Review & Excerpt: The Coaching Hours by Sara Ney

THE COACHING HOURS
Series: 
How to Date a Douchebag #4
Genre: New Adult Romance
Author: Sara Ney
Release Date: February 5, 2018

THERE ARE NO DOUCHEBAGS IN THIS STORY.

Well, there are, but they’re not who this story is about.

This story is about me—the coach’s daughter.

When I moved to Iowa to live with my dad, the university’s take-no-prisoners wrestling coach, I thought transferring would be easy as pie—living with my father would be temporary, and he’d make sure his douchebag wrestlers left me alone.

Wrong on both counts.

ASSHOLES ALWAYS COME OUT OF THE WOODWORK WHEN THE STAKES ARE HIGH.

A bet is placed, and I’m on the table. After one humiliating night and too much alcohol, I find the last nice guy on campus. And when he offers to rent me his spare bedroom, I go all in. It’s time for the nice guy to finish first.

Midnight chats and spilling my problems turn to lingering touches. Lingering touches turn to more.

And the ultimate good guy has the potential do more damage than any douchebags ever could.

AMAZON 

She perks up. “Wait, you’ve never had a back massage?”“No?”

“Ever?”

“Nope.”

“Well, what the hell? How can I, in good conscience, lie here letting you rub my back when you’ve never had anyone rub yours?” She scoots over, pointing to the mattress. “Lie on your stomach, I’ll do you first.”

I wave my hands in front of me in protest. The last thing I need is her warm hands roaming my body. “No, no, you don’t have to. It’s not a big deal.”

“Are you crazy? Back massages are the best—like, better than an orgasm. You’re first, so lie down.”

“And you call me the bossy one?”

“Quit stalling and get on the bed.”

Obediently, I climb to the middle of my bed in nothing but a pair of gym shorts, legs hanging off the side. Next to me, the mattress dips, Anabelle on her knees, approaching my side.

A finger glides down my spine. “It will be easier for me to do this if I’m sitting on you. Hope that’s okay.”

“Is that the approved method?”

“No, but my arms will get tired if I have to lean over you the whole time.”

“Do whatever then, I don’t care.”

I stiffen when Anabelle swings one leg over my body, straddling my ass. Warm palms at my lower back.

“You’re so tense. Try to relax,” she coos, making it worse. “Tilt your head to the side, that’s it.”

I hear the lotion bottle snap open. Click closed. My roommate’s palms rubbing together, warming it up. “Sorry, I don’t have any actual massage oil. This will have to do.”

When her hands make contact with my back, I almost groan it feels so fucking good. Warm. Smooth. Pressure in all the right places, pushing gently into my muscles.

Slowly.

Slower still, caressing along my shoulders, thumbs and fingers working together to soothe the burning on my right side.

“Doesn’t this feel great?” Her soft voice cuts into the silence. “You’re loosening up. That’s good.”

I feel her leaning as her hands move up and down my spine until they stop, hovering at the base of my neck. Thumbs stroking the skin below my hairline, back and forth.

Kneading.

Her torso dips, hands maneuvering my arms, placing them at my sides. Palms slide up and down my biceps.

For several minutes, she rubs my arms and shoulders. Then she skims down my ribcage unhurriedly, in no rush, making little humming sounds inside her throat.

I know I’m not imagining the feather-light way her hands drift down my spine. I remain still, letting her touch me, basking in it.

Remain still when her lips kiss the tender spot of my shoulder where it meets my neck, nose nuzzling behind my ear, her breasts rubbing against my back and what the fuck was that all about? What does she think she’s doing, trying to drive me insane?

 

A heart is racing but I’m not sure if it’s his or mine. I’m not sure whose heart is beating fastest.

This final installment in the Douchebag series was the complete antithesis of why I was originally hooked on it. There are no douchebags, no cocky jock hero, no hate lust, no enemies to lovers vibes. But what it did have was a swoony, slow burn friend to lovers story that was full of sizzle and smiles.

There are no jocks to be found in this book. Well, not the main character anyway. But there is the coach’s daughter, her friendship with a guy that she didn’t see coming, and the development of their relationship from something sweet to something with a lot more sizzle.

I love a good friends to lovers trope, and this one delivered in spades. The progression of the relationship in this book was what really made it for me. It was just so perfectly paced. I loved getting a nice guy for once, though that’s not to say he was without his own brand of issues. And while the book took a turn into a particular plot device that I’m not typically a fan of, it totally worked for me here. I also loved a particular secondary character that gets redeemed in this story. This served as the perfect icing on the cake.

This story was cute and swoony, and definitely hit the spot just right. There’s a reason this author went straight to my auto-buy list from the very first book in this series; her versatility to deliver amazing characters that stand out in their own right is just a small part of it. I’m sad to see this series come to an end, but I can’t wait to see what Sara Ney has in store for her readers next.


Sara Ney is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the How to Date a Douchebag series, and is best known for her sexy, laugh-out-loud New Adult romances. Among her favorite vices, she includes: iced latte’s, historical architecture and well-placed sarcasm. She lives colorfully, collects vintage books, art, loves flea markets, and fancies herself British.

She lives with her husband, children, and her ridiculously large dog.

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Excerpt: Three Blind Dates by Meghan Quinn

THREE BLIND DATES
Genre:
Contemporary Romance
Author: Meghan Quinn
Release Day: January 4th, 2018

“Good Morning Malibu, it’s another beautiful day on the west coast! I’m Noely Clark, your host: and I’m in the market for love…”

When the publicity team of the new local restaurant, Going in Blind, began their search for a hot, local celebrity to promote the wildly popular eatery, they couldn’t have found a better person than me.

Outgoing? Check.
Single? Check.
Open to finding love? Check.

I signed up immediately.

A hopeless romantic with an exceedingly demanding schedule, I’ve found it impossible to find the man of my dreams—so Going in Blind seems too good to be true! That’s until they start setting me up on dates—three very different, very attractive, very distinct blind dates—and only one thing is for certain . . .

I’m in big trouble.

Good Morning Malibu,
I’m Noely Clark, and I have a choice to make.
The question is who will I choose; the suit, the rebel, or the jock

AMAZON | AMAZON PAPERBACK

I didn’t realize how close I was to the restaurant because I’m ten minutes early. Does that make me seem desperate? No, I chastise myself. It shows that I respect the other person’s time . . . right?God, dating is the worst. There are so many unspoken rules you have to follow to not look desperate, or to not look like a psycho, or a creep, or horny, or—

“Can I help you, miss?”

Straightening up, I turn toward the hostess stand, which is a beautifully carved piece of wood. Standing behind it is an exotic, tall woman with long black hair, stunning grey eyes, and a massive engagement ring on her hand. Please tell me she got that rock from dating someone in this program.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that happiness for my life is dependent on getting married, but to see a success story in the flesh—particularly for me—would be encouraging.

“Hi, yes, I’m Noely Clark. I have a date at seven tonight with”—I lean forward, feeling silly and whisper—“with WindsorKnot.”

Her smile is kind and reassuring, making me feel a little calmer. “Yes, Miss Clark, I have you here for seven. You’re date hasn’t arrived yet, so can I show you to the bar for a drink while you wait?”

“That would be lovely, thank you.”

With my clutch tucked under my arm, I follow tall, dark, and beautiful to the bar where a very handsome Asian man is standing with a towel draped over his shoulder and a bright grin on his face. He’s wearing a button-up shirt with rolled sleeves, a brown vest covering his chest, which totally channels his inner Justin Timberlake.

“Danny, this is Miss Clark. She has a reservation at seven. Would you be so kind to make her whatever drink she would like?”

“Of course.” He winks at the hostess who presses her warm hand on my arm.

“Enjoy, Miss Clark. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. My name is Veronica, this is Danny, and we will be happy to serve you in any way.” With a parting grin, she moves back to her hostess spot.

Well, she’s nice.

“Miss Clark, please take a seat. What would you like?”

My tight, formfitting red dress makes my hop onto the bar stool a difficult task, but with a pleading prayer to the dress gods and a swift jump, I situate myself, only breaking a minor sweat.

I let out a sigh of relief and place my hands on the bar in front of me, scanning the glitzy bottles of “muscle relaxant.” “Hmm . . . how about a Moscow Mule?”

“Coming right up.” He gets to work and I watch as he magically floats around the bar, pulling the ingredients. “We recently bought new copper mugs, and I’ve been dying to use them.”

“Yeah? Am I the first?”

Winking, he says, “You are.”

If I didn’t know any better, I would say Danny is a bit of a flirt. Either that or he’s super friendly. Or simply made to be a bartender.

From beneath the bar, Danny pulls out a shiny, hammered-copper mug, and I’m instantly taken by the design. So sleek, just like its surroundings. The restaurant, with its white exposed brick, natural wood features, electric colors, and stone tabletops, is sexy, yet inviting. The friendly waitstaff is an absolute bonus. Every table is cornered off in its own spot, never getting too close to the other tables around it, and the mood lighting is on point with dim Edison bulb lights hanging from the ceiling and tabletop candles. I’m feeling the mood.

Despite the welcoming atmosphere, I can’t help but feel nervous, even after my brief exchange with WindsorKnot. There’s something to say about a blind date: the anticipation, the unknown, the knowledge that you’re having dinner with someone to possibly form a romantic relationship. It’s intimidating, but exhilarating all at the same time.

Could this be the last time I ever go on a first date? Will he like me? Will he want to get to know me?

Butterflies float around in my stomach and my cheeks heat as Danny places a napkin in front of me, topped by my drink with a lime slice on the side.

“Here you go, Miss Clark. Please enjoy.”

I smile politely. “Thank you.” When I take a sip, I’m instantly assaulted by the ginger-lime combination. Perfect. “This is fantastic.”

“Good.” Danny winks again and like an old-time bartender, starts drying a tumbler with the towel hanging over his shoulder. Eyeing me for a second, he asks, “A little nervous?”

After taking a sip from my drink, I lick my lips and nod. “Just a little.” I scrunch my nose, squinting ever so slightly. “Is it obvious?”

“Nah, you look pretty chill compared to a lot of blind daters I see come through the door.”

“Oh, I’m sure you see a lot of different reactions to these dates.” I lean forward, the cold wood of the bar cooling my sweaty hands, and whisper, “Any good stories you can tell me?”

Danny chuckles quietly and leans forward himself, taking a look from side to side before answering. “Plenty, but looks like your date just arrived.”

My date just arrived?

The temperature in the room seems to go up a thousand degrees as my body seizes and my shoulders tense. “Oh God, can you see him? Is he hot? What does he look like? Should I turn around? No, I shouldn’t, he would know I was checking him out.” Whispering a little louder, I ask again, “Just tell me, is he cute?”

Danny’s eyes scan over my head and his smile stretches across his face. “That’s for you to judge, not me.” Damn you, Danny.

Oh Christ, I’m not ready.

That’s right, I’m not freaking ready for this.

I get it, I know I said I was ready, that I wanted to do this, that I was all-in, that I wanted to find my soul mate, but now that I’m here, seconds from meeting “the one,” I’m pretty sure I’m going to throw up. Yep, I’m going to throw up. I can feel it rising.

Oh God, I’m going to retch all over him, right on his shoes. I know it. It’s bound to happen.

“Relax, you’re going to have fun,” Danny whispers before he turns to the bottles behind him.

As if the light hairs on my arm can sense it, they stand at attention as the sound of faint footsteps come closer.

Click, click, click. The cement floor leaves zero room for sneaking up on anyone.

Don’t throw up, don’t throw up. Think compliments, think pleasantries, think—

“Hello.”

Smooth molasses drips over my shoulders as the most velvet of voices I’ve ever heard echoes behind me, pulling me away from the death grip on my copper mug and turning me in my seat to face one of the most handsome and polished men I’ve ever seen.

Born in New York and raised in Southern California, Meghan has grown into a sassy, peanut butter eating, blonde haired swearing, animal hoarding lady. She is known to bust out and dance if “It’s Raining Men” starts beating through the air and heaven forbid you get a margarita in her, protect your legs because they may be humped.

Once she started commuting for an hour and twenty minutes every day to work for three years, she began to have conversations play in her head, real life, deep male voices and dainty lady coos kind of conversations. Perturbed and confused, she decided to either see a therapist about the hot and steamy voices running through her head or start writing them down. She decided to go with the cheaper option and started writing… enter her first novel, Caught Looking.

Now you can find the spicy, most definitely on the border of lunacy, kind of crazy lady residing in Colorado with the love of her life and her five, furry four legged children, hiking a trail or hiding behind shelves at grocery stores, wondering what kind of lube the nervous stranger will bring home to his wife. Oh and she loves a good boob squeeze!

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Blog Tour, Excerpt & Review: Villain by Samantha Young

VILLAIN
Series: Hero #1.5
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Samantha Young
Release Date: December 5, 2017

 

The sexy and emotional companion novella to the New York Times bestselling romance HERO.

Nadia Ray is not just a broadcast meteorologist. She’s Boston’s morning television It Girl. Successful and independent, she’s put a past she’s ashamed of behind her and is forging a future she can be proud of. However, when her new boss discovers her secret he blackmails her, intent on using Nadia’s popularity to make them the number one morning show in Massachusetts. He wants her to be part of uncovering the city’s biggest scandal – a secret billionaire Caine Carraway is hiding.

Soon Nadia is thrown into the path of Caine’s best friend: sexy, wealthy bachelor Henry Lexington. But she doesn’t encounter the dashing high society gentleman Henry is purported to be. Instead she’s faced with an insulting and defensive villain who misjudges her at every turn.

When Henry finally realizes the truth, and decides to make amends, Nadia wants nothing to do with him. But she underestimates his determination and charm and soon they find themselves embroiled in an intense, passionate affair.

An affair Nadia knows must come to an end before their feelings grow any deeper and he discovers her secrets.

After all, Henry Lexington isn’t the only one who played the part of a villain once…

AMAZON | KOBO | iBOOKS

Henry got in next to me and threw me the kind of excited grin a child might at Christmas. “Ready?”“This is quite the car.”

“The words say impressed; your tone does not.” He observed as he pulled on his seatbelt. “Is it the top? Do you want it up so it doesn’t mess your hair?”

“I don’t care about that.” I frowned, annoyed that he’d think I’d be that concerned with my appearance. “I care about how weird this is.”

As we pulled into traffic, Henry slipped on a pair of aviator sunglasses. “What’s weird about two adults having lunch together?”

“Because forty-eight hours ago, we were enemies.”

“So melodramatic. We were merely mistaken about one another.”

You were mistaken about me. I think I have you pegged accurately.”

“And that’s why we’re going to lunch because you don’t.” He shot me that sexy smirk. “You don’t know the good stuff.”

“Has anyone ever said no to you in your life?”

“Yes, frequently.”

“Have you ever listened to them?”

Henry chuckled. “Rarely.”

His laughter and the sight of him driving this beautiful car with lazy confidence, his strong hands lightly resting on the wheel, those ridiculously hot sunglasses—it all affected me. Greatly. A sensuous ripple fluttered in my lower belly.

Dear God, I really wanted him.

The realization caused my breath to escape from me in a shudder, drawing his attention. Quite abruptly, I made a decision. “I’m just going to put it out there in case you’re planning to take me to a stupidly overpriced restaurant for lunch.”

Okay.” He drew out the word, sounding amused and wary at the same time.

“I don’t particularly like you. In fact, you have become one of the villains in my story so far. I don’t want to date you and I doubt very much that you are interested in dating me. However, I also doubt that you feel so guilty about your treatment of me that you merely want to turn around my opinion of you. No, sir. I’m here because you’re attracted to me. That’s okay because apparently, I’m attracted to you too. You’re hot and it’s obnoxious but I can’t deny it.”

Henry’s mouth twitched like he was trying to suppress a smile. “Okay.”

“We’re attracted to each other or you wouldn’t have asked me out and I wouldn’t have let myself be manipulated into saying yes. But let’s not pretend this is something that it’s not with chivalry and a date. You want to fuck me. And I’m amenable to the idea. So let’s cut all the bullshit and just do it.”

“Jesus.” Henry almost ran into the back of a car that had stopped at the light, slamming hard on his brakes. He looked at me and even though I couldn’t see his eyes, I knew his expression was incredulous. “You’re amenable to the idea of me fucking you? Did I hear that right?”

I flushed. “I’m sure you’re used to women with gentler manners but I’m a straight talker. I don’t believe in flowering up a situation so as not to offend delicate sensibilities.”

The traffic moved forward and Henry didn’t speak.

In fact, he stayed silent for a while.

So long that I began to feel my cheeks burn with humiliation.

I’d read him wrong. He really did only want to make amends.

I wasn’t his type.

Oh God.

This month had been really, really bad for me.

Finally, he pulled up outside a pizzeria on Tremont Street. Once he killed the engine he took off his sunglasses and turned toward me. His expression was surprisingly sober as he intently studied my face, as if he hoped to find answers there. “You’re right,” he said, his voice low, deep, “I want you. But I don’t consider anticipation bullshit. We’re going to have lunch. And you’re going to agree to have lunch with me on Thursday. And then you’re going to agree to be my date to the Delaney Charity Ball this Saturday. After which we’ll go back to your apartment and I will happily fuck you into satisfied exhaustion.”

For a moment, I couldn’t speak because his last sentence turned me on, his words alone sparking delicious excitement deep in my belly.

What the hell would the rest of him do to me?

Of course, after a second or so of physical arousal, the rest of his words sunk in. “What?” I shook my head in confusion. “No. We don’t need to have lunch or go to a ball together.”

“No lunch dates, no date to the ball, no penis for you. And you don’t want miss out on my penis. It’s a good one.”

I acted like my story deserved a hero. But only a heroine deserves a hero. And I wasn’t a heroine.
I couldn’t be.
The truth was in someone else’s story …
I was a villain.


Now it’s been a hot minute since I read Hero, but it took me no time at all to dive right back into this world. As the fun-loving, easy going, and quick with a smile best friend and business partner to the growly and grumpy Caine, I wasn’t sure how Henry would follow. I live for the enemies to lovers trope, and it was hard to imagine someone that smiley pulling off the a-hole vibe. But I shouldn’t have worried, because Samantha Young really gave me the best of both worlds with him; the a-hole at first and then the endearing. I absolutely adored the man.

What?” I shook my head in confusion. “No. We don’t need to have lunch or go to a ball together.”
“No lunch dates, no date to the ball, no penis for you. And you don’t want miss out on my penis. It’s a good one.”

Nadia is not a stranger to unwanted male attention. As Boston’s morning television It Girl and broadcast meteorologist, it wasn’t her smarts that got the viewership. She’s tried to make peace with the fact that her curvy figure will always make men undermine and misjudge her. Or perhaps its just her recent history with them. So when an assignment from her smarmy boss lands her in the cross hairs of a very pissed off Henry Lexington, she doesn’t back down from putting him in his place. What she doesn’t anticipate is Henry’s interest as soon as he realizes his colossal screw up with her.

I loved the way that Henry pursued Nadia and wouldn’t take no for an answer. She was determined to keep him in the sex only box and he was having none of it. Nadia was such an incredibly endearing heroine as well. For all that she’s been through, this is a chick with balls of steel and a spine that’s even stronger. She’s not about to back down or bow down to anyone, and I respected that so much in her.

Villain was this perfect combination of a delicious slow burn, with a splash of enemies to lovers, all wrapped up in a story that kept me glued to the pages until the end. It was entertaining, quick paced, and entirely satisfying. I absolutely loved these two together.

I wanted more. Everything. Now. I wanted to come. I didn’t want seduction. I wanted him to shatter me. Immediately.

There was a bit of drama that was thrown in at the end, but it wrapped things up quite nicely. If you’re looking for a sexy, short, but totally satisfying novella, Villain will do the trick quite nicely. The perfect read to spend the afternoon with.

Samantha Young is the New York Times,  USA Today  and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of adult contemporary romances, including the On Dublin Street series and Hero, as well as the New Adult duology Into the Deep and Out of the Shallows.  Every Little Thing, the second book in her new Hart’s Boardwalk series, will be published by Berkley in March 2017. Before turning to contemporary fiction, she wrote several young adult paranormal and fantasy series, including the amazon bestselling Tale of Lunarmorte trilogy. Samantha’s debut YA contemporary novel The Impossible Vastness of Us was published by Harlequin TEEN in ebook & hardback June 2017. Play On is an adult contemporary romance and the first in a brand new series set in Scotland. Villain is a companion novella to the New York Times bestselling romance HERO.

Samantha has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award 2012 for Best Author and Best Romance for On Dublin Street, Best Romance 2014 for Before Jamaica Lane, and Best Romance 2015 for HeroOn Dublin Street, a #1 bestseller in Germany, was the Bronze Award Winner in the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2013, Before Jamaica Lane the Gold Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2014 and Echoes of Scotland Street the Bronze Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2015.

Samantha is currently published in 30 countries and is a #1 international bestselling author.

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Cover Reveal & Exclusive Excerpt: Make Me Forget by Monica Corwin

MAKE ME FORGET
Genre: Dark Romance
Author: Monica Corwin
Release Date: February 1, 2018

He makes me burn. He makes me ache. He makes me forget.

Since grade school Murphy Wilcox and I fought incessantly. But one drunk night before my last military deployment changed everything. At least that is what he tells me. Along with the hundreds of scorching hot emails we shared.

Fast forward four years and Murphy is the only connection I have to my past. The only connection I have to the woman I used to be. Amnesia is a bitch but apparently so was I.

Make Me Forget is a dark romance, with a HEA, that touches on PTSD, mental health, and suicide. Follow Mara as she tries to learn who she really is.

PRE-ORDER AVAILABLE NOW

AMAZON | iBOOKS | KOBO | GOOGLE PLAY | B&N

I brushed her still wet hair away from her cheeks and bent down to taste her again. The first time had been to shut her up, this time was all for me. I parted her lips with my tongue, anchored one hand in her hair and the other at her chin. Her moan almost broke me. The slight little brush of breath and sound melted every bone in my body and shot my cock to attention. Each charge and retreat spun tight the web of my feelings for her. I’d pushed them down deep so long ago. Now, with her nails marking me and our lips battling for dominance, they overflowed. In a hundred years, I’d never get enough of her. Mara Williams was my addiction. Not the vice I wanted, but the one I needed as much as oxygen or water.She severed the kiss with an arch of her neck, releasing her head back and crushing my fingers against the wall. I didn’t dare move, though, not with such lovely access to her long elegant neck. I dropped my mouth to the curve of her throat and kissed a breathy trail from clavicle to chin. Her hips shifted forward as if she were unwittingly trying to get closer, eliminate any distance between our bodies. The lingering scent of the hotel soap wafted from her clean skin.

I jerked her head back up by the hair, and her eyes snapped open. No fight there, almost a submission. An unexpected turn I could definitely play with. “On the bed, now.”

She blinked once, twice, but to my surprise, said nothing, simply stepped around me and perched on the edge of the bed. It squeaked with her minimal movements. In another life, we might play a game and try to make as much noise as possible. Or maybe I wanted the world to know this woman belonged to me, even if only for tonight. I’d waited long enough for the chance.

I stepped up, and her face sat inches from my cotton-covered hard on. If she were a woman I’d fucked before, I’d have taken myself out and invited her lips for a taste. But this was Mara, and I didn’t want to scare her too soon. “Do you want to see it?”

She swallowed heavily enough I could hear it, see it, and then she nodded almost desperately. I bent, pulled my boxer briefs off, and tossed them on top of my clothes. My dick was so hard, it ached. I palmed it, trying to slow down my reaction to her, my body’s response to every beautiful inch of her skin I still needed to see more of. Her eyes burned into me as she watched me stroke myself.

I released my cock, not wanting this to end sooner than I planned, and stepped closer. “Take off your clothes. This is happening.”

She let out a soft snort of laughter, and then she stripped her t-shirt off and shimmied out of her gray panties all while still sitting on the edge of the bed. I took my time looking her over. Her skin was bronzed to her mid-bicep and around her neck, but pale and creamy everywhere else. A farmer’s tan she’d gotten on deployment. It didn’t matter, I’d worship every part of her the same.

She licked her lips and scooted up the bed to lay on the pillow. It broke my heart the way she folded he hands across her smooth flat belly as if prepping for a medical exam. What the fuck kind of men had she been with before me? Ones who fucked on clean sheets, in the missionary position, on Tuesday’s? Anger shimmered through me. She deserved so much better than ordinary.

“Get your ass back down here. This will not be clean. This will not be civilized. And this will not be something you can lie back and take.”

 

Jenn’s Review & Exclusive Excerpt: Burn For You by @JTGeissinger

BURN FOR YOU
Series: Slow Burn #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: J.T. Geissinger
Release Date: October 17, 2017

The marriage is fake. But for a sassy chef and an arrogant billionaire, the sparks are real…

Jackson “The Beast” Boudreaux is rich, gorgeous, and unbelievably rude to the staff at Chef Bianca Hardwick’s New Orleans restaurant. Bianca would sooner douse herself in hot sauce than cook for Jackson again, but when he asks her to cater his fund-raiser, Bianca can’t refuse, knowing the cash will help pay her mother’s medical bills. Then Jackson makes another outrageous request: Marry me. The unconventional offer includes an enormous sum—money Bianca desperately needs, even if it does come with a contract—and a stunning ring.

The heir to a family bourbon dynasty, Jackson knows the rumors swirling around him. The truth is even darker. Still, he needs a wife to secure his inheritance, and free-spirited, sassy Bianca would play the part beautifully. Soon, though, their simple business deal evolves into an emotional intimacy he’s built walls to avoid.

As the passion heats up between them, Bianca and Jackson struggle to define which feelings are real and which are for show. Is falling for your fake fiancé the best happy ending…or a recipe for disaster?


AMAZON
 

See the BURN FOR YOU trailer: https://youtu.be/hpKswDZve24

“Ladies. How’re we doing?”Jackson stood in the doorway of the kitchen, looking at Claudia and me. It was the first time I’d seen him since I’d arrived at his house early this morning to start the setup.

“Everything’s under control,” I said. “Claudia’s doing a great job.”

She smiled tightly and adjusted her glasses again. I felt her gratitude for my small show of support. It was obvious how intimidated she was by Jackson. She could barely look him in the eye, probably because he was wearing a scowl as black as his outfit.

But I was used to that by now. I didn’t let it alarm me.

I asked him, “Is that what you’re going to wear?”

Jackson looked down at himself, then looked up at me with his brows drawn down over his eyes.

Seeing his murderous expression, Claudia ran out of the kitchen like her pants were on fire. “Fifty minutes, Bianca!” she called over her shoulder, then disappeared through the French doors.

Jackson didn’t seem to notice she’d left. He demanded, “What’s wrong with what I’m wearing?”

I shrugged. “Nothing, if you want people to think you’ve been living under a bridge.”

He crossed his arms over his chest. I tried to ignore how that made the muscles in his biceps bulge.

He said, “You must be mistaking me for someone who cares what people think.” Propping my hands on my hips, I examined his untucked T-shirt, wrinkled jeans, and scuffed boots, his unshaven jaw, and his hair that appeared to have last seen a comb when he walked by one that had fallen out of someone’s pocket into the street.

I said, “Lord knows I’m no style maven, and I dress for comfort more than anything else, but your guests deserve the best version of you, Mr. Boudreaux. I’m sorry to say this isn’t it.”

His glower was so searing it could have melted a weaker woman. But after the past few days I’d had, I was in an ornery mood. An ornery truth-telling mood, because I’d recently decided life was too short to beat around the bush.

Plus, his check had already cleared the bank.

“Oh, really?” said Jackson, his voice acidic.

“Yes, really.” We stared at each other. It must have been my imagination, but it felt like the temperature in the room jumped several degrees.

He snapped, “So what would you recommend I wear, then?”

“Do you own a suit?”

His expression turned even darker. “I hate suits.”

“But do you have one?” When he didn’t answer and just stood there glaring at me like he hoped a stray asteroid would smash through the ceiling and land on my head, I said, “That’s what you should wear. With a tie.” I looked at his boots. “And dress shoes.”

He ran a hand over his face— probably deciding whether he was going to pick up the toaster from the counter and throw it at me— and I added, “Also, a shave wouldn’t kill you.” His looked at me with a strange new expression.

“You don’t like beards.” He said it flatly. It wasn’t a question.

“Beards are fine. But that thing carpeting your jaw? Honestly, I’ve seen tidier jungles.”

For a moment I thought he would let loose a string of expletives so loud it would deafen me. But then his lips twitched, and I realized he was trying not to smile.

He said, “You’re in fine form today, Bianca.”

It was the first time he’d used my given name. I nearly fainted in surprise but managed to control myself. “I’m sorry,” I said, looking down at the schedule I still held in my hands. “You’re right. It’s just . . .” I cleared my throat. “It’s just been a rough few weeks.”

There was silence for a moment, then he walked closer. “What’s wrong?” he demanded, gruff and growly as a bear.

I glanced up at him and was surprised again. I could’ve sworn he was looking at me with concern in his eyes.

Concern and something else a little hotter.

My heart decided it was time to run a sprint. It took off like a jackrabbit chased by a pack of hounds. I said, “Just some personal stuff. My mother . . .”

I trailed off, dazed for a moment by his eyes. I hadn’t noticed before, but they weren’t only blue. He had tiny flecks of green and gold around his irises, warming those steely-blue depths.

And by God, the man smelled delicious. If that was his natural scent, he could make a few more billion by bottling it and selling it to men with less scrumptious—

Wait. What am I doing? Why am I mooning at him? Am I out of my ever-loving mind?

“Your mother?” he prompted, but I quickly stepped away, smoothing a hand over my hair.

“It’s nothing. I’m so sorry, I’m being unprofessional. If you don’t mind, Mr. Boudreaux, I’ll just get back to work now—”

“Jackson,” he said. He gazed down at me, eyes burning. His voice dropped an octave. “I want you to call me Jackson, Bianca.”

My sprinting heart tripped all over itself and fell flat on its face inside my chest. Heat rose into my cheeks. I said haltingly, “Um . . . okay.”

His gaze dropped to my lips.

Every muscle in my body tensed.

When he abruptly turned around and left, my knees shook so badly I had to lean against the counter for support.

What on earth just happened?

J.T. has that kind of writing style that I feel in my Romeo & Julep, and by that I mean my heart, but yes that could be an innuendo (Leave me alone! Yes, it can!). But seriously, her writing style is poetic and pulls all the feels out of my Cheesecake. Ugh, sorry. I couldn’t help it. Let me explain.


If you haven’t guessed yet, this book centers around food. The heroine is a chef and includes the Bourbon that Jackson’s family is famous for into her recipes. When Jackson enters her restaurant, she freaks out because the man of the hour is there, in her restaurant. But Jackson is the asshole that she does not tolerate. He may be a billionaire, but her sassy ass doesn’t care because he is being rude and arrogant and treating her staff with no respect.

Jackson. The Beast. Well, lasso me up and give me a Slap, Slap Kiss Cocktail. He is scarred on the inside and outside. He is SO MEAN to her. Like, reeeeeally mean, and I loved him for it. I just want someone to cuddle me in a big, comfy blanket and be an asshole to me. Is that too much to ask? He has been hurt, by his family and a previous love. He has many many scars, and he carries them on his sleeve and his face. He is perfection all trussed up in in his leather jacket and worn jeans and scruffy beard. It’s like J.T. created a man just for me.


Bianca. This chick. Serious girl crush. I love that she doesn’t give Jackson the time of day. It doesn’t even matter that he is THE Bourbon legacy. She has a business to run, and she is the mother hen to her employees. When Jackson is in a pinch, he has no choice but to ask Bianca to help him with a major charity event. This gives Bianca a glance into a side of Jackson that she has never seen before, even if it is a façade. One thing leads to another, and Bianca finally meets the family that Jackson does not want to see ever again.


This is a love-hate relationship, which should be the only relationship ever because it’s the best and gets my Jambalaya going every damn time. Ok, so I may have taken all of the recipes in the book and twisted them a little bit. Can you blame me when J.T. uses recipes like Dixie and Gumbo?! Ok, maybe you can blame me. I have a perverted little mind. But this mind loves all things J.T. Geissinger.

I love all of J.T.’s alpha heroes.
I love all of J.T.’s sassy heroines.
I love all of J.T.’s books.

Are you getting hungry yet?

A former headhunter, J.T. Geissinger is the author of more than a dozen novels in contemporary romance, paranormal romance, and romantic suspense.

She is the recipient of the Prism Award for Best First Book, the Golden Quill Award for Best Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, and is a two-time finalist for the RITA® Award from the Romance Writers of America®. Her work has also finaled in the Booksellers’ Best, National Readers’ Choice, and Daphne du Maurier Awards.

Join her Facebook reader’s group, Geissinger’s Gang, to take part in weekly Wine Wednesday live chats and giveaways, find out more information about works in progress, have access to exclusive excerpts and contests, and get advance reader copies of her upcoming releases.

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Spotlight & Exclusive Excerpt: Sightlines by Santino Hassell

SIGHTLINES
Series: The Community #3
Genre: m/m paranormal romance; psychics; finale
Author: Santino Hassell
Release Date: October 9, 2017

Chase Payne is a walking contradiction. He’s the most powerful psychic in the Community, but the least respected. He’s the son of the Community’s founder, but with his tattoo sleeves and abrasive attitude, he’s nothing like his charismatic family. No one knows what to make of him, which is how he wound up locked in a cell on the Farm yet again. But this time, the only man he’s ever loved is there too.

Elijah Estrella was used to being the sassy sidekick who fooled around with Chase for fun. But that was before he realized the Community wasn’t the haven he’d believed in and Chase was the only person who’d ever truly tried to protect him. Now they’re surrounded by people who want to turn them against their friends, and the only way out is to pretend the brainwashing works.

With Chase playing the role of a tyrant’s second-in-command, and Elijah acting like Chase’s mindless sex toy, they risk everything by plotting a daring escape. In the end, it’s only their psychic abilities, fueled by their growing love for each other, that will allow them to take the Community down once and for all.

AMAZON

The room around him was white and the floor beneath him was hard and cold. It wasn’t exactly freezing, but it was frigid enough for a consistent shiver to pass through his body, and for the scratch of soreness to have already formed at the back of his throat.It was that scratch, and the coldness beneath his bare thighs, that immediately allowed Chase to realize he wasn’t in his new bed in the cottage.

He was in the silo, and this wasn’t a dream.

Visions had come to him this way for his entire life, and it was still a surprise when he opened his eyes to find himself somewhere else. Especially when everything felt so real.

Chase’s eyes adjusted to the blinding brightness of the room—shocking mostly because it must have been the dead of night outside—and focused on Elijah. He looked so small balled up in a corner with his hands pressed to his ears and his eyes shut. He’d tilted his head back against the ceiling. It looked like he was praying. Or trying to sleep.

And that’s when the music started.

The roar of an aggressive beat intercepted with the growl of a voice so distorted it was hard to make out, or maybe that was the static of the vision making it impossible for Chase to understand. Elijah curled in on himself tighter, hands plugging his ears harder, as his jaw clenched up.

Pain was a bullet to Chase’s heart. Jasper had stolen his empathy ages ago, but when it came to Elijah . . . Chase’s chest was like a cage with wide bars. Easy for the beautiful boy with the smart mouth and luminous eyes to reach in and touch Chase’s heart, even if those feelings never managed to get out.

He stood from his own crouch and walked across the room in measured steps. The cold seeped into his skin with each movement, so he walked faster, moving with the beat, before he reached Elijah. Even after Chase crouched in front of him, Elijah didn’t react. His face was twisted, damp with tears, and his brows all screwed up.

God, he was so beautiful. Even when he was hurt.

Fuck.

Fuck.

Chase put his hands on Elijah’s shoulders and leaned in. There was no way his touch would be felt or his voice would be heard, but he spoke anyway.

“They can’t get you, baby. You’re fucking strong. They’re nothing. You survived too much for some psy kids with distorted brains to mess you up. As long as you can keep your shield up, you can beat them.” Chase brushed his hand alongside Elijah’s face with a gentleness he never showed in the real world. “And if they do manage to get you, I’ll bring you back. Because . . .” He swallowed, that sick feeling taking over even as he beat it back. “Because I do fucking love you.”

The music seemed to lower, and a beat later, Elijah opened his eyes and looked directly at Chase. His brows rose, relief washing over him, and then everything faded around Chase. The white walls crumbled and Elijah dematerialized.

Then Chase woke up.

His heart wasn’t pounding and there was no cold sweat. He lay still and silent in a too soft bed as he gazed up at a ceiling that was far too low, and listened.

No footsteps. No voices. Nothing but the distant hooting of an owl and the wail of the wind outside the windows.

 Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family but grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into a grumpy introvert and unlikely romance author with an affinity for baseball caps. His novels are heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, and his desire to write relationships fueled by intensity and passion.

He’s been a finalist in both the Bisexual Book Awards and the EPIC Awards, and was nominated for a prestigious RITA award in 2017. His work has been featured in BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, Washington Post, RT Magazine, and Cosmopolitan Magazine.

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Blog Tour & Excerpt: Gun Shy by Lili St. Germain

GUN SHY
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Author: Lili St. Germain
Release Date: October 6, 2017
A stand alone psychological thriller.

** NOT A ROMANCE **

HAVE YOU SEEN THIS GIRL?

In the middle of a fierce snowstorm in Gun Creek, Nevada, seventeen-year-old Jennifer Thomas disappears without a trace.

The second girl in nine years.

Identical cases. Identical conditions. Only last time, the girl was found. Dead, stuffed in a well beside the creek that feeds the town’s water supply.

The killer was never found.

As the small town mobilizes and searches for newly vanished Jennifer Thomas, one suspect comes to the fore. But did he do it? Or is there something else at play? Something nobody could have anticipated?

For Jennifer’s friend Cassie Carlino, the worst is yet to come. As she pins MISSING posters to store windows and joins the search, she begins to suspect that Jennifer’s disappearance might be much closer to her than she could have ever imagined. 


Amazon | Nook | Kobo | iBooks

 Leo

I visit Jennifer every evening at the diner; she seems to like the attention, and I could use the distraction. I make sure to turn up just before her shift ends, and she gives me a ride home every night. The first night she came over we ended up talking for hours. My mouth hurt by the end, every sense on high alert. I was a gentleman. I didn’t lay a hand on her again, not after she started to talk. She’s in trouble. A lot of trouble. I think it eased her mind to be able to confess to somebody who pretty much wrote the book on trouble in this town.I mean, there’s not a thing I can do to help the girl. Not unless she tells me who got her into this mess in the first place. “That’s the problem with men,” she said to me when I urged her to give me the name of the guy blackmailing her. “They always jump straight to problem-solving. Men always want to fix everybody.”

“You don’t want to be fixed?” I’d asked her.

“I can fix myself,” she’d replied. “I just need somebody to understand.”

I don’t understand. Her predicament is something I’ve never experienced. But I can listen. I listen to her talk as she drives me home in her shiny new car every night, and it makes me feel less of a fuck-up. I mean, she hasn’t killed anyone. But she’s planning to. And that’s why we’ve found each other. I am a killer and she is ready to spill blood. She is a welcome distraction from my sins, and I am a makeshift altar for her to lay her own sins upon. Because when I’m with Jennifer, I don’t think about Cassie Carlino. I don’t think of Karen Brainard. And, most especially, I don’t think of Teresa King and the way she burned beside me in that car.

* * *
The night Jennifer Thomas disappears is like all the rest. I go to the diner. Order nachos and a Coke. I’m surprised Jennifer is working. It’s Thanksgiving, and the place is deserted. Even Amanda is nowhere to be seen.

“Working on Thanksgiving?” I ask Jennifer, as she slides my food in front of me. She shrugs, that glitter lipgloss catching the light as she moves. “It’s just another day, isn’t it?”

I nod.

“Besides,” she says, “It pisses my dad off. I asked for this shift.”

At ten, I help her to turn out all the lights. I wait beside her as she locks the front doors of the diner, feeling vaguely worried about the fact that somebody left a sixteen year old cheerleader alone to lock up this late at night. I note the lack of video surveillance, the remote location, the fact that everyone is tucked safely inside their houses while Jennifer is alone with a convicted criminal in the dead of night.

Jennifer offers me a ride home, which I accept. Except, instead of driving me straight home like she has done for the past six nights in a row, Jennifer pulls her Range Rover off the road into an uncleared section of pine trees that tower over us. The track is narrow and winding and she doesn’t answer me when I ask her where she’s taking us.

She stops in a small clearing and cuts the lights. The engine is still running. Bits of snow fall outside, slow and bloated in their trajectory toward the ground. Jennifer’s hands are small as they grip the steering wheel; her eyes lit up by the red illumination of the dashboard, making her look almost demonic.

“What are we doing here?” I ask her again.

“I don’t want to go home,” she says staring straight ahead.

“Fair enough,” I reply. I watch her as she struggles to find words. She squirms in her heated leather seat, her nails shiny and perfect, her shoulders sagging under the weight of something I cannot see.

“Do you think I’m pretty?” she asks me in a tiny voice, and she sounds so mouse-like and weak that I almost laugh.

“Do I think you’re pretty?” I echo, feeling a smirk cut its way across my face. “Jennifer, you’re so pretty I could die just from looking at you.”

She rolls her eyes. “You think I’m stupid. You’re just here because you feel sorry for me, Leo.”

I shake my head. “I don’t think you’re stupid. And I’m not here because I feel sorry for you.”

She swallows thickly; I can see the pulse beat nervously in her throat. “Then why are you here?”

“Well, I guess I’m here right now because you just drove us off the road and into the woods.”

“You know what I mean.”

Do, I, though? I sigh. “Because you’re the only person in this town worth talking to who will even look at me.”

She bites her lip and I have the sudden, piercing urge inside my skull to wrap my hands around her throat and drag her onto my lap. That’s some messed up shit. She’s sixteen. Six. TEEN. I’m repeating the number in my head over and over, willing my dick to settle down. I can feel the throb of wanting her in my cock, in the thunderous rush of blood that makes my heart hit my ribcage like the firing of a gun, bang, bang, bang. My need eclipses my rationality. So what if she’s sixteen? She drove into this fucking clearing and licked her lips and asked me if I thought she was pretty.

“Why have you been back to the diner every single night, just as I’m about to get off shift?”

“Umm,” I try. “It’s the only decent place in town?”

She narrows her eyes at me and there’s a fire inside her pupils; it might be below freezing outside, but it’s a billion degrees in here. We’re already fogging up the windows with our breath, and I haven’t even laid a finger on her.

“Liar,” she says. “I want the real reason.”

You’re about to get the real reason, sweetheart. I grip the armrest. I grip it so hard my fingernails ache.

“I’m here because I’m a bad guy, Jennifer.”

“And?”

“Because you’re so pretty I can’t think about anybody else. Because I want to do things to you… that would probably frighten you. Things that might hurt you.”

Her cheeks are flush; her breathing quickens. I haven’t even touched her, and she’s already excited. Or scared. Or both. I want to reach between her thighs and see if it’s lust I’m reading on her face.

“What kinds of things?” she asks.

I cover my face with my hands.

“What kinds of things?” she repeats, a hand on my shoulder. I let my hands fall into my lap and fix my stare on this girl who should be home with her family, not out here in the dark in the woods and snow with a criminal. I watch in awe as she slides her seat back and reaches her hands up underneath her skirt, tugging a pair of panties down her legs and unhooking them from her heels. She can’t look at me as she hands me a pair of baby blue silk panties with a bow on the front. I grip the underwear in my fist so tight I could tear it to shreds with a single pull, but I don’t rip it. I find the damp spot of arousal in the center of the material and bring it up to my face. I close my eyes. I breathe Jennifer in.

I shouldn’t be here. Not with her. Not like this. I will get out of the car, I decide. I will walk home. I will not touch this girl.

But then, “I promise I won’t tell anyone,” she whispers.

Fuck.

I grab her. I drown her shock out with my mouth. I squeeze her slender neck with my prison-rough palms. I keep my promise and I hurt Jennifer Thomas until I’m sated.

It’s only after when I’m looking at the blank expression on her face, the odd tilt of her neck, the bruises blossoming on her spread thighs, that I understand what I have done.

By then, it’s too late.

The night Jennifer Thomas disappears is like all the rest.

Apart from the way it ends.

 

Lili writes dark, delicious romance full of love, lust and revenge. Her USA Today Bestselling Gypsy Brothers series focuses on a morally bankrupt biker gang and the young woman who seeks her vengeance upon them. The Cartel series is a trilogy that explores the beginnings of the club, published through HarperCollins.

Lili quit corporate life to focus on writing and so far is loving every minute of it. Her other loves in life include her gorgeous husband and beautiful daughter, excellent coffee, Tarantino movies and spending hours on Instagram.

She loves to read almost as much as she loves to write.

Exclusive Excerpt from Man Down by Krista Ames


MAN DOWN
Author:
Krista Ames
Series: Kendall Ryan’s Imperfect Love World

 

Would it be out of line to run screaming from a wedding where the bride was your sister? Miranda Wentworth wanted to do just that. She hated her sister. The woman had stolen every guy Miranda ever liked, including the groom. She would like nothing more than to remove herself from the nightmare her family called a wedding. If it weren’t for her mother’s dirty looks and a hottie in a leather jacket in the back of the church, she’d leave the place and never come back.

Colt Jensen was the black sheep of a family he didn’t like to be around. He’d never received a formal invitation to a top-of-the line wedding where his brother was marrying his ex’s sister. And they called him the odd one out. Desperate to escape, Colt spotting a bridesmaid leaving the church that fit the description of his perfect woman could only be luck. Right?

Is he up for another short-lived romance with the girl of his dreams or will he be yet another Man Down?

Watching the newly married couple kiss when the preacher ordered it was sour icing on a shit cake.  She couldn’t take any more and if they didn’t end this soon and walk out of the church, she would be doing it herself, only ahead of them.  A move her mother would be less than thrilled about but she didn’t care.  Not anymore.  Nobody cared how this entire day made Miranda feel so she was done with the line of sympathy crap.  There’d been a scolding conversation from her mother every chance she got about how Brock was the perfect match for her sister and she needed to be happy for them.

When had her mother become so petty and oblivious to her surroundings? Brock was not a good guy at all.

Oh thank God.  Emily, the new bride turned toward Miranda who was paying attention this time, to retrieve the bridal bouquet so she and her perfectly disgusting new husband could take their walk of shame and hopefully out of her life forever!!!   With a wrinkle of her nose and a ha ha, he’s mine look, her sister grabbed the flowers and stepped off the platform.

She was next in line with one of the grooms’ brothers who let his eyes travel the length of her, up and down like she was a tasty treat.

“Don’t even think about it buddy. I am so not into brothers so put your eyes and your drooling tongue back in your head.”

Isn’t this day over yet?

Half way out of the church but moving much slower down the aisle than she liked, Miranda was looking anywhere to avoid the creepy stares of the guy holding her arm tighter than he needed to. When she spotted an adorable hunk in a black leather jacket in the very back row, she couldn’t stop staring. Not even when she’d passed his pew or when his eyes had connected with hers.

Now that’s my type of guy.  Then the pompous brute she was walking with jerked her arm, snapping her out of her trance.  She scowled, disconnected his arm from hers before she broke it, and slapped at the man’s unwanted attention.

Tragedy.  She’d probably never see that hot guy again.

 

Cover Reveal: Fault Lines by Rebecca Shea

From USA Today bestselling author, Rebecca Shea, comes a new, heartbreakingly beautiful standalone romance, FAULT LINES. Don’t miss the amazing cover below, and pre-order your copy today!


FAULT LINES
Genre:
Contemporary Romance
Author: Rebecca Shea
Release Date: October 30, 2017
Cover designed by Letitia Hasser of RBA Designs

At eleven he was my first crush. At sixteen he became mine. At nineteen he broke my heart and destroyed me. That was ten years ago and the last time I saw Cole Ryan.

They say you never get over your first love…I beg to differ. I left my shattered heart buried in a town I never expected to return to. I erased every thought of him and buried the memories never to be found.

I moved on…now ten years later I have the perfect life, the perfect fiancé, the perfect career. Everything I ever wanted until I’m forced to go back and face my past and the man that destroyed me.

He won’t stop until I know the truth no matter how hard I fight it. In the end, lies will be uncovered, hearts will be broken, and my life as I’ve come to know it destroyed.

B&N | iBOOKS | KOBO | GOOGLE PLAY | AMAZON LIVE RELEASE ALERT

Pushing through the doors to Manny’s, I see everyone assembled near the bar. Friends and colleagues that I have worked with throughout the years have been waiting on me to arrive to celebrate today’s verdict.

“Congratulations!” Everyone cheers as Ted and I approach the bar. I toss my purse on a bar stool and reach for the glass of white wine that Eduardo, my co-counsel, is holding out for me.

Pressing the cool glass to my lips, I let the smooth wine settle on my tongue before swallowing.

“I’m so damn proud of you.” He leans in and whispers, wrapping one arm around my shoulders.

“I couldn’t have done it without you. I mean that.” I smile at him and squeeze his arm in a gesture of gratitude. Eduardo took me under his wing when I joined the county attorney’s office a little over four years ago. I was an experienced trial lawyer, having learned the ins and outs of trial law with Ted’s firm, but this is new. I’m on the prosecuting end now. This is where I always dreamed to be. Ted’s firm helped me get here and Eduardo has been my mentor and basically my best friend since I arrived.

“I’d be surprised if they even try to appeal,” he says, taking a sip of his vodka tonic. “You were that good. There were no holes in your closing arguments. You presented solid evidence and left nothing for them to come back at us with.”

“She learned from the best,” Ted says, leaning over my shoulder.

Eduardo’s eyes glance away from mine and up to Ted’s. “Mr. Winters,” Eduardo says, reaching out to shake Ted’s. “Nice to see you again.” It’s hard to miss Eduardo’s visible disdain for Ted. His jaw ticks and he swallows hard, but as always, he is the epitome of professional and is always gracious.

“I’ve learned a great deal from both of you.” I smile and wish for the pissing contest to end. “Let’s enjoy our victory.” I hold up my glass of wine to toast, raising my eyebrows, a silent plea to Ted to be nice and he obliges.

“To guilty verdicts,” Eduardo cheers, raising his glass.

Ted gives his head a little shake but reiterates Eduardo’s sentiments.

“To guilty verdicts,” we all repeat and take a drink.

I notice Ted step away to take a phone call and I turn my attention back to Eduardo.

“First and only time I think I’ll ever hear him say that,” Eduardo jokes.

“I think that’s the first and only time I’ll ever hear him say that, too.” I laugh.

My fiancé, Ted Winters, is partner in Winters and Seldon, one of the smallest yet most prestigious law firms in Los Angeles County. Ted is known for representing some of the most high profile, and even dangerous, criminals in California. What cases he doesn’t win, he prides himself on reduced charges, jail time, and fines.

Not guilty—those two words drive him to be the greatest. He’s the best of the best, and he hired me right out of law school. He taught me the way around a courtroom, the best oral arguments, and the tricks to dissect evidence and to look for what everyone else is missing. I took what I learned from Ted and am finally putting it to use as a Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County. I always wanted to be on this end of the law, finding justice and doing right by the law.

To avoid any conflict of interest, I avoid all cases where Winters and Seldon is concerned. There are plenty of other prosecutors to try those, and it’s best, both professionally and personally, if I avoid any cases Ted or his firm are involved in.

As I look around the bar at my friends and colleagues, I can’t help but smile proudly at how far I’ve come—and for the people who’ve been with me on this journey.

As my smile fades, I feel the exhaustion hit me like a freight train and, with a few glasses of wine on top of that, I find the need for fresh air. I weave through a sea of bodies in the bar area and push through the large glass door, which leads out onto the rooftop patio. Los Angeles has far from quality air, but pulling the mild summer breeze into my lungs feels good. A sense of calm falls over me as the adrenaline from the day wears off. Carrying the stress of this trial on my shoulders for weeks has wreaked havoc on my sleep, my diet, and exercise, and I can feel the toll it’s taken on my body.

I watch the cars below, crawling along the busy Los Angeles streets, and the hustle and bustle of the city just fifty stories below me. It’s windy up here on the patio, and the soft afternoon breeze whips my hair around. I tilt my face to the sky and let the setting sun cast its warm rays on me when my phone buzzes in my hand. I hesitate, wanting to indulge in a few more moments of silence, but I think better of it.

Glancing down, I see my mom’s home number flashing on the sleek screen of my oversized mobile phone.

“Hi, Mama.” I take a deep breath, excited to hear her voice.

“Frankie?”

My heart sinks when I hear a man’s voice. A voice I could never forget. A voice so familiar that it still haunts me to this day.

Cole. The only person to ever call me Frankie. My heart stills as I wait for him to say more.

“You need to come home,” he says gruffly.

My stomach drops as his voice takes my breath away. The pull it still has on me shakes me to my core. Before he says anything else, I close my eyes and find myself lost in time, back to when I was eleven years old, spending my afternoons down at the fault line, soaking up the last of the days sunlight with Cole by my side.

Crescent Ridge, Nevada resides right on top of a fault line, a town with less than eight hundred people, and sits on the California/Nevada border. A town I left ten years ago and haven’t returned to—because of Cole.


Rebecca Shea
is the USA Today Bestselling author of the Unbreakable series (Unbreakable, Undone, and Unforgiven) and the Bound and Broken series (Broken by Lies and Bound by Lies). She lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her family. From the time Rebecca could read she has had a passion for books. Rebecca spends her days working and her nights writing, bringing stories to life. Born and raised in Minnesota, Rebecca moved to Arizona in 1999 to escape the bitter winters. When not working or writing, she can be found on the sidelines of her sons’ football games, or watching her daughter at ballet class. Rebecca is fueled by insane amounts of coffee, margaritas, Laffy Taffy (except the banana ones), and happily ever afters.

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Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway: Of Flame And Fate by @cecyrobson

OF FLAME AND FATE
Series:
 Weird Girls Flame #2
Genre:
Urban Fantasy
Author: Cecy Robson
Release Date: September 26, 2017

 

Taran Wird, who commands the power to wield fire and lightning, is an oddity in the supernatural world. But neither Taran nor her unique sisters compare to the bizarre entity known as Destiny. And Taran is assigned to protect her.

Born of two witches, Destiny is revered among the supernatural elite for her acute ability to predict the future. Her biggest prophecy involves Taran’s sister, Celia, whom Destiny decreed will bear children strong enough to take on the evil that’s rising. Yet Destiny is not alone in her predictions, or individuality.

When Johnny Fate, a rock star among humans and a male version of Destiny is discovered, his powers and Destiny’s clash, triggering the start of Destiny’s demise and altering the fate of Celia’s unborn children.

Taran, her werewolf lover Gemini, and their allies must determine if it’s Fate who will decide what will become of Celia’s children, or if their lives and the world will perish with Destiny.

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OF FLAME AND FATE ExcerptCopyright © 2017 Cecy Robson

Gemini and his twin growl at the pack of weres gathered in front of us. I pull up the blanket covering me as they scatter. Weres are used to being naked around each other in human form, but I’m not a were, and because of it, they’ve never seen me naked.

Until tonight, cause, don’t I know how to put on a show?

The next set of growls from him and his twin have them all hopping inside their vehicles and cranking the engines. The lights from the cars in front of us cast a gleam against the angles of his face, sharpening the menace plaguing his features.

He’s angry, and he should be. As a non-were different rules apply to me, one of them being they shouldn’t stare at his naked girlfriend.

He powers across the blue slate-lined double driveway, causing the dusting of pine needles covering it to stream past the window. I wait until we clear the wrought iron gates at the entrance to the compound before placing my hand on his thigh. But it’s not until we pass the miles of stone wall surrounding Misha’s property that I speak again.

“That probably looked pretty bad, huh?” I ask.

He clenches his jaw tight, enough to strain the cords along his neck. “Which part? The part where I find you surrounded by vampires pouring champagne over your naked body?”

“Um . . .”

“Or do you mean getting the call that a parasitic demon has infested your leg and is attempting to make your body its nesting ground—then watching it try and claw its way to your heart?”

CECY ROBSON is an author of contemporary romance, young adult adventure, and award-winning urban fantasy. A double RITA® 2016 finalist for Once Pure and Once Kissed, and a published author of more than eighteen titles, you can typically find her on her laptop writing her stories or stumbling blindly in search of caffeine.

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