Review & Giveaway: Accidentally On Purpose by Jill Shalvis

ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE
Series: Heartbreaker Bay, #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Jill Shalvis
Release Date: January 24, 2017

There’s no such thing as a little in love…

Elle Wheaten’s priorities: friends, career, and kick-ass shoes. Then there’s the muscular wall of stubbornness that’s security expert Archer Hunt—who comes before everything else. No point in telling Mr. “Feels-Free Zone” that, though. Elle will just see other men until she gets over Archer . . . which should only take a lifetime . . .

There’s no such thing as a little in lust…

Archer’s wanted the best for Elle ever since he sacrificed his law-enforcement career to save her. But now that she’s earned happiness and success, Archer just wants Elle 24/7. Their chemistry could start the next San Francisco Earthquake, and Archer doesn’t want to be responsible for the damage. The alternative? Watch her go out with guys who aren’t him . . .

There is such a thing as…

As far as Archer’s concerned, nobody is good enough for Elle. But when he sets out to prove it by sabotaging her dates, she gets mad—and things get hot as hell. Now Archer has a new mission: prove to Elle that her perfect man has been here all along…

AMAZON | iBOOKS | B&N

What is it with us?” she murmured.
He laughed softly. “How is that a funny question?”
“Because I try very hard to always know what I’m doing,” he said. “But I’m winging it here, Elle. I have no idea what we’re doing but one thing I’m sure as hell not doing is walking away from you. Not ever again.”

Swoon. Swoon. SWOON. ALL OF THE SWOONS!

I adore Jill Shalvis books. Simply adore them. She never fails to deliver an amazing romance with some of the most endearing characters I’ve read and bundle it all together around an addictingly swoony story that will put a smile on your face and keep it there.

As soon as I met Elle and Archer in Sweet Little Lies, I knew I wanted their book. Their antagonistic ways sucked me in right from the beginning. What can I say, I’m a sucker for a good hate lust and the unresolved tension between these two is downright sizzling. It’s clear they have a troubled history but you never know what it is…until this book that is. Knowing all those details now just made it that much more satisfying. I can wholeheartedly say it was so very much worth the wait.

Archer is a past cop turned security specialist that has lost none of his edge. He’s hard, deadly when crossed, and take charge alpha all around. So why does one stunning beauty manage to rattle him every single time he hears the click of her stilettos?

Elle was as fantastic of a heroine as I imagined she’d be. She’s strong, take no bullshit, focused on her career and doesn’t need a relationship or a man to make her happy. Don’t get me wrong, she’s not a man eater or prickly and brash. She’s simply comfortable with who she is and in her own skin. I loved that about her. It’s wonderful to get a woman that’s strong in all the right ways and yet still has enough softness to her to make her endearing.

Elle has secretly always wanted Archer but she never imagined that the chemistry between them would be as scorching as it is when Archer finally gives into the inevitable.

And can I just say how PERFECT Archer was? Because, oh my god! This. Man.

Shh,” he said gently and crouched down to her level. “Just me. Scoot.”
“Why?”
“Because you’re having bad dreams. I’ll beat them off for you.”
“How?”
“I’ll hold you tight and not let anything get you.”

GAH!

I loved these two together. Absolutely loved them. Everything about this book was fantastic; the main couple, the secondary characters, the story, the romance. EVERYTHING. I love the easy camaraderie all these friends have together. When they all get together, it’s always a recipe for goofy grins.

If you love swoony and steamy contemporary romance, read ANY Jill Shalvis book. But if you’re like me and have already read her entire backlist, than this new series from her is simply addicting. I already can’t wait for more.


THE HEARTBREAKER BAY SERIES

SWEET LITTLE LIES (My Review | Purchase)
THE TROUBLE WITH MISTLETOE (My Review | Purchase)

 

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Series Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: Ex-Con by @katanacollins

Who likes their bad boys EXTRA bad and EXTRA sexy? I have your next addiction right here!!

Ex-Con is the first book the newest Harrison Street Crew series from author Katan Collins and you don’t want to miss it. This Sons of Anarchy meets Fast and the Furious series is a gritty, erotic romance featuring the quintessential “bad boy” hero and kick ass heroine. Though the Harrison Street Crew is a series, each book is a stand alone novel featuring a different member from the car club. The second book in the series, Outlaw, is scheduled to release on March 7th, 2017. Book 1 is being released as a serialized novel, in 3 parts in the span of 3 weeks, and part 1 and 2 are already available now! Part 3 is releasing on February 14, 2017.


Ex-Con (Part 1)
Author: Katana Collins
Serialized in 3 Parts, Roughly 350 pages
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance
Release Date: January 31, 2017
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (Swerve)

Ex-convict Shane McGill is as rugged and wild as they come. Bad to the bone and back on the streets, he’ll do anything and say anything to survive. Even if that something means joining the one car club he had worked so hard to avoid. But there’s one person out there who can match him toe-to-toe…the hot mechanic pin-up doll of a woman with the body of a goddess and tomboy attitude would even give him a chance.
Charlize “Charlie” Wakeman fixes cars and doesn’t suffer fools. But when the hot as hell ex-convict Shane McGill enters her mechanic shop, she can’t resist one wild night with him. It was just meant to be a fling…the wildest, most thrilling fling of her life. But Shane’s too ruthless, too bad to ignore, and Charlie can’t stop herself from coming back for more.
Shane McGill learned one thing from prison—if you get a second chance, don’t screw it up. Shane doesn’t regret a single second of his life once he’s found Charlie. She’s the happiest, hottest, most important thing to happen to him. But as tensions rise in the Harrison Street Crew, his relationship with Charlie takes on a new level of heat, and danger…

Ex-Con: Part 1Ex-Con: Part 2Ex-Con: Part 3

 “He’s the one. I can feel it.” Charlize “Charlie” Wakeman could feel the flush in her cheeks and the grin on her face as she reclined in her office chair.

You say that every time, Charlie,” Michelle, her best friend since kindergarten, said.

Kicking her feet onto her desk at back of the garage, she cradled her cell phone between her ear and shoulder. The Tiffany-blue accents created a peaceful work environment against the stark white walls. Most people would think she was crazy to have sleek white furniture in her mechanics’ shop office, but to Charlie? It was calming and a much needed reprieve from the greasy garage. Not that she didn’t love the grease. But just because she could kick ass under a hood didn’t mean she didn’t also love her more feminine side as well.

No, Michelle, this is it. I’m telling you. He’s perfect.”

You do this every time. You tell yourself things are perfect and within a week you’re threatening to remove parts piece by piece.”

It’s different this time.” Charlie stood, peering out into the front of the garage where Rick waited. She stared, her mouth watering. Needing, wanting. “He needs a little work, yeah. But a few tweaks here and there—”

See? That’s how it begins.”

I’m gonna go for it. I need to at least try. No regrets, right?”

Charlie, no—”

She hung up before her friend could talk some sense into her, and stole a quick glance in the mirror. “Shit,” she muttered, grabbing a tissue and wiping a bit of grease off her temple. The black oil streaked her red hair and she sighed, flipping her part to the other side to cover it. It would have to do. Nothing short of a hot shower would remove that black smear from her hair.

Reaching for her checkbook, she took a quick glance at her balance in the business account. Eight thousand. Sure, that seemed like a lot, but for a garage, it was barely enough to make rent, electricity, and water; pay for supplies and parts; and pay off her monthly business loan. Not to mention her personal bills—rent for her house and little things like, you know, food. That number was low. Too low for her liking. Especially since she’d missed her last three months of the loan payment. That damn interest was killing her. Sucking in a sharp breath she tossed the checkbook back down onto her desk beside the stacks of overdue bills.

One thing at a time,” Charlie whispered to herself before shutting her office door behind her.

Rick,” she said entering the garage. Her eyes flicked to the 1971 AMC Hornet and her whole body purred at those sleek lines. Oh, how she wanted that car. Needed him. She could see herself riding it late into the night, windows down during the balmy Boston summers. “I crunched some numbers and I’ll be honest with you, it’s a great car. He’s in rough shape, though. Despite that, I’m interested in him.” Interested? Ha. That was the understatement of the year. She was wet for that car.

Rick gave a chuckle and shook his head. “Him? Sweetheart, this baby is all woman. At least until your check clears. Then it could be a damn hermaphrodite for all I care.”

Until your check clears. His statement caused her heart to stumble. Would her check clear? If she could get the car for a decent price, Charlie was certain she could flip it for a profit within a few weeks. She needed that. She needed the big-ticket item to get her garage back in the black. Though she had enough money to pay most of this month’s bills, she still had the previous three months’ debt. Not to mention her personal rent at home which she didn’t pay last month. She needed a big payoff. Something that would not only allow her to pay off this month’s bills, but catch up on the previous as well. Without that, next month she’d have just as many bills, even more debt, and nothing in her account to pay it all off with. At least by spending that money now on a car, she could keep the garage going another month. Maybe two. And if she gets the car for cheap enough, she could even do it all over again next month. Find another fixer-upper and turn it for a profit.

Sweeping her gaze across the garage, the parking lot was lined with small jobs. Oil changes, tire rotations; small gigs that took time and paid very little. Her dad was trying to help by bringing in the Boston PD car maintenance to her shop. But in the end, those small jobs were reducing her hourly bottom line. Even still, money was money. She couldn’t turn away business, no matter how small or low-paying the job was. “So? How much for it?” she said, purposefully leaving gender out and wetting her lips nervously.

I need at least twenty. And I’m losing money at that.”

Fuck. Charlie shook her head and turned back for the office. “I’m happy to negotiate, Rick, but don’t insult me. We both know that you couldn’t get twenty thousand for that car in its current condition if it came equipped with a gold dashboard and a man to give me head while I drove. Now give me a real number or get the fuck out of my garage.”

Rick sucked his teeth, but there was a smirk twisting at the corners of his mouth. “You know the drill. It’s your turn to throw down a number.”

Two.”

He snorted, shaking his head. “Bitch,” he muttered.

You throw an insulting number my way, but when I do the same I’m a bitch?”

He rushed to the hood, throwing it open. “This is a V8, two-barrel carb, 245 gross horsepower. It’s the rarest AMC muscle out there.”

Yeah, but you and I both know that the four-barrel is faster and more cherished by collectors. And the two-barrel is a helluva lot more work.” She gave a light kick to the back bumper. “And this thing is in rough shape. Seventy thousand miles on it.”

Lucky you’re the best mechanic in Southie.”

It’s a little late to try buttering me up, Rick. All that’s gonna do is give you a fat ass,” she said.

Only if I eat you.” He grinned.

She fiddled with some cables, dipping her head back into the engine, ignoring that comment. They hardly fazed her anymore. One year owning her garage in Southie, and she’d fucking heard it all. “Three thousand,” she said, knowing he’d never take a number that low.

Fifteen,” he countered. He was still shitting her. For a Hornet in this condition? That was an insane number. That’s what she was hoping to sell it for once she finished fixing it up, for Christ’s sake.

Look at all that rust. Finding original parts is going to be a bitch.” Except that she already had a bunch of parts stored in the back of her garage. Not that she’d be telling him that. She’d been saving them, scrapping them together when she found them at the perfect price, and digging through the scrap yard on her days off. All waiting for the day she found the Hornet of her dreams. Don’t get attached, she told herself. She had to sell this baby for a profit.

Who are you kidding, Charlie? You love that shit. You live for it.”

Not at fifteen thousand, I don’t. Besides, even if you don’t sell it to me, there’s only a handful of garages in this neighborhood. There’s a pretty good chance that whoever buys it will be bringing it in here to fix up anyway. I get to work on this car regardless. The question is, do I get to drive it after?” She paused. “Four thousand.”

He sighed. She was breaking him down and they both knew it. “Eight. That’s more than fair and you know it.”

It was his first reasonable offer. And yet still two thousand higher than her budget. She needed to keep at least a couple thousand in her account to order parts and pay Declan his rent this month. She paced around to the back of the car, kicking the tires. “It’s got the original sea-foam green interior leather,” he added.

Yeah, shitty and cracked. Again, the amount of patchwork that’s gonna take to restore it to period is more than the damn thing is worth. Fifty-five hundred. My final offer.” Charlie held her breath . . . she’d even given herself extra breathing room in case he countered one last time.

He nodded, holding out his hand, and Charlie grasped it quickly before he could pull it back right along with the offer. If there was one thing she’d learned living in Southie, it was that no one went back on a handshake. “Excellent. You got the title with you?”

Sure do. Lemme just go grab it.” Rick walked out into the parking lot, and Charlie waited until he was out the door before launching herself into the air, jumping around and dancing. Bending at the waist, she dropped a kiss on the hood. Yes! This was what she needed. It might deplete her bank account momentarily, but overall this restoration project was going to do well for her. At fifty-five hundred, after expenses, she could easily make ten to twelve thousand of profit off of this car, finally paying off her debt and be in the black with her business.

Well, you sure as shit ripped that guy off.” The low voice was deep with a quiet intensity that permeated Charlie’s bones. The blood rushed away from her face, and her entire body solidified with clenched muscles. Shit. She hadn’t realized she had other customers waiting.

Standing straight, she smoothed her T-shirt, pulling the hem lower and clenching her teeth to keep herself from biting her lip. “What are you talking about?” she said as she turned toward the voice. And if Charlie thought his voice was sexy . . . holy hell. It was nothing compared to the man standing before her. He wore faded jeans with the beginnings of holes at the knees and a tight white T-shirt that gripped bulging muscles beneath. The material hugged his biceps so tightly that she feared any movement would result in a Hulk-like tearing of the material off of his body. A tattoo, something angular looking, started below his sleeve, curving around his bicep before dipping under the shirt which hid the rest of it. His long, light brown hair was wavy, edging just below his ears, with stubble a shade darker covering his sharp jaw.

You got a Hornet two-barrel for under ten thousand?” he said. “Either he didn’t know what he had, or he was hypnotized by your tight jeans.” Moss-green eyes pierced into her, a smile softening the back handed compliment, and Charlie felt her body shiver under his gaze. This guy was bad news. And she should know; she’d seen enough guys like him in this part of town this last year. She’d sworn to herself that she wouldn’t get involved with any of the local guys here. Too much of pissing where you eat. Even as her brain was telling her to step back, her body was clenching with desire for the stranger.

It’s business,” she countered when she finally found her voice again. “And speaking of, what can I help you with?” Charlie grabbed a rag on the shop table and wiped her hands. Anything to keep herself busy and not stare at this guy. Or worse, touch him.

She looked up in time to catch his green eyes still on her. Faint wrinkles fanned from each corner, and smile lines framed his mouth spotlighting the exact area she wanted to press her lips against.

My cousin told me this was the best place in town now that Dec’s retired. I got a car that ain’t running so good.”

Charlie licked her lips and jerked her head into the empty spot beside her new Hornet. “Pull her on in, and let me have a look.”

I’d love to . . . but she won’t even make it inside on her own. Barely got her the five blocks here in the first place.”

Five blocks. This guy only lived five blocks away? And yet she’d never seen him around before today. He didn’t wait for Charlie’s response before he turned and walked out for the parking lot. He dragged one leg with a slight limp. Very slight. She wouldn’t have really noticed it if she hadn’t been staring so damn hard at his ass. She followed him to where a smoking 1976 Corvette Stingray was parked. Literally smoking, with stacks of dark gray clouds streaming out of the open hood. “What the—”

She hasn’t been driven in almost four years,” he said, reading her thoughts.

Well, that’ll do it.” Charlie sighed, waving away the smoke. “I can’t even take a look until the engine cools. There’s a waiting room right inside. Grab yourself a coffee. I’ll settle up on my Hornet, then have a look.”

Coffee,” he repeated as though she had mentioned a long-lost lover he hadn’t seen in years. Like the very mention of her name conjured visions and memories. And Charlie could have gotten lost in that dreamy gaze of his.

Um, yeah,” she said, barely recognizing her own voice as it came out a few notes lower and more gravely than intended. “Through that door.” She swiped her hand across her jeans before extending it to the man. “I’m Charlie, by the way.”

Charlie?”

Short for Charlize.”

His hand curved into hers, the pad of his thumb skimming over her skin. The tenderness of his touch lurched through her body, and she locked her grip in his palm as though maintaining that handshake could somehow steady her. His eyes studied hers, moving quickly across her face, and she momentarily feared that he could see everything. His penetrating stare could have sliced her right open, spilling her feelings and secrets right to his feet. “Shane,” he answered.

There was something in his eyes; something different than how other men looked at her. She wasn’t blind. She knew the reason most of the local guys came to her shop. It wasn’t just because she knew her way around a 396-cubic-inch engine . . . it was because she knew her shit about cars, but she also looked damn good while working on them. And they loved to watch as she bent into their hoods, probably imagining that she was bending over their dicks. But Shane seemed different. He didn’t just look at her—he saw her, his gaze intense and hungry. The sort of lust she hadn’t allowed herself to give into in a year.

He pulled his hand back, and Charlie watched as he took his time walking inside before she allowed herself to catch her bottom lip between her teeth. Damn, that was a fine man. Typically, she found herself lusting for horsepower and engines and mufflers. But today? It was the man behind the wheel she craved, not the engine beneath the hood.

She didn’t have time for a boyfriend. If there was anything her previous relationship had taught her, it was that no man was better than the wrong man. With her business coming up on its first year anniversary and the fact that she couldn’t afford any employees to help tackle the work load, almost every free moment she had was spent here at the shop. But damn, would he be fun to take home for a night.

In the year Charlie had been working in Southie, she’d learned that the men here cherished their cars . . . and it was bad news if someone treated something they cherished like shit. And that guy in there? He’d barely given his “baby” any attention in years, to the point that she was barely running. Using her phone as a decoy, she watched him through the window. Despite the hard veneer, he seemed to have a gentleness to him that she hadn’t seen in men around these parts before. Rough, but pliable. Like sandpaper that bristles against your skin on one side, but with hardly any effort can rip right in half.

Christ, what was she doing? She wasn’t looking to marry the guy. Sandpaper or velvet or fucking steel, he could still be good for one thing . . . one night. Just because she didn’t want to tie him down with a wedding band didn’t mean she couldn’t tie him down to her bedpost. One and done, a little voice said in her head. Would one night be so bad? A relationship would be too much work at the moment . . . and she already had one job taking up most of her time. But one night did not equal a relationship . . .

It had been a year since Charlie had been with a man. A year since she’d felt the weight of him on top of her or his scratchy scruff brush between her legs. A year too long. She watched through the window as Shane limped to the coffee machine and carefully poured the ebony liquid into a paper cup. He cupped it gently, bringing the cup to those full lips of his and pausing, inhaling deeply before taking a long, lingering sip. His pink tongue darted out and he licked his top lip in a long, luxurious swipe.

Shit. She needed that tongue on her body.

She was going to fix his Stingray, and before he left her shop today she was going to convince him to give her a ride . . . and not in his car.

Found it!” Rick called from the other end of the lot, waving the Hornet’s title. “You’re going home with one hell of a catch tonight.”

You bet I am,” she said.

DREAM CAST

Katana Collins is lucky enough to love her day job almost as much as she loves writing. She splits her time evenly between photographing boudoir and newborn portraits and writing steamy romances in a variety of genres — paranormal, contemporary, new adult and suspense.

She lives in Portland, Maine, with an ever-growing brood of rescue animals: a kind of mean cat, a very mellow chihuahua, and a very not mellow lab puppy… oh yeah, there’s a husband somewhere in that mix, too. She can usually be found hunched over her laptop in a cafe, guzzling gallons of coffee, and wearing fabulous (albeit sometimes impractical) shoes.

www.katanacollins.com

Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @katanacollins

Enter HERE for a chance to win an ebook of EX-CON (Part 1)

Blog Tour, Jennifer’s Review & Giveaway: How To Date A Douchebag: The Failing Hours by @SaraNey

How to Date a Douchebag: The Failing Hours
Genre: New Adult, Sports Romance, College Romance
Author: Sara Ney
Release Date: January 31, 2017

Zeke Daniels isn’t just a douchebag; he’s an asshole.

A total and complete jerk, Zeke keeps people at a distance. He has no interest in relationships—most assholes don’t.

Dating? Being part of a couple? Nope. Not for him.

He’s never given any thought to what he wants in a girlfriend, because he’s never had any intention of having one.

Shit, he barely has a relationship with his family, and they’re related; his own friends don’t even like him.

So why does he keep thinking about Violet DeLuca?

Sweet, quiet Violet—his opposite in every sense of the word.

The light to his dark, even her damn name sounds like rays of sunshine and happiness and shit.

And that pisses him off, too.

AMAZON | B&N | KOBO | iBOOKS

The clock on the wall counts the seconds, steady as the rhythm of my beating heart, which thumps wildly within my chest until the glass door to the library opens, propelled by a gust of wind.Some new fallen leaves flutter in, the heavy doors slamming from the draft.

Along with them? Zeke Daniels.

He shuffles in, dark gray sweatpants hanging low on his hips, black Iowa Wrestling hoodie pulled up over his head, the university’s bright yellow mascot screen-printed across the chest. Backpack slung over one shoulder, black athletic flip-flops, and a pair of black sunglasses perched on the bridge of his strong nose complete the overall ensemble.

He is utterly…ridiculous.

Unapproachable.

Daunting.

His arrogance knows no bounds; I can see it in his loose gait, the exaggerated swagger, and the too-casual way he’s dragging his flip-flops across the cold, marble tile floor. It’s noisy, irritating, and completely uncalled for.

In the moment, my mind drifts to his personal life, and I theorize that he listens to heavy metal music to sooth his foul temperament, drinks his coffee black—as black as his soul—and his liquor straight up. I imagine once he’s had sex with someone, they’re never invited back. I go one step further and theorize that they’re never invited to spend the night at his place, either.

Zeke Daniels makes his way to a table at the far end of the room, near the periodicals, one out of the way with plenty of privacy.

Sets his bag down in one of the four wooden chairs. Flicks on the small study lamp. Plugs his laptop cord into the base and stands.

Turns.

Our eyes would have met then were it not for those ludicrous sunglasses. I choose the exact moment he lifts his gaze to look down at the ground. Busy myself with shuffling papers on the counter. Count to ten instead of chanting, Please don’t come over, please don’t come over, please don’t come over…

But luck isn’t on my side because he most decidedly does.

Makes his way over like a predator at a pace so deliberate, I’m convinced he’s doing it on purpose. As if he suspects I’m watching from under my long lashes, dreading his imminent arrival.

He basks in my discomfort.

The distance between us closes, his strides purposeful.

Twenty feet.

Fifteen.

Ten.

Eight.

Three.

His large hand reaches up, pushing down the hood of his sweatshirt, his fingertips pinching the earpiece of his sunglasses and pulling them off his face. My eyes follow the movements as he folds them closed, hanging them on the neckline of his hoodie.

His gaze lingers—those clear gray eyes famous around campus—and finds the shiny silver bellhop bell perched on the counter with the sign next to it that reads, Ring for help.

Ding.

The tip of his forefinger presses down on the small bell.

Ding.

He hits it again, despite me standing not three feet in front of him.

What an ass.

This book has ALL MY LOVE! Oh my…….Zeke and Violet have ruined me! I was giggling so much throughout this entire book. Zeke is absolutely hilarious, and Sara Ney writes the male POV PERFECTLY!
This book is the epitome of why I love assholes so much. Zeke is a pissy, giant bear. Ugh. I loved him. He’s so broody and angry all the time. Zeke needs a tutor, but Violet stands him up because he is so damn intimidating. He is forced into a Big Brother role by his coach and ends up partnering with Violet anyway. Violet is such a good person, but Zeke is not good. He is downright mean and grouchy.

My Violet & Zeke:

 : Violet is happy sunshine, but not in an annoying way. She truly cares about people, but she is a stuttering little mouse. Zeke and Violet couldn’t be more opposite. But they have no idea how much they have in common. They are both lonely, so they truly need each other.

Zeke pounces and stomps all over Violet through most of this book. She puts up with some of it, but there is a pivotal point where she puts her foot down. I loved how Zeke had to learn to let go of some of his issues. I could truly feel how he wanted to feel something good for Violet, but he is a true douchebag.

Once Zeke and Violet get it on…..Holy Hot Panties! I was hot and sweaty and laughing at the same time!

This book is all kinds of my favorite. I love broody Zeke. I love mousey Violet. I love the writing. I love the FEELS. I didn’t expect the feels and the swooning. Zeke falls HARD for Violet, and I fell HARD for Zeke and Violet.
à la Mode St. » fashion

Soon she’s going to have me holding babies and volunteering with old people, I just fucking know it.
Whatever.
I’d do it.
I’d do it just to see those eyes of hers light up. I’d do it because when her small, slender body is pressed against mine, mine lights on fire. I could get used to these feelings, could get high now that I know how fast my heart beats when she’s near.

à la Mode St. » fashionSara Ney writes the male POV so well! I can’t believe this was my first book that I’ve ever read by her. I will definitely be reading all of her books.


In The Series:

How to Date a Douchebag: The Studying HoursAmazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

Purveyor of all things witty & romantic, I love: iced latte’s, traveling, and bright, bold colors. On any given day, you can find me in my office, lovingly gazing at my bookshelf or shuffling my Bic felt-tip pen collection. I love hand writing letters, and sarcasm.

I live in the midwest, but “Will Write for Travel,” and believe everyone should follow their dreams, no matter how big or small. My favorite authors include Cindy Miles, S Walden, Suzanne Enoch, Tessa Dare (to name a few). I am a glutton for Historical, RomCom, Sports and MC romance.

One husband. Two daughters. Plenty of chaos.

 

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Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway: Vicious by LJ Shen

VICIOUS
Series: Sinners of Saint
Author: LJ Shen
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 1, 2017

Emilia

They say love and hate are the same feelings experienced under different circumstances, and it’s true.

The man who comes to me in my dreams also haunts me in my nightmares.

He is a brilliant lawyer.

A skilled criminal.

A beautiful liar.

A bully and a savior, a monster and a lover.

Ten years ago, he made me run away from the small town where we lived. Now, he came for me in New York, and he isn’t leaving until he takes me with him.

Vicious

She is a starving artist.

Pretty and evasive like cherry blossom.

Ten years ago, she barged into my life unannounced and turned everything upside down.

She paid the price.

Emilia LeBlanc is completely off-limits, my best friend’s ex-girlfriend. The woman who knows my darkest secret, and the daughter of the cheap Help we hired to take care of our estate.

That should deter me from chasing her, but it doesn’t.

So she hates me. Big fucking deal.

She better get used to me.

AMAZON

“You’re pissing me off,” she said quietly, her eyes still searching my face.“And that’s turning me on,” I retorted, my voice flat. “So you might wanna tone down the hate glares if you don’t wanna find yourself being fucked on this desk with the blinds still open.”

I was still staring at my screen, working on the merger deal I was eager to get signed before Christmas, but I could see from my peripheral that she had paled. I liked how—once again—I’d gotten under her skin. Quickly.

“You’re disgusting,” she muttered, still staring at me—but not in a way that suggested she was appalled.

I cracked my neck, opening my browser and checking the stocks on the screen, skimming through the greens and the reds. “That may well be, but I’m balls deep in your fucking head, Help, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

Her eyes glittered with rage, and fuck, I was so hard, and fuck, she was so beautiful. This was so on. I was going to fuck Dean’s ex-girlfriend, use her for my personal needs, and toss her away when I was done.

And after choosing the wrong guy, there was no doubt in my mind, she deserved it too.

“You just gave Floyd a lecture about the inter-office fraternization policy. No mixing business and pleasure.” She leaned forward. Her elbow touched my finger accidentally, and she jerked it away.

I met her halfway, erasing the space between us across the desk. “Correction—guys like Floyd won’t give you pleasure. Men like me would. Besides, the man likes Arrow,” I drawled, as if this alone was a reason to fire him.

To me, it was.

“You know what your problem is, Vicious? You still haven’t decided if you hate me or like me. That’s why you act like this every time I’m around other men.” There wasn’t a trace of embarrassment in her voice. She owned up to this.

What she didn’t know was that I knew exactly how I felt about her.

I hated her, but was attracted to her. It was really that simple.

“You know what I feel right now, Ms. LeBlanc? I feel like you need to pack a fucking bag and start making the necessary arrangements. You’re coming with me to California, whether you like it or not.”

My obsession. My muse. My enemy.

It’s official. L.J. Shen is a witch. How else could the woman possibly crawl inside my mind and create a story that seriously felt custom written for me?
Uber angst? Check!
Hot alphahole hero? Holy hell, CHECK!
A heroine that’s the perfect blend of innocent but with a steel backbone? Check!
An enemies to lovers story that left me practically salivating? CHECK!
A sexual chemistry and a burn so good it makes you want to slap yo mama? CHECK!
An addicting, obsessive read from cover to cover? ABSOLUTELY FREAKING CHECK!!!

This guy is going to break my heart if I let him.

The Four HotHoles rule All Saints High. All the guys want to hang out with them and all the girls want to sleep with them. It doesn’t matter that women are more disposable to them than a pair of socks, they’ll gladly give up their dignity for a night…or a few hours in their bed. Vicious is the most brutal of the four. He’s a coldblooded asshole that practice bubbles over with barely surprised rage. And the target for the brunt of his anger is Emilia, his classmate and daughter of the hired help living at his father’s mansion.

Vicious was vicious. It was too bad that my hate for him was dipped in a thin shell of something that felt like love. But I promised myself I’d crack it, break it, and unleash pure hatred in its place before he got to me.

Emilia was a heroine you can’t help but like. They say the line is thin between love and hate and that’s definitely the case here. She wants to hate Vicious and he surely gives her plenty of reason to…and yet, he’s like a magnet drawing her in.

Shen did a phenomenal job with character development, that you don’t just read what they’re feeling, you feel it. That couldn’t be more true with Emilia. I clicked with her from the very first page. Here’s a heroine that’s down on her luck, down to her last penny, barely making ends meet working two jobs to support herself and her sick sister, but she still has this undercurrent of strength that you can’t help but respect.

Intersected with flashbacks to their high school years, the story develops in the present. Years after Emilia left All Saints High and Vicious behind. But circumstances soon bring her face to face once more with a man that made her teenage years a living hell.

I want to fuck you and watch your face while I do. To see how you drown in me as I hurt you as much as it hurts me to have to see your goddamn face every day.” 

Now if you’re an angst lover like me, you will gobble up everything about this book and be left begging for more. The sexual tension between Vicious and Emilia crackles with electricity. I loved that added burn of hate lust between them. The woman definitely gave him a run for his money and for all his thinly veiled insults that he throws her way, you can see just how much he craves her underneath it all.

You’re pissing me off,” she said quietly, her eyes still searching my face.
“And that’s turning me on,” I retorted, my voice flat. “So you might wanna tone down the hate glares if you don’t wanna find yourself being fucked on this desk with the blinds still open.”

The writing was absolutely brilliant. Shen simply gets better and better with each book she writes and she truly outdid herself with this one. She gave us four heroes that you not only click with but obsess over. Sure, this book is focused on Vicious and I loved every page of it. But I also loved the three other HotHoles and if the set up for two of them is anything to go by, I already know I need their books.

As for this book? This is what obsession is made of. This book. These characters. This romance. It was too delicious for words. Simply. Addicting.

This is not a relationship. It’s two people fucking the obsession out of each other.”

L.J. Shen resides in sunny California with her husband, son, chubby cat and wild, wild dreams.

Her passion is to write badass stories, sushi, UFC and her awesome family and friends (not in this order, though. Obviously, sushi comes before writing. Oh, and also the family part.)

She spend the first half of her twenties traveling the world and is now paying all the fun with extra shifts in front of her MacBook. Feel free to contact her on her Facebook page. She loves to hear from her readers.

https://www.facebook.com/authorljshen/

Social Media links:

Amazon ➜ http://amzn.to/2jKBd1l

Pinterest ➜ https://www.pinterest.com/authorljshen/

Email ➜ msleighshen@gmail.com

Newsletter Sign up ➜ http://goo.gl/FwfMzr

Facebook➜ https://goo.gl/fKCSo4

Twitter➜ https://goo.gl/ceV3RQ

Goodreads ➜ https://goo.gl/T4YU71

Website ➜ www.ljshen.com

Instagram➜ https://www.instagram.com/authorljshen/

 

Also Available On Sale (Limited Time)

Tyed

Sparrow

Blood to Dust

 

Head over to LJ’s Facebook Page for multiple giveaways

https://www.facebook.com/authorljshen/?fref=ts

 

Blog Tour, J’s Review & Giveaway: The Pawn by @skye_warren

THE PAWN
Series: The Endgame #1
Genre: Dark Contemporary Romance
Author: Skye Warren
Release Date: December 6, 2016add-to-goodreads-button-2

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“Sinfully sexy and darkly beautiful, The Pawn will play games with your heart and leave you craving more!” – Laura Kaye, New York Times bestselling author

The price of survival…

Gabriel Miller swept into my life like a storm. He tore down my father with cold retribution, leaving him penniless in a hospital bed. I quit my private all-girl’s college to take care of the only family I have left.

There’s one way to save our house, one thing I have left of value.

My virginity.

A forbidden auction…

Gabriel appears at every turn. He seems to take pleasure in watching me fall. Other times he’s the only kindness in a brutal underworld.

Except he’s playing a deeper game than I know. Every move brings us together, every secret rips us apart. And when the final piece is played, only one of us can be left standing.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

THE PAWN is a full-length contemporary novel from New York Times bestselling author Skye Warren about revenge and seduction in the game of love. It’s the first book in the brand new ENDGAME series.

Buy Links Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo


Review-DGR5 stars

Skye….Skye!!!…..SKYE!!!!!!!!! I have read a lot of Skye Warren books, and this is my top fave!!!! I have been a fangirl of Skye for a long time, and I always enjoy her books. She is one of the best dark romance writers, in my opinion, and she has outdone herself with this book! All of the feels! The plot is just genius. This story has been written before, but not Skye Warren. When Skye writes it, it’s just better.

This is the type of book where the only reason you put your kindle down is to jump up and down because the characters said or did something so badass that you can’t help but fangirl in the moment.
à la Mode St. » fashion

I look up at him, searching his eyes for some hint of kindness, of mercy. There’s none. I find only fire – and the thought that comes next makes me shudder: this is vengeance. It’s not a feeling he’s had, a fleeting thought for revenge. This what he’s made of, cell by cell, atom by atom. He’s pure fury, and he’s coming for me.

à la Mode St. » fashionMy Gabriel & Avery:

 : Avery has grown up with everything she could ever ask for. After a terrible scandal with her father’s company, she and her father are left with close to nothing. In order to do anything she can to save her house and care for her father, Avery goes to the one man who might give her a loan. Little does she know that she will meet the man who ruined her father and give her a proposal that she cannot refuse in order to save her house and her father’s life.
à la Mode St. » fashion

”Can you at least look at me after I suck your dick?”

à la Mode St. » fashionAvery is a virgin…..A BADASS VIRGIN. This girl stands her ground. She may be naïve but she has got balls of steel! She gives back as good as she gets with Gabriel and I was rooting for her the whole time. She only has herself to depend on, but she doesn’t need anyone else because she does it all. She is willing to sacrifice everything to do the right thing.

…this man of precious metal and revenge, of carved wood and heartache.

GABRIEL. That’s it. Just his name sends shivers down my body. Gabriel is mine. Seriously. Back up, ladies! I know Lana wants to claim him, but NOPE! I refuse. He is ALL MINE, whore! He is a Grade A – Ass….Hole. My kinda man. He treats Avery with nothing less than disdain. She is the daughter of the man that cheated him, and he is willing to put her through hell and humiliation to get his pleasure. I loved the glimpses of compassion in his character, but he inevitably shows his true colors and is true to his inner asshole.
à la Mode St. » fashion

Here’s the thing about owning a virgin. For as long as I don’t fuck you, I still own one.

à la Mode St. » fashionI can’t say much about the plot without spoiling, but I will say I could not put this book down. It was emotional and fast-paced and intriguing, and I want more! This book is beautiful and broken and genius.

Yes, there is a cliffhanger. Should you care? No, for 2 reasons. 1. Because you enjoy this book so much that is doesn’t even matter. 2. Because the next book, Knight, comes out next month so you don’t have to wait very long. And let me tell you, I am going to be pouncing on that book as soon as my grabby little hands can get a hold of it.


THE KNIGHT is now available for preorder!

theknight

The power of pleasure…

Gabriel Miller took everything from me. My family. My innocence. My home. The only thing I have left is the determination to get back what’s mine.

He thinks he’s beaten me. He thinks he’s won. What he doesn’t realize is that every pawn has the chance to become a queen.

And the game has only just begun.

* * * * * *

THE KNIGHT is book two in the Endgame series from New York Times bestselling author Skye Warren about revenge and seduction in the game of love.

PRE-ORDER TODAY!


About the Author13680481_812207255582123_3040574096772318693_o

Skye Warren is the New York Times bestselling author of contemporary romance such as the Chicago Underground series. Her books have been featured in Jezebel, Buzzfeed, USA Today Happily Ever After, Glamour, and Elle Magazine. She makes her home in Texas with her loving family, two sweet dogs, and one evil cat.

Contact Skye:

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube | Pinterest | Website

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Pre-Order Blast: The Pawn by Skye Warren

pawn_banner

THE PAWN by Skye Warren is available for preorder EVERYWHERE!

“Positively sinful, and outrageously sexy! Emotions run high and readers will be left gasping.” – New York Times bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones

PREORDER NOW:
Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

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About The Bookthepawn-1600x2400

“Sinfully sexy and darkly beautiful, The Pawn will play games with your heart and leave you craving more!” – Laura Kaye, New York Times bestselling author

The price of survival…

Gabriel Miller swept into my life like a storm. He tore down my father with cold retribution, leaving him penniless in a hospital bed. I quit my private all-girl’s college to take care of the only family I have left.

There’s one way to save our house, one thing I have left of value.

My virginity.

A forbidden auction…

Gabriel appears at every turn. He seems to take pleasure in watching me fall. Other times he’s the only kindness in a brutal underworld.

Except he’s playing a deeper game than I know. Every move brings us together, every secret rips us apart. And when the final piece is played, only one of us can be left standing.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

THE PAWN is a full-length contemporary novel from New York Times bestselling author Skye Warren about revenge and seduction in the game of love. It’s the first book in the brand new ENDGAME series.

thepawn-teaser-v2GiveawayAnd one lucky reader will win a $125 Gift Card to Amazon to buy even more books

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY HERE
https://goo.gl/forms/60zWNPQk81CqGC7F2

About the Author13680481_812207255582123_3040574096772318693_o

Skye Warren is the New York Times bestselling author of contemporary romance such as the Chicago Underground series. Her books have been featured in Jezebel, Buzzfeed, USA Today Happily Ever After, Glamour, and Elle Magazine. She makes her home in Texas with her loving family, two sweet dogs, and one evil cat.

Contact Skye:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/skyewarren
Twitter: https://twitter.com/skye_warren
Instagram: https://instagram.com/skyewarrenbooks
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/SkyeWarrenBooks
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/skyewarren
Website: www.skyewarren.com

Release Blitz & Giveaway: Out of Bounds by Lauren Blakely

forbidden_adsizeFrom NYT Bestselling author Lauren Blakely, comes a sexy new standalone sports romance…

OUT OF BOUNDS

Ready to be swept off your feet? Meet the witty, sexy, dirty-talking quarterback Drew in OUT OF BOUNDS! Grab your copy today!


Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00026]

The first rule of football–don’t screw with a streak.

My career is finally looking up, and I’m leading a new pro team down the field every Sunday. No way will I mess with that. But when I meet the most stunning and captivating woman I’ve ever seen, I tell myself one night will have to be enough.

But it’s not. And now I can’t get her out of my mind. Even when I’m playing. Even when I need to focus. Even when I’m on the hottest streak of my life.

And it turns out, she’s not just some random woman I met. She works for the team. My team.

 

***

I only have one goal this season–do my part as the team’s lawyer to keep them out of trouble. Help rebuild their reputation on and off the field. There’s no room for error and certainly no room for a secret tryst with a player . . . even if he’s the quarterback.

Right?

Buy Links

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ADD IT GOODREADS

motherfuckingprize2
Excerpt

“Be on your best behavior, Drew,” he says, a teasing tone in his voice.

“I always am,” I reply, and the fact is, that’s true. Clean-cut is my nickname.

“And text if you’re done early.”

“If I’m done early, I’m having a date with my mattress.”

He groans. “You are the definition of no fun.”

I grin. “That’s me. That’s why Qwench wants me now. Because I know how to get a good night’s sleep and stay out of the line of fire.”

When I hang up, I step out of the car, hand the keys to the valet, and thank him. Then I head inside, where Stuart greets me in the room reserved for the event, claps me on the back, and introduces me to several people. A photographer snaps shots the whole time, and I play the role that’s hardly a role—the outgoing, non-trouble-making, peace-loving quarterback who doesn’t throw punches or raise fists, like others before me have.

Don’t smoke, don’t do drugs, don’t have unprotected sex, and I also don’t speed. Squeaky clean indeed. Not even a traffic ticket on the record, and certainly no knocked-up teenyboppers with mini Drews baking in their bellies.

Stuart introduces me to the red-haired, freckle-faced guy who heads up this charity. “And this is Drew Erickson. He’s our new starter. We’re thrilled to have him on the team, especially since he’s already active with many wonderful charitable endeavors,” Stuart says to the ginger-haired guy.

We exchange small talk for a few minutes, then Stuart drops a hand on my shoulder and tells me there’s someone else he wants me to meet. “I’d love to introduce you to a sharp-as-a-tack woman who makes sure I don’t fumble,” he says, then winks in case I didn’t realize he was making a joke.

I smile to let him know I got it—fumbling humor and all—then my smile turns into a ruler-straight line when I turn on my heels and see my surfer angel.

Holy shit. She’s hot as sin in a red skirt, white blouse, and black heels. She holds a drink. Her blond hair is twisted on her head. Damn. The smoking-hot look is almost enough to make me forget she blew me off. My dick, the traitorous bastard, has already come down with amnesia. The fucker wants her.

“This is Dani Paige. She’s an attorney for the team,” he says, and I attempt to school my expression as I come face-to-face with the woman who ditched me.

And all I want to do is toss her on my shoulder, stalk to the bathroom, slam the door, and ask her why the fuck she didn’t call. Then when she tells me it was because she was too busy getting off to thoughts of me, I’d kiss the hell out of her until she melted in my arms and begged me to take her. I’d happily oblige. Hoist her up, hook her legs around my hips, and fuck her against the wall until she comes harder than she ever has before.

Instead, I shake her free hand. “Pleasure to meet you.” Then I whisper, just for her. “Jaws.”

 

dont-like-football_availnowAbout the Author

Since self-publishing her debut romance novel CAUGHT UP IN US over three years ago, Lauren Blakely has sold more than 1.5 million books. She is known for her sexy contemporary romance style that’s full of heat, heart and humor. A devout fan of cake and canines, Lauren has plotted entire novels while walking her four-legged friends. She lives in California with her family. With twelve New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than seventy times. Her bestselling series include Sinful Nights, Seductive Nights, No Regrets, Caught Up in Love, and Fighting Fire as well as standalone hit romances like BIG ROCK, MISTER O, WELL HUNG, and THE SEXY ONE which were all instant New York Times Bestsellers. In January she’ll release FULL PACKAGE, a standalone romantic comedy. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter! laurenblakely.com/newsletter.

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Giveaway

✮✮✮ Celebrate the release of OUT OF BOUNDS! ✮✮✮

 

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Release Blast, Review & Giveaway: Consolation prize by Linda Kage

rb-consolationprize-lkage_finalConsolation Prize
Series: Forbidden Men #9
Genre: New Adult Romance
Author: Linda Kage
Release Date: November 17th, 2016add-to-goodreads-button-2

Muscular Male Torso with shirt

Muscular Male Torso with shirt

 

Don’t you just hate it when someone destroys all your carefully made plans?

I mean, I had goals: college to graduate in one semester, a future I was working hard to reach, and an image of myself I wanted the world to see. My life was stacked into these precisely placed blocks. But then Colton Gamble came along and knocked them all askew.

I hated how he messed everything up, how he could hog all my attention whenever he was around, how he made my pulse quicken–but only because he ticked me off…not because I was attracted to him. Oh! And I hated how he knew how attractive he was too, the shallow, full of himself, doesn’t take no for an answer, too-flirty, too cocky, extremely irritating jerk.

The boy had all the qualities that turned me off. Or so I thought.

One night he wasn’t quite the brainless, over-confident jerk I usually took him for.

One night, he took care of me when I was at my lowest. He opened up to me and made me open up to him.

Now I’m learning maybe he’s not what I first thought he was. And maybe I’M not what I first thought I was. Maybe it’s okay to rearrange a couple of my perfectly set blocks. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll stop worrying about what I’m afraid everyone else will think and finally reach for something I really want. It’s possible some of my plans need to be destroyed, and Colton Gamble is exactly the kind of mess I need in my life.

What do you think? Should I give him a try?

Desperately seeking your advice,
Julianna Radcliffe

Buy LinksAMAZONB&N | iBOOKSKOBO

consolation-teaser03

Excerpt

“Just for that, I’m going to make you cuddle.”

“Cuddle?” My eyes bulged as he crawled closer.

For some reason, cuddling struck more fear inside me than getting slapped or punched. I knew exactly how to respond to those—kick his ass out of my apartment. But with cuddling, I was lost.

I edged away from him, shaking my head, only to yelp out a surprised scream when he snaked out a hand and caught hold of my leg, stilling me.

“Yes, cuddle,” he said. “I like to cuddle.”

My muscles clenched and limbs went tense as he climbed up right into my personal space and wrapped himself around me like a second skin.

“I…I’m not big on cuddling,” I finally admitted, my body board-stiff against him.

“Really?” He sounded surprised by that. “Well, don’t worry, by the time I’m through with you, you’ll love it.

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Review-DGR4.5 stars

I’m used to coming in second place.”
“Not with me you don’t.”

There’s just something about this series for me that seems to hit the spot each and every single time. These characters have become like family to me. I’ve grown to love them and root for their HEA and I have to admit that no one tugged at my heart strings more than Brandt and Colton Gamble. Brandt got his HEA in Priceless and I’ve been eagerly anticipating Colton’s turn. The brothers are polar opposites. Brandt serious and Colton the goof with the easy smiles and plenty of charm. I knew it would take a special girl to bring this guy to his knees and Julianna was certainly his perfect match.

His grin always bore that smug, arrogant smirk, as if he could read every dirty thought in my head. I hated that too…almost as much as I hated him.

After their failed date that barely made it halfway, Julianna find herself at Brandt’s wedding, pining after what could have been. Sent in as the distraction, Colton is all too eager to hit on the beautiful woman that he’s been lusting after since he first laid eyes on her and who has been thwarting each and every single one of his flirty advances.

Every time you disagree with me, I just want to piss you off until you kiss me and rip at my clothes. And then I want to bury my cock so deep inside you I forget my own fucking name. And then I want to make you forget yours.”

I was afraid that Juli’s feelings for Brandt may put a permanent shadow over anything developing with her and Colton, but I should not have feared it at all. I absolutely loved these two together. Four years his senior, Juli is not exactly thrilled about her building lust towards the little Gamble. But his easy smiles and charm soon begin to win her over. Then there’s the quiet intensity and layers that he so easily keeps hidden beneath his playful personality that calls to her even more.

They have everything stacked against them. Colton will always be Brandt’s brother, he’s younger…and he’s white. I love reading interracial romances, but sadly it’s not a common find. Nor is it an easy thing to pull off without making it all about color. But I have to say that Linda Kage not only pulled it off, but she did so flawlessly.

While Juli may come off as a harass at first sight, there’s so much more to her. She’s such a multilayered character that I couldn’t help but like her right away. The more I found out about her, the more I understood why she acted the way she did. As for Colton, I knew I’d love him and I was not wrong. What I didn’t expect is to love him as much as I did. But he’s right up there with Ten for me. The same sort of ornery personality and easy humor, but beneath it all is a heart of gold.

I don’t know. Doesn’t that sound… wrong to you?”
“Oh, baby doll. Wrong’s just the way I like it.”

While the book may be titled Consolation Prize, their relationship was anything but. I absolutely adored the two of them together and watching them both slowly tear down the other’s walls. I loved watching them fall for each other against all odds.

Where the hell have you been all my life?”
“I’ve been looking for you, baby doll.”

When I’m in the mood for a poignant, emotional and sexy NA romance, this author has become my go-to. The Forbidden Men has been and continues to be one of my top favorite NA series. This book only served to remind me why I love it as much as I do. I simply can’t recommend it enough. Perfection. Pure perfection.


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About the Author

Linda Kage grew up on a dairy farm in the Midwest as the youngest of eight children. Now she lives in Kansas with her husband, daughter, and nine cuckoo clocks. Her life’s been blessed with lots of people to learn from and love. Writing’s always been a major part of her world, and she is so happy to finally share some of her stories with other romance lovers.

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Release Blitz & Giveaway: Resuscitate Me by Leddy Harper

resuscitate-me-release-day-blitz-bannerResuscitate Me
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Leddy Harper
Release Date: November 16, 2016add-to-goodreads-button-2

resuscitateme_amazon

Suffocating

I never knew I couldn’t breathe,

Until he forced air into my lungs

Gave me reason

Showed me life.
Carter Hastings was only supposed to be a fling,

A summer of fun, excitement, pleasure

And, it was…

Everything.

It’s hard to walk away,

To leave the one man,

Who resuscitates me.

But I did.

He didn’t reciprocate my feelings.

He didn’t love me.

Not now.

Not ever.

Coming November 16, 2016

Buy LinksAMAZON
Available on Kindle Unlimited

resuscitate-me-jumpExcerpt

“Look at me,” he ordered again in that rough, no-nonsense tone.I blinked and focused on his eyes. His pupils had dilated so much they practically swallowed the green. “I can’t…” I whispered in what sounded to me like apologetic shame. “I can’t…”

He finally released the pressure against my chest, but I was unable to catch my breath. Instead of keeping me restrained between his hips and the mirror, he grabbed the back of my thigh and lowered me to the floor. Except, I wasn’t on the floor. I stood on an aerobic step that had to have been at least four inches considering the height advantage it provided me.

Again, he kept me immobilized and mute.

He wrapped one large, rough hand around my jaw. Four thick fingers extended along one side of it. A thumb dug into my cheek with my chin cupped in the web between them. He used his hold on me to tilt my head back until it fell against the mirror behind me.

My voice, my heartbeat, and my ability to breathe—gone.

Stolen.

Silenced by his hungry gaze.

About the Author

leddy-harperLeddy Harper had to use her imagination often as a child. She grew up the only girl in a house full of boys. At the age of fourteen, she decided to use that imagination and wrote her first book, and never stopped.

She often calls writing her therapy, using it as a way to deal with issues through the eyes of her characters.

She is now a mother of three girls, leaving her husband as the only man in a house full of females.

The decision to publish her first book was made as a way of showing her children to go after whatever it is they want to. Love what you do and do it well. Most importantly Leddy wanted to teach them what it means to overcome their fears.

 

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McNaught-E November! #Giveaway & ::Whitney My Love:: Excerpt

I am so excited to share with you that the fourteen Judith McNaught titles listed below are available for the first time in E-Book today, November 1st! If you previously read any of these amazing titles, revisiting them in E-Book is not “All for Naught,” as each E-Book will contain original, new content (a letter) from Judith McNaught.

Excerpts:

To celebrate this abundance of new material from Judith McNaught, we kick off McNaught-E November today with an excerpt for Whitney, My Love ($2.99 special price November 1st – December 4th, 2016). Please check back on McNaught-E Mondays (every Monday in November) to enjoy additional excerpts for the other thirteen E-Books.

 Giveaway

Want to win a promo code for EACH of these amazing 14 titles? For McNaught-E Cyber Monday (11/28) I will announce the winner of 14 promo codes, one promo code for each title. That’s right, one winner will get 14 promo codes for each of the books listed below! Enter to win today! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can enter on all blogs on the tour listed below, but you can only win once.


 Judith McNaught Historical Romances:

Let New York Times bestselling author Judith McNaught who “is in a class by herself” (USA TODAY) sweep you off your feet and into another time with her sensual, passionate, and spellbinding historical romance classics, featuring her “unique magic” (RT Book Reviews)! 


SEQUELS SERIES


 Once and Always

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Victoria Seaton, a blithe and fiercely independent orphan, leaves her home in America to travel across the vast Atlantic to claim her long-lost inheritance: a labyrinthine English estate named Wakefield. There she encounters her distant cousin, the notorious, proud, and mysterious Lord Jason Fielding. Drawn to his magnetic charisma, Victoria can’t help but suspect that like her, he harbors a dark and painful past. Neither Victoria or Jason are able to resist one another’s charm but, in a moment of blinding anguish, Victoria discovers the shocking truth that lays at the heart of their love—a love she had dreamed would triumph.

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 Something Wonderful

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“Judith McNaught not only spins dreams but makes them come true” (RT Book Reviews) in this sensual and moving tale of a tempestuous marriage facing its ultimate test. Alexandra Lawrence, an innocent country girl, and Jordan Townsende, the rich and powerful Duke of Hawthorne, have always had a stormy relationship. But when she is swept into the endlessly fascinating world of London society, free-spirited Alexandra becomes ensnared in a tangled web of jealousy, revenge, and overwhelming passion. But behind her husband’s cold, haughty mask, there lives a tender, vital, sensual man…the man Alexandra married. Now, she will fight for his very life and the rapturous bond they alone can share.

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Almost Heaven

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Elizabeth Cameron, the Countess of Havenhurst, possesses a rare gentleness and fierce courage to match her exquisite beauty. But her reputation is shattered when she is discovered in the arms of Ian Thornton, a notorious gambler and social outcast. A dangerously handsome man of secret wealth and mysterious lineage, Ian’s interest in Elizabeth may not be all that it seems. His voyage to her heart is fraught with intrigue, scandal, and a venomous revenge.  As a twisting path of secrets takes them from London’s drawing rooms to the awe-inspiring Scottish Highlands, Elizabeth must learn the truth: is Ian merely a ruthless fortune hunter at heart? “Well-developed main characters with a compelling mutual attraction give strength and charm to this romance set in nineteenth-century Great Britain” (Publishers Weekly).

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WESTMORELAND DYNASTY SAGA


 Whitney, My Love

cover-whitneymylove$2.99 (Offer Valid November 1st – December 4th, 2016)

A saucy spitfire who has grown into a ravishing young woman, Whitney Stone returns from her triumphant time in Paris society to England. She plans on marrying her childhood sweetheart, only to discover she has been bargained away by her bankrupt father to the arrogant and alluring Clayton Westmoreland, the Duke of Claymore. Outraged, she defies her new lord. But even as his smoldering passion seduces her into a gathering storm of desire, Whitney cannot—will not—relinquish her dream of perfect love. Rich with emotion, brimming with laughter and tears, Whitney, My Love is “the ultimate love story, one you can dream about forever” (RT Book Reviews).

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Excerpt CHAPTER 1 EXCERPT!

Whitney, My Love
1As their elegant travelling chaise rocked and swayed along the rutted country road, Lady Anne Gilbert leaned her cheek against her husband’s shoulder and heaved a long, impatient sigh. “Another whole hour until we arrive, and already the suspense is positively gnawing at me. I keep wondering what Whitney will be like now that she’s grown up.”She lapsed into silence and gazed absently out the coach window at the lush, rolling English countryside covered with wild pink Foxglove and yellow Buttercups, trying to envision the niece she hadn’t seen in almost eleven years.“She’ll be pretty, just as her mother was. And she’ll have her mother’s smile, her gentleness, her sweet disposition . . .”Lord Edward Gilbert cast a skeptical glance at his wife. “Sweet disposition?” he echoed in amused disbelief. “That isn’t what her father said in his letter.”As a diplomat attached to the British Consulate in Paris, Lord Gilbert was a master of hints, evasions, innuendoes, and intrigues. But in his personal life, he preferred the refreshing alternative of blunt truth. “Allow me to refresh your memory,” he said, groping in his pockets and retrieving the letter from Whitney’s father. He perched his spectacles upon his nose, and ignoring his wife’s grimace, he began to read:

“ ‘Whitney’s manners are an outrage, her conduct is reprehensible. She is a willful hoyden who is the despair of everyone she knows and an embarrassment to me. I implore you to take her back to Paris with you, in the hope that you may have more success with the stubborn chit than I have had.’ ”

Edward chuckled. “Show me where it says she’s ‘sweet-tempered.’ ”

His wife shot him a peevish glance. “Martin Stone is a cold, unfeeling man who wouldn’t recognize gentleness and goodness if Whitney were made of nothing else! Only think of the way he shouted at her and sent her to her room right after my sister’s funeral.”

Edward recognized the mutinous set of his wife’s chin and put his arm around her shoulders in a gesture of conciliation. “I’m no fonder of the man than you are, but you must admit that, just having lost his young wife to an early grave, to have his daughter accuse him, in front of fifty people, of locking her mama in a box so she couldn’t escape had to be rather disconcerting.”

“But Whitney was scarcely five years old!” Anne protested heatedly.

“Agreed. But Martin was grieving. Besides, as I recall, it was not for that offense she was banished to her room. It was later, when everyone had gathered in the drawing room—when she stamped her foot and threatened to report us all to God if we didn’t release her mama at once.”

Anne smiled. “What spirit she had, Edward. I thought for a moment her little freckles were going to pop right off her nose. Admit it—she was marvelous, and you thought so too!”

“Well, yes,” Edward agreed sheepishly. “I rather thought she was.”

*  *  *

As the Gilbert chaise bore inexorably down on the Stone estate, a small knot of young people were waiting on the south lawn, impatiently looking toward the stable one hundred yards away. A petite blonde smoothed her pink ruffled skirts and sighed in a way that displayed a very fetching dimple. “Whatever do you suppose Whitney is planning to do?” she inquired of the handsome light-haired man beside her.

Glancing down into Elizabeth Ashton’s wide blue eyes, Paul Sevarin smiled a smile that Whitney would have forfeited both her feet to see focused on herself. “Try to be patient, Elizabeth,” he said.

“I’m sure none of us have the faintest idea what she is up to, Elizabeth,” Margaret Merryton said tartly. “But you can be perfectly certain it will be something foolish and outrageous.”

“Margaret, we’re all Whitney’s guests today,” Paul chided.

“I don’t know why you should defend her, Paul,” Margaret argued spitefully. “Whitney is creating a horrid scandal chasing after you, and you know it!”

“Margaret!” Paul snapped. “I said that was enough.” Drawing a long, irritated breath, Paul Sevarin frowned darkly at his gleaming boots. Whitney had been making a spectacle of herself chasing after him, and damned near everyone for fifteen miles was talking about it.

At first he had been mildly amused to find himself the object of a fifteen-year-old’s languishing looks and adoring smiles, but lately Whitney had begun pursuing him with the determination and tactical brilliance of a female Napoleon Bonaparte.

If he rode off the grounds of his estate, he could almost depend on meeting her en route to his destination. It was as if she had some lookout point from which she watched his every move, and Paul no longer found her childish infatuation with him either harmless or amusing.

Three weeks ago, she had followed him to a local inn. While he was pleasantly contemplating accepting the innkeeper’s daughter’s whispered invitation to meet her later in the hayloft, he’d glanced up and seen a familiar pair of bright green eyes peeping at him through the window. Slamming his tankard of ale on the table, he’d marched outside, grabbed Whitney by the elbow, and unceremoniously deposited her on her horse, tersely reminding her that her father would be searching for her if she wasn’t home by nightfall.

He’d stalked back inside and ordered another tankard, but when the innkeeper’s daughter brushed her breasts suggestively against his arm while refilling his ale and Paul had a sudden vision of himself lying entangled with her voluptuous naked body, a pair of green eyes peered in through yet another window. He’d tossed enough coins on the planked wooden table to mollify the startled girl’s wounded sensibilities and left—only to encounter Miss Stone again on his way home.

He was beginning to feel like a hunted man whose every move was under surveillance, and his temper was strained to the breaking point. And yet, Paul thought irritably, here he was standing in the April sun, trying for some obscure reason to protect Whitney from the criticism she richly deserved.

A pretty girl, several years younger than the others in the group, glanced at Paul. “I think I’ll go and see what’s keeping Whitney,” said Emily Williams. She hurried across the lawn and along the whitewashed fence adjoining the stable. Shoving open the big double doors, Emily looked down the wide gloomy corridor lined with stalls on both sides. “Where is Miss Whitney?” she asked the stableboy who was currying a sorrel gelding.

“In there, Miss.” Even in the muted light, Emily saw his face suffuse with color as he nodded toward a door adjacent to the tack room.

With a puzzled glance at the flushing stableboy, Emily tapped lightly on the designated door and stepped inside, then froze at the sight that greeted her: Whitney Allison Stone’s long legs were encased in coarse brown britches that clung startlingly to her slender hips and were held in place at her narrow waist with a length of rope. Above the riding britches she wore a thin chemise.

“You surely aren’t going out there dressed like that?” Emily gasped.

Whitney fired an amused glance over her shoulder at her scandalized friend. “Of course not. I’m going to wear a shirt, too.”

“B-but why?” Emily persisted desperately.

“Because I don’t think it would be very proper to appear in my chemise, silly,” Whitney cheerfully replied, snatching the stableboy’s clean shirt off a peg and plunging her arms into the sleeves.

“P-proper? Proper?” Emily sputtered. “It’s completely improper for you to be wearing men’s britches, and you know it!”

“True. But I can’t very well ride that horse without a saddle and risk having my skirts blow up around my neck, now can I?” Whitney breezily argued while she twisted her long unruly hair into a knot and pinned it at her nape.

“Ride without a saddle? You can’t mean you’re going to ride astride—your father will disown you if you do that again.”

“I am not going to ride astride. Although,” Whitney giggled, “I can’t understand why men are allowed to straddle a horse, while we—who are supposed to be the weaker sex—must hang off the side, praying for our lives.”

Emily refused to be diverted. “Then what are you going to do?”

“I never realized what an inquisitive young lady you are, Miss Williams,” Whitney teased. “But to answer your question, I am going to ride standing on the horse’s back. I saw it done at the fair, and I’ve been practicing ever since. Then, when Paul sees how well I do, he’ll—”

“He’ll think you have lost your mind, Whitney Stone! He’ll think that you haven’t a grain of sense or propriety, and that you’re only trying something else to gain his attention.” Seeing the stubborn set of her friend’s chin, Emily switched her tactics. “Whitney, please—think of your father. What will he say if he finds out?”

Whitney hesitated, feeling the force of her father’s unwaveringly cold stare as if it were this minute focused upon her. She drew a long breath, then expelled it slowly as she glanced out the small window at the group waiting on the lawn. Wearily, she said, “Father will say that, as usual, I have disappointed him, that I am a disgrace to him and to my mother’s memory, that he is happy she didn’t live to see what I have become. Then he will spend half an hour telling me what a perfect lady Elizabeth Ashton is, and that I ought to be like her.”

“Well, if you really wanted to impress Paul, you could try . . .”

Whitney clenched her hands in frustration. “I have tried to be like Elizabeth. I wear those disgusting ruffled dresses that make me feel like a pastel mountain, I’ve practiced going for hours without saying a word, and I’ve fluttered my eyelashes until my eyelids go limp.”

Emily bit her lip to hide her smile at Whitney’s unflattering description of Elizabeth Ashton’s demure mannerisms, then she sighed. “I’ll go and tell the others that you’ll be right out.”

Gasps of outrage and derisive sniggers greeted Whitney’s appearance on the lawn when she led the horse toward the spectators. “She’ll fall off,” one of the girls predicted, “if God doesn’t strike her dead first for wearing those britches.”

Ignoring the impulse to snap out a biting retort, Whitney raised her head in a gesture of haughty disdain, then stole a look at Paul. His handsome face was taut with disapproval as his gaze moved from her bare feet, up her trousered legs, to her face. Inwardly, Whitney faltered at his obvious displeasure, but she swung resolutely onto the back of the waiting horse.

The gelding moved into its practiced canter, and Whitney worked herself upward, first crouching with arms outstretched for balance, then slowly easing herself into a standing position. Around and around they went and, although Whitney was in constant terror of falling off and looking like a fool, she managed to appear competent and graceful.

As she completed the fourth circle, she let her eyes slant to the faces passing on her left, registering their looks of shock and derision, while she searched for the only face that mattered. Paul was partially in the tree’s shadow, and Elizabeth Ashton was clinging to his arm, but as Whitney passed, she saw the slow, reluctant smile tugging at the corner of his mouth, and triumph unfurled like a banner in her heart. By the time she came around again, Paul was grinning broadly at her. Whitney’s spirits soared, and suddenly all the weeks of practice, the sore muscles and bruises, seemed worthwhile.

*  *  *

At the window of the second floor drawing room overlooking the south lawn, Martin Stone stared down at his performing daughter. Behind him, the butler announced that Lord and Lady Gilbert had arrived. Too enraged at his daughter to speak, Martin greeted his sister-in-law and her husband with a clenched jaw and curt nod.

“How—how nice to see you again after so many years, Martin,” Lady Anne lied graciously. When he remained icily silent, she said, “Where is Whitney? We’re so anxious to see her.”

Martin finally recovered his voice. “See her?” he snapped savagely. “Madam, you have only to look out this window.”

Bewildered, Anne did as he said. Below on the lawn there stood a group of young people watching a slender boy balancing beautifully on a cantering horse. “What a clever young man,” she said, smiling.

Her simple remark seemed to drive Martin Stone from frozen rage to frenzied action as he swung on his heel and marched toward the door. “If you wish to meet your niece, come with me. Or, I can spare you the humiliation, and bring her here to you.”

With an exasperated look at Martin’s back, Anne tucked her hand in her husband’s arm and together they followed Martin downstairs and outside.

As they approached the group of young people, Anne heard murmurings and laughter, and she was vaguely aware that there was something malicious in the tone, but she was too busy scanning the young ladies’ faces, looking for Whitney, to pay much heed to the fleeting impression. She mentally discarded two blondes and a redhead, quizzically studied a petite, blue-eyed brunette, then glanced helplessly at the young man beside her. “Pardon me, I am Lady Gilbert, Whitney’s aunt. Could you tell me where she is?”

Paul Sevarin grinned at her, half in sympathy and half in amusement. “Your niece is on the horse, Lady Gilbert,” he said.

“On the—” Lord Gilbert choked.

From her delicate perch atop the horse, Whitney’s eyes followed her father’s progress as he bore down on her with long, rapid strides. “Please don’t make a scene, Father,” she implored when he was within earshot.

I make a scene?” he roared furiously. Snatching the halter, he brought the cantering horse around so sharply that he jerked it from beneath her. Whitney hit the ground on her feet, lost her balance, and ended up half-sprawling. As she scampered up, her father caught her arm in a ruthless grip and hauled her over toward the spectators. “This—this thing,” he said, thrusting her forward toward her aunt and uncle, “I am mortified to tell you is your niece.”

Whitney heard the smattering of giggles as the group quickly disbanded, and she felt her face grow hot with shame. “How do you do, Aunt Gilbert? Uncle Gilbert?” With one eye on Paul’s broad-shouldered, retreating form, Whitney reached mechanically for her nonexistent skirt, realized it was missing, and executed a comical curtsy without it. She saw the frown on her aunt’s face and put her chin up defensively. “You may be sure that for the week you are here, I shall endeavor not to make a freak of myself again, Aunt.”

“For the week that we are here?” her aunt gasped, but Whitney was preoccupied watching Paul help Elizabeth into his curricle and didn’t notice the surprise in her aunt’s voice.

“Good-bye, Paul,” she called, waving madly. He turned and raised his arm in silent farewell.

Laughter drifted back as the curricles bowled down the drive, carrying their occupants off to a picnic or some other gay and wonderful activity, to which Whitney was never invited because she was too young.

Following Whitney toward the house, Anne was a mass of conflicting emotions. She was embarrassed for Whitney, furious with Martin Stone for humiliating the girl in front of the other young people, somewhat dazed by the sight of her own niece cavorting on the back of a horse, wearing men’s britches . . . and utterly astonished to discover that Whitney, whose mother had been only passably pretty, showed promise of becoming a genuine beauty.

She was too thin right now, but even in disgrace Whitney’s shoulders were straight, her walk naturally graceful and faintly provocative. Anne smiled to herself at the gently rounded hips displayed to almost immoral advantage by the coarse brown trousers, the slender waist that would require no subterfuge to make it appear smaller, eyes that seemed to change from sea-green to deep jade beneath their fringe of long, sooty lashes. And that hair—piles and piles of rich mahogany brown! All it needed was a good trimming and brushing until it shone; Anne’s fingers positively itched to go to work on it. Mentally she was already styling it in ways to highlight Whitney’s striking eyes and high cheekbones. Off her face, Anne decided, piled at the crown with tendrils at the ears, or pulled straight back off the forehead to fall in gentle waves down her back.

As soon as they entered the house, Whitney mumbled an excuse and fled to her room where she flopped dejectedly into a chair and morosely contemplated the humiliating scene Paul had just witnessed, with her father jerking her ignominiously off her horse and then shouting at her. No doubt her aunt and uncle were as horrified and revolted by her behavior as her father had been, and her cheeks burned with shame just thinking of how they must despise her already.

“Whitney?” Emily whispered, creeping into the bedroom and cautiously closing the door behind her. “I came up the back way. Is your father angry?”

“Cross as crabs,” Whitney confirmed, staring down at her trousered legs. “I suppose I ruined everything today, didn’t I? Everyone was laughing at me, and Paul heard them. Now that Elizabeth is seventeen, he’s bound to offer for her before he ever has a chance to realize that he loves me.

“You?” Emily repeated dazedly. “Whitney Stone, Paul avoids you like the plague, and well you know it! And who could blame him, after the mishaps you’ve treated him to in the last year?”

“There haven’t been so many as all that,” Whitney protested, but she squirmed in her chair.

“No? What about that trick you played on him on All Soul’s—darting out in front of his carriage, shrieking like a banshee, and pretending to be a ghost, terrifying his horses.”

Whitney flushed. “He wasn’t so very angry. And it isn’t as if the carriage was destroyed. It only broke a shaft when it overturned.”

“And Paul’s leg,” Emily pointed out.

“But that mended perfectly,” Whitney persisted, her mind already leaping from past debacles to future possibilities. She surged to her feet and began to pace slowly back and forth. “There has to be a way—but short of abducting him, I—” A mischievous smile lit up her dust-streaked face as she swung around so quickly that Emily pressed back into her chair. “Emily, one thing is infinitely clear: Paul does not yet know that he cares for me. Correct?”

“He doesn’t care a snap for you is more like it,” Emily replied warily.

“Therefore, it would be safe to say that he is unlikely to offer for me without some sort of added incentive. Correct?”

“You couldn’t make him offer for you at the point of a gun, and you know it. Besides, you aren’t old enough to be betrothed, even if—”

“Under what circumstances,” Whitney interrupted triumphantly, “is a gentleman obliged to offer for a lady?”

“I can’t think of any. Except of course, if he has compromised her—absolutely not! Whitney, whatever you’re planning now, I won’t help.”

Sighing, Whitney flopped back into her chair, stretching her legs out in front of her. An irreverent giggle escaped her as she considered the sheer audacity of her last idea. “If only I could have pulled it off . . . you know, loosened the wheel on Paul’s carriage so that it would fall off later, and then asked him to drive me somewhere. Then, by the time we walked back, or help arrived, it would be late at night, and he would have to offer for me.” Oblivious to Emily’s scandalized expression, Whitney continued, “Just think what a wonderful turnabout that would have been on a tired old theme: Young Lady abducts Gentleman and ruins hisreputation so that she is forced to marry him to set things aright! What a novel that could have made,” she added, rather impressed with her own ingenuity.

“I’m leaving,” Emily said. She marched to the door, then she hesitated and turned back to Whitney. “Your aunt and uncle saw everything. What are you going to say to them about those trousers and the horse?”

Whitney’s face clouded. “I’m not going to say anything, it wouldn’t help—but for the rest of the time they are here, I’m going to be the most demure, refined, delicate female you’ve ever seen.” She saw Emily’s dubious look and added, “Also I intend to stay out of sight except at mealtimes. I think I’ll be able to act like Elizabeth for three hours a day.”

*  *  *

Whitney kept her promise. At dinner that night, after her uncle’s hair-raising tale of their life in Beirut where he was attached to the British Consulate, she murmured only, “How very informative, Uncle,” even though she was positively burning to ply him with questions. At the end of her aunt’s description of Paris and the thrill of its gay social life, Whitney murmured, “How very informative, Aunt.” The moment the meal was finished, she excused herself and vanished.

After three days, Whitney’s efforts to be either demure or absent had, in fact, been so successful that Anne was beginning to wonder whether she had only imagined the spark of fire she’d glimpsed the day of their arrival, or if the girl had some aversion to Edward and herself.

On the fourth day, when Whitney breakfasted before the rest of the household was up, and then vanished, Anne set out to discover the truth. She searched the house, but Whitney was not indoors. She was not in the garden, nor had she taken a horse from the stable, Anne was informed by a groom. Squinting into the sunlight, Anne looked around her, trying to imagine where a fifteen-year-old would go to spend all day.

Off on the crest of a hill overlooking the estate, she spied a patch of bright yellow. “There you are!” she breathed, opening her parasol and striking out across the lawn.

Whitney didn’t see her aunt coming until it was too late to escape. Wishing she had found a better place to hide, she tried to think of some innocuous subject on which she could converse without appearing ignorant. Clothes? Personally, she knew nothing of fashions and cared even less; she looked hopeless no matter what she wore. After all, what could clothes do to improve the looks of a female who had cat’s eyes, mud-colored hair, and freckles on the bridge of her nose? Besides that, she was too tall, too thin, and if the good Lord intended for her ever to have a bosom, it was very late in making its appearance.

Weak-kneed, her chest heaving with each labored breath, Anne topped the steep rise and collapsed unceremoniously onto the blanket beside Whitney. “I-I thought I’d take . . . a nice stroll,” Anne lied. When she caught her breath, she noticed the leather-bound book lying face down on the blanket and, seizing on books as a topic of conversation, she said, “Is that a romantic novel?”

“No, Aunt,” Whitney demurely uttered, carefully placing her hand over the title of the book to conceal it from her aunt’s eyes.

“I’m told most young ladies adore romantic novels,” Anne tried again.

“Yes, Aunt,” Whitney agreed politely.

“I read one once but I didn’t like it,” Anne remarked, her mind groping for some other topic that might draw Whitney into conversation. “I cannot abide a heroine who is too perfect, nor one who is forever swooning.”

Whitney was so astonished to discover that she wasn’t the only female in all of England who didn’t devour the insipid things, that she instantly forgot her resolution to speak only in monosyllables. “And when the heroines aren’t swooning,” she added, her entire face lighting up with laughter, “they are lying about with hartshorn bottles up their nostrils, moping and pining away for some faint-hearted gentleman who hasn’t the gumption to offer for them, or else has already offered for some other, unworthy female. I could never just lie there doing nothing, knowing the man I loved was falling in love with a horrid person.” Whitney darted a glance at her aunt to see if she was shocked, but her aunt was regarding her with an unexplainable smile lurking at the corners of her eyes. “Aunt Anne, could you actually care for a man who dropped to his knees and said, ‘Oh, Clarabel, your lips are the petals of a red rose and your eyes are two stars from the heavens’?” With a derisive snort, Whitney finished, “That is where I would have leapt for the hartshorn!”

“And so would I,” Anne said, laughing. “What do you read then, if not atrocious romantic novels?” She pried the book from beneath Whitney’s flattened hand and stared at the gold-embossed title. “The Iliad?” she asked in astonished disbelief. The breeze ruffled the pages, and Anne’s amazed gaze ricocheted from the print to Whitney’s tense face. “But this is in Greek! Surely you don’t read Greek?”

Whitney nodded, her face flushed with mortification. Now her aunt would think her a bluestocking—another black mark against her. “Also Latin, Italian, French, and even some German,” she confessed.

“Good God,” Anne breathed. “How did you ever learn all that?”

“Despite what Father thinks, Aunt Anne, I am only foolish, not stupid, and I plagued him to death until he allowed me tutors in languages and history.” Whitney fell silent, remembering how she’d once believed that if

she applied herself to her studies, if she could become more like a son, her father might love her.

“You sound ashamed of your accomplishments, when you should be proud.”

Whitney gazed out at her home, nestled in the valley below. “I’m sure you know everyone thinks it’s a waste of time to educate a female in these things. And anyway, I haven’t a feminine accomplishment to my name. I can’t sew a stitch that doesn’t look as if it were done blindfolded, and when I sing, the dogs down at the stable begin to howl. Mr. Twittsworthy, our local music instructor, told my father that my playing of the pianoforte gives him hives. I can’t do a thing that girls ought to do, and what’s more, I particularly detest doing them.”

Whitney knew her aunt would now take her in complete dislike, just as everyone else always did, but it was better this way because at least she could stop dreading the inevitable. She looked at Lady Anne, her green eyes wide and vulnerable. “I’m certain Papa has told you all about me. I’m a terrible disappointment to him. He wants me to be dainty and demure and quiet, like Elizabeth Ashton. I try to be, but I can’t seem to do it.”

Anne’s heart melted for the lovely, spirited, bewildered child her sister had borne. Laying her hand against Whitney’s cheek, she said tenderly, “Your father wants a daughter who is like a cameo—delicate, pale, and easily shaped. Instead, he has a daughter who is a diamond, full of sparkle and life, and he doesn’t know what to do with her. Instead of appreciating the value and rarity of his jewel—instead of polishing her a bit and then letting her shine—he persists in trying to shape her into a common cameo.”

Whitney was more inclined to think of herself as a chunk of coal, but rather than disillusion her aunt, she kept silent. After her aunt left, Whitney picked up her book, but soon her mind wandered from the printed page to dreamy thoughts of Paul.

That night when she came down to the dining room, the atmosphere in the room was strangely charged, and no one noticed her sauntering toward the table. “When do you plan to tell her she’s coming back to France with us, Martin?” her uncle demanded angrily. “Or is it your intention to wait until the day we leave and then just toss the child into the coach with us?”

The world tilted crazily, and for one horrible moment, Whitney thought she was going to be sick. She stopped, trying to steady her shaking limbs, and swallowed back the aching lump in her throat. “Am I going somewhere, Father?” she asked, trying to sound calm and indifferent.

They all turned and stared, and her father’s face tightened into lines of impatience and annoyance. “To France,” he replied abruptly. “To live with your aunt and uncle, who are going to try to make a lady out of you.”

Carefully avoiding meeting anyone’s eyes, lest she break down then and there, Whitney slid into her chair at the table. “Have you informed my aunt and uncle of the risk they are taking?” she asked, concentrating all her strength on preventing her father from seeing what he had just done to her heart. She looked coldly at her aunt and uncle’s guilty, embarrassed faces. “Father may have neglected to mention you’re risking disgrace by welcoming me into your home. As he will tell you, I’ve a hideous disposition, I’m rag-mannered, and I haven’t a trace of polite conversation.”

Her aunt was watching her with naked pity, but her father’s expression was stony. “Oh Papa,” she whispered brokenly, “do you really despise me this much? Do you hate me so much that you have to send me out of your sight?” Her eyes swimming with unshed tears, Whitney stood up. “If you . . . will excuse me . . . I’m not very hungry this evening.”

“How could you!” Anne cried when she left, rising from her own chair and glaring furiously at Martin Stone. “You are the most heartless, unfeeling—it will be a pleasure to remove that child from your clutches. How she has survived this long is a testimony to her strength. I’m sure I could never have done so well.”

“You refine too much upon her words, Madam,” Martin said icily. “I assure you that what has her looking so distraught is not the prospect of being parted from me. I have merely put a premature end to her plans to continue making a fool of herself over Paul Sevarin.”


 A Kingdom of Dreams

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Abducted from her convent school, headstrong Scottish beauty Jennifer Merrick does not easily surrender to Royce Westmoreland, Duke of Claymore. Known as “The Wolf,” his very name strikes terror in the hearts of his enemies. But proud Jennifer will have nothing to do with the fierce English warrior who holds her captive, no matter what he threatens. Boldly she challenges his will—until the night he takes her in his powerful embrace, awakening in her an irresistible hunger. Suddenly Jennifer finds herself ensnared in a bewildering and seductive web of pride, passion, and overwhelming love. This beloved tale about two defiant hearts clashing in a furious battle of wills in the glorious age of chivalry “will stay in your heart forever and be a classic on your shelves” (RT Book Reviews, Top Pick).

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Until You

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In this unforgettable romantic adventure, a teacher of wealthy young ladies finds her life changed forever when she travels from the wilds of America to elegant London. Sheridan Bromleigh is hired to accompany one of her students, heiress Charise Lancaster, to England to meet her fiancé. But when her charge elopes with a stranger, Sheridan wonders how she will ever explain it to Charise’s intended, Lord Burleton. Standing on the pier, Stephen Westmoreland, the Earl of Langford, assumes the young woman coming toward him is Charise Lancaster and reluctantly informs her of his inadvertent role in a fatal accident involving Lord Burleton the night before. And just as the young woman is about to speak, she steps into the path of a cargo net loaded with crates. Sheridan awakens in Westmoreland’s mansion with no memory of who she is; the only hint of her past is the puzzling fact that everyone calls her Miss Lancaster. All she truly knows is that she is falling in love with a handsome English earl, and that the life unfolding before her seems full of wondrous possibilities.

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Miracles (in A Holiday of Love)

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Now available for the first time ever as an e-novella, New York Times bestselling author Judith McNaught’s short historical romanceMiracles—which ties up ends left open in the Westmoreland Dynasty Saga—is available for the first time ever as a standalone e-novella. In Regency London, world-weary lord Nicki du Ville receives an outrageous proposal from Julianna Skeffington, who is Sheridan Bromleigh’s charge from Until You.

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Judith McNaught Contemporary Historical Romances:

Discover the sensual and sweeping power of love in New York Times bestselling author Judith McNaught’s contemporary romances that will make “you laugh, cry, and fall in love again” (RT Book Reviews)!


STAND-ALONES


Tender Triumph

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On Friday, a sensuous stranger enters Katie’s life. By Sunday, her life is irrevocably changed forever.

Katie Connelly submerges her painful past in a promising career, an elegant apartment, and men she can keep at a distance. Yet something vital is missing from her life—until she meets proud, rugged Ramon Galverra. With his charm and his passionate nature, Ramon gives her a love she had never known. Still she is afraid to surrender her heart to this strong, willful, secretive man—a man from a different world, a man with a bold, uncertain future. Will Katie’s relationship with Ramon survive once the thrill of their simmering passion subsides?

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Double Standards

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In the exclusive, glittering world of business superstars, Nick Sinclair is a legend. The ruggedly handsome president of Global Industries handles his business the way he handles his women—with charm, daring, and ruthless self-control. A man used to the very best, Nick hires Lauren Danner and assumes the proud beauty will soon be another easy conquest. But Lauren’s flashing wit and rare spirit dazzles him and slowly, against his will, he’s intrigued, challenged, and in love. Yet he doesn’t know that Lauren is living a lie and, trapped in a web of deceit, she fights her growing love for Nick. Her secret could destroy his fragile trust and the promise of life with the most compelling man she has ever met.

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FOSTER SAGA


Remember When

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When multinational tycoon Cole Harrison approaches her on a moonlit balcony at the White Orchid Charity Ball, Diana Foster has no idea how life-changing the night ahead will be. The most lavish social event of the Houston season had brought out Texas aristocracy in glittering array but Diana only agreed to attend to save face after reading about her fiancé leaving her for an Italian heiress in a sleazy gossip magazine. Her Beautiful Living magazine is her family’s success story, and Diana knows that as a single, childless, and suddenly unengaged woman, she is not living up to its lucrative image of upscale domestic tranquility. But when she spots the pride of Dallas billionaires, Cole Harrison, closing in on her with two crystal flutes and a bottle of champagne, she has no idea that he has ulterior motives for seducing her tonight. And he certainly has no idea that a match made in what he considers logic’s heaven might be headed straight for an unexpected, once-in-a-lifetime love. “Judith McNaught once again works her unique magic in this charming, sparkling romance” (RT Book Reviews, 4 stars).

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 PARADISE SERIES


 Paradise

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“Judith McNaught comes close to an Edith Wharton edge” (The Chicago Tribune) in this stylish and fast-paced classic. Ruthless corporate raider Matthew Farrell is poised to move in on the legendary department store empire owned by Chicago’s renowned Bancroft family. In the glare of the media spotlight, it’s a stunning takeover that overshadows the electric chemistry between Matt, once a scruffy kid from steel town Indiana, and cool, sophisticated Meredith Bancroft. Their brief, ill-fated marriage sparked with thrilling sensuality but ended with a bitter betrayal. Now, locked in a battle that should be all business, dangerous temptations, and bittersweet memories are stirring their hearts. Will they risk everything for a passion too bold to be denied?

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Perfect

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A rootless foster child, Julie Mathison has blossomed under the love showered upon her by her adoptive family. Now a lovely and vivacious young woman, she is a respected teacher in her small Texas town and is determined to give back all the kindness she has received, believing that nothing can ever shatter the perfect life she has fashioned. Zachary Benedict is an actor whose Academy Award-winning career was shattered when he was wrongly convicted of murdering his wife. After the tall, ruggedly handsome Zack escapes from a Texas prison, he abducts Julie and forces her to drive him to his Colorado mountain hideout. She’s outraged, cautious, and unable to ignore the instincts that whispers of his innocence. He’s cynical, wary, and increasingly attracted to her. Desire is about to capture them both in its fierce embrace but the journey to trust, true commitment, and proving Zack’s innocence is just beginning.“A mixture of virtue and passion that is almost—ahem—perfect” (Kirkus Reviews) this is a captivating tale that fans will adore.

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Night Whispers

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In this “exciting tale of loyalty, love, and danger” (Publishers Weekly), Sloan Reynolds, a small-town Florida policewoman, knows that her modest upbringing is a long way from the social whirl of Palm Beach, the world inhabited by her father and her sister, Paris. Total strangers to Sloan, they have never tried to contact her—until a sudden invitation arrives, to meet them and indulge in the Palm Beach social season. Reluctant to accept the long-overdue familial gesture, Sloan is convinced to visit when an FBI colleague informs her that her father and his associates are suspected of fraud, conspiracy, and murder. The only catch is she must hide her true profession from her family. Sloan is on top of her game until she meets Noah Maitland, a multinational corporate player and one of the FBI’s prime suspects. She finds herself powerfully attracted to him, against her deepest instincts. When a shocking murder shatters the seductive facade of the wealth and glamour surrounding her, Sloan must maneuver through a maze of deceit and passion in this superb and enthralling tale of breathtaking suspense.

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Someone to Watch Over Me

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Leigh Kendall is relishing her stellar Broadway acting career in her marriage to Logan Manning, scion of an old New York family, when her husband finds the perfect mountain property for their dream house. But while driving upstate on a winter’s night, Leigh is run off the road in the midst of a blinding blizzard. When she awakes in the local hospital, seriously injured, the police inform her that her husband has mysteriously disappeared, and Leigh becomes the focus of their suspicions. The more she discovers about her husband and his business affairs, the less she realizes she knew about Logan Manning. Now, Leigh is heading deeper and deeper into unknown territory—where friends and enemies are impossible to distinguish, and the truth becomes the most terrifying weapon of all in this thrilling tale filled with unrelenting suspense, unforgettable characters, and powerful traces of greed, ambition, and desire. 

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About the Author 

Judith McNaught is the New York Times bestselling author who first soared to stardom with her stunning bestseller Whitney, My Love, and went on to win the hearts of millions of readers with Once and AlwaysSomething WonderfulA Kingdom of Dreams, Almost Heaven, ParadisePerfectUntil YouRemember WhenSomeone to Watch Over Me, the #1 bestseller Night Whispers, and other novels. There are more than thirty million copies of her books in print. She lives in Houston. Please visit her at JudithMcNaught.comand on Facebook at AuthorJudithMcNaught.

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