New Release Review and Giveaway! SECRETS OF A RELUCTANT PRINCESS by Casey Griffin

Secrets of a Reluctant Princess
by Casey Griffin
Publication Date: March 7, 2017
Publisher:  Entangled Teen

 

At Beverly Hills High, you have to be ruthless to survive…

Adrianna Bottom always wanted to be liked. But this wasn’t exactly what she had in mind. Now, she’s in the spotlight…and out of her geeky comfort zone. She’ll do whatever it takes to turn the rumor mill in her favor—even if it means keeping secrets. So far, it’s working.

Wear the right clothes. Say the right things. Be seen with the right people.

Kevin, the adorable sketch artist who shares her love of all things nerd, isn’t exactly the right people. But that doesn’t stop Adrianna from crushing on him. The only way she can spend time with him is in disguise, as Princess Andy, the masked girl he’s been LARPing with. If he found out who she really was, though, he’d hate her.

The rules have been set. The teams have their players. Game on.

 

Review:

 A cute story, though it does stretch the boundaries of credibility a few times:)

Andy, Kevin, Keelie, and Harper are all fun characters, and easy to root for even when you’re questioning the choices they (okay, mostly Andy) are making. The live action role playing aspects were fun, and almost made me want to try it myself. I really liked how the author used both larp and Andy’s other talents to help her create a path to her own HEA; it was a nice touch. 

My first book from Ms.Griffin; I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for more from her in the future! 

Rating: 4 stars / B

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book. 

Purchase Links:

Google Play | BAM | Chapters | Indies | Amazon | B&N| Kobo | TBD | iBooks

 

About the author:

Casey Griffin can often be found at comic conventions on her days off from her day job, driving 400 ton dump trucks in Northern Alberta, Canada. As a jack of all trades with a resume boasting registered nurse, English teacher, and photographer, books are her true passion. Casey is a 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel finalist, and is currently busy writing every moment she can.

 

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Cover Reveal and Giveaway! SUDDENLY US by Marie Skye

Suddenly Us
by Marie Skye
Publication Date: April 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance

Gwen

Love. Who needs that? Who would want that? Who hasn’t had their heart split in two, because they were never their first option, and damn sure their second. I have. But I stayed. Why did I stay? It was love. I wanted to finally feel that I was wanted. It didn’t matter if he thought I was worthless. It didn’t matter if he degraded me, because he felt like it. Any love is better than no love…right?

Hawkins

Every day, I’m haunted and tormented. When, I look in the mirror I see a failure. A failure that let people that needed me down. I worry that it will happen again. If it happens to the people I care about the most, I don’t think I could live with myself. Can I put my torturous past behind me and start to enjoy life? Especially now that I have a reason to live it?

About Marie Skye:

I’m your average career driven woman by day, and a hidden lover of all things dirty by night. Or, as I like to say, professional by day; author whore by night.

I’ve always wanted to write, and, one day, decided: why not? After all, we all have a story to tell.

Marie Skye is my alter ego, but she’s friendly, so feel free to contact her.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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New Release and Giveaway! SINFUL SCOTTISH LAIRD by Julia London (The Highland Grooms #2)

Synopsis:

A young widow puts her sexy suitors to the test in New York Times bestselling author Julia London’s scintillating return to the idyllic Scottish Highlands.

Widowed and forced to remarry in three years’ time or forfeit her son’s inheritance, Daisy Bristol, Lady Chatwick, has plenty of suitors vying for her hand and her fortune. But a letter from a long-lost love sends Daisy and her young son to her Scottish Highland estate to buy time for his return. Along the way she encounters the powerful Cailean Mackenzie, laird of Arrandale and a notorious smuggler, and she is utterly and unwillingly bewitched.

Cailean has no use for any Sassenach in his glen. But Daisy’s brazen, flirtatious nature and alluring beauty intrigue him. When her first love appears unexpectedly at her estate, Cailean knows that a passionate woman like Daisy cannot marry this man. And to prevent the union, Cailean must put his own life at risk to win her heart.

 

Review:

Absolutely loved!

Cailean and Daisy’s story started out with more than a little bit of lust at first sight, compounded with a healthy dollop of distrust and dislike, to make this one heck of a enemies-to-friends-to-lovers story in the end. With Scottish brogue and plaids–really, there’s not a single downside to be had here! 😉

I just adored both the hero and heroine here, and found myself wanting nothing more than for the two of them to get together while I was reading this book–which of course is exactly what you’re looking for in a romance! Their reasons for not being together made sense, even as I railed against them–truly, they gave this story the best kind of angst–and OMG, Daisy’s young son Ellis? I. Love. That. Kid. Seeing him open up and become the little boy that had been hiding inside him all along made me want to stand up and cheer. (And gah! Seeing Cailean with him? Gave me all kinds of feels. Just when I thought the guy couldn’t become any more awesome…) My only complaint is that we don’t get to see nearly enough of Daisy and Cailean’s HEA here, but I fully expect that to be remedied in future books in the series 🙂

Though this is the second book in the series, it worked just fine as a standalone. Book one ( Wild Wicked Scot ) is Cailean’s parents’ story–their story is hinted at here, but if you haven’t read it yet you’re not at a disadvantage at all. I’m not saying that you won’t want to read their story ASAP, though–chances are you will–but at least that will keep you busy until younger brother Rabbie’s story ( Hard-Hearted Highlander ) comes out later this year 😉

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

Purchase Links:

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

About the author:

Julia London is the New York Times and USA Today best selling author of more than two dozen romantic fiction novels. She is the author of the popular historical romance series, the Cabot Sisters, including The Trouble with Honor, The Devil Takes a Bride, and The Scoundrel and the Debutante. She is also the author of several contemporary romances, including Homecoming Ranch, Return to Homecoming Ranch, and The Perfect Homecoming.

Julia is the recipient of the RT Bookclub Award for Best Historical Romance and a six-time finalist for the prestigious RITA award for excellence in romantic fiction.

Connect with Julia:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

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Release Day and Giveaway! WE SAID FOREVER by Marie James

Title: We Said Forever
Author: Marie James
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 15, 2017
Blurb:

Rock bottom.They say the only way to go from there is up, but what is “up” when you’re born into someone else’s rock bottom?

At ten, football became my first love. It’s what got me out of the house away from my self-destructive family. My love for football landed me at Las Vegas University with a full ride scholarship, and the orange on my jersey was my favorite color…until my eyes landed on the red dress Fallyn wore the night we met.

At twenty-one, I jumped off the cliff into the unknown the second Fallyn McIntyre danced in my arms at a party. I had the greatest girl in the world and the opportunity to play college ball every Saturday. My rock bottom was looking up, thanks to my two first loves.

Parties, sex, and football—life was perfect. But one drink too many, and my world came crashing down. When I chose pills over my second love, my head told me it was the best decision I ever made. The pills keep me warm and protect me from the distance Fallyn created. Percs don’t judge me. They make me feel alive. 

Threes.

They say the best things come in threes, but one leads to a stable future, one is my salvation, and the other drags me to hell—a hell I’d willingly burn in for eternity…if it weren’t for my second love.

 
Excerpt:

Turning to face the guy who is either too stupid or too drunk to take a hint, my eyes land on the handsome face of a tall blond with the lightest blue eyes I’ve ever seen.The smirk on his face clearly indicates he believes I should be impressed. And I am. There’s no doubt about it. I’m completely fascinated by the ego this douchebag emits with one simple look. Without a word, I let my eyes trail from the top of his purposely mussed hair that probably took longer to fix than mine to the orange chucks adorning his big feet.

He allows the perusal, awaiting my approval. Cocking an eyebrow at his blatant, pompous attitude, I push his hands off my hips.

“Not a chance, buddy,” I say before turning back toward the kitchen.

My legs tremble, wobbling on my already unsteady heels. I release a long, slow breath, hoping he disappeared into the crowd. The last thing I need is for him to notice the way my eyes lingered on his stubbled jaw and the muscles of his chest even his clothes can’t hide. I’m almost certain he could sense my quick, unmasked arousal. One look was all it took for this man to creep his way under my skin and throb in my core. He’s got self-entitled, bad boy, asshole written all over him—character traits I would have dropped anything for a few years ago. Not today, though. Those are flaws I left in Utah when I graduated high school.

The same firm grip reaches for me again, wrapping all the way around my body and pulling my back against an incredibly strong chest.

I close my eyes for a moment, allowing only a second of contact before turning around and readying my hand to slap him across the face for taking such liberties without my permission—just another alpha asshole attribute that used to make me swoon.

“You need to get your—”

His finger covers my lips, preventing me from getting my words out. My attempt at what I’m sure was going to be a very eloquent threat against his manhood falters as he pulls me closer to his body. His leg somehow finds its way between mine as he squats a couple inches to decrease the differences in our height.

The strong hand that has reached for me twice tonight is around my back, fingers splayed against the thin red fabric. The finger that halted my words trails down the column of my damp neck before gripping around at my nape. Gooseflesh follows the trail, racing over my fevered skin. He holds me against him, guiding me to the rhythm I hated until this very second. Like the traitorous slut she is, my body molds against him, every soft inch against his hardness.

“I don’t,” I begin again, only to have his hand leave my neck to push another finger against my parted lips.

I watch, enthralled and utterly stupid, as his bottom lip rolls between his teeth at the same time his thumb sweeps over mine.

I cave, wholeheartedly capitulating to the moment. Ignoring the warning bells going off in my head, screaming at me to bolt through the front door and not look back, I grip the silky athletic fabric of his jersey and pull him closer. A knowing grin lights his face and sparkles in the crystal blue of his eyes.

One song blends into another as our bodies close every millimeter of distance. No words are spoken as the countdown begins. No promises are made when the clock strikes midnight. No way I’ll survive this man when his breath becomes mine. No chance I’ll see him again when swaying all night turns into dancing tongues. No possibility of keeping my promise of no bad boys when one hand grips my nape and the other squeezes my ass.

Alcohol has never really been my thing. The memory of the first time I drank heavy liquor in high school is enough to make my stomach sour, but the bourbon on this guy’s lips is the perfect mix of sweet and spicy. It’s, hands down, the most satisfying thing I’ve tasted since the ice cream I had after getting my tonsils removed when I was seven. I savor every fraction of a second, every slow glide of his tongue against mine, each time his lips pull back a fraction and turn up to smile against mine.

Without so much as one spoken word, this man has managed to master my body, persuading it to beg for more, coaxing whimpers from my mouth when he pulls away, only to ensure it pants a seductive moan when those skilled lips find my neck.

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

 

Author Bio:
Marie James is a full-time working mother of two amazing little boys and wife of almost 13 years. She enjoys reading in her spare time, and diet coke is always near. Central Texas is where Marie calls home and has lived most of her life. With 13 published books under her belt, she has no desire to stop writing anytime soon and has dozens of book ideas to keep her busy.
Author Links:
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New Release and Giveaway! A LIMITED ENGAGEMENT by Bethany Michaels

About the Book:

Derek Sawyer, sexiest bad boy on the racing circuit, is about to land a huge sponsor. The only problem is the oil baron’s daughter wants to make Derek part of the deal. Worried he’ll offend the old billionaire if he rejects his daughter, Derek comes up with the perfect plan—pretend he’s already engaged to his friend Lilly.

Lilly Harmon used to daydream about her childhood crush Derek proposing to her…but not like this. Of course, she just lost her boyfriend and her job, so her five-year plan is already smashed to hell. Pretending to be with Derek might help her get her PR career back on track.

But the oil baron’s daughter won’t give up that easily, and Derek’s parents believe the engagement proves he’s become the son they always wanted.

Money. Family. Love. The truth could destroy everything. And to think this engagement was supposed to be the easy way out.

Excerpt:

“Is that the guy?” Derek asked in a low whisper, leaning across the table. “He works fast. Y’all broke up, what, last week?”

Her eyes darted to Derek’s face, so close to hers. Crap. He knew. “What did Shana tell you?”

“Only that you had been messing around with your boss and that’s why you had to leave.” He sat back. “Oh, and something about a beat-down with a telephone.”

She groaned. “It wasn’t that sordid. We were a couple. It was a relationship with long-term potential.” Or so she’d thought. “And it was only the handset, not the whole phone. My hands were a little sweaty and it slipped out of—never mind. Shana wasn’t supposed to tell you.”

“She swore me to secrecy.”

“Well, it’s a good thing you’re not in the CIA.”

His eyes narrowed. Something sparked in them. He swallowed—again with that uncharacteristic nervous tic—and then smiled. “How about I make it up to you?”

“How? Got a three-hole-punch in your wallet you don’t mind me throwing at his face?”

“I left my office supplies in my other pants, but I’ve got a better idea.” That million-dollar grin spread from ear to ear. “We’ll make him jealous.”

Her gaze slid to Richard and the way he was looking at his date. “I’m not sure that’s going to work. He seems pretty wrapped up in his lunch date’s breasts.”

“Trust me. It’ll work. You’re a beautiful, intelligent, accomplished woman, and he’ll spend the rest of his life kicking himself for letting you get away.”

“Yeah, right.” There was a twinkle in his eye, but Lilly didn’t get the sense he was out-and-out mocking her. And the thought of revenge was tempting. Revenge that didn’t end in security escorting her out of the building was even better.

“What did you have in mind?”

He took her hand across the table and looked deep into her eyes as if she were the most beautiful thing he’d seen in forever, instead of his little sister’s best friend and the perpetual pain in his side growing up. “Just follow my lead. Act like we’re gearing up for a nooner and are totally into each other.”

His hands were large and warm, and the way he was looking at her, even if it was an act, made her squirm in her chair. As a lovesick teen, she’d spent hours imagining what it would be like having him look at her like this. It was everything she thought it would be, and maybe a little more. Only she wasn’t a teen any more. So pathetic. Now she knew a fantasy was just a fantasy.

“A nooner? Seriously?” She sneaked a peek at Richard and caught him staring at her, unblinking, like the giant snake he was. The woman turned to follow his gaze—and Lilly recognized her as the busty receptionist at RSG she’d always had a feeling hated her. Now she knew why.

Derek dropped her hand and scooted his chair out, about to get up. “Or I could just walk over there and punch him in his ugly cheating face.”

 

Purchase:Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo

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Meet the Author:

Bethany Michaels is the author of over a dozen contemporary novels and novellas as well as a handful of Regency-set historicals and light paranormal romances. The first book in her Nashville country music series, Nashville Heat, was an RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award nominee.

When not working on her next book, Bethany enjoys movies, traveling, camping, hiking, and volunteering with her kids’ scout troops. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and four teens.

Connect: Site | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

Giveaway:

  • $25 Amazon Gift Card

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Release Day and Giveaway! LEGALLY CHARMING by Lauren Smith (Ever After #1)

 

Title: Legally Charming
Series: Ever After #1
Author: Lauren Smith
Genre: Contemporary Romance/New Adult
Release Date: March 13, 2017

Blurb:

THE RIGHT DRESS CAN CATCH THE EYE OF PRINCE CHARMING…
 
Felicity Hart has one goal: Completing her masters in art. Falling in love isn’t part of the plan. She reluctantly agrees to attend a Halloween party with her best friend. After sneaking away from the party and falling asleep in an unoccupied room, she wakes to the sexiest pair of eyes she’s ever seen. Eyes that belong to the one man who could turn her well organized world upside down. When he flashes that wicked, panty-melting smile at her the vow to not fall in love seems impossible…
 
EVERY PRINCE IS LOOKING FOR HIS SLEEPING BEAUTY TO KISS…
 
Jared Redmond used to be the ultimate bad boy. But now his legal career is taking off and the partners of his firm are trusting him with high-dollar real estate transactions. Jared’s king-size bed is empty. But when he arrives home on Halloween to find a princess sleeping in his bed – his all work and no play attitude goes out the window. There’s nothing he wants more than to explore the hidden desires of this mysterious beauty and show her just how much of a bad boy he really is by fulfilling her every fantasy.
 

WHEN MIDNIGHT STRIKES AND COACHES TURN TO PUMPKINS… Underneath the glitter of this fairy tale romance, Felicity and Jared might have found true love. But the mounting pressure of their real lives takes hold again and Jared and Felicity are pulled further and further apart. Can they find their fairy tale ending or will they be left with the dying embers of what could have been?

Excerpt:

Jared Redmond stumbled from the taxicab, his brown leather briefcase smacking his back as he struggled to stay on his feet. He swallowed a growl of frustration. This was the last time he let the senior partners of his firm keep him out late to celebrate. He’d only had one drink, since he was dead tired from the last few months of overtime at the office. Having to smile, laugh, and socialize all night with the partners left him edgy and desperate to get home and crawl into bed.

God forbid he just do his job and do it well enough to earn respect. No, he had to spend hours at one of the most expensive restaurants with them, watching them pat each other on the back when he’d done all the heavy lifting in their multi-million-dollar transaction.

Big fucking mistake.

Now he was completely drained, and his body was determined to go to sleep on him right there on the street. His vision was fine, but his motor skills seemed to have abandoned him. He reached the glass doors of his apartment building lobby, leaning a little too heavily against the glass. Fishing around in his pocket for his keycard, he muttered a string of curses when his hand came up empty. He glanced up and rapped his knuckles. Thank God, the guard recognized him and buzzed him inside.

“Mr. Redmond.” The security guard nodded, a knowing smile on the older man’s lips.

“Hey, Randy,” he greeted, wincing at the slur of his words.

A few more steps and he reached the elevator. After much effort focusing on the series of floor buttons on the panel, he pressed the button to the fifteenth floor and it lit up. He leaned his head back on the mirrored walls, resting. Jesus, it was like he was drunk, but he knew it was sheer exhaustion.

It had been a hell of a day. After two months of negotiations, sleepless nights, long hours, and no chance of reviving his obsolete social life, he’d closed the massive real estate deal, and closed it earlier than he’d anticipated. Everyone demanded they go out and celebrate. He just wanted to crash and sleep off all of the stress pent up inside him.

He was going to walk into his bedroom and face-plant on his bed and not move all weekend from that spot.

Tanner would be out with his girlfriend, Layla, celebrating. It was Halloween, wasn’t it? A little grin tugged at his lips. The apartment would be empty and quiet. The perfect benefit of arriving home early. He’d told Tanner he wouldn’t be back until Sunday, and it was only Friday now. He expected his little brother and girlfriend would be out partying the night away, giving him total silence and a soft bed to crash on without any disturbances.

The second the elevator doors slid open with a soft hiss, he heard the music and the erratic noises of a party. Laughter, voices, all coming from their apartment.

Fucking hell.

“Tanner,” he growled, fists clenched.

So the partying tonight was in, not out.

Jared contemplated turning around and finding a hotel, or worse, calling Shana. No, bad idea. They’d dated on and off during law school and after, but they’d never been exclusive. Currently he and Shana were off. Definitely off.

Lousy timing for Tanner to throw a damn party.

That was the main problem with letting his twenty-four-year-old brother live with him. He’d thought it would be nice to spend some time with his little brother, but with his work schedule he barely saw Tanner. The one night they might have hung out, he was too tired to care. He was not in the mood to dodge drunken graduate students all night and try to drown out all the racket they were making. Luck wasn’t with him tonight. Fuck, he was turning into a crotchety old man if he was going to let a party piss him off.

The door to their place was unlocked, and when he swung the door open, a wave of fresh sound engulfed him. His eardrums throbbed, and he winced at the explosion of the music that drilled into his skull like nails. Scantily-dressed girls bounced about to the pounding rhythm of the music along with guys who were watching with giddy-schoolboy expressions. Some of them cheered and smiled, drunkenly overjoyed that a new person had shown up to the party. Several familiar faces, Tanner’s friends, waved at him or nodded as he walked past them.

“Jared! I thought you weren’t coming home till tomorrow?” A zombie stripper stepped in front of him, hands on her hips. Through the gory makeup he thought he recognized her.

“Layla?”

Tanner’s girlfriend was dressed as a zombie stripper. Only Layla could manage to pull off that look.

“Layla, what the hell is going on?” he demanded, gesturing to the insanity. A girl in a sexy Lara Croft costume was singing a bad karaoke cover of “Somebody’s Watching Me.” Holy fuck. He was going to need some noise-cancelling headphones to survive this shit. For a brief second he considered tossing everyone out on their damn asses, but this place was half Tanner’s and he’d told Tanner he wouldn’t be here tonight. Brother code demanded he suffer through this bullshit.

Layla didn’t look chagrined in the least. “It’s Halloween. Oh, and Felicity’s birthday, obviously.”

“Who is Felicity?” He’d never met anyone named Felicity. Not that it was surprising, because he was never around when his brother was hanging out with Layla and their friends. He didn’t really remember what it was like to be that carefree. Law school and work had a way of consuming a person’s good memories.

“Scratch that, I don’t care. Is this thing”—he waved a hand around—“ending anytime soon?” He shifted his briefcase strap over his shoulder. His suit was starting to suffocate him, and as much as he liked the particular steel-gray tie he wore at the moment, he was desperate enough to cut it right off his neck if he couldn’t get to his room fast enough.

“Uh…” She licked her lips. “Don’t know. But you said you weren’t coming back until Sunday.”

“Well, here I am and tired as fuck. So I’m going to bed. Try to keep it down,” he growled.

“Uh, Jared.” She dodged around him, trying to prevent him from getting past her.

“What did you do?” He arched a brow, sensing by the way her eyes widened and she shifted in her stilettos that something was wrong.

“I might have given your bed away.” Layla bit her lip, yet she was brave enough to still meet his eyes.

“What do you mean you gave my bed away?”

She attempted to smile. “You were supposed to be gone until Monday, and Felicity needed a place to stay tonight. It’s late, and I didn’t want her to go home alone. She lives in a sketchy part of town—so I told her she could crash in your bed since you weren’t going to be here.” She glared at him, accusing him of something he wasn’t entirely sure was his fault. “So she’s in your room tonight.” She ended with a finality that did not entirely make sense to his tired brain.

“Let me get this straight. Some girl is in my bed…right now?”

Layla swallowed, her eyes darting away before coming back to him. “Um…yeah?”

“No,” he stated and stalked toward his room, Layla at his heels. Whoever this Felicity person was, she was in his bed, and since it was his bed, whatever Layla and this girl had seemed to think otherwise, he’d have her out of it.

Reaching his bedroom door, he crashed it open and strode in, prepared for all the hell and fury that came with drunk, twenty-something females—and instead, as his eyes adjusted, he found a princess in his bed.

Layla clattered behind on her too-tall stilettos. “Jared, wait—”

He pushed the door open, and a yellow beam of light from the hallway cut across the dark room, revealing a figure lying across his bed.

A princess. There was a princess in his bed.

The burgundy-and-gold gown was draped over his comforter with pearls glowing like tiny moons on the bodice of her gown.

What the fuck?

“Please don’t wake her,” Layla begged.

Wake her? Jared shook his head. What nonsense. He wasn’t a romantic. Even though she was certainly a fantasy. All luscious curves and mystery. Her dark auburn hair cascading over the pillow looked soft. His hands ached to reach out and fist in the strands. She looked like the kind of woman a young man dreamed about and ruined his sheets over, the kind of woman he’d stopped dreaming about a long time ago because he was convinced they didn’t exist.

He didn’t turn to look at Layla as he spoke. “Who is that?”

“Felicity Hart. Birthday girl and, more importantly, my best friend.” The threat was heavily implied. Don’t screw with Layla or her friends. Her loyalty in that respect was one of the things he admired most about his brother’s girlfriend.

Layla’s fingers curled around his biceps and squeezed, getting his attention.

“I told her she could sleep in your room since you weren’t supposed to be here. It’s the only place available for her to sleep.”

“I’m not giving up my bed. I worked seventy hours this week. I’m going to sleep.” He got one step inside his room before Layla practically tackled him, climbing up his back like a spider monkey.

“You. Will. Not. Wake. Her. Up,” Layla growled, nails digging into his arms. “She has a really important research paper due tomorrow, and she needs to sleep.”

“She can stay, but I’m sharing my bed with her. End of discussion. Go back to your party.” With a little shove, he made sure Layla couldn’t get back in before he shut the door in her face.

When he turned back around, he studied the girl in his bed. Without the hallway light he could barely make out her features. Just a silhouette, really, of a princess. Arousal slammed into him. He felt like an idiot. He never dated anyone who was still in school. They were too young. A year ago he’d tried to date a girl who was twenty-four, but she’d gotten pissed every time he’d had to work late. She didn’t get the pressures of his job. None of the girls younger than him seemed to understand that. Layla was all right, but she was still a kid. He needed someone mature who was at the same point in her life as him, an adult.

The hot little princess was the last thing he needed to be thinking about.

Don’t think about her or how much fun it would be to wake her up and kiss her. Just be a gentleman and go to bed.

His inner voice was a goddamn control freak, but he was thankful someone was still responsible.

Turning away, he started to strip out of his work clothes. He kicked his shoes off and then slipped a pair of pajama bottoms on. He didn’t bother with a shirt. He always got a little hot at night anyway. As he moved deeper into the room, he caught his foot on a chair. It screeched as it slid across the wood, and he winced, catching himself against the back of it. He glanced at the bed, but the girl hadn’t woken. A few quick steps and then he hit the bed, landing on his stomach and bouncing a little. The princess next to him didn’t stir. He shifted a couple of inches and slid one arm beneath his pillow to puff it up as he laid his head down. The toll of the night’s celebrations dragged him to the edge of the abyss of sleep. He was so close…

A little gasp and a half-strangled whimper pulled him to the surface again. “Whah?” He groaned and rolled onto his side facing the girl.

She was thrashing and whimpering beside him. Her hands clawed at the bodice of her dress, as though trying to escape it.

“Damn it!” He sat up and flicked on the lamp by his side of the bed. The wash of color in the room showed how flushed the girl was. She still shifted and kicked, moaning as if in pain. Jared leaned over and gently jostled her shoulder.

“Hey, kid, wake up.”

She jolted awake. Bright gray eyes like liquid mercury flashed in shock and fear as her gaze fell on him.

“Hi,” he said.

The princess blinked, her eyes darting around the room, then back to him, focusing on his bare chest. Her pupils dilated.

“Did we…um…who—” She shook her head as though to clear it. “Who are you, and what are you doing here?”

Jared let out a raspy chuckle. “I’m the one who should be asking questions. But it’s been a long day and I’m beat. I’m Jared, and you are in my bed.”

He stood and walked back to his cherrywood dresser. His fingers curled around the brass handle, and he opened the top drawer.

“You’re Tanner’s brother?” Her voice was soft, husky. It rolled over him, soothing his irritation.

He selected a silk striped button-down nightshirt and a pair of boxers from his drawer and then returned to the bed. “Here.” He held the clothes out to her.

“What are those for?” she asked. One elegant brow rose.

“You. You woke up clawing at your dress. Looks like it’s too tight around your chest and it’s restricting your breathing. Unless you have clothes of your own, you’re changing into these so we can both get some sleep. Layla said you had some paper due tomorrow.”

When she opened her mouth, he could see the protest in her eyes and it amused him. Feisty little thing. And damned if he didn’t picture all the things he’d like to do to that little mouth.

“Take the clothes and change in the bathroom. Now.” He deepened his voice, and she hopped out of bed, snatching the clothes as she darted into the bathroom. She froze, then slowly looked over her shoulder at him.

“What?”

“My dress…it’s the laces in the back. I can’t reach them.”

A sigh escaped him. “Come here.” He crooked a finger and sat farther back on his bed. She sidled up to him, bashfulness in her every movement.

There was something sinful and suggestive about the way she nibbled her bottom lip. He twirled a finger, indicating for her to spin around. She offered her back to him. The silk ribbons on the back of her gown came undone easily enough, but he was surprised to see the second set of laces beneath, which belonged to a corset. It was black with embroidered red roses that set off the color of the loose tangles of her hair. The strands teased the back of his hands as he unlaced the corset. The creamy skin of her lower back made his mouth go dry. The princess was trying to kill him with these temptations.

All too soon the view disappeared as she rushed into the adjoining bathroom to change.

He fell back onto the bed, staring up at the ceiling. His fingers tapped a rhythm on his stomach as he waited. This was not at all how he’d predicted his night would go. He wasn’t complaining—not exactly.

The princess emerged, gown gone. She looked so young, standing there dwarfed in his button-down shirt and a hint of his boxers beneath the hem at her mid-thighs. Her gorgeous hair was wild and long, and it looked like she’d been well loved in bed. He didn’t miss the swell of her full breasts against the thin, expensive silk. The top button was low down her chest, exposing a wealth of creamy skin. Damn.

ADD TO GOODREADSPurchase Links:

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
B&N / KOBO / iBOOKS

 
Author Bio:

Lauren Smith is an Oklahoma attorney by day, author by night for Grand Central Publishing, who pens adventurous and edgy romance stories by the light of her smart phone flashlight app. She knew she was destined to be a romance writer when she attempted to re-write the entire Titanic movie just to save Jack from drowning. Connecting with readers by writing emotionally moving, realistic and sexy romances no matter what time period is her passion. She’s won multiple awards in several romance subgenres including: New England Reader’s Choice Awards, Greater Detroit BookSeller’s Best Awards, Amazon.com Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-Finalist and a Semi-Finalist for the Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award. To connect with Lauren, visit her at http://www.laurensmithbooks.com/ or twitter at https://twitter.com/LSmithAuthor.
Author Links:
Giveaway

A Conversation with Kate James, Author of SANCTUARY COVE–with a giveaway!


On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

Thank you for inviting me back to your blog, Becky! It’s a pleasure to be here.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Kate—we love return visitors 🙂 What 5 things should readers know about you?

  1. I am grateful to everyone who has purchased one of my books. You make it possible for me to do what I love.
  2. I love to hear from readers!
  3. I have a passion for animals. Although I’ve mostly had dogs, that passion extends to every type of critter.
  4. I enjoy travelling. Whenever I do, I always return home with lots of story ideas.
  5. I have my husband and his belief in me to thank for my writing career!

A great list—I especially <3 #5!
Where did the inspiration for this book come from?

The idea for this story has been around for a while. I had been exposed to an incident of corruption early in my business career, and no amount of pressure could cause me to compromise my integrity and principles. Whatever else happened, I had to be able to go home at the end of the day, look myself in the mirror, and know I had done the right thing. I’ve always found that if you do the right thing, the right things will (eventually) happen. That incident inspired me, and I wanted to write the story of a young woman principled enough not to compromise her ethics or integrity, despite the personal cost. I hope that there might be a moral in the story for young people.

I love when a less-than-positive personal experience can be turned into a story idea—truly inspiring!
How long have you been writing, and what (or who) inspired you to start?

Oh, I love this question, because it’s a fun story . . . at least I think so!

I always wanted to write. While I was attending university, I started two manuscripts. After graduation, my career took off and those partially finished manuscripts were relegated to a storage box in my basement. Fast forward many years. My husband and I were on vacation in the Caribbean in 2009. My husband likes to sleep in when he’s not working, but I’m always up early so I use the time to catch up on business-related e-mails, read or find other ways to occupy myself. One morning I happened on a notice for a short story writing competition. I wrote the story, entered it in the contest and placed 52 in my category. Now that might not sound like much of an accomplishment, but the contest received over 12,500 entries! Still, I put the idea of writing aside.

A few months later, it’s my birthday and I’m opening the gifts from my husband. I’m difficult to buy gifts for, because there’s not much I can think of that I want or need, yet my husband almost always finds the perfect gifts for me. On this occasion, one brightly-wrapped package contained a beautiful white laptop. I smiled graciously at my husband and thanked him profusely, all the while thinking what do I need another laptop for, when I have a perfectly good one from work that’s with me nearly 24/7?

But my husband knew better than I did! Because I did spend so much time on my work laptop, the last thing I was inclined to do was use it to write a book. The fact that my personal laptop was white instead of the normal business black made a world of difference, too. It didn’t look or feel like my work computer, and it created an entirely different mindset.

In six months, writing very early in the mornings before work and late at night after our evenings ended, I wrote my first book, Silver Linings. Six months later, I had a contract and another six months after that, my debut novel was in print and in book stores!

My husband did know best, and I owe him a big thank you! (Ultimately, the short story I entered in the contest became my first Heartwarming book, A Child’s Christmas.)

You’re right—that’s an awesome story!

 

What are you working on right now? What can readers look for from you in the next year?

In addition to Sanctuary Cove, I will have two more releases this year. Home to Stay, the fourth book in my award-winning San Diego K-9 Unit series releases on July 1st, and A Priceless Find, a sequel to A Child’s Christmas, will be released on October 1st. Home to Stay is in production now and A Priceless Find is in the editing stage.

Great! A lot to look forward to 🙂
What are you currently reading, and what are your thoughts about it so far?

I just started reading Jill Weatherholt’s debut novel, Second Chance Romance, and I’m enjoying it very much!

(Running over to Goodreads to add to TBR…)
If you had to “sell” your book in a single Tweet, what would you say?

The tweet would be: “Can Sanctuary Cove be Emma’s safe haven?” and I’d attach the following picture.

 

Awesome! You’re only the second author so far to include a picture 🙂

 

Sanctuary Cove is set in a scenic, fictitious town in the Adirondack Mountains. I would love to hear from readers what type of setting they enjoy reading about most.

 

Thank you, again, for hosting me on your blog, Becky!

You’re welcome, Kate—it was my pleasure!

 

About the Author:

Kate spent much of her childhood abroad before attending university in Canada. She built a successful business career, but her passion has always been literature. As a result, Kate turned her energy to her love of the written word. Kate’s goal is to entertain her readers with engaging stories featuring strong, likable characters. Kate has been honored with numerous awards for her writing. She and her husband, Ken, enjoy traveling and the outdoors, with their beloved Labrador Retrievers, Harley and Logan.

Kate would love to hear from you! You can connect with her by email, through her website, her Facebook pageTwitter, or mail at PO Box 446, Schomberg, ON, L0G 1T0, Canada.

 

Sanctuary Cove
by Kate James
Adult Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
March 1st 2017 by Harlequin Heartwarming

Can his safe haven be enough for her?

Emma Meadows never imagined that sticking to her principles against an act of corruption by a New York senator would cost her her job as VP of communications. Heartbroken, she retreats to her cottage in the Adirondacks to lick her wounds and, in the process, rescues an injured dog that only Josh Whitmore can save.

The veterinarian works diligently to bring dog and woman back to full fighting form, until allegations against the senator become more serious. Seeing Emma’s reaction to the increasing pressure, Josh realizes that inevitably she’ll find a way back to the top…and he’ll likely lose her for good.

GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleHarlequiniBooks!ndigo

 
  

Tour Giveaway

US/CAN PRIZE PACK, which consists of:
– San Diego K-9 Series T-shirt (winner’s choice of size S, M or L)
– San Diego K-9 Series tote bag
– San Diego K-9 Series mug and a small pack of gourmet coffee
– Signed copy of When Love Matters Most (second book in the San Diego K-9 Series)
– Signed copy of The Truth About Hope
When I Found You (third book in the San Diego K-9 Series) key chain
– An assortment of bookmarks and bookplates
Open to US/CAN only
Ends March 21st

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule

March 11th: Launch
March 12th:
Katie’s Clean Book Collection
Hearts & Scribbles
Rockin’ Book Reviews
underneath the covers
Becky on Books
March 13th:
With Love for Books
Zerina Blossom’s Books
Faithfully Bookish
deal sharing aunt
My Devotional Thoughts
March 14th:
Getting Your Read On
Thoughts of a Blonde
Christy’s Cozy Corners
Mel’s Shelves
March 15th:
A Slice of Life
The Silver Dagger Scriptorium
Hardcover Feedback
Falling Leaves
Granny Loves to Read
March 16th:
Reading Is My SuperPower
Harlie’s Books
Rosanna Leo
Heidi Reads…
March 17th: Grand Finale

Grab Our Button!

A Little Known Fact (and Giveaway!) About HER TRUE MATCH Paige Tyler (X-OPS #6)

A Little Known Fact from Her True Match . . .

The DCO wants Dreya to work for them, using her unique abilities to help people instead of stealing from them. She’s not so sure about that idea. She’s spent most of her adult life hiding her secret and looking out for number one. She has no interest in being someone’s superhero. But working with Braden is starting to look better and better by the day. The DCO brings him into the fold when they decide it would be good to have a person who understands how Dreya thinks. Braden goes along with the plan. Yeah, he wants to make sure she doesn’t get away from him again, but he also has the craziest urge to keep an eye on her for a whole other reason—to keep her safe. He has no idea where that urge comes from, but maybe Dreya is growing on him?

Title: Her True Match
Author: Paige Tyler
Series: X-Ops, #6
ISBN: 9781492625926
Pubdate: March 7, 2017
Genre: Paranormal

FORCED TOGETHER

When feline shifter Dreya Clark is escorted from the police interrogation by two secret agents, she thinks she’s dodged a bullet. That sexy detective Braden Hayes caught her stealing red-handed. When she finds out what she has to do to stay out of jail, suddenly she’s missing the hot cop with the piercing gaze. She’s being recruited for her shifter abilities by the Department of Covert Operations.

WILL DANGER RIP THEM APART?

Braden has been chasing the smart-mouthed cat burglar for years. But when Dreya’s taken away, he knows their game of cat and mouse has turned deadly-serious. There’s no way he’ll let her go off alone. Fur flies and temperatures flare as Braden realizes Dreya is much more than she appears. Thrown together on a dangerous covert mission, this unlikely pair will have to rely on each other to make it out alive.

 

Excerpt:

“How do you know I wasn’t testing the security system?” Dreya asked, her lips curving into a coy smile.

Braden sat across from the beautiful thief in one of the burglary section’s interrogation rooms, working hard to keep from smiling back at her. Even though he knew her record backward and forward, he was still having a hell of a time maintaining a professional detachment. He was good in the interrogation room, but Dreya was better. She charmed, she flirted, and she controlled where she wanted the conversation to go. Braden had already been forced to toss Mick out of the room. His partner had come damn close to asking their suspect out on a date, even though she was sitting at the table wearing a pair of handcuffs.

Though Braden had to admit she made the cuffs look good. Even now, she was sitting at the table with her long, blond hair cascading around her shoulders, talking animatedly with her hands as if the heavy stainless steel cuffs were a fashion accessory. He wasn’t even sure when she’d gotten her hair out of the braid it had been in before, but he had the crazy urge to run his fingers through it. He resisted—barely. Dreya had been saying since they’d brought her in that this was all a big misunderstanding and that she could straighten this out if she could talk privately with the owner of the art piece they seemed to think she’d stolen. Like that was going to happen. Something told Braden that putting her in the same room with some rich playboy would be an incredibly bad idea. All she had to do was bat those hazel-green eyes at him a few times and tousle her hair with her fingers, and the guy would agree with anything she said. Hell, the guy would probably give her the silly blue balloon dog thing sitting on the table between them as a gift.

“If we’re going to talk about security systems, Dreya, let’s start with how you managed to climb the wall of that apartment on the south side of M Street. Because I gotta tell you, that was damn impressive.”

He expected her to deny it had been her—or beam with pride at the compliment—but her eyes widened in shock. For the first time that night, there was fear on her face.

“You saw that?” She darted a nervous glance at the one-way glass mirror to her left, the one Mick was standing behind.

He nodded. “Sure did. In fact, we have it all on video. The climb, the walk across the cable, the jump you made to the balcony.”

On the other side of the table, her face went pale. Shit, was she starting to hyperventilate?

“How many people have seen the video?” she demanded.

Braden frowned. Why the hell was a second-story thief worried about how many cops had seen her display her talents? That made no sense.

“Just my partner and me,” he assured her. “But while the video is amazing, it doesn’t explain how you were able to scale that wall. Were you using something on your hands to get a grip? I searched your bag but didn’t find anything.”

Dreya swallowed hard. In all of the previous occasions he’d questioned her, she’d been confident and posed, but suddenly it was like she’d been hit by lightning. She seemed off balance…lost.

“You can’t let anyone else see the video,” she said.

He shrugged. “That’s not really up to me.”

She stared at her cuffed wrists, her shoulders slumping in a defeat he hadn’t seen coming. “What if I confess?”

She said it so softly he wasn’t sure he’d heard her correctly. “What?”

Dreya lifted her head to look at him, that usual glimmer missing from her eyes now. “If I confess right now, will you destroy the video?”

Braden hoped to hell his mouth wasn’t hanging open. Being interrogated by the cops could make people say strange stuff, but Dreya had to know that even with the evidence they had on her, a woman with her background and clean record could likely get a case like this whittled down from the standard five to seven to less than two years. Why would she agree to a written confession? What the hell was on that video she was so terrified of letting anyone see?

He knew he needed to be careful, but right then it was hard to think of Dreya as the hardened criminal he’d always believed. He was smart enough to know she wasn’t a saint, but there was something going on here. She was so terrified she was on the verge of tears.

The sudden aura of vulnerability had his heart beating hard and fast. The urge to protect her from whatever was freaking her out was impossible to ignore. Part of the reason he’d become a cop was to help people in trouble, and Dreya definitely seemed to be in trouble.

To Buy:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
iBooks

About the author:

Paige Tyler is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of sexy, romantic fiction. Paige writes books about hunky alpha males and the kick-butt heroines they fall in love with. She lives with her very own military hero (a.k.a. her husband) and their adorable dog on the beautiful Florida coast. Visit www.paigetylertheauthor.com.

Social Networking Links:
Website
Facebook
Twitter: @PaigeTyler
Goodreads

 

Rafflecopter Giveaway

Enter to win one of ten copies of Her Perfect Mate, the first book in Paige Tyler’s thrilling X-Ops Series!
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Grand Finale Blitz and Giveaways! HER SECRET LIFE by Tara Taylor Quinn (Where Secrets are Safe #10)


On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Book Tour Grand Finale for
Her Secret Life
By Tara Taylor Quinn

We hope you enjoyed the tour! If you missed any of the stops, go back and check them out…

Launch – Note from the Author

If you’ve never read a ttq novel before, you’re just on the cusp of getting your first introduction. I love glitz and glamour, but it’s not enough for me. My stories look behind the larger than life things that happen in life. They go deep into the messy part of living. The feelings that we all experience, but so often shy away from. The emotions that are confusing. Sometimes threatening. And yet…if we can find a safe place in which to explore them, we can often times find that elusive happiness we’ve been seeking.

The Lemonade Stand is Kacey’s safe place. I hope my books can be one of yours.

—TTQ

Brooke Blogs – Looks (Guest Post)

In Her Secret Life, Kacey and Michael had some things to tell me about looking good. I don’t know that any of us came up with any answers as to why our looks effect how we feel – is it just societal, or is it more than that, a sense of knowing that if we do our best to take care of ourselves, we perform better? But what helped me was to know that when the chips are down, surface beauty really is only skin deep. And that what is underneath is what we need, what turn to and what we draw from, even within ourselves, when challenges face us.

Nicole’s Book Musings – Excerpt

Mike Valentine listened unabashedly to the half he could hear of his lunch companion’s phone conversation the first Monday in March.

“I know. Mmm-hmm.” Her tone was more flirty than not. Glancing at Mike, Kacey rolled her eyes. And then mouthed, Bo.

EskieMama & Dragon Lady Reads – Excerpt

Mike could hear the other man’s voice but couldn’t make out the words as Kacey sat forward in her seat again. She was smiling. And hung up shortly afterward.

He raised an eyebrow at her. She could talk. Or not.

He was good either way.


Thoughts of a Blonde – Review

“Another great book revolving around volunteers at the Lemonade Stand women’s shelter in Santa Raquel. Many of you will recognize Kacey from her twin sister Lacey’s story a couple of books ago. It was great to get to see Lacey, Jem & Levi doing well! With this book, we have a story about two unlikely people to become the very best of friends … and how they adjust when the love they feel for their friend starts to turn into more.”

Angels with Attitude Book Reviews – Hollywood (Guest Post)

They say to write what you know. I’ve never been a soap opera star. I’ve never even knowingly met one. But when I wrote Her Secret Life, starring soap opera star, Kacey Hamilton, I knew a little bit about what I was getting into.

Book Lover in Florida – Excerpt

The women she helped—all victims of domestic violence—benefited from the gentle way she showed them how to enhance their outer beauty with fashion and makeup advice, makeovers and impromptu fashion shows. But they’d been surviving and healing for years without her.

Celticlady’s Reviews – Privilege (Guest Post)

In Her Secret Life Kacey had a blessed life. Her dreams came true and continue to come true. She’s got a job she loves and thrives on it. She loves her condo in Beverly Hills. But when her twin sister gets married, she finds out that the love she’s created for herself is lived largely on the surface. She has things. Ways to spend her time that she enjoys. And in the dark of the night, in the quiet times when her heart has a chance to speak to her, she is…alone.

Deal Sharing Aunt – Excerpt

As owner of MV Cyber Solutions, a successful-beyond-his-imaginings private IT investigative firm with clients in law enforcement—meaning they offered investigative work involving computers and the internet to law enforcement and lawyers—Mike was his own boss with trusted employees. And he could pretty much always squeeze an hour out of his day for Kacey.

He read the email warning her of something that had popped up on the internet over the weekend.

Beck Valley Books – Family Tragedy (Guest Post)

As has happened many times during my career, I found myself inside a book that was going places completely unexpected. All these emotions, from every member of a family…Different emotions. Intense emotions. And a young man who was taking every single one of them upon himself. Wow. I had no idea what was going to happen – where the book would go

Becky on Books – Review

“Sigh…Kacey and Michael–so, so good together! Even if it does take them forever to finally get there. . . . They were so clearly meant to be together, it was painful to read. Yet delicious at the same time.”

underneath the covers – Domestic Violence (Guest Post)

Where Secrets Are Safe, my current series with Superromance, is fiction. It’s entertainment. It’s larger than life. And yet…it’s also a voice. And a lesson plan. It revolves around a resort like women’s shelter set off the coast of California. The Lemonade Stand – Where Secrets Are Safe. The Stand is fiction. The characters and stories are pure ‘Hollywood.’ Many of the avenues for help and change are not. The laws are not. The love that heals, that gives hope for a future that includes real happiness, pure joy, is not.

Kindle and Me – Excerpt

She shook her head but didn’t seem ready to take off, like she needed to sit with a friend she could trust for a second.

Part of him wanted to give her that. So he stayed. This wasn’t the first time someone had posted something derogatory about her. That came with the territory. They weren’t dealing with life and death.

So why did it feel like they were?

Harlie’s Books – Review

“You are fooling yourself is you are NOT reading this series. It’s powerful, emotional, romantic and just so well written. Ms. Quinn tackles the subject matter with a deft hand and also, with compassion for the victims. Bring on the next one.”

Make sure you check out Tara’s visit to Harlequin Junkie on March 8th, the giveaway of His First Choice on Goodreads, as well as the Domestic Violence Shelter Drive and the giveaways below…

Her Secret Life
(Where Secrets are Safe #10)
by Tara Taylor Quinn
Adult Contemporary Romance, Suspense
Mass Market Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
March 1st 2017 by Harlequin Superromance

It takes courage to choose love…

Internet security expert Michael Valentine knows his place in Kacey Hamilton’s life. The soap opera star lives in two worlds: glamorous Hollywood and small town Santa Raquel, where she volunteers with him at The Lemonade Stand women’s shelter. The key to their friendship is maintaining boundaries. And after an accident years ago left him badly scarred, he won’t expect anything more. But when threats against Kacey escalate, Michael will stop at nothing to protect her. Even if his investigation means confronting more than just her attacker as Kacey’s interest in him starts to go deeper than friendship…

GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleHarlequin

Tour Schedule

March 5th:
Brooke Blogs
Nicole’s Book Musings
EskieMama & Dragon Lady Reads
March 6th:
Thoughts of a Blonde
Angels with Attitude Book Reviews
March 7th:
Book Lover in Florida
Celticlady’s Reviews
Deal Sharing Aunt
March 8th:
Beck Valley Books
Becky on Books
March 9th:
underneath the covers
Kindle and Me
Harlie’s Books
March 10th: Grand Finale
March 18th: Harlequin Junkie

Other Books in the Series
(Books released as of February 2017. Each can be read as a standalone.)



About the Author

The author of more than 70 original novels, in twenty languages, Tara Taylor Quinn is a USA Today bestseller with over six million copies sold. A 2015 RITA finalist Tara appears frequently on bestseller lists, including #1 placement on Amazon lists, and multiple showings on the Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller list. She has appeared on national and local TV across the country, including CBS Sunday Morning.

Tara is a supporter of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. If you or someone you know might be a victim of domestic violence in the United States, please contact 1-800-799-7233.

WebsiteGoodreadsAmazonFacebookTwitterPinterestInstagramWattpad

Domestic Violence Shelter Drive

As Tara supports speaking out against domestic violence and supporting those who have been abused, both through her books and in her community, she would love for you to join her in donating items to a shelter in your area. Find out more here.

Tour Giveaways

1ST RAFFLECOPTER:
1 winner will receive ebooks of Where Secrets are Safe series books 1 – 13 (open internationally)
1 winner (per the four tour segments) will receive a $10 Amazon eGift Card (open internationally)

2ND RAFFLECOPTER:
1 winner will receive 25,000 Harelquin My Rewards Points, equivalent to 5 books (US and CAN only)
1 winner will receive 5,000 Harelquin My Rewards Points, equivalent to 1 book (US and CAN only)

Both Rafflecopter giveaways end November 30th, 2017

New Release and Giveaway! TALK COWBOY TO ME by Carolyn Brown (Lucky Cowboys #1)

One cowboy. One cowgirl. One ranch.

Who will win the Double Deuce by the Fourth of July? 

Adele O’Donnell knew that Double Deuce Ranch had to be hers the second she walked onto the property. Freshly divorced, she sees it as the perfect spot for her and the kids to start a new life. Remington Luckadeau was always a carefree playboy…until his suddenly orphaned nephews became his responsibility. The Double Deuce Ranch would be the perfect place to raise two boys. But some fiery woman is fighting him for it, and Remington is not sharing—no matter how the sparks fly when he and Adele are together.

Excerpt:

The gleam in the old cowboy’s blue eyes and the way he rubbed his chin were Adele’s first clues that he definitely had something up the sleeve of his faded, old work shirt. He glanced first at her and then over at Remington Luckadeau.

She bit back a groan. The good old boys’ club was about to rear its head. They’d argue that ranching took brawn and muscle and that a woman couldn’t run the Double Deuce all alone, that women were respected in the ranching business these days, but when it came right down to it, he would feel better selling to a man.

No, sir!

She didn’t hold out any hope that the old toot would sell the ranch to her.

“Well, now.” Walter Jones gave his freshly shaven chin one more rub. “I expect we’ve got us one of them dilemma things, don’t we?”

That sly smile on Remington’s face said he already knew she would be going home empty-handed. With that mop of blond hair that kissed his shirt collar, those steel-blue eyes, and his chiseled face and wide shoulders—Lord have mercy—any woman would roll over and play dead to give him what he wanted.

But not Adele.

She wanted the Double Deuce, and she’d do whatever it took to get it so she could have a place to raise her daughters. Remington Luckadeau could spit on his knuckles and get ready for a fierce battle.

The Double Deuce Ranch was absolutely perfect in every aspect. The two-storied, four-bedroom house couldn’t have been better laid out for Adele and her two daughters, Jett and Bella. The acreage was big enough to make a living but small enough she could manage it on her own, for the most part. And it was close to her family—the O’Donnells over around Ringgold, Texas.

“You both want the ranch, but I can only sell to one of you. I talked to my lady friend, Vivien, about it. I talked to God about it before I went to sleep, and I talked to my old cow dog, Boss, about it this mornin’ before y’all got here.”

“And?” Adele asked.

“And not a one of them was a bit of help, so I don’t know which one of you to sell this place to any more than I did yesterday, after you’d both come and looked over the place and left me to think about it.”

Adele had known there was another person interested in the ranch. Walter had been up-front about that, saying he’d talked with Remington Luckadeau that morning and he was ready to meet Walter’s asking price.

“We can’t both buy it, so I guess you’ll have to make a decision,” Adele said.

Remington nodded.

***

Remington slid down in the kitchen chair so he could study the red-haired woman sitting in front of him. The hard Texas sunlight flowing through the kitchen window brought out every cute, little freckle sprinkled across Adele’s nose. Faded jeans, a chambray shirt worn open over a bright-yellow tank top, and cowboy boots worn at the heels said she was a no-nonsense rancher.

Those two feisty girls out there on the porch with his two nephews were dressed pretty much the same way as their mother. Any other time, he might have tipped his hat and given her the option to buy the Double Deuce, but not today. The ranch was the perfect size for what he had in his bank account. The house would be just right for him and his two nephews, Leo and Nick, the boys he’d inherited when his brother and sister-in-law were killed in a car accident several months ago. And besides, it wasn’t far from his Luckadeau relatives in Ringgold and Saint Jo, Texas.

So today, Adele O’Donnell was going to have to walk away disappointed. Too bad, because he’d always been attracted to redheads, and he’d have loved to see how she felt in his arms on the dance floor of the nearest honky-tonk.

“So.” Walter cleared his throat. “I’ve come to a decision.”

Remy straightened up in his chair.

“The Luckadeaus are my friends, but so are the O’Donnells. So I can’t sell this to either of you on the basis of friendship. Vivien and I have planned a monthlong cruise, and we are leaving in one week. We fly out of Dallas on the last day of May and get back home on the last day of June.”

“I’ll beat your asking price,” Remy said quickly.

“It’s not got to do with money. Here’s what I am willin’ to do, though. You both move in here on the morning that me and Vivien leave. Y’all take care of this ranch for me for a month. When I get back, whichever one of you is still here can have it. If you both still want it, we’ll draw straws or play poker for it. If you decide you can’t work together or that the ranch ain’t what you want, you can call Chet to come take over for you. His number is on the front of the refrigerator. Only rule I’ve got is that you’d best take good care of Boss. He’s been a good cow dog, and he likes leftovers from the table, so cook a little extra at each meal. He’s not real picky. He’ll eat most anything a human will, but he doesn’t like pizza. And you have to take real good care of Jerry Lee.”

“Who is Jerry Lee?” Adele asked.

“He’s my rooster. Pretty little thing, but he never has learned to crow in the morning. He’s a late riser, so he crows either in the middle of the day or about dinnertime. I named him Jerry Lee because he’s got swagger and he sings real pretty like Jerry Lee Lewis.”

“I’ll take good care of your dog and your rooster,” Adele said, shooting a defiant look right at Remy.

“So will I.” Remy nodded coolly. “What about the one who doesn’t win the luck of the draw?”

“Then that one gets a decent paycheck,” Walter said.

“I don’t need to think about it,” Adele said quickly. “I’m in.”

Remy nodded. “I don’t have to think about it either.”

Walter pushed back his chair and stood. “Good, then I’ll look for you both to be here a week from today. You’ve seen the place. There’ll be hay to cut and haul, fields to plow, and planting to do, as well as the everyday chores with feeding and taking care of the cattle and ranch. I’ve made a list of what I want done before I get back, and I’ll leave it stuck to the refrigerator door.”

“I’m not afraid of hard work,” Adele said. “One question, though. How does Boss feel about cats?”

“Strange as it seems, he loves them. My wife, God rest her soul”—Walter looked up at the ceiling—“used to have an old barn cat that had kittens real often. Boss thought he was their grandpa.”

“Then you don’t mind if we bring our cat?” she asked.

“Not a bit. You got a problem with that, Remy?” Walter asked.

Remy shook his head.

“Thank you,” Adele said softly.

Crap! Remy didn’t hate cats, and thank God the boys weren’t allergic to them, but that soft, sweet, southern voice could easily distract him from his mission. Remy would have to keep on his toes every day for the entire month of June, and that wouldn’t be easy. For years, every woman had been a potential notch on his bedpost. Six months ago, Remy had been the resident bad boy of the Texas Panhandle. He’d spent his weekends in local bars, dancing and sweet-talking the pretty girls into his bed. Then his whole life turned around when his two nephews were tossed into his life. Since he’d started taking care of them, dating had slowed down. Now, he’d be forced to live with a woman he was clearly attracted to.

Walter started toward the door. The meeting was over. “Just bring your personal things. When I sell this place, it goes lock, stock, and barrel—furniture, equipment, everything but my own keepsakes,” he said. “Vivien and I are leaving at nine o’clock. If one of y’all ain’t here, then the other one will automatically get the place.”

Adele pushed her chair back, and in one fluid motion, she was on her feet. He’d figured she was tall when he sat down across from her and his long legs almost touched hers under the table. But when she stood up, he got the full effect of the way her hips curved out from her small waist, and for a split second, he could feel her in his arms.

Remy shook the image from his head. He had a long, hot month ahead of him, and he needed to think of Adele as an adversary, not a potential date.

“Do we move?” Nick asked when Remy stepped out onto the porch.

“We are moving onto the ranch to take care of it for Mr. Jones for a month. If we do a good job, he might sell to us in time for the Fourth of July party we’re planning.” Remy told his fourteen-year-old nephew.

“Mama?” asked the smaller of the two girls that Adele had brought along with her.

“Same thing here, girls. We’ll be moving here in one week to live for a month. Then Mr. Jones will decide which of us gets to buy the ranch,” Adele answered.

“You”—the girl pointed at Leo and wiggled her head like a bobblehead doll—“are going down. You don’t know jack squat about a ranch, so you might as well give up before you even start.”

“Jett!” Adele chided.

“Well, it’s the truth,” Jett said. “He don’t even want to live on a ranch. He’s a city boy who don’t even know who Billy Currington is. He’d hate living on this ranch.”

“Just because you lived on a ranch don’t mean you’re that smart,” Nick shot back. “Uncle Remy can teach me everything about ranching in one afternoon. I’m a fast learner.”

“Me, too.” Leo combed his carrot-red hair with his fingertips and tipped up his chin three notches.

“Okay, boys. It’s one thing to say something; it’s another to do it. Let’s get on home and get our things in order so we’ll be ready to move next week. There’s only four bedrooms, so you’ll have to share.”

Leo, who had already left the porch, kicked at the dirt. “Uncle Remy, Nick gripes if I even leave a wrinkle in the bed. He’s so neat that he shoulda been a girl.” He sighed.

“No!” Nick raised his voice. “Leo never picks up anything and—”

“Enough,” Remy said. “Into the truck. We’ve got a lot to do and a short time to get it done.”

Leo crawled into the big, black, dual-cab truck. Just before he slammed the door, he caught Jett’s eye and stuck out his tongue.

“Young man, you’re going to have to live in the same house and work with those girls,” Remy said sternly.

Leo rolled his eyes upward. “They are so bossy. Living in the country isn’t going to be easy, but living around those two prissy girls…” He sighed. “Do we really have to do this, Uncle Remy?”

“We’ll come out stronger men,” he said.

A picture of Adele’s full, kissable lips flashed through his mind. Prissy wasn’t a word he’d use to describe any of the O’Donnell women.

Nick groaned. “If we live through it.”

“We are Luckadeau men. We’ll take the bull by the horns, look him right in the eye, and dare him to charge at us.” Even as the words came out, Remy wondered if he was talking to his nephews or himself.

“I’d rather fight a bull,” Leo grumbled. “And they ain’t bulls. They’re girls, and we’re Luckadeaus.”

“Daddy used to tell us that when a Luckadeau sets his mind, it’s set forever,” Nick said.

“Your daddy was right.” Remy nodded.

Moving the boys from their house in the middle of Denton, Texas, to a ranch would be tough on them, but Remy could not live in town. He’d been fortunate enough to sell his brother’s house for enough to pay off the existing mortgage and put a little into savings for the boys’ college funds.

Remy had worked for the past fifteen years on a ranch out in the Texas Panhandle. He’d started as a hired hand and worked his way up to foreman. Today, he had enough money in his bank account to buy the Double Deuce, and it was the perfect place for the boys to have a brand-new start. It damn sure wouldn’t be easy to live in the same house with a woman like Adele and not flirt, but it was doable with the ranch as a prize at the end of the road.

“So you boys going to help me make those women see that they don’t really want our ranch? Or are we going to let them win?” Remy asked.

“Ain’t no way I’m going to back down from them two,” Nick declared.

Leo chimed right in. “Me either.”

***

“Let’s look at another ranch. I don’t want to live in the same house with those two obnoxious boys,” Bella said as they drove away from the Double Deuce.

Adele smiled. “You must really not like those boys to be pulling out your four-dollar words.”

“That tells you how much, Mama,” Bella said.

“We don’t have time to train them,” Jett added.

Adele didn’t think they’d have to do much training. Not with a cowboy like Remy Luckadeau for an uncle. That man was comfortable in his skin, and there wasn’t a doubt in her mind that he’d know the business every bit as well as she did. In any other circumstance, there could be chemistry between them. He was exactly what she’d always been attracted to, with his blond hair, blue eyes, and cowboy swagger, but then he was also what she’d been running away from when she’d married Isaac Levy.

You see how that turned out, the smart-ass voice in her head said.

Yes, she did see how it turned out. Isaac was the only son of a family who had dealt in diamonds right in the middle of Dallas, Texas, for more than fifty years. When they’d married, he’d moved Adele into his penthouse apartment, and she’d lived the life she’d thought she wanted.

Right up until Bella was born two years after the wedding. And then she’d started to yearn for her country roots. A child needed fresh air and sunshine, not parties and nannies. Isaac had loved her enough to buy a two-hundred-acre ranch between McKinney and Blue Ridge. The commute wasn’t bad because he had a driver, but after Jett was born, he spent more and more weeknights at the penthouse.

“Why do we have to move from our ranch anyway?” Jett folded her small arms over her chest.

“The same reason we had to change our last name to O’Donnell,” Bella answered. “Father has a new wife and a son, and we don’t matter anymore.”

Her daughter’s tone created a lump in Adele’s throat that she couldn’t swallow down. Tears welled in her eyes, but she kept them at bay. Bella had put it into the simplest language possible, but the story was far more complex than that.

“Your father will come to his senses someday,” she said softly.

“But it might be too late,” Bella declared. “He’s mean, making us move off the ranch.”

It wasn’t the time or the place to tell the girls that part of the marriage problems had been her fault. Isaac thought he was getting a socialite who loved the fast lane, and he never would have asked her to marry him if he’d realized she wasn’t ready to break all ties with her country roots.

“We are going to love this new ranch so much that we’ll never look back at the old one. Even though they don’t have any ranching experience, I just wonder if you two are big and mean enough to show those two boys that nobody can outwork three tough O’Donnell women.”

Jett unfolded her arms, leaned up from the backseat of the bright-red, dual-cab truck, and patted her mother on the shoulder. “They ain’t got a chance in hell.”

“Jett!” Bella scolded.

“Well, Uncle Cash says that, and nobody fusses at him. Besides, I believe it. We’re tough and mean, and we can out-ranch any old boy in the state of Texas,” Jett said.

“We’ve got a week to pack all our things, put them in storage, and load up the truck with just what we need for a month,” Adele said as she turned east toward Gainesville.

Adele’s cell phone rang. She saw a picture of her sister, Cassie, smiling at her. She answered it on the fourth ring and hit the Speaker button.

“We have not bought the ranch yet,” she said and went on to tell her sister the deal that Walter had come up with.

Cassie giggled the whole way through the story.

“What’s so funny about that?” Adele asked.

“Those boys don’t stand a chance. Not any one of them—the grown one or the two kids,” Cassie said. “I’ll put my money on my sister and my nieces any day of the week.”

“Yes!” Bella and Jett squealed at the same time.

“Thank you, Aunt Cassie. We won’t let you down,” Jett said.

“What are you doing today?” Adele asked her sister.

“Haulin’ hay, but I’d rather be doing something else in the hayloft with my boyfriend,” Cassie said.

“Cassandra Grace O’Donnell!” Adele raised her voice.

“Don’t you double name me. Only Mama gets to do that, and I was talking about kissing my boyfriend. He’s really good at kissing.” Cassie laughed.

“I miss y’all,” Adele said wistfully. “If I get to buy this ranch, I’m having a big Fourth of July party to celebrate. Y’all had better be there.”

“Wild horses couldn’t keep me away. Is this new cowboy sexy? Maybe I’ll visit for a weekend between now and then,” Cassie said.

“No!” The girls’ loud voices bounced around in the truck cab.

“Why? Don’t you want to see me?” Cassie asked.

“We love you,” Bella said. “But we don’t want Remy Luckadeau in the family at all, and if he sees you, then he’ll fall in love with you. Besides, we like Clinton just fine. Go kiss on him in the hayloft, and stay away until the ranch belongs to us.”

“If you promise to work hard and show Mr. Jones that you are the right people to sell his ranch to, then I’ll stay away until you’ve run those old boys off your land. But, girls, Clinton and I broke up a while ago,” Cassie said seriously. “The new man in my life is Dusty Dillard. We’ve only been on two dates, but I like him a lot.”

“Is he as pretty as Clinton?” Bella asked.

“No, but he’s a lot nicer,” Cassie said.

“I thought Clinton was nice, and I like his name better than Dusty,” Jett said.

“Wait until you meet him. Are you taking Blanche?” Cassie asked.

“Of course,” Jett answered quickly. “We wouldn’t leave her behind. Mama, please tell me that man didn’t say we couldn’t bring Blanche.”

“I asked about bringing a cat and he said it was fine,” Adele said.

Cassie laughed again. “The old hussy would die if you left her. Besides, isn’t she about ready to pop out another litter in the next couple of weeks?”

“Yes, she is,” Bella said. “And I hope both of them boys hate cats.”

“And you, Sister Adele? How do you feel about living with a cowboy?”

“I’m not living with him. I’m sharing a house with him for a month. And don’t call me Sister Adele. I’m not a nun,” Adele said curtly.

“These past two years you have been. Promise you’ll call me often,” she said. “Got to go. The hay wagon is here, and it’s time to stack bales.”

Adele hit the End button, and the screen on the phone went dark. She caught a movement in her peripheral vision and glanced over to see two little boys glaring at her from the windows of a black truck. A whole month with those two smart-ass kids just might make her move all the way to Wyoming or Montana.

She looked in the rearview mirror, and there was Jett, giving the boys the old stink eye. In seconds, they sped on past her, whipped over in front of her truck, and moved on ahead pretty quickly. No doubt about it—this was going to be a long month!

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About the Author:

NY Times and USA Today Bestselling author and RITA Finalist, Carolyn Brown, has published more than seventy books.  These days she is concentrating on her two loves:  women’s fiction and contemporary cowboy romance. She and her husband, a retired English teacher, make their home in southern Oklahoma.

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