Category Archives: Excerpt

BOOK TOUR & GIVEAWAY – Calistos (Guardians of Hades #5) by Felicity Heaton

New York Times best-selling paranormal romance author Felicity Heaton is here today for the book tour of her new paranormal romance release, CALISTOS, the latest novel in her epic Guardians of Hades series.

If you love dark, alpha Greek gods and strong heroines who bring them to their knees, together with epic action, sizzling passion and high stakes drama, then this series is definitely for you. Plus, each book has a happily forever after and there are no cliff-hangers, because there’s nothing worse than a cliff-hanger!

 

About the Book

Calistos (Guardians of Hades Paranormal Romance Series Book 5)
by Felicity Heaton

Prince of the Underworld and Lord of Air, Calistos was banished from his home by his father, Hades, two centuries ago and given a new duty and purpose; to keep our world and his from colliding in a calamity foreseen by the Moirai. Together with his six brothers, he fights to defend the gates to the Underworld from daemons bent on breaching them and gaining entrance to that forbidden land, striving to protect his home from their dark influence.

Tormented by the death of his twin sister, Calistos wants nothing more than to find a way to save her soul, but the pain of continuing without her, the constant feeling that he got her killed, is slowly pulling him down into the darkness and he knows it’s only a matter of time before he succumbs to the call of the abyss.

Until a battle sets him on a collision course with a kind-hearted and beautiful mortal, one who rouses softer emotions he had sworn he would never risk feeling again, threatening to peel away his mask of playfulness and shatter the barriers around his heart.

Marinda is a woman on a mission; to become a great cellist and repay her father for his faith in her. But her regimented and studious life is thrown into chaos when a handsome man is carted into the ER where she works and takes her hostage, pulling her into a dark and dangerous world; one where she discovers there’s more to her than meets the eye and her entire life has been a lie.

When the enemy makes a play for Marinda and the gates, will Calistos find the strength to let someone into his heart again and look to the future, or will the pain of his past lead him to unleash hell on this world?


Purchase Links

Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca | Amazon.com.au
Apple USA | Apple UK | Apple Canada | Apple Australia | Apple New Zealand
Barnes and Noble | Kobo Books | Google Play


Enter the grand tour-wide giveaway to win one of a $75, $50 or $25 Amazon Gift Card at the Calistos book page.

This giveaway is international and open to everyone, and ends at midnight on August 16th.

Enter now: 

http://www.felicityheaton.com/guardians-of-hades-calistos-paranormal-romance-book.php


Excerpt

“Clear the way!”

Marinda plastered her back against the cream wall of the busy hospital corridor as two paramedics rushed towards her, pushing a gurney. From the opposite direction, a doctor hurried to them, meeting them just before her.

“What do we have?” The woman looked the patient over and Marinda didn’t miss the flicker of horror in her dark eyes.

Marinda could understand her shock. The unconscious man on the gurney was covered in a black oily substance, had blood pooling beneath him on the pale sheets and staining his long blond hair, and had multiple lacerations across his bare chest.

Together with a bone sticking out of his left arm.

“Adult male. Early thirties. Someone found him on the Pont Sant-Michel. Unconscious.” The male paramedic glanced at the doctor before he went back to attending to the man. “He hasn’t regained consciousness.”

Coupled with the grave look he exchanged with the doctor and the other paramedic, Marinda knew what that meant.

He was bound for the morgue.

They rushed past her and her gaze tracked them, focused on him. How had he even managed to survive such extensive injuries? She had seen people in better conditions lose their lives, and didn’t hold out much hope for him. She hated nights like this, when she saw such horrible things, when she felt hopeless despite how badly she wanted to be able to help these people.

She drifted back along the corridor in the direction she had come, not noticing any of the people or the things happening around her as her feet carried her towards the ER.

Towards the man.

Was it morbid curiosity or something else that had this need awakening inside her? A desire to remain at his side. To watch over him.

She paused at the door of the room they had moved him into and watched as nurses joined the paramedics and another doctor, this one a man, rushed into the room from the doors to the theatre. She only caught snippets of their conversation as she stared at the blond man, her eyes transfixed on his face.

“We have any hope here?” a man muttered. One of the nurses.

“Just get him hooked up,” a woman hissed back at him as she worked to clear some of the black from the patient’s chest. “What is this stuff? Motor oil?”

“It stinks, whatever it is.” Another man moved around the blond on the gurney, blocking Marinda’s view for a moment, and she inched another step closer, compelled to remain within sight of the man.

“Vitals coming in now.” The first male nurse shifted to his right. “What the hell?”

Marinda glanced at the machine as he punched the buttons.

“That can’t be right.” He looked at his colleagues.

Marinda agreed with him. She had worked as a receptionist long enough to know what normal vitals looked like, and this man’s were as normal as they got. The machine had to be wrong. There was no way a man in his condition could have stable, near-perfect blood pressure. He hardly had any blood left in him judging by the crimson now dripping from the gurney to splatter on the tiled floor.

Weird.

She inched another step closer, bordering on entering the room now as that compulsion grew stronger. Her gaze dropped to his face again, and a feeling struck her.

He felt like home.

The strangeness of that thought had her frowning at him. She wasn’t normally one for such fanciful thoughts, and definitely not about men. Did she know him? It was possible he had lived in the small town where she had grown up, where she had spent her entire life before she had moved away to study at the Conservatoire de Paris.

The entire room erupted into pandemonium, shattering her thoughts and hurling her back into the world.

The blond jacked up off the gurney, growled like an animal as people rushed to restrain him, and she gasped as he kicked one of them. His heavy black boots caught one of the men in the chest and sent him flying across the room.

“Get him under control!” The doctor who had been the first to attend to him barrelled across the room with two large male nurses.

The woman seized the man’s legs, a vain attempt to contain him as he bucked and thrashed. The two nurses grabbed his shoulders and tried to pin him, and the second doctor joined the first, helping her keep the man’s legs under control.

The male paramedic fumbled with some straps, almost had them around the man’s legs when someone injected the blond with something.

His already strange vitals shot off the charts and he exploded from the bed, sending everyone staggering backwards, slamming into machinery and the walls. Marinda gasped and eased back a step as the man swung violently in all directions, the needle dangling from his arm swaying as he twisted and turned, taking in his surroundings.

His vivid blue eyes were wild, so bright they entranced her and she froze in the face of him.

He looked savage as he towered in the centre of the room, his bare chest heaving, the air around him swirling in a way that tousled the dirty strands of his long golden hair.

Like a man out of one of the fairy tales her father had told her as a child, not one made of flesh and blood.

Three of the male nurses attempted to capture him. He shoved the first to reach him, planting a hand against his chest, and the man flew across the room to hit the wall near the doors to the operating theatre. The other two didn’t fare any better. He knocked one out with barely a tap on the head, and swept his broken left arm out to catch the second one across his chest, sending him crashing into the machines.

He moved a step backwards, a tear in his black combat trousers opening to reveal a deep laceration that cut into his thigh muscle. He growled and flashed his teeth as he knocked against a trolley of equipment and turned on it, raising his right hand at the same time. The trolley flipped, scattering the contents across the tiles, and careened into the wall, embedding itself in the pale cream plaster.

No man had that kind of strength.

Was he on drugs? It seemed like a very real possibility as she stared at him, at the wounds that littered him and how crazed he was. He had clearly faced off against the wrong people and had lost.

He shifted his right foot forwards, dragging it through the blood, and then his left, slowly moving towards her.

The sensor leads attached to his body pulled taut and he snarled something in a language she didn’t know.

Everyone in the room suddenly dropped to their knees and clutched their ears.

Thunder pealed outside and the ground shook, threatening to send her to her knees too.

He tore the leads from his chest, leaving circular red marks where they had been, and ripped the needle from his arm. Blood tracked down it, dark against his dirty oil-slicked skin.

Marinda swallowed hard as he lifted his head and their gazes collided.

His eyes were even brighter now, as stormy as the lightning that ravaged the sky and shook the ground with another ear-splitting bang.

They softened as he gazed at her, as he slowly lifted his right arm and stretched a hand out towards her. He pushed his right foot forwards again, his knee buckled and he collapsed, catching his broken arm on the end of the gurney. A pain-filled bellow ripped from his lips and he spoke again, muttered things in that strange language that had the nurses and doctors curling over, holding themselves and crying out in pain too.

The man braced his right hand against the floor, his jaw tensed and he tried to push himself up. He sagged, breathing hard, and instinct had her moving towards him even as the sensible part of her screamed at her to run away. This man was dangerous. She could only watch herself as she closed the gap between them, as she crouched and laid a hand on his shoulder.

He was burning up.

He needed help.

Her help.

“Step away from him.” A flinty, hard male voice came from behind her and she glanced over her shoulder at the owner of it. A police officer. Two of them occupied the doorway, both of them looking at the man as he struggled to push himself up off the tiles. Someone must have raised the alarm. The man drew a gun and aimed it at the blond. “Stay down.”

The world whirled around her and she froze as she found herself facing the two police officers. The man behind her palmed something in his right hand and she tried to see it out of the corner of her eye. Her pulse spiked, fear flooding her veins for the first time as she made out what it was.

A scalpel.

He banded his left arm around her and her spine met his front as he brought the makeshift blade up to her throat. Instinct said to break free. This time, Marinda ignored it. She glanced at the carnage he had wrought, at the nurses who were slowly recovering now he had stopped speaking, several of whom were bleeding badly. She didn’t want to end up like them, and she had the feeling she would if she fought him.

He loosed another inhuman snarl and edged her forwards. He was heavy against her as he held her to him, his weight pressing down on her back, forcing her to support him. She struggled to move towards the door, her legs like jelly beneath her as she eyed the police officers, praying they would get out of his way. Fear crushed her lungs. She felt sure she wouldn’t survive the fight that would break out if they didn’t move.

As she neared them, she threw them both a pleading look. It hit its mark with the younger of the two officers and he moved back a step. The second joined him, easing backwards as the man moved her forwards, using her as a shield.

His grip on her tightened as they hit the corridor, the strength of it surprising her. With the amount of blood he had lost, and was continuing to lose, he should have been weakening, not growing stronger, but she swore he was doing just that. His steps grew surer too, the weight of him against her back lessening with each minute that trickled past as he slowly eased her backwards, keeping her facing the police officers.

He was surprisingly gentle with her as he guided her towards the exit and then out into the cool autumnal night air. He lowered the scalpel from her throat and turned her to face him, a flare of regret in his eyes as they dropped to the point where he had held the blade close to her vein. When his eyes lifted to hers again, she expected him to ask her where her car was.

Instead, he spoke in that unusual language of his and thunder rumbled overhead.

“I don’t understand,” she said in French, unsure he would know what she was saying.

When he clutched her shoulders through her white shirt and shook her, frustration crossing his features, she decided to try English instead.

“I don’t understand. What language is that anyway? Russian? Greek?” It was nothing she had ever encountered on her limited travels. It sounded similar to what her friend Cassandra spoke, although it might have something to do with how frustrated he sounded. Cass rarely spoke Russian outside of the times she was angry about something.

He snarled something else and blue light sparked across her vision, almost blinding her. She dropped her gaze to his right arm and the blue glow emanating from the tattoo of script that ran along the inside of his forearm. Maybe she had fallen asleep during her break and was dreaming all of this, because none of it seemed real.

That feeling compounded when he grabbed her and the light engulfed them.

She shrieked as she tried to break free of him, fighting his hold, and stumbled backwards as he released her. She hit the tarmac.

Or at least she should have hit tarmac.

She looked down at the smooth black ground beneath her that resembled tiles.

And then up at the man as he staggered away from her, muttering things under his breath, heading for an enormous four-poster bed draped with sky-blue linen. He collapsed onto it and rolled onto his back, breathing hard.

Marinda breathed hard with him, the pace of them quickening as she took in her new surroundings, unable to believe her eyes. The pitch-dark walls of the huge room seemed to close in on her as she struggled for air.

She shrieked again when a boom came from behind her and swiftly twisted onto her knees to face that direction.

A beautiful woman with scarlet hair that looked like blood against her pale skin and the delicate layers of her black dress drew to a sudden halt in the doorway, her emerald eyes falling to land on Marinda.

They darted to the man.

Marinda had the ridiculous urge to deny that she had been doing anything to him, that she hadn’t been with him in any fashion – not to harm him or seek pleasure with him.

“What have you done?” the woman whispered, her voice like a summer breeze as she swept towards Marinda.

Marinda lined the words up on her tongue, ready to deny that she had done anything, but then the woman glided straight past her, heading for the man, and she had the feeling the redhead had been speaking to him.

“Oh, you will be in trouble now,” the woman murmured as she gazed down at him, her green eyes overflowing with worry. “But it seems you were already in trouble.”

Marinda tensed when the woman looked back at her.

“What happened to him?”

She shrugged. “I don’t know. He was brought into the ER, found unconscious at the Pont Sant-Michel.”

A crinkle formed between the woman’s fine eyebrows. “ER?”

“Emergency room… at the hospital.” She tried to keep her focus on the woman, but her eyes strayed to the man as he laboured for breath, unconscious again. “I work there.”

She lifted the lanyard draped around her neck, pulling it away from her white shirt to show the woman her pass.

The woman shook her head and looked the man over again. When her gaze reached his left arm, she frowned, stooped and gently lifted it. She placed her delicate hand over the bone, closed her eyes and pressed down.

The man roared and bucked up. He violently struggled, wrestling against the woman’s hold, and Marinda waited for him to send the woman flying. Only he didn’t. She weathered his frantic thrashing, kept hold of his arm and remained perfectly still, as if he wasn’t jolting around like a wild animal.

This time, when his lips parted, Marinda understood him.

“Hurts. Fucking hurts,” he snarled and sagged against the blue bedclothes, his fight leaving him again.

“I know.” The woman stroked her hand over his arm and Marinda’s eyes widened.

The bone was no longer poking out of his skin, and the cut left behind wasn’t even bleeding.

She had to be dreaming.

Or having a nightmare.

“He’s badly hurt. He needs medical attention.” Marinda tried to push onto her feet but her legs refused to bear her weight and she crashed back onto her knees.

“You are a doctor? A nurse? A practitioner of medicine?” The woman turned hopeful green eyes on her.

They were about to be filled with disappointment instead.

“I’m a cellist.” She braced her hands against her bare knees beyond the hem of her grey pencil skirt and drew down a slow breath to steady her heart. Panicking wasn’t going to get her anywhere. If she wasn’t dreaming, then she had been magically whisked to another place and was at the mercy of her hosts.

“A cellist?” The woman frowned.

“I play the cello.” She didn’t mean for it to come out apologetic, but it did. Of all the people to grab, he had unfortunately grabbed the one person in the room who was of little use to him. “I just work at the hospital to help pay for my education. I man the reception desk in the ER.”

The scarlet-haired beauty sighed. “You do not know anything about doctoring?”

She started to shake her head and then shrugged. “I did basic training a couple of years ago. Just things like recovery position, bandaging, treating minor wounds.”

“So you can help him.”

This time she did shake her head. “No. Those are not minor wounds. He’s bleeding badly, has broken bones, and -“

“Much of it is not his blood,” the woman said in a deadpan voice that had Marinda lapsing into stunned silence.

If it wasn’t his blood, whose blood was it?

The woman stared deep into her eyes. “I am asking you to help me to help my son.”

Her son? Marinda looked at him where he rested on the bed, finally calm again. He didn’t look a day older than this woman.

“He will heal faster if we both aid him.” The woman gently brushed tangled strands of his dirty hair from his forehead and a sigh slipped from his lips, a contented sound that was so at odds with his terrible condition.

He had to be in a lot of pain. So much that she couldn’t see how he could find a simple touch comforting. Perhaps he was delusional. She had seen patients in so much pain that they had been out of their minds.

“He needs treatment. Surgery. He needs doctors at the very least. Painkillers.” Marinda looked at him, taking stock of the numerous wounds covering his arms and chest, and the gashes in his combats that revealed more cuts.

Strangely, all of the wounds looked shallower now.

As if they were healing rapidly.

“No human medicine.” The woman’s voice gained a hard, cold edge that didn’t suit her.

Those three words ricocheted around Marinda’s head, stirring more questions. No human medicine?

The floor trembled beneath her and she leaned forwards and pressed her palms against it, waiting for the ominous peal of thunder that would follow it just as it had when they had been in the hospital.

It remained eerily quiet.

“He should not have brought you here.” The woman turned away from Marinda and gazed down at the man on the bed. “He will be in trouble with Hades when he comes around. Reckless child.”

Marinda’s eyes widened. “Hades. Like…. Clash of the Titans?”

Now she knew she was dreaming.

The woman scowled at her. “Now is not the time for ridiculous questions. My husband is not a Titan, nor is he an Olympian.”

This woman had to be insane. She was talking about being married to the god of the Underworld as if it was perfectly normal and utterly sane.

She touched the man’s right arm and the writing tattooed on it glowed blue. A sigh slipped from her rosy lips.

“Hades will not be pleased,” she whispered, as gentle as the first kiss of morning light, and lifted her hand and stroked his cheek in a way only a mother could. Her touch was light, spoke of love that Marinda could feel across the expanse of air between them; a touch meant to take away all the pain and make everything better.

A touch Marinda had never known.

Disquiet stirred inside her as she watched the interaction, longing to know what that touch felt like mingling with jealousy that this man knew it, that the woman standing over him clearly loved him with all of her heart.

Her thoughts slipped to her father, and an ache bloomed inside her, a need that grew rapidly to fill her. She missed him. She should have stayed with him until the last day of summer break as she normally did, soaking up every moment with him. If she had, she wouldn’t have been in this mess.

Presuming it wasn’t all in her head.

She pinched herself, but didn’t wake.

In fact, it only seemed to make things worse. The woman waved her hand over the bloodstained blue sheets near the man’s legs. Bandages, sutures and other things she couldn’t make out from this distance appeared there. Magic. Marinda pinched herself again.

“Come, child.” The woman held her hand out to Marinda as she glided towards her, her bare feet silent on the cold black stone floor. In her wake, flowers bloomed, entwined with twisted brambles.

Marinda went to pinch herself a third time but the woman took hold of her hand and the warmth of her touch sank straight into Marinda’s bones, reached right down into her soul to soothe some of the fear from it.

“Together we can do this.” She raised her hand and Marinda marvelled as strength flowed through her limbs, as her legs grew steady enough for her to stand.

There was magic in this woman’s touch.

Magic and an endless well of love.

She guided Marinda to the man, and released her to place two rolls of bandages into her hands. “Tend to his wounds while I mend his arm. Do not be afraid of him. He will not hurt you.”

Marinda knew that. She didn’t know how she knew it, but she did. He had been gentle with her in the hospital, had regretted what he had done afterwards, and the weird tongue he had spoken hadn’t pained her as it had everyone else.

She moved to the foot of the bed, crawled onto it and up to his other side, opposite his mother. A bowl of water appeared on the bed beside her, together with a stack of dark towels, and she looked at the woman.

“Help me save my son.”

Marinda nodded, because maybe if she helped him, she could go home and this crazy dream would end.

She soaked a cloth, squeezed it out and went to wipe some of the blood and grime from the man.

Home.

She paused and looked at him, that feeling stirring inside her again, and as ridiculous as it seemed, she found it impossible to deny.

He felt like home.

She looked around at the room as that pull towards him filled her again, drawing her closer to him, deeply aware that the woman hadn’t lied and she was in a hellish realm of dark gods and the dead.

And the craziest thought yet pinged into her mind.

It felt like home.

And she didn’t want to leave.


Purchase Links

Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca | Amazon.com.au
Apple USA | Apple UK | Apple Canada | Apple Australia | Apple New Zealand
Barnes and Noble | Kobo Books | Google Play


Books in the Series

Book 1: Ares
Book 2: Valen
Book 3: Esher
Book 4: Marek
Book 5: Calistos 
Book 6: Daimon – Coming Fall 2020
Book 7: Keras – Coming Fall 2020


About Felicity

Felicity Heaton

Felicity Heaton is a New York Times and USA Today international best-selling author writing passionate paranormal romance books. In her books, she creates detailed worlds, twisting plots, mind-blowing action, intense emotion and heart-stopping romances with leading men that vary from dark deadly vampires to sexy shape-shifters and wicked werewolves, to sinful angels and hot demons! If you’re a fan of paranormal romance authors Lara Adrian, J R Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Gena Showalter and Christine Feehan then you will enjoy her books too.

If you love your angels a little dark and wicked, the best-selling Her Angel series is for you. If you like strong, powerful, and dark vampires then try the Vampires Realm series or any of her stand-alone vampire romance books. If you’re looking for vampire romances that are sinful, passionate and erotic then try the best-selling London Vampires series. Seven sexy and sinful Greek god brothers can be your new addiction in the Guardians of Hades series. Or how about four hot alpha shifter brothers in her Cougar Creek Mates series? Or if you prefer huge detailed worlds filled with hot-blooded alpha males in every species, from elves to demons to dragons to shifters and angels, then take a look at the Eternal Mates series.

If you want to know more about Felicity, or want to get in touch, you can find her at the following places:

WEBSITE | BLOG | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS | INSTAGRAM


BLOG TOUR – Wild Night by Mari Carr

Wild Night - BT banner


Wild Night, an all-new frenemies-to-lovers romance, guaranteed to bring the heat from New York Times bestselling author Mari Carr is available now!

Wild Night Ebook copy (1)

He never realized the woman of his dreams is his lifelong frenemy…

After a few too many drinks at a Halloween party, Kelli spends the night in the arms of a man who rocks her world. However, when she learns her mystery Mr. Right is Mr. Hell No, Colm Collins, she’s ready to run for the hills. He’s more than a confirmed bachelor and highly regarded lawyer–not to mention the best sex of her life.

He’s also her least favorite person alive.

But Colm refuses to accept just one wild night with her. He wants them all–and this sexy man plays dirty.


Wild Night - AN (1)

Download your copy today!
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2ZzgpBN
Apple Books: https://apple.co/36qtX48
Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/wildnight
Nook: https://bit.ly/2Xp8hBt
Kobo: https://bit.ly/3c0Mm8X
Google Play: https://bit.ly/2Y9v8mb

Add WILD NIGHT to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/2yv3Cp9


Excerpt

“Well, I guess I should—”

“Invite me up.” There wasn’t a hint of request in his words, so of course, it tweaked Kelli just enough that she’d deny herself what she wanted—him in her bed tonight—just to put the man in his place.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

Though the two of them had gone out for dinner a couple of nights this week, they’d met at the restaurants and managed to not talk about Halloween or that fucking hot as hell interlude in the bathroom last Sunday.

“Kell,” he said, his gaze heated…hungry. “Invite me up. Now.”

“You know,” she said, turning away from him, not surprised when he followed, “it would serve you right if I sent you packing, you cocky bastard.

“But then you’d suffer too.”

She glanced over her shoulder to make sure he could see her rolling her eyes. “I’d hardly suffer. You’re not that—”

Colm cut her words off with a firm smack on the ass. “You go to hell for lying, Kell.” And then, to punctuate that, he smacked her again.

“Ouch,” she said through clenched teeth, trying not to recall how he’d done the same thing the night of Halloween and how much she’d fucking loved it. She punched in the code to her apartment building and led him inside.

“That was just a warm-up,” he warned.

He’d certainly warmed up her ass, but she wasn’t about to admit that. Or how much she wanted him to make it burn.


About Mari Carr

Maripic (1)

Virginia native Mari Carr is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller of contemporary romance novels. With over one million copies of her books sold, Mari was the winner of the Romance Writers of America’s Passionate Plume award for her novella, Erotic Research. She has over a hundred published works, including her popular Wild Irish and Compass books, along with the Trinity Masters series she writes with Lila Dubois.

Connect with Mari

Facebook: https://bit.ly/37bo2jC
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Stay up-to-date with Mari, sign up for her newsletter:
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Website: https://maricarr.com/


RELEASE BLITZ – I Never Let You Go (I Never #3) by Stefanie Jenkins

Title: I Never Let You Go
Series: I Never #3
Author: Stefanie Jenkins
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 29, 2020
Blurb
One word was all it took to change everything. For years, Lauren Lawson believed happily ever afters didn’t exist for everyone—especially her. Now a decade after watching the love of her life walk away, he’s back.
Finn Reynolds is determined to win her back, but Lauren is scared. She keeps her feelings locked up to protect her fragile heart from
being shattered again. But Finn has a way of getting her to open up—he always has.
Can Lauren leave the past behind and move on to a future where she never lets him go?
Purchase Links
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Free in Kindle Unlimited



Excerpt
“Lo, what is this?” Finn motions his hand between us.  
His question, which I knew he would eventually ask, catches me off guard. My shoulders instantly tense, just like they did when he approached me at the wedding. My throat goes dry, unsure of how to answer. I slowly spin to face him, and when our eyes meet, I see they are full of vulnerability just as they were when he asked me to marry him.  
“I want—” He stops and runs his fingers through this hair. “You know what? Never mind what I want.” His voice is quiet as he takes a step closer. “What do you want?”  
He tucks a stray hair behind my ear—a move so simple, yet natural for us.  
My gaze drops from his eyes to his lips. It would be so easy to grab the back of his neck and pull his lips to mine. “I…I…” The words “I want you” are on the tip of my tongue, but I’m scared. The vision of Finn walking away in
the airport is enough for me to settle on “I…I don’t know,” instead. 
 
He exhales loudly and grips the back of his neck as he takes a step backward. This is different than last time, Lauren, I tell myself over and over. You both aren’t the same people anymore. “Lauren, I know exactly what I want, and when you figure out what you want, call me. I’m not going anywhere, I promise. Until then…”  
Finn takes one step forward and then another before he is standing right in front of me, and his lips press against mine. This kiss is gentle, but I can feel it from the top of my head to the tips of my toes and everywhere in
between. 
 
I want to grip his shirt and deepen the kiss—to know what Finn tastes like after all these years, but he breaks the kiss first. He places a quick kiss against my forehead. “I’ll be seeing you, Lo.”  
And with that, he is gone before I even open my eyes. I am then left alone on my front porch wanting more—wanting Finn, to be exact. 


no


Also Available

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Free in Kindle Unlimited

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Free in Kindle Unlimited

Only 99c!

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Free in Kindle Unlimited



Author Bio
Stefanie Jenkins writes contemporary romance and lives in Surf City, North Carolina with her husband and two sons. Born and raised in Maryland, Stefanie brings her favorite parts of her hometown to life in her
books. She is a coffee addict, wine connoisseur, hockey fan & lover of all romances – give her all the swoon & angst.
Author Links

RELEASE BLITZ – Shelby (The Bang Shift #4) by Mandy Harbin

Title: Shelby
Series: The Bang Shift #4
Author: Mandy Harbin
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: June 23, 2020
Blurb
No one likes being played…
FBI agent Shelby Landry knows what it means to be a team player. She reluctantly investigated the Bang Shift out of duty, but the government now needs her in a way that doesn’t involve torque wrenches or transmissions. The fed’s mark? Mason Showalter, a newly promoted executive who is the key to unlocking this case. The FBI knows this businessman’s dark side extends beyond the boardroom into the bedroom, and it’s his sexual appetite that’ll be used to their advantage…at Shelby’s expense.
Mason Showalter is the type to always chase the thrill, no matter the cost. He’s a new senior vice president of capital management and part owner of an exclusive club, yet he still isn’t satisfied. When he meets Shelby, he’s immediately drawn to her, curious if the beautiful woman will present the real challenge he craves. He’ll play with her and put her to the test, but he isn’t prepared when
she rocks his world in more ways than one.
What starts out as an assignment becomes a shocking path of self-discovery rooted in unbridled passion and deceit so deep that no one is prepared when secrets come out.
It’s easy to forget who’s playing by the rules, and who’s being played.

Purchase Links

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



Excerpt
Mason stood inside his plush new office and grabbed his tablet off his custom walnut desk.
The leather of his executive chair still had that new luxurious smell, one he would never tire of. When he’d been promoted to senior vice president of capital management a couple of weeks ago, he knew all his hard work over the
years had finally paid off.  Being in his mid-thirties, Mason was the youngest VP at the company, but he was also the only one who didn’t have a wife and children at home who demanded some of his time. He’d climbed each rung of the corporate ladder with eighty-hour workweeks, new clients, and the appropriate amount of ass-kissing—though he
loathed to look at it that way. He knew when to stand strong and when to schmooze. It was the nature of the business. He didn’t make the rules, but he knew how to play by them.
Especially when they got him something he wanted.
He deserved to be where he was at today. He’d earned his position the blood-sweat-and-tears
way, unlike his boss, who could only claim blood as his method. Not because he’d spilled any of his own. William Baxter was one of the founding members’ great-nephew. He’d coasted into his position simply because of what coursed through his veins.  The man was senior executive director of private clients and managed the funds of some of the
wealthiest people in the world—a position Mason would do anything to get.
He would probably never become the CEO of Fieldstein and Baxter since he hadn’t been
born into the family like William, but Mason was content with his track to one day take over his new boss’s position. Even if that meant he’d have to ruin the man’s career in the process. It wasn’t personal. Mason would never indulge in something as weak as emotion in his career. It was business, plain and simple.
He took the elevator up to the floor where the executive staff primarily worked since he was scheduled to meet with his new direct boss in five minutes for a conference call with some brokers. He knew how to play the game—come too early and William would think he wasn’t busy enough, but come too late and William would be insulted by Mason wasting his precious time. It was a tune he’d danced to way too many times, and he never missed a step.
He was a shark when it came to business and knew the game so well he could go through
the motions of his job, saying all the right things without even really having to think much about it. But that also afforded him the opportunity to be someplace else mentally…whether it was intentional or not.
As he walked into William’s office, took the seat offered, and began to listen in on the call, his mind strayed to the place it had often sought since meeting the beautiful Shelby. On the outside, he listened to the execution of securities transactions, but in his mind, he was undressing Shelby, touching every inch of
her body, kissing every exposed part of her, and bringing her to orgasm over and over while the voices of his colleagues droned on in the background. He’d envisioned paddling her bottom until it was rosy and hot to the touch, hearing her cry out as the confusion of pain as pleasure set in, and picturing her reaching subspace as euphoria took over her body and mind.
“That’s an interesting point, Carl, but not why we’re meeting. Mason will look into the hedge fund issue,” William said toward the speakerphone.
“Sure thing,” Mason replied easily. This wasn’t the first time he’d mentally played out the scenes he’d planned for Shelby, but that didn’t mean he liked her controlling his thoughts. He’d fantasized to the point of obsession, and that bothered him. He was a master at domination, yet could easily detach himself
emotionally when it came to harmless play. For some reason, this one woman had
perplexed him. He didn’t know her, had never met her before that night, but he was already attached to her on a primal level. He’d found himself dreaming about her at night, moaning her name when he took himself in hand in the
mornings, and getting lost in the pools of emeralds that graced her lovely face whenever he blinked longer than a second.
And he hadn’t even seen her naked, had only held her and very briefly kissed her. That
was all. And apparently, that was all it had taken to hook him.
He’d told himself it was just because he’d been bored lately and she was a new distraction,
but even that felt false. He couldn’t explain his reaction to her, but one thing was becoming painfully clear—he needed to get a handle on this sudden fascination. He didn’t like it when he wasn’t in control of anything, and that
included his own emotions. He preferred things tightly tethered in all matters of his life, and when he thought of that woman, he felt frayed at the ends.
No, he didn’t like that at all.
She’d come to him for guidance, and his sense of duty had swelled. With any sub he’d have had a hard time rejecting such a request, but with Shelby, he could not have turned her away even if he tried. It was that connection he did not understand but couldn’t deny.
As a Dom, he’d easily put her needs before his. There was no doubt about that. However, as the man he was, he needed a dose of self-preservation. Hell, he’d wanted her to wait to be sure she was ready to submit, but instead, he was giving himself the time he apparently needed to control whatever connection he’d felt toward her. He could not let normal male weaknesses deter him.
As a powerful businessman, however, he really didn’t need the distraction of Shelby
right now. His plan for William had already been put into play, things already in motion, and he couldn’t stop the momentum even if he wanted, which he didn’t. He’d worked too fucking hard on his plan. It wasn’t a good time to get involved with a woman on any emotional level. He glanced over at William and watched as the man continued with the meeting.
Yes, bad fucking timing.
Something was going to have to change.
He clenched his jaw. He’d made an agreement with Shelby, so he couldn’t back out. It wasn’t
that he was a man of his word. It was his role within the community that solidified his resolve to help once he’d agreed to. Only now, he’d have to switch gears. He would still guide her on her discovery as he’d promised, but
there really was only one option for him now.
And he couldn’t fucking stand the idea that had formed. It did not sit will with him. At. All. But he saw no other choice.
Mason would be in control, but he was going to have to let another Dom experience what he’d been dreaming about for almost a week. It wasn’t something he and Shelby had talked about specifically, but he couldn’t see this working out any other way. If she wanted him as her Dom, even temporarily, she’d do as he instructed. This would be her first lesson—and a test for himself he hadn’t expected. He’d never let another Dom top his sub before he got the privilege of doing so himself. He would have to watch as another man showed her the pleasure of the lifestyle.
That thought sickened him, which only strengthened his resolve. He could not, would
not, allow himself to become attached to Shelby any more than he’d already become. This sudden bond wasn’t healthy, and he was too powerful of a man to fall victim to it. Shelby was just another woman who wanted to experience submission. Period.
He was taking control of this situation, so it would not get out of hand. As soon as the meeting was over, he’d call Rafe before he had a chance to change his mind, not that he would. He knew what he had to do, and he was going to do it.
There really was no other option.
* * *
“We have new information from a source within Fieldstein and Baxter,” Rick announced in the impromptu meeting scheduled late Friday afternoon.
Shelby was too nervous to focus on facts that were peripheral to the night’s upcoming
events. She’d entered Mason’s phone number into her cell a hundred different times since she’d met him with the intention of canceling their plans. No way could she do that. She’d be in serious trouble if she did anything to
jeopardize this assignment. She was a nervous wreck who knew the score. She had to find a way to remain focused on her task and work her mark for information…somehow. One step at a time. If she concentrated on the immediate responsibility of the night, then maybe she’d be able to get through it. This
was, after all, her mission.
And her job was important, even if she was picked for this assignment because of her looks. She had to be successful, so next time she’d be chosen because of her track record, not her bra size. Shelby had a lot to prove if she wanted to come out from under the protective shadow of her mentor, Darrell, and make a name for herself.
“Who’s the source?” Darrell asked as he folded his arms and stared at their boss. “I hope the SEC isn’t running around shouting to all the employees of F and B that they’re looking for info. Kinda makes our job to help not necessary, don’t cha think?”
Carson chuckled. “Yeah, not to mention flashing neon signs for the executives. If they
get wind of this investigation, they’d lock themselves up tighter than a hooker with a poor man.”
“You’re such a sleaze,” Viola said.
“Tighter than Fort Knox. Is that better?” he asked with a wink.
“Too little too late.” Viola rolled her eyes at Carson. The man never missed an opportunity
to flirt. “Anyway, his name is Carl O’Brian. He called his contact with the SEC to discuss some discrepancies he’d found within a hedge fund. He couldn’t get the returns paid out to calculate based on the figures they were reporting. Since F and B is flagged in the computer, the contact reported this to our
liaison, Jerome Parker, who then spent the last couple of days running the numbers. He couldn’t make heads or tails on just how F and B reached the reported amounts either. Jerome called with the info a couple of hours ago.”
“Viola then told me, which is why I called this meeting.” Rick looked at Shelby, and she
forced her knee to stop bouncing erratically under the table. “According to O’Brian, Mason has been assigned to work on the fund.”
Shelby swallowed. “So Mason just went from someone who might know something to someone who does know something.” Her heart pounded at this turn of events. She’d have to be extra careful. If it had been confirmed he was in on the crime, then being alone with him would make her extremely vulnerable. Under normal circumstances, she’d have major backup, but they already knew she couldn’t wear a wire, and it wasn’t open to the public tonight, which meant
there would be no eyes inside the place besides hers.
“I think that’s still iffy,” Rick said, dragging Shelby out of her thoughts. “We only
know he has a link to a fund that could be fraudulent. He might not even realize he knows anything yet.”
It seemed too convenient to Shelby, though. She got the vibe he was very methodical, as
if nothing got past him.
“What’s the fund?” Carson asked as he clasped his hands on top of the table.
“It’s the Culpeper Hedge Fund, named for founding member Edward Baxter’s mother-in-law, Margaret Culpeper.”
“That’s one of the firm’s elite funds. Mrs. Culpeper spent the last years of her life
giving all kinds of money to charities. Society loved her, and F and B has been offering that fund in her honor for decades,” Darrell said. “Always giving a percent of profits to her favorite charities.”
“Correct. So the damage could go way back. When O’Brian made contact with Mason, our new mark was vague enough not to answer any questions outright while managing to
sound as if O’Brian’s concerns were overstated. According to O’Brian, Mason
wasn’t even fazed by the conflicts he’d found.”
“He must be in on it,” Carson said, sitting up. “He’s trying to sweep the con under the rug.”
Shelby agreed, but she kept her mouth shut. She knew that look in their boss’s eyes. He wasn’t going to make any assumptions. He would want concrete proof one way or the other before making an assessment. Normally, she’d concur with going that route, but normally, her ass wasn’t the one on the line. An ass that might end up naked tonight.
“It’s still too early to jump to that conclusion, Carson,” Rick said, just as Shelby had
predicted. Then he turned toward her. “But you’re right. Before, Mason was just a possible way to get information since he was recently promoted, but now he’s a link to busting this case wide open. We need to know what he knows. If he’s innocent, we need to secure his help quickly. If he’s guilty, we need to gather
as much evidence on him and F and B as we can just as fast. There’s going to be a lag time between the info you get and when we can analyze it. You’ll have to make judgment calls as you learn things from him. Be smart about it.”
As if there wasn’t enough pressure already.
Shelby couldn’t afford to be nervous about this anymore. She needed to pull up her big-girl panties and do her job. It wasn’t as if she wasn’t used to being in a testosterone-ridden room. She’d heard dirty jokes going up at her dad’s car shop before she even understood them. She worked in a male-heavy career. Hell, her last assignment was working at the Bang Shift garage with mercenaries who had no clue why she’d really been put there. She could do this. She had to. This case meant F and B had swindled people out of hundreds of millions of dollars, but until now, she hadn’t fully grasped how important it was for her to get Mason to talk. Shelby looked at her watch and stood. She was wasting precious time.
“I’ll text Viola when I leave the club and report back on Monday. Right now, I have a date to get ready for.”
She had every eye in the room on her. Some displayed hope while others sympathy, except
for Darrell. He looked pissed, and if she didn’t know the man was seriously dedicated to his career, she was pretty sure he would toss her over his shoulder and make a run for it to keep her from having to go through with this.
But none of that mattered. It was time for her to do the job she’d been selected for and see just what she could get out of Mason.
And hope Mason wouldn’t take too much of her in return.


Also Available
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AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Free in Kindle Unlimited
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Free in Kindle Unlimited



Author Bio
Mandy Harbin is a USA Today Bestselling author who loves creating stories that explore the complexities of everyday relationships…with some kissing thrown in. She is a Superstar Award recipient, Reader’s Crown and Passionate Plume finalist, and has achieved Night Owl Reviews Top Pick distinction many times. She also writes young adult romance as M.W. Muse because teens like kissing, too.
After graduating college and working many years in technology, she threw caution to
the wind and began studying writing at the UALR. Years of trashed manuscripts and rejections eventually led to contracts and representation. With over thirty books published, she now serves on the board of her local writing chapter.
Mandy lives in a small, Arkansas town with her husband and their bossy dog, enjoying her
own happily ever after…with some kissing thrown in.
Author Links


Giveaway

RELEASE BLITZ – Suck: A Naughty Novella (Suck, Bang, & Blow #1) by Nikki Belaire

Title: Suck: A Naughty Novella
Series: Suck, Bang, & Blow #1
Author: Nikki Belaire

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: June 18, 2020
Blurb
Reece Diavolo. They call him The Devil behind his back, and when the vicious mob boss sees the bride at his cousin’s wedding he decides there won’t be a marriage after all that day…because now she belongs to him.
Macy Shaw. They call her The Mouse to her face, and when the goodest of good girls learns her blackmailing fiancé has disappeared she’s relieved…until she realizes her savior is even more dangerous than the groom.

Author’s note: Suck is short, sweet, and dirty, filled with all the best parts of a romance for a fun two-hour read. No triggers or cliffhangers and a guaranteed happily ever after.
Purchase Links
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Free in Kindle Unlimited



Excerpt
Blowing out a deep breath, I swipe my ripped thong and shredded thigh highs off the floor and race back to the bathroom, shoving them into the trashcan under the sink. Too bad the dress won’t fit in the bin too, but I can’t leave the gown behind either. That would be too tacky. I slowly twist the knob, peeking out into the hallway. Unsure if I’m relieved or
disappointed the corridor is empty, I shake my head. Trying and failing to mute the emotions swirling in my brain as I tiptoe across the black hardwood. I don’t know why I’m trying so hard to be quiet but silence seems appropriate. I grab the monstrosity and my heels off the living room carpet and sweep toward the door. Only about twenty feet and I’ll be outside. Maybe one of the guards I saw last night will loan me his phone to call an Uber and I can go somewhere that’s not here.
“Good morning angel.”
Reece leans against the counter with a coffee mug in one hand, watching me with considerable amusement. He’s panty-wetting
gorgeous, if I was wearing any, with the wicked grin lighting up his handsome face. He looks like a model posing for a photo shoot, and every single woman I know would buy whatever it is he’s selling no matter how much it costs. I avert my eyes to keep from staring at his broad chest or the six pack resting so sleek and defined above his gray sweat pants.
“Good morning.” I tug against my improvised dress. “I hope it’s okay I’m borrowing your shirt. I promise to return it. I’ll wash–”
“Where are you going?”
I grin too. Casual and carefree. Saving my meltdown for later. When I’m home alone. Although I’m not sure right at this exact
moment where home actually is. “Walk of shame. Isn’t that what you do after a one-night stand?”
Something shifts in his stance and his expression. A hardness that makes me shiver. The satin fabric rustles from my shaking arms, and I resist the urge to step back when all I want to do is step closer. Yet in another instance the irritation is gone and he smirks. “Because you know so much how one night stands work?”
He’s teasing. But my cheeks flame hot anyway. Yes, I’m a stupid, inexperienced virgin who let booze and humiliation and desire cloud her judgment. But I boss up and accept my mistakes. Move on without regret or request anything more from him. “Thanks for everything. Really. You were great when I needed a friend and I–”
“What are you going to do with that?”
Ignoring my awkward attempt to convey gratitude, he nods toward the gown draped over my arm.
“Burn it.”
Damn. I shouldn’t have blurted out something so childish and immature. Yet, all he does is nod. Seeming to wholeheartedly approve of my idea.
“My thoughts exactly.”
The clink of his cup against the granite countertop sounds as harsh as my breath when he holds out his hand. Uncertain what he wants—what to do—so I just stare. He just frowns, mad at me, but I’m not sure why.


Coming Soon
Releasing July 16
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Blow
Releasing August 20
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU


Author Bio
Nikki writes contemporary romantic thrillers and admits to a weakness for bad boys, especially ones who can’t live without the strong women they love. She spends more time in her characters’ lives than her own. But, when she’s in the real world, her passions include reading, wine appreciating, running, and spending time with her husband and daughter.
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BLOG TOUR: Winning Hollywood’s Goodest Girl by Max Monroe

WHGG - BT banner

A baby on the way first.
Then love and marriage?
It’s complicated on its best day.

Winning Hollywood’s Goodest Girl, an all-new not-to-be-missed, surprise baby romantic comedy standalone by New York Times bestselling author Max Monroe is available now!

WHGG Official cover 6x9 (2)

Raquel and Harrison sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G.
First comes love.
Then comes marriage.
Then comes a baby in the baby carriage.

That’s how her brother used to sing it when we were kids—a simple ploy to get under my skin and make me stick my fist in his face—but man oh man, did he get the order wrong.

One night of “kissing” in New York catapulted us straight to the pregnancy portion of the song—surprise!—and now I have to figure out how to carry out the whole melody in reverse.

A baby on the way first.
Then love and marriage?
It’s complicated on its best day.

But our situation is far more problematic than just a simple twist of nursery rhyme lyrics. Before our night together, Raquel Weaver was the best-known good girl in Hollywood—a twenty-nine-year-old sexpot virgin whom the world adored and watched like a hawk.

Obviously, the consequences of that kind of reputation don’t just go away. Add in pregnancy hormones, the media, a fake fiancé, and a selfish manager, and you have the short list of my problems.

As a thirty-four-year-old, successful CFO of a multibillion-dollar media conglomerate, I thought I would be able to handle anything show business could throw my way, but I’m starting to think I might be in over my head.

Good thing I’m all in.
Winning Hollywood’s goodest girl is going to take everything I’ve got.


WHGG - AN

Download your copy today exclusively on Amazon or read for FREE in Kindle Unlimited!
Amazon: https://amzn.to/3dIq5xP
Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/HollywoodsGoodestGirl

Add WINNING HOLLYWOOD’S GOODEST GIRL to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/2Ynwt9j


WHGG - Teaser 2


Excerpt

Harrison

Never cry over spilled milk.

That’s what my mom always said, but I have to admit, until today, I never paid it much attention. As a kid, I spilled shit all the time. Milk. Juice. Water. If it was liquid, I was splattering it all over fucking creation.

Our mop got a lot of action, sure, but every time, my mom would simply laugh. Not a little, demure giggle, but big, uproarious belly laughing. Ellie Hughes thought life was made for living, and she’d be damned if she let me dwell in the valleys. Hell, maybe that’s why I was always wreaking havoc on all of our flooring—my accidents were a precursor to something upbeat.

Anyway, I haven’t thought much about all those puddles of laughter in a long time.

But today is proof positive: my mom—well, she was a teacher way ahead of her time.

Cereal poured and the financial section of the New York Times in hand, I make my way to my circular, glass kitchen table and take a seat that faces the TV.

Hello, Today!, the syndicated fluff show during the eight o’clock hour on TBC, prattles on about the perfect Christmas breakfast for a family of four while an obnoxious elf bounces around in the background. I roll my eyes as some celebrity—fuck if I know who it is—pretends to know how to make frittatas and turn my eyes back to the paper.

Growing up, television was forbidden fruit in my childhood home. My hard-ass of a dad thought it was more important to read the Wall Street Journal and understand the stock market than watch what he called drivel. He was one of those top 1% people, and his power-wealthy position in life included uber-rich hedge funds, strategic million-dollar stock market swing trades, and a money-hungry mind-set.

The only time the one television—I’m serious, one fucking TV—in our home was actually used, it revolved around big news conglomerates and State of the Union addresses by current presidents.

But despite the old man’s eccentric views on television and movies and normal people’s forms of entertainment, I can’t deny that learning about the stock market at an early age and being forced to understand things like the global economy and trade deals has served beneficial in adulthood.

My morning routine normally synchronizes beautifully for an all-out news download before heading to the office. But today, because of a late dinner meeting last night and too many Christmas-themed cocktails that have nothing to do with the holly-sprig adorned ones on TV, I’m running behind schedule.

The great news is, as CFO of one of the largest media conglomerates in the world, I’m actually allowed to do that on occasion without getting docked on my time card. In fact, I haven’t seen an actual time card in ages. The only punching I do is at Tommy John’s Kickboxing on Wednesdays in a basement studio all the way over on 75th and Broadway.

In the interest of full punching disclosure: I suck at it. Mohammad Ali in training, I am not. But flab is real, friends, even for the studly men in your life, and punching a bag with little to no precision keeps the excess weight off me. In layman’s terms, it keeps the ladies from grabbing on to anything other than muscle in bed.

Ha.

Scratch that last line. They grab my dick; I didn’t mean to make it sound like they don’t. There’s actually more penile touching than any other kind of touching in the cottony comfort of my sheets, and I’m very good at touching the ladies, in turn, with my mouth and penis. In fact, when my dick hears the words dick pic, it asks for photo credit because it was most certainly the one taking the picture.

Okay, maybe I’ve gotten a little carried away, but my point is the same.

What I meant to imply was that they don’t grab on to a beer gut—and trust me, if I didn’t work out, they would. I love beer and chicken wings, and I indulge in them both on way too many occasions to maintain some kind of quota weight “naturally.” If it weren’t for all the strenuous, practically nightly kickboxing workouts, if I were a woman in the public eye, I would be a constant ludicrous headline for my “fluctuating waistline.”

Thankfully, I am trim, toned, and able to binge on buffalo wings whenever the fuck I want.

My cell vibrates across the table, and I snag it off the glass surface to see Incoming Call Cap flashing on the screen.

I sigh at the idea of listening to Caplin Hawkins’s bullshit before I’ve finished my first cup of coffee, but I answer it despite my better judgment.

“Harrison, you sly motherfucker, those stock tips you gave me last quarter have my portfolio growing green like I’m a damn cannabis farmer.” He forgoes a greeting and dives straight into what is most likely his selfish needs. “Should I be concerned you’re getting insider info?”

“Wow, it’s so great to hear from you too, bud.” I smirk and lick my finger to get traction on the thin paper and flip through the pages until I get to yesterday’s closing data for the Dow Jones and S&P 500. Quickly, I scan through the numbers. It’s only one week away from Christmas and a few weeks away from New Years’, and this month’s upward trend appears fairly optimistic for avoiding a choppy close to the year.

“Yesterday, HawCom was up five-fucking-percent. Seriously, dude, are you dragging me and my father’s company into some illegal bullshit?” he asks, and I look away from my newspaper to roll my eyes.

HawCom is the company I’ve been with for the past decade, and it just so happens to be owned by Cap’s father, Jared Hawkins. Financial management for a company of its scale has been tricky these days with the ongoing uncertainty of the market, but all in all, HawCom’s performance numbers have been stable and steadily growing for the last nine quarters. As a major media company with “silent” ownership in some of the world’s most relevant technology companies, it’s not completely unexpected, but it’s certainly not guaranteed.

“Is it difficult being the most ridiculous bastard on the planet?” I retort. “Because, fuck, I can imagine it gets hard coming up with new ways to be this insane.”

Despite this idiot’s stupid question, everything I do is by the book. No insider trading. No fraud. It all comes from a mind that’s been trained since childhood to be strategic and understand economic patterns.

And even if I shouldn’t, for the state of my motivation to maintain a certain work ethic, I do allow myself to take a little credit for HawCom’s success. I’ve been charged with a large job due to my leadership role in the company, but I cherish the opportunity. It’d be hard not to with an uncharacteristically kind and charismatic boss like Jared at the helm.

And for the last four months, I’ve made it a point to cherish everything.

See, I choose to be happy every day.

I choose gratitude and intention in my every action.

I choose the way my life plays out—all of us do.

It took me more than three busy, painful decades and the loss of both parents to figure that out, but now that I have, the freedom in it is impressive.

The truth is, until we die, all of us get to choose our own destiny—

“I swear to God,” Cap grumbles. “I will end you if I wind up in some kind of high-security prison for stock fraud.”

I laugh at the absurdity. “I help you grow your portfolio—without commission, mind you—and you’re threatening murder?”

“Are you deflecting, son?” he questions, always the fucking lawyer. “Because I swear on every-damn-thing, I will—”

“Relax.” I snort. “The only thing illegal about the stock tips I gave you was the fact that I handed them to you on a silver-fucking-platter without asking for anything in return.”

“Speaking of handing shit to me on a silver platter, let’s do that again,” he says, a cunning smile apparent in his voice. “Who is looking profitable for the first quarter of next year?”

“And why should I give you anything, you prick?”

“Because you love me. Because you don’t want to see me become a vagabond, living on the streets.”

“You’re one of the most successful corporate lawyers in North America who already has some of the world’s best advisers handling his money. I’m pretty sure a lack of financial investment advice from me isn’t going to break your bank.”

“Minor details.” He chuckles. “C’mon, dude. Help your best friend and his sweet, lovely, beautiful wife out.”

“Now you’re bringing Ruby into this?” I tsk. “For shame.”

“You and I both know, shameless or not, I’ll do whatever it takes to get what I want,” he retorts, and I laugh outright.

“Are you wanting stock tips or to get me into bed? Because, truthfully, it feels like it could go either way at this point.”

Of course, he doesn’t miss a fucking beat. “I’ll even toss in a candlelit dinner and champagne if that’s what it’s going to take.”

Just for the sake of ending this insanity, I start to open my mouth with a few companies that are worthy of investments in the upcoming quarter, but a shrill voice on the screen of the TV steals my attention. I wouldn’t normally refer to any woman’s voice as shrill because I find it incredibly sexist and demeaning, but I’m telling you, for the sake of painting an accurate description, this particular voice, regardless of its bearer’s gender, is like the distress call of a wounded rabbit. I couldn’t miss it if I were in an underground bunker with six feet of sound-dampening dirt between us. And somehow, somehow, she still made it on TV.

“Thanks, Chris,” she continues, her voice still painful to my ears. “Today is anything but business as usual in sunny Southern California. It seems, folks, that the impossible has happened. Hollywood is abuzz this morning with the most infamous immaculate conception since the Virgin Mary herself.”

My eyebrows pinch together at the ridiculous drivel as I lift the spoon to my mouth. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph must be rolling over in their graves.

“Twenty-nine-year-old famed virgin sexpot, Raquel Weaver, was photographed leaving Beverly Hills Obstetrics today with a noticeable bump front and center on her normally trim figure.”

Brakes squeal to a stop inside my head.

What the fuck? Did she just say Raquel Weaver?

I gape at the television, trying to make sense of why that name of all names just came out of Screechy’s mouth, but the instant a photograph pops up on the screen and all-too-familiar violet eyes stare back at me, I have my fucking answer.

Holy shit. It’s her.


About Max Monroe

A duo of romance authors team up under the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling pseudonym Max Monroe to bring you sexy, laugh-out-loud reads.

Max Monroe is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of more than ten contemporary romance titles. Favorite writing partners and long time friends, Max and Monroe strive to live and write all the fun, sexy swoon so often missing from their Facebook newsfeed. Sarcastic by nature, their two writing souls feel like they’ve found their other half. This is their most favorite adventure thus far.

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RELEASE BLITZ – Hooking Him (How to Catch an Alpha #3) by Aurora Rose Reynolds

Title: Hooking Him
Series: How to Catch an Alpha #3
Author: Aurora Rose Reynolds
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 16, 2020
Blurb
Anna McAlister needs a new life. But that doesn’t mean she needs a new man. After leaving her fiancé and Chicago behind, she promises herself no dating until she finds what she’s looking for. But meeting one seriously hot and determined detective has her questioning herself.
Calvin Miller is that detective, and he’s been burned by women in the past. It’s easy for him to sleep alone and focus on his work, but the moment he lays eyes on Anna, he starts imagining sexy nights with her wrapped in his sheets. Maybe it’s time to get back out there.
But just as the attraction between them begins to sizzle, Anna’s past shows up to create trouble. And to make matters worse, a string of murders forces Calvin to juggle his new relationship and his career. His worst fear? That the two are somehow connected.
Can they find love together, or will her past and his duty sink their hopes?
Purchase Links
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Free in Kindle Unlimited
ALSO AVAILABLE


Excerpt
Suggestion 1
FIRST IMPRESSIONS ARE EVERYTHING. DIDN’T YOUR MAMA TEACH YOU THAT?

ANNA

“Are you happy?” my friend Lucy asks, and I instinctively tighten my fingers around my cell phone as I put my bare feet up on the wooden rail in front of me. I’ve lived most of my life in the city, surrounded by skyscrapers and the constant sound of chatter and traffic, with air clogged with the scents of food and exhaust. Now, sitting on the back deck of my studio apartment in a small coastal town in South Carolina, with the ocean mere feet away, the sun warming my skin, and a slight breeze playing in my hair, I wonder how I survived in Chicago for so long.
“I’m getting there,” I answer, smiling as I watch a young family laughing and playing in the surf nearby.
“Even living in a small studio apartment and working at a bakery?” She sounds
skeptical, and I remind myself she just doesn’t understand. Like everyone else back in Chicago, she doesn’t get why I’d choose to go from making over $60,000 a year, living in a beautiful penthouse apartment, planning a wedding to a good man—who also happens to be gorgeous—to moving to a town where I know almost no one. Where I’m renting an apartment the size of my old bathroom and working a job that pays in a month what I used to make in a week.
“Even living in an apartment and working at the bakery,” I reply, keeping my tone neutral before adding quietly, “I do miss you, though.” It’s not a lie: Lucy has been in my life since I can remember. Our parents were friends, so we practically grew up together.
“I still don’t get it,” she says with a sigh, and my heart sinks. I keep hoping she will, but as the months pass, it’s becoming more and more clear that she won’t. None of my friends or family do. They don’t understand that I didn’t just wake up one day and decide to give everything up. Every day for years, I woke up and looked at myself in the mirror, disliking the materialistic, shallow woman I was becoming. Until one day I decided to do something about it.
“I should let you go. I’m sure you have stuff to do, and I promised Edie that I’d go with her to bingo.”
“Bingo? You’re playing bingo?” She laughs.
I can’t help the smile that tips up my lips. “Yeah, it’s actually kind of fun.”
“If you say so,” she says, sounding distracted, and then a moment later, a distinctive male voice in the background asks her something, and I know it’s Lance, my ex-fiancé, who’s a partner at her firm. “Sorry, I gotta go, Anna.”
“No problem,” I tell her, feeling nauseous. “Bye.” I hang up before she has a chance to reply and then sit forward, dropping my head into my hands as I think back to the look on Lance’s face when I gave him back his ring and told him that we were over. He didn’t say a word and walked away, looking devastated. The hardest part about leaving Chicago wasn’t the lifestyle I was giving up; it was losing him. Even though I wasn’t in love with him, he was my friend. For the five years we were in a relationship, he was a constant in my life, someone I depended on for support, and he was one of the few people who understood the dysfunctional relationship I had with my parents and encouraged me to take a step back from them when they hurt me with their carelessness.
Not wanting to spend the day dwelling on something that would leave me
depressed, I pull in a deep breath, expecting to inhale the fresh sea air, but
my nose wrinkles when the distinct scent of pot hits me. I open my eyes, get up
from my lounger, and stop midway across the deck when a big puff of smoke
floats up from the porch below. I walk quietly to the edge and look over the
rail, wondering if someone from the beach has decided to hide out and get high.
But then I shake my head when I see Dixie and Pearl, my landlady Edie’s best
friends, who are in their seventies, standing at her back door and sharing what
looks like a joint: an object that seems out of place, given their grandmotherly
appearance. Both women are dressed like they’re about to go golfing, in their
pastel polo shirts and khaki capris, all capped by white hair that’s styled,
like always, in an array of curls.
“Isn’t weed illegal?”
Both women jump, and Dixie, who’s holding the joint, tosses it away, yelling
“Oh shit!” while Pearl screams, searching until she finds me on the deck above.
“Anna!” Pearl says, glaring. “You scared the dickens out of me.”
“Dickens,” Dixie says with a giggle as the back door opens.
“What on earth is going on out here?” Edie asks, stepping outside wearing a
white linen outfit with her short hair feathered back from a gracefully aging
face.
“Anna tried to give us heart attacks,” Pearl says accusingly, pointing up at
me, and Edie tips her head back, smiling when she spots me.
Edie was the first person I met when I moved to South Carolina. She had an apartment for rent in her house, and when I answered the ad, she invited me over to view the space. I fell in love with it because it was right on the beach, but after spending an hour with her, I also wanted the apartment because it would give me an excuse to spend time with her. I didn’t understand why I was so drawn to her at first, but something about being in her presence made me feel hopeful. Then one night, over wine, she opened up about her past and told me about her ex-husband, who she was with for more than twenty years before she found the courage to leave him. And when she did, she found a way to be happy, even when he and her family were all sure she would come back with her tail tucked between her legs. I guess her story gave me the hope to fight for my own happiness.
“They’re smoking weed,” I inform her, waving my hand at both women.
“I have glaucoma.” Pearl plants her hands on her hips.
“Really?” I ask, and her eyes narrow on mine in challenge.
“It’s time for us to go anyway,” Edie announces.
“Found it!” Dixie shouts, and Pearl breaks her stare-down with me to turn to her friend, who holds up the joint like it’s a trophy.
“Anna.” My eyes move to Edie. “Meet us at the car. I want to get to the bingo hall before Carol so she doesn’t take our table.”
“That woman is annoying,” Dixie mutters.
“She’s such a show-off,” Pearl says, taking the joint from Dixie and wrapping what’s left of it in a tissue she pulls from her bra. “Who cares that you have five grandkids when they don’t even like you?”
“Right!” Dixie agrees while opening the door for Pearl to go inside before her.
“Meet us in the driveway,” Edie says, and I narrow my eyes on hers. “What?”
“I notice you’re not saying anything about them smoking pot. Did you smoke with
them?”
“Not today.” She winks, then disappears inside. I watch the door close behind her, unsure if she’s joking. She, Pearl, and Dixie might all be older than me, but you’d never know by the way they act and the things they say.
“Well, today should be interesting,” I sigh to myself before going into my apartment and shutting the door. I walk between my bed and the open kitchen to the closet and slide my feet into a pair of flip-flops before grabbing a plaid button-down shirt and tying it around my waist. I learned the first time Edie dragged me to the bingo hall that they keep the room a degree above freezing—something that wouldn’t have been bad if I hadn’t dressed for the heat and humidity outside. I stop and grab my keys, along with my purse, then lock up before taking the stairs down to the driveway, where Edie, Dixie, and Pearl are waiting.
“I can drive.” I hold up the keys to my Ford, and they all turn in my direction.
“Where’s the rest of your shorts?” Pearl asks, and I look down at my denim cutoffs, which are short but not any shorter than what girls wear nowadays. Still, they’re shorter than anything I would’ve worn a year ago.
“Oh, stop. If you had legs like hers, you’d show them off too,” Edie scolds, and I glance up, catching her shaking her head at her friend before she looks at me. “Anna, you drive like an old lady. You’re riding shotgun. Get in.” She presses a button on her keys, and the doors unlock.
“I don’t drive like an old lady,” I say to defend myself as I open the door to her red BMW convertible and pull the seat forward for Pearl and Dixie to get in the back.
“The last time I rode with you, you drove thirty in a fifty.”
“It was a construction zone. I was following the rules.”
“It was after eight at night. They weren’t even working.”
“Whatever.” I push the seat back into place and get in. I reach for my seat belt as she starts the engine and lowers the roof. As soon as the top locks into place, she backs out of the driveway, and I’m reaching out for the handle on the door when I hear her laugh.
“Relax, child. I’ve never gotten in an accident.”
“Really?” I glance at her quickly, not wanting to take my eyes off the road, even though I’m not the one driving.
“Well . . . maybe I should say I have never gotten into an accident that was my fault.”
“That sounds a little more believable,” I reply, then pull in a sharp breath as she turns onto the on-ramp for the highway and presses her foot more firmly on the gas. I hold my breath as she merges into traffic and then squeeze my eyes closed as she zooms forward to pass in front of a semi. I feel the car start to slow and open my eyes. I release the breath I’ve been holding as we take the next exit and stop at a red light. When the light turns green, my fingers tighten on the handle of the door, turning my knuckles white as she takes a right and presses the gas once more. I start to pray when she hugs the bumper of the car in front of us, and then my heart drops into my stomach when I hear the distinctive sound of police sirens.
“Oh shit,” comes from the back seat as Edie pulls over and places the car in park. I look over my shoulder and watch Pearl reach into her shirt, pull out a white tissue, and shove it under the seat in front of her.
Oh my God. “Was that your joint?” I shout, and Pearl glares at me.
“Just be cool. This isn’t a big deal.” Edie wraps her hand around my upper leg, and I focus on her and nod, not feeling cool at all. My leg starts to bounce as we wait for the officer to get out of his car, and by the time he gets to Edie’s window, it’s jumping like crazy.
“Edie.”
A deep voice greets us, and I turn my head, noticing first the long, masculine fingers wrapped around the top of the door, then dark jeans, a black belt with a badge attached, and a form-fitting blue button-down that’s tucked in, making it clear the guy is fit. I slowly lift my head as I take in his broad shoulders, and my heart starts to pound for a different reason when I reach his face. Holy wow, even with his eyes covered with a pair of silver aviators that look amazing on him, he’s still heart-stoppingly gorgeous. I stare at him, unsure if it’s his dark hair, sharp jaw, or full lips that have me entranced. All I know is it’s a good thing he has those glasses on. I don’t think I could handle seeing all of him at one time.
“Calvin, how’s your mom?” Pearl asks sweetly from the back seat, and he turns his head just slightly to look at her while I keep my eyes on him. Calvin—that name fits him. It makes me think of those old Calvin Klein ads with Marky Mark that my friends and I used to drool over.
“She’s good.”
“Tell her I say hello.”
“Will do.” He dips his chin before shifting his attention back to Edie. “Do you know why I pulled you over?”
“I have no idea,” Edie says. Then she asks, “Was I speeding?”
“You weren’t speeding. But I followed you onto the highway and off, and I’m a little concerned with your lack of turn signals and the way you tend to test the boundaries of your brakes when driving behind someone.”
“My car has great brakes,” she informs him with a smile.
“That might be, but I doubt you’d feel that way if the person you followed so closely had to hit their brakes and you, in turn, hit them.”
“You’re absolutely right.” She places her hand on her chest, looking surprised. “I never thought of that.”
“I’m sure.” His jaw tics, making my fingers, still on the handle, clench. “If I see you driving like that again, Edie, I’ll give you a ticket. And you and I both know you can’t have any more points on your license.”
Points? She already has points on her license?
“How many tickets have you gotten?” I blurt, and all eyes rest on me, including a pair covered with a silver tint.
“I still have my license,” Edie tells me.
“One more ticket and you won’t,” Calvin adds.
“One more ticket” meaning she’s gotten a few? “I knew I should have ignored my need to respect my elders and demanded to drive. First, Pearl and Dixie smoking a—”
“Pardon?” Calvin rumbles, cutting off the word joint, and my eyes widen. Oh crap. My mouth goes dry. I wave my hand in his direction and shake my head once more. “They were smoking a cigarette. Even at their age, they should know those things kill.” I can’t see his eyes, but I still feel them bore into mine. I shift in my seat but try to keep my expression neutral. “I’ll make sure Edie’s more careful when she’s behind the wheel.”
He acknowledges my statement with a grunt and comes out of his bent position, which forces me to tip my head back. “This is your last warning.” He taps Edie’s door before he walks back toward his car. I turn to watch him, thinking even from behind, his broad shoulders and slim waist are attractive.
“I can’t believe you were going to tell him that we were smoking a joint,” Pearl hisses.
“She didn’t and she covered for us,” Dixie mutters. “I don’t blame her for getting weird. He’s handsome, and that happens when you’re talking to a handsome man.”
“Do you think he’s handsome?” Edie asks me, and I look over at her, noting a calculating look in her eyes.
Damn.
“Of course she thinks he’s attractive. She’s female,” Pearl says from the back
seat.
“Well?” Edie asks.
“Um . . .” I shift under her stare. “He’s okay.”
“Okay?” Dixie snorts. “That man is not just okay, darling, and if you think that, you need to be checked by a doctor to confirm you actually have a pulse.”
“Whatever. Shouldn’t we go? Aren’t you the one who didn’t want to be late to bingo?”
“Fine, you win this one,” Edie says after a long moment, and then she puts the shifter in drive, flips on her turn signal, and checks her mirror. The moment she starts to pull away from the side of the road and into traffic, the car is jolted to the right, and the sounds of metal crunching and scraping fill the air.
With wide eyes and my heart pounding, I turn and meet a pair of mesmerizing blue eyes belonging to Calvin. Holy cow, we just sideswiped a cop! I drag my eyes off his and focus on Edie. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine. Are you?” Her eyes scan me from head to toe.
“I’m good.” I look over my shoulder and see Calvin backing up behind us, then look at the two wide-eyed women in the back seat. “Are you two all right?”
“I’m okay,” Pearl says shakily.
“Just a little shook up, but I’m okay,” Dixie replies.
“I’m going to make sure Calvin is all right.” I unhook my belt and open my door.
With my legs shaking, I walk around the back of the car, but I stop short when I see Calvin bent over and looking in the open trunk of his cruiser. Without even a glance in my direction, he booms, “Get back into the vehicle.”
“But—”
“Back in the vehicle.” He doesn’t move except to turn his head, and his eyes come to me. “It’s not safe for you to be out here.”
“I just wanted to make sure you were okay,” I tell him, and he comes out of his bent position and walks toward me slowly.
I should back away. I want to back away, but I hold my ground until he reaches out and wraps his hand around my upper arm.
“What are you doing?” I look at where he’s holding me and automatically try to tug free, but he doesn’t let go. Instead, he starts walking, forcing me to go with him. When we reach the passenger side of the car, he opens the door and urges me to sit.
“Stay,” he orders, and I blink up at him in disbelief.
“I’m not a dog you can just order to do something,” I hiss, tucking my feet into the car.
“Yeah, I know. My dog actually listens.” He slams the door and walks away, leaving me fuming.


Also Available
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Free in Kindle Unlimited
ALSO AVAILABLE
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Free in Kindle Unlimited
ALSO AVAILABLE


Author Bio
Aurora Rose Reynolds is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author whose wildly popular series include Until, Until Him, Until Her,
Underground Kings and Shooting Stars.
Her writing career started in an attempt to get the outrageously alpha men who resided in her head to leave her alone and has blossomed into an opportunity to share her stories with readers all over the world.
Author Links

BOOK TOUR – Neighbors and Favors by Kate Davis

Book Tour: NEIGHBORS AND FAVORS by Kate Davis

New apartments should come with a trial period…

I’ve just signed a two-year lease on an apartment I can barely afford.
My job hit a brick wall so I need the place to be perfect to help me get my life back on track. But the first night in, and I already know my neighbor isn’t going to make it easy on me.

Tall, sexy, irresistible (and did I mention the British accent?), Shane Logan likes his nightly activities…a lot. I can hear everything through the paper-thin walls. I’m about to tell him that in not-so-friendly terms when I realize he isn’t just sexy, he’s also friendly and eager to be of help.
Maybe having a neighbor like him isn’t such a bad idea.
I’m a writer in desperate need of inspiration. Shane so happens to turn into mine. With a deadline approaching fast, his offer to do me a favor turns into two and three. Before I know it, he’s forced his way into my life with the tenacity of a whirlwind.

I can deal with the fact that he’s far too loud and far too sexy. But when my dog likes him more than me, I start to get a little suspicious. Soon it becomes clear Shane Logan has secrets.
Plunged into the suspicions surrounding my neighbor, suddenly the only thing I can be sure of is that Shane is fiercely determined to hide the truth about himself.

Remember when I said the lease should have come with a warning?
Well, mine should also have come with a big, red, flashing signal.

Author’s note – Neighbors and Favors is a full-length romantic comedy with no cliffhanger. 
PURCHASE LINKS:
AMAZON / AMAZON UK /  B&N / KOBO / iBOOKS


EXCERPT
“Well, hello, neighbor.”

I stare at the six-foot-three British guy, taking in his lopsided grin and the cleaning gloves and garbage bags in his hands. He’s wearing a white, snug T-shirt and jeans that hang low on his hips—nothing remarkable, really, but for some reason, he looks like he’s stepped straight out of a fragrance advertisement—you know, the expensive kind.
And for some reason, the realization annoys the heck out of me. No one looks so good in the middle of the night. I know I certainly don’t.
“What do you want?” I squeeze through gritted teeth. My good manners have apparently deserted me.
“Ah, now that’s neighborly friendliness if I ever saw some.” His lips stretch into a stunning smile with perfect, white teeth and two little dimples.
I suck in my breath as another wave of annoyance hits me.
Dimples.
Does he have to have a perfect pair of those?
I mean, why toss him a good thing or two from the genes pool when he can win the whole darn lottery?
I bet his personality sucks.
Apparently, Sammy doesn’t think so because she’s instantly stopped her barking and is now making those tiny wailing sounds that signal elation and are usually reserved for her best friends.
Aka me.
“Like I said, what do you want?” I really want to slam the door in the guy’s face but that goes against everything I stand for. So, I take a deep breath and begin my inner chant.
Patience. Forbearance. I treat my neighbor as I want to be treated.
“Anyone ever told you not to open the door to strangers when they come knocking in the middle of the night?” The guy’s grin widens.


AUTHOR INFO

Kate Davis is a real-life coffee lover with her very own Pomeranian who was her biggest inspiration for this book. Yes, Sammy is real and her favorite command is “cheese.” In fact, it might just be the only command she obeys. Kate loves to play matchmaker, transporting readers to a place where her bold heroines have endearing flaws, the men are fierce and protective, the world isn’t always a safe place, and chivalry is alive and thriving! You can visit both Kate and Sammy online at katedavisauthor.blogspot.com or connect with her on Facebook. 
Stay in touch. She loves to hear from her readers! 

Sign up to Kate’s newsletter for more info on her next release here
CONTACT KATE:


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BLOG TOUR – Small Town, Big Secrets by Elsie Davis

SYNOPSIS:

To save her son, shy but determined waitress Becky McAllister would do just about anything. But she never expected “anything” to include the brother of the man who broke her heart.

Steve Parker needs a wife, now, if he has any hopes of winning his local DA election and becoming the advocate for the underserved he’s always dreamed of being. The sweet waitress seems like just the person—if he can get her to agree.

One year of marriage—no strings, no personal attachments. Becky gets the insurance funds she needs for her son’s surgery while Steve’s poll ratings soar. Neither planned on a commitment in their future, so they should have no problem making it through the year without getting emotionally involved, right?

Except Becky’s holding on to a secret from her past—one that would change everything.



EXCERPT

His phone rang, and Steve jumped to answer it, thinking—hoping—it was Becky. But Jerry Anderson’s name lit up the screen. The president of the Cattlemen’s Association must have something important to discuss, because the meeting for tomorrow night had already been arranged. “Hey, Jerry.”

“Hey. I heard you’re in town already. Meeting’s not till tomorrow night.” The man was direct and to the point, a quality Steve admired.

“I know. I’ve been asked to check into some things by the lead investigator. Remember, though, I’ll get more helpful information if nobody knows that I’m working with you.”

“I understand. And I’m grateful you’re trying to help. I know the position this put you in, but we need you.” Going up against my father? Yeah, it was definitely a position, but Jerry was wrong thinking Steve didn’t welcome it—he did. The chance to put his father in his place, more than worth it.

“So, what’s going on?” Steve asked, curious what prompted the call.

“The rumors about the McDougall ranch are no longer rumors. Alfred got his final eviction notice. He’s got thirty days to make the payment to catch up his loan or they’re seizing the property.”

Unbelievable. “I wish there was something I could do, but four weeks just isn’t much time.”

“I get it. Just thought you should know.” Jerry sounded frustrated, and rightfully so.

“Thanks for the heads up. I need to find out who’s backing the savings-and-loan. There’s got to be a connection we’re missing.” Follow the money was a good motto when it came to dirty dealings.

“Well, until we figure it out, this is just going to keep happening.”

“I hear you.” Steve ended the call and let out a deep sigh just as a text came through.

Harry: Poll numbers just updated, and you slipped another two points.

Steve cringed. His dream had been to advocate for those who needed a voice and now his best shot at it was fading away.

Marriage. An arranged marriage. Jen’s friend. Make it worth her while.

Becky’s face came to mind. He needed to get married to have any shot at winning the D.A.’s seat and she needed the insurance coverage for her son’s surgery. Mutually beneficial.

A temporary wife.

“Temporary” had a beautiful ring to it, enough to be willing to put a ring on her finger and make sure they had an exit plan in place. It was the perfect solution. Becky was easy on the eyes and had a gentle spirit; how hard could it be to live with her and her son for a short time?

The more he thought about it, the better he liked the sound of it. But getting Becky to agree had one big problem—she wasn’t even talking to him right now.

And the clock was ticking. He wouldn’t be in town for long and waiting for Becky to come around and talk to him wasn’t going to work. Left with no choice, he knew what he had to do. A couple of phone calls was all it took before he had her address.

At her place, they could talk privately. And with any luck, he’d get to meet Byron and see the boy who was possibly his nephew for himself.


BLP REVIEW – Tracy

***


ABOUT the AUTHOR

Elsie Davis discovered the world of Happily-Ever-After romance at the age of twelve when she began avidly reading Barbara Cartland, the Queen of Romance, and has been hooked ever since. After building her dream log home on top of a small mountain, she turned her attention to do what she loves most, writing. An award-winning author and active member of RWA, she writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense. She writes from her heart, hoping to share a little love in a big world. She will never forget the moment of exhilaration when she first got the email offering her a contract for publication. A moment that has repeated itself, and one that keeps her energized and moving forward.

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BLOG TOUR – The Graveyard Shift (A Charley Davidson Novella) by Darynda Jones

The Graveyard Shift, an all-new, incredible, out of this world novella in the award winning paranormal Charley Davidson Series by New York Times bestselling author Darynda Jones, is available now!

9_1001_2020_Darynda Jones_300dpi_new (1)

Guarding a precocious five-year-old who is half-human, half-god, and 100% destined to save the world is no easy feat.

Garrett Swopes was the ultimate skeptic until he met a certain hellion and her husband. They vanished after stopping a catastrophic event and left him, a mere mortal, in charge of protecting their gift to mankind. But when she disappears as well, he needs the help of another breed of hellion. One who can see past the veil of space and time. One who betrayed him.

She will get a truce in the deal, but she will never earn his forgiveness.

Marika Dubois’s son—a warrior in the coming war between heaven and hell—was foreseen long before his birth. But to create a child strong enough to endure the trials that lay ahead, she needed a descendant of powerful magics. She found that in Garrett Swopes and tricked him into fathering her son. A ploy he has never forgiven her for. But when he knocks on her door asking for her help, she sees the fierce attraction he tries to deny rise within him.

And Marika has to decide if she dares risk her heart a second time to help the only man she’s ever loved.

** Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you’ll enjoy each one as much as we do.**


The Graveyard Shift ipad available now

Download your copy today!

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Excerpt

Charley Davidson, a god with a penchant for maiming first and asking questions later, was going to kill Garrett. No, that wasn’t right. Charley’s husband, Reyes Farrow, also a god with a penchant for maiming first and asking questions later, would start the whole process by ripping him to shreds, then letting Charley finish him off. Gladly. And with much glee.

Garrett had one job. One. Fucking. Job. Watch his best friends’ daughter, Beep, aka Elwyn Alexandra Loehr, a kid who just happened to be destined to save the world from a catastrophic demon uprising. He was supposed to guard her with his life. To keep her safe. To protect her from all the ghosts and goblins—metaphorically speaking since he didn’t have a supernatural bone in his body—hell-bent on doing her harm before she could prevent said catastrophic demon uprising.

He failed.

Yesterday, at exactly 3:33 p.m., the precocious five-year-old was running across a sun-drenched field of sagebrush and wild grasses when she disappeared right before his eyes. One second she was tripping over, well, absolutely nothing—so much like her mother, it startled him—and the next, she was gone.

If he hadn’t been looking right at her, if his gaze hadn’t been laser-locked on the long, dark tangles cascading down her back, if she hadn’t disappeared between his strategically placed blinks, he would’ve questioned the entire event. But there was simply no doubt about it. She’d vanished into thin air.

The way she disappeared would suggest a supernatural influence, especially considering the fact that she was the daughter of two gods, but her celestial parents had placed a shield over the entire area. No supernatural entity could penetrate it. Was there some loophole they’d missed? Some escape clause they’d overlooked?

Garrett didn’t hesitate. He immediately called in his entire team, but even his most preternaturally enhanced members couldn’t figure out what had happened, and one of them was a bona fide angel. Well, former angel.

After thirty-six hours of scouring every inch of Santa Fe and the surrounding area for even a sign of the little hellion, a storm had rolled in, and the search had to be abandoned. Garrett left his team at the compound, as well as the Loehrs, Elwyn’s grandparents, panicked and scrambling to figure out what’d happened. In the meantime, he went in search of the only woman he knew who could see past the veil of not only space, but time as well.

He had one clue to go on. Elwyn’s last words before she took off across the rugged New Mexican terrain.

Surely, he’d heard her wrong. He prayed he’d heard her wrong as he fought the winds and icy pelts of the desert storm, then raised a fist and pounded on the door of his ex, Marika Dubois.


About the Author

DJones1


NYTimes and USA Today Bestselling Author Darynda Jones has won numerous awards for her work, including a prestigious RITA, a Golden Heart, and a Daphne du Maurier, and her books have been translated into 17 languages. As a born storyteller, Darynda grew up spinning tales of dashing damsels and heroes in distress for any unfortunate soul who happened by, and she is ever so grateful for the opportunity to carry on that legacy. She currently has two series with St. Martin’s Press: The Charley Davidson Series and the Darklight Trilogy. She lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys.

Connect with Darynda

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Website: https://darynda.com/


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