the scandal will rock them both!

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Excerpt:
…Darting back the way she came, she turned a corner and nearly plowed right into none other than Jean-Pierre himself.
“Oh!” With a yelp of surprise, she gripped his forearm to stay upright.
“Shh,” Jean-Pierre warned her, tucking her under his arm and pressing a finger to her lips. “There’s a camera crew just down that hallway.” He nodded to the ramp just ahead on his right.
Tatiana tensed at his touch. His scent. His maleness. She’d spent so long avoiding him, but in spite of all logic, he affected her. At six-three, and at this close range, he had to peer down at her, his brown eyes flecked with hints of gold and green. She’d fallen for him hard back in prep school, a young love that had only felt more poignant after they’d been torn apart by their families’ sudden rift. They’d both moved on, of course, two thousand miles of separation proving as effective a deterrent as the well-publicized feud. But when he’d joined the Gladiators and she’d seen him at the occasional party, she’d been as drawn to him as ever. It had been an attraction that hadn’t been reciprocated, judging by his cold words about her court case last winter. She still didn’t understand how that terse confrontation in the courtroom had turned so heated.
Now, heart hammering, she simply nodded, knowing they needed to avoid the press. Heaven forbid the media were to overhear what she had to tell Jean-Pierre.
He frowned down at her, not moving.
“What?” she whispered, shaky and off-balance as she peered up into his shadowed face.
“We could let them find us,” he suggested, his gaze roving over her as he seemed to weigh the idea. “They could photograph us kissing.”
The mention of kissing should not have sent a bolt of lightning through her. Especially when Jean-Pierre seemed to be mulling over the idea with the same attention he might give a playbook. Dispassionate. Assessing.
“Are you insane?” Her whisper notched up an octave as she grabbed his sleeve and tugged him in the other direction.
Not that he moved…

Four-time RITA nominee Joanne Rock has never met a romance sub-genre she didn’t like. The author of over seventy novels enjoys writing contemporary romance and medieval historicals alike, recently exploring Young Adult romance under a pseudonym. An optimist by nature and perpetual seeker of silver linings, Joanne finds
romance–in all its forms– fits her life outlook perfectly. 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.

 Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads   

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{Excerpt | Giveaway} Something More Than This – Barbie Bohrman

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SOMETHING MORE THAN THIS
Barbie Bohrman
Releasing April 26th, 2016
Montlake Romance
Katy Lewis has it all: a sports reporting job she loves, a great roommate, and two brothers who, while nosy, always have her back. But when Conner Roberts, Katy’s unrequited first crush, suddenly shows up—and shows interest—after nine years, she reverts to a sweaty, panicked sixteen-year-old once more.

And if trying to read Conner’s signals isn’t tough enough, Katy’s heart is sending some mixed messages of its own. When a beautiful blonde coworker starts pursuing Katy’s boss, Dylan Sterling—her longtime mentor and friend—she realizes she may have a problem with that. A reunion with Conner is what she’s dreamed of for so long…so why can’t she stop thinking about Dylan?

For the first time ever, Katy must fact-check her heart. Should she go after the guy she thought she always wanted or see if there’s something more with the one who’s been there all along?
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Excerpt:
Dylan stays completely still and quiet. If I couldn’t see the steady beat of his pulse on the side of his neck, I would swear that he was dead. It’s bad enough that my heart is jackhammering away inside its cage in my chest, making it nearly impossible to stay as calm on the outside as I’m trying to be in front of him.
It’s a test, that’s all this is. Get it over with so you can move on.
I’m thinking this while reaching out to take Dylan’s hands in mine. He doesn’t resist, so that’s good. Then he lets me position them on my waist, leaving them there when I take my hands away. I feel a charge of excitement run through me at the warmth of his hands against my body. And it frightens me a little. So I keep my eyes trained on his throat and watch in fascination as it bobs up and then down, as if he is swallowing a breath. Not having to look in his eyes is enough to propel me an inch forward and loop my arms around his neck.
“Katy?”
He says this so quietly that I can’t tell if it’s a plea or a question. So I move closer until our bodies are pressed together, like we’re about to start a slow dance. I’ve finally been able to clear my mind of all stray thoughts and focus on this moment, right here, right now, that I know will change everything. But I still can’t gather the nerve to look up at him, because if I do, I already know I won’t be able to stop.
In a voice so low, I ask, “If you were this close to me, like you are now, would you want to kiss me?”
He doesn’t answer, but I can tell that his breathing is becoming more rapid by the way his chest rises and falls. So I ask him again.
It’s then he moves his hand off my waist and underneath my chin to tip my face up to look at him. He skims over my features with his eyes until reaching my lips, where he holds them in his gaze for a moment too long to be considered merely friendly.
Then quietly, he says, “Yes.”
“Yes, what?”
“Yes, I would kiss you.”

ANGIE’S REVIEW: I have a slight passion for love triangles ever since I read Tear by Rachel Van Dyken.

Katy is in a pickle. She has feelings for her best friend, Dylan, who has always believed in her and given her the opportunity to show the world that a woman DOES deserve to be a sports reporter. Their chemistry is sweet and viable. After all, Dylan has been her biggest champion outside of her brothers.

Enter Connor, her childhood crush who suddenly shows up out of the blue and suddenly notices Katy. What’s a girl to do? She’s attracted to both men, has undeniable chemistry with both, and needs to decide who she wants to be with.

The author has taken what could be a rather sticky situation and made it work without fail. There is just enough sweetness, vulnerability, and makes it hard for you to decide who Katy should be with.

Me? I was team Dylan from the very start. I’m not saying that’s who she ends up with, but I adored him from the very beginning. I’m also not saying Connor’s not worthy of Katy, I just adored Dylan first!

This is a sweet romance that is easily read in a few hours. I look forward to reading more books by this author in the future! Her ability to go back and forth between times past and the future is remarkable.

Angie’s Rating: ****


Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Barbie Bohrman dreamed of becoming an author. Long after she had given up, a book club’s prologue contest encouraged her to give it one more go. What emerged were the beginnings of her debut novel, Promise Me. Now she’s living her dream and writing stories that entice readers to escape and break away from reality. When she’s not writing, you can find her trying to get through the books on her Kindle (more than a thousand at last count) or watching Sherlock or Homeland. She resides in New Jersey with her husband and two children.

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{Excerpt | Giveaway} Welcome Home Cowboy, (A Hero’s Welcome #2) – Annie Rains

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WELCOME HOME, COWBOY
A Hero’s Welcome Book Two
Annie Rains
Releasing April 26th, 2016
Loveswept
With its thriving military base, Seaside, North Carolina, is teeming with heroes of all stripes. But, as the Hero’s Welcome series from Annie Rains continues, it takes a cowboy to rescue the town’s newest resident from heartache.
After a bad breakup leaves Julie Chandler completely devastated, she comes to Seaside seeking a fresh start. A talented, compassionate yoga teacher, she has developed a program to help alleviate the effects of PTSD, but getting a bunch of bullheaded Marines into downward facing dog might be impossible. So Julie’s shocked when one of her first students dives in headfirst—and almost tempts her to take down her walls with his easy smile and electrifying touch.

Ever since Texas cowboy turned Marine pilot Lawson Phillips lost a crew member in a helicopter accident, he hasn’t been able to fly. When a psychologist orders him to attend, of all things, a yoga class, Lawson’s outraged—until he finds out Julie is the instructor. She’s beautiful, graceful, and completely guarded when it comes to his advances, but he’s determined to find out what makes her tick. Because underneath Julie’s hard shell is a woman Lawson knows he could fall for—and he’s not ready for the ride to end.

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Excerpt:
“Come ride with me anytime,” he said, helping her dismount from the horse when they were back at the barn. He didn’t place his hands on her ass this time, which was both regrettable and a relief. Instead, he steadied her waist with his hands. She turned to face him after he helped her to the ground, and was surprised to find how close they were standing. Close enough that the brim of his hat on her head nearly touched his chin.

“This belongs to you.” She took off the hat and went up on her tiptoes to put it back where it belonged. Their eyes locked as the movement brought them even closer together. Her heart bucked again, like a wild horse ready to bolt.

Returning to flat feet, she started to step away. Needed to step away. Too bad Bon-Bon was still behind her, blocking her escape.

“Julie?” he said, making her feet pause and her heart stutter. She liked the sound of her name on his lips. Low, deep.

“Yes?” she asked breathlessly.

He reached out his hand to tame a strand of her hair brushing against her cheek. “You have what I call hat-hair.” He took his time smoothing the hair around her ear, awakening every nerve in her body. Then he slowly dipped, keeping his blue-as-the-ocean eyes on hers, and kissed her.

She melted into him instead of stepping away. The side of his cheek on hers was warm and inviting, intoxicating. His tongue tapped softly against hers, just once, as he swept his hand behind her neck, pulling her gently toward him.

A soft moan escaped her throat, betraying her. She parted her lips for him, inviting him in, begging him to stay, which he did for just a moment longer. Then he broke it off, keeping it sweet. The kiss had threatened to be more, though. It had threatened to take her inside that barn, lay her down on a blanket of hay, and be a whole hell of a lot more.

“See you later, Lawson,” she said, forcing herself to step away from him, away from the horse and the barn. She turned toward her car and didn’t look back. Otherwise, her hormones were going to win and drag this cowboy into the barn and slam the stall doors behind them.

“See you later, Julie,” he called after her.

Annie Rains is a contemporary romance author who writes small town love stories set in fictional towns on the coast of North Carolina. Raised in one of America’s largest military communities, Annie often features heroes who fight for their countries, while also fighting for a place to call home and a good woman to love. When Annie isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her husband and 3 children, or reading a book by one
of her favorite authors. Represented by Sarah Younger at Nancy Yost Literary Agency (NYLA).



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{Excerpt | Review | Giveaway} Behind the Marquess’s Mask (The Lords of Whitehall #1) – Kristen McLean

*Will need to add BUY LINKS when sent out April 30th*

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BEHIND THE MARQUESS’S MASK
The Lords of Whitehall #1
Kristen McLean
Released April 30th, 2016
Young Ink Press

Even
the mask of an expert spy is no defense against his own heart.
With a reputation as dark as his appearance, Greydon Sharpe, the Marquess of Ainsley, ought to have been the last agent assigned to the daughter of a well-respected Member of Parliament.

However, when she is brutally attacked and left for dead, it becomes clear he is the only one with the skills to keep her alive. All it will take are a few lies to keep her breathing long enough to capture the villain. Then he can send her on her way. If she would only behave herself, he might be able to complete his mission before she turns his contentedly miserable life into a chaotic mess.

Marriage
is not an option … until it is.
Lady Kathryn Bryant, the adventure-seeking socialite, has no plans to behave. Kathryn would much rather spend her time in subterfuge, nabbing villains and finding clues. However, when her memory is lost in an attack, she has little choice but to trust the handsome Marquess. Though she is almost certain he is hiding something, she is helpless against his disarming smile and warm touch. Eventually, his lies will come to the surface, leaving only one question: Is England’s deadliest spy equipped to save a broken heart?
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He stopped short a few feet from her, and every inch of her insufficiently clad body came into focus. She was dressed for bed with her auburn hair plaited over her shoulder.
“You understand what I do, then.” Grey began unbuttoning his shirt at the neck. “Good. Now I can brag about my exploits. Do you know the worst part about being an unsung hero? It’s the unsung bit by far.”
“You lied to me,” she accused, those blue pools glaring up at him.
“I would be a sad excuse for a spy if I were honest,” he returned, swallowing the self-disgust. His fingers moved, deftly unfastening the buttons halfway down his chest. “I hope you appreciate the lengths I went through. I have dragged you out of a myriad of sticky situations, but this is the first time I have ever had to marry you to keep you alive.”
Her eyes narrowed as her hands fisted in her lap.
“A simple ‘thank you’ would suffice,” he suggested.
By the time the last word was out of his mouth, Kathryn had flung herself off her chair with her arm raised.
The prickly thing was about to strike him.
Grey caught her wrist then grabbed the other just in case she had similar ideas in mind for that one. Then she was wriggling to get free, bringing the pea-brain in his trousers to attention. It was frustrating. He hauled her into him, pinning her arms to his chest, and wrapping his tightly around her. It stopped the wriggling, but now she was glaring up at him with those giant, blue pools a man could drown in. He could feel every curve of her luscious body except where her little fists were pressed against the ugly scar peeking out from the opening in his shirt.
Pea-brain was suddenly the only brain he remembered having.

Kristen has always had a love of novels, with a special place in her heart for historical romance. After reading enough of them to fill a rather
impressive library, she decided to write her own. Now she has the pleasure of writing at home, tucked away in a forest with her husband, two children and her cat. Her husband is loving, and impressively patient, her two beautiful children strive to embarrass and exhaust her, and her cat hates everyone, but tolerates—well, she tolerates whoever will feed her.

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