Review: He Hates Me Not by Isabella Starling & Rina Kent

HE HATES ME
Genre: Dark Romance
Series: Hate & Love Duet #1
Authors: Isabella Starling & Rina Kent
Release Date: April 9, 2020

Once upon a time, there was a monster.

When the night falls, he comes out to harvest souls.

He’s silent and invisible —no one notices when he strikes then retreats to the shadows.

Our paths shouldn’t have crossed, but they do.

One day he sees me.

Then he can’t unsee me.

Once upon a time, there was a monster, a killer, a devil.

My stalker.

This is book is a dark stalker romance and contains dubious scenes.

He Hates Me is part of a duet and is NOT standalone. The entire duet will be released two weeks apart.

AMAZON

PRE-ORDER HE HATES ME NOT:

He Hates Me Not, the conclusion of Love & Hate Duet is releasing on April 23rd. Pre-order today!

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She has always been mine to own, mine to break and to destroy. Some would call this stalking, but I call it keeping an eye on her. 

Well hot damn. What a deliciously thrilling ride this book was. While I’ve read Rina Kent, I haven’t read anything by Isabella Starling. And as a writing duo, these two are absolutely fantastic.

If you follow my reviews, then it’s no secret how much I love a good anti-hero. And it just doesn’t get more delicious than a borderline sociopathic mob hitman. Jasper’s intensity practically leaps off of the pages at you. The man is ruthless, unfeeling, and gets a sick sort of satisfaction from meting out his brand of punishment. His name alone sends fear into grown men and his reputation for being a stone cold killer is nothing to sniff at. An assignment by his boss to find and eliminate an heir to the mafia throne lands him in the parking lot of a hospital where he sets his sight on a beautiful nurse…and the obsession begins.

Georgina is a lonely soul. With her cats to keep her company, she years for something more. But unfortunately no man has ever made her feel beyond a slight interest that wanes as quickly as it appears. She may not be everything that she appears to be at first sight with her fake smiles and when Jasper sees her, he’s immediately obsessed.

If you’re like me and love your anti-heroes possessive and obsessive, you will fall in lust with Jasper. The man stalks her. Finds any way to insert himself into her life, even murder. And when his expert maneuvering has her best friend from work setting Georgina up with him, he knows nothing short of getting a taste will lessen his obsession.

Thus begins one of the most delicious push and pulls of their relationship. Jasper is crude but in the most yummy way. He’s a man that likes it rough and a little resistance doesn’t put him off. If you like dub con, this has some of the most delicious scenes. And no, not in a rapey way, but in a true dub con way. Georgina may not fully understand her needs, but the more demanding Jasper gets, the more she feels herself pulled into his orbit. Theirs is not exactly an orthodox relationship. They are a back and forth of hot sex and pulling back, but neither seems capable of staying away. Jasper knows his job won’t allow for anything permanent but he’s completely incapable of leaving her alone. The more time passes, the more obsessive he becomes. GOD it was good.

The suspense and grit of the story is on point. There are twists and turns that I never saw coming that were pretty jaw dropping. I devoured this book, cliffhanger and all. Luckily the wait for book two isn’t that long and I can’t wait to see how everything ends.

To celebrate the release of He Hates Me, Isabella Starling and Rina Kent are giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card. Head to Rina’s Facebook page to enter: https://www.facebook.com/rinaakent/

Dark, dirty and taboo is what Isabella Starling is known for.

An Amazon top 25 bestselling Author, Isabella has 10 books under her belt in under a year. She is a self-proclaimed Tumblr gif addict and always looking for her next forbidden story.

If you pick up a Starling book, you can count on a bad-mouthed, bossy man who will dominate his woman with a rough hand.

Add just a sprinkle of taboo, a touch of BDSM and a pinch of suspense, and you’re all set for a story you won’t forget.


Rina Kent is an international bestselling author of everything enemies to lovers romance.

Darkness is her playground, suspense is her best friend, and twists are her brain’s food. However, she likes to think she’s a romantic at heart in some way, so don’t kill her hopes just yet.

Her heroes are anti-heroes and villains because she was always the weirdo who fell in love with the guys no one roots for. Her books are sprinkled with a touch of mystery, a healthy dose of angst, a pinch of violence, and lots of intense passion.

Rina spends her private days in a peaceful town in North Africa daydreaming about the next plot idea or laughing like an evil mastermind when those ideas come together.

Don’t forget to Sign up to Rina Kent’s Newsletter for news about future releases and an exclusive gift.

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Exclusive Spotlight with Character Interview: The Two Date Rule by @tawnafenske

THE TWO DATE RULE
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy
Author: Tawna Fenske
Trope: Afraid To Commit 
Release Date:
February 25, 2020

Willa Frank has one simple rule: never go on a date with anyone more than twice. Now that her business is providing the stability she’s always needed, she can’t afford distractions. Her two-date rule will protect her just fine…until she meets smokejumper Grady Billman.

After one date—one amazing, unforgettable date—Grady isn’t ready to call it quits, despite his own no-attachments policy, and he’s found a sneaky way around both their rules.

Throwing gutter balls with pitchers of beer? Not a real date. Everyone knows bowling doesn’t count.

Watching a band play at a local show? They just happen to have the same great taste in music. Definitely not a date.

Hiking? Nope. How can exercise be considered a date?

With every “non-date” Grady suggests, his reasoning gets more ridiculous, and Willa must admit she’s having fun playing along. But when their time together costs Willa two critical clients, it’s clear she needs to focus on the only thing that matters—her future. And really, he should do the same.

But what is she supposed to do with a future that looks gray without Grady in it?

From Tawna Fenske:

The Two-Date Rule is all about finding the sweet spot between planning for the future and living in the moment.

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CHARACTER INTERVIEW

Rom-com author Tawna Fenske interrogates her heroine from The Two-Date Rule

This is Tawna Fenske, and I’m a USA Today bestselling romantic comedy author with a brand-new release. The Two-Date Rule is the story of a woman with some very personal reasons for never dating a guy more than twice, and the sexy smokejumper who steals her heart.

The lovely folks at Dirty Girl Romance asked me to sit down with the heroine of The Two-Date Rule, Willa Frank, to ask a few questions about life and love and whether the toilet paper should roll over or under (duh, over…you think we’re monsters?)

In the interest of full disclosure, I should confess that you could swap my name with Willa’s throughout the Q&A and the answers wouldn’t change much. I should probably seek therapy for that.

TAWNA:

Hey, Willa, it’s great to see you. Love the dress!

WILLA:

Thanks! I got it for $3 at my favorite thrift store. Did you see it has pockets?

TAWNA:

That’s pretty badass. Okay, so let’s start by talking about what you like in a guy. I know you never date anyone more than twice, but for the ones who make the cut, what qualities do you dig in a man?

WILLA:

A sense of humor is huge. He has to be able to laugh at himself, and bonus points if he makes me laugh. He has to be kind to animals. That’s non-negotiable, since I have a blind dog, a three-legged cat, a deaf cat, and a beta fish with a broken tail. Um, let’s see…I like a guy who jumps up from the dinner table and offers to do the dishes. That’s always nice. And I guess I’ll admit I have a thing for gorgeous eyes. Also big, strong, massive, sexy hands. *shivers*

TAWNA:

I feel ya on that last one. Let’s see…got any makeup tips you can share?

 WILLA:

*makes face*

Does Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm count? That, and maybe a swipe of mascara. Sometimes when I’ve been working too much (which, okay, is most of the time) I’ll bust out the concealer for the dark circles under my eyes.

TAWNA:

Let’s try something a little easier. Name five things every woman should have.

WILLA:

Comfortable shoes, at least three-months’ salary socked away for emergencies, friends who will have your back no matter what, condoms and probably a backup method of birth control, and at least six contingency plans for every scenario in your life in which something could possibly go wrong.

TAWNA:

Wow. That’s…um…hardcore.

WILLA:

I believe in being prepared.

TAWNA:

No joke. Okay, last question: Can you give us any dating tips?

WILLA:

*laughs so hard she falls off her chair*

I am quite literally the last person who should answer that question.

TAWNA:

Come on, give it a shot.

WILLA:

*frowning*

All right. I guess I’d say don’t let yourself get too attached to anyone. And don’t let relationships derail your life goals or you could end up broke and homeless and scared and…

TAWNA:

Okay, um…we’re getting a little dark here. This is a romantic comedy, remember?

WILLA:

Right, sorry. How about always wear clean underwear?

TAWNA:

There you go.

***

So that’s it for Tawna’s interview with Willa. To learn more about The Two-Date Rule or any of Tawna’s other romantic comedies, visit www.tawnafenske.com

When Tawna Fenske finished her English lit degree at 22, she celebrated by filling a giant trash bag full of romance novels and dragging it everywhere until she’d read them all. Now she’s a RITA Award finalist, USA Today bestselling author who writes humorous fiction, risqué romance, and heartwarming love stories with a quirky twist. Publishers Weekly has praised Tawna’s offbeat romances with multiple starred reviews and noted, “There’s something wonderfully relaxing about being immersed in a story filled with over-the-top characters in undeniably relatable situations. Heartache and humor go hand in hand.”

Tawna lives in Bend, Oregon, with her husband, step-kids, and a menagerie of ill-behaved pets. She loves hiking, snowshoeing, standup paddleboarding, and inventing excuses to sip wine on her back porch. She can peel a banana with her toes and loses an average of twenty pairs of eyeglasses per year. To find out more about Tawna and her books, visit www.tawnafenske.com.To learn more about all of Tawna’s books, visit www.tawnafenske.com 

Author Website: http://www.tawnafenske.com

Author newsletter subscription form: www.tawnafenske.com/subscribe

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Author Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4633448.Tawna_Fenske

Spotlight, Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway: Hard Chrome by @byVanessaNorth

HARD CHROME
Series: American Heavy Metal #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Vanessa North
Release Date: October 21, 2019

Warnings:

Hard Chrome deals with subjects some readers may find difficult, including domestic violence, animal cruelty, drug use, and teen pregnancy.

He’s tough. But she’s tougher.

Tanner Ellis left American Heavy Metal in her rearview mirror. She didn’t see the beauty behind the grease stains and the polished chrome until it was too late. Now she’s back, determined to save her father’s legacy—and bring the South’s premier classic-car shop into the new century. Nothing is going to stop her—especially not the sexy tech who refuses to follow her lead.

American Heavy Metal is the only home Duke Wilson’s ever known, and no high-heeled, sharp-tongued princess is going to take it away. He tolerates Tanner’s advice, and it’s fun to push her buttons, but she doesn’t belong in the shop—never has, never will. The sooner she realizes that, the sooner he can find his new normal.

When Tanner falters, revealing the pain beneath her bravado, Duke comforts her the only way he knows how. And when violence from his past threatens their future, she’ll be there for him, offering him the one thing he’s always wanted—a shot at a real family. He just has to convince himself to take it.

This book is approximately 49,000 words

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

 

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EXLUSIVE EXCERPT

“Take this off?” I pull at his shirt, and he obliges, baring all that warm skin and muscle. I take a shuddering breath, free to look at last. I run my hands over his hard chest, fingertips tangling in the hair, and it sends a fresh wave of want through me.

“Tan…” He groans. “You feel so good. Do I get to see you too?”

I nod and yank my sweater up over my head. Before I can even throw it over my shoulder, his huge hands are on me, stroking my waist and teasing upward.

“You’re so beautiful, princess.” He smiles up at me, his face all soft and full of wonder. “I want to make you feel as good as you look.”

And with that, he rolls us over, driving his pelvis into mine and kissing me breathless. He breaks away to cup one breast in his hand, holding me like a prized piece of art. I squirm under his gaze, raw and needy.

His lips close over the nipple, oh so slowly, and my breath catches as he draws on it, sending heat flooding my groin. Unable to keep still, I twist under him, tears spilling out of the corners of my eyes already. “Duke, please.”

He rises over me, smiling. “Let’s get naked.”

He doesn’t have to ask me twice. I reach for his zipper, and he lets me open it up and pull out his cock. Our earlier encounter had been too wild, and too drenched in conflict and shame for me to appreciate his beauty. He’s large, thick and ruddy, and my mouth waters with the desire to taste his hardness, to tease him and drive him crazy. I sit up and slip out of my own slacks and panties then tug him to the edge of the bed and pull off his jeans, then his briefs.

“You’re gorgeous,” I say, my voice catching on the praise. And then I take him in my mouth, tasting the salt of skin and the sweet of precome. He groans and buries a hand in my hair, not pushing, but caressing. His hips pulse up into my mouth, nearly gagging me, and I shove down farther, taking him deeper, wanting to feel him come unglued.

“Oh,” he gasps, and I double my efforts until he pulls me off him, his callused hands rough on my arms. “You’re way too good at that, princess. But it’s your turn.”

I laugh—are we keeping count? If so, it’s way his turn—and let him push me back down on the bed. His lips find my breasts again, trailing from one to the other, stubble scratching, one big hand pressing against the wetness between my legs, a finger sliding unerringly through my heat to rub my clit. The first time we did this, it had been an act of fighting and desperation, trying to forget the world around us. This time, I relax into his touch, trusting him to take us wherever we need to go, letting him make me feel good.

And oh, oh, oh. His strong, capable hands, hands built and trained to fix things, they set themselves to the work of taking me apart until I finally gasp out a single word.

Please.

He looks up at my face, his eyes warm with lust and something more. “Please what?”

“Make me come,” I demand, and his grin turns feral.

Vanessa North is a romance novelist, a short fiction geek, and a knitter of strange and wonderful things. Her works have been shortlisted for both the Lambda Literary Award and the RITA© Award, and have garnered praise from The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Publisher’s Weekly. She lives in Northwest Georgia with her family: a Viking, twin boy-children, and two large dogs.

 

Connect with Vanessa:

Website | Newsletter Signup | BookBub | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

https://books2read.com/ap/RJkD5n/Vanessa-North

Giveaway: Vanessa North is celebrating the release of HARD CHROME with a big giveaway! Three prizes are up for grabs: (2) $10 Amazon Gift Cards and (1) Signed Paperback of Hard Chrome + some serious auto-shop inspired swag!

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Review, Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway: A Lie For A Lie by Helena Hunting

A LIE FOR A LIE
Series: All In #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Helena Hunting
Release Date: October 15, 2019
Publisher: Montlake

Sometimes I need an escape from the demands, the puck bunnies, and the notoriety that come with being an NHL team captain. I just want to be a normal guy for a few weeks. So when I leave Chicago for some peace and quiet, the last thing I expect is for a gorgeous woman to literally fall into my lap on a flight to Alaska. Even better, she has absolutely no idea who I am.

Lainey is the perfect escape from my life. My plan for seclusion becomes a month long sex fest punctuated with domestic bliss. But it ends just as abruptly as it began. When I’m called away on a family emergency, I realize too late that I have no way to contact Lainey.

A year later, a chance encounter throws Lainey and me together again. But I still have a lie hanging over my head, and Lainey’s keeping secrets of her own. With more than lust at stake, the truth may be our game changer.

AMAZON 

Lainey vs. Puck Bunnies in A Lie for a Lie    

A Lie for a Lie is a heartwarming, sexy, emotional romantic comedy. It’s a second chance romance, filled with secrets and there are definitely some exciting, fun twists. It’s also a story of empowerment, self-discovery, and independence.

Rook Bowman, aka RJ or Rookie as he has been known as previously, has recently taken on the role as captain of Chicago’s NHL team, and with that role comes big responsibility and more fame than he sometimes knows how to handle. As with any professional sport, the NHL lifestyle can often be full of excess and decadence; money, fame and an endless stream of women who will do just about anything to get into bed with them, and it’s not always easy to avoid that kind of temptation.

When we meet Rook in A Lie for a Lie we learn that he has a less than shiny past when it comes to the excess and the puck bunnies (hockey groupies). NHL players are often drafted quite young—just watch a game and you’ll notice that the rookies can often barely grown peach fuzz, let alone a full beard. They’re still teenagers when they start their careers, and Rook was no different. Having grown up on an alpaca farm in rural New York, his focus was mainly hockey and the family farm, but once he hit the pros he found himself surrounded by women who literally threw themselves at him. And being young, attractive and full of testosterone, he fell headfirst down that rabbit hole. At least until the drama found him in the form of a fake pregnancy and a social media firestorm. Because of that, and the impact it had on his relationship with his family, Rook swears off the bunnies and refocuses on his career, rather than extracurricular activities.

He meets Lainey on the way to Alaska, where he’s gone every summer since he was a teenager with his dad and his brother. He lost his father a few years earlier, but kept the tradition with his brother because he craves the escape from the demands of his life as an NHL superstar. Lainey encapsulates everything he misses about being a “normal guy.” She doesn’t recognize him or seem to even know anything about hockey, and that makes her even more alluring. For once, he can just be himself. He doesn’t have to worry about ulterior motives or being used. Lainey is refreshingly innocent, incredibly smart, genuine and overwhelmingly sweet and Rook finds himself enamored with her sense of adventure. As they get to know each other, Rook learns about her traumatic past and realizes that despite the challenges she’s faced, Lainey possesses a quiet strength and resilience. Add some insane chemistry and you’ve got a recipe for love. Unfortunately for Rook, he built their entire fragile relationship on lie he can’t take back.

***


 

When Lainey excuses herself to the bathroom, I rush upstairs and throw on a T-shirt. I know she said whatever makes me comfortable, but sitting around shirtless is such a douche move.I make it back to the kitchen and pour her a fresh drink before she returns from the bathroom.

“How can I help with dinner?” Lainey drapes her sweater over the back of a chair.

And my mouth goes dry. Like I ate an entire sleeve of saltines and chased it with a tablespoon of salt. So far I’ve only seen Lainey in a giant parka or an oversize sweater. Under all that bulky fabric is one hell of a body. She’s wearing a simple white waffle shirt that conforms to her curves. A pair of dark-wash skinny jeans encase her toned legs.

I’m used to bunnies throwing themselves at me, often in questionable states of undress. I stopped getting excited about miniskirts and revealing tops a long time ago. There’s something infinitely sexier about a woman who can show off her body without actually showing it off at all.

Lainey tips her head to the side. Her teeth press into her full bottom lip. I want to do that. Suck that pouty, full lip between my teeth and bite it. I want to do a lot of other, far more explicit things than that, but a kiss seems like a good place to start.

“RJ? Is everything okay?” Her eyes dip down to my chest. I’m wearing a shirt from one of my endorsement campaigns. It afforded me the extensive renovations on this cabin a few years ago.

“Huh?” I give my head a shake. “Oh. Yeah. Everything’s good. Sorry, zoned out there for a second.”

She smiles and pushes up on her toes, her eyes twinkling—like, they legit light up, and her excitement makes her entire body vibrate. It also makes her boobs jiggle. I try to keep my eyes glued to her face. It’s not easy, though.

“I do that all the time! Sometimes my brain is busy with so many thoughts I miss entire conversations. Does that happen to you too?”

I grin. I love that she seems to say whatever is on her mind. “All the time.”

“It’s actually a helpful skill when you’re being lectured, because I can sort through stuff in my head, but it’s not so great when your supervising professor is telling you what’s wrong with your thesis.” She pulls her hair over her shoulder and finger combs it.

“I take it that’s happened to you.”

“It did. Thankfully he also emailed all his criticisms, so missing out on it the first time wasn’t that big of a deal.” She divides her hair into three sections and deftly braids it without looking at what she’s doing even once. It’s pretty damn impressive. I almost want to pull it apart so I can watch her do it all over again. “Anyway, enough about that. Let’s get started on dinner!” She nudges me out of the way so she can wash her hands. She dries them on her jeans and moves over to the fridge, opening it to check out the contents.

I kind of like that she makes herself at home. I’m used to women who expect to be catered to. It’s refreshing to meet someone who doesn’t want me to pander to her.

I start pulling things out of the fridge as she starts naming items she’ll need and set them on the counter. I manage to locate most of what she asks for.

“What about garlic? Do you have any of that?” She leans over, peering into the fridge beside me. Her braid slips over her shoulder, skimming my arm.

“Uh, maybe we could forgo the garlic?”

“Are you allergic? My oldest brother gets bloated when he eats it. It took us forever to figure out what was causing it. Sometimes I’ll still put some in when he’s coming for dinner, because it’s funny to see him look like he’s expecting.” She tips her head to the side. “Or you just don’t like garlic?”

“I like it sometimes, but it depends.”

Her brows pinch together. “On what?”

“Who I’m eating with. I mean, if I’m going out with buddies, you bet I’m gonna order the honey garlic wings, or the cheesy garlic bread, or the pasta Alfredo. But if I’m eating dinner with a pretty girl, I’m gonna pass on the garlic.”

“Oh.” She twists the end of her braid around her finger.

I hope I’m not reading things wrong and making her uncomfortable.

“Does that mean you think I’m pretty?”

That she sounds genuinely curious as to my answer is unexpected. “You see yourself in the mirror every day—what do you think?”

She averts her gaze, still playing with the end of her braid. “My eyes are too big, so I always look like I’m surprised. My nose is small, and my lips are too full, so my mouth doesn’t really fit the rest of my face.”

“Wow. I think you need a new mirror, because all I see is a whole lot of gorgeous.”

She snorts a laugh and waves me off. “Once, I took a portrait class, and we learned all about proportion and symmetry of the face. Those are just my flaws based on what I was taught.”

“Well, I’m a big fan of all your flaws, and I think they make you more beautiful, not less.”

“Thanks. I think you’re beautiful too.” She cringes. “I mean handsome. You’re very nice to look at, with or without a shirt on. When I fell in your lap on the airplane, I remember thinking, At least I fell on someone nice looking.”

“Is that so?”

“Mm-hmm.” She opens a drawer, maybe to avoid looking at me. “And as much as I was mortified when you sat beside me on the Cessna, I couldn’t complain about the view, inside or outside of the plane. That you turned out to be really nice, and just so helpful, was a great bonus.” She hands me a roll of foil. “Why don’t you wrap the potatoes? They take the longest, so we should get started on those first.”

I put the potatoes on the barbecue and let Lainey order me around. She definitely knows her way around a kitchen. When I was growing up, my mom did most of the cooking, but my dad could make a mean Saturday-morning brunch. He also made great bread, which I miss a lot.

An hour later we’re seated at the table, plates full of steak, twice-baked potatoes, and crispy brussels sprouts cooked in bacon fat. I open a bottle of red wine and offer Lainey a glass.

“Just a little bit? I’m not sure I like red wine.”

“Maybe you just haven’t had the right red wine.” I pour a little into her glass.

She picks it up and gives it a swirl, then sniffs it. “I’ve seen people do this in the movies, but I don’t really know what the point is,” she admits, then tips the glass back and takes a tentative sip. Her expression turns thoughtful; then she takes another, slightly more robust sip. “This is actually really nice. I like it. Maybe the red wine I had before was bad.”

“Maybe. Some of the cheap stuff tastes pretty awful.” I pour more into her glass before filling mine. I hold up my glass and wait for her to raise hers.

“To chance meetings.”

“To new adventures and great company to share them with.” We toast and take a sip, each smiling behind the rim.

***

My skin burns.
My heart stutters.
I should tell him my own truth.
But for now we’re tied: a lie for a lie.

ALL. OF. THE. SWOONS.

This series couldn’t have started with a better book. I’m totally hooked, line and sinker, and already salivating for more. I’m head over skates in love with Rook and this swoony hockey romance about a reformed NHL star playboy and the quirky nerd that makes him fall.

On this plane I’m not the NHL forward and team captain with a history of being a player on and off the ice. I’m just a guy, and she’s just a girl.

Rook is an NHL star and a former manwhore. He’s a man that’s used to puck bunnies doing anything to get his attention and then getting even crazier to keep it. So when he meets a beautiful woman on his flight to Alaska that ends up being his neighbor, he loves the anonymity of getting to know someone as just him. Lainey is a bit of a nerd and a lot of adorable. She’s a quirky, shy, sweet, and although slightly sheltered in her home schooled ways has also seen things that changed her irrevocably. They don’t see the other one coming but it doesn’t take long at all for them to being a whirlwind romance in the small town of Alaska. But then Rook has an emergency that forces him to leave and as fate would have it they lose touch due to a number of circumstances. Only to be reunited 14 months later in Chicago. This time, Rook knows that he’ll do anything to keep Lainey, if only he can get her to forgive him for the lie.

This was so wonderfully sweet. It was brimming with emotion and sweet heat. I couldn’t get enough of Rook and Lainey. I also loved Lainey’s friendship with Eden, who made for a wonderful secondary character. All of your favorites make a cameo here and I loved how Helena brought it all together. I loved this sweet second chance romance and can’t recommend it enough for all Helena Hunting fans. And if you haven’t read any books by her yet, this is a great one to start with!

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. Helena writes everything from contemporary romance with all the feels to romantic comedies that will have you laughing until you cry.

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Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: Rough Terrain by Annabeth Albert

ROUGH TERRAIN
Series: Out of Uniform #7, *Final book in the series*
Publisher: Carina Press (Harlequin)
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Male/Male Romance, Military Romance
Release Date: January 14, 2019

The camping trip from hell may be the first stop on the road to happily-ever-after in Rough Terrain, the final book in Annabeth Albert’s critically acclaimed, fan-favorite Out of Uniform series.

Navy SEAL Renzo Bianchi has a soft spot for Canaan Finley, and not only because the man makes a mean smoothie. He’s the first guy to get Renzo’s motor revving in a long time. But when he agrees to Canaan’s insane charade—one all-access fake boyfriend, coming right up—he never expects more than a fling.

Creating a hot Italian SEAL boyfriend to save face seemed like a good idea…until his friends called Canaan’s bluff. Now he’s setting off into the woods with the very man who inspired his deception, and Canaan is not the outdoorsy type. The sparks are already flying when a flash flood separates them from their group, leaving Renzo and Canaan very much trapped…very much alone in the wilderness.

Working together to come up with a plan for survival is sexier than either of them expects. But back in the real world, being a couple is bringing its own set of hazards…

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“Big plans this weekend?” Canaan asked while he made the drink.

“Working out with a friend tomorrow. Gonna film some new moves.”

“Please tell me you put those clips online.” Thinking fast, Canaan grabbed a blank stamp card and a pen and thrust it at him. “I’ll fill a stamp card for you if you give me your handle.”

“Well…” Rooster’s eyes shifted to his friends, who were deep in conversation. “Navy doesn’t exactly approve of me being on social media…”

“Not gonna tell a soul,” Canaan promised. “I just like workout videos and fitness pics.” And how.

“Yeah?” Rooster gave him an appraising stare, one that had Canaan damn near preening. “That so?”

“Yup.” Canaan set the blender going and returned to the counter. He filled a stamp card and waved it at Rooster. “So how about it?”

“Okay, okay.” Rooster scribbled something on the other card and pushed it at Canaan. Their fingers brushed as they traded cards, thick callused fingers rubbing against his, and Canaan swore his toes curled from the contact.

“So how about you?” Rooster asked as Canaan poured his drink into a purple plastic Smoothie Palace cup.

“How about me what?” Canaan was still busy celebrating getting his username and felt a little punch-drunk on the contact to boot.

“Big plans?”

Here was the opening Canaan had been waiting months for, and no way was he missing it. “Dunno. I get off at nine. Wanna help me find trouble?”

“You make that offer to all your customers?” Rooster studied him intently, and Canaan straightened his spine, trying to pass whatever test he was giving him.

“Just my favorite ones.” The more honest answer would be just you, but Canaan didn’t want to seem too desperate, so he kept his voice light and easy. “How ’bout it?”

“Rooster!” Bacon called out before Rooster could answer. “Come on. We’ve got that meeting in ten.”

“Sorry. Gotta head out. Thanks for the card.” Rooster gave him a smile but no answer before hurrying over to join his friends.

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer. Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Her critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ romance series include the #OutOfUniform, #Gaymers, #PortlandHeat, #RainbowCove and #PerfectHarmony series.

To find out what she’s working on next and other fun extras, check out her website: annabethalbert.com or connect with Annabeth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify! Also, be sure to sign up for her newsletter for free ficlets, bonus reads, and contests. The fan group, Annabeth’s Angels, on Facebook is also a great place for bonus content and exclusive contests.

Connect with Annabeth Albert:

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Prizes:

1) Paperback copy of any back catalog Out of Uniform series book. Open Internationally.

2) e-copies of any back catalog Out of Uniform series book. Open Internationally.

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Spotlight, Guest Post & Giveaway: Quick Fall by Michelle Dayton

QUICK FALL
Series: Tracy Brothers #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Michelle Dayton
Release Date: October 8, 2018

Justin Tracy, the perennial life of the party, is used to being teased by his friends about his success with the ladies. Not that he’ll ever get serious with one. Why should he? His life is absolutely perfect the way it is. But at his brother’s bachelor party, a drunken bet about his womanizing skill gets a little out of control. Before he knows it, his friends have invited his new tenant – a woman he’s never even met – to go to his brother’s wedding with him.

Single mom Maddy Trainor has just moved back to Chicago, ready to reclaim her life and conquer the city. Maddy’s determined to get her new business off the ground and build a happy home for her son, Teddy. She didn’t expect a gorgeous landlord, but ogling Justin Tracy is definitely a bonus to her new apartment.

Justin intends to apologize to Maddy for the out-of-the-blue wedding invitation and get gone, but his new neighbor turns out to be funny, whip-smart, and sexy as hell. Why not take her to the wedding for real? Just as friends, of course. To Maddy, the wedding – one night of champagne and dancing with a self-admitted Peter Pan – sounds like amazing no-strings fun. But the sparks that blaze between the two of them can’t be contained to one night. And two people who think they have life figured out are about to realize they know nothing about love …

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Inspiration Behind the Tracy Brothers Series – Michelle Dayton

Once upon a time, I was driving home from a crappy day of work and I almost rear-ended a Porsche right in front of a seedy-looking hotel.  So, of course, my writer’s brain said, “Hey, what if …”

I started drafting the very next day and soon I had several chapters of what would eventually be the first book in my Tracy Brothers series, Fast Ride.  The heroine, Jen, rear-ends a red Porsche on her way home from an awful day at work –right in front of a roadside motel. When unexpected chemistry flares between her and Garrett, the Porsche driver, they decide to indulge in a one-night fling in the motel.   

I loved writing the beginning of Fast Ride because it’s ultra-sexy … but as I kept going, I wanted it to be more than just a steamy story.  As I got to know the characters better, I wanted the book to also be sweet and emotional. My goal is always for readers to feel like my characters are real people that they know and like, and I wanted them to believe in Jen & Garrett as they transitioned from a one night stand to friends-with-benefits to their ultimate happily-ever-after.  

I’d always thought of Fast Ride as a standalone book, but as I was writing it, Garrett’s younger brother Justin became a really important character.  (He’s the one who helps pull Garrett’s head out of his ass when it comes to seeing his feelings for Jen clearly!)   Naturally I decided that Justin needed his own love story.  ☺

In Quick Fall, I wanted to have the same balance of sexy & sweet, the same push & pull between two characters who initially seem to be opposites, but who are actually perfect for one another.  Justin is a self-admitted Peter Pan, the life of the party who never wants to settle down. His new tenant, Maddy, is a single mom who owns her own small business. If you went by lifestyle alone, these two seem like the last people on earth who should be in a relationship.  

But people are always more than one thing, right?  Yes, Maddy is a hardworking mom. But you know what else she is?  An outgoing extrovert who can “work the room” as well as Justin can.  And yes, Justin is a guy who dates a lot and goes out on the town every night of the week.  But he’s also sentimental and introspective and very in touch with his emotions. As readers get to know them, I hope they feel like I did – that these two falling head over heels for one another was inevitable.

Please let me know what you think of Garrett & Jen, Justin & Maddy.  I LOVE hearing from readers!!!


Meet Justin’s older brother, Garrett Tracy!

FAST RIDE is on sale for $.99! Grab your copy today!

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There are only three things Michelle Dayton loves more than sexy and suspenseful novels: her family, the city of Chicago, and Mr. Darcy. Michelle dreams of a year of world travel – as long as the trip would include weeks and weeks of beach time. As a bourbon lover and unabashed wine snob, Michelle thinks heaven is discussing a good book over an adult beverage

Follow Michelle: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | BookBub

Enter HERE for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card + ebook copy of Fast Ride

Exclusive Excerpt, Guest Post & Giveaway: Secrets of a (Somewhat) Sunny Girl by @karenbbooth

SECRETS OF A (SOMEWHAT) SUNNY GIRL
Genre: Romantic Women’s Fiction
Author: Karen Booth
Release Date: October 16, 2018

As sisters, they tell each other all their secrets…except one.

With divorce and infidelity hanging from nearly every branch of her family tree, Katherine Fuller sees no point in marriage. Boyfriends? Sure. Sex? Of course. Wedding vows? No, thanks. Still, when her younger sister Amy gets engaged, Katherine gathers all the enthusiasm she can. She won’t let Amy down. She’s done enough of that for a lifetime.

As the sisters embark on wedding plans, Katherine’s college love resurfaces. It nearly killed Katherine to part from sexy Irish musician Eamon more than a decade ago, but falling under his spell a second time forces her to confront everything she hid from him. The secrets surrounding her mother’s death are still fresh and raw in her mind, but one has haunted her more than the others. She can’t bear to tell anyone, especially not Amy. It could ruin far more than a wedding. It could destroy a sister’s love forever.

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Katherine and Irish musician Eamon had a super-steamy relationship 11 years ago. Now he’s back in her life, but out on the road, leaving them to talk on the phone every day. This is the night of Katherine’s sister Amy’s engagement party, an event Katherine has been dreading.“How did the party go?” Eamon asked. “You don’t sound drunk, so it must’ve been at least tolerable.”

“It was okay. Everyone was really nice, but I definitely did not feel comfortable. Their whole family is like pod people. They’re all so happy and normal.”

“Why does that make them pod people?”

“I don’t know. Because that’s nothing at all like my family? And there’s no family dirt, which I find a little impossible to believe.”

“You went digging for dirt at your sister’s engagement party?”

“Hey. You’re the one who told me not to drink too much. I had to entertain myself somehow.”

He unleashed the laugh I find most disarming. In my head, I could see his off-kilter smile. “There’s always dirt somewhere. Trust me.”

“That’s what I was thinking.”

It got quiet on the other end of the line and I wondered what he was thinking about or whether he was maybe tired. I would’ve given anything for him to be waiting for me at home right now, rather than thousands of miles away. I couldn’t escape the loneliness of that fact.

“Katherine, can I ask you something?”

“Of course. Anything.”

“What exactly is it about that situation that makes you so deeply uncomfortable? Your sister getting married. I know it’s not just that you feel like you’re losing her. There’s something more to it, isn’t there?”

It felt like my heart was doing a bad impression of an old clock, ticking away at an unreliable pace. There was so much about this for me to unpack, probably because I’d devoted so much of my life to keeping it hidden. “My parents didn’t have a great marriage and they did a lot of things to hurt each other. It’s hard as a kid to witness that. It definitely sours your opinion of the institution.”

“I suppose.”

“Am I being unreasonable?”

“No. You’re not. I just think that’s not the only way to look at it. Some people might go through that and decide that they can do better. Maybe that’s the way your sister feels.”

Was he right? Had Amy taken things one way while I’d run with it in the opposite direction? She’d definitely seemed comfortable at the party, acclimated to the idea that marriage was this normal thing normal people did, and that she was a member of that group. Maybe I needed to accept that just because I saw her one way, and I saw myself the same way, perhaps I’d been completely wrong. After all, she had been younger than me. She’d witnessed less than I had. And of course, she hadn’t been the catalyst for the ultimate bad. She hadn’t set the demise of her own family in motion. Amy didn’t have to live with that.

“Maybe you’re right. Maybe I need to stop looking at it like that.” I knew then that I needed to get my attitude straight. Amy deserved better than a maid of honor who was being a complete pain in the ass.

“I could be wrong.”

“Nope. It’s a great suggestion. You make me a better person, you know. You always have.”

“Do you really think that?”

I thought back to the way I’d been with him the first time, so full of sunny optimism, not at all the way I was right now, but I could admit it was a place I wanted to get back to. “I do, Eamon. I really do.”

2 Truths and a Lie with Katherine and Eamon from Secrets of a (Somewhat) Sunny Girl

I’m so excited to be here today and let Katherine and Eamon, the main characters from Secrets of a (Somewhat) Sunny Girl, play Two Truths and a Lie. Katherine and Eamon met eleven years ago when she was studying abroad in Ireland. There was instant chemistry—as Katherine says, “The first time we did it, we were so hot for each other we didn’t even use a condom. We were half-naked in his front hall. I was out of my mind.” But their romance didn’t last long the first time. Katherine had to return to the U.S. Eamon left for his first world tour. Hearts were broken, big time.

Now they’re back together after a chance run-in in New York, and although they were recently engaged, there’s still a lot they don’t know about each other. Let’s begin!

Katherine: I already have my list. You know I plan for everything.

Eamon: I do know that much.

Katherine: Number one: I have never eaten a Big Mac. Number two: I’m terrified of spiders. Number three: I lost my virginity to a guy with the name Eamon.

Eamon: Are you joking with me right now?

Katherine: I can’t answer that.

Eamon: Were you really a virgin when we met?

Katherine: This isn’t Twenty Questions. Make a guess.

Eamon: (grumbles) The one about spiders has to be true. You don’t seem like a woman who would do well with those. And I don’t want to think that you’ve never had a Big Mac, but I suppose it’s possible. Number three has to be the lie. You were not a virgin when we met.

Katherine: Wrong. I’m ambivalent about spiders, Big Macs do not excite me, and I did lose my virginity to a guy with the name Eamon.

Eamon: You’re lying.

Katherine: It was his middle name. His first name was James. His mom was Irish. Eamon was her father’s name.

Eamon: You cheated. And how long have you been waiting to tell me this?

Katherine: I did not cheat. I just very carefully worded my statement. And I thought you would think it was a cute coincidence.

Eamon: I don’t want to think about James Eamon who took your virginity.

Katherine: Believe me, I don’t either. Your turn.

Eamon: Number one: I was at the top of my class in secondary school. Number two: I broke my leg in a motorcycle accident when I was thirteen. Number three: my favorite candy is black licorice.

Katherine: This seems like a trap. If I say the first one isn’t true, you’ll never forgive me.

Eamon: No hints. It’s not like you helped me.

Katherine: This is hard. I can totally see you breaking your leg in a motorcycle accident. You seem like the type who would like black licorice. You probably like black jellybeans, too. (shudders) So I guess I’ll say that the one about school is the lie. I bet you were in the top 25% of your class though.

Eamon: Nice job hedging your answer.

Katherine: But did I get it right?

Eamon: No. You did not. I was top in my class. Despite my musician ways, my mam was a schoolteacher and wouldn’t take anything less of me. She also did not want me to get the motorcycle I broke my leg riding. And I despise black licorice. Vile stuff.

Katherine: Wow. I was not top in my class. Not even close.

Eamon: It’s not a competition. And I don’t love you any less for it.

Katherine: Good.

Eamon: Might take me a while to come to terms with James Eamon and your virginity though.


Karen Booth is a midwestern girl transplanted in the South, raised on ‘80s music and repeated readings of Forever by Judy Blume. An early preoccupation with rock ‘n’ roll led her to spend her 20s working her way from intern to executive in the music industry. When her kids came along, she traded late nights for early mornings, writing contemporary romance and women’s fiction. Karen was a finalist for RT Magazine’s Series Romance of the Year and Gold Seal of Excellence, and the 2018 National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award. Her books have been translated into seventeen languages.

Connect with Karen: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

Giveaway: Win a signed print set of Karen Booth’s three Romantic Women’s Fiction novels: Secrets of a (Somewhat) Sunny Girl, Bring Me Back and Back Forever, or 1 of 2 e-copies of Bring Me Back!

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About Bring Me Back:

Nearly forty, Claire Abby had thought life would be a whole lot smoother by now. Single parenting her college-bound daughter is trying, her journalism career is fading, her sister’s a handful, her dad is worse, and her mom has been gone so long it’s hard to remember what it was like when she was here.

So it’s both a lucky break and a jaw-dropping distraction when Claire lands an interview with British rock star Christopher Penman. Claire spent her teenage years fantasizing he was her boyfriend. In person, Chris is everything Claire feared—off-the-charts sexy, ridiculously charming, and utterly nerve-wracking. He’s not about to discuss the rumors he’s dodged for a decade. She must earn his trust and unearth the truth, but she never banked on the heartbreaking secret behind it.

His blockbuster story is her first priority when she returns home, a nearly impossible task when Christopher starts calling. And flirting. There’s no denying his wit or his buttery British accent, and once she agrees to see him, it’s beyond anything her teenage brain ever imagined. But when Christopher’s painful past repeats itself, can Claire smooth out her life and save the man she could never forget?

Spotlight, Guest Post & Giveaway: Counterpoint by Anna Zabo

COUNTERPOINT
Series: Twisted Wishes #2
Genre: Contemporary, MM Romance
Genre: MM Contemporary Rockstar Romance (with a bit of kink)
Quirks & Warnings: Contains D/s and bondage. Also discusses anxiety and depicts a panic attack.
Author: Anna Zabo
Release Date: September 24, 2018

Twisted Wishes lead guitarist Dominic “Domino” Bradley is an animal onstage. But behind his tight leather pants and skull-crusher boots lies a different man entirely, one who needs his stage persona not only to perform, but to have the anonymity he craves. A self-imposed exile makes it impossible to get close to anyone outside the band, so he’s forced to get his sexual fix through a few hot nights with a stranger.

When computer programmer Adrian Doran meets Dominic, he’s drawn to the other man’s quiet voice and shy smile. But after a few dirty, demanding nights exploring Dominic’s need to be dominated, Adrian wants more than a casual distraction. He has no idea he’s fallen for Domino Grinder—the outlandish, larger-than-life rock god.

Dominic is reluctant to trust Adrian with his true identity. But when the truth is revealed prematurely, Dominic is forced to reevaluate both his need for Adrian and everything he believes about himself.

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

This book is approximately 93,000 words

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ANNA’S FAVORITE ROCKERS

Musical Influences for Twisted Wishes and Favorite Rockers
(or take a walk through music in 80s with Anna Zabo)

I’ve been asked a few times what bands I used to base Twisted Wishes on, and the answer to that is that I never had a specific band in mind when I created the look and feel of Twisted Wishes. I just knew I wanted a band that was a little outrageous, a little hard and punky, very queer, and that also had a high level of musicality.

The best description I can come up with is that Twisted Wishes is what you’d get if you smashed Erasure, Depeche Mode, and King Crimson together. Queer chaotic punk with a musically sophisticated edge.

Though I do suppose my favorite rock stars have something to do with how Twisted Wishes turned out.

My own favorite rockers tend to be much more pop-oriented and heavily based in the 80s, because that’s when I grew up, and I’ll admit to clinging to the music of my youth.

My very first musical crush was Howard Jones, with his big hair and his orange outfits, ala Things Can Only Get Better. I have so many Howard Jones records—actual 12 inch vinyl records—it’s a little embarrassing. I also spent a lot of time sketching all that hair.

I also adored Eurythmics and had such a crush on Annie Lennox, especially that whole outfit in Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), black gloves and crop-like pointer and all, but if you want a clue to some of Mish’s sassiness, check out Would I Lie to You.

Speaking of women rockstars, there’s Kate Bush and her amazing voice and lyrics. Hounds of Love is a fantastic album, though my favorite song from there probably one most people don’t know: Jig of Life. I also adored all of The Sensual World.

Or Chrissie Hynde from The Pretenders. There are so many good songs, but I rather like My Baby from Get Close.

I was also a huge fan of ABC and still rank The Lexicon of Love as one of the best albums I ever listened to. It’s put together so well, and each song reflects the others. Yes, I’m a huge dork for thinking this, I know. I also kind of wanted to look like Martin Fry (and that really should have been a rather large sign about my gender, honestly). A lot of people know Poison Arrow and Look of Love from that album, but I really enjoy All of My Heart.

I was also a big fan of Marc Almond (who was probably best known for the song by Soft Cell, Tainted Love), and the album The Stars We Are probably racks up there as one of my favorites, as well. It’s also strangely apropos to now, even though it came out in 1988. Go figure. It was the song Tears Run Rings that grabbed me and didn’t let go.

And yes, as I mentioned earlier, I adored Erasure, especially that they were oh so obviously queer. I mean, the opening lines of Chains of Love: How can I explain when there are few words I can use… I think I probably know every lyric to their first several albums.

As for Depeche Mode, if you want a little glimpse of them in concert, here’s a live version of Never Let me Down Again, a song I adored then and adore more now.

My love of King Crimson veers away from pop into progressive rock. There’s not a lot on YouTube, but Red is a good taste for some of that crazy syncopated rhythm stuff I love. The album Discipline is a masterpiece. Sadly, there isn’t much online to link to.

I could keep going for pages, especially since I left out SO MANY of my favorite rockers. And I could do a whole other post just on progressive rock, and probably another about what I love now. But I will spare you all more of my ramblings about music.

Anna Zabo writes contemporary and paranormal romance for all colors of the rainbow. They live and work in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which isn’t nearly as boring as most people think.

Anna grew up in the wilds of suburban Philadelphia before returning to their ancestral homelands in Western Pennsylvania. As a child they were heartily disappointed to discover that they couldn’t grow up to be what they wanted (a boy, a cat, a dragon), so they settled on being themself whenever possible, which may be a combination of a boy, a cat, and a dragon. Or perhaps a girl, a knight, and a writer. Depends on whom you ask. They do have a penchant for colorful ties and may be hording a small collection of cufflinks.They can be easily plied with coffee.

Anna has an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, where they fell in with a roving band of romance writers and never looked back. They also have a BA in Creative Writing from Carnegie Mellon University.

Anna uses they/them pronouns and prefers Mx. Zabo as an honorific.

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Exclusive Excerpt: Restless Ink by Carrie Ann Ryan

RESTLESS INK
Series:
Montgomery Ink: Colorado Springs #2
Author: Carrie Ann Ryan
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 18, 2018

The Montgomery Ink series continues with the so-called sensible sister and the one man she never should have fallen for.

For Thea Montgomery, baking isn’t only therapeutic, it’s also her dream job. She’s worked countless hours keeping her bakery afloat, and now that it’s where she wants it to be, she’s ready to expand and take the next step. When it comes to work and her family, she’s on top of her game. Her personal life, however, is a different story.

When Dimitri Carr isn’t teaching and hiding his ink under long sleeves to keep the bosses happy, he’s trying to be the best brother and friend he can be. After his divorce, he’d thought he would lose Thea from his life forever because she’s his ex-wife’s best friend. But now that he’s free, and the two of them realize they want to keep their friendship. Then he finally sees what he’s been missing all this time.

But there are more problems than the fact that Dimitri is Thea’s best friend’s ex. And when accidental touches and flirtations aren’t enough for either of them, and they’re finally ready to take the next step, they’ll find out exactly what that cost is for crossing that line. And will need to find the strength to face it.

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They said their goodbyes to Abby and headed over to the bar next door to Kaylee’s studio. Kaylee herself couldn’t make it since she had a later event but told them all to have fun as they strolled to the other building. Soft guitar music drifted out of the open door, and Thea glanced at the sign next to it on the sidewalk claiming it was open mic night.

“This could either be amazing or horrible,” Adrienne said under her breath as Roxie laughed.

But Thea didn’t laugh, she couldn’t, not when she heard that voice.

She knew that voice, dreamed of that voice. Oh, hell, that voice was one that kept her awake at night and sent delicious warmth between her thighs.

“Is that…?” Adrienne’s voice trailed off, and Roxie sucked in a breath.

Thea just blinked as they stopped right inside the door, the three of them standing stock-still, their mouths dropping open.

Dimitri sat on a stool in front of the crowded room, his fingers strumming the guitar as he crooned a song about love and loss with that deep growl of his.

And when he lifted his head, and his gaze met hers, he didn’t pause, didn’t break his concentration, but she knew he saw her, understood that he wanted her there from the glint in his eyes. Realized that this meant something.

And she knew… she knew she was lost.

And so damn screwed.

About Carrie Ann Ryan

Carrie Ann Ryan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary and paranormal romance. Her works include the Montgomery Ink, Redwood Pack, Talon Pack, and Gallagher Brothers series, which have sold over 2.0 million books worldwide. She started writing while in graduate school for her advanced degree in chemistry and hasn’t stopped since. Carrie Ann has written over fifty novels and novellas with more in the works. When she’s not writing about bearded tattooed men or alpha wolves that need to find their mates, she’s reading as much as she can and exploring the world of baking and gourmet cooking.

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Exclusive Excerpt: Unlocking Shadows by Kennedy Layne

UNLOCKING SHADOWS
Series: Keys To Love #4
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Author: Kennedy Layne
Release Date: September 18, 2018

The next book in Kennedy Layne’s KEYS TO LOVE is available now – romantic suspense lovers do not want to miss this!

About UNLOCKING SHADOWS

Gwen Kendall spent ten years in the Navy and used the last four to create a life for herself she could be proud of away from the confines of her overprotective family. Being the only woman in the Kendall clan tended to be a bit overwhelming at times.

Chad Schaeffer had been hired on to help restore an old farmhouse for one of the returning Kendall siblings. He’d heard about the trouble the family had encountered and honestly didn’t want to go anywhere near their properties. He had a change of heart when he saw the most recently returned Kendall sibling stepping out of her car with a key in her hand.

Gwen had waited a very long time to have a place to call her own, just as she had waited for the right man to share her life. One night of seduction convinces her she’s found both, but someone wants to take it all away. It’s been said that old houses retain a piece of each person who has lived there, but she never counted on the dark shadows wanting a piece of her.

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“Did you actually cook for me, city girl?”Gwen would have probably screamed like a little girl at the sight of a spider bouncing on its web had she not first heard the faint sound of her cell phone chiming as the proximity alarm announced Chad’s presence. The security firm who’d set up her system had the surrounding area of the house monitored for any movement. It came in handy for times like this, but for some reason, blood rushed to her cheeks and her heartbeat accelerated as if she’d just run a mile or two.When was the last time a man affected her in such a manner?

Too long to count, which was the sole reason she’d refused to take back her key earlier this afternoon. It wasn’t like they were making a serious commitment to one another, and he would ultimately need to be able to come and go while working on her house.

“City girl?” Gwen opened the fridge and pulled out two bottles of beer to give time for the flush of color to leave her face. “Since when do you consider me a city girl?”

“Well, let’s see.” The intoxicating scent of Chad’s cologne told her that he’d moved into the kitchen and was now in close proximity. “You put in excessively long hours at your new firm, you complained that there wasn’t one of those fancy coffee places in town open twenty-four hours for your convenience, and today was the first time I’ve seen you in a pair of jeans since last weekend. I’d say that qualifies you as more city than country.”

Gwen silently handed over his beer, giving herself time to study him before responding to such a ludicrous claim. Well, it did have some merit, but she’d address that at the appropriate time.

It was obvious he’d showered recently. The ends of his hair that curled slightly were still damp, and her fingers itched to brush them away from his face. He was freshly shaven with a slight sheen where he’d put on his aftershave. She fought the urge to rest her hand against his cheek. She still wasn’t sure he was here for reasons other than he didn’t want to stand her up on her invitation.

“I wasn’t completely sure you were going to show up here tonight,” Gwen finally said rather quietly.

She was unusually tentative to start this conversation considering all of this had been her idea to start with. She also wasn’t usually so cautious with what she wanted.

If she wanted something, she bought it.

If she craved something, she ate it… within her own limitations.

She was a natural born go-getter, but that wasn’t unusual given that she was raised with four brothers. This thing with Chad? She wasn’t quite sure what tactic to take for fear that he’d want nothing to do with her or her offer for more.

“I wasn’t sure, either,” Chad responded honestly, the cap on his beer still secured to the opening. “I’m pretty certain Tobias was about to come out of his house to check on me when I stood by the driver’s side door of my truck for ten minutes debating the idea.”

Many times over the course of the past two weeks they’d had random debates over the silliest of things. She enjoyed a spirited conversation of opposing ideas and listening to his opinions, which were not much different than her own. Well, other than his preference of Dodge over Ford… which was totally insane.

“What eventually changed your mind and had you deciding to hop in that thing you call a truck and drive over here?”

“This.”

Gwen wasn’t expecting Chad to move in for the kill quite so quickly, but he did so with grace and lethal intent. She was a goner the moment his lips brushed over hers. The result was a foregone conclusion before she could take another breath.

Chad must have set his bottle of beer on the counter, because both of his hands were cradling her face. There was no hesitation. There was no uncertainty that he spoke of earlier, and she decided she’d have to take stock in whatever brand of aftershave he used before coming over tonight.

She was now addicted.

How could Chad Schaeffer— the skinny boy she remembered having freckles— turn into a man who could buckle her knees with a single kiss?

“Are you sure about this?” Chad asked, his tone a little breathless. At least he was able to talk. Her lips were still tingling, and she wasn’t nearly done savoring his taste of mint mouthwash. “There’s still time to—”

“This is exactly what I’ve been dying to do since I pulled up to the house and saw you standing on my porch,” Gwen managed to say, setting her beer down next to his. “The only thing missing was a big red bow.”

Chad lifted her underneath the arms, causing her to lose her breath at his obvious intention. She wrapped her legs around his waist and her arms around his neck, not wanting to waste any more time than they already had.

“Did you put any precautions on that list that Reese took to the store today?”

Gwen smiled against his neck, getting the gist of where this very brief conversation was headed. They wouldn’t be talking for long.

“No,” Gwen answered with a laugh, not expecting him to set both hands on her ass and hoist her over his shoulder. “Chad! Put me down!”

“It’s a good thing they were on mine.”

About the Keys to Love Series

 Their homecoming wasn’t so welcoming. Four brothers and one sister each gave twelve years of their lives to serve their country and fulfill their family’s legacy of service. As each of them return to their home of record, they weren’t prepared for what awaited them—an unforgiveable sin that has been hidden for twelve long years. Secrets and lies are concealed in the dark shadows of the very town they were raised in, and the Kendall family will have no choice but to rely on one another to unravel the sinister evil that they all hold the keys to unlock.

Kennedy Layne is a USA Today bestselling author. She draws inspiration for her military romantic suspense novels in part from her not-so-secret second life as a wife of a retired Marine Master Sergeant. He doubles as her critique partner, beta reader, and military consultant. They live in the Midwest with their teenage son and menagerie of pets. The loyal dogs and mischievous cats appreciate her writing days as much as she does, usually curled up in front of the fireplace. She loves hearing from readers–find out how to connect with her at www.kennedylayne.com.

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