Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: THE WALLFLOWER WAGER by Tessa Dare

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THE WALLFLOWER WAGER: Girl Meets Duke Series Book 3 by Tessa Dare

Publication Date: August 13, 2019

Genre: Historical Romance

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89E87107-6DB1-491D-8938-A02923A1F82AThey call him the Duke of Ruin. To an undaunted wallflower, he’s just the beast next door.

Wealthy and ruthless, Gabriel Duke clawed his way from the lowliest slums to the pinnacle of high society—and now he wants to get even.

Loyal and passionate, Lady Penelope Campion never met a lost or wounded creature she wouldn’t take into her home and her heart.

When her imposing—and attractive—new neighbor demands she clear out the rescued animals, Penny sets him a challenge. She will part with her precious charges, if he can find them loving homes.

Done, Gabriel says. How hard can it be to find homes for a few kittens?

And a two-legged dog.

And a foul-mouthed parrot.

And a goat, an otter, a hedgehog . . .

Easier said than done, for a cold-blooded bastard who wouldn’t know a loving home from a workhouse. Soon he’s covered in cat hair, knee-deep in adorable, and bewitched by a shyly pretty spinster who defies his every attempt to resist. Now she’s set her mind and heart on saving him.

Not if he ruins her first.

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Excerpt

She circled back, standing before him. “There now. Better?”

He gave a reluctant nod.

“Can you move your arm in all directions?”

He rolled his shoulder to prove it. “Yes.”

“What about your grip?

“My grip is strong.”

“Perhaps I should wrap the arm in a sling.”

“I do not need a sling.”

“Wait here. I’ll dash upstairs to fetch some linen and—”

“For the love of God, woman. My shoulder is fine.” He took her by the waist and lifted her straight off the floor, until they were eye to eye. “There. Believe me now?”

She nodded, wide-eyed.

“Good.”

In his hands, she was delicate, breakable. Her hair was a golden treasure he should never, ever touch. And oh, how he hungered for those soft, pink lips.

The familiar voice echoed in his ears.

Don’t touch, boy. She’s not for the likes of you.

Put. Her. Down.

But before Gabe could lower those beribboned pink slippers to the floor, she captured his sooty, sweaty face in her hands—

And kissed him on the lips.

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Cori 4 Stars

This book was so much fun! I loved all the rescue animals Penny had. Penny and Gabriel’s story had all the hot romance, the emotion and the fun the animals brought to the story. I thoroughly enjoyed it. THE WALLFLOWER WAGER is the third book in Tessa Dare’s Girl Meets Duke Series and each book can be read as a stand-alone, I recommend this series for romance lovers looking for a historical romance series with some laughs, great characters and feel good love stories.

*Review  copy provided by Avon in exchange for an honest review. 

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Kindle | Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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Giveaway

Paperback Copy of THE WALLFLOWER WAGER: Girl Meets Duke by Tessa Dare

Enter on Facebook Post HERE

Winner will be selected Monday (8/26) by 6PM EST. Paperback provided by Avon.

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5EF0B3E0-E85F-4191-A769-504BD0D64088Tessa Dare is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than twenty historical romances. Her books have won numerous accolades, including Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® award (twice) and the RT Book Reviews Seal of Excellence. Booklist magazine named her one of the “new stars of historical romance,” and her books have been contracted for translation in more than a dozen languages.

A librarian by training and a booklover at heart, Tessa makes her home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband, their two children, and a trio of cosmic kitties.

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Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: BRAZEN AND THE BEAST by Sarah MacLean

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BRAZEN AND THE BEAST: The Bareknuckle Bastards Series Book 2 by Sarah MacLean

Publication Date: July 30, 2019

Genre: Historical Romance

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68BA980F-A739-41E2-8659-930CA10CFA44New York Times Bestselling Author Sarah MacLean returns with the next book in the Bareknuckle Bastards series about three brothers bound by a secret that they cannot escape—and the women who bring them to their knees.

The Lady’s Plan

When Lady Henrietta Sedley declares her twenty-ninth year her own, she has plans to inherit her father’s business, to make her own fortune, and to live her own life. But first, she intends to experience a taste of the pleasure she’ll forgo as a confirmed spinster. Everything is going perfectly…until she discovers the most beautiful man she’s ever seen tied up in her carriage and threatening to ruin the Year of Hattie before it’s even begun.

The Bastard’s Proposal

When he wakes in a carriage at Hattie’s feet, Whit, a king of Covent Garden known to all the world as Beast, can’t help but wonder about the strange woman who frees him—especially when he discovers she’s headed for a night of pleasure . . . on his turf. He is more than happy to offer Hattie all she desires…for a price.

An Unexpected Passion

Soon, Hattie and Whit find themselves rivals in business and pleasure. She won’t give up her plans; he won’t give up his power . . . and neither of them sees that if they’re not careful, they’ll have no choice but to give up everything . . . including their hearts.

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Excerpt

Chapter One

September 1837
Mayfair

In twenty-eight years and three hundred sixty-four days, Lady Henrietta Sedley liked to think that she’d learned a few things.
She’d learned, for example, that if a lady could not get away with wearing trousers (an unfortunate reality for the daughter of an earl, even one who had begun life without title or fortune), then she should absolutely ensure that her skirts included pockets. A woman never knew when she might require a bit of rope, or a knife to cut it, after all.
She’d also learned that any decent escape from her Mayfair home required the cover of darkness and a carriage driven by an ally. Coachmen tended to talk a fine game when it came to keeping secrets, but were ultimately beholden to those who paid their salaries. An important addendum to that particular lesson was this: The best of allies was often the best of friends.
And perhaps first on the list of things she had learned in her lifetime was how to tie a Bosun knot. She’d been able to do that for as long as she could remember.
With such an obscure and uncommon collection of knowledge, one might imagine that Henrietta Sedley would have known precisely what to do in the likelihood she discovered a human male bound and unconscious in her carriage.
One would be incorrect.
In point of fact, Henrietta Sedley would never have described such a scenario as a likelihood. After all, she might have been more comfortable on London’s docks than in its ballrooms, but Hattie’s impressive collection of life experience lacked anything close to a criminal element.
And yet, here she was, pockets full, dearest friend at her side, standing in the pitch dark on the night before her twenty-ninth birthday, about to steal away from Mayfair for a night of best-laid plans, and…
Lady Eleanora Madewell whistled, low and unladylike at Hattie’s ear. Daughter of a duke and the Irish actress he loved so much he’d made her a duchess, Nora had the kind of brashness that was allowed in those with impervious titles and scads of money. “There’s a bloke in the gig, Hattie.”
Hattie did not look away from the bloke in question. “Yes, I see that.”
“There wasn’t a bloke in the gig when we hitched the horses.”
“No, there wasn’t.” They’d left the hitched—and most definitely empty—carriage in the dark rear drive of Sedley House not three-quarters of an hour earlier, before hiking upstairs to exchange carriage-hitching dresses for attire more appropriate for their evening plans.
At some point between corset and kohl, someone had left her an extraordinarily unwelcome package.
“Seems we would’ve noticed a bloke in the gig,”
“I should think we would have,” came Hattie’s distracted reply. “This is really just awful timing.”
Nora cut her a look. “Is there a good time for a man to be bound in one’s carriage?”
Hattie imagined there wasn’t, but, “He could have selected a different evening. What a terrible birthday gift.” She squinted into the dark interior of the carriage. “Do you think he’s dead?”
Please, don’t let him be dead.
Silence. Then, a thoughtful, “Does one store dead men in carriages?” Nora reached forward, her coachman’s coat pulling tight over her shoulders, and poked the dead man in question. He did not move. “He’s not moving,” she added. “Could be dead.”
Hattie sighed, removing a glove and leaning into the carriage to place two fingers to the man’s neck. “I’m sure he’s not dead.”
“What are you doing?” Nora whispered, urgently. “If he’s not dead, you’ll wake him!”
“That wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world,” Hattie pointed out. “Then we could ask him to kindly exit our conveyance and we could be on our way.”
“Oh, yes. This brute seems like precisely the kind of man who would immediately do just that and not immediately take his revenge. He’d no doubt doff his cap and wish us a fine good evening.”
“He’s not wearing a cap,” Hattie pointed out, unable to refute any of the rest of the assessment of the mysterious, possibly dead man. He was very broad, and very solid, and even in the darkness she could tell that this wasn’t a man with whom one took a turn about a ballroom.
This was the kind of man who ransacked a ballroom.
“What do you feel?” Nora pressed.
“No pulse.” Though she wasn’t precisely certain of the location one would find a pulse. “But he’s—”
Warm.
Dead men were not warm, and this man was very warm. Like a fire in winter. The kind of warm that made someone realize how cold she might be.
Ignoring the silly thought, Hattie moved her fingers down the column of his neck, to the place where it disappeared beneath the collar of his shirt, where the curve of his shoulder and the slope of…the rest of him… met in a fascinating indentation.
“Anything now?”
“Quiet.” Hattie held her breath. Nothing. She shook her head.
“Christ.” It wasn’t a prayer.
Hattie couldn’t have agreed more. But then…
There. A small flutter. She pressed a touch more firmly. The flutter became firm. Slow. Even. “I feel it. She said. “He’s alive.” She repeated herself. “He’s alive.” She exhaled, long and relieved. “He’s not dead.”
“Excellent. But it doesn’t change the fact that he’s unconscious in the carriage, and you have somewhere to be.” She paused. “We should leave him and take the curricle.”
Hattie had been planning for this particular excursion on this particular night for a full three months. This was the night that would begin her twenty-ninth year. The year her life would become her own. The year she would become her own. And she had a very specific plan for a very specific location at a very specific hour, for which she had donned a very specific frock. And yet, as she stared at the man in her carriage, specifics seemed not at all important.
What seemed important was seeing his face.
Clinging to the handle at the edge of the door, Hattie collected the lantern from the upper rear corner of the carriage before swinging back out to face Nora, whose gaze flickered immediately to the unlit container.
Nora tilted her head. “Hattie. Leave him. Let’s take the curricle.”
“Just a peek,” Hattie replied.
The tilt became a shake. “If you peek, you’ll regret it.”
“I have to peek,” Hattie insisted, casting about for a decent reason—ignoring the odd fact that she was unable to tell her friend the truth. “I have to untie him.”
“Not necessarily,” Nora pointed out. “Someone thought he was best left tied up, and who are we to disagree?” Hattie was already reaching into the pocket of the carriage door for a flint. “What of your plans?”
There was plenty of time for her plans. “Just a peek,” she repeated, the oil in the lantern catching fire. She closed the door and turned to face the carriage, lifting the light high, casting a lovely golden glow over—
“Oh, my,” she said.
Nora choked back a laugh. “Not such a bad gift after all, perhaps.”
The man had the most beautiful face Hattie had ever seen. The most beautiful face anyone had ever seen, she imagined. She leaned closer, taking in his warm, bronze skin, the high cheekbones, the long, straight nose, the dark slashes of his brows and the impossibly long lashes that lay like feathers against his cheeks.
“What kind of man…” she trailed off. Shook her head.
What kind of man looked like this?
What kind of man looked like this and somehow landed in the carriage of Hattie

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Cori 5 Stars

I loved this book! I thoroughly enjoyed BRAZEN AND THE BEAST from the first page to the last. It is the second book in Sarah Maclean’s Bareknuckle Bastards series and each book in the series is a stand-alone. I went back and read the first book after reading this one though because I loved it so much. Hattie and Whit’s story was full of passion, emotion, danger and fun. Hattie is a strong and intelligent heroine with goals and Whit does everything to give her her dreams. This author is now on my must read list and this book will be on my favorites list this year. I highly recommend this series for historical romance lovers and I can’t wait for the next book in this series.

*Review  copy provided by Avon in exchange for an honest review. 

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Kindle | Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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Giveaway

Paperback Copy of BRAZEN AND THE BEAST by Sarah MacLean

Enter on Facebook Post HERE

Winner will be selected Monday (8/12) by 6PM EST. Paperback provided by Avon.

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BB2DD64A-F99B-441A-9DC7-AF31332ACFF7A life-long romance reader, Sarah MacLean wrote her first romance novel on a dare, and never looked back. She is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of historical romances and a columnist for The Washington Post, where she writes about the romance genre. She lives in New York City. Visit her at www.sarahmaclean.net.

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Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: LAST CHANCE RODEO by Kari Lynn Dell

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LAST CHANCE RODEO: A Blackfeet Nation Novel by Kari Lynn Dell

Publication Date: July 30, 2019

Genre: Western/ Contemporary Romance 

Synopsis

7B303109-004B-411F-86BF-CDE79F32B6D1He came to Blackfeet Nation looking for his missing horse

And found the heart he’d lost along the way.

One thoughtless moment cost David Parsons everything—his irreplaceable horse, his rodeo career, and his fiancée. After four long years he’s finally tracked his horse to the Blackfeet Reservation and is ready to reclaim his pride.

It should be the happiest day of his life. But the troubled young boy who’s riding Muddy now has had more than his fair share of hard knocks, and his fierce guardian, Mary Steele, will do whatever it takes to make sure losing this horse isn’t the blow that levels him. David finds himself drawn to both woman and child, and is faced with a soul-wrenching dilemma: take his lost shot at rodeo glory…or claim what could be his last chance to make his shattered heart whole?

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Excerpt

When David Parsons rode into the arena in Cody, Wyoming, he knew in his gut he’d ride out a winner. He was on that kind of roll. He’d drawn the right calf and, Lord knew, he was riding the right horse.

Muddy rooted his nose, pushing into the bit as David turned him around in the roping box. When David tugged on the reins, Muddy kicked up his hind feet, revving his engine like a drag racer burning his tires, a quirk he’d developed as a colt and never outgrown. Then he jammed his butt into the corner of the box, ears forward, every molecule of his body cocked and ready.

David kept a tight hold on the reins, his attention zeroing in on the calf. Head’s turned. Wait. Wait. Make sure he’s standing square. Let him take the first step.

The instant the calf looked forward, David nodded. The gate banged open. David’s rein hand barely twitched and Muddy exploded from the box, the start perfectly timed. The loop sliced through the night air. One, two, three swings, and throw. Zap! Clean around the calf’s neck. David felt the sizzle of the rope dragging through the hondo as he pulled his slack.

Muddy’s stop was like slamming into a brick wall on a motorcycle. Wham! Sixty to zero in a single stride. David swung out in the right stirrup and let the momentum launch him down the rope, so fast he was standing at the calf’s head as it spun around, still on its feet.

Muddy scrambled backward, pulling the calf into David’s lap. He flipped it onto its side, had the loop of his piggin’ string snugged tight around the front leg before the calf hit the ground. He scooped up the back legs, crossed them over the front, took one, two wraps and a half hitch, and threw up his hands to signal for time.

David hustled back to his horse, vaulted into the saddle and rode Muddy forward a few steps to put slack in the rope, adrenaline pounding through his veins as applause washed over them. Muddy bobbed his head, acknowledging the ovation.

“Seven point three seconds!” the rodeo announcer shouted. “Ladies and gentlemen, there is your tie-down roping champion!”

A committee member caught David at the gate as he rode out. “We need you behind the bucking chutes for the television interview.”

“Give me a minute to tie my horse up.” He swung off and wove through a gauntlet of backslaps and congratulations to a spot along the fence behind. Muddy flattened his ears at the next horse in line.

“You’re not big enough to win that fight,” David said. He reached up to give Muddy a scratch for a job well done.

Muddy jerked his head away, pinning his ears again. David laughed. “Cranky little bastard. Good thing we don’t get paid for your personality. Or your looks.”

Muddy shot him a look that was the equine equivalent of a middle finger. David laughed again, flipped the reins around the fence rail, and patted Muddy on the butt as he left, just to annoy him.

When the interview was over, David made his escape into the milling crowd.

“Hey, hotshot!” a voice called. “You too cool to hang with us losers now?”

He looked over to see a trio of cowboys lounging against the fence and sipping beers. Losers. Hah. Between the three of them, they owned enough gold buckles to pave the road to Oz.

One waved an empty cup. “You’ve been takin’ my money all year, least you could do is buy an old man a brew.”

David hesitated, then angled over to join them. Muddy would be okay for a few more minutes. He fetched four fresh beers and took a deep draw off his while the others exchanged opinions and jibes, and David basked in the knowledge that he’d been accepted by this most exclusive club as, if not their equal, at least a worthy contender.

Then the arena lights went out and one of his companions drawled, “Oh goody. Fireworks.”

Oh shit. David whipped around. “I gotta go.”

He moved as fast as the dim lights allowed. Dammit. It was the Fourth of July. How could he have forgotten the fireworks? Muddy went ballistic at the first sign of the big overhead boomers.

The grandstand had started to clear, and people strolled toward their cars, clogging David’s path. The first rocket burst overhead before he fought his way clear. He rounded the last turn and swore. The spot where Muddy had been tied was empty.

Eighteen hours later, David slumped onto the fender of his horse trailer. Exhaustion crashed down on him as he faced the awful truth. Muddy was gone, and he had no one to blame but himself.

Excerpted from Last Chance Rodeo by Kari Lynn Dell. © 2017, 2019 by Kari Lynn Dell. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Buy Links

KindleAmazon Paperback

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Giveaway

5 Copies of Fearless in Texas

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

Kari Lynn Dell is a ranch-raised Montana cowgirl who attended her first rodeo at two weeks old and has existed in a state of horse-induced poverty ever since. She lives on the Blackfeet Reservation in her parents’ bunkhouse along with her husband, her son, and Max the Cowdog, with a tipi on her lawn, Glacier National Park on her doorstep and Canada within spitting distance. Her debut novel, The Long Ride Home, was published in 2015. She also writes a ranch and rodeo humor column for several regional newspapers and a national agricultural publication.

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Review, Guest Post & Giveaway: RESIST (Wicked Ways) by K. Bromberg

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RESIST (Wicked Ways Book 1) by K. Bromberg

Publication Date: July 30, 2019

Genre: Contemporary Romance

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784FC746-8BD4-4D2B-A548-BC81580BB160From the New York Times bestselling author of the Driven series comes a powerful romance about reaching great heights through low depths.

Who says you have to play by the rules to get what you want?

Agreeing to meet Ryker Lockhart is my first mistake. Rich, handsome, and more than intriguing, he thinks blackmail will bend me to his will.

But he’s wrong.

I may have done a few things that weren’t exactly legal, but I have my own reasons for that. The last thing I’m going to do is let some high-powered divorce attorney come into my life, have my body, and rule my heart. Not to mention ruin everything that I have carefully built in just a short amount of time.

But as much as I try to resist him, and against my better judgment, there is something about him that has me agreeing to his proposal.

I’m putting everything on the line for him. I just hope I won’t lose everything when this is all over.

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Guest Post: A Pretty Woman With Power by K. Bromberg

Ryker Lockhart: Powerful. Unrelenting. Stubborn.

Vaughn Sanders: Defiant. Strong. Unyielding.

With those two sets of characteristics, Ryker and Vaughn are definitely oil and water one moment and then an ember met with gasoline the next. That dynamic is what made writing them and their story so much fun in my latest book, Resist. Their tale was a delicate dance though because the push and pull of the chase better be worth the reward for readers.

I often enjoy taking characters and painting them with broad strokes (i.e. Vaughn’s profession) so that readers initially question them. Then over the next 100,000 words, I love to smash their preconceived notions so that they root for the heroine. So that they are right beside her cheering her on and falling in love with the hero just like she is.

It’s not often an easy task to write a heroine, because women are often harsher on female characters than they are males. Heroes can be over the top alphas who are dominant and say all the wrong things, but once they show vulnerability, we somehow forgive them. Heroines on the other hand, are judged more fiercely. She’s too weak. She’s too strong. She’s too wishy- washy. She’s being a b*tch for pushing him away. Making a reader like a strong-willed female character isn’t always an easy task. So when you put two characters together who embody all of these things, it’s a delicate balance to have enough push and pull. Enough sexual tension. Enough redeemable qualities so you can love them despite their faults.

This challenge is one of the reasons I loved writing Resist (and its sequel Reveal). I don’t quite remember where the storyline came from, but I recall the furious scribbling on paper as Ryker and Vaughn’s story came to life in my imagination. Take a strong-willed woman with a risqué job and give her a real reason to need that job. Take a domineering divorce attorney who deals with love gone wrong day-in and day-out, and force him to see that there can be more than just sex between a man and a woman. That love is, in fact, possible.

Challenge accepted.

Is Resist a subtle nod to the Pretty Woman trope? I never really thought of it that way, but I can see the similarities being drawn. Vaughn (my character) and Vivian (movie character) have names that both start with the letter V. They both wear a red dress in a scene. The both work in fields that deal with selling sex for profit . . . but that’s where the comparisons stop.

Vaughn Sanders is a force to be reckoned with. Sure, she’s a madam, but once you get beneath the moniker, readers find a strong-willed woman taking measures into her own hands for the benefit of someone else. Readers will find a woman with a strong backbone and a take no prisoners attitude. A woman they can’t wait to see succeed. Sure, we throw in our hero–Ryker, a senator you know is dirty somehow, an adorable niece, and whole cast of other characters and situations and we’re left trying to figure out how it’s all going to play out . . . but the one thing we know for sure, is that we want Ryker and Vaughn to end up together.

Because hopefully when you finish Resist, like Ryker and Vaughn, you start to believe true love does in fact exist.

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The lobby is elegant, with its large chandeliers, but they’re kept dim so as to allow each of its patrons some privacy. Almost as if they know I’m trying to hide some from the rest of the room for a bit. Soft classical music flows from the overhead speakers as people mill about in evening wear. There are hugs given among people, and laughs echo off the walls and marble floors.

I stand in the corner, surveying the crowd as nerves I don’t want to admit to run a riotous act within, and my mind tries to grapple for the nth time with what I’m about to do.

You’re keeping your reputation intact.

That’s how I have to look at this. That’s how I have to justify this.

Just like that, my breath catches when Ryker Lockhart waltzes into the lobby. I’m rarely affected by a man—sure, I can say one is handsome or sexy or gorgeous, but rarely does a man really catch my eye.

But there he is . . . standing in the middle of the lobby, surveying everyone around him, making my pulse race.

This is a bad idea.

He’s tall, his shoulders are broad, and there’s an air about him that screams authority while a magnetism about him makes people look his way.

And he hasn’t even spoken a word to anyone yet.

Such a bad idea.

He’s in a well-tailored tuxedo, everything black save for the crisp white dress shirt beneath it. His hair is styled, and an expensive watch glints at his wrist when he holds it up to look at the time.

Of course, that’s my cue that I’m not there exactly on time, but I give him a few more seconds to make him wait.

It’s all about power, even when I’m in a different pair of shoes.

With a deep breath, I walk toward him, shoulders square, head high, and remind myself that I’m not Vee right now. I can’t act like we’re on an equal playing field.

He has hired me. I am his. 

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Cori 4 Stars

I love K. Bromberg’s books and really enjoyed this one. I normally wouldn’t have picked this one up based off the description alone. I wasn’t sure it would be very romantic but I just trusted the author would deliver a good love story and she did. Vaughn and Ryker were explosive together and their story gave me all the feels! There is a cliffhanger ending, so be warned. I’ll be devouring the next book as soon as it releases in September to finish Vaughn and Ryker’s story. I recommend RESIST for romance lovers looking for a hot and steamy love story with some angst.

*Review copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Kindle | Amazon Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card and Digital Copy of K. Bromberg’s RESIST

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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021A5195-A007-41CA-9D20-D0AA47BA4B17New York Times bestselling author K. Bromberg writes contemporary romance novels that are sweet, emotional, a lot sexy, and a little bit real. She likes to write strong heroines and damaged heroes that readers love to hate but can’t help loving.

Since publishing her first book on a whim in 2013, Bromberg has sold over 1.5 million copies of her books across eighteen different countries and has repeatedly landed on the bestseller lists for the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal. Her Driven trilogy (Driven, Fueled, and Crashed) is currently being adapted for film by the streaming platform Passionflix, with Driven available now.

You can find out more about this mom of three on any of her social media accounts. The easiest way to stay up to date is to sign up for her newsletter (http://bit.ly/254MWtI) or text “KBromberg” to 77948 to receive text alerts when a new book is released.

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Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: ONE FINE DUKE: School for Dukes by Lenora Bell

 

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ONE FINE DUKE: School for Dukes by Lenora Bell

Publication Date: July 23, 2019

Genre: Historical Romance

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CEA8075E-D175-45AD-ABEC-D4245BAB62A0USA Today bestselling author Lenora Bell returns with her third book in the sexy School for Dukes series.

Ready.

Raised in the countryside by her overprotective uncle, Miss Mina Penny’s dream of a triumphant London season is finally here. She determined her perfect match long ago: Rafe Bentley, the wickedest rake of them all. There’s only one very large, very unyielding obstacle: Rafe’s brother Drew, the reclusive Duke of Thorndon.

Aim.

This was supposed to be simple. Duke goes to London. Duke selects suitable bride. Love match? Not a chance. But when Drew meets Mina, she complicates everything. How can a lady armed with such beauty and brains fall for his irresponsible degenerate of a brother? Drew vows to save her from heartbreak and ruin, no matter the cost.

Desire!

But Mina is no damsel in distress. She’s daring, intuitive, passionate…and halfway to melting Drew’s cold heart. And although Mina thought she knew exactly what she wanted, one breathtakingly seductive kiss from Drew changes everything. Now Mina must decide between long-held dreams and dangerous new desires. Could her true destiny lie in the arms of a duke?

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Excerpt

“There he is, Wilhelmina,” Grizzy whispered, staring reverently across the crowded ballroom. “The Duke of Thorndon.”
Holy hell he’s handsome, thought Mina.
Jaw-dropping-on-the-floor handsome. Drool-on-your-lace-fichu handsome.
Distract her from her plan with his brother, handsome.
Her uncle had been right. Thorndon was a fine figure of a man. Objectively speaking, the finest she’d ever beheld.
Tall as a doorframe, with a face hewn from the same granite as the rugged Cornish coastline.
A face rendered seductive by contrasts: sharp cheekbones and curved, sensuous lips. Gleaming ebony hair brushed his collar. His eyes were a light, gold-tinged brown—the only warm thing about him.
He owned this ballroom. Literally. And he owned everyone in it by dint of his oversized presence and the cold, unsmiling arrogance scrawled across his face.
He didn’t even follow the dictates of fashion, preferring plain black attire to the white pantaloons and gaily-colored waistcoats of the other gentlemen.
Why should he follow the dictates of fashion? Everyone should follow him.
“When you’re introduced to Thorndon, pray speak as seldom as possible,” Grizzy whispered. “Attempt to appear biddable and do try to recall my decorum lessons. Remember, no one in London knows anything about you, thank the Lord.”
Mina had seen several polished, elegant young ladies staring at her, nudging each other and whispering. She was an outsider, a usurper, her proper place in the social hierarchy not yet established.
They needn’t worry. She had no designs upon their prize duke. And she was about as unpolished as a debutante could be—as rough as an un-sanded plank. If anyone touched her they might get splinters.
She longed to shed her country skin swiftly and emerge as the sophisticated social butterfly her mother had been. But she knew that it would take time, observation, and experimentation.
Her first flirtatious conversation, first kiss, first taste of brandy, first adventure…it was all ahead of her.
She couldn’t wait to taste it all.

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Kindle | Paperback

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Giveaway

Paperback Copy of ONE FINE DUKE: School for Dukes by Lenora Bell

Enter on Facebook Post HERE

Winner will be selected Monday (7/29) by 6PM EST. Paperback provided by Avon.

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5AA538BB-8E3C-4C7E-AB0B-5A6732793E72Lenora Bell is a USA Today bestselling, award-winning author of historical romances. A teacher with an MFA in Creative Writing, Lenora has lived and worked on five continents. She currently lives in New Zealand with her carpenter husband and two tiger-striped rescue kitties. She loves hearing from readers! Sign up for her mailing list to hear about new books, sales, and giveaways.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

Feature, Interview, Excerpt & Giveaway: ONLY EVER YOU by CD Reiss

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ONLY EVER YOU by CD Reiss

Publication Date: July 9, 2019

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

49792628-44F1-4ADE-816C-4F271C6A16FDRachel knew exactly what turning thirty would be like. She had a plan, after all. First college, then a climb up the professional ladder. Love, marriage, children. All of it was on the schedule.

The cheap Hollywood apartment wasn’t on the list. Neither was the string of heartbreaks. Or the effect her mother’s cancer had on her career.

It’s hard to stay practical and on point when everything takes a left turn.

Enter Sebastian, the nerd across the street. The boy she defended when he couldn’t defend himself. The best friend she promised she’d marry if life didn’t go according to plan.

Not only is he successful, confident, and gorgeous, but he also still has their handwritten marriage contract.

No one goes through with childhood wedding pacts.

That’s crazy.

But their families might just be crazy enough to rent a hall and set a date. All Rachel and Sebastian have to do is fall in love.

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Excerpt

After I left her and CJ with Lucinda, I spent the weekly staff meeting wondering if Rachel was the same warrior I’d loved or if she was more the woman who’d held her laptop to her chest as if she needed protection.

I was obsessed.

I had to know.

Her text came in as I was leaving the meeting. 

I need to check that we’re kidding

Before I could finish typing a response, I caught her coming out of the bathroom with her laptop under her arm.

Alone. Me and her. Nothing between us but the question of who we were and how we fit.

“Seb, I—”

She didn’t have a chance to finish. I crowded her back into the bathroom and locked the door behind us.

“Kidding about what?” I said.

“About getting married.”

“Why would that even be a question?”

“Our parents have been in negotiations about it.”

My mother couldn’t keep herself from talking if she tried, and I was her favorite subject.

“It might be a little soon for marriage, but—”

“Soon? I don’t like you seeing what I do for a living while you’re in a glass-walled office overlooking the ocean. I mean, I’m not marriage material, and the odds are that’s never going to change.”

“I don’t see why a date’s off the table.”

“Do you know what’s going to happen if we date?”

The list of possibilities was as long as my arm. I could have counted them off, from “We decide we hate each other” to “We end up in bed.” But I didn’t, because I was still trying to figure her out.

What did she want to hear?

With her wide eyes and parted lips, what did she want? Did she have a fondest wish where I was concerned? Was she leaning forward? Was her expression soft and yielding?

My mind spent too long deciding what to say, so my body spoke for me.

I kissed her hard and was met with teeth and stiff resistance. It was a kiss I’d wanted since I’d had hairless armpits and a voice somewhere in the low soprano range. I’d dreamed about it. Fantasized about it. Thought about it so hard in the middle of the night I could practically feel it.

But never, ever in my fantasies did she push me away so hard I fell back against a towel dispenser, watching her face twist into surprised rage as the machine spit out a ragged rectangle of brown paper.

“That was—”

“Messed up. I know.”

“Then why? What is wrong with you?”

She was livid, just like she would have been. Just like she should have been.

The tiger within Rachel was in there, and my attempt to tease her out had probably alienated her. She’d be right to never speak to me again.

“I’m sorry,” I said with my hand on the door lock. “I misread you. It won’t happen again.”

I started to open the door, but she held it closed.

“If we date, my mother’s going to get her hopes up that I’m going to settle down. And I’m sorry, Seb, but if we break up while she’s in chemo, it’s going to crush her.”

“You don’t even know if she’s sick again.”

“You’re right.” She pointed a rigid finger at me as if I were her mother. “I’m going to make her tell me.”

“You’re really beautiful when you’re telling it like it is.”

She slid her hand off the door. Having been called out, the warrior was sent into hiding.

No. I wouldn’t accept that. I wouldn’t allow it.

“Let’s just go out and catch up,” I said. “Saturday.”

“Can’t. Saturday’s the soonest I can talk to Mom.”

I unlocked the door. “I’m sorry about . . . the thing.”

“Kissing me?”

“No, wasting paper towels. Of course kissing you.”

“Next time, give a girl a little warning.”

Next time? Her eyes darted to the door. Was she calculating the distance to her getaway? Or making sure it was closed?

“How about now?” I asked.

“Now what?”

“Fair warning. Now.”

I stepped a little closer and put my hands on her arms. Not right away. I let them hover an inch away before touching her to give her the chance to move away. A chance I was sure she’d take.

“Seb, really?”

But she didn’t move away.

Not this time. When I laid my hands on her biceps, she leaned in to me just a little. I smelled the floral lotion on her skin and a hint of cool water on her breath.

“Really.” I slid the laptop from her arms and placed it on the counter. “This is your warning.”

You’re doing this. I cannot believe you’re doing this.

“It doesn’t feel like a warning,” she said, and again—I noted—she didn’t move away.

“Flashing red lights.” My lips brushed her cheek, heading for her mouth. She felt better than I ever imagined. “A buzzer, maybe.”

“Just a kiss?” she asked, her lips moving against mine.

Before I could consummate what she was agreeing to, I was smacked by a swinging door.

“Oh!” CJ said. “I’m sorry! I was looking for you.”

Rachel snatched up her laptop and walked out. CJ raised an eyebrow with good reason, since I was in the ladies’ room. I left, and we all gathered in the hall.

Awkward.

“Well,” Rachel said. “Thanks for showing us your tedious financial-sector company.”

“Thank you for coming,” I said and let them walk away. I could have done or said much more, but not without getting her into trouble. She glanced back at me when they turned the corner, as if she wanted to make sure I was still there.

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5976F7C9-313D-4089-8AC3-6B4EF5BA3CA9

 

Please introduce your newest release. 

Only Ever You is about a girl who planned for everything but never got what she hoped for, and a dweeb who hoped he’d to marry the girl, but never planned for it.

Rachel and Sebastian have an interesting history. They were friends as kids, but have lost touch as adults… 

They’re really strangers when they reunite at 30, but they’re burdened by what they think they know about each other. Sebastian was supposed to be an artist and Rachel was supposed to be a screenwriter. They have to shake all that stuff loose before they can see each other. When they do, they’re strangers. 

I think attraction between strangers is real. Sexual heat is real. But “hearts and flowers” are earned. (I know that sounds like I’m your dad telling you to mow lawns, but that’s where the magic is. Not the lawns.) In the time just before you’re struck by lightning there’s a real electricity. It’s pure potential and anything can go wrong. It’s the best thing ever.

When they were kids they made up a ‘contract’ to get married at 30—which is pretty much panned when they do meet up and have the most awkward first kiss EVER. How do they overcome such an incredibly uncomfortable situation?

They overcome it by running away!

Sebastian is thinking “now or never” because he thinks Rachel’s never going to think he’s any cooler than when she sees him in the office of his own company. And she isn’t ready because her whole idea of herself is tied up in what a failure she is. Neither one of them is feeling good enough about themselves to have a really hot first kiss, which is the same reason they’re not ready to get married.

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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

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Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card and Digital Copy of CD Reiss’ ONLY EVER YOU

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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About the Author

47B52A27-9590-4F01-967D-218A756F2101CD Reiss is a New York Times bestselling author. She still has to chop wood and carry water, which was buried in the fine print. Her lawyer is working it out with God, but in the meantime, if you call and she doesn’t pick up, she’s at the well hauling buckets. Born in New York City, Reiss moved to Hollywood, California, to get her master’s degree in screenwriting from USC. In case you want to know, that went nowhere—but it did give her a big enough ego to write novels.

Reiss is frequently referred to as the Shakespeare of Smut, which is flattering but hasn’t ever gotten her out of chopping that cord of wood. If you meet her in person, you should call her Christine. Text cdreiss to 77948 to get a notification whenever she has a new release.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS | TWITTER

Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: SAY NO TO THE DUKE by Eloisa James

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SAY NO TO THE DUKE: The Wildes of Lindow Castle, Book 4 by Eloisa James

Publication Date: June 25, 2019

Genre: Historical Romance

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3B5F570D-E872-4175-8053-DB4AE00103E1Could she possibly refuse a duke’s hand—in favor of a sardonic, sinful rake?

Lady Betsy Wilde’s first season was triumphant by any measure, and a duke has proposed—but before marriage, she longs for one last adventure.

No gentleman would agree to her scandalous plan—but Lord Jeremy Roden is no gentleman. He offers a wager. If she wins a billiards game, he’ll provide the breeches.

If he wins…she is his, for one wild night.

But what happens when Jeremy realizes that one night will never be enough? In the most important battle of his life, he’ll have to convince Betsy to say no to the duke.

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Excerpt

They moved toward each other as if they were following the steps of a very slow, very grand country dance. One that was danced by kings and queens and countryfolk alike.
When they were beside each other, she squared her shoulders and met his eyes. “I decided to come to you. I hope that is all right.”
“I do believe that you are the bravest woman I’ve ever met,” he replied.
He couldn’t have said anything better; Betsy felt herself begin to glow. “I haven’t been brave to this point, but I have made up my mind to change. I outlawed being nervous, but now I need to outlaw being afraid.” She hesitated. “I have chosen courage, and now I choose happiness.”
“I love you as you are,” he whispered, and then his mouth came down on hers.
Her breath caught in her throat because their tongues met as if they kissed every day, every night. He tasted right, which sent a shiver through her whole body, and pushed her against him gently, the way a pebble might roll up a beach when the tide comes in.
One doesn’t fight the tide.

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Kindle | Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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Giveaway

Paperback Copy of SAY NO TO THE DUKE by Eloisa James

Enter on Facebook Post Here

Winner will be selected Monday (7/8) by 6PM EST. Paperback provided by Avon.

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TOT - MARRUSEloisa James is a USA Today and New York Times bestselling author and professor of English literature, who lives with her family in New York, but can sometimes be found in Paris or Italy. She is the mother of two and, in a particularly delicious irony for a romance writer, is married to a genuine Italian knight. Visit her at http://www.eloisajames.com.

 

Review, Q&A & Giveaway: JACKSON: Eternity Springs: The McBrides of Texas by Emily March

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JACKSON: Eternity Springs: The McBrides of Texas by Emily March

Publication Date: June 25, 2019

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

86C83BDF-B847-4BC9-A4EE-91E0A5391DF6From New York Times bestselling author Emily March comes Jackson, the newest novel in the critically acclaimed Eternity Springs series.

Sometimes it takes a new beginning

Caroline Carruthers thinks she buried her dreams along with the love of her life…until a stranger named Celeste dares her to chase a dream all on her own. Moving to Redemption, Texas, is chapter one in Caroline’s new life story. Opening a bookstore is the next. Finding love is the last thing on her mind as she settles into this new place called home. But when she meets a handsome, soulful man who’s also starting over, all bets are off.

to reach a happily-ever-after

Jackson McBride came to Redemption looking only to find himself, not someone to love. Ever since his marriage ended, he’s been bitter. Sure, he used to believe in love—he even has the old song lyrics to prove it—but the Jackson of today is all business. That is, until a beautiful young widow who’s moved to town inspires a change of heart. Could it be that the myth of Redemption’s healing magic is true…and Jackson and Caroline can find a second chance at a happy ending after all?

~*~*~*~

Donna review 4.5 stars

I loved this spin-off from the Eternity Springs Series, it was the perfect segue and kept me wanting more. If you’ve read the Eternity Springs books, you know that Celeste is like an earth-bound-fairy-godmother. She wove her magic and put two hurting souls together so they could lean on each other in writing the next chapters of their lives. Jackson and Caroline were likeable from the start, making my heart smile as they moved from strangers, to friends, to lovers. Their friends and family brought banter to a fun level, making me want to move into town and shove my way in. No danger, no hot and heavy sex….just a sweet love story that still has me smiling.

*Review copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Excerpt

Read Excerpt Here

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1. You wrote a book! That’s pretty awesome. Why don’t you tell us a bit about what inspired Jackson and the rest of the books in the Eternity Springs world?

The saying “Write what you know” says it all in my case. I’m a small-town girl and my family and friendships are center to my world. I write about love and family and friendships. I have roots in both the Colorado Rockies and the Texas Hill Country, so it was natural for me to set Eternity Springs and Redemption there. The idea for JACKSON grew out of my interest in the music currently being written and performed in Texas. I’ve always thought singer/songwriters are romantic figures so I was excited to create a hero with this background. Unfortunately, I’m not a musician and I’m definitely not a singer, but I am creative so it was fun for me to explore that aspect of a character.

2. Introduce us to your main character!

Okay. Well, Americana singer/songwriter Jackson McBride is a bit damaged when the book begins. His famous, talented and wealthy ex has won a custody battle that severely limits his access to his six-year-old daughter, so Jackson goes home to the Texas Hill Country to nurse his broken heart. He finds solace in Enchanted Canyon hiking the trails with the dog he rescues and working to bring a historic dance hall back to life. The last thing he expects is to find love again with a woman whose heart is as battered as his own.

3. Walk us through a day in the life of Emily March.

Ready to be bored? Now that my daughter’s and niece’s weddings are behind me—they consumed me for months—I’m boring and happy about it. I split my time between Fort Worth where we have a condo downtown in a 1930’s passenger train station and our lake house in the Texas Hill Country. I recently gave up my office in town because I’m spending more and more time at the lake. My husband also offices out of our condo, so on days when we are both working in town, I’ve started riding the new TexRail train that runs from our building to DFW airport. It’s quiet and comfortable and I don’t have Internet to distract me. And at $5 a day, it’s much cheaper than office rent. 🙂 When I’m at the lake I’m either working or doing yard work. My new favorite toy is my power washer.

4. Lots of aspiring authors out there. Any advice for them?

I’ve always thought that one of the most important things you can do for your writing is to read. And read. And read some more. Read across genres. You absorb so much about pacing and plotting and character development when you read. Plus, you get to READ! 🙂

5. How is the Jackson trilogy different than your other series?

I don’t think it’s necessarily different from the rest of the Eternity Springs series. I write about love and family and friendship—that doesn’t change. Readers will still see old friends from Eternity Springs and a few scenes in JACKSON are set in Colorado. What’s new is we get to spend some time in the Texas Hill Country and meet a few new characters—Celeste’s cousin, Angelica, for example.

6. I know asking someone’s all-time favorite book is a loaded question so what’s your current favorite read?

I’m a big fan of Patricia Brigg’s Mercy Thompson series and I’m reading her latest right now, STORM CURSED.

7. Alright, the ultimate question: why should we read your book?

My goals as a writer are to touch a reader’s heart, to entertain her and make her laugh, to maybe cry a little and sigh with satisfaction upon reaching the end. With JACKSON, I believe I’ve achieved those goals.

8. Describe yourself in 3 words.

Family. Family. Family. 🙂

9. What is your most embarrassing memory?

Walking out of the junior high school cafeteria in seventh grade, not realizing that my very short dress—it was the 70’s—had gotten hung up in my underwear and I inadvertently flashed my rear end to the entire cafeteria—including the tables where the football players sat. Thinking about it even today gives me the hives.

10. Favorite quote or scene you wrote in JACKSON?

I love the ending. Jackson is a songwriter who has lost his music and when he finds it again…the song he sings to Caroline…just makes me melt.

11. What is one piece of advice you would tell everyone?

Call your mother.

12. What inspired you to become a writer?

I’ve always loved to read, so that is part of it, but my father was my primary inspiration. He was a fabulous storyteller. I grew up sitting at his feet and listening to him tell stories about his youth and his experiences in Europe during World War II. Listening to him tell his stories was my favorite thing to do. I didn’t inherit his talent for verbal storytelling, but I think I learned from him how to tell a good story on the page.

13. Do you have any interesting writing quirks or habits?

Like I mentioned before, I’m pretty boring. My perks and habits are always evolving. The train writing thing is new for me. I usually write on a laptop and edit on a desktop. I listen to movie soundtracks when I write and always finish a book with The Last of the Mohicans.

14. What has been one of the most surprising things you’ve learned as a published author

I’m always a little surprised and honored that readers are excited to meet me. Like I said…I’m a boring person.

15. What is your favorite state to visit?

Colorado, of course, because I must keep returning to Eternity Springs. 🙂

16. What are hobbies or interests do you have?

We are lake people, so I love waterskiing and boating and fishing. As I write this we’ve just finished Memorial Day weekend at the lake, so I sort of feel like chief cook and sheet-and-towel washer, too. I love, love, love hosting big holiday gatherings of family and friends at the lake house, but I will admit I do tire of the mountain of laundry in the aftermath.

17. Can you tell us about what’s coming up next after this for you writing wise?

I’m writing Tucker’s story. Fun fact for this—as part of my research I attended a survivalist training school for a weekend. I searched long and hard to find one where I could return to town to spend the night in a comfy hotel rather than sleep on the ground—I’m only willing to go so far for my art. I did learn to start a friction fire, though, something I’me VERY proud of. 🙂

18. How can readers connect with you online?

My website is http://www.emilymarch.com. I’m active on Facebook. My Facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/emilymarchbooks. You can also reach me by email at emily@emilymarch.com.

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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

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Giveaway

Paperback Copy of JACKSON: Eternity Springs: The McBrides of Texas by Emily March.

Enter on Facebook Post HERE

Winner will be selected Monday (7/1) by 6PM EST. Paperback provided by St. Martin’s Paperbacks.

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About the Author

53D3159B-691A-4514-BFD5-CFC309929A4FEmily March is the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty novels, including the critically acclaimed Eternity Springs series. Publishers Weekly calls March a “master of delightful banter,” and her heartwarming, emotionally charged stories have been named to Best of the Year lists by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Romance Writers of America. A graduate of Texas A&M University, Emily is an avid fan of Aggie sports and her recipe for jalapeño relish has made her a tailgating legend.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: THE COWBOY MEETS HIS MATCH by Margaret Brownley

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THE COWBOY MEETS HIS MATCH (The Haywire Brides Series, Book 2) by Margaret Brownley

Publication Date: May 28, 2019

Genre: Western Romance

Synopsis

D684EA04-1263-45F0-9095-51489D39511EHis first mistake was marrying her.

His second was falling in love.

Chase McKnight will do anything to secure his family’s ranch—but marriage to a complete stranger? That’s a hard pill to swallow. Yet the will is clear: Chase needs a wife by his side if he wants to keep his home, so he meets his veiled lady at the courthouse steps and reluctantly says “I do”.

Too bad he married the wrong bride.

When Boston runaway Emily Fields agreed to marry a Texas stranger to escape her family’s scandal, she wasn’t prepared to get hitched to the wrong cowboy! Stuck in a secret compromise, she has one year to learn the ways of the ranch and convince Chase’s family they’re happily married. But when the lie becomes true, the past catches up to them and they must save the love they never expected…

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Excerpt

Watching Emily stagger away like a drunken cowhand, Chase kicked himself mentally. Now he’d done it.
All he’d wanted to do was keep a safe distance from her emotionally. It was the only way he could keep from thinking things he had no business thinking. Things like how she’d looked in that blasted towel.
But he’d gone too far, and now it appeared he had pushed her away completely.
He hated thinking that he’d taken out the resentment toward his father on her. She wasn’t to blame for any of this and was as much a victim of circumstances as he was.
Feeling lower than low, he watched her cross the yard for a moment before chasing after her. She might not admit it, but it was clear by the way she limped that she was hurting.
Emily stopped when he caught up to her. “Now what?” she demanded, eyes flashing.
“I just want to make sure you’re okay.”
If she was surprised by his interest in her welfare, it didn’t show. “I’m fine!” she snapped. “No thanks to you.”
Yep, she was hurting all right. He could see the strain in her eyes. She also looked like she’d been through the wringer. She straightened her hat, but not much could be done for the abundance of yellow hair that had sprung free from its bun. The intriguing smudge on her cheek, however, called for a man’s touch. His touch.
When he reached a finger to her smooth, silky skin to rub the spot away, her startled blue eyes met his. “Sorry,” he said, pulling his hand away. “You had somethin’ on your face.”
Her hand flew to her cheek, and her already heated face turned another shade darker.
“It’s gone now,” he said.
Her mouth formed a perfect circle, and she lowered her hand to her side.
He felt bad for giving her a hard time. Lack of sleep had made him start the day out of sorts, and his encounter with Cassie Decker hadn’t helped. Poor woman. She had counted on their marriage for her children’s sakes.
His failure in keeping his promise to Cassie had made him more determined to do right by Emily. Or at least to see to her safety. He’d let one woman down; he sure in blazes didn’t want to fail another.
Horses were dangerous. The land was dangerous. But a part of him knew there was more. A lot more. As long as they were at each other’s throats, he could control his thoughts. Or at least keep from dwelling on such things as Emily’s gold-tipped eyelashes. Or the little indentation on her cheek when she smiled. Or even the way her eyes flashed during their many confrontations.
Looking away, he reminded himself how unsuited she was for ranch life. How unequipped she was to deal with the harsh land. She was much more suited to the city.
“Tomorrow, we’ll go a little easier with your lesson,” he said, hoping to make amends for his bad behavior.
She lifted her chin, her face dark with anger. “There won’t be any more lessons.”
“Come on,” he said gently. “You don’t mean that. Look at you. You’re fine.” More than fine…
“No thanks to you!”
Surprised by the vehemence in her voice, he stepped back “Me? What did I do?”
Her blazing blue eyes met his. “You put me through hell, that’s what!”
“By teachin’ you the proper handlin’ of a hoss?”
“By making me obey your every command like a helpless imbecile!”
He drew in his breath. He’d been rough on her, but he never meant to make her feel bad. “You have to admit your knowledge of hosses leaves much to be desired.” Taking her silence to mean she agreed, he added, “Tomorrow, same time, same place.”
She shot visual daggers at him. “If you expect to have your way with me a second time, you better think again.” With that, she stormed away.
Her words struck a chord that was better left untouched. Still, he couldn’t hold back the words that popped into his head. “Trust me,” he called after. “If I wanted to have my way with you, it wouldn’t be on a hoss!”

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Buy Links
Kindle | Amazon Paperback

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Giveaway

5 Copies of COWBOY CHARM SCHOOL

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

Margaret is a New York Times bestselling author and two-time Romance Writers of America RITA finalist, with more than 40 novels to her credit. Not bad for someone who flunked 8th grade English. Just don’t ask her to diagram a sentence.

www.margaret-brownley.com

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Review, Guest Post & Giveaway: DEFENDING HARLOW by Susan Stoker

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DEFENDING HARLOW (Mountain Mercenaries Series, Book 4) by Susan Stoker

Publication Date: June 4, 2019

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Author Guest Post

A Mountain Mercenary’s Sneak Attack with Author Susan Stoker

Defending Harlow is book 4 in the Mountain Mercenaries series. Each book features one of the men who were recruited by the mysteries “Rex” to work on his team to help rescue kidnapped women and children. In this book we meet Lowell “Black” Lockard who was a Navy SEAL before he became a Mountain Mercenary. He joined the group because after his stint in the Navy, he realized that he was happiest when he was being useful, helping others. He’d been close to his fellow SEALs when he’d been on active duty, but somehow he was even closer with his fellow Mountain Mercenaries.

They worked together, they played together, and they simply enjoyed spending time with each other both during missions and when they were living their lives in Colorado Springs.

Black loves that his friends have found women that completed them. Gray met Allye when he rescued her from a boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and they had to swim for hours to safety. Ro met Chloe when her brother was holding her hostage in his house and was about to pimp her out from his strip club. And Arrow met Morgan when they’d been down in the Dominican Republic to rescue a child who’d been kidnapped by her non custodial father. Turns out, Morgan was one of the most famous missing people the United States had ever had, and she’d been held for over a year before she’d accidentally been found by the Mountain Mercenaries.

He loves that his friends are happy, but realizes that he is…bored. He wants someone to laugh with. To talk to at the end of the day. To break the routine of his life. He envies his friends for having that.

Meeting Harlow is a turning part in Black’s life. She makes him laugh and he’s intrigued more than he’s ever been by a woman before. And realizing they went to the same high school once upon a time makes him even more curious. But there’s a problem…Harlow has had bad date after bad date and she’s sworn off dating forever.

But Black won’t give up. He decides to “trick” her by refusing to call what they’re doing as ‘dates.’ They’re just “hanging out.” And the more he spends time with her, the more he likes her…and vice versa. Harlow will have to decide whether or not to take a chance on Black, and he’ll have to figure out how to neutralize the threat looming over Harlow and the women’s shelter she works at or else the semantics of what they’re doing will be a moot point, because someone might end up dead.

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Synopsis

E91B720F-CCD3-4946-ABE1-0C48AE0BA083Lowell “Black” Lockard, former Navy SEAL, has watched his fellow Mountain Mercenaries settle down with the women of their dreams, but he’s convinced he doesn’t need love. Then he gets a call from Harlow Reese—a chef at a local women’s shelter—and begins to reconsider his decision.

After being continually harassed by a local band of punks, Harlow asks Lowell to give the women of the shelter lessons in self-defense. She doesn’t expect him to take such a special interest in her safety, but he insists on escorting her to and from work, never taking no for an answer. Not that Harlow minds the personal touch…especially when it’s coming from her former teenage crush.

Despite her long history of bad dating luck, seeing Black again makes Harlow rethink her self-imposed celibacy. Easy on the eyes and hard to forget, the man has morphed into an alpha stud. And Harlow may be exactly the type of woman Black is looking for. Making her feel safe isn’t only a duty; it’s a pleasure. But the threats are escalating. The motives are a mystery. And as the danger burns almost as hot as their passion, there’s much more at risk than their hearts.

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Donna review 4.5 stars

This is my favorite of the Mountain Mercenaries series. Harlow and Black were both characters that were easy to bond with and I loved watching Black’s ingenious plan to win her heart play out. It was sweet, romantic, and had just enough sex to spice it up. Black’s fellow mercenaries interacted more, and their banter made them feel like a close-knit group with unshakable bonds. Just what I love in a group series. The action flowed quite nicely with the budding romance, never appearing gratuitous or forced as it reached its climax. I only have one request….I want to know more about Rex! I guess I’ll just have to wait impatiently for book 5.

*Review copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Excerpt

Neither said anything for a while as they drove toward downtown.

Finally, Harlow asked, “Where are we going?”

“The Pit.”

“Where?”

Lowell smiled. “Since this isn’t a date, and we’re talking about the shelter, I decided I should take you to the place where me and my team conduct business. The Pit.”

“It sounds scary. Please tell me there aren’t snakes on the floor and Indiana Jones isn’t going to pop up and run pell-mell through the place being chased by members of an ancient civilization because they want their artifact back.”

Harlow stared at Lowell when he threw his head back and laughed loud and long. She couldn’t help but chuckle herself. The man sitting next to her was so different from any man she’d dated in the past—no, wait … this wasn’t a date. Nope. Not even close.

“I can’t wait to tell the others that. No, Harl, The Pit is a combination bar and pool hall. It’s pretty much a hole-in-the-wall kind of place.”

“Why do you do business in a bar?” Harlow asked.

“To be honest, I’m not sure. The Pit is where we were interviewed when we were first asked to join the Mountain Mercenaries … I’m assuming you know about the team?”

She nodded. “A bit. Loretta told me. I’m sorry if she spoke out of turn, but she was trying to reassure me that you knew what you were doing and could help us.”

“I can help you,” Lowell confirmed. “And in a nutshell, me and my teammates are all former Special Forces soldiers, and we work for Rex, getting women and children out of untenable situations.”

“Why mercenaries? I mean, it doesn’t sound like that’s what you guys really are.”

Lowell shook his head, and a small smile formed on his face. “Why do women always concentrate on that word?” he asked, more to himself than her.

Harlow answered him even though he hadn’t really asked. “Because. It’s weird that you call yourselves something that you technically aren’t. I wouldn’t start a catering business and call it Harlow Photography.”

“Point taken. I don’t know why Rex chose that name. Probably because it was catchy and sounded better than Colorado Badasses, or Your Worst Nightmare.”

Harlow couldn’t stop the bark of laughter that escaped. “True.”

“The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter what we’re called. We’re six men who go where we’re needed and do what we have to do to rescue those who need a helping hand. I know women are empowered, and there are many who are just as talented at what they do as we are. But the fact remains, there are a lot of men out there who feel the need to subjugate and beat down the women and children in their lives. They take advantage of teenagers who are too young to know better or those who have had horrible lives. They hurt them and force them to do things against their will. It’s not right, or fair, and me and my friends are playing a small part in trying to right those wrongs.”

Harlow wasn’t sure how their light and playful conversation had turned so intense, but she turned slightly in her seat to better look at Lowell. His teeth were clenched, and the hand on the steering wheel was holding on so tightly, she could see his knuckles turning white. He obviously felt deeply about the topic and his job, and Harlow couldn’t be more proud of him.

“I’m proud to know you, Lowell Lockard.”

He looked at her in surprise. “What?”

“The world needs more men like you and your friends. I don’t know why men like the ones harassing the shelter are the way they are. Why they feel the need to exert their power over those they deem weaker than them. But I’m glad you’re there to help tip the scales. Other than the high-speed-chase guy, generally I haven’t been afraid of my bad dates, I’ve just been disgusted by or disappointed in them. But I know there are a lot of women out there who’re in bad marriages and relationships, and it helps knowing there are people who care. People who will put their own lives on the line to help get others out of those situations, if asked.”

Lowell pulled into a parking lot of a dark and seedy-looking building, and Harlow wasn’t surprised to see the neon sign above the door that said The Pit. This was exactly the kind of place where she imagined Lowell and his fellow badasses would meet.

He stopped the engine, brought the hand he was still holding up to his mouth, and kissed the back of it. “Stay put. I’ll come around.”

He went to let go of her, but Harlow held on to his hand. “This isn’t a date,” she said, not sure if she was reminding him or herself. “It’s a work meeting. I let you pick me up, but I should’ve driven myself. And I can open my own door and pay my own way.”

Lowell leaned into her, and Harlow forced herself not to pull back.

“I know this isn’t a date. You don’t date. I heard that loud and clear, Harl. But in my world—and make no mistake; when you’re with me, you’re in my world—a man opens a door for a lady. He walks on the outside of the sidewalk, he picks her up whenever possible, and he pays for drinks and meals. If it makes you feel better, you can think of this as a business expense I can write off on my taxes.”

Harlow stared at him for a beat, then nodded. What else could she do? She didn’t want to like Lowell’s world, but she had to admit it felt good being there. She’d had doors shut in her face when men had entered ahead of her and hadn’t held them open. She’d had to pay for her own meals on dates. And she’d even had an experience when she’d literally almost been run over by a bus in Seattle because she’d been forced to walk on the outside of the sidewalk near the curb.

“Okay,” she said.

“Okay,” Lowell said with a small smile. Then he squeezed her hand once more and climbed out.

“Not a date, not a date,” Harlow chanted to herself quietly as Lowell walked around his car to come to her side. He opened her door and held out a hand. Taking a deep breath, Harlow put her hand back in his and allowed him to help her up and out of the low seat.

He didn’t let go of her hand once she was standing next to him, though. He simply shut the car door with his free hand and led her toward the door of the bar.

Not a date, she told herself once more as Lowell smiled at her and pulled open the heavy wooden door.

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Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card and Digital Copy of Susan Stoker’s DEFENDING HARLOW

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About the Author

A6A4A7AC-5A93-469E-AFD3-1946AC00DD2BSusan Stoker is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Her series include Badge of Honor: Texas Heroes, SEAL of Protection, Delta Force Heroes, and Mountain Mercenaries. Married to a retired Army noncommissioned officer, Stoker has lived all over the country—from Missouri and California to Colorado and Texas—and currently lives under the big skies of Tennessee. A true believer in happily ever after, Stoker enjoys writing novels in which romance turns to love.