Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: TO CATCH A TEXAS STAR by Linda Broday

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TO CATCH A TEXAS STAR (Texas Heroes, Book 3) by Linda Broday

Publication Date: July 3, 2018

Genre: Historical Western Romance

Synopsis

53614F0A-7BC4-48F6-9238-FDB8E5F55D28He’ll do what it takes to prove his love

The son of a notorious outlaw, Roan Penny yearns to make his life count…but heroism comes with a price. Left badly injured, only the kindness of a gentle stranger can save him. He longs to be with the captivating beauty—his savior, his Texas star, his Marley Rose McClain—but he knows he’d bring her nothing but trouble.

If only he could convince his heart of that.

Marley’s lived a charmed life, and she’s determined to spend the rest of her days at her quiet hero’s side…but she isn’t what she seems. A life-long secret threatens to destroy everything she knows—and everything she could hope to be. As dangerous men threaten to pull her back into the shadows, a desperate Roan must ride hell-bent for leather to save the other half of his heart…before he can lose her light for good.

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Excerpt

Unable to bear the torture, Roan whirled and crushed his lips to Marley’s.

A hunger so powerful that it hurt to breathe spread through him, rushing along his limbs and touching off a whirlwind inside him. He stood in the storm and let the emotion wash over his body, healing his ragged spirit and muzzling his fear.

A raspy moan escaped. His heart beating like a thundering herd of buffalo, he held Marley so tightly against him that he expected her to complain. If he could somehow open himself up and draw her inside, he would. He’d protect her with every bit of strength he had and carry the beautiful woman with him forever.

Dear, God, he wanted her. Wanted her more than anything in the world. His hands roamed over her curves, memorizing every indentation and soft swell. She seemed to be learning every inch of him as well, and the way she clutched, kneaded, and caressed him spoke of a great need of her own.

The air seemed to vibrate with this craving that swept through him. His senses filled with her, Roan deepened the kiss and backed her against a work table where they repaired harnesses and saddles. Tightening his grip, he lifted her onto the planks. She reached for him, knocking off his hat and it tumbled to the floor.

His heartbeat roared in his ears and drowned out everything except this overpowering desire for her.

How long they stood wrapped in each other’s arms, he didn’t know. He was barely conscious of where they were, or of the dawn breaking. Men and children would spill out any second and find them.

It took everything he had to break the kiss. He tenderly brushed a tendril of hair from her eyes and studied her dark eyes. “You’re like those shooting stars we watched. You blaze across a man’s life with such a streak of color and pageantry it steals a man’s breath. You’re my Texas star, Marley Rose McClain. That is if you don’t object to the title.”

His Texas Star. Yes, that’s exactly what she would always be.

Marley’s breath hitched. “That’s beautiful. I’ve never been compared to a shooting star before.”

“Well, you are. I don’t know what the future holds or if I’ll ever see you again,” he mumbled against her mouth. “Keep shining, Texas Star, for as long as you live.”

“I will.” Marley’s glistening gaze met his and she ran a fingertip along his jawline. “No promises, no regrets.”

“None.” The rooster finally crowed, reminding Roan he’d best hurry. “Maybe you’ll write a story one day about me and how you saved my life one frosty morn.”

Tears bubbled in her eyes. “You’d better come back or I’ll come looking for you.”

“You will, huh?”

“I’ll brave a den of snakes and go through a hail of bullets to get to you, and you can count on that.” Marley straightened his collar and picked a piece of lint from his coat. “You’re a handsome man, Roan Penny. Women are going to chase you, but it doesn’t mean you have to let them catch you.” Her voice broke.

Roan swallowed a lump in his throat. This was tearing him up inside.

With a cry, she tangled her fingers in his hair and pulled him close for another kiss.

“I’ll pray for you, Roan,” she whispered.

“Save your prayers for those who believe in their power.”

Before the banked fire had a chance to flare again, Roan stepped away from her and issued a stern warning. “Don’t come after me. I mean it. You don’t know the danger waiting in San Saba. If they knew I cared for you, they’d kill you. Promise you’ll stay here. You have topromise not to come after my sorry hide. Go on with your life.”

Marley shook her head, her dark eyes large in the low light. “I can’t do that.”

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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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Giveaway

5 Copies of Knight on the Texas Plains

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

Linda Broday_newAt a young age, LINDA BRODAY discovered a love for storytelling, history, and anything pertaining to the Old West. Cowboys fascinate her. There’s something about Stetsons, boots, and tall rugged cowboys that get her fired up. A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Linda has won many awards, including the prestigious National Readers’ Choice Award and the Texas Gold Award. She resides in the Texas Panhandle and is inspired every day.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Review: CHARMED AT FIRST SIGHT (Charmed in Texas) by Sharla Lovelace

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CHARMED AT FIRST SIGHT (Charmed in Texas, Book 4) by Sharla Lovelace

Publication Date: July 10, 2018

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

11F3543F-EB4F-46BC-8962-44EB3C3F99DCA hot mess runaway bride and a smokin’ hot biker lock eyes at a red light. Lord have mercy . . . is our little town of Charmed, Texas ready for this?

Never one to do things by the book, Micah Roman couldn’t just chalk it up to bridal jitters, or even quietly call off her wedding to her long-time fiancé. No, she has to high-tail it out of the church sporting a dress that cost more than her car, and jump on the back of a smoking-hot stranger’s motorcycle. Her knight in all-black is headed to a town called Charmed, so that’s where she’ll go and try to lay low. Except their appearance raises plenty of eyebrows . . . and a sudden, intense attraction she has no business exploring.

Who knew picking up a damsel in distress would lead to lust at first sight? Leo McKane headed to Charmed prepared to deal with some family secrets–including his status as long-lost brother. This runaway bride is an unexpected distraction his set agenda and loner lifestyle doesn’t include. She’s everywhere he turns, getting under his skin with her quirky, headstrong ways and eyes he can’t forget. But when Micah’s jilted ex comes looking for her and opens up his shady past, Leo knows he has a choice to make.

They both do.

Run to safer ground again? Or take a leap that their untrusting hearts are wary to take.

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Donna 4 stars

This is a lovely little contemporary romance with some suspense thrown in for thrills. I connected with Micah right off and loved the panicked confusion driving her. Since it was told in Micah’s point of view, I had to guess at Leo’s motivations and thoughts. Because a lot of the suspense involved his past, it would have been nice to hear his thoughts as well – it would have made the pace of their relationship clearer also. I enjoyed the townspeople, the emotional undercurrent and the romance. It’s a fun summer read that will leave you with a smile.

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

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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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About the Author

imageSharla Lovelace is a bestselling, award-winning author of sexy small-town love stories. A proud Texas girl through and through, she lives in southeast Texas with her retired husband, a tricked-out golf cart, and two rambunctious dogs. Author of five stand-alone novels and the Heart of the Storm series, she loves connecting with readers; find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads, or subscribe to her newsletter at www.sharlalovelace.com to keep up with new releases.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

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Spotlight, Review & Giveaway: ALL-AMERICAN COWBOY by Dylann Crush

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ALL-AMERICAN COWBOY (Holiday, Texas Series Book 1) by Dylann Crush  

Publication Date: July 3, 2018

Genre: Western Romance

Synopsis

B5D8FA18-51BF-4236-83C5-D02AD92C33A6This city boy has it all figured out…

Until he goes toe-to-toe with a fierce cowgirl

who’s snagged the home field advantage.

Holiday, Texas is known far and wide as the most celebratory town in the South—and no shindig is complete without one of its founding members. It’s a real shame the last remaining Holiday is a city slicker, but what’s that old saying about putting lipstick on a pig…?

Beck has no intention of being charmed by some crazy Texas town, but the minute he lays eyes on his grandfather’s old honky tonk—and Charlie Walker, the beautiful cowgirl who runs it—he finds himself wishing things could be different. Life’s gentler in Holiday. Slower. More real than anything he’s ever known. And when he looks into Charlie’s eyes, Beck may finally discover what it’s like to truly belong.

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Donna 4 stars

This was a lovely contemporary romance. It isn’t a ranch-type story, but rather set in a little Texas town and revolves around the landmark honky-tonk. I loved how Beck handled being a fish out of water when he first arrived from New York City. It was humorous without being overly stereotyped. Charlie was strong and capable without being bitchy. She and Beck made a nice couple struggling through their different backgrounds. There were no surprises with the townspeople, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t fun an interesting, they added a nice layer to the book. Everything flowed nicely into a smoking romance filled with miscommunication and tension. It was a nice feel-good story.

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

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Excerpt

The man approached the driver’s side, his mouth curled into a sheepish smile. She forced a tight grin and leaned out the window. “What seems to be the trouble?”

“Thank God. I was starting to think I might die right here on the side of the road.” He rested one of those sinewy forearms on her door. A hint of expensive cologne wafted off his skin. “I seem to have lodged my rental in the ditch.”

Charlie ignored an uptick in her pulse and peered past him. “You did a nice job wedging yourself in there.”

He glanced toward his SUV, then back at her. “Yeah, I don’t really do things half-assed. Lucky for me you came along.” He offered another apologetic grin.

She didn’t reciprocate. Might be lucky for him, but her luck had apparently run dry. Who the hell had she pissed off recently to deserve a day like today? First she had to deal with Baby Back and now this city boy.

He waited a beat for a response that didn’t come, then tapped his hand against the doorframe. “So, yeah, something ran across the road, and I had to slam on the brakes. I’ve got Triple A. Does your cell phone work? I’ve got no service out here, but if yours works, I can call for a tow truck. I’m sure they’ll have me out of here in no time.”

The Yankee continued to spout off about cell towers and roadside assistance while she slid out of the truck. She turned her back to him and walked to the edge of the road. “There’s only one tow truck in town,” Charlie finally interrupted. “You’re welcome to give him a call. But I heard he went fishing. Depending on how the fish are biting, might take him a while to tear himself away.”

Beckett wiped away the sweat beading at his brow and shook his head. “Damn.”

He probably deserved to get stuck here all day waiting on a tow. She almost climbed back into her truck. But something about the way he cocked his hip and funneled a hand through his hair reminded her of Sully. Dammit.

With her hands clamped on her hips, she nodded toward the bed of her truck. “Why don’t you hand me a rope and I’ll see if I can pull you out?”

“You sure?”

“Unless you want to sit in the ditch all day.”

“No, ma’am.” The dimple on his left cheek practically winked at her as he climbed onto the bumper and stepped into the bed.

She ran her gaze over his classy khakis, catching a glimpse of bare ankle at the hem. Loafers with no socks? Seriously? The local boys were going to chew this guy up like a wad of Skoal and spit him out before he even had a chance to settle that fine-looking ass onto a barstool.

“Will this work?” He held up a coil of rope.

“That’ll be fine. If you toss one end down here, I’ll tie it up.”

The whole truck rocked as he climbed over the edge and hopped out. “I can do that for you.”

She smirked at the chivalrous offer. “Just toss me the rope. I wouldn’t want you to get your fancy shoes dirty.”

Beckett glanced down at his feet before shrugging and tossing her the rope. “I guess nobody told me loafers weren’t fit for Texas.” He was so easygoing about it, she almost felt bad for poking fun. But then she thought of all the years Sully had waited for some word from his family out east, and it made her want to shake him up even more.

“Boots aren’t a requirement. But they do come in handy when you find yourself wading through the tall grass to rescue a city boy in distress.” The end of the rope sailed her way and she snagged it out of the air, then scrambled down the embankment to secure it underneath the front bumper.

“I’ll try to avoid any further trouble.” He offered her a hand as she climbed out of the ditch. “I sure do appreciate your help.”

Charlie opted to take it. Warm, firm grip, smooth… Not like the hands of the men who worked on her family’s ranch. Those were callused and rough.

“Plus, they help keep the ticks away.” She reached the road and reclaimed her hand, not wanting to admit to herself how nice it felt to be touched by a man. Even if it was this man.

He paused. “Ticks?”

“Yep. Ticks like to hang out in the weeds.” Charlie brushed her hands against her thighs, trying to wipe away the tingles of contact before she bent down to secure the other end of the rope to her trailer hitch.

“Then I’d better keep my car on the road from now on. So what do we do next?” Beckett shifted his weight, gesturing to the SUV. “Do you think this will work?”

Standing, she squinted up at him. “Now you put it in drive and aim for the road, and I pull you out of the ditch.” She directed a pointed look to the SUV.

“That easy, huh?”

Charlie angled her hip. “Helps if you get in the car.”

He let out a deep laugh, and she had to bite back her grin. She didn’t want to admit to herself how much she was enjoying their little exchange. It had been a long time since she’d made a man laugh.

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Kindle | Amazon Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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5 Copies of All-American Cowboy

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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Dylann Crush writes contemporary romance with sizzle and sass. A romantic at heart, she loves her heroines spunky and her heroes super sexy. When she’s not dreaming up steamy storylines, she can be found sipping a margarita and searching for the best Tex-Mex food in Minnesota. Although she grew up in Texas, she currently lives in a suburb of Minneapolis/St. Paul with her unflappable husband, three energetic kids and a canine who doesn’t think he’s a dog. She loves to connect with readers, other authors and fans of tequila. You can find her at www.dylanncrush.com.

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Review & Giveaway: OFF THE GRID (The Lost Platoon) by Monica McCarty

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OFF THE GRID (The Lost Platoon, Book 2) by Monica McCarty

Publication Date: July 3, 2017

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Synopsis

195F4014-DEF5-4966-ADE9-5091092093C7A hunt for dangerous secrets leads to explosive chemistry in this exhilarating romantic suspense novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Going Dark.

A team of Navy SEALs go on a mission and disappear without a trace—they are The Lost Platoon.

Investigative reporter BRITTANY BLAKE may have stumbled upon the story of a lifetime in her search for her missing brother. When he seemingly disappears overnight, she refuses to accept the Navy’s less-than-satisfying explanation. She begins her own investigation, which leads her to top-secret SEAL teams, covert ops, and a possible cover up…

JOHN DONOVAN is having trouble biding his time, waiting for his Commanding Officer to figure out who set up their platoon. John’s best friend and BUD/S partner, Brandon Blake, was one of the many lives tragically lost in the attack against his team. When Brandon’s sister, Brittany, tracks John down, looking for answers, he realizes that she may be their best bet–or bait–for finding out who is targeting SEAL Team Nine.

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Donna review 4.5 stars

Another exciting installment in the Lost Platoon series. The author managed to give good insight into John’s situation and personality without resorting to an info-dump (much appreciated). I rather liked his brooding attempt to keep from getting attached to Brittany. I related to her rather quickly and loved how their sexy romance ebbed and flowed through the turmoil. I wish the platoon wasn’t so dispersed, so they could have more of a group dynamic to the stories. I want to be pulled in deeper to them as a group. That being said – I loved the mystery, danger, romance and edge to this book.

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

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Excerpt

Read an Excerpt Here: http://monicamccarty.com/books/grid.php

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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

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Check out Book 1:
 GOING DARK (The Lost Platoon) by Monica McCarty
✦Review 5 Stars http://wp.me/p3d0RZ-9G1
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Kindle http://amzn.to/2qtdF55
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Giveaway

Paperback Copy of OFF THE GRID (The Lost Platoon) by Monica McCarty.

ENTER FACEBOOK GIVEAWAY HERE

Winner will be selected (7/14) by 6PM EST. Reading in Pajamas is responsible for this giveaway. Paperback was provided to Reading in Pajamas by Berkley Romance.

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About the Author

Monica McCarty is the bestselling author of The Arrow, The Raider, The Hunter, the Highlander trilogy, the Campbell trilogy, and more. Her interest in the Scottish clan system began in the most unlikely of places: a comparative legal history course at Stanford Law School. After a short but enjoyable stint as an attorney, she realized that her career as a lawyer paired with her husband’s transitory life as a professional baseball player was not the best match. So she traded in her legal briefs for Scottish historical romances with sexy alpha heroes. She now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and their two children.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Spotlight, Review & Giveaway: BUILT TO LAST (Black Knights Inc.) by Julie Ann Walker

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BUILT TO LAST (Black Knights Inc. Book 12) by Julie Ann Walker

Publication Date: June 26, 2018

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Synopsis

00A45B69-78C6-48F7-A187-CBA837D9DCECIn the epic conclusion to the BKI series, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julie Ann Walker delivers her biggest bombshell yet!

Welcome to Black Knights Inc.

What appears to be a tricked-out motorcycle shop on the North Side of Chicago is actually headquarters for the world’s most elite covert operatives. Deadly, dangerous, and determined, they’ll steal your breath and your heart.

After a mission-gone-sideways forces Jamin “Angel” Agassi to change his identity, he’s determined to bring down the world’s worst crime syndicate kingpin once and for all. That’s going to be the easy part. Keeping Interpol agent Sonya Butler from discovering who he really is—and blazing another trail into his heart—is the challenge.

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Donna review 4.5 stars

I was so looking forward to Angel’s story and am glad that it explained his past while forming his future. To do this, the book kept flashing back to his previous life, illustrating the impact on his and Sonya’s relationship. I’m not a big fan of the back and forth, so thankfully the story itself kept me enthralled. Sonya was someone I liked and could relate to. Her personality made the romance in an unheard of situation believable. Lots of action + smoking hot romance + close-knit friends = a good BKI story! Of course, all the people I’ve grown to love in the Black Knights world were involved in the usual mayhem, making me smile even when the tensions were high. I’m saddened to think this is the end of BKI, but excited for the hint of things to come.

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

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Excerpt

“Angel,” she whispered, coming up for air.

The way she said Angel, with such longing and desperation, was perfect. Except it wasn’this name. Not his real name, anyway. And the fool in him longed to throw caution to the wind and tell her the truth, if only to hear her call him Mark one last time.

Years of unquenched desire rode atop his shoulders. A decade of dirty words fell from his lips as he kissed his way back to her ear.

“Tell me you want me,” he commanded, nipping her earlobe.

The way she groaned captured him. Trapped him. Except the truth was, she’d owned him since the moment she opened her mouth beside his table at that café in Paris and asked if he was Mark Risa in sweetly accented Hebrew. He was hers. Always had been. Always would be.

Instinct was his ruler now. Instinct and the memories of all the things she liked. All the things that made her yelp and purr and beg for more. Cupping her breast through the soft cotton of her T-shirt, he thumbed over her nipple, delighted to discover the peak already ruched tight with desire.

She was as responsive as he remembered. Possibly more so.

“Tell me you want me,” he demanded again, needing to hear it. Needing her to admit it.

“I want you. God help me, I do.”

If he’d only heard the desperation in her voice, he might have kept going. Except…overshadowing that desperation were hard notes of guilt.

Reality check.

He pulled back to discover her eyes were glassy with unshed tears. Everything inside him stilled—his heart, his lungs, his blood. Everything except his mind. It raced toward a conclusion he didn’t want to face.

“Are you still crying for him?” he whispered. “This man from your past?”

“No.” She shook her head. Then shrugged. “Maybe. I don’t know. It’s just that you remind me of him sometimes. The way you walk. The way you pop your jaw. The way you kiss except…”

He wanted nothing more than to keep contact with her. But she had withdrawn from him emotionally, and the gentleman in him—a guy he rarely let out to play—demanded he withdraw from her physically. When he stepped back, breaking the connection of their bodies, it felt like everything that was important inside him stayed behind. Stayed with her.

“Except what?”

“Except you’re better at it than he was. I didn’t think that was possible,” she was quick to add. “Because he was the best. The absolute best. And yet it is possible. And I feel so…so…” She swallowed and searched his eyes. “Guilty for admitting it.”

Angel shot a victorious fist in the air. Or, at least, he imagined he did.

Couple of things here… One, good to know that for her, and up until now, he’d been the best. And two, he had learned a thing or two since the tender age of twenty-four. He looked forward to demonstrating each and every new skill.

“Sonya, you are not wrong to want me. Your man is dead.” The lie tasted sour in his mouth. God, don’t strike me down. Not now. Not yet. “But you are still living. Still breathing. You have needs.”

She frowned before ducking her chin and staring at her bare feet. He glanced down too and found, much to his delight, her toenails were painted a familiar hot pink.

So there is some of the old Sonya left

“It feels wrong to want you.” Her blond hair had fallen over her shoulders like the halves of a curtain. “I don’t even know you.”

He didn’t mistake her words. They were essentially the ones he’d given her earlier. Except the difference was that in his case, he had known he was lying.

She lifted her chin, staring into his eyes. “Why? Why do I feel this connection with you? Is it because we’re in the same boat? Because Grafton has us both by the nose?”

“I cannot say.” Another lie. The pile was becoming unwieldy. “But I can tell you I feel it too.”

He thought she would be happy to hear it, but she pressed the heel of her hand to her forehead and blew out a gusty sigh. “I’m tired. I should go to bed. We leave for Moldova in six hours.”

Whoa. What? That was it? She was going to abandon the conversation when it was getting good?

“Good night, Angel,” she said a little breathlessly.

Stay, he wanted to tell her.

No. Screw that. He didn’t want her to stay. He wanted to toss her over his shoulder, cart her upstairs, and throw her on his bed and undress her. He wanted to kiss every inch of her naked body until she begged him to put himself inside her.

Instead, he took a step back and lifted a hand, wordlessly indicating she was free to go.

It took everything he had not to reach for her when she slid past him. Instead, he satisfied himself with watching her hips sway to the feminine rhythm of her body as she walked to the end of the kitchen island. She had filled out some over the years. Not that she’d ever been stick thin. God had smiled the day he made her and blessed her with curves. But what little angularity youth had given her was gone now. Her hips were fuller. Her breasts heavier. Everything about her screamed woman.

At the doorway, she swung around, a question in her eyes.

“Was there something else?” he asked.

“I know you think I’m broken.” The misery in her voice hit him in the place where his shattered heart used to be.

Oh, Sonya. What happened to you?

He wanted so much to take her in his arms and remind her of what she once was. Of who she once was. But all he could give her was one simple truth. “The light only truly shines through people who have been broken.”

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Kindle | Amazon Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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Black Knights Inc. Series by Julie Ann Walker – Amazon Series Link
✦1. HELL ON WHEELS ➢ Kindle
✦2. IN RIDES TROUBLE ➢ Kindle
✦3. REV IT UP ➢ Kindle
✦4. THRILL RIDE ➢ Kindle
✦5. BORN WILD ➢ Kindle
✦6. HELL FOR LEATHER ➢ Kindle | Review 5 Stars
✦7. FULL THROTTLE ➢ Kindle | Review 5 Stars
✦8. TOO HARD TO HANDLE ➢ Kindle | Review 5 Stars
✦9. WILD RIDE ➢ Kindle | Review 5 Stars
✦10. FUEL THE FIRE ➢ Kindle | Review 5 Stars
✦11. HOT PURSUIT ➢ Kindle | Review 4.5 Stars
✦12. BUILT TO LAST ➢ Kindle

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668768D3-6BA9-484F-8B53-1284009D6CFFBKI Series Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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IMG_7397Julie Ann Walker is the USA Today and New York Times bestselling Author of the Black Knights Inc. romantic suspense series. She is prone to spouting movie quotes and song lyrics. She’ll never say no to sharing a glass of wine or going for a long walk. She prefers impromptu travel over the scheduled kind, and she takes her coffee with milk. You can find her on her bicycle along the lake shore in Chicago or blasting away at her keyboard, trying to wrangle her capricious imagination into submission.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Excerpt Tour: GETTING SCHOOLED by Emma Chase

GETTING SCHOOLED by Emma Chase

Publication Date: June 26, 2018

Genre: Romantic Comedy/ Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

B4CBD1E8-ECE3-4628-9B3A-D12B80D96EFFHead of the class…

Garrett Daniels has this whole life thing figured out.

The cocky, charismatic former high school star quarterback is an idolized football coach and “cool” teacher in the hometown where he’s not just a golden boy — he’s platinum. He has good friends, a great house on the lake, and the best damn sidekick a man could ask for: Snoopy, the albino beagle.

Then…Callie Carpenter comes home.

And knocks him right on his tight end zone.

Back to school…

Callie has a pretty sweet life herself…on the other side of the country. But circumstances — that she’d prefer to never speak of again — have brought her back home, helping out her parents and substitute teaching at her old high school.

Now she’s facing bickering, raging hormones, constant gossip, awkward weirdness, and drama galore…and that’s just the teachers.

Just like old times…

When Garrett offers to show his former high school sweetheart the secrets of his winning teacher ways, Callie jumps at the chance – and then has to stop herself from jumping him.

Good friends are all they can ever be.

Or…these teachers just might end up getting schooled — hard — by love.

Includes a special bonus interview with the author!

©2018 Emma Chase (P)2018 Audible Originals, LLC.

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Excerpt

High school parking lots are one of the most dangerous places on earth. I don’t have statistics to back that up…but I know it’s true.

I pull into the school parking lot Monday morning in my Dad’s giant, newly repaired mint-green Buick, with Back in Black by AC/DC blasting from the speakers. I feel tough, powerful—like I’m driving a tank.

I’m a badass teacher—I’ll run you down even if you’re a student—I’ve got twenty-nine more in class just like you.

The outfit helps too—leather boots, blue jeans, a starched white blouse and a black leather jacket. It’s my armor. The morning air is cool and crisp today, but I barely feel it. I’m locked and loaded and ready to roll.

As I march towards the main entrance, I spot Garrett and Dean and Alison Bellinger outside the doors. They pause when they see me, waiting.

“Damn,” Dean chuckles. “Callie’s got her shit-kickers on. Did you dig them out of a mosh pit from 1993?”

Garrett crosses his arms. “Somebody’s channeling Michelle Pfiefer in Dangerous Minds.”

He looks fantastic. His hair is tousled from the breeze and kisses his brow, and he’s wearing a dark blue sweater that’s snug around his biceps and soft, worn, light blue jeans. I remember his arms around me yesterday on my parent’s porch. The wonder and exhilaration of the moment.

Of him.

The intensity in his eyes, the desire and possessiveness in the grasp of his hands. The scorching feel of his mouth, his wet talented tongue that made my stomach swirl and my head spin.

So much for not complicating things.

But I’m not going to play head games with myself or Garrett—we’re too old for that shit.

I have feelings for him—I always have—our break-up had nothing to do with either of us not wanting each other desperately. But these aren’t just leftover echoes of a sweet, first love—this is something new. A throbbing, breathless attraction to the amazing man he’s become. I want to be near him. I want to know him, inside and out, all over again.

And he feels the same way. Garrett wants this version of me as much as he always did—maybe even more. I heard it in his whispered words and felt it in his kiss.

I don’t know if we have a future, if it can go anywhere. We have separate lives on opposite ends of the country. But I’m not going to worry about that—for now, I’m going to take each day as it comes and enjoy every moment we can.

Except for now. Now is not the time for enjoying or worrying or relationship building…now is the time for focusing. Now is the time to be ice and steel—don’t smile, don’t waver.

“Little fucknutters don’t know who the hell they’re dealing with,” I growl.

Allison pumps her fist. “That’s the spirit.”

Garrett opens the door for me. “Go get ‘em, Gangster’s Paradise.”

~*~*~*~

Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

~*~*~*~

About the Author

Emma Chase is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the hot and hilarious Tangled series and The Legal Briefs series. Emma lives in New Jersey with her husband, two children and two naughty (but really cute) dogs. She has a long-standing love/hate relationship with caffeine.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | NEWSLETTER | TWITTER | GOODREADS | READER FAN GROUP

Review & Excerpt: THE DARKEST WARRIOR (Lords of the Underworld) by Gena Showalter

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THE DARKEST WARRIOR (Lords of the Underworld) by Gena Showalter

Publication Date: June 26, 2018

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Synopsis

3209F84F-484F-42C3-82F1-A4954F49B0C4He is ice…

Puck the Undefeated, host of the demon of Indifference, cannot experience emotion without punishment, so he allows himself to feel nothing. Until her. According to ancient prophecy, she is the key to avenging his past, saving his realm and ruling as king. All he must do? Steal her from the man she loves—and marry her.

She is fire…

Gillian Shaw has suffered many tragedies in her too-short life, but nothing could have prepared the fragile human for her transition into immortality. To survive, she must wed a horned monster who both intrigues and frightens her…and become the warrior queen she was born to be.

Together they burn.

As a rising sense of possession and obsession overtake Puck, so does insatiable lust. The more he learns about his clever, resourceful wife, the more he craves her. And the more time Gillian spends with her protective husband, the more she aches for him. But the prophecy also predicts an unhappily-ever-after. Can Puck defeat fate itself to keep the woman who brought his deadened heart back to life? Or will they succumb to destiny, losing each other…and everything they’ve been fighting for?

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Excerpt

So.  This is the girl William will live or die for.

Puck crouched on the railing of an eighteenth-story balcony, gargoyle-style, and peered into a spacious apartment with only two occupants. William of the Dark and Gillian Shaw.

Soon she would be Gillian Connacht.

Find William. Wed his girl. War with brother.

Now that Puck had found the warrior, his tasks shifted: wed the girl, cart her to Amaranthia, return for the male. Wed. Cart. Return.

Perhaps he should stop staring at the female first? Impossible.

While the demon of Indifference growled with displeasure, Puck drank in Gillian’s dark fall of silken waves and eyes the color of whiskey. Seductive eyes filled with kindling. One day, a male would light her match, and she would burn for him, and him alone.

Flawless golden skin and blood-red lips only added to her appeal, making her the embodiment of a fairy-tale princess.

My princess.

Puck bit his tongue—he should have tasted blood, but because of Indifference, he tasted nothing. There was no denying the truth. Being near the female he planned to wed came with an unexpected complication. Indifferent? Hardly. She roused his most possessive instincts.

Soon she would belong to him. She would be his first and only “mine,” without actually being his.

Must police my thoughts about her, or I’ll ruin everything.

He felt as if he’d been watching Gillian for days, even weeks, as if he knew her, and yet he marveled over every new detail he learned. She was shockingly human, with a gentle spirit and an aura of kindness. Her beguiling smile was infectious, the rare times she revealed it.

Mostly she studied the people and world around her, somehow both present and detached, all while radiating bone-deep sadness.

Too many centuries had passed since Puck had experienced such heartfelt emotion. Before his possession, he might have sympathized with her—whatever her troubles happened to be—and sought to make things better. Now? He would use her without hesitation. He must.

War before a woman.

“I’m needed elsewhere,” William said, and kissed her cheek.

Puck scrutinized his competition for the female’s affections: six-five, solidly built, black hair, blue eyes, handsome if you liked perfection, and soon to be sporting a broken nose if he kissed Puck’s future bride again.

Inner slap. To achieve his goals, Puck needed both Gillian and William to cooperate.

“Hades requires my expertise to obliterate Lucifer’s newest palace,” William continued.

Lucifer. The male’s older brother.

Gillian scowled. Soon she would smile. Around William, her moods tended to change lightning fast, as if she wanted to feel one way, but he made her feel another.

“No, you’re staying here.” Her voice, even laced with a thread of anger, had the power to seduce.

No wonder William had fallen hard for her, and no other.

Puck had actually found the male hundreds of years ago, not long after the Oracles spoke their prophecy. Back then, William had loved no one but himself, forcing Puck to turn his efforts to obtaining the shears of Ananke.

She was the goddess of Bonds, and rumors claimed her shears could sever any spiritual, emotional or physical tie without con- sequence. Of course, rumors also claimed the artifact severed more than the user bargained for.

What was truth? What was lie?

At first, Puck had contemplated using the shears to sever his bond with the demon. The creature had become a part of him, another heartbeat he needed to survive. Ditching him without penalty…could anything be better?

Why else would the Oracles instruct him to find the shears?

But, if using the shears on Indifference had been the answer to Puck’s dilemma, why instruct him to marry Gillian, and recruit William?

What if the shears severed Puck’s connection to Indifference, but also his emotions? He would be in worse shape than before. What if he used the shears and died? The artifact might consider death a blessing rather than a consequence.

Too many risks.

In the end, Puck had opted to stick with his original plan, and work with William.

Help me defeat my brother. In return, I’ll divorce your female and give her back to you.

Puck returned his gaze to the dark-haired Gillian. She had such lush breasts. A flat stomach, and rounded hips. Long legs meant to wrap around a man’s waist—my waist.

His heart beat with renewed determination, as if the organ had come back to life, even though it had never died. As if it said, I’ve been waiting for her.

~*~*~*~

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Cori 5 Stars

I loved this book! If you’re on the fence about reading this one because you wanted William and Gillian to end up together I’d recommend reading it. I think Gillian ended up with the right person and I can’t wait to see who William will end up with now. THE DARKEST WARRIOR is the fourteenth book in Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld series and features Puck, the keeper of indifference and Gillian. The storyline was unique and gave Gillian a chance to grow and become stronger. She became one of my favorite female characters in this series. William and Puck fight against and with each other in this book, I loved their antics and I still adore William, but Gillian and Puck were made for each other. I just loved their story. I recommend reading the series in order to fully enjoy the series storyline. I highly recommend this series for paranormal romance lovers. Gena Showalter always delivers a great love story.

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

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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Hardback

Amazon Series link

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✿LORDS OF THE UNDERWORLD SERIES BY GENA SHOWALTER✿

Amazon Series Link http://amzn.to/2yzQLQF
✦THE DARKEST FIRE (this is a bonus story and you don’t have to read it to understand the series or the characters) ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/2yElhGz
✦THE DARKEST NIGHT – Maddox (Violence) ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/2iX58HF
✦THE DARKEST KISS – Lucien (Death) ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/2gVyKSC
✦THE DARKEST PLEASURE – Reyes (Pain) ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/2yzrlCC
✦THE DARKEST PRISON (Novella) – Atlas and Nike (another bonus story) ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/2xccs5b
✦THE DARKEST WHISPER – Sabin (Doubt) ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/2xW3MUY
✦THE DARKEST ANGEL – Lysander and Bianka ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/2gXVBNz
✦INTO THE DARK – a compendium of The Darkest Fire and The Darkest Prison printed inside, plus the original The Darkest Facts ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/2zseQFt
✦THE DARKEST PASSION – Aeron (Wrath) ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/2yyIGLW
✦THE DARKEST LIE – Gideon (Lies) ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/2xcwA7l
✦THE DARKEST SECRET – Amun (Secrets) ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/2gWHcRr
✦THE DARKEST SURRENDER – Strider (Defeat) ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/2gWhCw4
✦THE DARKEST SEDUCTION – Paris (Promiscuity) ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/2gWstpW
✦THE DARKEST CRAVING – Kane (Disaster) ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/2xcNl2a
✦THE DARKEST TOUCH – Torin (Disease) ➢ Review 5 Stars http://wp.me/p3d0RZ-1Fm | Kindle http://amzn.to/2zqzWnO
✦THE DARKEST TORMENT – Baden (Distrust) ➢ Review 5 Stars http://wp.me/p3d0RZ-759 | Kindle http://amzn.to/2lH2Mxp
✦THE DARKEST PROMISE – Cameo (Misery) ➢ Review 5 Stars http://wp.me/p3d0RZ-90y | Kindle http://amzn.to/2rymHCb
✦THE DARKEST WARRIOR – Puck & Gillian (Releasing 06/26/18) ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/2BQXRz8 | Amazon HBK http://amzn.to/2zrkCr4
✦THE DARKEST CAPTIVE (1001 Dark Nights Novella) – Galen & Legion (Releasing 12/04/18) ➢ Kindle $2.99 http://amzn.to/2CZOY5E

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✿NEW SERIES ANNOUNCEMENT & PRE-ORDER✿
✦SHADOW AND ICE (Gods of War) by Gena Showalter (Releasing 10/23/18)
Kindle $6.99 http://amzn.to/2oJw52g
Amazon Paperback $7.99 http://amzn.to/2oI1Ska

~*~*~*~

About the Author

Author pic- Gena Showalter

Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the spellbinding Lords of the Underworld and Angels of the Dark series, two young adult series–Everlife and the White Rabbit Chronicles–and the highly addictive Original Heartbreakers series. In addition to being a National Reader’s Choice and two time RITA nominee, her romance novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan (Red Hot Read) and Seventeen magazine, she’s appeared on Nightline and been mentioned in Orange is the New Black–if you ask her about it, she’ll talk for hours…hours! Her books have been translated in multiple languages.

She’s hard at work on her next novel, a tale featuring an alpha male with a dark side and the strong woman who brings him to his knees. You can learn more about Gena, her menagerie of rescue dogs, and all her upcoming books at genashowalter.com or Facebook.com/genashowalterfan

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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Release Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway: FRAGILE ORDINARY by Samantha Young

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FRAGILE ORDINARY by Samantha Young

Publication Date: June 26, 2018

Genre: Young Adult Romance

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From the New York Times bestselling author of The Impossible Vastness of Us and the On Dublin Street series comes a heartfelt and beautiful new young adult novel, set in Scotland, about daring to dream and embracing who you are. THE FRAGILE ORDINARY is now available where all fine books are sold.

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Synopsis

B8578476-54CE-4CFA-B368-B3966FB445DEI am Comet Caldwell.

And I sort of, kind of, absolutely hate my name.

People expect extraordinary things from a girl named Comet. That she’ll be effortlessly cool and light up a room the way a comet blazes across the sky.

But from the shyness that makes her book-character friends more appealing than real people to the parents whose indifference hurts more than an open wound, Comet has never wanted to be the center of attention. She can’t wait to graduate from her high school in Edinburgh, Scotland, where the only place she ever feels truly herself is on her anonymous poetry blog. But surely that will change once she leaves to attend university somewhere far, far away.

When new student Tobias King blazes in from America and shakes up the school, Comet thinks she’s got the bad boy figured out. Until they’re thrown together for a class assignment and begin to form an unlikely connection. Everything shifts in Comet’s ordinary world. Tobias has a dark past and runs with a tough crowd—and none of them are happy about his interest in Comet. Targeted by bullies and thrown into the spotlight, Comet and Tobias can go their separate ways…or take a risk on something extraordinary.

~*~*~*~

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Excerpt

By the time we got to the house and I let us into my bedroom, I was a jittering wreck. Massive waves of nervous energy were emanating from Tobias, making me worse. He was rarely nervous about anything. Once inside my room, I waited impatiently as Tobias slumped down on my bed, elbows on knees, head in hands.

I shrugged out of my jacket and unwound my scarf. Still waiting.

“Comet,” he huffed, not looking up. “Sit down, okay, you’re making me nervous.”

“You’re making me nervous.” I sat on the armchair across from him. “You and Stevie didn’t kill someone, did you? Did Dean dispose of the body for you and now he’s blackmailing you?”

Tobias’s broad shoulders shook and he lifted his head to stare at me with amusement tinged with sadness. “You’ve got to stop reading so many books.”

“Never.”

He smiled at me, his look so tender that I squirmed with the need to shoot across the room and throw my arms around him. Instead I met his gaze and asked directly, “What happened back there?”

“I just chose you over Stevie,” he said.

I swear my eyebrows must have hit my hairline at this pronouncement. “What?”

“Stevie and some of the guys have been hanging around Dean more and more. Dean is a dealer. And he’s part of something bigger—we’re talking an adult-sized, criminal gang who deal drugs and steal cars for a living. Dean deals cocaine to kids. Blair Lochrie High School is one of his grounds. He sells to quite a few kids there.”

At our high school?

Class A drugs at our high school?

“Bloody hell,” I whispered, “Where have I been?”

“Where I prefer you—safe with your nose stuck in a book.”

“Tobias…Stevie?”

Hearing the worry in my voice, he winced. “I tried, Com. I tried to keep him out of it, but he’s so messed up and I couldn’t stop him. I hung around to make sure he was okay.”

“Is that why you’ve been avoiding me?” God, please let that be why he was avoiding me.

“Yes.” A million apologies swirled in his gorgeous eyes. “I didn’t mean for Stevie to find out about you, because I didn’t want you anywhere near the stuff he was getting involved in. But then you two got along, so well I thought you might…have feelings for each other, so I told him that he either stopped hanging around Dean or he stopped hanging around you. He agreed keeping you out of that stuff, away from the boys, was better for you. So we stopped coming around as much and then stopped coming around at all. Tonight was his initiation into Dean’s crew. It was supposed to be both our initiations, I guess, because Dean was sending Stevie to some other party with drugs, and I was following Stevie as backup. Now I’m not.”

There was so much to process in what he’d just said.

My brain blurted out the first thing it wanted to deal with. “Stevie and I don’t have feelings for each other. I don’t like Stevie, Tobias.”

His eyes widened as my tone implied that I liked someone else. “No?”

“No.”

“Good. Because I just left him to that hell.” He stood up and started pacing back and forth. “I tried to help him even if it meant hurting you, and he just let himself get pulled further down into that crap.”

I stood up, reached out to touch him, to slow him down. He stilled, looking at my hand on his arm. “What did you mean? You chose me over Stevie?”

“Comet, Dean made it clear that if I left with you, I couldn’t go around there or anywhere near him again. So I either had to stay and go with Stevie as his backup on a drug deal and leave you to handle Dean on your own, or I could walk out of there with you and leave Stevie to do it alone. For good.” His gaze moved over my face, as if he were committing each feature to memory.

My heart started thudding so hard the blood rushed through my ears. “So you chose me.”

“Of course,” he choked out. “I’d never let anything happen to you. And seeing you there…I never want to see that crap touch you again. It was a wake-up call for me. I don’t want to be a part of that shit either. That’s not me.”

Seeing something in his expression made me brave in a way I never thought I could be. Knees trembling, I stepped up to him and placed a hand on his chest, over his heart. His chest was strong and hard beneath my hand, his body heat surrounding me and that woodsy, spicy, citrusy scent he wore teasing my senses. I wanted to sway into him, hold him tight, and never let go, but I had something important to say first now that I had his absolute attention. “Being a good student, working for something, achieving something, playing hard at football…it wasn’t all for your dad, Tobias. There is no maybe about it. Deep down you want those things for yourself, too. You’re smart and good and such a special person.” I gave him a tremulous smile, wondering if how I felt for him was as obvious to him as it was to apparently everyone else. “You deserve the life you really want.”

His chest rose and fell faster beneath my hand as we stared into one another’s eyes. Tobias licked his lips, as if he was nervous. “What if I want to get my grades back up?”

“Then I’ll help.”

“And join the rugby team?”

“Then you’ll try out.”

He nodded and slowly lifted his hand to cover mine. He took a step closer to me, his breathing sounding a little shaky. The thud of his heart racing beneath my palm made mine accelerate. My legs shook and my fingers curled into Tobias’s shirt. “And…what if what I really want…is you?”

Joy flooded me. I can’t truly describe the feeling. The euphoria. The excitement and thrill and fear and worry that cascaded through me at the thought of being with Tobias King.

No matter the plethora of emotions that came with his question, my answer was instant and absolute. “Then you have me.”

~*~*~*~

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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Hardback

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Giveaway

Signed hardback copy of THE IMPOSSIBLE VASTNESS OF US and THE FRAGILE ORDINARY for 3 winners

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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About the author

B52CE1BC-5AF3-4F41-AF8D-DF5B85573665Samantha Young is the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of adult contemporary romances, including the On Dublin Street series and Hero, as well as the New Adult duology Into the Deep and Out of the Shallows.  Every Little Thing, the second book in her new Hart’s Boardwalk series, will be published by Berkley in March 2017. Before turning to contemporary fiction, she wrote several young adult paranormal and fantasy series, including the amazon bestselling Tale of Lunarmorte trilogy. Samantha’s debut YA contemporary novel The Impossible Vastness of Us will be published by Harlequin TEEN in ebook & hardback June 2017 Samantha has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award 2012 for Best Author and Best Romance for On Dublin Street, Best Romance 2014 for Before Jamaica Lane, and Best Romance 2015 for HeroOn Dublin Street, a #1 bestseller in Germany, was the Bronze Award Winner in the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2013, Before Jamaica Lane the Gold Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2014 and Echoes of Scotland Street the Bronze Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2015.

Samantha is currently published in 30 countries and is a #1 international bestselling author.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Review: CAJUN PERSUASION: A Cajun Novel by Sandra Hill

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CAJUN PERSUASION: A Cajun Novel by Sandra Hill

Publication Date: June 26, 2018

Genre: Contemporary Romance

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BC835AD6-837E-4BEE-93D6-2973108472B5Return to New York Times Bestseller Sandra Hill’s Cajun country, where the Louisiana bayou is steamier than ever…

Alaskan pilot Aaron LeDeux came to Louisiana with his brother to discover his Cajun roots. But any hopes he had of returning home are extinguished when he agrees to help a crew of street monks and nuns rescue sex-trafficked girls. For the work has become his new calling. Plus, he’s in love with a gorgeous almost-nun named Fleur…

With her harrowing past, Fleur Gaudet only feels safe at the nunnery. But when she’s ordered out into the real world to decide where she truly belongs, Fleur goes to live with the notorious Tante Lulu, matriarch of the LeDeux clan. Suddenly, she’s leading a regular life, thinking irregular thoughts about Aaron. With his whiskey-colored eyes and fierce bravery, Aaron is like her own personal Cajun cowboy, re-introducing her to . . . everything.

As the dangerous missions bring them closer, Fleur must decide if her heart is truly on the path she’s been following, or if she’ll have a new future with the man of her heart.

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Donna 5 Stars

I love this Cajun series and am glad this installment kept the flame burning. It has danger, romance and laughter. I enjoyed how the self-confident, Aaron had to work hard to break through Fleur’s reluctance. It was sweet and enjoyable. I truly like him and Fleur. Her reluctance was real and never got to the “enough already” stage. It flowed nicely and was fun to read. I love this group of people; their loyalty and humor make me wish I was down there right now. Loved it!

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

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Kindle | Amazon Paperback

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✿THE CAJUN SERIES BY SANDRA HILL✿
✦Book 1: THE CAJUN DOCTOR ➢ Kindle | Review 5 Stars
✦Book 2: CAJUN CRAZY ➢ Kindle | Review 4.5 Stars
✦Book 3: CAJUN PERSUASION ➢ Kindle

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imageimageMy life and my books are a celebration of new beginnings. Although I am a livelong writer–I’m the oddball who liked writing essays in school–it wasn’t until the early 1990s that my writing interest turned to novels. It was a new beginning for me…a totally different career path from the journalism I had been practicing. More than twenty novels later, I am still in love with writing…and with new beginnings.

No wonder all of my books deals with new beginnings in some way or another. In fact, my first novel, The Reluctant Viking, first published in 1994, was about a woman on the brink of divorce looking for a chance to start all over. A new beginning for poor Ruby Jordan. Fast forward more than ten years and you will find there is a theme of new beginnings in all my books. Doesn’t matter if it’s divorce, death, despair, time travel, loneliness, boredom or plain old dissatisfaction, readers want to know that there is a chance for…yep, new beginnings.

One of the greatest gifts we have in this world is to find work we love, which is appreciated by others. I have been especially blessed in that regard.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

*****

Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: COWBOY SEAL REDEMPTION by Nicole Helm

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COWBOY SEAL REDEMPTION (Navy SEAL Cowboys, Book 2) by Nicole Helm 

Publication Date: June 5, 2018

Genre: Western Romance

Synopsis

0A80E1BD-6600-4971-8A25-89513B1DF202Three former Navy SEALs

Injured in the line of duty

Desperate for a new beginning…

Searching for a place to call their own.

Jack Armstrong’s been slowly piecing his life back together after a career-ending injury bounced him from the SEALs. The only trouble is, his family’s on their way to his new haven in Montana…and Jack refuses to let them know he’s still hurting. Desperate, he makes a deal with local bad girl Rose Rogers: in exchange for some extra security, she’ll play the perfect loving girlfriend.

Rose doesn’t trust any man, much less some tough-as-nails former SEAL. But the more they settle into their ruse, the more things start to feel real, and the more Rose’s true fear surfaces—that she’ll never be good enough for love. But Jack isn’t about to lose Rose. He’s done running when things get tough, and he’s determined to prove—once and for all—that even the most troubled hearts can find their way to redemption.

~*~*~*~

Excerpt

No man had ever held her close like this. Like you just held a person because you woke up together. And okay, maybe shed never really spent the night with a guy. The few times shed allowed herself to be charmed into sex, shed always vamoosed either once the act was done or once the guy dozed off.

She didnt stay. She didnt do it again. And she did not, God forbid, cuddle. Someone holding her was supposed to be stifling. It was supposed to feel awkward. She was supposed to want to make fun of an act as soft and pointless as this.

Mostly she wanted to cry again and stay here forever. What was this man doing to her? And why him? Was it the scarsinternal and external? The sob story? Or just those eyes?

Do you have nightmares?he asked out of nowhere.

She shifted in his arms. Why would I have nightmares?

He kissed her bare shoulder. PTSD.

Hate to break it to you, sailor, but I never went to war.

You survived your own hell,he said so matter-of-factly, she couldnt even think up a response. War isnt the only thing that stamps itself on you, and death isnt either. You know, when I was in the rehabilitation center, someone told me foster kids suffer from PTSD at a higher rate than military veterans.

What asshole said that to you while you were in a rehabilitation center?

He shrugged. Mike.

Id like to wring that little fuckers neck.

Jacks mouth curved into a smile. Id rather you didnt. My mother likes you, but she wouldnt approve of that.

Your sister likes me too.Which she shouldnt have said or even thought. What did it matter what his family thought? It was a fake like, for a fake herbut she liked them in return.

Except Dick Bag Mike.

My sister worships you and might not care if you wring Mikes neck.

She laughed. Oh, damn him for having half a charming family. Vivian was adorable, and his parents were

Well, she didnt want to think about how lovely they were.

You had your own trauma, Rose. I just wondered if it still bothered you. Nightmares. Panic attacks. Ive done it all, so…”

Trauma. As though she were a victim. She had been, in a sense, but not like her sisters. Theyd all looked after each other. They had put each other first at great risk to themselves. Only Rose had ever taken their fathers teachings to heart.

Always look out for number one.

Just tell me the truth,he said, and it was all gentle and impossible to fight him off.

The truth. She didnt want to acknowledge the truth, but lying to Jack seemed so impossible. S-sometimes. Ive had nightmares. Rarely, but sometimes.

Mine have gotten fewer ever since I started talking. I told my sister I loved her last night.He paused, rubbing his lightly stubbled chin against her temple. I dont think Ive ever done that. And it was something. Telling Madison how much she hurt me changed something. Ive still got scars, Geiger is still dead, Madison is still married to my brother, but…”

But what?

See, thats the thing. There didnt used to be a but. It was a list of horrible, dark things, and it ended there. Everything was awful. Now? I still feel beat down by those things, by those hurts and scars, buttheres a but. Theres more.

She wanted to cry. For him. Because of him. She knew what it was like to have a but. Her sisters had always been that. It was so strange to realize that, over the past year as her sisters had been building their lives, shed lost that but for herself.

She had her bar, her power, and her freedom. It should have been enough, but the list of bleak was holding her down, and she didnt know how to be as brave as Jack and believe in a but.

Im not your happy ending, Jack,she rasped.

I dont believe in happy endings anymore, Rose. Maybe I never did. I do know we dont get what we deserve, and hard work doesnt always pay off. That doesnt change the beauty and hope of having a but.He smiled then, so open and perfect and beautiful. I care about you, Rose.A gesture she didnt deserve.

I wish you wouldnt,she whispered.

I know.He sighed and brushed his lips across hers, light and quick. I have to go do my chores before the family wakes up. Why dont you come with me?

Come with?

Yeah, you can watch me do manly chores, we can eat breakfast with my family, and then you can head home and get some rest before you have to open the bar.

She should refuse, stop diving deeper into this thing that was going to end so very badly if she let him get more attached.

If you let yourself get more attached.

Say yes,he murmured against her neck, nuzzling there.

And she was a very, very stupid woman, because thats exactly what she said

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About the Author

Nicole Helm grew up with her nose in a book and a dream of becoming a writer. Luckily, after a few failed career choices, a husband, and two kids, she got to pursue that dream. Nicole writes down-to-earth contemporary romance. From farmers to cowboys, midwest to the west, she writes stories about people finding themselves and finding love in the process. When she’s not writing, she spends her time dreaming about someday owning a barn. She lives with her husband and two young sons in Missouri. She is slightly (okay, totally) addicted to Twitter (@nicolethelm), the St. Louis Cardinals, and someday owning a barn.

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