Spotlight – Let’s Get Physical

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After The Sweet Spot, I’m excited to get my hands on Cassie Cross’s next book in the Love Is… series.

*****

Let’s Get Physical

Love Is… series

by Cassie Cross

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blurb:

Corinna McKnight is a chronically single girl in need of toned abs and a hot date for a wedding that her highly successful, deliriously happy lifelong frenemy will be attending. The wedding is only six weeks away and she doesn’t have much time to make it look like she has her life together. Luckily, her best friend’s boyfriend owns the hottest gym in town and sets her up with Noah, the best personal trainer he has on staff.

Noah Cutter is at a pretty good place in his life. He has a job and he loves working for his best friend, Hunter. Noah is in high demand, mostly for his talent, but sometimes for his body and Hunter has one very firm rule: no fooling around with the clients.

It’s an easy rule to follow until he meets Corinna, who makes him want more out of life and leaves him straddling the line between breaking a promise and betraying his heart.

Let’s Get Physical is the standalone second book in the Love Is…series!

Get Your Copy Today!

*****

Excerpt:

Noah’s standing there with this wild, desperate look in his eyes. The heartbeat that I so carefully returned to normal speed kicks up again, pounding in my ears.

There’s just a moment, one beat of anticipation before he rushes forward, wrapping me up in his strong arms, pressing his lips against mine. He does some kind of magic ninja move, moving us inside the apartment without breaking the kiss. He kicks the door shut.

We kiss like our lives depend on it, like we’ll stop breathing if we don’t. My whole world narrows down to the softness of his lips, the taste of his tongue, and the silky feel of his hair threaded through my fingers.

I’ve kissed a lot of people in my life, but this feels like the first time I’m actually being kissed. It’s different, it’s…more, somehow. I know Noah feels it too, because the franticness gives way to softer, gentler kisses. I feel like I’m floating, like if the two of us completely drifted away in this moment, everything would be just fine.

We part too soon, totally breathless.

“I wanted to do that since I was fourteen,” he says, smiling. I think his post kiss smile is my favorite. The dimples are on display, he looks relaxed and happy. The best.

“I don’t think it would’ve been that good at fourteen,” I tease, playfully brushing my nose against his.

He laughs. “Probably not.”

His arms are wrapped around my waist, holding me close. It’s the safest feeling in the world. He squeezes me closer for a second, and then…

“I want you, Corinna. It’s just…”

“I know,” I breathe. I don’t want to hear all the reasoning for it right now. What I want is to take him to my bedroom and do the dirtiest things to him, then let him lay on me like a warm, sweaty human blanket. “It’s just once, to get it out of your system.”

“Once could never be enough.”

*****

Author Info:

Cassie Cross is a Maryland native and a romantic at heart, who lives outside of Baltimore with her two dogs and a closet full of shoes. Cassie’s fondness for swoon-worthy men and strong women are the inspiration for most of her stories, and when she’s not busy writing a book, you’ll probably find her eating takeout and indulging in her love of 80’s sitcoms.

Connect with Cassie:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CrossWrites
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cassiecrosswrites/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cassiecrosswrites

*****

Spotlight – Tough Talking Cowboy

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I think a cowboy is the perfect escape for this Monday morning!

*****

Tough Talking Cowboy

Wild Rose Ranch series

by Jennifer Ryan

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Avon Books

Publication Date: March 31, 2020

Blurb:

Return to Montana as a tough-talking cowboy meets his match in Jennifer Ryan’s newest Wild Rose Ranch novel.

Ex-Army Ranger Drake McGrath has come home to Montana, locked in a battle with himself, lashing out at those who love him most—driving away his ex-fiancée and alienating his family. But Adria Holloway sees beyond Drake’s tough talk to the raw pain beneath.

Raised with her twin sister Juliana by a neglectful mother at the Wild Rose Ranch, Adria also struggles to put the trauma from her past behind her. To help them both, she makes Drake a shocking deal—a no-strings relationship that’ll help them both face down their demons. Maybe it’s a way for her and Drake to heal each other, one sizzling night at a time…

The heat between them is instant and incredible. But the biggest challenges are yet to come. With Juliana battling her addiction and Drake working on his issues, Adria realizes she can’t save everyone. But Drake and Adria discover love can survive tragedy and loss—and they can have the life they never thought possible if they just hold on.

Amazon  https://amzn.to/2IImMsQ

Barnes & Noble  http://bit.ly/2WbWSWm 

Kobo  http://bit.ly/2vduOqG

iBooks  https://apple.co/39ENH4O 

Goodreads  http://bit.ly/2wRn7XS 

BookBub  http://bit.ly/3aFfVwu

*****

Excerpt:

“We saw each other in the driveway. I smiled at you. I wanted to meet you. You stared at me. You didn’t want your brother to touch me even in a friendly way.” Her eyes went wide. “You want me.”

Feeling surly, he lashed out. “Conceited much?”

“Oh, I think I’m right on the money. You wanted me and came up here and destroyed my stuff because you didn’t think I’d want you because of a few scars and a bad temper.”

He raked his fingers over his head. “That’s not it.”

“Yes, it is. Melanie didn’t want you, so you think no one will.”

He tried to hold it together, but his anger flashed. “She tried. I tried. But I couldn’t. I can’t. Not anymore. So what good was I to her? I’m no use to any woman now?” 

Adria shook her head. “You’re kidding, right?”

He held his hands out wide. “Does it look like I’m kidding?”

She braced her hands on the back of the sofa, leaned in, locked eyes with him and said the unexpected again. “There is nothing, and I mean nothing, wrong with you.”

“How the hell would you know?”

“Because I’m the one you held wrapped in your arms with your thick, rigid, I-want-to-fuck-her dick pressed against my ass for nearly an hour.”

He went still. “You’re lying.”

“Why would I lie about something like that?” 

Dr. Porter chimed in again. “Maybe one of you should explain what really happened.”

Adria ignored the doctor, just like he did. She got up from the couch and walked around it to face him.

He stared down at her, everything inside him wanting her to be right, for it to be true.

Hope rose up inside him.

“I don’t know what happened between you and Melanie. Maybe the way she looked at you, or didn’t look at you with a longing and need to be with you, turned you off.”

He started thinking out loud. “I thought because she loved me, she wouldn’t care about the scars and that I couldn’t move the way I used to. We’d figure it out.”

“But she hesitated. The moment felt like you needed to show her that you could be the man she remembered. But overwhelmed by what happened to you and trying to fix something in your life and make it work, you couldn’t. Too much pressure. Too much riding on it. Her not showing you the compassion and patience you needed to quiet the nightmares and fall into her. She couldn’t see past the damage to the man she loved. You took her rejection and turned it into every woman rejecting you. You convinced yourself you couldn’t be with any woman, that every woman would only ever see the bad, the damage. You let your insecurity, guilt, and anger win.”

“I don’t know why you need me,” Dr. Porter interjected, startling both of them as they stared at each other. “Sounds like she’s got you pegged. Listen to her, Drake.”

“Just because it worked once, doesn’t mean it will work again.”

“You’ll never know unless you try,” she challenged.

His mind went blank for a second. She didn’t mean with her. She meant for him to give it a go by himself. Well, he’d tried. And failed. And gotten more pissed and despondent about it, because without sex, what the fuck was the point of surviving all he had if he couldn’t be with a woman, make a life and have a family with her.

That’s what he’d always wanted. But right now, he’d take a willing woman who’d give him a chance to see if he could get it up again.

“Juliana once said that my sisters and I carry around our baggage like an apology we owe the world. I’ve been thinking about that lately. I was with a couple of guys, but I could never really get past my own inhibitions and remembering what happened to me.

“My mother is a prostitute. She loves sex and doesn’t care who knows it. I’d like to stop thinking men will believe I’m like her if I just have fun and enjoy it.”

“Uh…” He really didn’t know what to say to that, except, “Shouldn’t everyone enjoy sex.”

“Exactly. But I get hung up on her past, my past, and get it all in my head that I’m doing something wrong because that despicable man made me do things that made me feel icky. I knew it was wrong and I did it anyway because I needed to protect my sister.” She rubbed her hands up and down her arms. “We have that in common: trying to protect everyone around us and scarring ourselves in the process. So if you’re willing to try, so am I.”

His fucked up brain did not compute. “What are you saying?”

“Maybe we can face down our demons together. No strings attached. No expectations. Judgement-free sex. I’ll show you, you’re not impotent, and maybe you can help me let go and enjoy myself.”

The idea appealed a lot, but they didn’t know each other well, and the last thing he wanted to do was hurt her feelings or disappoint her. “You’re serious?”

“How long do you want to go without knowing if you really can or can’t have sex? How long will you deny yourself that pleasure? How many women will you let get away because you think you can’t be with them?”

He tried to find a rational reason why this was a bad idea when everything inside him wanted to try. But he didn’t want to use her like that. “You’re my sister’s friend and business partner.”

“You guys, this might not be such a good idea.” They’d completely forgotten about Dr. Porter.

Drake wished he’d shut up because the more Drake thought about it, he wanted to do it. Or at least try. And he had to admit, he felt a stirring inside him he hadn’t felt in a long time. 

Anticipation. Need. Hunger. They all started to wake up inside him.

Adria walked back to the coffee table and held up the laptop and stared at Dr. Porter. “Talk therapy is good and all, but I think what we both need is a little sex therapy. And you’re not invited.” She closed the laptop lid on whatever Dr. Porter’s reply might have been.

Adria held Drake’s gaze. Mind made up, she didn’t back down. “How long should I go without knowing if I can let go, feel like a whole woman, and find satisfaction with a man? I deserve to feel wanted and needed and be okay with that, don’t I?”

He nodded because he’d always made sure the woman he was with enjoyed it as much as he did.

“Whatever and whoever we are outside this cabin makes no difference. In here, you and me, we’ll give each other what we’ve both been missing.”

Drake still hesitated. “Don’t get me wrong, I want to, but I’m not sure how this will go between us. We barely know each other.”

That seemed like it should have been her line. 

“I don’t need you to love me, Drake, I just want you to want me. It seems like something about me appealed to you, enough that when you held me, your body responded.”

*****

Author Info:

NY Times & USA Today bestselling author JENNIFER RYAN writes suspenseful contemporary romances about everyday people who do extraordinary things. Her deeply emotional love stories are filled with high stakes and higher drama, love, family, friendship, and the happily-ever-after we all hope to find. Jennifer lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and three children. When she finally leaves those fictional worlds, you’ll find her in the garden, playing in the dirt and daydreaming about people who live only in her head, until she puts them on paper. For information about her upcoming releases, sign up for her newsletter: www.jennifer-ryan.com/newsletter.

Website http://jennifer-ryan.com/index.html

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jennifer-Ryan/520021168037391?ref=hl 

Twitter http://twitter.com/JenRyan_author 

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4693347.Jennifer_Ryan 

BookBub https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jennifer-ryan

Amazon http://amzn.to/2xBr7GG

*****

Giveaway:

To celebrate the release of TOUGH TALKING COWBOY by Jennifer Ryan, we’re giving away a Wild Rose Ranch hardcover set to one lucky winner!

http://bit.ly/38Kvxx8

GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a hardcover set of Dirty Little Secret, Restless Rancher, and Tough Talking Cowboy by Jennifer Ryan. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Books.  Giveaway ends 5/31/2020 @ 11:59pm EST.

*****

Spotlight – The Sinner

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J. R. Ward’s books are some of the most popular paranormal romances ever … must reads!

*****

The Sinner

The Black Dagger Brotherhood series

by J. R. Ward

On Sale: March 24, 2020

Blurb:

A sinner’s only hope is true love in this passionate new novel in J.R. Ward’s #1 New York Times bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood series.

Syn has kept his side hustle as a mercenary a secret from the Black Dagger Brotherhood. When he takes another hit job, he not only crosses the path of the vampire race’s new enemy, but also that of a half-breed in danger of dying during her transition. Jo Early has no idea what her true nature is, and when a mysterious man appears out of the darkness, she is torn between their erotic connection and the sense that something is very wrong.

Fate anointed Butch O’Neal as the Dhestroyer, the fulfiller of the prophecy that foresees the end of the Omega. As the war with the Lessening Society comes to a head, Butch gets an unexpected ally in Syn. But can he trust the male—or is the warrior with the bad past a deadly complication?

With time running out, Jo gets swept up in the fighting and must join with Syn and the Brotherhood against true evil. In the end, will love true prevail…or was the prophecy wrong all along?

Purchase Link:

https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-Sinner/J-R-Ward/The-Black-Dagger-Brotherhood-series/9781501195099

*****

Excerpt:

Route 149

Caldwell, New York

Behind the wheel of her ten-year-old car, Jo Early bit into the Slim Jim and chewed like it was her last meal. She hated the fake-smoke taste and the boat-rope texture, and when she swallowed the last piece, she got another one out of her bag. Ripping the wrapper with her teeth, she peeled the taxidermied tube free and littered into the wheel well of her passenger side. There were so many spent casings like it down there, you couldn’t see the floor mat.

Up ahead, her anemic headlights swung around a curve, illuminating pine trees that had been limbed up three-quarters of the way, the puff y tops making toothpicks out of the trunks. She hit a pothole and bad-swallowed, and she was coughing as she reached her destination.

The abandoned Adirondack Outlets was yet another commentary on the pervasiveness of Amazon Prime. The one-story strip mall was a horseshoe without a hoof, the storefronts along the two long sides bearing the remnants of their brands, faded laminations and off -kilter signs with names like Van Heusen/Izod, and Nike, and Dansk the ghosts of commerce past. Behind dusty glass, there was no merchandise available for purchase anymore, and no one had been on the property with a charge card for at least a year, only hardscrabble weeds in the cracks of the promenade and barn swallows in the eaves inhabiting the site. Likewise, the food court that united the eastern and western arms was no longer offering soft serve or Starbucks or lunch.

As a hot flash cranked her internal temperature up, she cracked the window. And then put the thing all the way down. March in Caldwell, New York, was like winter in a lot of places still considered northerly in latitude, and thank God for it. Breathing in the cold, damp air, she told herself this was not a bad idea.

Nah, not at all. Here she was, alone at midnight, chasing down the lead on a story she wasn’t writing for her employer, the Caldwell Courier Journal. Without anyone at her new apartment waiting up for her. Without anyone on the planet who would claim her mangled corpse when it was found from the smell in a ditch a week from now.

Letting the car roll to a stop, she killed the headlights and stayed where she was. No moon out tonight so she’d dressed right. All black. But without any illumination from the heavens, her eyes strained at the darkness, and not because she was greedy to see the details on the decaying structure.

Nope. At the moment, she was worried she was about to provide fodder for True Crime Garage. As unease tickled her nape, like someone was trying to get her attention by running the point of a carving knife over her skin—

Her stomach let out a howl and she jumped. Without any debate, she went diving into her purse again. Passing by the three Slim Jims she had left, she went straight-up Hershey this time, and the efficiency with which she stripped that mass-produced chocolate of its clothing was a sad commentary on her diet. When she was finished, she was still hungry and not because there wasn’t food in her belly. As always, the only two things she could eat failed to satisfy her gnawing craving, to say nothing of her nutritional needs.

Putting up her window, she took her backpack and got out. The crackling sound of the treads of her running shoes on the shoulder of the road seemed loud as a concert, and she wished she wasn’t getting over a cold. Like her sense of smell could be helpful, though? And when was the last time she’d considered that possibility outside of a milk carton check.

She really needed to give these wild-goose chases up.

Two-strapping her backpack, she locked the car and pulled the hood of her windbreaker up over her red hair. No heel toeing. She leftright-left’d it, keeping the soles of her Brooks flat to quiet her footfalls. As her eyes adjusted, all she saw were the shadows around her, the hidey-holes in corners and nooks formed by the mall’s doorways and the benches pockets of gotcha with which mashers could play a grownups game of keep away until they were ready to attack.

When she got to a heavy chain that was strung across the entry to the promenade, she looked around. There was nobody in the parking lots that ran down the outside of the flanks. No one in the center area formed by the open-ended rectangle. Not a soul on the road that she had taken up to this rise above Rt. 149.

Jo told herself that this was good. It meant no one was going to jump her.

Her adrenal glands, on the other hand, informed her that this actually meant no one was around to hear her scream for help.

Refocusing on the chain, she had some thought that if she swung her leg over it and proceeded on the other side, she would not come back the same.

“Stop it,” she said, kicking her foot up.

She chose the right side of the stores, and as rain started to fall, she was glad the architect had thought to cover the walkways overhead. What had been not so smart was anyone thinking a shopping center with no interior corridors could survive in a zip code this close to Canada. Saving ten bucks on a pair of candlesticks or a bathing suit was not going to keep anybody warm enough to shop outside October to April, and that was true even before you factored in the current era of free next-day shipping.

Down at the far end, she stopped at what had to have been the ice cream place because there was a faded stencil of a cow holding a triple decker cone by its hoof on the window. She got out her phone.

Her call was answered on the first ring.

“Are you okay?” Bill said.

“Where am I going?” she whispered. “I don’t see anything.”

“It’s in the back. I told you that you have to go around back, remember?”

“Damn it.” Maybe the nitrates had fried her brain. “Hold on, I think I found a staircase.”

“I should come out there.”

Jo started walking again and shook her head even though he couldn’t see her. “I’m fine—yup, I’ve got the cut through to the rear. I’ll call you if I need you—”

“You shouldn’t be doing this alone!”

Ending the connection, she jogged down the concrete steps, her pack bouncing like it was doing push-ups on her back. As she bottomed out on the lower level, she scanned the empty parking lot—

The stench that stabbed into her nose was the kind of thing that triggered her gag reflex. Roadkill . . . and baby powder?

She looked to the source. The maintenance building by the tree line had a corrugated metal roof and metal walls that would not survive long in tornado alley. Half the size of a football field, with garage doors locked to the ground, she imagined it could have housed paving equipment as well as blowers, mowers, and snowplows.

The sole person-sized door was loose, and as a stiff gust from the rainstorm caught it, the creak was straight out of a George Romero movie—and then the panel immediately slammed shut with a clap, as if Mother Nature didn’t like the stink any more than Jo did.

Taking out her phone, she texted Bill: This smell is nasty.

Aware that her heart rate just tripled, she walked across the asphalt, the rain hitting the hood of her windbreaker in a disorganized staccato. Ducking her hand under the loose nylon of the jacket, she felt for her holstered gun and kept her hand on the butt.

The door creaked open and slammed shut again, another puff of that smell releasing out of the pitch-black interior. Swallowing through throat spasms, she had to fight to keep going and not because there was wind in her face.

When she stopped in front of the door, the opening and closing ceased, as if now that she was on the verge of entering, it didn’t need to catch her attention and draw her in.

So help her God, if Pennywise was on the other side . . .

Glancing around to check there were no red balloons lolling in the area, she reached out for the door.

I just have to know, she thought as she opened the way in. I need to . . . know.

Leaning around the jamb, she saw absolutely nothing, and yet was frozen by all that she confronted. Pure evil, the kind of thing that abducted and murdered children, that slaughtered the innocent, that enjoyed the suffering of the just and merciful, pushed at her body and then penetrated it, radiation that was toxic passing through to her bones.

Coughing, she stepped back and covered her mouth and nose with the crook of her elbow. After a couple of deep breaths into her sleeve, she fumbled with her phone.

Before Bill could say anything over the whirring in his background, she bit out, “You need to come—”

“I’m already halfway to you.”

“Good.”

“What’s going on—

Jo ended the call again and got out her flashlight, triggering the beam. Stepping forward again, she shouldered the door open and trained the spear of illumination into the space.

The light was consumed.

Sure as if she were shining it into a bolt of thick fabric, the fragile glowing shaft was no match for what she was about to enter.

The threshold she stepped over was nothing more than weather stripping, but the inch-high lip was a barrier that felt like an obstacle course she could barely surmount—and then there was the stickiness on the floor. Pointing the flashlight to the ground, she picked up one of her feet. Something like old motor oil dripped off her running shoe, the sound of it finding home echoing in the empty space.

As Jo walked forward, she found the first of the buckets on the left. Home Depot. With an orange-and-white logo smudged by a rusty, translucent substance that turned her stomach.

The beam wobbled as she looked into the cylinder, her hand shaking. Inside there was a gallon of glossy, gleaming . . . red . . . liquid. And in the back of her throat, she tasted copper—

Jo wheeled around with the flashlight.

Through the doorway, the two men who had come up behind her without a sound loomed as if they had risen out of the pavement itself, wraiths conjured from her nightmares, fed by the cold spring rain, clothed in the night. One of them had a goatee and tattoos at one of his temples, a cigarette between his lips and a downright nasty expression on his hard face. The other wore a Boston Red Sox hat and a long camel-colored coat, the tails of which blew in slow motion even though the wind was choppy. Both had long black blades holstered handles down on their chest, and she knew there were more weapons where she couldn’t see them.

They had come to kill her. Tracked her as she’d moved away from her car. Seen her as she had not seen them.

Jo stumbled back and tried to get out her gun, but her sweaty palms had her dropping her phone and struggling to keep the flashlight—

And then she couldn’t move.

Even as her brain ordered her feet to run, her legs to run, her body to run, nothing obeyed the panic-commands, her muscles twitching under the lockdown of some invisible force of will, her bones aching, her breath turning into a pant. Pain firework’d her brain, a headache sizzling through her mind.

Opening her mouth, she screamed—

*****

Author Info:

J.R. Ward is the author of more than thirty novels, including those in her #1 New York Times bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood series. There are more than fifteen million copies of her novels in print worldwide, and they have been published in twenty-six different countries around the world. She lives in the South with her family.

Don’t forget to sign-up for exclusive Black Dagger Brotherhood original content:

https://jrward.us20.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=9963a331604291f164fc10413&id=2c5b6cefec

*****

Meet J.R. Ward at her event in Cincinnati, OH:

https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4511587

Spotlight – Five First Dates

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If this preview is anything to go by, Erin McCarthy’s newest is definitely a must read!

*****

Five First Dates

by Erin McCarthy

Blurb:

Every perfect rom-com has a twist that leads the heroine to her happily ever after.

Me? Somehow, in any room full of prince charmings, I always manage to find the one frog.

So this time, I’ve found my own twist. Four of my friends will each set me up. Four first dates. Four chances at my own happily-ever-after.

My brother’s best friend even offered to watch my baby while I’m out finding true love.

Only Maddox has sure grown up since I saw him last. The guy next door now looks more like the guy on a magazine cover. He’s inked and sexy. Muscular. Utterly irresistible. And . . . big.

Surely having a brother’s-friend-with-benefits won’t hurt my search for Mr. Right.

Especially if he’s my fifth first date…

Download your copy today for or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3dezRIJ

Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/5firstdates

Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/3bfM6Ts

Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/334Q3HQ

*****

Excerpt:

I woke up with a start, sitting up in panic. There was drool in the corner of my mouth. Why was I in bed? Where was my son?

I stumbled out of bed, heart racing.

I remembered almost immediately that Maddox had arrived and had told me to take a power nap. Right. Geez. I slowed down in the hallway, putting my hand onto my chest to take a deep breath and calm down. Sully was fine. He was with Maddox.

But when I went into the living room, they weren’t there. I realized the bathroom door was closed and the shower was running. Hold on. If Maddox was in the shower, where was Sully? Was he lying on my bathroom floor, which I had to admit, hadn’t been cleaned recently? The thought of my child rolling around on that cold, damp germ-riddled floor had me opening the bathroom door to rescue him.

Sully wasn’t on the floor. He wasn’t anywhere to be found.

My panic kicked into high gear again, and without hesitating, I ripped back the shower curtain to demand Maddox explain where the hell my child was. The words died on my tongue. Because Sully was in the shower with Maddox, looking pink and chubby and delighted, hand out in front of him to catch the water as he rested comfortably on Maddox’s hip.

Maddox’s naked hip.

Maddox, who didn’t look pink and chubby and delighted.

Maddox, who looked like a hard, sexy-as-hell, bad boy.

His head was under the water, body turned toward me so Sullivan was out of the direct line of the stream. Which meant I could see every single full-frontal inch of Maddox. He was hard. Everywhere. Muscles on muscles, decorated with tattoos over a good fifty percent of his incredible body. Incredible and firm body.

I tried not to look at everything. I really tried. But my gaze seemed to have a life of its own and took a peek at his lower body.

My mouth went dry. My cheeks hot.

That was a big cock.

Inches from me.

“Hey, is everything okay?” he asked, pulling me out of my dumbfounded stupor.

I yanked my gaze back to his face, mortified.

“You didn’t sleep very long,” he said when I just stared at him. He didn’t look even remotely uncomfortable with the fact that he was standing under a stream of hot water totally naked in front of me.

Finally, I pried my tongue off of the roof of my mouth. “I’m sorry, oh my God. I didn’t mean to…” I gestured to his body. “I just woke up and I didn’t know where Sully was and I freaked out. I’m not used to having help…” I trailed off, pressing my lips shut.

Maddox just gave me a grin. “Not a problem. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you. I should have told you I wanted a shower.”

Sully reached for me, bless his little heart. He saved me from further embarrassment.

“Grab a towel before you take him,” Maddox said. “He’s slippery.” He looked down at Sully and bounced him on his hip a little. “Aren’t you, little man?”

Now that my eyes were studiously focused above the waist, and I’d dragged my sex-deprived mind out of the gutter, I was amazed at how at ease Maddox was with my son. He’d been made to hold a baby, and as I reached for a towel, I felt a yearning for a father for Sully for the first time ever.

This was all really confusing, dangerous, and potentially disastrous.

I needed sleep and sex, clearly.

Towel in hand I got as close as was necessary to take Sully safely without touching any of Maddox’s naked body. My cheeks were hot. “Maybe I can take a shower after you,” I said. “I think I’m on day three without one.”

“You could hop in now,” he said. “There’s room.”

Maddox said it like it was totally normal. Like he wasn’t naked in front of a woman who’d never seen him naked before. Like he had seen menaked before, which he most definitely hadn’t. Like we were a couple with a baby and not old friends, if you could even really say that. It wasn’t like I knewMaddox. We’d never talked about anything real. He’d just always been around our house with Steven.

This new dynamic was bizarre for me.

“Why are you teasing me?” I asked, genuinely curious. And again, no filter. “It was always the other way around. I teased you because I was older.”

His eyebrows shot up as I took Sully from him and wrapped him fully in the towel. “Am I teasing you? Is that what I’m doing?”

“Well. Yes. Aren’t you?”

He put his head under the water and ran his hand over it. A few water drops arched out and landed on my arm. So much wet skin. Everywhere, just skin and wet. Lord, I was losing it.

“I was flirting, not teasing. There is a difference.”

That befuddled me. “Why?”

“Because you’re an attractive woman and I’m a normal guy who likes to flirt with women. Or maybe I’m just being friendly.”

I backed up, needing space. The room was warm and humid and I was having a very difficult time not looking where I shouldn’t look. “This arrangement isn’t going to work if you do that. Say suggestive things all the time.”

“Why? It’s not a big deal.” Maddox stared at me with those dark eyes. Intently. “Is it?”

What the hell was he really asking me? I had no idea.

I was flustered and I took another step backward. “Maddy. Stop. You’re barely out of high school and I’m a mother. You’re going to be my nanny. We have to be professional. Maybe that’s not the right word, but you know what I mean. Friends who are helping each other. Platonic friends. Not flirty. You’re like a little brother to me.”

The look he gave me was smoldering. His nostrils flared. His shoulders tensed.

He paused with the bottle of shampoo in his hand. “Sure,” he said, his casual voice completely at odds with the intensity of his expression. “Whatever you want, Savannah. I promise not to flirt with you.”

Then he grabbed the curtain and pulled it shut, blocking him from my view.

Good. Great. Perfect. Glad we had established boundaries. That was the way it needed to be.

I had no business behaving in any other way than as a big sister to Maddox.

So why did I feel so disappointed?

Because I didn’t look at him and see a kid brother anymore. I hadn’t known him in years and he was different now. It was terrifying.

I took my son out of the bathroom and to my bedroom to get him diapered and dressed.

Maybe it was time to start dating again. Over a year without a date or sex was clearly too long.

I was an eternal optimist. I believed in a happily ever after. I could watch romantic comedies for seventy-two hours straight. I loved love.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t very good at it personally.

My friends all told me I was too quick to overlook red flags and to give people second chances. The first was probably accurate. The second I stood by. Everyone deserves a second chance. But my bullshit meter was definitely broken.

Sully’s father had looked great on paper. A contracts lawyer. Apartment in SoHo. Wealthy parents who had given him a private school education in Manhattan. He’d said he was interested in a relationship. In leaving behind his playboy twenties and settling down into something “real” since he had turned thirty.

Apparently, an unplanned pregnancy had been too real.

I had expected him to be shocked and not entirely thrilled with the news. I had not expected him to be livid. When I had told him I was having the baby, he’d punched a hole in the wall, terrifying me. He’d said terrible things, accused me of entrapment.

No happily ever after.

Just me getting the hell out of there and vowing to stay the hell away from Adam. It was probably the first time I would not have given someone a second chance. Not that he’d wanted one, but my concern had shifted from my own personal feelings to concern for my unborn baby.

The maternal instinct was strong. Like the force.

I wanted no part of a father being around if he resented it.

Laying Sully on my bed, I rubbed his soft skin with the towel and felt my heart swell with love for him. He was perfection even if his sperm donor had been, well, not so great.

I hated to think of him as a dick. Even if he was one.

Moving quickly before Sully objected, I got a diaper on him and a clean onesie. Then little khakis and a blue sweater. The fact that they made khakis for six-month-old babies gave me a happiness I couldn’t even express. Could anything on the planet be cuter?

I picked him up and gave him a belly kiss. “You look like a little man,” I cooed to him.

“He looks like a Best Buy employee,” Maddox said from the doorway. His expression was amused.

I frowned. Maddox was standing there in his towel. “What do you think he should wear, a skull and crossbones? He’s six months old.”

“That or maybe a puppy T-shirt or something. What you have on him now is what my grandfather wears to church.”

Offended, I wanted to exit my bedroom, but he was blocking the door. “You have a lot of opinions for someone who isn’t a parent. I’m the fashion expert, remember? I can handle dressing a baby. My baby.”

He held his hands up, nearly giving me a heart attack when his towel slipped. He grabbed it before it dropped to the floor. “Sorry. I was just teasing. I would never judge you on how you parent. I just thought since we’re friends, we can be cool with each other.”

That flustered me. I had really thought this was going to be a lot easier. More comfortable. But Maddox was confusing me. “I guess that’s fair,” I said, because I didn’t know what else to say. “I did used to tease you a lot when you were a kid, like I said before.”

He was leaning on the doorframe, showing no signs of moving or getting dressed or even putting the towel back in place. He was just holding it in front of his junk, but his hips were exposed.

“No, you didn’t. Not really.” His voice was soft. “I took a lot of crap from other kids for being the poor kid with the hot, young mom, but you weren’t like that. You were nice to me, Savannah, and I appreciated it. More than you know.”

My shoulders relaxed. I felt a warmth for him that was more familiar territory. Maddox had been a quiet kid, Steven his primary friend. I had felt sorry for him because he’d lived over a restaurant in downtown Stroudsburg while the rest of us in our school lived in suburban houses. His mother had been a waitress, very young, a MILF before the term had existed. Guys had always been catcalling her and flirting with her and she’d been sassy, flipping them off and hurtling wisecracks back.

She’d called Maddox “Weirdo” all the time. It had seemed to be an affectionate nickname, but not one I would have enjoyed.

“How is your mom?” I asked. “And your brother and sisters?”

He finally wrapped the towel around himself fully, tucking the edge. “She’s good. She’s freaking out about turning thirty-nine, but otherwise she’s great.”

Holy cow, his mother was only thirteen years older than me? That would have made her fifteen when he was born. Having been raising Sully on my own for six months at my age, I had a whole new respect for his mother.

“The kids are all mostly normal, mostly not assholes.” There was warmth and pride in his voice. “Mike is great, too. I never thought I wanted a stepfather but he’s an alright guy. He’s the one who got me interested in ink. And motorcycles.”

His stepfather owned an auto body shop back home and he’d seemed successful, moving Maddox and his mother into a colonial before they started producing children one after the other. They were a coolfamily, with artistic children, and yes, skull and crossbones on their clothes. In comparison, my family had been very traditional. My mother was a teacher, my father an accountant. There was a lot of khaki and beige in our house. I was comfortable with beige. I wanted a colonial in neutral paint colors someday.

I glanced at Maddox’s chest. I couldn’t help it. It was right in front of me. “I’ll make some dinner while you get dressed and you can tell me all about your ink.”

“Sounds like a plan. Here, give me the baby so you can do your thing in the kitchen.” He reached out for Sully.

When he did, the knot on the towel gave way a second time and it pooled at his ankles. He didn’t react at all to being fully naked.

He just took my son, saying, “I didn’t mean to mock your threads, little man. It’s not your fault your mom digs khakis.”

He turned and walked down the hallway, ignoring the towel, and giving me a mouthwatering view of a very tight ass.

Note to self: Maddox was comfortable being naked.

I scooped up the abandoned towel and debated whether that was the world’s greatest news or the worst.

*****

Author Info:

USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Erin McCarthy sold her first book in 2002 and has since written over seventy-five novels and novellas in the romance and mystery genres. Erin has a special weakness for high-heeled boots, martinis, and Frank Sinatra. She lives with her renovation-addicted husband (he built her a bar, so it’s all good!) and their blended family of kids and rescue dogs.

Facebook: http://bit.ly/39K0yDk

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Amazon: https://amzn.to/2QtYjMD

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Stay up to date with Erin by joining her mailing list: http://bit.ly/2tYmOsP

Website: https://erinmccarthy.net

*****

Spotlight – Beefcakes

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Yesterday was all about suspense, how about we bring the humor today …

*****

Beefcakes

by Katana Collins

Blurb:

Things are about to get sticky…

I might as well permanently add the label “Ex” to my name. I’m an Ex-Mr. Universe. Ex-Mr. Olympus. An Ex-Hollywood Stuntman. But no one from my small hometown cares anything about that. They only care that I’m the ex-boyfriend to the beloved Mayor’s daughter, Elaina Dyker.

And now, ten years later, I’m back, helping my siblings run my mother’s bakery while she takes on chemo. What should have been a routine cupcake delivery turns into utter chaos when the bachelorette party thinks I’m a stripper. And what’s worse? Elaina is the maid of honor.

But the meme about us sure went viral fast. My small hometown has become positively infested with tipsy bridesmaids looking for my erotic cupcakes.

Now Hollywood’s knocking again—and this time they want me and my ex, Mr. Beefcake and Ms. Prude, to star in a reality show.

It could solve all my problems—except her.

Download your copy today!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2NJWR7w

Apple Books: https://apple.co/2KpxzK2

Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/Beefakeskc

Nook: http://bit.ly/374L6Am

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2q4uw30

Add BEEFCAKES to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2T8PhX4

*****

Excerpt:

I arched my brow at her. “I bragged about knowing you so well…but man. I did not see this almond croissant massacre coming. What do you have against almonds? Or was it the amount of butter that offended you? Because as a fitness expert, let me tell you butter isn’t the enemy. Sugar is the enemy.”

She laughed. “I, uh…I might have some anger management issues.”

I took the bag from her and peeked in. There were knuckle marks against the outside of the croissant. Literal knuckle marks. I barked a laugh. “Elaina Dyker. Did you punch the croissant?”

She laughed, pressing her lips together as though this would hide the fact that I saw her adorable little giggle. She brought her thumb and forefinger up beside her temple. “Maybe a little.”“Did you even try a bite?”

She shook her head no. “I like my routine. I like my daily lunch of yogurt and almonds.”

I made a face. Because she had to be exaggerating. Sure…she liked them. But having that same thing every day? Even chocolate cake every day would get tedious. “You can like yogurt and almonds but still indulge every now and then, you know.” I reached in and pinched off a piece of the smashed croissant, holding it out toward her lips. “C’mon. Live a little. I promise you, it is actually healthy, if that’s your concern.” Not that she needed to be concerned about that. “Almond flour. Gluten free. Grain free. Only two net carbs. The only sugar is the honey in the honey roasted almonds and the natural sugar in dates.” Her eyes grew wide at that and I knew I had hooked her.

She reached out her hand to take the piece of croissant from me, but I pulled back. “Nuh-uh,” I teased. “We can’t have your fingers getting sticky. Might ruin that fancy suit you’re wearing.”

She rolled her eyes, but parted her wet lips, her tongue peeking out just enough for me to place the croissant on top of. She moaned as soon as it hit her mouth, and her eyes fell closed as she slowly chewed and swallowed. “That’s…that’s healthy?”

I nodded. “See? I’m not just a pile of muscles. I’ve got some talent, too.”

Her head fell to the side. “I never said you weren’t talented. I just wish you wouldn’t show off quite so much of your other assets.”

I grinned. “I thought you liked my assets?”

“I do,” she answered absentmindedly, then immediately shook her head, realizing what she’d said. “I mean, I did.”

*****

Author Info:

As an author and a story-teller, it is the lifeblood to which my ideas take flight. And I believe in giving credit where credit is due. Occasionally someone (ie – my husband) will try to secretly switch out my beloved regular coffee for decaf. I always know the difference. ALWAYS (I’m looking at you, SEAN).

I am incapable of achieving the perfect ponytail. I’m dyslexic. I can never wear white without spilling on myself. And I’ve never read Pride and Prejudice (gasp!).

When I was younger and stole my mother’s Harlequins to read beneath the covers with a flashlight (seriously, did we ALL do this? I think we did.), I wanted to read about the tough as nails heroine. The perfectly imperfect girl with quirks and attitude and sass. And the anti-heroes who were anything but “Prince Charming.” Forget the knight on a white horse… give me the bad boy on a motorcycle.

So, now, I write those romance novels I craved to see on the shelves all those years ago—the sassy heroines. The badass heroes. I spend my days in the throes of my imagination, and am loving every minute of it. I can travel anywhere and become anyone I want to be. One day, I’m a mechanic in Boston and the next, I’m a vampire stripping in Las Vegas.

Since penning my first novel back in 2012, I’m now an international author with 15 published books, in a wide range of contemporary romance genres–(Paranormal, New Adult, Small town, Erotic Suspense… you name it!).

After living for a decade in Brooklyn, NY, I took the plunge and moved to beautiful (although kinda chilly) Portland, Maine. I now live full time in ‘Vacationland’ with a kind of mean cat, a mellow chihuahua, and a very NOT mellow lab-pittie mix. Oh, yeah… there’s a husband who draws comics somewhere in that mix, too. I can usually be found in a coffee shop with my nose in my laptop wearing fabulous (albeit sometimes impractical) shoes.

I love connecting with readers and fellow sassy storytellers, so feel free to drop me an email at katana.collins@gmail.com or connect with me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (@katanacollins). You can find a list of my available books over on my Bookshelf or if you’ve already read a book, it would make my day if you wrote a review!

Threats, complaints, and criticisms should go to comments@fbi.gov.

Connect with Katana

Facebook: http://bit.ly/2R1qnq2

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Join her reader group, Kat’s Kittens: http://bit.ly/2QvrP4P

Stay up to date with Katana by joining her mailing list: http://bit.ly/2QQe0wM

Website: http://www.katanacollins.com

*****

Spotlight – Pivot

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I know that I find a well-written suspense novel the best way to leave reality behind for a little while … and Kat Martin is definitely one of my favorites.

I’m so happy to have her here today to share her newest release!

*****

An interesting Concept

My upcoming release, PIVOT, began as a novella that I wrote to sometime back to introduce my BOSS Inc. series. Ian Brodie was the owner of the security firm, a tall, good-looking blond man, one of the Brodie cousins. The novella was AGAINST THE HEART, a Romantic Suspense set in a rural area of Spokane, Washington.

A year ago, Alicia Condon, my editor at Kensington, came to me with an idea for a collaborative novel that would include novellas by two other authors. Their stories would revolve around Ian Brodie and Meriwether Jones, the hero and heroine of AGAINST the HEART. The idea intrigued me and we decided to go forward.

Alexandra Ivy and Rebecca Zanetti, both bestselling authors of Romantic Suspense, came on board and started writing, taking sub characters from Ian and Meri’s story, telling their own stories, and giving us a glimpse of Ian and Meri’s life going forward.

In PIVOT, Alexandra and Rebecca started with the premise that the three girls involved in the stories shared brutal childhoods and grew up together in foster care.

Now as women, they’re fighting for their lives again.

When Meriwether Jones and her young daughter run from trouble in L.A., that trouble follows. By the time Meri reaches Spokane, she’s out of gas, money, and ideas. Then her prayers are answered when ex-cop Ian Brodie hires her to help his aging father. But Meri is keeping a dangerous secret—and Ian is in danger of losing his heart.

Melanie Cassidy finds trouble when she tries to save a young boy from being kidnapped. The last thing she expects is former loveofherlife, Detective Gray Hawkins, to appear and rescue them both. But her good-Samaritan efforts pull her and Gray into a conspiracy of drug dealers and dirty cops—and forces them to examine the relationship they’d once abandoned.

Michelle Peach is one of Meri’s closet friends. She is finally content in Portland—until two rough men break into her home and threaten her life. The last person Michelle wants to see is Evan Boldon, a former Marine turned sheriff. But this time Evan is going to stop the trouble stalking Michelle—and win her heart for good.

I hope you’ll give this fun read a try. And if you haven’t read the BOSS Inc. series, INTO THE FURY, INTO THE WHIRLWIND, and INTO THE FIRESTORM, I hope you will. Till next time, happy reading and all best, Kat

*****

Pivot

by Kat Martin

Blurb:

In PIVOT, three friends, each survivors of a brutal childhood, grew up together in foster care.

Now as women, they’re fighting for their lives again.

When Meriwether Jones and her young daughter run from trouble in L.A., that trouble follows. By the time Meri reaches Spokane, she’s out of gas, money, and ideas. Her prayers are answered when ex-cop Ian Brodie hires her to help his aging father. But Meri is keeping a dangerous secret—-and Ian is in danger of losing his heart.

Melanie Cassidy finds trouble when she tries to save a young boy from being kidnapped. The last thing she expects is former love-of-her-life, Detective Gray Hawkins, to appear and rescue them both. But her good-Samaritan efforts pull her and Gray into a conspiracy of drug dealers and dirty copsand forces them to examine the relationship they’d once abandoned.

Michelle Peach is one of Meri’s closet friends. She’s finally content in Portland—-until two rough men break into her home and threaten her life. The last person Michelle wants to see is Evan Boldon, a former Marine turned sheriff. But this time Evan is going to stop the trouble stalking Michelle-—and win her heart for good.

AMAZON
Kindle https://www.amazon.com/Pivot-Kat-Martin-ebook/dp/B07R5QGWB5
Paperback https://www.amazon.com/Pivot-Kat-Martin/dp/1420151142

BARNES & NOBLE
Nook https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/pivot-kat-martin/1131427033?ean=9781420151152
Paperback https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/pivot-kat-martin/1131427033?ean=9781420151145

KOBO https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/pivot-20

GOOGLE https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Kat_Martin_Pivot?id=N9uVDwAAQBAJ

ITUNES https://books.apple.com/us/book/pivot/id1461885225

INDIEBOUND https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781420151145

~

Publishers Weekly Review

https://www.publishersweekly.com/9781420151145

*****

Excerpt:

She took a calming breath. “Okay, I’ll get you the money. But the bank is closed on Sunday. I won’t be able to get the money until tomorrow.” It didn’t matter what she told Joey. She wasn’t going to be there when he came back to collect. “Meet me here at noon. I’ll have the money for you then.”

“I’ll be here at eleven and you better have at least a couple of thousand. You don’t, Lily comes with me.”

Meri suppressed a shudder. It was hard to imagine that the man standing in front of her was Lily’s father. Amazing how just one night–one stupid night–could change your life forever.

“I said I’d get you the money. Now get out of here and leave me alone.”

Joey tucked the roll of twenties into the pocket of his black leather jacket. “Tell Lily her daddy sends his love.”

*****

Author Info:

Bestselling author Kat Martin, a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara, currently resides in Missoula, Montana with Western-author husband, L. J. Martin. More than seventeen million copies of Kat’s books are in print, and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Fifteen of her recent novels have taken top-ten spots on the New York Times Bestseller List, and her novel, BEYOND REASON, was recently optioned for a feature film. Kat’s next hardcover, THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL, a Romantic Thriller, will be released on July 28th.

Website: https://www.katmartin.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/katmartinauthor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KatMartinAuthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43705315-the-deception?

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/KatMartinAuthor

*****

Contest:

Don’t Forget to Enter Kat’s Monthly Contest

https://www.katmartin.com/monthly-contest/

*****

Spotlight – The Sea Glass Cottage

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Who else is looking for a good book to escape into right about now?

*****

The Sea Glass Cottage

by RaeAnne Thayne

ISBN: 9781335045164

Publication Date: 3/17/2020

Publisher: HQN Books

Blurb:

From the New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne comes a brand-new novel for fans of Debbie Macomber and Susan Wiggs. RaeAnne Thayne tells the story of an emotional homecoming that brings hope and healing to three generations of women.

The life Olivia Harper always dreamed of isn’t so dreamy these days. The 16-hour work days are unfulfilling and so are things with her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when she hears that her estranged mother, Juliet, has been seriously injured in a car accident, Liv has no choice but to pack up her life and head home to beautiful Cape Sanctuary on the Northern California coast.

It’s just for a few months—that’s what Liv keeps telling herself. But the closer she gets to Cape Sanctuary, the painful memories start flooding back: Natalie, her vibrant, passionate older sister who downward-spiraled into addiction. The fights with her mother who enabled her sister at every turn. The overdose that took Natalie, leaving her now-teenaged daughter, Caitlin, an orphan.

As Liv tries to balance her own needs with those of her injured mother and an obstinate, resentful fifteen-year-old, it becomes clear that all three Harper women have been keeping heartbreaking secrets from one another. And as those secrets are revealed, Liv, Juliet, and Caitlin will see that it’s never too late—or too early—to heal family wounds and find forgiveness.

Buy Links: 

Harlequin 

Indiebound

Amazon

Barnes & Noble 

Books-A-Million

Target

Walmart

Google

iBooks

Kobo

*****

Excerpt:

1

Olivia

Olivia shoved her hands into her pockets against the damp Seattle afternoon. Nothing would take the chill from her bones, though. She knew that. Even five days of sick leave, huddling in her bed and mindlessly bingeing on cooking shows hadn’t done anything but make her crave cake.

She couldn’t hide away in her apartment forever. Eventually she was going to have to reenter life and go back to work, which was why she stood outside this coffee shop in a typical spring drizzle with her heart pounding and her stomach in knots.

This was stupid. The odds of anything like that happening to her again were ridiculously small. She couldn’t let one man battling mental illness and drug abuse control the rest of her life.

She could do this.

She reached out to pull the door open, but before she could make contact with the metal handle, her cell phone chimed from her pocket.

She knew instantly from the ringtone it was her best friend from high school, who still lived in Cape Sanctuary with her three children.

Talking to Melody was more important than testing her resolve by going into the Kozy Kitchen right now, she told herself. She answered the call, already heading back across the street to her own apartment.

“Mel,” she answered, her voice slightly breathless from the adrenaline still pumping through her and from the stairs she was racing up two at a time. “I’m so glad you called.”

Glad didn’t come close to covering the extent of her relief. She really hadn’t wanted to go into that coffee shop. Not yet. Why should she make herself? She had coffee at home and could have groceries delivered when she needed them.

“You know why I’m calling, then?” Melody asked, a strange note in her voice.

“I know it’s amazing to hear from you. You’ve been on my mind.”

She was not only a coward but a lousy friend. She hadn’t checked in with Melody in a few weeks, despite knowing her friend was going through a life upheaval far worse than witnessing an attack on someone else.

As she unlocked her apartment, the cutest rescue dog in the world, a tiny, fluffy cross between a Chihuahua and a miniature poodle, gyrated with joy at the sight of her.

Yet another reason she didn’t have to leave. If she needed love and attention, she only had to call her dog and Otis would come running.

She scooped him up and let him lick her face, already feeling some of her anxiety calm.

“I was thinking how great it would be if you and the boys could come up and stay with me for a few days when school gets out for the summer,” she said now to Melody. “We could take the boys to the Space Needle, maybe hop the ferry up to the San Juans and go whale watching. They would love it. What do you think?”

The words seemed to be spilling out of her, too fast. She was babbling, a weird combination of relief that she hadn’t had to face that coffee shop and guilt that she had been wrapped up so tightly with her own life that she hadn’t reached out to a friend in need.

“My apartment isn’t very big,” she went on without waiting for an answer. “But I have an extra bedroom and can pick up some air beds for the boys. They’ve got some really comfortable ones these days. I’ve got a friend who says she stayed on one at her sister’s house in Tacoma and slept better than she does on her regular mattress. I’ve still got my car, though I hardly drive it in the city, and the boys would love to meet Otis. Maybe we could even drive to Olympic National Park, if you wanted.”

“Liv. Stop.” Melody cut her off. “Though that all sounds amazing and I’m sure the boys would love it, we can talk about that later. You have no idea why I called, do you?”

“I… Why did you call?”

Melody was silent for a few seconds. “I’m afraid there’s been an accident,” she finally said.

The breath ran out of Olivia like somebody had popped one of those air mattresses with a bread knife.

“Oh no. Is it one of your boys?” Oh please, she prayed. Don’t let it be one of the boys.

Melody had been through enough over the past three months, since her jerkhole husband ran off with one of his high school students.

“No, honey. It’s not my family. It’s yours.”

Her words seemed to come from far away and it took a long time for them to pierce through.

No. Impossible.

Fear rushed back in, swamping her like a fast-moving tide. She sank blindly onto the sofa.

“Is it Caitlin?”

“It’s not your niece. Stop throwing out guesses and just let me tell you. It’s your mom. Before you freak out, let me just say, first of all, she’s okay, from what I understand. I don’t have all the details but I do know she’s in the hospital, but she’s okay. It could have been much worse.”

Her mom. Olivia tried to picture Juliet lying in a hospital bed and couldn’t quite do it. Juliet Harper didn’t have time to be in a hospital bed. She was always hurrying somewhere, either next door to Sea Glass Cottage to the garden center the Harper family had run in Cape Sanctuary for generations or down the hill to town to help a friend or to one of Caitlin’s school events.

“What happened?”

“She had a bad fall and suffered a concussion and I think some broken bones.”

Olivia’s stomach twisted. A concussion. Broken bones. Oh man. “Fell where? Off one of the cliffs near the garden center?”

“I’m sorry. I don’t know all the details yet. This just happened this morning and it’s still early for the gossip to make all the rounds around town. I assumed you already knew. That Caitlin or someone would have called you. I was only checking in to see how I can help.”

This morning. She glanced at her watch. Her mother had been in an accident hours earlier and Olivia was just finding out about it now, in late afternoon.

Someone should have told her—if not Juliet herself, then, as Melody said, at least Caitlin.

Given their recent history, it wasn’t particularly surprising that her niece, raised by Olivia’s mother since she was a baby, hadn’t bothered to call. Olivia wasn’t Caitlin’s favorite person right now. These days, during Olivia’s regular video chats with her mother, Caitlin never popped in to say hi anymore. At fifteen, Caitlin was abrasive and moody and didn’t seem to like Olivia much, for reasons she didn’t quite understand.

“I’m sure someone tried to reach me but my phone has been having trouble,” she lied. Her phone never had trouble. She made sure it was always in working order, since so much of her freelance business depended on her clients being able to reach her and on her being able to Tweet or post something on the fly.

“I’m glad I checked in, then.”

“Same here. Thank you.”

Several bones broken and a long recovery. Oh dear. That would be tough on Juliet, especially this time of year when the garden center always saw peak business.

“Thank you for telling me. Is she in the hospital there in Cape Sanctuary or was she taken to one of the bigger cities?”

“I’m not sure. I can call around for you, if you want.”

“I’ll find out. You have enough to worry about.”

“Keep me posted. I’m worried about her. She’s a pretty great lady, that mom of yours.”

Olivia shifted, uncomfortable as she always was when others spoke about her mother to her. Everyone loved her, with good reason. Juliet was warm, gracious, kind to just about everyone in their beachside community of Cape Sanctuary.

Which made Olivia’s own awkward, tangled relationship with her mother even harder to comprehend.

“Will you be able to come home for a few days?”

Home. How could she go home when she couldn’t even walk into the coffee shop across the street?

“I don’t know. I’ll have to see what’s going on there.”

How could she possibly travel all the way to Northern California? A complicated mix of emotions seemed to lodge like a tangled ball of yarn in her chest whenever she thought about her hometown, which she loved and hated in equal measures.

The town held so much guilt and pain and sorrow. Her father was buried there and so was her sister. Each room in Sea Glass Cottage stirred like the swirl of dust motes with memories of happier times.

Olivia hadn’t been back in more than a year. She kept meaning to make a trip but something else always seemed to come up. She usually went for the holidays at least, but the previous year she’d backed out of even that after work obligations kept her in Seattle until Christmas Eve and a storm had made last-minute travel difficult. She had spent the holiday with friends instead of with her mother and Caitlin and had felt guilty that she had enjoyed it much more than the previous few when she had gone home.

She couldn’t avoid it now, though. A trip back to Cape Sanctuary was long overdue, especially if her mother needed her.

*****

Author Info:

New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne finds inspiration in the beautiful northern Utah mountains where she lives with her family. Her books have won numerous honors, including six RITA Award nominations from Romance Writers of America and Career Achievement and Romance Pioneer awards from RT Book Reviews. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at www.raeannethayne.com.

Author Website

Twitter: @RaeAnneThayne

Facebook: AuthorRaeAnneThayne

Instagram: @RaeAnneThayne

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/116118.RaeAnne_Thayne

*****

Spotlight – Matzah Ball Surprise

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There is just so much about this book that intrigues me and I’m so looking forward to getting my hands on a copy!

*****

Matzah Ball Surprise

by Laura Brown

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blurb:

This Passover is starting to feel like the ten plagues might be coming back to haunt them before the weekend is over…one hilarious misstep after the next.

Gaby Fineberg just wants to get through Passover Seder without her “well meaning” family playing matchmaker. She needs a date, just for one simple meal—that includes singing, the history of her forefathers, and not one bit of yeast. The hot guy at her gym would be perfect. He probably hates bread, anyway, with a body like that. But when she finally works up the nerve to ask him…he doesn’t hear a word she said.

Levi Miller is deaf and happily single. Initially, he doesn’t know why this beautiful woman is talking to him, but it’s clear she needs help—and suddenly so does he. In a very complicated situation, Levi finds a simple solution. Gaby will pretend to be his new girlfriend to bail him out, and he’ll return the favor. But he didn’t bargain for a family dinner quite like this one…

Grab Your Copy Today!

Amazon | Nook | iBooks | Kobo

*****

Author Info:

After spending her childhood coming up with new episodes to her favorite sitcoms instead of sleeping, Laura Brown decided to try her hand at writing and never looked back. A hopeless romantic, she married her high school sweetheart. They live in Massachusetts with their two cats and son. Laura’s been hard of hearing her entire life but didn’t start learning ASL until college, when her disability morphed from an inconvenience to a positive part of her identity. At home the closed captioning is always on, lights flash with the doorbell, and hearing aids are sometimes optional.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

*****

Spotlight – Bayside Fantasies

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Who is looking for a book to escape into? Foster can always be counted on to deliver a page-turner!

*****

Bayside Fantasies

Bayside Summers

by Melissa Foster

Releasing March 18, 2020

World Literary Press

Blurb:

Tegan Fine has never had a plan—life, business, or otherwise. But she’s always had goals—to laugh daily and to pay it forward as often as she is able, just like her favorite uncle always did. After inheriting her great-uncle’s amphitheater, Tegan makes a risky move to a charming small town on Cape Cod to carry on her uncle’s legacy and hopefully expand the business with her new friend, Harper. Unfortunately, those goals aren’t doing much to help her plan a business strategy for her new endeavor. With Harper counting on her and her uncle’s legacy at stake, she swears off all distractions, determined to succeed. If only she could stop bumping into a certain arrogant, witty, and excruciatingly hot businessman who tweaks her nerves and invades her every thought. Including her late-night fantasies.

Self-professed workaholic Jett Masters never slows down. He lives life with no attachments—except to his clients, to whom he gives his all. A reluctant trip to his hometown has him itching to shake the ghosts of his past and get back to spinning deals and adding to his investments. But when he comes face-to-face with a gorgeous, handsy woman who is quite possibly the snarkiest and most disorganized person he’s ever met, sparks fly, and his sharp mind stumbles. He doesn’t even know her name, but he can’t get her out of his mind.

A chance encounter turns into a wild, sexy night, and their chemistry is off the charts—even if their ideals, and their lives, are worlds apart. Neither Jett nor Tegan is looking for more. Becoming friends with benefits seems like the perfect solution. But when they are trapped together in torrential weather, they work side by side in the aftermath, and every passionate kiss deepens their connection. Secrets are shared, trust is built, and no promises dare be made. As their lives move on, lines begin to blur, hearts get hurt, and their true selves come into focus. Tegan and Jett are left wondering if they make the perfect storm, or if they’ve reached the end of their bayside fantasy.

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47355208-bayside-fantasies

Goodreads series link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/196328-bayside-summers

Buy Links:

KINDLE: https://smarturl.it/BF_Kindle

APPLE: https://smarturl.it/BF_Apple

NOOK: https://smarturl.it/BF_Nook

KOBO: https://smarturl.it/BF_Kobo

GPLAY: https://smarturl.it/BF_GPlay

PAPERBACK: https://smarturl.it/BF_Pb

Also available in audio book

AMAZON: https://smarturl.it/BFa_Amazon

APPLE: https://smarturl.it/BFa_Apple

AUDIBLE: https://smarturl.it/BFa_Audible

*****

Excerpt:

Read First Chapter here, https://melissafoster.com/bayside-fantasies-sneak-peek/

*****

Author Info:

Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance and new adult romance with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Melissa’s emotional journeys are lovingly erotic and always family oriented–perfect beach reads for contemporary romance lovers who enjoy reading about wealthy heroes and smart, sassy heroines.

Website: http://www.melissafoster.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MelissaFosterAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Melissa_Foster

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3023973.Melissa_Foster

Newsletter: http://melissafoster.com/newsletter/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/melissa-foster

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/melissafoster_author/

*****

Check out the rest of the series!

BAYSIDE DESIRES (Book 1)

KINDLE: http://smarturl.it/BD_Kindle

APPLE: http://apple.co/2k7T1Ii

KOBO: http://smarturl.it/BD_Kobo

NOOK: http://bit.ly/2gH9ekr

GPLAY: http://bit.ly/2kr3evD

PAPERBACK: http://smarturl.it/BD_Paperback

Also in audio book

Amazon: http://smarturl.it/BD_Audio_Amazon

Apple: http://apple.co/2qNTtKk

Audible: http://smarturl.it/BD_Audio_Au

BAYSIDE PASSIONS (Book 2)

KINDLE: http://smarturl.it/BP_Kindle

APPLE: http://apple.co/2nWgdKa

KOBO: http://smarturl.it/BP_Kobo

NOOK: http://smarturl.it/BP_Nook

GPLAY: http://smarturl.it/BP_GPlay

PAPERBACK: http://smarturl.it/BP_Paperback

Also in audio book

Amazon: http://smarturl.it/BP_audio

Apple: https://apple.co/2EABY7T

Audible: http://smarturl.it/BP_audio_Au

BAYSIDE HEAT (Book 3)

KINDLE: http://smarturl.it/BH_k

APPLE: http://apple.co/2iDjHxC

KOBO: http://smarturl.it/BHK

NOOK: http://bit.ly/2hW9UG8

GPLAY: http://bit.ly/2zVhWpu

PAPERBACK: http://smarturl.it/BH_pb

Also in audio book

Amazon: http://smarturl.it/BHa_Amazon

Apple: http://smarturl.it/BHa_iBooks

Audible: http://smarturl.it/BH_Audible

BAYSIDE ESCAPE (Book 4)

KINDLE: http://smarturl.it/BE_Kindle

APPLE: https://smarturl.it/BE_Apple

Spotlight – Ruling the Princess

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I can’t believe I missed this new series by Christi Barth! I’ve just added 2 more books to my TBR pile 🙂

*****

Ruling the Princess

Unexpectedly Royal series

by Christi Barth

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: March 23rd

Blurb:

I’m thrilled that my first trip back to my homeland, after years in exile, is for an assignment from the prime minister. Even better, the job’s to put Princess Genevieve in her place…by cutting off her cash flow. Spoiled royals—even drop-dead gorgeous ones—don’t do anything to deserve their wealth and status. Hell, they don’t do anything. She’s fighting me tooth and nail, of course. The only way to stop her arguing is, well, to kiss her.

And I can’t seem to stay away from her. Now I see a whole different side to the princess—and not just because I’ve gotten her clothes off. But I was put on this assignment for a reason… Those outside the castle want to see the Princess discredited and push their own agenda, and I may have just given them all the ammunition they need.

Each book in the Unexpectedly Royal series is STANDALONE:
* The Princess Problem
* Ruling the Princess

Pre-Order Your Copy Today!

Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Google | Kobo | Universal

Catch Up On the Series:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

*****

Excerpt:

“Uh, you actually pulled rank and just summoned someone? That’s so…”

“Regal? Imperious?”

“Ballsy.”

“I declare it necessary. This…” Genevieve flipped to the end to squint at the signature, the harsh, spiky scrawl that was redolent with a smug—and mistaken—sense of power. “…Lord Theo Holst has a lot to answer for.”

“Yikes. Is it wrong that I’m excited to watch an old-fashioned, royal dressing-down? I’ve only seen this happen in movies.”

Genevieve appreciated Kelsey trying to lighten the mood. But she wasn’t ready to let go of her anger yet.

Ire.

No, fury.

“He thinks he can order me around? Me, a blood princess of four undiluted centuries of the House of Villani? Trust me when I say I’ll disabuse him of that notion.”

“I’m dying of curiosity over here. What order did he give you?”

Genny folded her napkin. Which was a major victory given that she wanted to throw it across the room. Preferably with an ice-ball inside of it. And preferably at Lord Theo’s head.

Then she stood and allowed the tiniest portion of her vexation to set her cream and fawn spectator pumps clicking across the floor at a fast clip. “He demanded that I slash my budget. That I allow him to tell me how and when and what to spend for the next two months. That I make the myriad of cuts he’s outlined, without question or discussion.”

Kelsey pursed her lips. “Weeeeeell—I’ve seen your closet. You have an entire shelf of tiaras.”

Of course she did. This lifelong job she’d never asked for did have its perks. “I’m a princess. They come with the title. I didn’t buy them on a reckless shopping spree. I inherited them.”

“Did you ‘inherit’”—her sister put finger quotes around the word—“the custom-made red Italian pumps I drooled over last week?”

Those had been her reward for surviving a week-long, twenty-five stop official visit to Sweden and the Netherlands. In January. “I repeat, I’m a princess.

*****

Author Info:

USA TODAY bestseller Christi Barth earned a Masters degree in vocal performance and embarked upon a career on the stage. A love of romance then drew her to wedding planning. Ultimately she succumbed to her lifelong love of books and now writes award-winning contemporary romance.

Christi can always be found either whipping up gourmet meals (for fun, honest!) or with her nose in a book. She lives in Maryland with the best husband in the world.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads | Newsletter

*****