Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Blindsided by Ava Ashley ~ Cover Reveal and Giveaway


Blindsided
Ava Ashley
Publication date: March 6th 2017
Genres: Adult, Romance, Sports
One night, two men and a parting gift…

I’ve always wanted to scoop the hot stories, not become one of them. But that’s exactly what happened after I spent a hot and steamy night with bad-boy football star Lennox Hardy. Just a one-night stand and move on, right? Wrong. Now I’m carrying his baby and my life just fell apart. But the worst thing?

Lennox had nothing to do with it.

Suddenly, I’m not dealing with just one man, there are TWO! One who doesn’t give a damn about anyone but himself and another who always fixes his brother’s mistakes.

One night, twin brothers and whole lot of secrets and drama. Things can’t get any more complicated than this, right? Yeah, that’s what I thought too… until I fell in love with one of them.

Damn… what's a girl to do now?

EXCERPT:
Carefully, I slip out from under the covers and drop to my knees on the floor. Maybe I can find some sort of evidence before he wakes up. Something that will appease Giselle, but not something that could hurt Lennox in any kind of way. I slowly turn and start to crawl away from the bed. Lennox rustles behind me. I freeze. I dare a slow head turn in his general direction.
The rise and fall of his chest is steady. Even. Rhythmic. A peaceful, contented smile curls along the edges of his mouth. For a half a second, I take a little bit of pride that I may be at least partially responsible for putting it there. He has one arm crooked, hand tucked beneath a tousled mop of sheepdog blonde. Long, golden lashes brush his high cheekbones as he sleeps undisturbed.
I exhale a heavy, but quiet, sigh of relief and continue my subtle egress. I get halfway across the room when I freeze in my tracks.
What am I doing? This isn’t me! What are you going to do? Dig through his trash? Root through his mail?
On hands and knees in the middle of the floor, I start to give myself a well-deserved mental ass chewing.
“Well, now there’s a position I could get used to.” Lennox’s voice teases in a sleepy drawl behind me. My head droops in embarrassment.
Lennox yawned like lion as he stretched his toned arms over his head. “So, I’ve heard of the ‘walk of shame’, but I gotta admit. I’ve never seen a ‘crawl of shame.’ Where are you off to?”
Alright, Sloane. Suck it up.


Author Bio:
Amazon bestselling author Ava Ashley may look like the girl next door, but her steamy romances reveal a very naughty side. Raised in small town Ohio and now living in Homer, Alaska it’s amazing that she hasn’t increased the average temperature in her area of the state with her steamy writing. And she loves reading new adult romance novels as much as she enjoys writing them.
Ava likes spending time outdoors and does a lot of hiking and cycling with her husband and four children. When she can get away on her own, she’ll often take pen and paper along, find a secluded spot and let the environment inspire her. Of course, that inspiration frequently results in characters tearing each other’s clothes off, but you would expect nothing less from a romance writer.

GIVEAWAY!
Ava has 3 SIGNED PRINT copies and 3 eCopies of Blindsided up for grabs right now.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Mistress Enchants Her Marquis by Christina McKnight ~ Book Spotlight and Giveaway


Courtship was never so scandalous
Out Feb 21st – Regency Romance, The Mistress Enchants Her Marquis by Christina McKnight, book two in the Craven House series.

Title: The Mistress Enchants Her Marquis
Series: Craven House (Book Two)
Author: Christina McKnight
Genre: Historical Romance, Regency
Release Date: February 21, 2017

COURTSHIP WAS NEVER SO SCANDALOUS

The grandson of an unconventional marquis and son of a notorious woman, Elijah Watson, Marquis of Ridgefeld, has spent most of his life outside of London. His atypical upbringing has left him longing for roots and a traditional family life, and he’s determined to live his life above reproach. When he meets Miss Samantha Pengarden, he believes he’s found the woman he wants to marry—except she has other far more sensual ideas for him.

Known throughout the ton as the illegitimate rebellious daughter of London’s disreputable Craven House Madame, Samantha has never had to face the world without her shy twin by her side—until now. Her sister’s marriage and the return of her blackguard father leaves her alone and adrift. When Elijah agrees to escort her to the town’s most infamous establishments, she thinks she’s finally found a man with a taste for scandal and a knowledge of matters of the flesh.

But she never counted on Elijah being so honorable. When Samantha is listed as the mistress of the Marquis of Ridgefeld in White’s betting book, her reputation is in ruins—and only Elijah can save her. Can two total opposites come together for a love certain to last a lifetime?

Available at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

Haven’t started the series yet?
The Thief Steals Her Earl (Craven House Book One) is on sale for just 99cents!

Available at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

Author Bio:
Christina McKnight is a book lover turned writer. From a young age, her mother encouraged her to tell her own stories. She’s been writing ever since.

Christina enjoys a quiet life in Northern California with her family, her wine, and lots of coffee. Oh, and her books…don’t forget her books! Most days she can be found writing, reading, or traveling the great state of California.

You can visit her online at the following places: Website Facebook | Twitter Goodreads | Amazon


Follow the tour and #enter to #win one of 5 paperback copies of The Thief Steals Her Earl (Craven House Book One)
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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Spies & Sinners by Annika Martin ~ Series Cover Reveal


Spies & Sinners #1-4
Annika Martin
Publication date: February 16th 2017
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense
COLE
She hates him. And now she has to play his girlfriend.
Deadly abs. Deadly aim. Deadly brilliant. Cole is one of the Association’s top agents, but he’s never come up against a psycho like Borgola…and he’s running out of time.
Then he catches Angel cracking the man’s uncrackable safe. He’ll blackmails her into helping him. He can’t worry about her safety. She’s just some criminal…right?
But the deeper they fall into Borgola’s web, the more innocent Angel seems…and the more real those fake kisses start to feel.
MAC
Where do you hide when your ex is the world’s most dangerous psycho?
Laney fled to Bangkok—new life, new identity, new everything. She keeps mostly to herself until the night she meets arrogant, gorgeous Professor Peter Maxwell and the sparks fly. He shatters her defenses—along with her pride when she discover he only seduced her to steal some secrets.
Just hours later, she finds him shirtless and sweaty, chained up in the hotel basement. He’s some sort of undercover agent. She should probably leave him there after what he did to her, maybe even kick him for good measure. But her pscyho ex is on his way back—she can feel it in her bones—and she could use a dangerous friend.
THORNE
He’s gorgeous. He’s a killer. And he can never discover he’s Benny’s father.
Nadia fell for the most feared hitter on her late father’s payroll, but she’s not sorry; without Thorne she wouldn’t have their beautiful boy. Now Thorne’s burst back into her life, arrogant and demanding, making himself right at home. She can’t let him figure out Benny is his…so she enlists a friend to play their son’s daddy.
Thorne knows exactly how Nadia sees him—as a brute and a killer just kinky enough to play her sexy games. And that’s how it has to stay. Leaving her two years ago was the hardest thing he ever did, but it was the only way to protect her. Now his undercover mission has thrown them back together…and it drives him crazy to see her with this other man, this new family.
HUGO
What do you do when dangerous criminals win your twin sister in a card game? Trade places, of course.
Zelda and her sister grew up with identical faces, but their paths went in opposite directions—Zelda became a secret agent while her sister got caught up in drugs. Zelda will do this one last thing to save her sister. She’s handled lethal men before…she can do it again.
But things don’t go as planned. Zelda ends up getting traded deeper and deeper into South America. Suddenly she finds herself at the beck and call of a domineering and mysterious new captor. Is he just another criminal? Or is could this be the legendary killer she spent so many years hunting back in her secret agent days?

Grab Thorne for FREE!


Author Bio:
Annika Martin is a NYT bestselling author who lives with her awesome husband and two cats in a home full of plants, sunshine and books. She’s heavy into writing love stories about criminals--some of them are dirty and fun, others are dark and intense. She also writes as the RITA-award winning author Carolyn Crane. Get on Annika's private email list here: http://eepurl.com/qzztT

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Once Upon a Valentine with His Moonstruck Wolf by Heather Long ~ Release Blitz

HIS MOONSTRUCK WOLF by Heather Long

When a matchmaker gets toasted at the after party, she finds the perfect wolf for her in the most unlikely of places. Of course, the last thing he wants is a mate, much less a matchmaking one.


Title: His Moonstruck Wolf (Once Upon a Valentine)
Author: Heather Long
Release Date: February 14, 2017
Series: Wolves of Willow Bend
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Format: Digital
ISBN: 9781540104427

Synopsis:

Hugo Ferrar is one busy Hound. Acting as a messenger for his alpha, he spends more time out of New Orleans than in it. Home in the Big Easy for only three days, Hugo has a strict schedule to adhere to—celebrate his brother’s mating, eat and drink his fill, and find a lovely wolf at the masquerade for a fling.

Lesley-Anne Saucier is drunk on life and one too many hurricanes. Her masquerade is just the kind of party Delta Crescent needs, especially since they are celebrating the mating of a popular couple—a match she helped to make. Avoiding her eager fans, Lesley-Anne is bowled over by a wolf in the garden—a stunning, male, perfect for her. The moon is full, the masquerade is in full swing, can the matchmaker find her own perfect mate?

His Moonstruck Wolf is available in the anthology Once Upon a Valentine on sale February 14th.




About Once Upon a Valentine:
100% of earned royalties go directly to the American Society of Autism to help fund programs that support families with children on the spectrum. Help us educate and make a difference one dollar at a time.
BRAND NEW BOOKS from some of your favorite paranormal and contemporary romance authors! 
                                                               
Accidentally In Love (Bad Boys, Billionaires & Bachelors)(Somewhere, TX) - Emma Roman --A client who won't listen and a matchmaker who won't give up.

Love, Honor, and Ink (A Montgomery Ink Novella)- Carrie Ann Ryan  --A wedding planner and her neighbor. Falling in love with your best friend is never easy.

Secrets of a Silver Moon - Jodi Vaughn --Some Valentine secrets are too hot to handle.

Loving Hallie (Vegas Mates #6) - Krystal Shannan --One kiss will change her life.

Highland Valentine - C.A. Szarek

Wrong Valentine Date - Geri Foster --Cupid comes knocking on the wrong door.

Kiss of Her Dragon - Julia Mills --Dragon kisses, bear hugs and evil wizards…Valentine’s Day should come with hazard pay.


Cupid Stupid - Sylvia McDaniel --When three women dance naked around Cupid’s fountain, there will be consequences.

His Moonstruck Wolf - Heather Long --When a matchmaker gets toasted at the after party, she finds the perfect wolf for her in the most unlikely of places. Of course, the last thing he wants is a mate, much less a matchmaking one.

Death by Chocolate - Gwen Knight --Love is death...but so is being single on Valentine's Day.

Valentine Kisses (A Fada Shapeshifters Novella) - Rebecca Rivard --Jenny's just looking to spice up her life when she says yes to a date with a sexy Latino shifter. But there's magic in a Valentine's kiss...

Heart of A Hero - Camryn Rhys --A Valentine's Accident, an ancient spell, and Paul Banfield will never be the same.

Read an excerpt from HIS MOONSTRUCK WOLF:
“Running away already?” The husky masculine voice wrapped around her like a leash seeking purchase.
“Hardly.” She lifted her drink. “I came out to cool off and have a drink. You?”
“I came looking for you.” What a pity he delivered the hope-inspiring-line with such practiced ease. Even knowing he possessed all the right scent markers, declaring him her potential, the smoothness with which he declared he’d come in search of her suggested his goal was more a warm body for the night rather than a heart seeking shelter.
 “I see. It doesn’t seem as though you have to look very hard.” She didn’t bother to disguise the challenge in her voice. She didn’t want an operator, and while wolves might be highly charged and very sexual creatures, it didn’t mean she had to accept whatever life had to offer. Mate potential didn’t mean mate acceptance.
“How do you know I haven’t searched the whole of the bayou for you?” Playful flirtation seemed to shimmer within every syllable.
“Because there’s not a speck of dirt on your very shiny shoes.” He was lucky she didn’t snort in his face.
He chuckled then tugged off his filigreed mask. Oh, she could have wished he hadn’t done that. Hugo Ferrar. Really? She wanted to take her wolf out back and shake it. Hugo Ferrar was a Hound, second only to Jerome, and exceptionally well known in the pack—both for his reputation as a fighter as well as a lover,
Though she and he had not crossed paths previously—she wasn’t an idiot. If Jerome was Serafina’s right hand, then Hugo was her left. If she needed it done, Hugo would make it happen. It didn’t matter what the job was, Hugo took them all. For several months, he’d been babysitting the Three Rivers pack. Rumor had it, Serafina tasked him with a new assignment—one which kept him on the move.
Lesley-Anne only knew about the latest because his brother had let it slip. Christopher Ferrara wasn’t supposed to be in the know, but Hugo was his beloved elder brother and he worshiped the ground the Hound walked on.
“Maybe I searched the house and the Quarter.” Though even he winced on the last.
This time Lesley-Anne and didn’t bother to disguise her snort. One hand on her hip, she simply shook her head. “You stepped outside to cool off. When you saw a lady alone,  you thought to yourself, ‘She doesn’t appear attached. I’m home for a bit, so I think I’ll get laid.’” She didn’t hide the disdain in her voice.
“Your teeth are very sharp, pretty one.” Hugo closed the distance between them. Instead of being deterred by the sharpness of her tone, he seemed rather intrigued. “To what do I owe the honor of your ire?”
“To what ire are you referring?” She took another drink, this time draining what was left of her hurricane. She’d need the alcohol to steel herself for this conversation. Her wolf wagged its tail, as desperate as a puppy for attention.
Really? For Hugo? Don’t you think we can do better?
She didn’t want a mate who was always gone, or a mate whose lothario-like reputation with the ladies served as grist for the pack’s rumor mill. In fact, all she really wanted this evening was to celebrate the end of a very fruitful engagement, which led to the mating of Christopher and Rachel, as well as to celebrate the survival of Delta Crescent into a new year. Was that too much ask?
“I get the distinct impression you’re very unhappy to see me.” Hugo set his drink down on the stone balustrade. With the nimble grace of their species, he leapt to sit next to it. A man in a top coats and tails shouldn’t look so comfortable atop a stone railing, yet he could have been lounging in a King Louis XVI chair.
“Not that I like to accuse anyone of paranoia, but worrying about whether or not I approve of you…particularly at our first meeting? That’s a little paranoid.” What Lesley-Anne desperately needed was another hurricane. Or perhaps to return to the party. 

About Heather Long:

National bestselling author, Heather Long, likes long walks in the park, science fiction, superheroes, Marines, and men who aren’t douche bags. Her books are filled with heroes and heroines tangled in romance as hot as Texas summertime. From paranormal historical westerns to contemporary military romance, Heather might switch genres, but one thing is true in all of her stories—her characters drive the books. When she’s not wrangling her menagerie of animals, she devotes her time to family and friends she considers family. She believes if you like your heroes so real you could lick the grit off their chest, and your heroines so likable, you’re sure you’ve been friends with women just like them, you’ll enjoy her worlds as much as she does.

Connect with Heather: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Cover Inspirations ~ Fangs and Fists: Bolt by Kate Hill

Title: Fangs and Fists: Bolt
Author: Kate Hill
Gere: Paranormal/Sci-Fi Romance
Release Date: February 10, 2017
Publisher: Changling Press



Blurb: In a futuristic world ruled by demons, werewolves are enslaved to fight in gladiatorial matches for the amusement of their evil masters.

Kiara remembers what life was like living free -- before she was taken by demons and bred to gladiators so that the new generations of wolves would retain their ferocity but forget their freedom. Mated to top gladiator Grit, she has a son with this surprisingly gentle lover who is also planning their escape. When Grit is killed in the arena, his close friend Bolt upholds his promise to protect Kiara and the cub.

Bolt and Kiara have loved each other from the moment they met, but they buried their feelings because she was mated to his best friend. When Grit dies, despite their guilt, Bolt and Kiara surrender to their desire for each other. Will their love be strong enough to help them win freedom from their evil masters?

Kate Hill's Inspiration
My story combines a lot of things that I wanted reflected on the cover. It takes place in a futuristic world that has both magic and modern technology. The werewolves in the story are different than other species because they have taken pride in living with few modern conveniences and basically staying away from magic. Now that demons have taken over, they're finding that their old fashioned lifestyle is harming them because demons have no problem with using both magic and tech to control the world. I wanted a cover that reflects the wolves' spirit and their loyalty to their past. I also wanted one that pictured someone who looks like the hero, because to me it's important for any people on a book cover to reasonably resemble characters in the story. In addition, I hoped for a cover inspired by gladiators/warriors because in the Fangs and Fists world, demons use werewolves for entertainment in gladiatorial sports. While I don't have final say on my covers, Changeling Press allows authors a lot of input. The cover image used for Fangs and Fists: Bolt, was one of my top choices.

**********
Kat Hill's cover really captured the gladiator feel. When I look at him, I see a determined warrior ready to take on the world. What do you think?

You can find more about Fangs and Fist: Bolt at:


You can connect with Kate Hill online at:

Beauty and the Wiener by Casey Griffin ~ Review


Title: Beauty and the Wiener (A Rescue Dog Romance #2)

Author: Casey Griffin
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 400 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Release Date: February 7, 2017
Source: NetGalley
Rating: 4
Heat Rating: 3
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

A TAIL AS OLD AS TIME…

Addison Turner has scripted a perfect future for herself, complete with a fairytale ending. She will become the name in doggie fashion design and live happily ever after with the husband of her dreams—and her dachshund, Princess, by her side. Just when her plan is on track and she’s gaining recognition at the local dog show, Addison is hit with some Oscar-worthy drama. A group of prize-winning show dogs are stolen from under her nose, and she’s stuck asking for help from Felix Vaughn, an infuriatingly hot bartender who is the exact opposite of Prince Charming.

When more dogs go missing—and Felix becomes a suspect—the two team up to clear their names. Although Felix and Addison fight like cats and dogs, there’s an undeniable spark between them. And as the trail to the missing dogs heats up, so does their red-hot chemistry. Can Addison be persuaded to throw away her script to find an ending that just might be better than she ever expected?
This series is so cute! I love the addition and fun that the dogs add, and being able to re-visit the all the characters in the next book really help bring them to life. Our attention has turned to Addison this time. She's on the fast track to making her high-class grooming salon the next big thing in the dog show world. But it wouldn't be much of a story if something didn't go wrong.

The show dogs are kidnapped right out from underneath everyone's noses and Addison is being blamed. Her business is suffering and the annoying know it all bartender, Felix, isn't willing to help her. But when he gets roped into the blame game, he doesn't have much of a choice. More dogs are gone and no one seems to trust anyone else.

Felix was awesome!!! I want him. He is one of the best romance heroes I've had a chance to 'meet' in a long time. He's sweet and he really has his priorities in order. He also saves the day in the most perfect way and throws a good bit of humor into the dialog.

It was Addison I had a bit of trouble with. She's quite a judgemental person and a bit of a gold digger. But she loves Princess, her dachshund, and the little dog helps to ground her in a strange way. Princess is a bit of a diva herself, so they are a perfect match.

Felix and Addison come together while they try to clear their names. They both have to grow a bit (Addison a bit more than Felix) and there's some great tear jerking moments near the end. I will definitely be picking up the next book as soon as I can!

**I voluntarily read a review copy of this book**


A Rescue Dog Romance

Retribution by Shana Figeroa ~ Spotlight and Giveaway


RETRIBUTION by Shana Figueroa (February 7, 2017; Forever Yours eBook; $4.99; Valentine Shepherd Book 2)

V is for vengeance . . .

Private investigator Valentine Shepherd plays by one set of rules: hers. She's haunted by dark, cryptic visions of the future, not to mention an aching hole in her chest where her heart---and the love of her life, Max Carressa---used to be. But when Val's search for a missing woman leads to her own night of terror, the only thing on Val's mind is revenge.

In the months since Val walked away from their relationship, Max has tried to move on. Yet, when she asks for his help tracking down her attacker, he knows resistance is futile; he'll do anything for Val. Even sacrifice himself to save her.


About the Author
Shana Figueroa is a published author who specializes in romance and humor, with occasional sojourns into horror, sci-fi, and literary fiction.

She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, two young daughters, and two old pugs. She enjoys reading, writing (obviously), martial arts, video games, and SCIENCE---it's poetry in motion! By day, she serves her country in the US Air Force as an aerospace engineer. By night, she hunkers down in a corner and cranks out the crazy stories lurking in her head.

She took Toni Morrison's advice and started writing the books she wanted to read. Hopefully you'll want to read them, too!

Social Media Links
Add Retribution to your shelf on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2hpIPF7



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Monday, February 6, 2017

Up in Smoke by Natalie E Wyre ~ Cover Reveal and Giveaway


Up in Smoke
Natalie E. Wrye
(Kisses and Crimes, #2)
Publication date: February 27th 2017
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense
Rules were made to be broken. Until I broke the wrong ones… 
*** 
Jackson Reed knew the only thing harder than his head was the insatiable one between his legs. 
Sandwiched somewhere between following the law and his own instincts, he made up his own rules in the game of “private investigations”: his sacred version of the Holy Trinity. 
Sex. 
Career. 
And more sex. 
He towed the delicate line between the “three” until Penelope Castalano—a former flame he equated to the plague—re-enters his life…and obliterates it. 
Fresh from Paris, his best friend’s attorney breaks the only deal they’ve ever made, sauntering back onto the Manhattan scene at a costume party with more to hide than just her face. 
And now one fugitive best friend and two broken promises will ignite a new Holy Trinity in Jackson’s hazardous life. 
Caught in the midst of a government coverup that compromises everything he’s ever cared for, Jackson will discover that certain scandals never die. 
Only their victims do. 
And he’d better make damn sure that he and Penelope aren’t next…

EXCERPT:
I couldn’t breathe.
And it wasn’t from nervousness. Not from fear or anxiety or even the all-consuming dread that I felt the minute I heard sounds around me.
I couldn’t breathe because someone was quietly crushing my windpipe.
I thought the coast was clear. I walked back into the center of the room and into a pair of hands that were as strong as the Jaws of Life. A voice, barely more audible than a breeze, washed in heavy breaths across my frightened face.
The breaths were cool, disturbingly even, and had a sweet smell tinged with the scent of whiskey. Surprisingly pleasant, it was the only thing my terrified mind could process.
Maybe because I knew that it would be the last thing my brain would ever remember…
I tried to speak, but the sound of my voice died in my throat.
The man let go of my neck, and embarrassingly I sputtered. It was actually easier to catch my breath than I expected, like a faucet of air had been turned on within my lungs.
I breathed deeply as I tried to take a step backwards, and I wondered just who the hell this man was to have done what he had done. And though I couldn’t see his eyes… I knew he was silently daring me to even think about walking away from him.
And was that… was that a Bat suit that he was wearing…?



Author Bio:
Natalie Wrye is a tequila connoisseur, Game of Thrones addict and author best known for writing page-turning romantic mysteries and thrillers. A fan of the beautifully polarizing anti-hero, she crafts sexy stories about hard-bodied, complex men and the strong-willed women who crave them.
Find her, stalk her, take a disgusting shot with her at any one of the following:

GIVEAWAY!

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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Black Tie Optional by Ann Marie Walker ~ Cover Reveal

BLACK TIE OPTIONAL
Ann Marie Walker
Pub: May 2017
ISBN: 9781250120021


Everything about Coleman Grant III oozes power and sex. And not the perfunctory kind either, but the sheet clawing, heart stopping, gasping for air after you’ve screamed so loud you can’t breathe kind. From his dark wavy hair that stands in an artfully rumpled mess, to the blue eyes that sear your skin, to his full, sensual lips - on the surface he’s pure perfection.

Too bad he's an asshole. An arrogant, uptight corporate raider hell bent on destroying the environment one species at a time. 

Everything about Olivia Ramsey screams hippie humanitarian. From her blond hair tied in a sloppy bun, to her faded jeans with the Bonnaroo patch sewn on the thigh, to her combat boots still splattered with mud from the previous day’s site visit.

So it makes perfect sense that they would get married. In Vegas. Stone-cold sober.


Cole needs a wife. Olivia needs to save an endangered species. But what starts as a marriage of convenience soon turns into a battle of wills and sexual tension. Love is a game, and Olivia and Cole are ready to win.



Author Bio
Ann Marie Walker writes steamy contemporary romance and is co-author of the Chasing Fire series (Remind Me, Release Me, Reclaim Me). Ann Marie attended the University of Notre Dame and currently lives in Chicago.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Close to Home by Lily Everett ~ Excerpt


CLOSE TO HOME
Lily Everett
Have you ever fought to put the pieces of a broken relationship back together?  In her latest Sanctuary Island novel, CLOSE TO HOME (St. Martin’s Paperbacks; February 7, 2017; $7.99; 978-1-250-07405-8), Lily Everett’s characters struggle to do just that.  Everett tells a beautifully woven story of hope, second chances, and ultimately, true love.


The best journeys take us home….

When Tessa Alexander came to Sanctuary Island, she left behind a marriage to a man who didn’t love her the way she loved him. When she finally found the strength to set them both free, she discovered friendship and self-acceptance in her adopted hometown. Now she’s settled into a quiet life on her own—never expecting to see her husband again.

Johnny spent almost two years deep undercover, unable to let his wife into his cold, dangerous world. He’s shaken to the core when he comes home to find her gone. It’s painfully clear that Tessa is no longer the timid young woman he married—she’s become a force of nature, a brave and determined beauty. Johnny can’t let her go without a fight so he sets out to seduce his own wife. But will passion alone be enough to convince Tessa that her new life should include a second chance at happiness with a man who must learn to believe in love?


Excerpt from Close to Home

Physical awareness flickered to life between them. Johnny felt the heavy beat of his blood, the sudden tightness in his jeans. Turning her hand under his, he stroked his thumb over the thin, tender skin at the in- side of her wrist where her pulse fluttered. She filled his mind, his entire consciousness. There was noth- ing but Tessa.
“You want more, honey? All you have to do is ask.”
She shivered, her eyes darkening as desire blew her pupils wide. Lips parting, Tessa stretched up on her toes over the horse’s back and Johnny didn’t care about the thousand-pound animal between them—he had to get his mouth on her, right now.
Spearing his hands into the short wisps of hair at the back of her neck, Johnny leaned in and kissed her.
The rest of the world fell away, leaving nothing behind but Tessa’s sugar-sweet mouth, the high, sur- prised noises she made in the back of her throat, the clutch of her fingers in the collar of his jacket as she pulled him closer.
He hadn’t kissed her since that first day. He hadn’t wanted to push her, or to make her think all he was interested in was sex.
That was a mistake. He should have been kissing her every day. Every minute.
Clover took a step forward, jolting them out of their embrace. The horse looked curiously over his shoul- der as Tessa started to laugh. It was the laugh Johnny had seen for the first time through the bakery window, full throated and joyous, with Tessa’s head thrown back in abandon.
Overcome with the need to seize this moment, Johnny grabbed the currycomb and threw it in the bucket before rounding the horse to snag his wife by the hand. Tessa looked up at him, breath coming in fast pants and eyes glazed, pliantly following where he led. It was all Johnny could do not to take her down to the sawdust-covered floor and hope Clover was smart enough not to step on them.
No. Tessa was untouched. She’d been waiting for this for a long time—and her first time wasn’t going to be a literal roll in the hay. But that didn’t mean either of them could stand to wait until they found a bed.
He reached for enough patience to get out of the stall and latch the door behind them. Dumping the bucket of grooming tools by the stall door, Johnny tugged Tessa by the wrist down the barn corridor to an empty stall he’d noticed earlier. It was unoccupied, completely clear of hay except for a few pieces strewn here and there, and Johnny backed Tessa into it for a little privacy. She went willingly enough, although he could see her brain starting to come back online, awareness of what they were doing starting to show in her eyes.
If he were a good man, he’d back off and let the sexual tension clear from the air between them. Tessa, who’d had so few choices in her life, deserved to make a real choice about this, one not clouded by overwhelming sensations. Johnny was at least a good enough man to vow not to take her here and now. He was relieved to find that he still had limits.
But that didn’t mean he could stop himself from providing Tessa with a damn good argument for why she should choose him.
Why she should choose them.
One smooth step forward had Tessa pressed up against the rough wood of the wall, his hand coming up to cup the back of her head and keep her from hurt- ing herself. He never wanted her to feel a moment’s pain, not if he could help it.
A soft smile pulled at her mouth. She turned her head far enough to nuzzle his arm, her gaze steady on his even as her cheeks flushed deep pink. She was irresistible. Johnny dipped his head, sipping kisses from her lips, small and sweet and playful to make her sigh. Her neck stretched, so vulnerably naked with- out the covering of her long, brown hair. The fingers of his free hand had to pet down the pale, slender length of it.
Tessa sighed into his lips, a breath with a hint of moan underneath—enough to vibrate through her throat against the sensitive tips of his fingers and reverberate through Johnny’s own chest. Hunger throbbed and ached between his legs, heavily undeni- able, but he ignored it for the moment. This was about Tessa. Tessa’s pleasure, Tessa’s awakening, Tessa’s beautiful, beloved, familiar-but-new body.
With a last swipe of his tongue across her plush lower lip, Johnny dragged his mouth from hers to nip his way down her throat to the juncture of her shoulder. He paused there to suckle at the soft skin, pulling up a mark that sent a heated pulse of posses- sion through him. Satisfaction rumbled in his chest as he trailed his hand from her neck to follow the path of his mouth lower, and then lower still. She shuddered when he reached the full roundness of her breasts.
Hungry for more but unwilling to expose her in this semipublic place, Johnny’s fingers shaped her through her thin sweater. He loved the way she shivered and peaked up, tightening into a bud he could feel . . . and needed to taste.
Johnny contented himself with wetting the fabric over the hard tip of her breasts, rubbing the knit weave of her sweater over the sensitive skin before enclos- ing her in warmth and pulling strongly enough to make her moan. High-pitched and shocked, the sounds Tessa let loose made Johnny groan with the need to restrain himself.
He knelt on the hard-packed dirt floor in front of her, forehead pressed to her softly rounded belly as he panted and worked to get control of the passion that wanted to run away with them both.
“Don’t stop,” she begged in a heated whisper he felt in every fiber of his body.
Johnny tilted his head up to meet her stare. Red- cheeked and wide-eyed, Tessa stared down at him. She looked nervous, excited, turned on—but she didn’t look as if she were too overwhelmed to make a real choice. Her eyes were clear.
He still didn’t want her first time to be in a barn. She deserved better than that. But there were many firsts for Tessa to enjoy, and Johnny could give her one right here.
Copyright © 2017 by Lily Everett and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press.

LILY EVERETT is the author of the Sanctuary Island series for St. Martin's Press. She grew up in a small town in the foothills of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains and now resides in Austin, Texas, where she writes full-time.
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