Release Day Review and Giveaway! IRRESISTIBLE YOU by Kate Meader (The Chicago Rebels #1)

Three estranged sisters inherit their late father’s failing hockey franchise 

and are forced to confront a man’s world, their family’s demons, 

and the battle-hardened ice warriors skating into their hearts.

 

IRRESISTIBLE YOU

Chicago Rebels #1

Kate Meader

Releasing Aug 14, 2017

PocketStar

Hot in Chicago series author Kate Meader returns with her all new, scorching Chicago Rebels hockey series, featuring her signature “steamy sex scenes, colorful characters, and riveting dialogue” (Romantic Times).

Three estranged sisters inherit their late father’s failing hockey franchise and are forced to confront a man’s world, their family’s demons, and the battle-hardened ice warriors skating into their hearts.Harper Chase has just become the most powerful woman in the NHL after the death of her father Clifford Chase, maverick owner of the Chicago Rebels. But the team is a hot mess—underfunded, overweight, and close to tapping out of the league. Hell-bent on turning the luckless franchise around, Harper won’t let anything stand in her way. Not her gender, not her sisters, and especially not a veteran player with an attitude problem and a smoldering gaze designed to melt her ice-compacted defenses.

Veteran center Remy “Jinx” DuPre is on the downside of a career that’s seen him win big sponsorships, fans’ hearts, and more than a few notches on his stick. Only one goal has eluded him: the Stanley Cup. Sure, he’s been labeled as the unluckiest guy in the league, but with his recent streak of good play, he knows this is his year. So why the hell is he being shunted off to a failing hockey franchise run by a ball-buster in heels? And is she seriously expecting him to
lead her band of misfit losers to a coveted spot in the playoffs?

He’d have a better chance of leading Harper on a merry skate to his bed…

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He looked uncomfortable standing there, balancing on his skates, ready to spring for the door. But she knew he wouldn’t sit while she stood because his mother had raised him to respect women. Something fluttered in her chest at that notion. DuPre might be a lot of things—ladies’ man, good ol’ boy, thorn in her side—but she suspected he would never hurt someone weaker than himself.

“You’ve got three minutes, Harper.”

“Do you remember what I told you in Boston, DuPre?”

“Somethin’ about needin’ me to instill leadership and help these boys get to the playoffs.” Warm honey flowed through her veins at the timbre of his voice. She could have sworn her panties slipped an inch.

“I did say that. I meant it. And I thought you understood.”

He rubbed his chin, the scrape against stubble delicious to her ears. All he was missing was a Stetson, a blade of grass, and some flighty piece in a cropped tank and Daisy Dukes. “I understood the words because you’d put them together in a highly entertainin’ way, and to certain ears, they might make sense. Then I told you what needed to happen to ensure my cooperation.”

This nonsense stopped here. “Is that why you’re playing like you can barely walk, much less skate? What’s wrong, old man? Feeling a touch of arthritis in your joints?”

For a brief moment, she thought she might have found his weakness: vanity. But no. He merely threaded his arms over his chest—over the Rebels logo of a big C with a hockey stick and a cutlass crossed behind it—and cocked his head.

“You’re gonna have to use a little more finesse, Harper.”

More surprising than the fact Remy had used the word finesse correctly in a sentence was that he didn’t seem annoyed with her. He seemed . . . amused. As if she were a toy he could happily bat around like a kitten would a semiconscious mouse.

Applause sounded, signifying the beginning of the final period. Neither of them moved, hands metaphorically hovering at their hips like Old West gunfighters.

“The trade deadline,” she said, feeling livid and helpless. “Give me that.”

“The all-star game.”

Three months. The all-star game, held in late January, was traditionally viewed as the halfway point of the season. On the cusp of the busy trade period, it led into a month of bartering and haggling as everyone lined up their teams for the big push to the playoffs.

At her hesitation, he leaned in, those cobalt blues flashing. It wasn’t enough to unholster her gun; she should have already taken her shot, and that delay was her undoing.

“Would you rather three months of my full effort or a whole season of my skatin’ like I’m playin’ squirt hockey?”

“You can’t seriously be reducing this to a game of ‘would you rather’?”

His voice dropped to an intimate tone, her panties another inch with it. “If you shake on it now, I’ll begin that full effort tonight.”

The siren blared in the distance, followed by the home crowd’s roar. Five zip. Harper didn’t enjoy being blackmailed, but she enjoyed losing even less.

She thrust her hand forward impatiently. He took it in his firm grasp. That electricity setting her skin aflame was her body telling her she’d made the right decision. Nothing else.

“You have a game to finish.”

He held on, and now he inclined his head so close she could count each and every one of those pretty-boy eyelashes. Her pulse rate spiked, and she was certain he could sense it. Sense her heart thumping rabbit kicks, her vein pulsing in her throat.

“We’ve shaken on it now, minou, so don’t you dare think about welshing. I might sound like I spend my spare time spitballin’ from the rockin’ chair on my porch, but don’t let my accent fool you none. I’m not the kind of man you want for an enemy. We clear?”

She might have rolled her eyes if she wasn’t just a wee bit impressed by his chutzpah. Still, he needed to be informed that while he might have won this battle, the war was far from over.

“Try not to trip on your way to the rink, DuPre.”

He laughed, deep and robust, clearly delighted with himself. Idiot. His thumb pressed against her inner wrist, and a crackle of energy leeched from him into her body.

“You feel that, Harper?”

She snatched back her hand. “If you mean my goodwill evaporating with every second you’re standing here, then, yeah, I feel it.”

“I think we’re havin’ a thing.”

They were. Oh, God, they were. “Why are you still here again?”

His mouth curved. “Lady, I got the distinct feelin’ these next few months are gonna be fun.”

He picked up his stick and, with more grace than a six-foot-two brute wearing skates on dry land should possess, he left the locker room.

OMG, this book!

I loved Kate Meader’s Hot in Chicago series and really liked her prequel novella for this one ( In Skates Trouble ) and was looking forward to seeing what Remy and Harper’s story would bring, but the story itself? Blew my expectations right out of the water!

I absolutely loved both Harper and Remy. Ms. Meader did a great job of showing their POVs and giving very realistic reasons why they shouldn’t be together, all while proving that staying apart shouldn’t even be an option. When it looks like they really won’t be able to have a life together, when Harper takes Remy’s words and says they’re not enough? I swear I stopped breathing, it was so hard to read. Even knowing there HAD to be an HEA in the end didn’t make it any less devastating to get through…how would she ever manage to make things okay again?

Of course she did, and did so brilliantly, I’m happy to report. And now we have middle sister Isobel’s book to look forward to next…can’t wait!

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. 

Originally from Ireland, USA Today bestselling author Kate Meader cut her romance reader teeth on Maeve Binchy and Jilly Cooper novels, with some Harlequins thrown in for variety. Give her tales about brooding mill owners, oversexed equestrians, and men who can rock an apron or a fire hose, and she’s there. Now based in Chicago, she writes sexy contemporary romance with alpha heroes and strong heroines who can match their men quip for quip.

 

Release Day and Giveaway! HER SEXY CHALLENGE by Sarah Ballance (Firefighters of Station 1 #1)


Her Sexy Challenge
by Sarah Ballance
Firefighters of Station 1, #1
Publication Date: August 14, 2017
Genres: Adult, Entangled: Lovestruck, Contemporary, Romance

SYNOPSIS:

She might be the one fire he can’t put out…

Caitlin Tyler doesn’t do bridges—she just doesn’t know it until she lands her dream job and freezes halfway across her new town’s towering death span. Cue the cocky, infuriating fireman who goads her off the bridge. He’s hot, but he’s also exactly the kind of guy she wants to avoid…which she manages to do for a whole four hours.

Lt. Shane Hendricks is only two weeks away from leaving Dry Rock. He sure as hell doesn’t need to get involved with a woman he has to rescue twice in one day. The fact that she’s clearly annoyed by him doesn’t deter him from throwing down a challenge—one that proves hard to resist for all the wrong reasons.

They’re moving in different directions. Leaving should be easy, but falling for Caitlin might be the one fire he can’t put out…

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Excerpt:

On her porch, Caitlin fumbled with the key but managed to get the door unlocked. “Thanks for the ride,” she said. “It didn’t suck.”

“Good,” Shane said. “Because I don’t think it sucked, either.”

His agreement caught her off guard, and she looked at him in surprise. She’d known how close he stood, so she shouldn’t have been startled to find his face inches away. He’d done that in the parking lot, completely out of nowhere, his lips grazing her ear. It still burned from his touch, and if that crackling of lust didn’t calm itself, she’d willingly become the next Van Gogh in her effort to escape it. Tangling anything of hers with anything of his was on her nope list, so for her gaze to once again drift to his mouth meant nothing.

Until his lips touched hers.

Honest-to-God sparks lit the sky. She went numb, all except the party happening on her lips. Every bit of her hard won resistance shattered, and the stark reality that her bed was the only thing she’d wholly unpacked went screaming through her head. It was the longest brushing-of-lips in the history of human copulation, and she’d have wallowed naked in it if she could.

Walking away would have been a much better idea, but she hadn’t exactly batted a thousand on those lately. The only thing she’d managed consistently since she arrived in Dry Rock was to stumble into one awkward moment after the next, each and every one witnessed by the fire lieutenant. And now here she stood, wanting him, and there was no way it wasn’t obvious. Seriously, what the hell?

It had just been a simple kiss.

They parted by millimeters, and she whimpered, the moment hanging heavily between them for a split, indecisive moment.

Then it exploded.

With a groan, he grabbed the back of her head and captured her, pulling her mouth to his, tasting and teasing, driving a spike of need through her that left her falling deeper, drowning in something that made paddling a class five rapid seem sane. She clung to him as he pulled her close, voicing a quiet verse of profanity that made her want to beg him to come inside.

Again and again he drove the kiss while she clutched uselessly at his shirt, drawing him deeper, burning for more.

Wanting everything.

He tasted amazing. He moved like a god.

He…let her go.

ABOUT SARAH BALLANCE:

SARAH BALLANCE is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary, historical, and supernatural romance and romantic suspense. She’s been married to her own romantic hero for what he calls a “long, long time” (and no, he’ll never hear the end of saying that). Together they have six children … and clearly too much time on their hands. She currently writes for Entangled Publishing.

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Release Day Review and Giveaway! THE THIRD KISS by Kat Colmer (Love’s Mortal Coil #1)

The Third Kiss (Love’s Mortal Coil #1)
by Kat Colmer
Publication Date:  August 7, 2017
Publisher:  Entangled Teen

Love curses don’t exist. At least that’s what Jonas, master of the meaningless hookup, tells himself when a letter warns him he’s an Eros Guardian cursed to endure a test of true love or forever be alone. His levelheaded longtime friend Cora figures it’s a revenge prank by an ex. The way Jonas stamps each girlfriend with a weeklong use-by date, it serves him right.

But when an impulsive kiss between the two friends reveals potential for more, Cora becomes the target of the Groth Maar: demons sent to wipe out the Eros Guardian line. And suddenly the curse becomes dangerously real.

Breaking the curse means Jonas’s biggest challenge yet. Failure guarantees Cora’s death. But success may cost him his own life…and the loss of his carefully guarded heart to the one girl far too sensible to fall for him.

Purchase Links:

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Excerpt:

Jonas snorted. “The guy has a backyard designed to charm girls out of their underwear.”

Did he seriously just say that? When he himself went off with— Unbelievable! I grabbed the rough wood of the gazebo railing so I didn’t lash out with more than my words.

“And you’d know all about that, now, wouldn’t you?”

His jaw clenched even as a wince tightened the line of his lips. “I don’t like him.”

“You don’t know him.”

“Neither do you.” He widened his stance and crossed his arms. “A few online chats don’t exactly mean much when it comes to getting to know someone.”

My fingernails dug into the railing, the wood biting into my skin. “Nice. So all our conversations while I was in Manhattan were meaningless, too, were they?”

“That’s different.” Jonas scowled under his balaclava of shadows. “We have history, a friendship. You hardly knew him before you left and haven’t seen the guy in over a year.”

He took a half step closer. “Ever heard of taking things slower?”

Breathe. Deep and steady, in and out. “Do you hear yourself? You telling me to take things slower?”

His hand twitched, like a gunfighter about to draw. “We’re talking about you, not me.”

“No, let’s talk about you. And how you need to butt out of my life.” Letting go of the safety of the railing, I took a step toward him. “I don’t go around judging how you change girlfriends more often than your social media updates so where do you get off telling me how fast or slow I should go?”

Jonas stilled. “I’m just trying to stop you from making a mistake.”

My jaw dropped. “What, with your track record? You’re the master of the meaningless hookup. You do not get to lecture me on making mistakes.”

Eyes locked on mine, his pulse punched out a frantic rhythm against the side of his throat. “A mistake for some isn’t necessarily one for others.”

Of all the patronizing— “Are you listening to the garbage coming out of your mouth or has all the bullshit clogged up your ears?” I pressed my clenched hands against my sides, fighting the urge to grab his headphones and show him exactly what I thought of his double standard.

“The guy is a player, Cora.”

I scoffed. “Not every guy operates the way you do.”

Jonas flinched but didn’t say anything.

“And even if he is, maybe that’s all I’m after.” I wasn’t, but it felt good to bait him.

His eyes narrowed, two glistening slits. “That’s not you.”

I edged closer still, my frame vibrating with anger. “How do you know? Maybe that night a year ago gave me a taste for short and uncomplicated.”

I felt more than saw something in him shift. Then a flash of lightning ripped the shadows from his face, leaving his expression exposed.

Shit.

The light disappeared. And with it the space between us.

Review:

The Third Kiss offers a different take on the idea of love curses; I found the biblical origins of the Love’s Mortal Coil curse compelling. It really made me wonder where Ms. Colmer came up with the idea; I bet there’s a story there! The curse and the universe in which it resides was well thought out and maintained. I really liked the voices of the two protagonists, Jonas and Cora, and Beth and Leo were strong secondary characters as well. The grownups of the book–Cora’s dad, Jonas’ aunt, even the professor–seemed a bit more disposable, though that’s often the case in YA books, so it didn’t bother me overmuch.

I am really interested in seeing where this series is going to go–will there be two books (I totally called the ending of this one; go, me!) or three? Or…more? And how soon will we have to wait to find out???

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

About the Author:

Kat Colmer is a Sydney-based Young and New Adult author who writes coming-of-age stories with humor and heart. The recipient of several writing awards, she has won the Romance Writers of Australia First Kiss contest, as well as the Romance Writers of America On the Far Side contest for her debut Young Adult Paranormal Romance.

Kat has a Master of Education in Teacher Librarianship and loves working with teens and young adults. When not writing, teaching, or reading the latest in YA fiction, Kat spends time with her husband and two children.

 

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Release Day! DELTA: REDEMPTION by Cristin Harber

New York Times bestselling author Cristin Harber’s DELTA: REDEMPTION is out today! Get your hands on Victoria and Ryder’s story now – you don’t want to miss this one!

ABOUT DELTA: REDEMPTION

“My name’s Victoria–No last name. Don’t ask.”

That was all that the woman would share when Delta team’s expert trigger man, an Australian named Ryder, pulled her from the pits of a human trafficking nightmare and took the gun from her hand.

He didn’t mean to steal her revenge but survival was the priority. Now that Victoria’s home? She had a past he was trying to understand while keeping a secret from her that might tear her apart.

But he’s not the only one. When she goes missing, Delta team discovers that Victoria No Name was a one-woman vigilante force, taking on whoever crossed her path, from gun runners to a drug pushing motorcycle club.

She was exactly who Ryder thought she might be, and now he was coming in to help–whether she wanted backup or not.

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EXCERPT:
The tears came. She couldn’t stop them, and she hated the path they burned down her cheeks, hated that Ryder was witness to her unraveling, just like he’d been in Russia.

He rested his hand on her back, not speaking, and he didn’t move to shush her. His palm simply rested there.

“Ryder.” She fell against him, and he wrapped his arm around her.

“Easy, love,” he whispered. “Take a breath.”

“I can’t.”

His chin touched the top of her head, and the arms that she knew could hug her like all hell did the job, wrapping her away from the world until the tears stopped.

“Feel better?”

Nodding, Victoria drew in a deep breath, wiping under her eyes. “Could you hand me a tissue?”

He was already halfway off the bed as if reading her mind and handed her the box. Again, Victoria wiped her face. With another fresh tissue to cover her eyes, she could barely look at him.

“This can’t be what you signed up for,” Victoria mumbled. “Sorry.”

“Stop apologizing.”

She balled the tissue up and hazarded a glance in his direction. “Why did you come here?”

“I was worried about you.” Ryder tilted his head back to the bed. “Can I sit again?”

Victoria’s eyes squeezed shut, but she nodded.

“I don’t have to. Never mind.”

She blinked and refocused on him. “What?”

“I didn’t mean to invade your space.”

Her head dropped. Ruined. He saw nothing but a ruined woman who was so fragile he misread what she meant with a simple look. “I didn’t—I wasn’t… I made a face. Or I didn’t mean to make a face.” She cringed. Such a mess! She couldn’t even get her words right. “I sound like an idiot!”

“You don’t.”

“I do. I’m not someone people worry about. Ever. I worry about people. That’s what I do. Did! I took care of people, and now look at me. I’m broken.” A sob caught in her throat. “I thought I was strong, and now, I’m this.”

He came to her bedside, swooping next to her. “Victoria.”

“Something happened to me. Over there.” She sucked a breath as she collapsed against the pillows. “And I can’t.”

He put a careful hand on her forearm. “Listen to me.” He ducked down close. “I don’t know what’s the right or wrong thing to say now, so I’m just going to say this.”

He came closer so their eyes met. His head was almost level with hers on another pillow, but he held her gaze and didn’t let go.

“Please don’t tell me to get up,” she whispered. “To get back to my life.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it.” Ryder shifted so his weight was semi-on the bed, but he didn’t break their stare. “We brought everyone home, and every girl said you were their savior, that you put yourself in front of guards for them, that you made sure they had food. If nightmares struck, you coaxed them back to sleep. You were their guardian angel in hell.”

Her eyes burned again with tears, but she wouldn’t look away from his emerald ones.

“Whoever you are, love, wherever you’re from, you take as long as you need to get back the strength it took to become you, and I will stay by your side to help you if that’s what it takes.”

“Why?” Her voice broke along with a stray tear.

“Because I admire warriors.”

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ABOUT CRISTIN HARBER

Cristin Harber is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author. She writes sexy, steamy romantic suspense and military romance. Readers voted her onto Amazon’s Top Picks for Debut Romance Authors in 2013, and her debut Titan series was both a #1 romantic suspense and #1 military romance bestseller.

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New Release and Giveaway! LADY BE BAD by Megan Frampton

Lady Be Bad
by Meg Frampton
Publication Date: July 25, 2017
Genres: Historical Romance

Once upon a time, a duke had five daughters who never made a stir. They practiced their French, their pianoforte, and their dancing…until one ran off with the dancing instructor, and the rest were left to face the scandal.

Lady Eleanor, the Duke of Marymount’s eldest daughter, knows the burden is hers: she must marry well to restore the family name. So a loveless match is made and her fate is set. But then Eleanor meets her intended’s rakish younger brother. With his tawny hair, green eyes, and scandalous behavior, Lord Alexander Raybourn makes her want to be very bad indeed.

With his very honorable sibling too busy saving the world to woo Eleanor, Alexander is tasked with finding out her likes and dislikes for his elder brother. But the more time he spends with the secretly naughty Eleanor, helping her tick off all the things on her good list for being bad, the more he knows what they want, and need, is each other.

Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks | Google Play

About the author:

Megan Frampton writes historical romance under her own name and romantic women’s fiction under the name Megan Caldwell. She likes the color black, gin, dark-haired British men, and huge earrings, not in that order. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and son. You can visit her website at www.meganframpton.com. She tweets as @meganf and is at Facebook.com/meganframptonbooks.

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Release Day and Giveaway! MONSTER AMONG THE ROSES by Linda Kage (Fairy Tale Quartet #1)

Will you dare to gaze upon the monster among the roses?
 
MONSTER AMONG THE ROSES
Fairy Tale Quartet #1
Linda Kage
Releasing July 24, 2017
“Do you know how to get to the rose garden?”
“No, you can’t go there. A monster lives there.”
 
Shaw Hollander is desperate.
 
Broke, unemployed, and determined to help his ailing mother, he falls on the good graces of a wealthy benefactor who is willing to give Shaw a job at his mansion in order to pay off his mother’s debts. Suddenly finding himself surrounded by lavish riches, he has no idea what his duties truly entail until he’s sent to the rose garden and meets the tragically mutilated Isobel.
This Beauty and the Beast story holds true to the core of the fable while shaking off the element of fantasy and dragging it into present day reality. Shaw and Isobel are ready to let you climb into their four-wheel-drive pickup and take a ride with them into their version of happily ever after, but only if you first dare to gaze upon the monster among the roses.
 

Great. I was lost. Shading my hand over my eyes, I decided the far right should take me in the general direction I wanted to go. So I went that way, only to end up at the edge of the house, but not where I’d started, and not close enough to the rose garden to get me inside.

Strangely enough, however, a boy played outside, using sidewalk chalk to color a picture of…what the hell was he drawing? Maybe some kind of dying animal with blood gushing from its side and an arrow sticking out of its back.

It didn’t look right, whatever it was.

I shook my head and jerked my gaze from the disturbingly morbid sketch. “Hey, kid.”

The boy jumped and looked up, hopping to his feet and backing away from me as I were the scary one.

No idea who he was; he looked too young to be Mr. Nash’s son from the photos I’d seen, plus he had white blond hair, the complete opposite shade of the young man in all the pictures in Mr. Nash’s office. But he was here, so he’d have to do.

Wanting to appear as non-threatening as possible, I smile and waved. “Hey. Sorry for bothering you, but do you know how to get to the rose garden?”

That must’ve been the wrong question to ask. His face drained of color. “No,” he said, shaking his head. “You can’t go there.”

What? “Why not?”

“A monster lives in there. Half her face is melted off. She eats the thorns from the roses so she can spit them at people, stabbing them in the neck to slice their throat open until they bleed out and die.”

O…kay.

Somehow, I’d stumbled across one of the children of the corn. Nice.

Lifting my eyebrows, I drew my own step in reverse. Time to retreat. “Dude, that’s gruesome.”

Please don’t kill me. Please don’t kill me. Please don’t kill me.

He gave a serious nod. “It’s true. My mom’ll tell you she’s real too.”

“Oh yeah?” Relieved he wasn’t claiming he’d sprouted from Satan’s cabbage patch but actually had a mother, I glanced around for this wise, all-knowing parent of his. Maybe she could tell me how to get to the conservatory. “Who’s your mom?”

“The cook,” he said, puffing up his chest as if that were the most important title in the house. “She’s worked here for fifteen years. She knows everything about this place there is to know. So…don’t go into the roses. You won’t come out alive. Lewis, the groundskeeper, doesn’t even go in there.”

Aha! So this place did have a gardener. I knew it.

I took a second to ponder why I was being sent to garden then, when Mr. Nash already paid someone to maintain the place. But if Lewis refused to go into the roses, as the kid had said, maybe it was rumored to be haunted or something, and that was where I came in. Then again, why wouldn’t Mr. Nash just hire a new groundskeeper who wasn’t so scared and superstitious? Then I stopped pondering the whys. It wasn’t my place to question strange, rich people and their strange, oddball orders. I was just here to do what I was told and save my mom.

Nodding gravely to the boy, I said, “Thanks for the warning, kid. But I think I’ll take my chances. Which way?”

He looked at me as if he’d never see me again because I was headed forth to my death, then he lifted his hand and quietly pointed toward another opening in the path of bushes.

“Thanks.” I nodded and got out of there before some of his creepiness started rubbing off.

Fortunately, he’d steered me in the right direction. I landed right at the outdoor entrance into the glass gazebo. Propping the door open, I carted my supplies inside and then paused to breathe deeply.

But fuck me, it smelled good in here. You didn’t have to be a flower enthusiast for this garden to amaze you. It was like the holy shrine of roses. A hallowed kind of reverence filled my chest. Haunted or not, I liked it. It felt peaceful and yet revitalizing.

Suddenly intimidated because I didn’t want to mess anything up in such a perfect place, my hands shook as I flipped back to the pages about rose care. The more I skimmed, however, the more confused I became.

These roses didn’t need a lick of my attention. They were all in excellent condition as if someone already tended to them. Maybe creepy kid had been wrong, and Lewis the groundskeeper came in here hourly to care for them.

Still…What the hell?

I frowned and slid my finger along the silken petals of a blood red rose. Perfectly pruned, weeded, and watered. It was as flawless as a thing could get.

But I couldn’t go tell Mr. Nash they didn’t need anything, could I? What if he fired me for lack of work to do, or because he thought I was lazy and lying about the roses not needing care?

I looked around again, searching for anything to water, or clip, or re-soil. It was crazy how thriving every single flower looked.

Maybe this was some kind of test, and Mr. Nash wanted me to fail. What if he’d never intended for me to work for him and the contract I’d signed to save my mom was being burned in the fireplace in this office as I stood here like a dumbass with nothing to weed.

Confused and worried, and growing a little angry, I scowled at a wall full of pink vine roses growing to my right. But they were honestly too pretty to be glared at, so my mood settled.

I bet Mom would love them. She was a fan of pink. And flowers. Plus, these were the good-smelling kind. I’d be a good son if I brought home such a flower to her. And it seemed as if they grew in abundance, not as if they were one of the rare breeds Mr. Nash had spoken of. So I reached for a bloom to pluck it from the vine without even thinking beyond how much it’d make my mother smile.

Behind me, a voice growled, “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

Jumping half out of my skin because I’d been certain no one had been in here with me, I whirled around only to gasp, “Shit!”

The creepy cook’s son hadn’t been lying.

In front of me stood an irate woman with half her face melted off.

I grew up on a dairy farm in the Midwest as the youngest of eight children. Now I live in Kansas with my husband, two daughters, nine cuckoo clocks, and a cat named Holly. My life’s been blessed with lots of people to learn from and love. Writing’s always been a major part my world, and I’m so happy to finally share some of my stories with other romance lovers.

I’m a member of Romance Writers of America, and I’ve been through a writing correspondence class in children’s literature from The Institute of Children’s Literarture, and then I continued my writing lessons by majoring in English with an emphasis in creative fiction writing from Pittsburg State University.

 

 

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Release Day Review and Giveaway! RESURRECTION by Katie Reus (Redemption Harbor #1)

Today we have the release day blitz of Resurrection by Katie Reus! We’re so excited to share this fantastic new release with you—check out the festivities and grab your copy today!!

About Resurrection:

From USA Today bestselling author Katie Reus comes the ALL NEW Redemption Harbor series where sparks fly and so do bullets…

She faked her own death…

Skye Arévalo left the CIA and faked her death to protect Colt Stuart, the only man she ever loved. Months later, a brutal kidnapping draws her to quietly infiltrate a dangerous cartel. Just when she thinks she’s home free, things go horribly wrong and she escapes with bloodthirsty enemies on her heels…only to find herself face to face with a bewildered and angry Colt.

He’ll cross every line to save her…

When Colt, a former Marine, finds out the woman he loved betrayed him, he’s shocked and hurt, but it doesn’t stop him from breaking every law on the books to keep her alive. Unfortunately, it might not be enough to stop a powerful enemy who will do anything to see the world burn and Skye dead.

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Exclusive Excerpt:

Colt banged his fist against the door, fear and the smallest bit of hope punching through him. “Answer the fucking door,” he snarled. “Open, or I kick it in.”

“Maybe you should take it down a notch.” Next to him, Brooks shoved an agitated hand through his hair, his Stetson held loosely at his side.

“And maybe you should be freaking out more.” One of their best friends had been holed up in his home for weeks, refusing to talk to anyone, to see anyone. Colt didn’t know exactly what his friend was going through, but he’d lost a lot of damn friends in the sandbox and the only woman he’d ever loved had died too. Something he couldn’t think about right now. He couldn’t focus on his own pain when he could help his friend, when he had a damn purpose.

Mercer had recently lost his wife, and the man wasn’t handling it. The guy had been in love with Mary Grace since he was fifteen. They’d been each other’s world. And two months ago she’d been killed in Mexico, a victim of cartel violence. Allegedly.

Colt hadn’t been in love with Skye since he was a kid, but eight months with her sure felt like a lifetime. Hell, when she died it felt like he’d lost part of himself. The only part that mattered. He had to force himself out of bed every day, to shove back the emptiness. So on one level, he understood how Mercer felt. He shoved that thought right back inside where it belonged and ignored it. He couldn’t fix his own problem, but he could help out Mercer.

Panic swelled through Colt as the seconds ticked by without any response from inside—until he heard cursing on the other side of the door. Good. If his friend was cursing, he was alive. A solid minute later the lock snicked loudly as it twisted open.

Colt grabbed the handle and shoved it open, pushing past his best friend in case he tried to slam the door closed in his face.

Mercer, wearing boxers and nothing else, had grown a full black beard and his dark eyes were glassy. “What the hell are you doing here this early?”

“First, it’s two o’clock in the afternoon. Second…” Colt hauled off and punched him right in the nose. He needed to wake Mercer the hell up. Violence was pretty much the only way to do that now.

“Ah, hell,” Brooks muttered as Mercer flew back and fell on his ass with a grunt.

He held a hand to his nose, looking more alert than he had in two months as he glared up at Colt and Brooks. “What the hell, man?” His voice was muffled as he tried to stop the bleeding.

“I believe this is called an intervention,” Colt said, stepping into the foyer, cringing at the stench. “God, it smells like old pizza and cow crap in here. Mary Grace would kick your ass if she saw you living like this.”

“Don’t say her name!” Mercer shoved to his feet, letting his hand drop. Blood dripped down his face as he snarled at Colt. His teeth were toothpaste commercial white against his dark brown skin. Right now he looked like a rabid wolf baring his teeth at them.

“I’ll say her name if I want.” Yeah, he knew he was being harsh, but this was what Mercer needed. He needed to feel something, to wake the hell up. And making Mercer angry was the only way Colt knew how. Because the guy sure wasn’t going to talk about his fucking feelings. He needed to get out of this rabbit hole he’d let himself fall into. “We all lost her. Every single one of us.”

Most days Colt couldn’t believe she was gone. They’d all grown up together, and in his case, he’d been friends with Mary Grace since they were five years old. She was like a sister to Colt. Hell, he was still holding on to the hope that she wasn’t actually gone. It was why he was about to get on a plane in two hours and see if the tip he’d received was right. But first he had to make sure one of his best friends didn’t do something stupid while he was gone.

“Mary Grace.”

“Ah, hell,” Brooks said again, clearly not going to intervene. Just muttering his standard curse.

“Fuck you,” Mercer snapped, taking a step toward Colt.

That was it. Get angry, he silently willed his childhood friend. Mercer needed anger to replace the grief. God, or at least mute it. Just for a week. That was all Colt needed. Because if Mary Grace was alive, he was bringing her home to his best friend. He just couldn’t give Mercer the hope she was alive. Because if he did and it turned out she wasn’t… It would destroy him. “Mary. Grace.”

Mercer rushed at him like a bull.

 

Review:

Oh, I really enjoyed this one!

Katie Reus is a new author to me–I’ve been meaning to read her for a while, and figured a brand new series (Redemption Harbor) would be a great place to start 🙂

It did not disappoint!

Resurrection introduces us to Colt, a CIA agent who has been somewhat estranged from his father but has made his own family by choice from a group of close friends, many of whom he’s known since childhood. He’s so tight with them all that Skye, his last partner who also became much more to him than a coworker, knew all of them by name even though she had to fake her own death before ever meeting them in person…and then risked it all to save one of them, for him.

Okay, I know that all sounds kind of complicated. But I promise it all makes sense the way Ms. Reus writes it–and is a heck of a lot of fun to read, too!

Colt and Skye have great chemistry together, and the back and forth between these two is fantastic as well. We meet all of the group members here–some of them more than others–but it’s enough to see that this is going to be a great series. We’re left with some really strong indicators about what’s coming for book two, and I for one can’t wait for its release!

Rating: 4 stars / A-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

About Katie Reus:

Katie Reus is the New York Times, USA Today, and IndieReader bestselling author of the Red Stone Security series, the Moon Shifter series and the Deadly Ops series. She fell in love with romance at a young age thanks to books she pilfered from her mom’s stash. Years later she loves reading romance almost as much as she loves writing it.

However, she didn’t always know she wanted to be a writer. After changing majors many times, she finally graduated summa cum laude with a degree in psychology. Not long after that she discovered a new love. Writing. She now spends her days writing dark paranormal romance and sexy romantic suspense. Her book Avenger’s Heat recently won the Georgia RWA Maggie Award for Excellence in the fantasy/paranormal category.

Connect with Katie:
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Release Day! PLANNING PENELOPE by Erin Lockwood

We’re celebrating the release of PLANNING PENELOPE by Erin Lockwood!
PLANNING PENELOPE
by Erin Lockwood
Psychological Suspense/Romance
Blurb:
Alexander George Bishop V has an obsession. He controls every detail of her life, and she doesn’t even know he exists.
Everything always goes as planned … until it doesn’t.
Excerpt:
She has an oral fixation, so I have an oral fixation—hers.
Usually, it’s a pen cap, a pencil, or the plastic lid of her coffee cup, but tonight, she has nothing but her fingers lingering over her soft light-pink pout. I’ve been watching those lips and anything that comes near them for years now. It’s more than my obsession. This woman has become my masterpiece, and I’m the unknown author.
I won’t let anything chip away at my creation.
Especially this guy.
He’s standing behind her, carnal determination obvious on his face and with a fierce urge to bite into the skin on her back. I can see it in his eyes, the way they’re focused on her flesh. He leans forward, and my protective glands swell in my throat.
Although I’m several feet away and one level down, I lean in, as he did, but with anticipation to lurch.
She’s resting on the railing, staring out at the band onstage, unaware of what is about to hit her. Her left elbow is touching the metal bar, but her fingers are on her delicate, smooth pout, touching so lightly across, back and forth.
The loud nightclub drowns out one of her key senses. So, mine heighten in response.
I move to set down my beer. I’m ready. Ready to fight for her and keep her from the predator lurking at her back—the one messing with my masterpiece. He moves closer to her skin and bends his head to kiss the top of her shoulder. She doesn’t flinch.
I exhale a deep breath I didn’t realize I was holding.
She turns around, wraps her arms around him, and kisses him on his mouth. Her delicate, smooth lips are on his unworthy mouth. My jaw muscles tighten, and my teeth clench. This makes me angry, but I won’t act on it. Not yet.
“Alex, what’s wrong?” Kevin asks, nudging me with his elbow, still keeping his beer close to his face.
“Nothing,” I tell him and turn to pick up my beer from the high-top where I set it.
My eyes go back to her. They have been seeing each other for a few weeks, but I know it won’t last much longer. Not after tomorrow. Not after what I found out. This one isn’t the worst, but he’s still not good enough.
Her typical type—blond, tall, fair-to-medium skin—Hitler’s dream and my worst nightmare. I knew he would be a threat when they crossed paths last month. I keep them away as best I can, but there are too many unpredictable forces in life.
About the Author:

Erin Lockwood grew up in Castro Valley, California and attended the University of Oregon, where she graduated in 2003 with a degree in journalism. From there she moved to Denver and spent the next seven years searching for the love of her life and building the family of her dreams.

It wasn’t long until, with children starting preschool and more time on her hands, Erin refocused on her career, beginning with a successful entry into the world of residential real estate as a Realtor. Free time was spent reading book after book (and binge-watching the subsequent films) in the New Adult genre. Feeling hopelessly in love with her husband, she wrote him a short story leading up to their fifth wedding anniversary. That’s when she discovered her tireless passion to share her experience of falling in love through fictional characters. That story evolved into the first novel in the Angles trilogy.

Erin still lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband, Phil, and their three children.

Release Day Review! WHERE I BELONG by M. O’Keefe (The Debt #2)


Where I Belong

by Molly O’Keefe

 

THE GIRL I LOVED IS THE WOMAN I CAN’T HAVE

It was simple: Pay the debt and I stay out of jail. Pay the debt and I stay alive.

But I sacrificed it all for Beth.

I didn’t pay what I owed. I’m sure punishment is coming, but I can take it – as long as Beth is safe. Away from her mother and everyone else who would hurt her.

I gave it all up for two days with her. And it was worth it.

She always was.

THE SECRETS WE KEEP ARE WHAT TEARS US APART

We’re supposed to be done. Over. Tommy goes his way, I go mine. Cue the heartbreaking music.

I’m supposed to forget him, but I don’t think I can. And when the danger closes in on Tommy, we’re on the run again. From Bates. From my mother. From our past. And there are no safe places to hide.

Except one. And it’s the place that will hurt Tommy the most.

But maybe it’s time for me to face my past. My demons.

Maybe it’s time for me to save Tommy for once.

 

Review:

The intense emotion and drama continue…

Where I Belong picks up just moments before Lost Without You ended, in a moment of intense drama (yes, you really need to have read book one first–sorry!) and Ms. O’Keefe continues to keep the level up throughout. Lies old and new, a hero and heroine in hiding and attracting national attention, the suspense of wondering what will happen since “the debt” has been defaulted…this one is definitely not a light beach read!

(Warning: have a cold drink and a fan handy, because there’s some pretty steamy scenes ahead…)

For all of the tension and drama, though, Tommy and Beth’s triumph over their difficulties comes rather abruptly. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy with the ending, but their victory manages to seem almost anticlimactic in the ease in which it comes about. Still, an HEA is an HEA, and we get a satisfactory on here–plus, we’re left in great suspense at the end about the next person on Bate’s debt list. Next up: Simon’s book! Can’t wait 🙂

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

View all my reviews

 

Find Your Bliss with Three New Romances from Ashlee Mallory, Annie Seaton, and Amanda Ashby

Summer is coming and get ready to sit down and relax with a great new Bliss read. Three new sweet romances to fill your eReader with!

Her Surprise Engagement
by Ashlee Mallory
On sale June 19th, 2017

About the book:

Single mom Daisy Sorensen doesn’t believe in fairytale endings—at least not for her. All she wants is to enjoy a much-needed, stress-free family vacation at a friend’s Lake Tahoe home. So of course everything that can go wrong does. Including a gorgeous man and his daughter showing up in the middle of the night.

Soon-to-be Governor Jack Harrison has had a crazy week, but he’s sure nothing can top arriving to find a bathrobe-clad, beautiful stranger in the home he’s staying in for the week. He’s wrong. When things spiral out of control the next morning, Jack makes Daisy an offer she can’t refuse. She’ll pretend to be his fiancée and he’ll help her open the bakery she’s been dreaming about.

But in between late-night campfires and days on the lake, Jack finds himself falling for the strong, stubborn woman for real.

 

Find it online:

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Sorensen Family Series:

Her Outback Cowboy
by Annie Seaton
On Sale June 19, 2017

About the book:

The last thing advertising art director Lucy Bellamy wants is to go home to the Outback, but duty to family calls. At least there’s one bonus—her first love, sexy cowboy neighbour, Garth Mackenzie, is there and the attraction between them is still explosive. But Lucy has no intention of getting stuck in this two-bit town and she counts down the days until she can go back to her real life.

After an engineering degree and working in the mines of Western Australia, Garth has returned to the Outback and is home to stay. His goal is to settle down, start a family, and work his beloved land with the girl he’s always loved. But if it comes to Lucy choosing between the glamour of the city or making a home with him in the Outback—he’d lose, hands down.

Find it online:

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Dating the Wrong Mr. Right
by Amanda Ashby
On sale June 19th, 2017

 

About the book:

Pepper Watson has lost everything–her job, her fiancé, and the future she’d so carefully planned. Now she’s back at Wishing Bridge trying to figure out her next step. Her new plan does not include the ever-so-sexy Ben Cooper. Nope. She’s getting her life back on track, and getting out of this little town as fast as possible.

Ben Cooper is doing his best to build his business and help his parents. The last thing he needs is the distraction that is Pepper Watson. She might be prickly every time he’s in her presence, but he sees another side of her. The side that has set aside her dreams to help her sisters. And then there’s the fact that kissing her is pretty much the best thing that’s ever happened to him.

He’s putting down roots. She’s running away. It’s going to take more than a wish for these two to find their happily ever after.

Find it online:

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Sisters of Wishing Bridge Farm Series: