Category Archives: Authors & Books

PRE-ORDER BLITZ – Absolving Blue (On Call #4) by Freya Barker


Title: Absolving Blue
(On Call #4)
Author: Freya Barker

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 10, 2020
Hosted by: Buoni Amici Press, LLC.

For long-time Durango Fire Department EMT, Ava ‘Blue’ Navarro, her teammates at Station 3 represent a family more loyal than her own.
However, when patients start dying on her watch, she draws the attention of local law enforcement. In particular the smooth-talking detective she’s successfully evaded for years, fearing he might stir up her quiet existence.
Detective Tony Ramirez considers himself a likable guy, which is why the perpetual cold shoulder from the athletic blonde first responder is confusing.
Now he finds himself in charge of a murder investigation that threatens to shake his world both personally and professionally. A situation that won’t earn him any brownie points.
When medical examiner, Calder Stonewall, is called in to assist, it only seems to throw more suspicion Blue’s way, and Tony has to pull out all the stops to prove her innocence while securing her heart.

Pre Order Your Copy Today!!!

AMAZON


“I really hate this,” she says when I lift my head.
“I must be losing my touch, then,” I joke, and she slaps my chest.
“Not that, you idiot. I hate being weak.”
“Now who’s being an idiot?” I lightly shake her. “If you sprained your ankle, would you think it weak to see a doctor? Do you think the people you tend to on a daily basis are weak?” When she reluctantly shakes her head, I push my point home. “So how’s this any different? We’re just talking about another part of you that needs some healing. Shit, if you think that makes you weak, you’re calling every cop in Durango a pussy. Wait ‘til I tell the guys.”
“You wouldn’t,” she snaps, her eyes spitting fire.
“If you keep spouting that nonsense, I might.”


AMAZON


Award-winning author Freya Barker loves writing about ordinary people with extraordinary stories.
Driven to make her books about ‘real’ people; she creates characters who are perhaps less than perfect, each struggling to find their own slice of happy, but just as deserving of romance, thrills and chills in their lives.
Recipient of the ReadFREE.ly 2019 Best Book We’ve Read All Year Award for “Covering Ollie, the 2015 RomCon “Reader’s Choice” Award for Best First Book, “Slim To None”, and Finalist for the 2017 Kindle Book Award with “From Dust”, Freya continues to add to her rapidly growing collection of published novels as she spins story after story with an endless supply of bruised and dented characters, vying for attention!



 


RELEASE BOOST – The IT Guy by Andi Burns

Title: The IT Guy
Author: Andi Burns
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Release Date: February 7, 2020
Blurb
Elaine
I love my job, I love my house, and I love my cat. What else do I need out of life Hmmm…maybe the hot new IT guy from work. Those dimples…And don’t get me started on his forearms.
But he’s way too young. Plus, office romance is never a good idea. Besides, my relationship track record is pitiful and the last thing I need is to get my heart broken again. So Simon Walker can take his charm, his Star Wars sheets, and his genius IQ and sweet talk some sweet young thing. 
Simon
Elaine Madigan is easily the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met. Hilarious. Sexy. Smart. And unfortunately, she’s also convinced herself that I’m way too young for, so she’s friend-zoned me. 
Somehow I need to show her how grown up I really am. I need her to see that I’m ready to settle down–with her. It’s no easy task, but that doesn’t scare me. After all, I’m a techie, and cracking codes is what I do. No matter what it takes, I’ll hack the code to her heart. 
The IT Guy by Andi Burns is a dual POV standalone work romance with a younger hero, office hijinks, lots of laughs, and plenty of steam.


Purchase Links
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Free in Kindle Unlimited


Excerpt
Simon
We’ve been at this scavenger hunt for a good half hour, and we’re tied at 5. We’ve got a list of outlandish costumes and the goal is to spot as many, in real time, as we can. People watching is fun, but let’s face it: I’ve mostly been watching Elaine–the way she smiles softly, the way she toys with the ends of her hair or the bracelets on her wrist. I thought I was crushing before, but spending time with her one-on-one, (and no, the occasional carpool does not count) has me completely enchanted. 
She scans the bar again, but the look on her face tells me she’s come up empty. I take a quick glance around and smile. 
“What?”
“Sexy nun for the win.”
“No freaking way.”
“Yes freaking way. Sexy nun right at your back. Wait.okay, look now.” I watch her turn to spot a co-ed in little more than a crop-top and a habit. Seriously, her skirt’s the size of a business envelope, which could be an issue in the eyes of the Lord. “Holy crap, that girl will catch pneumonia.”
“Maybe the sexy doctors at the bar should lend a hand?”
She laughs, and my heart expands. “Well, sure. It’s the medically responsible thing to do.”
I shake my head at the visual. “Sounds like a bad porno.” 
“Is there such a thing as a good porno?” The sincerity in her voice makes me choke on my beer.
“Oh, God! I’m sorry! Are you okay? Here, put your arms up. Maybe you need the sexy doctors?”
I cough loudly and draw a few stares. I smile in reassurance. “I’m good,” I promise, as I clear my throat a final time. “I don’t need the sexy doctors. Thoroughly enjoying my
evening with a sexy copy-editor, though.”
Elaine blushes at my compliment as I flag down the scarecrow. Hell, even I’m impressed with the level of smooth I’ve been able to maintain. Being with Elaine is so easy that
all–well, okay, a solid 50%–of my awkwardness seems to have dissipated.
The scarecrow returns and nods when I ask for a refill. She turns to Elaine, “Another for
you, too?”
“Yes, thanks, but I’ll switch to a Shirley Temple Black.” Scarecrow nods again and disappears
into the crowd. 
“Did you seriously just order a Shirley Temple?  That’s awesome. I don’t think I’ve had one of those since I was ten.”
She opens her mouth, and I’d bet my Wookie collection she’s about to knock on my age. 
Emboldened by the fact that I’m making her laugh and this date is going well, despite my
inability to wear matching shoes, I reach across the table and press my finger to her lips. “Don’t say it.”
She widens her eyes with innocence, but I’m not fooled. Gifted program, remember? “Don’t. Whatever crack you were going to say about my age or yours, don’t.” Scarecrow returns with our drinks, and I accept mine, even if it means pulling my hand away from
Elaine’s lips.
“I wasn’t going to say anything.” She can’t keep a straight face as she lifts her drink.
“Bullshit. You were two seconds away from saying something like, ‘When you were ten? What was that? Three years ago?’” I’m sure I impress her with my exaggerated falsetto.
“Yes, well.” She looks appropriately and adorably sheepish. “I was merely going to clarify that a Shirley Temple Black is an improvement on the old standard because it
contains a shot of vodka. And the Black comes in because that was her married name.”
“Who knew?  And it’s good, this grown up version?”
“It’s delicious.” She sips her drink through her straw, and my cock, which has been half hard since this date began, presses painfully against my fly. Christ. If she starts talking about porn again, I’ll go out of my damn mind. 
She reaches across the table this time and puts her hand in mine, lacing our fingers together. Her thumb rubs over my pulse point; it’s barely a touch, but it’s enough to drive me crazy.
Her hand moves down to my forearm, and her fingers caress the skin there. It feels good, sure, but when I look up at her and see the flush on her cheeks and I know she’s getting
turned on by my forearms, I nearly lose it.
She pulls away quickly, and I’m about to protest or cry like a baby, but she’s toying with the little plastic sword, and I’m a little mesmerized as she peels a cherry off the
length of the sword, rolls it on the tips of her fingers, and then points it in my direction. “Want my cherry?”
Sweet. Jesus. 

Author Bio
Andi Burns writes contemporary romance infused with humor, sass, and steam. She loves a happily-ever-after as much as her characters do, and she always reads the last page of a book first, just to make sure it all
turns out okay.
Andi lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and daughters. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, folding laundry, or daydreaming about her next hero and heroine.
Author Links

PRE-ORDER BLITZ – Absolving Blue (On Call #4) by Freya Barker


Title: Absolving Blue

( On Call #4)

Author: Freya Barker


Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 10, 2020
Hosted by: Buoni Amici Press, LLC.

For long-time Durango Fire Department EMT, Ava ‘Blue’ Navarro, her teammates at Station 3 represent a family more loyal than her own.
However, when patients start dying on her watch, she draws the attention of local law enforcement. In particular the smooth-talking detective she’s successfully evaded for years, fearing he might stir up her quiet existence.
Detective Tony Ramirez considers himself a likable guy, which is why the perpetual cold shoulder from the athletic blonde first responder is confusing.
Now he finds himself in charge of a murder investigation that threatens to shake his world both personally and professionally. A situation that won’t earn him any brownie points.
When medical examiner, Calder Stonewall, is called in to assist, it only seems to throw more suspicion Blue’s way, and Tony has to pull out all the stops to prove her innocence while securing her heart.

Pre Order Your Copy Today!!!

AMAZON


“I really hate this,” she says when I lift my head.
“I must be losing my touch, then,” I joke, and she slaps my chest.
“Not that, you idiot. I hate being weak.”
“Now who’s being an idiot?” I lightly shake her. “If you sprained your ankle, would you think it weak to see a doctor? Do you think the people you tend to on a daily basis are weak?” When she reluctantly shakes her head, I push my point home. “So how’s this any different? We’re just talking about another part of you that needs some healing. Shit, if you think that makes you weak, you’re calling every cop in Durango a pussy. Wait ‘til I tell the guys.”
“You wouldn’t,” she snaps, her eyes spitting fire.
“If you keep spouting that nonsense, I might.”


AMAZON


Award-winning author Freya Barker loves writing about ordinary people with extraordinary stories.
Driven to make her books about ‘real’ people; she creates characters who are perhaps less than perfect, each struggling to find their own slice of happy, but just as deserving of romance, thrills and chills in their lives.
Recipient of the ReadFREE.ly 2019 Best Book We’ve Read All Year Award for “Covering Ollie, the 2015 RomCon “Reader’s Choice” Award for Best First Book, “Slim To None”, and Finalist for the 2017 Kindle Book Award with “From Dust”, Freya continues to add to her rapidly growing collection of published novels as she spins story after story with an endless supply of bruised and dented characters, vying for attention!


 


PRE-ORDER BOOST – Take Me to Bed (Bedtime Quickies) Anthology

Pre-Order Boost

Got time for a Quickie?

Grab your ereader and snuggle up with your favorite authors as they come together to bring you a collection like no other.
From steamy to sweet, contemporary to paranormal, and everything in between, you won’t want to miss hooking up with these exclusive new romance stories.
All proceeds will be donated to the International Network of Hearts, a non-profit organization brings communities and governments together to help rescue women and children from human trafficking and sexual violence.


A. M. Wilson
A.C. Williams
AJ Alexander
Alex Grayson
Ali Dean
Amali Rose
Anna Bishop Barker
Anna Brooks
Aurora Rose Reynolds
Brittany Crowley
Cary Hart
Cassandra Robbins
Claire C. Riley
Danielle Norman
DM Earl
Erica Marselas
Esther E. Schmidt
Flora Burgos
Freya Barker
Gianna Gabriela
Heidi McLaughlin
HL Nighbor
JD Hollyfield
Jessica Marin
K.L. Clare
Kally Ash
KL Donn
Lauren Dawes
Lia Fairchild
Meagan Brandy
Melissa Toppen
Michelle Dare
Monica DeSimone
S.L. Sterling
Shari J. Ryan
Sienna Snow
Yolanda Olson




Pre-Order for $0.99!
B&N Paperback – http://bit.ly/tmtbBarnesPB

Don’t forget to add Take Me to Bed to your TBR or sign-up for the reader blast!

Reader Blast – http://bit.ly/TMTBReadBla


RELEASE BLAST – Doughn’t Let Me Go (Slice Book 3 ) by Teagan Hunter

Hunter

Release Date: February 6

It was just supposed to be one night.
No kissing. No feelings. A wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am tangle in the sheets and we go our own ways.
Only it’s a small town, and I was bound to run into the irresistible Porter Jones again. 
I just didn’t expect it to be at my job interview…which he’s conducting. 
Now the live-in nanny to his adorable seven-year-old daughter, I’m doing my best to avoid falling for his charms.
Except it’s much harder than either of us anticipated.
What’s a few romps between friends?
No kissing. No feelings. Just fun.  
Sounds simple, right?
Right… 
Get Your Copy Here:

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon AU


Free in KU

Meet the Author
I’m a Missouri-raised gal, but currently live in North Carolina with my US Marine husband and 9-year-old dog. I spend my days begging him for a cat, and I survive off coffee, pizza, and sarcasm. When I’m not writing, you can find me binge-watching various TV shows, especially Supernatural and One Tree Hill. I like cold weather, buy more paperbacks than I’ll ever read, and I never say no to brownies.
Writing is my passion, and this is just the beginning of my journey.

Connect with Teagan Hunter
 Website: www.teaganhunterwrites.com 
 Facebook: www.facebook.com/teaganhunterwrites 
 Instagram: www.instagram.com/teaganhunterwrites 
 Newsletter: www.teaganhunterwrites.com/newsletter
 Reader Group: http://bit.ly/TeagansTidbits


Hosted By:

RELEASE BLITZ – Going Down Again (Billionaire Bad Boys novella) by Carly Phillips

“Read Carly Phillips for a guaranteed hot, sexy, sizzling chemistry, and characters you’ll love.”

— Jill Shalvis, New York Times Bestselling Author

Going Down Again, an all-new sexy Valentine’s Day themed short story in The Billionaire Bad Boys Series from New York Times bestselling author Carly Phillips is out now!

going down again_amazon.jpg

Alphalicious and still demanding, Kaden Barnes has everything a man could want: a beautiful wife, an adorable toddler son, and a life most people would envy.

What he misses is being alone with his wife. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, he can’t think of a better gift than a vacation to the exclusive island of Eden where sensuality reigns.

But no sooner do they arrive than he realizes something is bothering his beautiful wife. Can he seduce Lexie into a revelation, and if so can he handle what she has to tell him that will upend their already chaotic life?

*A complete stand-alone for people who haven’t yet read GOING DOWN EASY but a special treat for those who want to revisit a favorite couple.


GDA - AN.jpg

Download your copy today for only 99¢!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Ruci5K
Apple Books: https://apple.co/2t3HlvS
Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/goingdownagain
Nook: http://bit.ly/30XOOc8
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2TXWCcx
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2GsxO4p

Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/3b2xSpA


Meet Carly Phillips

carly phillips

New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestseller, Carly Phillips gives her readers Alphalicious heroes to swoon for and romance to set your heart on fire. She married her college sweetheart and lives in Purchase, NY along with her three crazy dogs: two wheaten terriers and a mutant Havanese, who are featured on her Facebook and Instagram. The author of 50 romance novels, she has raised two incredible daughters who put up with having a mom as a full time writer. Carly’s book, The Bachelor, was chosen by Kelly Ripa as a romance club pick and was the first romance on a nationally televised bookclub. Carly loves social media and interacting with her readers. Want to keep up with Carly? Sign up for her newsletter and receive TWO FREE books at www.carlyphillips.com.

Connect with Carly

Bookbub: http://bit.ly/2FIG6FH
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2QyGiLl
Instagram: http://bit.ly/2TI6LX9
Facebook: http://bit.ly/2Nk4bID
Stay up to date with Carly by joining her mailing list:
http://bit.ly/2FKDasp
Sign up for Text Updates of New Releases: http://tinyurl.com/p3upm5s
Join Carly’s Addicts: http://bit.ly/2CM78tY
Twitter: http://bit.ly/2FJRa5y
Website: www.carlyphillips.com
Blog: http://bit.ly/2HQaYXg


RELEASE BLITZ – Trouble (Dogwood Lane 3) by Adriana Locke

Trouble Live Now Banner


Trouble by Adriana Locke is LIVE!


Read for FREE on Kindle Unlimited!

Download your copy today!

Amazon – https://amzn.to/2ZTIuku

Audible – https://geni.us/TroubleAudio

Add on Goodreads – http://bit.ly/2XfF5zl

Synopsis:

She wants something real. He wants something now. Together they’re trouble in USA Today bestselling author Adriana Locke’s sexy and funny twice-in-a-lifetime love story.

With his shameless grin and let’s-play swagger, carpenter Penn Etling leaves women wanting in Dogwood Lane. What do they get? Avery Perry knows: a one-night stand. She’s been there. She remembers every hot pulse as if it were yesterday. But Penn? He doesn’t remember a thing. Now he’s making new moves, and Avery’s not falling for trouble…again. Is she?

How could the beautiful stranger resist him? Avery is going to be a challenge for the bad boy. She’s the kind of woman who digs deep—deep enough to see there’s more to Penn than meets the eye. But first she has to give him a chance. She has to say yes. Could she also be the woman to make him change his playboy ways?

When these two come together, it’s hard to pull them apart. But with love and trust on the line, can Avery and Penn get what they both want? This time for keeps?


Been there, done that


Read an excerpt of Trouble here: https://wp.me/p4LOow-1ME

Enter the Giveaway HERE!

82462692_830052120780955_3436589769469984768_n

BLP REVIEW – Tracy

Man, this series just keeps getting better!!! Adriana Locke has me hooked on these books and her characters.

Our third trip to Dogwood Lane sees Penn Etling meet his match in Avery Perry!!

I loved that this pair had a history, even though Penn couldn’t remember her or their night together.

In previous books we’ve seen that Mr Etling is a good guy but definitely not on the path to settling down any time soon but, in Trouble, we saw a different side to the sweethearted playboy.

The guy is sweet, hardworking, funny AF, loyal and dependable but he’s got a deeper side to him that he doesn’t want anyone to find and my heart hurt for him when we discovered how truly thought of himself when it came to commitment and relationships.

Avery was like a female Penn, without the playboy attitude obviously… She was funny, snarky, down to earth (which given her folks and the life she’d been raised in was refreshing). I loved that she didn’t fall for Penn right from the get go but was honest enough with herself when it came to their chemistry and her attraction to him. Being friends with him, for me, gave them a deeper connection and made their potential relationship more real, and gods, how I was rooting for them.

This book was laugh out loud funny, so damned addicting and, quite probably, my favourite book in the Dogwood Lane series so far.

5 big hearted stars for Penn & Avery!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Adriana Locke is the USA Today bestselling author of the Gibson Boys series and Tumble and Tangle in the Dogwood Lane series. She lives and breathes books. After years of slightly obsessive relationships with the flawed bad boys created by other authors, Adriana created her own. She resides in the Midwest with her husband, sons, two dogs, two cats, and a bird. She spends a large amount of time playing with her kids, drinking coffee, and cooking. You can find her outside if the weather’s nice, and there’s always a piece of candy in her pocket. Besides cinnamon gummy bears, boxing, and random quotes, her next favorite thing is chatting with readers. She’d love to hear from you! Find out more at www.adrianalocke.com.

Connect with Adriana in her Facebook Group or Goodreads Group.

FB: / authoradrianalocke

IG: / authoradrianalocke

Pinterest: / authoradrianalo

Twitter: /authoralocke

Amazon: / authoradrianalocke

GR: / authoradrianalocke

Want a free book? Click here.


REVIEW – When Hope Ends; Life Begins by Freya Barker


Title: When Hope Ends; Life Begins
Author: Freya Barker

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 21, 2020
Hosted by: Buoni Amici Press, LLC.

It’s the best day of his life—the worst of hers.
She left her soul behind in the dead silence of a hospital room.
He is bright with hope after being so close to losing faith.
One moment in time leaves their paths unavoidably entwined.
An invisible connection held by one heart beating between them.

*Originally published in the Then There Was You box set.

AMAZON | APPLE BOOKS | NOOK | KOBO |

Tweet: When hope Ends; life Begins by @freya_barker is #Live on all platforms #Books2Read https://ctt.ec/eGbUu+ RomanceReads2020 #FreyaBarker #BAPpr @buoniamicipress



BLP REVIEW – Tracy

If you’ve read her books before and thought Ms Barker had previously pulled you’re heart out, chucked it in a blender, blitzed it then tried her damnedest to put it back together….. you ain’t felt nothing yet!!!!

When Hope Ends (Life Begins) was one hell of a read full of heartache, heartbreak, emotions, love and yep, most definitely hope. I worked my way through the best part of a box of tissues, was a red faced, sobbing, not fit for going out in public mess for a lot of the read but man, it was worth it!!

Freya Barker is a fabulous storyteller, her books feel like they come alive as you read and her characters are so real, relatable (and for the most part) likeable!

Grab your hankies, pull up your big girl pants and get reading this fabulous story.

A 5*, most certainly recommended read.


Freya Barker loves writing about ordinary people with extraordinary stories.
Driven to make her books about ‘real’ people; with characters who are perhaps less than perfect, but just as deserving of romance, thrills and chills, and their own slice of happy.
A recipient of the RomCon “Reader’s Choice” Award for best first book, “Slim To None”, and Finalist for the Kindle Book Award with “From Dust”, Freya has not slowed down.
She continues to add to her rapidly growing collection of published novels as she spins story after story with an endless supply of bruised and dented characters, vying for attention!




 

PREORDER BLITZ : A Tiger for Two by Lia Davis

Her wolf can’t wait to claim both mates…
A Tiger For Two by Lia Davis releases on February 4th!

Former Shield Special Ops Agent, Jonathan Colemen spent his career tracking down shifters until the fateful day he suffered severe burns from an explosion at the rogue Onyx Pack den. He wakes from his coma to discover he’s half tiger and unable to resist a certain male wolf and female Healer.

Wolf Sentry, Tanner Raines is more like his father than he will admit. He holds in his anger for what the male did to his mother, anger that keeps his wolf on edge. He focuses on killing rogues without becoming one himself. That means never claiming his mates, keeping them at a distance.

Wolf Healer, Sasha Brooks has known Tanner is her mate since childhood, and she’s growing tired of waiting for him to claim her. When Jonathan comes into the Ashwood Falls medical center, her wolf goes wild. Two mates! While her wolf is all for claiming both males, her human heart is confused.

When Tanner’s mom—the wolf Pack Alpha—is kidnapped, it takes all his focus and control to not kill everyone in sight to get to her. The two people he’s avoided and pushed away may be the only ones who can help him hold it together. And they need to work together. Because if they fail, his mom’s life isn’t the only one on the line. Evil is brewing and threatens to destroy everyone involved, including his mates and the Pack.



About the Author:

LIA DAVIS is the USA Today bestselling author of more than forty books, including her fan favorite Ashwood Falls Series. A lifelong fan of magic, mystery, romance and adventure, Lia’s novels novels feature compassionate alpha heroes and strong leading ladies, plenty of heat, and happily-ever-afters.

Lia makes her home in Northeast Florida where she battles hurricanes and humidity like one of her heroines. When she’s not writing, she loves to spend time with her family, travel, read, enjoy nature, and spoil her kitties. She also loves to hear from her readers. Send her a note at lia@authorliadavis.com!

Follow Lia Everywhere:

Amazon → https://amzn.to/2LY50TH
BookBub → http://bit.ly/2N3X2dS
Facebook → http://bit.ly/2H7mhbL
Goodreads → http://bit.ly/2mdNlOG
Instagram → http://bit.ly/2kNWtsY
Pinterest → http://bit.ly/2mmN9gj
Tumblr → http://bit.ly/2kQyzgt
Twitter → http://bit.ly/2mkVIbs
Website → https://authorliadavis.com


EXCERPT REVEAL – The Cruelest Stranger by Winter Renshaw



The first time I saw him was at a bar called Ophelia’s on a misty Thursday night. I was there to drown my sorrows after a trying day, he was there to escape the storm. After a brief yet incredibly cruel exchange, the handsome stranger bolted before I had a chance to tell him off. Incensed and three cocktails deep, I followed him out the door, determined to give the audacious Adonis a piece of my mind. 
Tearing after him in heels and barely able to keep up in the freezing rain, I ended my chase when I realized where he was going.
They say never to judge someone unless you know their story. 
I never could have anticipated his…
And I never could have anticipated the way our paths would cross again—or that I would one day find myself falling for a man with a hollow cavity where his heart should be, a man as callous as he was beautiful, as complicated as he was mesmeric. 
They say never to judge someone unless you know their story.
This one’s ours.

Through the shadowy haze of Ophelia’s, my unfocused gaze struggles to home in at first. And then I see him perfectly.

Chiseled cheekbones.

Impeccably-groomed obsidian hair.

Broad shoulders hardly contained in a navy cashmere sweater.

Jawline for days.

Could this be …?

Is that Mrs. Angelino’s nephew?

I take a generous mouthful of gin and tonic, contemplating how best to introduce myself. My palms tingle, and I rub them against the tops of my thighs, sucking in a shallow breath.

There’s a chance this man isn’t Garrett, and the more I think about it, he likely isn’t. I’ve yet to catch him scanning the room in search of someone.

But still—if it is him, I’d hate for him to think he’s being stood up. I would never do that to anyone, for any reason. My life’s mantra can be boiled down to the whole “do unto others …” saying.

Clearing my throat, I lean in his direction. “Excuse me?”

He doesn’t hear me.

Waving my hand to capture his attention, I say it again, “Hi. Excuse me.”

Still, nothing.

It’s like he’s in his own world—ten feet away.

The friendly, kindergarten-teacher smile teetering on my poppy-stained lips fades with the realization that I’m being ignored.

“Hi, excuse me …” Third time’s the charm. I wave once more, wiggling my fingers the way you’d politely flag down a restaurant server.

The man turns to his left, dark brows knit together and gaze tightened in my direction—and then he does the craziest thing: lifting his finger to his lips, he shushes me.

He. Shushes. Me.

Like a child.

Facing ahead, I take another drink, the glass trembling in my hand as a cocktail of thoughts swarm my head. The mirror behind the bar catches my reflection, and it isn’t pretty, but this time it has nothing to do with the damp, wiry, dishwater-blonde bun or the bar bathroom makeover.

Basic human decency is the one thing I value most in this world, and this man has none of it.

The full weight of his piercing stare anchors me to my seat, and every atom in my body is shouting for me to stay, to not march ten feet down the bar to give him a piece of my mind.

But today marks the anniversary of one of the worst days of my life, I was caught in a rainstorm and stood up, and I’m about two cocktails deep.

My self-control is non-existent.

Drink in hand, I slide off my seat and saunter toward the infuriatingly handsome asshole in the five-hundred-dollar sweater, but before I have a chance to utter a single word, he speaks first, “You seem incredibly insecure about something. Are you okay?”

“Excuse me?” I’m glaring, and I never glare. This isn’t good. This man’s about to bring out a side of me I never knew existed. And what the hell is he talking about? Insecure? “What kind of—”

“—what kind of asshole bothers a stranger for no reason?” he commandeers my question like he owns it. “Let me ask you this, when you saw me come in, saw me take a seat at the end of the bar away from everyone, what part of that gave you the impression that I wanted to be bothered?”

The man has a point—especially if he isn’t Garrett.

But it still doesn’t make him any less of a prick.

“I wasn’t trying to bother you, I was—”

“Really?” His full lips tug into a taut smirk, his tone as sharp as it is incredulous. “Because I’m pretty sure when you were waving at me and smiling and saying ‘Hi, excuse me’ in that cutesy little voice fifty thousand times … you were trying to bother me.”

“Are you always this cruel?”

“Are you always this desperate?” He doesn’t miss a beat.

My grip tightens on my glass. I’d love nothing more than to dump the remainder of this drink down his pretentious designer sweater.

Lucky for him that isn’t my style.

Besides, it’d be a shame to waste all that top-shelf liquor on a bottom-shelf bastard.

“For your information, I was supposed to meet someone here tonight. Someone fitting your description,” I say.

His jaw sets.

He takes a sip of his drink staring ahead, flashing a smirk that advertises a perfect dimple in the middle of his cheek. “Sure you were.”

“What, you think this is something I do to meet men?” My voice is pitched higher than I intended.

“You said it.” His brows rise as he centers his drink on a coaster.

“Don’t flatter yourself. You’re not my type.”

He sniffs. “I’m everyone’s type.”

I’m … speechless.

Is this jerk for real?!

Not only is this vexatious stranger cruel, heartless, and lacking in basic human decency, he’s also the epitome of arrogant.

“You can leave now.” He waves me off, but I’m stunned into silence as I try to gather my thoughts so I can leave him with one last zinger of a comeback.

“Everything okay over here?” Eduardo is hunched over the other side of the bar, his watchful stare passing between us. I swear he came out of nowhere—that or I was too distracted by this man’s willful audacity to notice him approaching us.

The cocky Adonis shoots me a glance before turning his attention to the bartender.

“We’re good, Eduardo,” he says. “I was just giving our friend here a lesson in etiquette, appropriacy, and basic decorum.”

Once again, I have no words.

Rising from his bar stool, he finishes the remainder of his drink with a smooth swallow before shouldering into his wool trench, heading for the door, and disappearing into the cold, dark evening.

Rain drops pelt the windows, obscuring anything and everything on the other side of the glass.

Peeling my fruitless gaze from that direction, it settles on an umbrella leaning against the wall next to the door.

His umbrella.

The blackest black.

The color of his soul—or the empty space in his chest where his heart should be.

Fitting.

Without giving it another thought, I slap a twenty on the counter and slip into my coat.

A moment later, I’m grabbing the stupid thing and diving out into the rain, praying I catch him in time.

As incensed as I am, as infuriating as he is, sometimes the best thing to do is fight cruelty with kindness. It’s something I learned early on in my life and something I instill in my students from the second they enter my classroom.

I spot him at the end of the block, waiting for the crosswalk to change.

Picking up my pace, I canter over cracked and pitted concrete, squeeze past umbrella-wielding locals—and make it to the end of the street just in time for the light to flick from neon white to warning-sign orange, forcing me to stop.

I wait where I am, my gaze trained on him in case he turns onto a side street.

The traffic signals begin to change, and within seconds, the crosswalk blinks to white.

I sprint across, ignoring the stinging cold rain drops pelting my skin, the frigid air biting through my clothes, and the painful clench in my jaw that keeps my teeth from rattling.

I’m a mere half of a block from him when he turns and disappears inside a local business.

But it isn’t just any business …

… it’s the Paulley-Hallbrook Funeral Home—a place I know well.

A moment later, I’m standing outside the very doors he walked into mere moments ago, frozen in every sense of the word.

The rain slows, gentle.

And then it stops.

Earthy petrichor fills my lungs as I witness the dark-haired, cruel-hearted mystery man as he’s greeted by a lady in a charcoal pant suit.

She places a hand on his shoulder and gives him an apologetic wince before escorting him away.

I wanted to give him the umbrella to teach him a lesson in compassion.

The irony of that isn’t lost on me.



Wall Street Journal and #1 Amazon bestselling author Winter Renshaw is a bona fide daydream believer. She lives somewhere in the middle of the USA and can rarely be seen without her trusty Mead notebook and ultra portable laptop. When she’s not writing, she’s living the American dream with her husband, three kids, and the laziest puggle this side of the Mississippi. 
And if you’d like to be the first to know when a new book is coming out, please sign up for her private mailing list


FNM

Book Reviews and More

BookZone

~book reviews ~ mostly non-fiction ~ true crime & biographies

CJR The Brit

Book Blog

Lady Heather's Reviews

Lover of books, music, and happily ever afters.

The Romance Bibliophile

Book Promotions | Reviews | Proofreading

Didi Oviatt

Author of suspense novels Justice For Belle, Search For Maylee, Aggravated Momentum, and a medley of short stories.

Jacquie Biggar-USA Today Best-selling author

It's All about the Romance 💕💕💕

Chelle's Book Ramblings

Let's Talk Books

Madeline's Blog

"I'm on the hunt for who I've not yet become."

N.M. Catalano Writer/Author

Adult Content, 18+ Only

Lisa s Everyday Life

Welcome to my Life. As I turn Everyday into a Holiday -

Ines Johnson

A little magic in your love story...

Hunter S. Jones

Writer ~ Author

Ophelia's

Speaking Out on the Unspeakable

BE MY BOOK BOYFRIEND

Fictional characters, non-fictional feelings

...Burns Through Her Bookshelf

Voracious reader, book lover, intermittant blogger, audiologist. These things are some of me, but not the sum of me.

DPAPA's Living A Flip Flop Life

Turn Your Passion Into Your Business Online

Pink Ink

Ten authors, four countries, one blog.

After Dark Book Lovers

END YOUR DAY WITH A GOOD BOOK

Book Loving Pixies

We live to read ~ we love to read!!!!

Rumpled Sheets Blog

#Rumpled_Sheets

Storytime with John

Pull up and listen...I've got a funny one for ya...

jessielanebooks.wordpress.com/

Contemporary & Paranormal Romance Author

%d bloggers like this: