Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway: With Every Breath
 by Maya Banks

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With Every Breath
 (Slow Burn #4) by Maya Banks

Publication Date: August 23, 2016

Synopsis

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#1 USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Maya Banks continues her suspenseful and sizzling Slow Burn series with this fourth book—a mesmerizingly sexy tale of a strong, brilliant woman who encounters the one man who makes her lose all control.

Eliza Cummings fought free of a monster who terrorized her when she was an innocent teenager and helped put him away for good. She took a job with Devereaux Security Services and devoted every hour to taking down the very thing she’d nearly become. No one, not even those closest to her, know her darkest, shameful secrets. But now the killer has been set free on a legal loophole and it’s only a matter of time before he comes for her. Eliza’s only choice is to run and lead the monster away from the people she loves.

Wade Sterling has always lived by his own rules, a law unto himself who answers to no one. He’s never professed to be a good man, and he’s definitely not hero material. Wade never allows anyone close enough to see the man behind the impenetrable mask—but one woman threatens his carefully leashed control. He took a bullet for her and the result was more than a piece of metal entrenched in his skin. She was under his skin and nothing he did rid himself of the woman with the courage of a warrior and who thinks nothing of putting her life before others.

But when Wade sees a panicked and haunted Eliza he knows something is very wrong, because the fool woman has never been afraid of anything. And when she tries to run, the primal beast barely lurking beneath his deceptively polished façade erupts in a rage. She may not know it, but she belongs to him. This time, Eliza isn’t going to play the protector. She was damn well going to be the protected. And as long as Wade breathes, no one will ever hurt what is his.

Link to Follow Blast 

Goodreads Link

Goodreads Series Link

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Excerpt

“Baby,” he whispered, watching as her eyes became cloudy and then shiny with tears when he murmured the endearment. As though she mattered to him. Didn’t she understand she was the most important thing in the world to him? No, she didn’t. Not yet. But she would. “Lay your burden down. It’s time to let someone carry it for you.”
He’d said it before but this time it seemed to really register with her and hit home. For a brief moment there was a spark of hope and so much yearning in her eyes that he automatically squeezed her tighter in his arms.
She wanted to lean on him. He’d seen that in her eyes right before defeat registered and with it her loss of hope. She truly believed that no one could help her, even if she wanted it. How to make her believe in him? How to make her believe that there was nothing he wouldn’t do for her, to alleviate the pain and guilt in her eyes, to permanently remove those bruising shadows?

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Buy Links

Amazon | B & N | iTunes | Kobo

Amazon Series Link

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Giveaway

(Three (3) Print Bundles of the complete Slow Burn Series, including, IN HIS KEEPING, KEEP ME SAFE, SAFE AT LAST & WITH EVERY BREATH.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

imageMaya Banks is a #1 USA Today and New York Times bestselling author whose chart toppers have included erotic romance, romantic suspense, contemporary romance, Scottish historical romances. She is the author of the Breathless Trilogy, the KGI novels, the Sweet series, and the Colters Legacy novels.

She lives in the South with her husband and three children and other assorted babies, such as her two Bengal kitties and a Calico who’s been with her as long as her youngest child. She’s an avid reader of romance and loves to dish books with her fans and anyone else who’ll listen! She very much enjoys interacting with her readers on Facebook and Twitter as well as in her Yahoo! Group.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Release Day Launch: Un-Shattering Lucy (The Lucy & Harris Novella Book 4) by Terri Anne Browning

 

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Un-Shattering Lucy by Terri Anne Browning is a contemporary novella and the fourth, and final, book in the Lucy & Harris series! Check out the purchase links below, and links for the previous books in the series.

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Un-Shattering Lucy (The Lucy & Harris Novella Book 4) by Terri Anne Browning

Publication Date: August 23, 2016

NowAvalibable

Buy Links

KindleiBooks | B&N

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Synopsis

imageThe conclusion to USA Today Terri Anne Browning’s The Lucy & Harris Novella Series.

Shattered.

That was how Lucy Thornton felt in the aftermath of her breakup with Harris Cutter. Her family thought the best thing for her to do was to put the length of the country between her and Harris.

Reluctantly, she went.

The second Harris sets eyes on Lucy again, he knows she hasn’t moved on any more than he has. Realizing that he screwed up, he sets out to prove that they belong together. But the road to un-shattering Lucy is longer and darker than he ever could have imagined.

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ADD UN-SHATTERING LUCY TO GOODREADS

About the Author

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Terri Anne Browning is the USA TODAY bestselling author of The Rocker…Series. She started writing her own novellas at the age of sixteen, forcing her sister to be her one woman fan club. Now she has a few more readers and a lot more passion for writing. Being dyslexic, she never thought a career in writing would be possible, yet she has been on best selling lists multiple times since 2013. Reese: A Safe Haven Novella was her first Indie published book. The Rocker Who Holds Me changed the tables and kicked off The Rocker… series featuring the sinfully delicious members of Demon’s Wings. The Rocker… Series has since expanded to OtherWorld with Axton Cage and his band members. Other books by Terri Anne include the Angel’s Halo MC Series as well as The Lucy & Harris Novella Series. Terri Anne lives in Virginia with her husband, their three demons—err, children–and a loveable Olde English Bulldog named Link.

AUTHOR LINKS:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

InkSlinger Blogger Final

Excerpt Reveal: Neighbor Dearest by Penelope Ward

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Neighbor Dearest by Penelope Ward

(A Standalone Contemporary Romance)

Publication Date: August 15, 2016

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Synopsis

imageA STANDALONE NOVEL that does NOT need to be read in conjunction with any other book.

From New York Times bestselling author, Penelope Ward, comes a friends-to-lovers story with sexy new characters.

After getting dumped, the last thing I needed was to move next door to someone who reminded me of my ex-boyfriend, Elec.

Damien was a hotter version of my ex.

The neighbor I’d dubbed “Angry Artist” also had two massive dogs that kept me up with their barking.

He wanted nothing to do with me. Or so I thought until one night I heard laughter coming through an apparent hole in my bedroom wall.

Damien had been listening to all of my phone sessions with my therapist.

The sexy artist next door now knew all of my deepest secrets and insecurities.

We got to talking.

He set me straight with tips to get over my breakup.

He became a good friend, but Damien made it clear that he couldn’t be anything more.

Problem was, I was falling hard for him anyway. And as much as he pushed me away, I knew he felt the same…because his heartbeat didn’t lie.

I thought my heart had been broken by Elec, but it was alive and beating harder than ever for Damien.

I just hoped he wouldn’t shatter it for good.

Author’s note – Neighbor Dearest is a full-length standalone novel. Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.

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Excerpt

Read Chapter 1 online: https://gallery.mailchimp.com/653a5a8a7ab1ee6768e90841e/files/ND_FIRST_CHAPTER.pdf

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Pre-Order
Available for Pre-order on iBooks, Nook and Kobo now!
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Sign up for Penelope’s mailing list now and be the
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Join Penelope’s Peeps for early news of books, fun chats and giveaways!
https://www.facebook.com/groups/PenelopesPeeps/

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About the Author

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Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author. She grew up in Boston with five older brothers and spent most of her twenties as a television news anchor, before switching to a more family-friendly career. She is the proud mother of a beautiful 10-year-old girl with autism and a 9-year-old boy. Penelope and her family reside in Rhode Island.

Social Media Links: Facebook | Website | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads

Additional Books from Penelope Ward

Spotlight, Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway: Reckless in Texas (Texas Rodeo, #1) by Kari Lynn Dell

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Reckless in Texas (Texas Rodeo, #1) by Kari Lynn Dell

Publication Date: August 2, 2016 

Synopsis

imageViolet Jacobs is fearless. At least, that’s what the cowboys she snatches from under the hooves of bucking horses think. Outside the ring, she’s got plenty of worries rattling her bones: her young son, her mess of a love life, and lately, her family’s struggling rodeo. When she takes business into her own hands and hires on a hotshot bullfighter, she expects to start a ruckus. She never expected Joe Cassidy. Rough and tumble, cocky and charming, Joe’s everything a superstar should be—and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out he’s way out of Violet’s league.

Joe came to Texas to escape a life spiraling out of control. He never planned on sticking around, and he certainly never expected to call this dry and dusty backwater home. But Violet is everything he never knew he was missing, and the deeper he’s pulled into her beautiful mess of a family, the more he realizes this fierce rodeo girl may be offering him the one thing he never could find on his own.

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Author Guest Post

A Letter from the Author

Dear Reader,

There’s something about a rodeo. The scent of early morning dew and the quiet crunch of gravel under metal shoes. The first drowsy simmer of excitement wakened by the dull thud of hooves on rubber as horses hop into the trailer. One last check to be sure all the rope bags and bridles and the one certain saddle blanket are packed into the tack compartment. The life-giving aroma of coffee in travel mugs, and a half-hearted debate about whose turn it is to climb behind the wheel, and who drove last time, and yeah, honey, I know you hate those idiot Portland drivers. I’ve got that shift.
There’s something about a rodeo that takes you to places you would otherwise never venture. Tiny towns on dead end highways, with names like Weippe and Rosebud. Into the chaos of city traffic in Minneapolis and Seattle. Through endless miles of high desert to Winnemucca, and crawling up the side of Hell’s Canyon to Asotin.
There’s something about a rodeo. Bucking bulls and horses drowsing in the midday sun, tails twitching at the occasional fly. Voices and laughter echoing through a maze of pickups and trailers in the contestant parking area. How’d you do at Homedale yesterday? Great ride at Fort Pierre last weekend. Did you draw a good one today? Yeah, I got on Thunderfoot at High River. Better have your hammer cocked, he’ll throw some moves at you.
The whistle of ropes as cowboys pull out their gear and warm up their arms. The jingle of tack and the slap of leather, punctuated by an occasional whinny. Damp earth and diesel smoke as the tractor rumbles around the arena, preparing the ground, and the first, tempting wafts of grilled beef from the concession stand. And underneath it all, a slow-building tension.
Almost time…
There’s something about a rodeo. Old men in battered, sweat-stained cowboy hats and pearl snap shirts, clustered together in the stands to relive the good times, shaking their heads at how fast these boys are nowadays. Babies in strollers, and their older siblings scampering around in boots and spurs, swinging kid-sized ropes and dreaming dreams as big as the world.
Bucking horses peering out through chute gates, bareback riders standing over them with hats pressed to hearts as the Star-Spangled Banner streams behind a galloping horse and the notes of the national anthem soar into a blue summer sky. Heads bowed as the announcer’s solemn baritone recites the Cowboy’s Prayer.
We ask, Lord, that you be with us in the arena of life…
There’s something about a rodeo. The simmer turning to a buzz as your moment creeps closer. Muscles tighten, lungs constrict. Relax. Breathe. The concerted effort to clear the clutter from your brain and be here, now, in this moment. This few seconds that are the culmination of all the hours of training and practice and travel. Hands that want to tremble from anticipation when you tighten cinches and test your loop. The creak of leather and the musky scent of horse sweat as you swing aboard. Reins that twitch in your hands, bottling up the equine nitro that churns beneath your saddle, eager for the instant of explosion.
Almost time…
Minutes drag, and then race, and then drag again. Relax. Breathe. Riding the wave of adrenaline to the razor-thin edge between ultimate effort and tipping over into a debilitating tangle of nerves. Focus. Clear. You’ve done this a thousand times. Shut down your mind, trust your body.
There’s something about a rodeo. That moment when it’s your name booming over the loudspeakers. You backing into the roping box, climbing down into the chute. A ton of muscle and adrenaline quivering beneath you, primed to launch. Ready, ready…
And then you nod your head.
There’s something about a rodeo. And I hope you’ll grab a copy of Reckless in Texas and come along for the pulse-pounding, heart-stopping ride.

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Excerpt

Joe slid off his horse, face contorted with pain. He pressed his back against the nearest post and eased down, knees bent, hands clasped tight between his thighs, grinding out curses between clenched teeth. Violet dropped to a crouch between his feet, stomach churning at what she might find. Just a month earlier, she’d seen a team roper lose a thumb by catching it in his rope, and last year one of the tie-down ropers had crushed his wrist in a stray coil.
“Let me see.” She took hold of his forearms, trying to pull his hand out to where she could examine it.
“No.”
“Yes.” She slid her hands down to his wrists, not feeling any gross deformities or blood, but he still had his gloves on. “Is it your thumb?”
“Go. Away.”
“Stop being a baby.”
His right hand snapped up, whip-quick, and clamped on the back of her head, bringing them nose to nose, eye to eye. “It’s not my hand, Violet. It’s what’s underneath.”
“What’s—oh!”
Joe’s hand was cradling his crotch. That pop she’d heard? It was the knotted end of the rope whacking him where it counted. And her hand was right on top of his.
He bared his teeth. “Still wanna kiss it better?”
Mortification rolled over her, hot as molten lava. She tried to jerk away, but the force of Joe’s grip on her nape
tipped her off balance. She grabbed his shoulders and her not-inconsiderable weight knocked him sideways. They tumbled to the ground in a tangle of limbs. She scrambled to get her knees under her. One of them made contact with something solid. Joe yelped, twisting hard and fast, flipping Violet onto her back. She arched, bracing to fight him off.
“Stop!”
Violet froze.
Joe was sprawled on top of her, his body rigid. Air hissed in and out between his teeth and sweat beaded on his forehead. “Just…don’t…move,” he panted. “Honest to God, you knee me in the thigh again, I’m gonna puke right down the front of your shirt.”
Violet held her breath. If possible, she would’ve willed her heart to stop beating, in case the thud, thud, thud disturbed his stomach. Motherhood had done nothing to disable her very active gag reflex. As her head cleared, she sorted out what was where. Joe was draped over her, chest to chest, her kneecap flush against the inside of the thigh Dirt Eater had nailed. She carefully rotated her leg, removing the pressure.
“Thank you,” Joe breathed. “Just give me a minute to catch my air and I’ll get off of you.”
Her hands were still clamped on his shoulders, but she couldn’t find anyplace else to put them. The longer she stayed put, the more aware she became of all the hard, lovely muscle under his T-shirt. If it were Beni, she could rub his back to make him feel better. She imagined sliding her palm down the sleek curve of Joe’s spine. Imagined his reaction. Yeah. He would definitely misinterpret the gesture. Much like her body was beginning to misinterpret their current position, the lean length of him hot against her, his cheek pressed to her collarbone, his face buried in the curve of her neck. Each short puff of air was a hot stroke on her skin.
“You sound like you’re in labor,” she said.
He huffed a laugh that tickled her ear. “If having a kid hurts as bad as gettin’ whacked on the pecker with a nylon rope, I need to buy my mother flowers.”
“More like a new car,” Violet said drily. “And I thought it was your thigh.”
“It’s both now, thanks to you.”
“I was trying to help.”
“Uh-huh. I’m guessing this is why you’re a pickup man and not a paramedic.”
Degree by degree, the tension eased from his body, even as Violet wound up like a spring. Need coiled hot and low, and the urge to wiggle against him was almost intolerable.
“Up until then you were doing pretty good,” she said, by way of casual conversation. “I’ll have to tell Beni you can handle stock okay.”
“Gee, thanks.” She could hear the eye roll in his voice. He blew out a long, slow breath—then nuzzled his face into her hair and inhaled deeply. “You even smell good when you’ve been rolling in the dirt.”
She jerked her head away. “Do you always go around sniffing women like a damn stud horse?”
“Nah. If I were a stud horse, I’d do this.” He gave her a quick, light nip at the curve of her neck that electrified every nerve ending and shot a blue-white current straight to where his thigh was pressed between her legs.
She shoved at his shoulder. “Stop that!”
“Just wanted to see if you tasted good, too.” He pushed up onto his elbows, groaned, and eased sideways, an excruciating slide of body against body before he rolled clear and flopped onto his back, legs splayed. He lifted one hand in warning. “Stay back. I’ll be fine as long as you don’t help me anymore.”
No problem. Violet couldn’t move, paralyzed for a few breaths by the sudden, aching absence of his weight. Then she scrambled to her feet, slapping the dust from her butt and legs. “Take all the time you want, tough guy.”
His head snapped up. “You tackled me when I was already down.”
“I thought you were actually hurt.” She flipped a casual hand at him. “No, don’t get up. Katie and I can handle it.”
He made a noise like a pissed-off rattlesnake. She shook the dirt out of her hair, tugged her cap down low, and went to deal with the bulls before she lost her head and tackled him again.

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Buy Links

AmazonBooks-A-MillionB&NiBooks

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Giveaway

10 Copies of Kari Lynn Dell’s Reckless 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.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Teaser Excerpt Blitz: FURIOUS RUSH by S.C. Stephens

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FURIOUS RUSH by S.C. Stephens

Publication Date: August 23, 2016

Synopsis

imageThe first in an emotion-fueled, New Adult series from the #1 bestselling author of the Thoughtless novels!

Too fast, too furious—and way too hot to handle…

Mackenzie Cox has a lot to prove. Daughter of a racing legend, she is eager to show the world that she has inherited her father’s talent in the male-dominated sport of professional motorcycle racing. The last thing Kenzie needs is to be antagonized by her rival team’s newest rider, Hayden Hayes. Plucked from the world of illegal street racing, Hayden immediately gets under Kenzie’s skin. His insinuations that Kenzie is a spoiled princess who was handed her career fuels her desire to win, and much to her surprise, Kenzie soon learns she performs better when she’s racing against Hayden.

As Kenzie and Hayden push each other on the track, the electric energy between them off the track shifts into an intense—and strictly forbidden—attraction. The only rule between their two ultra-competitive teams is zero contact. Kenzie always does her best to play by the rules, but when her team slips into a financial crisis, she has no choice but to turn to Hayden for help. The tension simmers during their secret, late-night rendezvous, but Kenzie has too much to lose to give in to her desires. Especially when she begins to doubt that Hayden has completely left his street life behind…

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Excerpt

Honda Boy was holding his helmet under an arm while he flirted with the girls surrounding him. He was blond, with a short, shaggy hairstyle that probably took a lot more effort to create than it looked like. I could tell from the way the girls around him were tittering like teenagers that he was charming; with seemingly little effort on his part, he had all of them eating out of his hand. When a break in the crowd gave me a clear view of his face, I realized another thing: He was smokin’, someone-hold-on-to-my-ovaries- before-they-explode hot.
There was a perfect symmetry to his rugged features that made it seem unreal that he was standing just a few feet away from me. He should be plastered on a billboard somewhere, half-naked, selling overpriced cologne to men who wanted just a fraction of his sex appeal. As if he could feel my eyes on him, he turned his gaze my way. Our eyes met and locked, and I was helpless to turn away. There was something carnal about him, primal and dangerous. Exotic. I was instantly captivated, and I hated that I was. This guy was neck-deep in a world that twisted my stomach, a world that spat in the face of my sport. My career.
As his light-colored eyes bored holes into mine, one edge of his lip curved up in a devilish crooked grin that was both playful and promising. He was practically shouting, with just that one deadly smile, that he would satisfy my every desire, satiate every craving I could possibly have. My heart started thudding in my chest as sensations that had been dormant for far too long swirled to life in- side me. Luckily for me, the big man taking the guy’s bets clapped him on the shoulder, breaking our stare down. Once I was free of his steamy gaze, I instantly turned around so my back was to him. Jesus, was I breathing harder? Ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous. I was twenty-two, not twelve.
“Damn,” I heard Nikki say. “You were right. I should have bet on him from the get-go. I didn’t really get a good look at him before, but he is freaking hot!”
Inhaling a deep breath, I attempted to force my body back in line with my brain. “This guy is undefeated?” I asked Nikki. “Really?” She nodded in answer and I had to close my eyes for a second. A face like that with racing skills to boot? Jesus.
Clearing my throat, I nonchalantly asked, “What did you say his name was again?” I could at least label the guy in the fantasy I was surely going to have later.
“Hayden… something. He’s been around for a while, from what I gathered.”
I risked a glance over my shoulder at… Hayden. He’d slipped his helmet on, thankfully, although his visor was popped up. The big guy taking bets had been joined by a skinny Hispanic guy who seemed to be giving Hayden instructions. Or maybe a pep talk. The little guy was acting out the race that was about to happen with his hands, complete with swerving and explosions. God, I hoped there weren’t going to be explosions. While he was going through his dramatic highlights, the big guy looped a camera over Hayden’s helmet.
When the two competitors were ready, they backed their motor- cycles onto the street. A cheer ripped up and down the sidewalk as the hopeful gamblers prepared for another round of racing. I didn’t want to feel anything but contempt for what I was witnessing, yet the energy of the spectators, the roar of the bikes—I couldn’t help the zing of excitement that raced up my spine. Against my will, my mouth twisted into a wide grin, and a yell of encouragement left my lips. Hayden’s helmet swiveled my way as he revved his engine. My pulse quickened as our eyes met. Then he winked at me and slammed his visor shut.
As the riders moved into position, Nikki grabbed my arm. “Come on. We can watch the action from the van.”
I had no idea what she was talking about. Before I could ask her, though, she yanked me toward a black van parked on the sidewalk. The back doors were open, and a giant monitor attached to a swinging metal arm was sticking out above the hovering crowd. The screen was split in two, each half showing the footage from one racer’s helmet cam. Hayden and his opponent were both looking straight ahead, and the dual feeds showed similar stretches of barren road. Looking down the street, I saw that the pair were stopped at a crosswalk, waiting for the light to change.
Returning my eyes to the monitor, I found myself holding my breath as I waited for the signal to change colors. When it turned green and the bikes surged forward, I stepped closer to the van, like that would somehow release my pent-up energy. In unison, the crowd around me started hooting and hollering. Swept up in the moment, I bounced on my toes and prayed for speed. But after watching the screen for just a few seconds, I was struck with the harsh reality of the situation I was watching. This was no closed-off track with well-defined paths. This was down and dirty, anything goes, just get to the finish line first racing.
The bikes blew through red lights like they meant absolutely nothing. The streets were fairly empty at this early hour, but they blurred past the few vehicles on the road like they were standing still; they had to be going 100 miles per hour, easy. They dodged obstacles by hopping onto the sidewalk, they fishtailed around slick corners, and they came close to colliding with oncoming traffic more than once.
I turned to Nikki with shock clear on my face. “This is insane! Someone’s going to get hurt. Maybe killed!”
Nikki’s face was pure elation as she watched the screens. Her expression changed as my words sunk in, then she looked at me like I had a foot sticking out of my head. I supposed it was odd to hear that type of statement coming from someone who routinely hovered around the 150 mark on the speedometer while riding, but that was a completely different kind of environment. Believe it or not, what I did was safe, relatively speaking. Millions of dollars were spent to make it that way. This was not safe. At all.
“They’re breaking every traffic law there is,” I added, feeling like a giant stick in the mud. Someone needed to be the voice of reason here, though, because everyone was clearly out of their ever loving minds.
Nikki smirked at my comment. “It’s a race, Kenzie. They can’t exactly drive cautiously. Why do you think this happens so late at night?”
“Because it’s illegal,” I deadpanned. I got a couple of odd looks from the crowd after saying that, including a particularly nasty glare from Hayden’s bet collector. Maybe this wasn’t the best place to be talking about the law. Shutting my mouth, I quickly refocused on the screen.
Just as I noticed a familiar section of street come into view on the monitor, one side of the screen started wobbling, then the camera showed asphalt, sparks, spinning scenery, and a rapidly approaching telephone pole. The crowd around me hushed as it became clear that Hayden’s competition wasn’t going to finish this race. I heard Hayden’s bike rounding the corner seconds later, then Nikki was once again pulling me along like a rag doll. She shoved us into a good position to see the finish line right as Hayden’s Honda whizzed past. He was alone. Cheers erupted mixed with a few groans from the people who’d bet on the other guy.
Just as I was wondering if anyone was going to go check on the Ninja rider, Nikki grabbed my shoulders and started shaking me with uncontainable joy. “We won, Kenzie! We frickin’ won!”
“Great,” I said, clenching my teeth so I wouldn’t bite my tongue.
Releasing me, Nikki let out a squeal of excitement. “I just made enough money to pay you back and cover my loss. See, aren’t you glad you came?”
I narrowed my eyes into poisonous daggers that would hopefully drill some sense into her. “I hate you,” I murmured. Nikki held a hand over her heart. “I know by hate you mean love, and I love you too, Kenzie. Now let’s collect my winnings and go home so you can rest up. Big year this year!”
I opened my mouth to scold her with some biting remark about how I’d wanted to leave ages ago, but she turned on her heel and left me there, gaping. Just as I was forcing the muscles in my jaw to relax enough to contract, Hayden pulled up next to where I was standing on the sidewalk. It felt like the world suddenly shifted into slow motion as I turned my head to look at him.
He was still hunched over his bike, hands on the grip and throttle; the only indication that he was looking at me was the direction of his dark helmet. Then, like some freaking Prince Charming in a fairy tale, he slowly removed his helmet and tucked it under his arm. I swear the air around me condensed as his tilted smile came into view. Jesus Christ, this guy was sex on a stick.
Reaching up, he roughly ran a hand through his sweaty dirty- blond hair. The short, sexy shag he’d had going on earlier was destroyed from the helmet, but somehow after just a few scruffs of his hand, the carefree style was back to utter perfection. I kind of wanted to mess it up again, run my hands through the strands, grab a handful and clench it tight while I outlined those incredibly kissable lips with my tongue.
Whoa. No. I didn’t want that.
His penetrating gaze studied my face for a moment. There was something there in his eyes that I couldn’t quite grasp. Interest, sure, but almost… sadness too. Then he smiled, and the look vanished so fast, I was sure I’d imagined it. “Haven’t seen you here before,” he said, his voice low and easy, like he hadn’t just risked his life. “I hope you bet on me. It would be a shame to see someone as beautiful as you… lose.”
His grin turned suggestive, and warning signs started flashing in front of my eyes. Danger! Do not proceed! Rocky road ahead! Turn back now! The warnings flared even brighter when he stood from his motorcycle and began approaching me.
When he was directly in front of me, so close that I could smell the subtle spicy aroma of his cologne, my heart was hammering so hard, I was positive he could hear it, positive he could see my T-shirt lifting and releasing like a frantic hummingbird was hiding under the fabric. What the hell was he doing to me? Was I nervous or excited? Because the sensation was so similar to both, I honestly couldn’t tell.
Extending a hand, he smoothly said, “Name’s Hayden. Hayden Hayes.” I was just about to lift my hand and touch him—my fingers even twitched in response—when he added, “And what should I call you, sweetheart?”
Sweetheart? With those two simple syllables he had just dumped a bucket of ice water over my head and killed any fantasy I might have had about him. I lived, worked, and breathed in a world where men looked at me like I was a second-class citizen. To prove my worth, I had to work harder, longer, and with everything I had inside me, all the fucking time. I felt like he’d just tried to take all of that hard work away from me with that one demeaning word.
“Leaving,” I said, walking away.

~*~*~*~

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Buy Links

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2aiMup5
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2b0ym0W
Books-A-Million: http://bit.ly/2avGBno
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2aL5zzR
iBooks: http://apple.co/2aL70hU
IndieBound: http://bit.ly/2atH7C8
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2asujib

Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2aOinHp

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Giveaway

5 ARCS of FURIOUS RUSH by S.C. Stephens

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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imageYOU’RE INVITED!

It’s a virtual-party!!! Please join S.C. Stephens (and some pretty awesome authors) on Facebook for a pre-release celebration of Furious Rush on August 22nd! There will be prizes! There will be fun!

RSVP Here!

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About the Author

S. C. Stephens is a #1 bestselling author who spends her every free moment creating stories that are packed with emotion and heavy on romance. In addition to writing, she enjoys spending lazy afternoons in the sun reading, listening to music, watching movies, and spending time with her friends and family. She and her two children reside in the Pacific Northwest.

Author Links: WebsiteFacebookTwitterGoodreads

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Guest Post: Harlequin Submission Call – Ooooh…Canada! Campaign

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We Want Your Great Canadian Heroes!

Harlequin has an exciting new submission call, and Associate Editor Karen Reid can’t wait to tell us more!

We all know the basics of what makes a great romantic hero—he must be honorable, have a good heart and be easy on the eyes (of course!). Harlequin is happy to give our readers a variation of that hero in every romance we publish, but we recently realized that among the cowboys, millionaires, bad boys and men-next-door, there was something lacking. Something we needed more of. Then we figured it out—we need more Canadian romantic heroes! So we decided to begin a search for all those great Canadian men who have a story to tell and need a woman to love—which is where you come in!

From July 1 to September 12, 2016, we’ll be accepting submissions of your first chapter plus a 3-7 page synopsis to the Ooooh…Canada! campaign at Harlequin.submittable.com.

You can submit to any of the Harlequin series we publish; the only rule is that your story must feature an irresistible Canadian romantic hero. No problem, right? Because Canada is overflowing with inspiration from gorgeous actors (I’m looking at you, Ryan Gosling) to charming musicians (yep, that’s right…I’m talking about Drake) and dashing politicians (I don’t think I even have to name him, do I?).

Because when we talk about a Canadian romantic hero, we’re not only referring to strong, masculine hockey players—though more of those are always welcome! The Canadian hero can be many things. Perhaps he’s an up-and-coming politician in Ottawa, the nation’s capital, with hopes of making the world a better place while stealing your heart. Maybe he’s a world-class skier who has a cozy cabin in the hills of Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, perfect for a snowbound romance. Or how about a handsomely rugged fisherman in small-town Nova Scotia who’s looking for that special woman to heal his broken heart? Of course, he could just be your heroine’s new neighbor…a very attractive neighbor who’s also a Toronto cop and the perfect male role model for the young son your heroine is raising on her own.

If that’s not enough to start fueling the imagination, be sure to check out our current series books at www.Harlequin.com. 

All entries to Ooooh…Canada! will be reviewed by Harlequin editors, with individualized feedback provided. This all wraps up soon, so don’t delay—get your submission in as soon as you can!

And please join us on Twitter as we pose the question “What makes a great Canadian hero?” We can’t wait to hear what you think! #Canadianromantichero

Follow Karen Reid on Twitter: @KReidAssocEd

Excerpt Reveal: Reaper’s Fire: Reapers Motorcycle Club by Joanna Wylde

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Reaper’s Fire: Reapers Motorcycle Club by Joanna Wylde

Releasing August 9, 2016

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Are you ready for Gage and Tinker’s story? I love this series and can’t wait for Gage’s book! -Cori

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imageimageNew York Times bestselling author Joanna Wylde returns to the “wild and raw”* world of the Reapers MC with the story of Gage and Tinker…
The club comes first.

I’ve lived by those words my whole life—assumed I’d die by them, too, and I never had a problem with that. My Reaper brothers took my back and I took theirs and it was enough. Then I met her. Tinker Garrett. She’s beautiful, she’s loyal, and she works so damned hard it scares me sometimes . . . She deserves a good man—one better than me. I can’t take her yet because the club still needs me. There’s another woman, another job, another fight just ahead.

Now she’ll learn I’ve been lying to her all along. None of it’s real. Not my name, not my job, not even the clothes I wear. She thinks I’m nice. She pretends we’re just friends, that I’ve still got a soul . . . Mine’s been dead for years. Now I’m on fire for this woman, and a man can only burn for so long before he destroys everything around him.

I’m coming for you, Tinker.

Soon.

~*~*~*~*~

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Excerpt

Tinker

It was almost seven that evening when I felt the AC kick back on. I’d been lying on my back on the (relatively) cool tile floor behind the counter, staring up at the pressed-tin ceiling and trying to remember why I hadn’t already moved back to Seattle.
In Seattle it rained.
Cool breezes blew off the bay and the lush greenery covered everything with its shaded canopy. People didn’t really need air-conditioning, but if they happened to have it and it broke, there were lots of repair men available.
Of course, Seattle also had Brandon. Not only that, my dad didn’t want to move, and I’d come to realize I couldn’t leave him here alone. It wasn’t safe for him, not since Mom died.
Ugh.
At least the AC was working again, blowing down from the ceiling vent across my sweaty body, reminding me that while the world might not be crawling with perfect men, at least there were still a few useful ones running around. Cooper Romero was a keeper, and it had nothing to do with how sexy he was . . . although the fact that he was sex on a stick—make that sex with a stick—didn’t exactly diminish his appeal.
When I’d dragged him up to the black tar roof to show him the ancient AC, I’d expected him to make a run for it. Any sensible man would. Instead, he’d spent the whole afternoon busting his ass to save my chocolates—Oh God, I wish that were code for something more exciting—officially qualifying him as a superhero in my book.
As for me, there wasn’t much I could do once I got all the sweets safely downstairs into the basement. There weren’t any customers walking in off the street, and seeing as I couldn’t make or ship candy in a 102-degree shop, I’d alternated between attempting to read a book, looking over orders I couldn’t fulfill on my laptop, and bringing Cooper glasses of iced tea. I’d been nervous around him at first, but you can only stay nervous for so long when you’re sweating like a pig—there’s a certain freedom in knowing you look like hell and there’s no saving your hair. I’d thrown my arm across my eyes in a pathetic attempt to block out reality toward the end.
When cold air started flowing into the room, I could’ve cried with relief. He’d never had a chance to fill out the application form, and I’d long since decided it didn’t matter. Unless he was an ax murderer, I’d give him the apartment and the job.
Might give it to him even if he was, to be honest.
“It’s working again,” Cooper announced, and I jerked, startled. Shit, had I fallen asleep? Opening my eyes, I looked up to find him standing over me. Dear God in heaven—that was one hell of a bare chest.
Holy. Shit.
I’d taken note of his build when he first walked in the shop, but everything under his shirt had been theoretical. Now there was six-foot-plus of raw sex appeal right there, all sweaty and sculpted and . . . well, let’s just say I’d be stopping off on the way home to pick up some fresh batteries.
That’s when the situation hit me—Cooper Romero was the hottest man I’d met in forever, and he’d just found me lying on the floor in my own sweat and filth like a dog. Typical luck. I scrambled to my feet, pretending I wasn’t totally embarrassed (I was) and not in the least bit freaked out by how unspeakably attractive this guy was. Okay, “attractive” wasn’t quite the right word, because it implied a certain level of polish and class that just didn’t fit Cooper at all.
Brandon was attractive.
Cooper?
I’d lick him all over and massage his butt if he asked. He stared down at me, his eyes carefully blank, making it very clear he wasn’t asking. Story of my fucking life. Sitting up, I pushed myself to my feet without bothering to dust off. Lost cause at this point.
“Not sure how much life the AC has left,” he said slowly. “I managed to get it going, but fixing it right would cost more than it’s worth and then some.”
Of course it would.
“I just need to get through the summer,” I told him, wiping a finger under my eye. My perfectly applied, vintage-style makeup had melted, leaving me with a clown face. Fortunately I’d (mostly) given up on caring three hours ago, right around the time I’d discovered the floor tiles were cooler than the rest of the room. “After that, I’ll worry about the furnace and by next summer I might not even be here anymore.”
“Really?” he asked, cocking a brow. “You selling out?”
“Not sure,” I told him. “I’m not thinking that far ahead right now. Things are very iffy with my dad . . . I think he’s got some—”
No. I couldn’t say it. Saying it out loud made it too real, plus the last thing I needed were a bunch of rumors flying around town. So far we’d kept dad’s situation mostly to family and friends.
“Tinker?”
Shaking myself, I smiled at him. “Thank you so much for fixing that. I’m not even sure what I would’ve done—I can’t afford to miss a week’s worth of orders. Not only would it put me behind, it would burn my customers.”
He nodded, studying me thoughtfully. God, he really was beautiful . . . Nothing like Brandon’s polished sophistication. No, Cooper gave off more of a warrior-tossing-you-over-his-fearless-steed kind of vibe. Yeah, like that would end well, because my track record with men was so fucking perfect, right?
Pull your head out of the gutter. He probably has a girlfriend.
At least I could finally lock up this hellhole of a shop and get a shower.
“Thank you so much—you have no idea how much I appreciate it.”
“No, but the whole throwing yourself at my feet thing was a subtle hint,” he said, and I realized he was teasing me. Was he flirting? I couldn’t decide if that kicked ass or scared the shit out of me.
“Anyway, it’s getting late,” I told him, feeling suddenly awkward. “I’m going to grab some dinner down the street, and then I could take you over and show you the apartment.”
A small, knowing smile crossed his face, and I realized he thought I was hitting on him.
“No,” I said quickly, mortified. “I wasn’t asking you out. Omigod, this is weird.”
“What, you aren’t turned on by a man who smells like old socks?” he asked lightly, raising his arm and giving a sniff. He was joking, but the sweat wasn’t a turnoff. Nope. Not even a little bit. “If that’s not enough for you, the roof tar on my ass should be a big attraction.”
Closing my eyes, I bit back a groan. He started laughing. Not in a cruel way, but companionably, which I guess made sense because both of us were disgusting as hell. Of course, now I wanted to check out his ass, but I managed to keep my eyes on target (mostly) when I answered him.
“Well, it’s sexy but I’ll manage to control myself somehow. I do want to grab dinner, though, and we need to figure out the apartment details.”
“I’ll take the place, doesn’t matter what it is,” he replied. “I’m in a hotel and it’s getting old. I’d love to move in on Sunday, but I can’t go look at it right now—gotta get my ass cleaned up. Meeting up with someone later.”
Of course he was, because men who looked like Cooper didn’t spend Friday nights alone.
“Sounds great,” I told him, refusing to show any disappointment. “Just text me when you’re ready, and I’ll get you the key.”
He opened his mouth to say something, but a sudden pounding against the locked shop door caught us both off guard. I spun around to find Talia Jackson glaring at me through the glass. Talia and three of her skankier friends, including Sadie Baxter, a girl I used to babysit when I was in college.
A girl who was now twenty.
Damn.
“Cooper!” Talia shouted. “What the fuck are you doing?”
I glanced at my new handyman, startled. Talia Jackson and her brother, Marsh, were two of the nastiest people I’d ever met. Marsh was president of the local motorcycle gang, a group called the Nighthawk Raiders motorcycle club. The club had been around most of my life, but it was only in recent years that they’d turned really bad. I mean, they were never the kinder, gentler sort of bikers, but I’d never been actively afraid when I’d heard a motorcycle, either.
Now? Let’s just say we’d all gotten a little edgy.
“That’s my girl,” Cooper said, and something deep down inside of me died a little. Of course he’d go for someone like Talia. She might have the heart of a deranged circus clown—you know, the kind that survives by eating the souls of innocent children—but she was hot.
Really hot.
Not only that, she was slutty, and while I wasn’t into the whole slut-shaming thing (like I had room to judge after the bachelorette party debacle . . . ugh), I wasn’t naive enough to think he was attracted to her personality. Cooper Romero might have a sweet smile, and he’d fixed my AC, but now I had proof positive that he’d never be into a girl like me.
Specifically, a grown-up with curves.
All righty, then. Probably for the best anyway.
“Just a sec!” I called to her, determined to take the high road, then I grabbed my keys so I could open the door. She pushed inside with her posse, and I do mean pushed. Little bitch shoved me so hard I nearly knocked over the display of antique Russian teacups my mother had lovingly collected. (So far as I knew, she’d never sold a single one of them, but it’d made her happy.)
“Careful,” I warned, and Talia turned on me.
“What did you just say to me?”
“Babe, let’s talk,” Cooper said, catching her arm and pulling her into his body. She squealed, going from aggressive to flirty in an instant.
“You’re all sweaty. It’s sooo disgusting.”
I noted she wasn’t trying to get away. Cooper smiled down at her, a hint of something feral in his eyes. Yeah, okay—whatever smile he’d been giving me, it hadn’t held any of that kind of intensity.
Yours truly was officially chopped liver.
“I was just about to head out and grab a shower,” he told her. “Wanna come with me?”
She pouted. “I can’t. The girls and I need to get fixed up. I’ll see you at the bar, though, right?”
He looked down at her, offering a sexy, indulgent smile. “Can’t wait.”
“Perfect,” she said, reaching around to grab his ass for a quick squeeze. Then she turned and strutted back out without a word to me, her gaggle of girls following like well-trained geese. Sadie gave a little finger wave on the way. The door closed behind them with a cheerful little jingle, and I wondered why the hell I even bothered with Hallies Falls.
I missed Seattle.
So what if it had Brandon? I could drown him in Lake Washington. Problem solved.
“Sorry about that—Talia is a little high-strung,” Cooper said.
“Oh, I know all about her,” I replied, hoping I didn’t sound as catty as I felt. Cooper didn’t seem to notice.
“I’m new to town, but she’s been showing me around,” Cooper continued, stepping over to stand in front of me, hands shoved deep in his front pockets. “I should get going.”
“Of course—don’t let me keep you. What time do you think you’ll be in touch tomorrow?”
“Afternoon work?”
“No problem. Looking forward to hearing from you.”
He nodded and pushed through the door, walking down the street without a second look back. I locked up behind him, wondering why all the hottest guys were douchebags. Not that Cooper had acted like a douche, but he had to be my age or older—late thirties—and Talia was the same age as Sadie. She was also a raging bitch. There was only one reason a man like him would date a girl like that, and it had nothing to do with personality or character.
Cooper Romero might be beautiful, but obviously he was shallow. Suppose it was too much to hope for a man who could fix an air conditioner and have a soul at the same time.
Pity.

~*~*~*~

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Buy Links

Kindle: http://amzn.to/1SAZswv
Amazon PBK: http://amzn.to/1OPlDcb
iBooks: http://apple.co/1JUbzxl
Nook: http://bit.ly/1mzrJaD
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1Uu6bXu
Google Play: http://bit.ly/1SxRDaQ

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✿Reapers Motorcycle Club Series by Joanna Wylde✿
✦#1: Reaper’s Property
✦#2: Reaper’s Legacy
✦#3: Devil’s GameReview 5 Stars 
✦#4: Reaper’s Stand ➢ Review 5 Stars 
Silver Bastard (Silver Valley) ➢ Review 5 Stars
✦#5: Reaper’s FallReview 5 Stars
✦#6: Reaper’s Fire (Releasing 8/9/16)

Amazon Series Link: http://amzn.to/1OPnuOl

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Joanna Wylde is a New York Times bestselling author and creator of the Reapers Motorcycle Club series. She currently lives in Idaho.

Social Media Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 Check out this Guest Post from Joanna Wylde:

 ✦S.I.L.V.E.R. Bastard Blog Tour – V is for Villain Guest Post from Joanna Wylde http://wp.me/p3d0RZ-2hk

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Release Day Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway: Remembering Everly (Lost & Found, #2) by J. L. Berg

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Remembering Everly (Lost & Found, #2) by J. L. Berg

Paperback Publication Date: : July 5, 2016

Synopsis

image***NOW AVAILABLE IN PRINT FOR THE FIRST TIME***

After a stunning cliffhanger ending in Forgetting August, USA Today bestselling author J.L. Berg delivers the happily ever after that fans have been waiting for in the sequel, REMEMBERING EVERLY.

After two years in a coma, August Kinkaid has forgotten the darkness in his past. But his past hasn’t forgotten him. His beautiful former fiancée, Everly, remembers every tumultuous moment of their stormy relationship. The sizzling passion. The web of lies. And the terrible secret Everly’s been hiding since her last fateful night with August.

Now the truth is out and August remembers everything. As his long-buried memories come flooding back, he begins to understand why Everly would want to move on with her life. Why she would give her heart to another man. And why August should try to forget her once and for all.

But he can’t give up on the only woman he’s ever loved. Even if he has to reopen old wounds—and face the darkest demons of his past—August will do whatever it takes for a second chance with Everly. He let her slip away once. He’s not about to spend the rest of his life remembering Everly when he could be holding her in his arms forever…

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Excerpt

Secrets.
They had the ability to destroy lives, obliterate relationships and sabotage even the strongest partnerships. Big or small . . . it didn’t matter. Even the tiniest white lie had the power to corrode—to shatter and dismantle everything you loved.
I’d carried a secret so big, for so long that sometimes I felt physically weak from its weight. I had thought I could carry its burden to my grave—that eventually its truth would die along with me.
But secrets never die.
They live on far longer than we do, and they always find their way to the surface.
Mine certainly did.
Sitting alone in the apartment I shared with my fiancé, I gently rolled the smooth green stone between my thumb and forefinger, over and over, remembering the day it was returned to me.
In all our years together, I’d never seen August so cold. So lifeless.
It frightened me to my core.
But I still hadn’t told anyone. It had been three days and I had yet to tell my fiancé or best friend about the events that had taken place in that bridal shop. As far as Ryan and Sarah knew, August had rudely interrupted my bridal appointment to tell me he had his memories back—that was all.
Nothing more, nothing less.
Why hadn’t I elaborated? I didn’t want to admit my shame. I couldn’t share this secret, my darkest lie. What would they think of me? I was the reason August had been in that hospital bed for two years. And the worst part? I’d lied about it—to everyone.
Even those closest to me. Even August. I was the worst kind of human.
I knew Ryan would tell me the opposite. He would comfort me as I told him the truth, holding me as I shared my story about the awful truth from that night.
There was no mugger.
There was only me.

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Buy Links

Amazon PBK: http://amzn.to/29iuNnL
Kindle: http://amzn.to/29sdsLF
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/29azjDW
Books-A-Million: http://bit.ly/297zQ7z
IndieBound: http://bit.ly/29gVIkA

Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/29lqVlf
Series Page on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/297RPuK

BOOK 1: FORGETTING AUGUST http://amzn.to/29Jp09g

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Giveaway

Ten (10) trade paperback copies of REMEMBERING EVERLY by J. L. Berg

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

imageAuthor J.L. Berg is a California native living in the South. She is the author of the self-pubbed Ready series. When she’s not writing, you can find her with her nose stuck in a romance book, in a yoga studio, or devouring anything chocolate.

Author Information:
Website: http://bit.ly/29aVcos
Facebook: http://bit.ly/295xLsf
Twitter: http://bit.ly/29gU4PO
YouTube: http://bit.ly/298y5rg
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/29goK56

Excerpt Reveal: Filthy English by Ilsa Madden-Mills

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Filthy English by Ilsa Madden-Mills

Publication Date: July 11, 2016

KINDLE $0.99 (LIMITED TIME) http://amzn.to/29xpLUk

Add to your TBR at: http://bit.ly/1t7pvC5

imageimageA smokin’ hot British player…

A jilted girl…

One night of mistaken identity…

Two weeks before her wedding, Remi Montague’s fiancé drops her faster than a drunken sorority girl in stilettos. Armed with her best friend and a bottle of tequila, she hops a plane to London to drown her sorrows before fall semester begins at Whitman University.

She didn’t plan on attending a masquerade party.

She sure didn’t plan on waking up next to the British bad boy who broke her heart three years ago—the devastatingly handsome and naked Dax Blay. Furthermore, she has no clue how they acquired matching tattoos.

Once back at Whitman together, they endeavor to pretend they never had their night of unbridled passion in London.

But that’s damn hard to do when you live in the same house…

One night. Two damaged hearts. The passion of a lifetime.

*A modern love story inspired by Romeo and Juliet*

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pretty girl with hairs

Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Remi

Plain and simple, this night sucked.
Sadly, it was my honeymoon.
I sighed heavily and gazed around Masquerade, an intimately lit London nightclub where everyone wore black domino masks, some elaborate and some plain, to hide their identity. A few die-hards even sported dark clothing with long, loose cloaks. Not me though. I’d gone modern with a slinky little number and three-inch heels, putting my height at nearly six feet. Yep, I’m the giant in the blue dress, towering over every girl and some guys at the bar.
My top teeth dug into my bottom lip as I gazed around the smoky club, my eyes bouncing off random faces. Even in a room full of party people, music, and strobe lights, I was lonely.
My groom was missing.
That’s right. Hartford Wilcox, Jr., aka Mr. Nice Guy at Whitman University in North Carolina, had jilted me two weeks before the big wedding day as we had dinner at our favorite Italian restaurant, Mario’s.
And now here I was—on my honeymoon and getting trashed with my best friend Lulu who’d decided to skip her beach vacation and come with me at the last minute.
She poked me with her finger as we sat in front of the heavy wooden bar of the club. “Hey, Earth to Remi, get that glazed look out of your eyes and order a drink already. I’m thirsty.” She fluffed her pixie-cut pink hair and straightened her black tutu, eyes scoping out the club. “Dang, the men in here are hotter than a billy goat with a blow torch,” she said in her honeyed southern drawl.
I half-heartedly agreed, not really caring, more intent on scanning the bottles behind the bar. “I want tequila,” I murmured. “A whole bottle.”
Her face snapped back to me and her green eyes widened. “Uh-uh. No way. I know what happens when you drink that crap. You either eat a ton of tacos and puke, or you wrap yourself around some cocky bastard with a well-developed tush.”
True. I did love a tight muscular ass.
But I wouldn’t get one tonight.
A short laugh burst out of me, one of those I’m-miserable-but-pretending-to- be-okay-laughs that I’d been doing a lot of lately. For the past two weeks, I’d vacillated between a sobbing mess and an angry woman who became so incensed that “fuck” was the only word that seemed appropriate in any given situation. Going to the post office to mail he dumped me, but thank you anyway cards. Fuck. Going to the wedding venue and not getting the ten thousand dollar deposit back. Fuck. Realizing I was homeless fall semester—which was in two weeks—fuck. Listening to my mother tell me it was my fault. Fuck, fuck, fuck.
The bartender delivered my bottle and poured me a shot. I sucked the tequila down while Lulu watched me warily. It tasted like bad decisions and gasoline, but tonight was about forgetting. The sooner the better.
A few minutes later, Lulu went out to dance with a British guy she’d been making eyes at. I sat glumly at the bar, fiddling with my diamond tennis bracelet, rubbing it like rosary beads. I needed to forget Hartford, and according to Lulu, that meant hooking up with someone.
Was she right?
Fate answered in the form of a beautiful man—and by beautiful I mean drop-dead sexy with a backside so delectable and muscular my mouth plopped open.
I snapped my lips shut and adjusted my velvet half-mask—the annoying feathery plumes on the sides kept sticking to my red lipstick—and turned ever so slightly to check him out, not wanting to appear obvious. He slid into the seat next to me, tall and broad with rippling shoulders and a massive frame.
I checked my appearance in a mirror behind the bar, mentally analyzing the odds of a girl like me snagging a hottie like him.
Although no one had ever called me beautiful, I did have two—okay, maybe three—things going for me in the looks department. My shiny, golden-brown hair that hung down in waves to my shoulders, my fluffy “pillow lips” as Lulu described them, and lastly, I had an itsy bitsy space between my two front teeth which were otherwise white and perfect. Lulu claimed the gap lent me an exotic look, like Madonna or Sookie Stackhouse. Whatever. I was a True Blood fan. I went with it.
He shifted on the stool, leaning closer to me. His cologne swirled in the air, the smell of expensive Scotch and musk mingling together to create a heady, slightly dangerous scent. I paused, goosebumps rising on my bare arms. The spicy whiff triggered a distant memory just out of reach.
As slyly as I could, I studied his profile from top to bottom. Like me he wore a black mask, although his was more masculine, not hiding his chiseled, movie star jawline. His lips were carnal and luscious, the bottom more plump than the top with a slight indentation in the middle. As I watched, his tongue swept out and caressed it, his top teeth biting it as if he were deep in thought. He raked a hand through his dark, longish messy hair, held it suspended above his head for a few seconds and then released it, letting it swish back into its tousled yet perfect place.
I tore my eyes away.
Something about him sent loud warning bells ringing in every atom of my body.
Danger, danger. Don’t touch that.
But my gaze would not be denied as I took in the tight black shirt and sculpted chest that was obviously used to the inside of a gym, right down to an arm that looked like it could snap a board in half—or me.
Nice biceps, Mr. Beautiful.
The pièce de résistance was the vivid blue and orange dragonfly tattoo displayed on his left arm. It was larger than my hand and took up most of his bicep. My eyes traced the contours of the design from the papery wings to the multi-faceted eyes. A bold black color outlined the insect, giving it a masculine feel.
Gorgeous.
True Religion jeans stretched down long legs and ended in a pair of black Converse without socks, giving him a boyish quality that was in direct contrast to the crazy-sexy-bad-boy vibe he had going on.
Him tonight?
Maybe. He was the polar opposite of Hartford who was blond, lean, and tattoo-free.
I nibbled on my fingernail. How do I get him to notice little ol’ me?
Just then a redhead with fluffy Farrah Fawcett hair strode up to his stool, bold as brass, wearing a tight, white mini-skirt that barely covered her booty. She brought with her the smell of sweet, cloying perfume, the kind I always got spritzed with at the mall.
She flicked her hair over her shoulder, casually rubbed her finger down his arm and struck up a conversation. Her fake, black lashes—which she’d somehow managed to get outside the eyeholes of her mask—batted. She puffed out her well-developed chest.
He smiled back at her with a wicked grin, his relaxed body language telling me he was confident when it came to women. She whispered in his ear, boobs right in his face, but whatever he said back wasn’t what she wanted to hear because a few ticks later, she crossed her arms, glared at me, and stalked away.
I blinked. What had I done?
Then he turned and pointed his devastating smile at me.
Shit, he’d made eye contact—as much as you could with a claustrophobic mask on.
But wait…
Was he crazy?
Because if he’d turned down her flirtation, I didn’t have a shot.
I didn’t know how to do the fingers-tip-toeing-up-his-arm-thing and sexy hair flicking. I didn’t know a thing about applying fake eyelashes. I didn’t know how to make my breasts sit up that high. I looked away from him and took another shot, feeling anxious and strangely off-kilter.
Mr. Beautiful ordered a drink from the bartender, his British accent smooth as silk as it washed over me. I froze. I almost knew that voice—deep with soft rounded vowels that made you tingle in your lady parts.
What was it about this guy that had me all jacked up and hot for him?
Hello, tequila, my inner voice said. But it was more than that.
Getting brave, I pivoted on my barstool, and found Mr. Beautiful’s eyes on me once more, searching my face. As if he too recognized the pull between us.
My heart played hopscotch, jumping against my chest. My skin prickled. I shivered.
Did I know him?
It clicked.
Dax Blay?
It was his voice, the same deep quality, the kind of voice that made you want to hop into his bed and ride him like a cowgirl.
My breath hitched, and I swallowed down the emotion that zipped up my spine whenever I thought of him. He was my one mistake, the time I’d tossed inhibitions and carefully laid plans aside and went with my instincts, only to have them tossed back in my face.
But the man next to me wasn’t Dax. Thank God.
Last spring at the campus-wide end of the year fraternity party with Hartford, I’d seen Dax, and he’d had shorter hair, like always, and zero tattoos. Yeah. No way.
Plus, last I heard, he was in Raleigh where his father lived.
Yet…
Dax was British. He could have family here. Maybe he got a tattoo?
Nah. I mean, what were the odds of us both being at the same club on the same night in a country where neither of us lived?
I tore my eyes off Mr. Beautiful and waved at a bartender for more limes, but somehow my tennis bracelet snagged on the bodice of my dress, leaving my wrist dangling like a wet dishrag in a most inappropriate place.
I wiggled my arm.
Jiggled it.
Even went so far as to jerk, but it wouldn’t separate.
Sweat popped out on my forehead. Holding my breath, I twisted and tugged the bracelet, forcing the delicate material in my bodice to stretch beyond normal limits.
“Well, hell,” I breathed, pausing to assess.
Skin-tight with a plunging neckline, the dress was mostly a stretchy fabric held together by sequined straps and a zipper on the side. Slated as part of my honeymoon wardrobe, it was a Tory Burch and had cost four hundred dollars, the most I’d ever paid for a fun outfit, and no way did I want to damage it. I might have to return it to rent an apartment at Whitman.
Lulu. I needed Lulu. She was a whiz with wardrobe malfunctions.
I spun around on the barstool and used my free hand to wave at her, but she was slinging herself around dancing, having a great time and completely oblivious. I resorted to flapping both hands at her, one high and one low. Several people waved back with baffled expressions, but Lulu didn’t notice. Dammit.
I groaned and slumped down in my seat, ready to scream. Now what? Go to the bathroom and repair it there? Good plan.
But the club tilted when I stood, the strobe lights making me squint as they flashed in my face. I wobbled in my leopard print heels—that Lulu had insisted I wear—and grabbed the stool to keep my balance. `
I sucked in a breath to gather myself, but I couldn’t think straight. The room spun, and I was suddenly queasy, and why did I slam all that tequila, and oh my god, my wrist is currently attached to my tit like a T. rex arm.
I had to get out of here before someone noticed what an idiot I was.
Trying to be stealth like, I reached across the bar to get my beaded clutch, but because it was my left hand and not my right that I used most of the time, I got off balance and stumbled—and my ankle folded in on itself. I yelped as my shoe catapulted off my foot and vaulted off toward the dance floor, while I fell forward, straight into Mr. Beautiful’s lap.

Filthy English (unedited excerpt)
Copyright Ilsa Madden-Mills

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imageNew York Times and USA Today best-selling author Ilsa Madden-Mills writes about strong heroines and sexy alpha males that sometimes you just want to slap.

She’s addicted to all things fantasy, including unicorns and sword-wielding heroes in books. Other fascinations include frothy coffee beverages, dark chocolate, Instagram, Ian Somerhalder (seriously hot), astronomy (she’s a Gemini), Sephora make-up, and tattoos.

She has a degree in English and a Master’s in Education.

When she’s not pecking away on her computer, she shops for cool magnets, paints old furniture, and eats her weight in sushi.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS: WebsiteFacebookInstagramTwitter

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imageDirty English by Ilsa Madden-Mills
Release Date: October 12, 2015
Genre: New Adult Romance
REVIEW: http://wp.me/p3d0RZ-3dw
Buy Links $2.99 or via Kindle Unlimited:
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1jjy5JB
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/1FZJRTH
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1LIPB6n

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VERY BAD THINGS – Review 5 Stars
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Fzllmk
iBooks: http://apple.co/1gl5Yaj
BN: http://bit.ly/1bOyH2g
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1D0BVw5

VERY WICKED BEGINNINGS
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1FzlnL4

VERY WICKED THINGSReview 5 Stars
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1FzlmXD
iBooks: http://apple.co/1mVS3Wo
BN: http://bit.ly/1mT1cDB
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1C9EZt3

VERY TWISTED THINGSReview 5 Stars
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1LZ6SFc
iBooks: http://apple.co/1eN7Clh
BN: http://bit.ly/1KK0ljh
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1BHcK4R

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Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway: MAN OF ACTION (Omega Sector: Critical Response #4) by Janie Crouch

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MAN OF ACTION (Omega Sector: Critical Response #4) by Janie Crouch

Publication Date: June 21, 2016

Harlequin Intrigue

Synopsis

imageHe was a man of action—especially when it came to protecting his new undercover partner

At nineteen, Andrea Gordon’s life was forever changed. After proving herself instrumental in a bank hostage crisis, she became one of Omega Sector’s top agents. Four years later, her skill at reading people is unrivaled—until she meets fellow profiler Brandon Han. Paired together to track a serial killer who has been targeting at-risk women, the two become entangled beyond the case. Their mutual attraction deepens as they get closer to the truth. But when Andrea’s own sordid past surfaces, they will both be forced to question everything about the assignment…and each other.

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Excerpt

This whole thing was a terrible idea. Going back to Buckeye? Terrible. Going back with the likes of Brandon Han? Even worse. The plane hit some turbulence at thirty-five thousand feet, as if nodding in agreement with Andrea’s conclusion.
Brandon didn’t want to work with her on the case. He’d made that abundantly clear in Steve’s office. She wanted to assume it was her fault, that he knew about her shortcomings and lack of education as an Omega consultant, but forced herself to stop. He’d mentioned liking to work alone. She could understand that, too. Andrea liked working alone, but for different reasons.
Brandon’s irritation had been pretty tangible when she’d sat down next to him at the airport. It had just grown as they waited for their flight, first when she’d mentioned him being complicated, then when they were both looking through the case files.
By the time they got on the plane, about an hour after their scheduled departure time, Brandon was hardly even talking to her. He was mad—she had no idea why—and she was awkward—as usual around someone she was so attracted to. Good times.
Andrea tried to pretend she was reading the files when he handed them to her, but she wasn’t. She knew better than to even try. Her dyslexia made reading simple books difficult, although she had learned some exercises to help with that. But reading handwritten notes and case files often written in different fonts and sizes—that pretty much just led to a headache and frustration.
She’d had an extra hour at her apartment so she’d used the special software on her computer to scan a few pages so they could be converted into audio clips. She’d found that listening worked much better for her than trying to read. Unfortunately she hadn’t had enough time to scan all the files as she normally would.
Listening to the files on audio clips had just made Brandon more irritated. Andrea had no idea what to do about that, so she ignored it. She would listen to the clips she had, then spend this evening—all night if she had to—reading through the files in her room, when she was alone and it was quiet. She refused to go into that meeting with the local police tomorrow unprepared.
She didn’t want to go back there at all. If it wasn’t for Steve asking her to go, Andrea wouldn’t have done it, serial killer or not.
Maybe they wouldn’t run into anyone she knew. Or maybe the people in Buckeye wouldn’t recognize her. She’d gone to great lengths to look nothing like the girl who had worked at Jaguar’s. Her blond hair was shorter, cut in a flattering bob; her makeup was tasteful. She’d learned how to dress and present herself in a professional manner.
She doubted her own aunt and uncle would recognize her. Not that she planned to drop in on them. She hadn’t seen them since the last time her uncle, in a drunken stupor again, had awakened her with a backhand that had sent her sprawling from her bed to the floor when she was seventeen. Another punch had sent her hurling into a glass table. She’d gotten away from him and hidden that night, wrapping her cut arm in a T-shirt.
The next morning she’d told her aunt, who’d looked the other way again during all the commotion, that she was going to school.
Andrea hadn’t gone to school. And she hadn’t gone back home. Ever again.
She hadn’t gone far, just to the other side of the town she’d only ever known as home, but they hadn’t come looking for her. Had probably been relieved that she’d left.
So yeah, no joyous homecoming in Buckeye.

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Buy Links

Kindle | B& N | Google | iTunes | Kobo

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Giveaway

($20.00 Amazon or B&N eGift Card and Three Copies of MAN OF ACTION (ebook or print))

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

 Nominated for the 2014 & 2015 Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award, and a finalist in multiple other Romance literary awards, Janie Crouch loves to read – almost exclusively romance – and has been doing so since middle school. She cut her teeth on Harlequin (Mills & Boon) Romances when she lived in Wales, UK as a preteen, then moved on to a passion for romantic suspense as an adult.

Janie recently relocated with her husband and four children to Germany (due to her husband’s job as support for the U.S. Military), after living in Virginia for nearly 20 years.  When she’s not listening to the voices in her head (and even when she is), she enjoys traveling, long-distance running, movie-watching, knitting and adventure (obstacle) racing.

She teaches online communication classes for an American college part time, and writes full time. Most of all, she loves to laugh and smile and count her blessings. And her blessings are many.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads