Spotlight – The Thing Is

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If that adorable cover doesn’t get you interested, the great reviews sure will … and the excerpt that has me already holding my breath.

*****

TheThingIs-KGerard-Hi-ResThe Thing Is

by Kathleen Gerard

ISBN-13:  978-1940215587

Publisher:  RED ADEPT PUBLISHING  http://redadeptpublishing.com/

Release Dates:  E-book – Feb 9, 2016   /   Paperback – March 9, 2016

Genre:  Women’s Fiction/General Fiction/Romance (PG) /Romantic Comedy/Contemporary Fiction

Blurb:

Can a woman mired deep in the throes of grief have her heart and soul rallied by a therapy dog named Prozac who has supernatural wisdom and a canine Mensa IQ?

Meredith Mancuso is depressed. Ever since the death of her fiancé, she has shrunk from the world. Even with her successful writing career, she’s not motivated to work. When her sister, Monica, begs for a favor, Meredith wants nothing more than to say no. But she’s ultimately roped into pet-sitting an orphaned Yorkshire terrier named Prozac.

Blessed with spiritual wisdom and a high IQ, Prozac is an active pet therapy dog. To heal broken-hearted Meredith, he rallies his fan club at Evergreen Gardens, an independent living facility, where he visits each week.

Prozac and the community of resilient older folks challenged by losses of their own propel Meredith, often against her will, back into the land of the living. Meredith learns that most people carry some sort of burden, but it’s still possible to find meaning, purpose, and joy—and sometimes, even love—along the way.

Buy Links:

Author Website: http://thethingis-thenovel.blogspot.com/p/buy-book.html

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Thing-Kathleen-Gerard-ebook/dp/B01B55MZY2

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-thing-is/id1079207409?mt=11

Kobo:  https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/the-thing-is-1

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-thing-is-kathleen-gerard/1123327681?ean=2940152772616

Reviews:

“A story brimming with humor and heart, and an ending that’s as unexpected as it is satisfying.” — Claire Ashby, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of When You Make it Home

“Great story! Unexpected, delightful, uniquely creative…Kathleen Gerard not only understands the canine brain, but she gets people too. The Thing Is reminds us of how intricate and interwoven relationships are—and Prozac teaches us about grace and unconditional love.”  — Melody Carlson, author of The Christmas Joy RideFinding Alice, and The Christmas Dog

“Everyone could use a little Prozac. Kathleen Gerard’s heartwarming and uplifting book will have you heading to a pound as soon as you put the book down (if you can ever manage to do it). An absolute page turner, The Thing is provides all the proof you’ll ever need that dogs are truly nothing less than Four Legged Angels.”  — Mary Curran Hackett, author of Proof of Heaven and Proof of Angels

“A truly humorous twist on the issue of human frailty interacting with animal charm…offers a new take on grief recovery, which is both lighthearted and insightful!” — Trudie Barrares, Amazon “Vine Program” Top Reviewer

“Kathleen Gerard captures the powers of caring, connection, and resilience in her wonderful novel, The Thing Is. Prozac, the book’s funny and wise canine hero, helps humans of all ages overcome their losses and grief, find happiness and adventure, and renew their joy in love and life.” — Susan Sipprelle, award-winning documentary filmmaker at Tree of Life Productions (Over 50 and Out of Work; Set for Life; Soldier On: Life After Deployment)

“A triumph! A gem of a story!” — Maggie King, author of Murder at the Book Group

“Kathleen Gerard is a sterling storyteller who held my heart in her hands from start to finish. I recommend The Thing Is to everyone who is a pet lover (or not) and to anyone who is grieving or facing the unknown. The Thing Is brings hope, happiness, and new beginnings. This is my BEST read this year…kudos to Ms. Gerard. You nailed it!” — Fresh Fiction 

“Is this an endearing book about a dog? Yes. But it’s more than that. The devastating ache of loss throbs through its pages from beginning to end. Even though the story is tempered with a good dose of humor and tail-wagging cuteness, be prepared – it’s an emotional read with a capital E.” — Scranton Book Examiner

*****

Excerpt:

Always keep a camera close by at weddings, baptisms, and bar mitzvahs.

That was the cardinal rule of survival I’d devised when trying to navigate my life as a shining example of unexpected spinsterhood. The world, I’d learned, traveled in pairs—like Noah’s Ark—or with families. But people, perfumed and ready to party, could never resist mugging for a photo. Latching on to a camera could create a sense of security and purpose, something to hide behind. In my case, I had a tendency to cut off people’s heads in pictures. But that didn’t matter. Aiming a camera—a point-and-shoot or even just my smartphone—and pressing the shutter was a simple enough task that could occupy my time while couples were out on the dance floor.

The thing was that, after a while, there were only so many pictures to take and so many trips to make to the ladies’ room. At some point during social events, I always found myself alone at my table, surrounded by empty chairs, dirty plates, crumbs, and soiled napkins as I slugged back another sip of wine and wished—wished so hard that it hurt—that they’d hurry up and bring out the cake to signal that the party would soon be over.

That was the very dilemma I was facing at the bar mitzvah that day. The firstborn son of my old college roommate, Sarah, was celebrating his coming of age, while I was sitting alone at my empty table. I forced an admiring smile as dolled-up couples and pimply-faced teenagers crowded the dance floor, shaking and shimmying to a live rendition of “That’s the Way I Like It.”

At first, I didn’t even realize that Sarah’s youngest, five-year-old Jed Jr.—JJ—had climbed onto the chair next to mine. But when I felt a tug on my sleeve and heard him ask, “How come you don’t have a husband?” his presence was announced, loud and clear.

“How come you don’t have a wife?” I countered.

“‘Cause I’m too little,” he said. “What’s your excuse?”

I laughed. JJ certainly had no inhibitions. And he was a real cutie. His fair skin, disheveled angelic-blond hair, and saucer-like blue eyes guaranteed he’d break hearts someday. “Well, not everyone is married.”

“Mommy says your husband died.” Thanks, Sarah!

“He was my fiancé. Not my husband.”

“What’s a fiancé?”

I had to stop and think. Even though I wrote books for a living, award-winning romantic sagas with convoluted plots and subplots, my trying to define the word fiancé for a precocious child was like reconciling the meaning of the universe into a single sound bite.

“Well, before people get married, they get engaged, like when a man gives a ring to his future bride. Did you ever hear of that?”

“Of course. Everybody’s heard of that, dummy.” So much for little Prince Charming!

“Well, before the wedding, that’s what a bride or groom is called. After the engagement ring is given, you would say, ‘He’s my fiancé,’ or in your case, you would probably say, ‘She is my fiancée.'”

“How did your fiancé die?” What’s taking so long with that damn cake?

“Well, the thing is…”

I froze and stared at a tiny drop of red wine that had spilled on the starched white tablecloth, suddenly transported back three years to the night of my thirtieth birthday…

 

Kyle and I were having a beautiful, candlelit dinner on the patio at Andrea’s, my favorite Italian restaurant. We watched a mango-colored July sun slip down into the evening sky.

Kyle held up his glass. “Happy birthday, Meredith. I’m looking forward to spending all of your birthdays with you.”

That was the same thing he’d said when we’d first celebrated together on my twenty-third birthday…

Our bellies full of pasta, crab-filled calamari, veal parmigiana, espresso, and tiramisu, we walked arm in arm back to the lot where we’d parked the pickup. Kyle kept whistling the birthday song…

A St. Florian medal and a replica of Kyle’s fireman badge dangled from a chain looped over the rearview mirror. I leaned toward Kyle, and the light from the dashboard illuminated the warm pools of his brown eyes as I pressed my lips tenderly to his…

And then a jolt—the urgent sound of a fist rapping upon the driver’s side window. “Yo, get a room! We’re waitin’ for this spot. You leavin’ or what, dawg?”

My heart pounded in my chest.

The menacing, crazed face of an eighteen or nineteen-year-old kid filled the square window frame. He was wearing a ski cap, and lots of gold chains surrounded his neck.

Kyle reached to open the door.

“Don’t,” I said, my fingers firming around the sleeve of his polo shirt and his rock-solid arm.

 “You only promised me dinner, not fireworks. C’mon. Let’s go.”

“No,” Kyle snapped. “This is exactly what’s wrong with the world.”

Even with both my hands clamped to his arm, Kyle swung open the door and forced the kid to take a step away.

“You stay here,” he ordered. “I’ll be right back.”

“Kyle, please,” I pleaded, but he broke free from my grasp and hopped out of the car…

*****

Kathleen Gerard-Book Promo Photo - HI-RESAuthor Info:

Kathleen Gerard’s work has been awarded many literary prizes and broadcast on National Public Radio (NPR). Kathleen’s woman-in-jeopardy novel, IN TRANSIT, won “Best Romantic Fiction” at the New York Book Festival. To learn more visit http://www.kathleengerard.blogspot.com

Website: http://www.thethingis-thenovel.blogspot.com

Blog: http://www.kathleengerard.blogspot.com

Social Media Links:

http://www.facebook.com/kathleengerard.writer

http://www.twitter.com/kathleengerard

http://www.linkedin.com/in/kathleen-gerard-47000a2b

Spotlight – Too Hot to Handle

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This sounds like such fun!!

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*****

TooHotToHandle11_RGB300Too Hot to Handle

Romancing the Clarksons series

by Tessa Bailey

Blurb:

When rescue looks like a whole lot of trouble . . . 

The road trip was definitely a bad idea. Having already flambéed her culinary career beyond recognition, Rita Clarkson is now stranded in God-Knows-Where, New Mexico, with a busted-ass car and her three temperamental siblings, who she hasn’t seen in years. When rescue shows up—six-feet-plus of hot, charming sex on a motorcycle—Rita’s pretty certain she’s gone from the frying pan right into the fire . . .

Jasper Ellis has a bad boy reputation in this town, and he loathes it. The moment he sees Rita, though, Jasper knows he’s about to be sorely tempted. There’s something real between them. Something raw. And Jasper has only a few days to show Rita that he isn’t just for tonight—he’s forever.

BUY LINKS:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1PWXTXl

iBooks: http://apple.co/1T5bW0Z

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/24nRnR9

*****

Excerpt:

“Believe this, Rita. I think you’re gorgeous as sin and I need your mouth on mine.”

Rita nodded, meshing their wet lips together in the process. “I want to believe that. You might have to help me.”

“Thank Christ.”

Their mouths slanted and somehow—somehow—that feast of lips and tongue and teeth was even more potent than the night before. His knee rammed into the bike—almost as if his leg had tried to buckle—shooting pain up his right thigh, but it vanished under the pleasure. Vanished into vapor. The stroking, hot, abandon of Rita. They were both breathing through their noses so as not to break the voracious mouth-fucking they were engaging in, and that shouldn’t have been so all-out sexy. But it sure as shit was. They were attacking each other with seeking tongues and open lips, playing chicken to see who would give in first.

When her hands slipped under his shirt and pulled down on his belt buckle, putting pressure on Jasper’s cock, he cursed into her mouth, securing his fist in her hair like a goddamn barbarian. And she liked it, too. Why else would she be tugging on his belt, encouraging him to rock into the notch of her pussy? Too far. This was going too far. Any farther and they’d end up somewhere naked.

She’d leave the encounter with no doubt of his experience, because, hell, Jasper knew every button to press, when to change rhythm, when to be forceful or pull back. Knew it all. But Rita wouldn’t look at him the same way afterward. She’d see the local tramp, like everyone else.

She’d leave. And he’d have failed in his one attempt to be more to someone.

Jasper tore his mouth free, releasing a gruff exhale into her neck. “You have me ready to bust in my jeans, beautiful. I was smoother than this in high school.”

“That’s a scary thought,” she breathed out in a rush, her fists still curling in his shirt. “Was that the other half of your apology for last night? B-because I have to say, it was pretty effective.”

“At the risk of sounding arrogant, Rita, I haven’t even moved my hips yet. You’ve barely gotten a preview of how thoroughly I can…apologize.”

“Don’t leave me in suspense,” she whispered, those golden-brown eyes going as big as salad plates.

Don’t do it. You’ll have a hard-on for a decade. “If you agree to go out with me tonight, I’ll rub that wet, aching seam of yours with my own ache.”

Rita’s head fell back on a whimper. “Fine. Yes.”

*****

highres-MJB_5140.jpgAuthor Info:

Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans and laptop, driving cross-country to New York City in under four days.

Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the work force as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention.

She now lives in Long Island, New York with her husband of eight years and four-year-old daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.

Website ** Facebook ** Twitter ** Goodreads

*****

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Spotlight – The Winter Bear’s Bride

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Oh, do I have a treat for those of you who love shifter romances!

*****

winter bearThe Winter Bear’s Bride

ARe Dubious

by Mina Carter

Genre: Paranormal Shifter Romance, Bears

Publisher: All Romance eBooks

Date of Publication: May 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-943576-76-0

Word Count: 32k

Cover Artist: Erin Dameron Hill

Blurb:

To stop a war, she must become his.

Analise, daughter of the Bear Elder, has status and luxury, though she’s a prisoner of her birth and despised by her father because she’s not the alpha son he needs. She keeps her head down and hoards lost knowledge that nearly destroyed the planet. She dreams of escape, but her father decides it’s time for her to marry.

He’s hated her and all she represents for years. But once he meets her…

Scar, rebel leader and were-polar bear, wants nothing more than to burn the clan system to the ground. It’s cruel, unfair, and dedicated to keeping most of the populace in its place. To do so, he needs to take out the Bear Elder and his scheming daughter. As soon as he sees the delicate beauty of his enemy, though, all he can think of is making her his. And he’s prepared to go to war to do so.

Not all battles need to be fought in the field. Some are of the heart and the mind and he intends to win hers, whatever it takes. Trouble is, what it takes might be all he has.

ARe    Amazon

*****

Excerpt:

“Whether you like it or not, Analise, you will marry and ensure the continuation of our bloodline,” Magnus, alpha of the Asmundr clan and Elder of all the bear clans, bellowed loud enough to rattle the hall windows. “Do you understand me?”

Analise stood before the dais and throne-like chair that marked her father’s status as alpha, gritted her teeth and answered with a nod. There was nothing else she could do. Her father ruled the clans with an iron rod, and argument was not tolerated. Ever.

Duty, honor and sacrifice.

The words had been drilled into her relentlessly from the day she’d been born. The day her mother had died giving birth to her. In one fateful moment, she’d not only stolen his wife, but also a bear-mate, one of the few women capable of bearing him an alpha son. He’d never forgiven her for that.

“Speak up, girl!” Magnus roared. The guards who flanked the dais looked ahead. All bears, they were used to their alpha’s rage and volume. There would be no help from that quarter. None of them would risk incurring her father’s wrath. Not for her.

“Yes, Father. I understand.”

The words were dust in her mouth and her stomach churned. She’d always known she would have to marry one day; she just hadn’t expected it to be so soon. Most of the time her father ignored her existence as long as the holding ran smoothly and when he did notice her, his disdain was apparent. It didn’t help that she was small and slight. Her appearance, though, had its advantages. Most people assumed she was years younger than she was. Being called a “girl” had gone from being an insult to a cloak to hide behind.

She’d thought she had years yet before her father realized she was of marriageable age. Years to study the books their ancestors had brought from the south lands after the wars and learn something useful. Years to learn how to survive in the snowy wastes outside the thick walls of the stronghold so that one day she could make her escape.

But she didn’t have years after all. She had to marry, and that marriage would not be of her choosing. Her father would trade her in marriage to further the clan’s interests and his own agenda.

Taking a deep breath, she ignored the crushing disappointment. Her happiness was not a consideration. It never had been.

“Good!” Magnus levered himself out of his chair, stomping down the steps to tower over her.

She looked up at him, her expression carefully neutral. Not too happy, but not cold. She’d perfected the look years ago. Nothing that could be considered insolent or anything other than the perfectly dutiful daughter in any way.

“The ball will begin at nine,” he rumbled, reaching out and gripping her chin in one massive hand.

*****

Author Info:

Mina Carter is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of romance in many genres. She lives in the UK with her husband, daughter and a bossy cat. For more information on other books by Mina, visit her website: http://www.mina-carter.com.

https://www.facebook.com/minacarterauthor

http://twitter.com/minacarter

https://plus.google.com/113296905677815696815/posts

http://pinterest.com/minacarter77

http://mina-carter.com/

*****

Giveaway:

3 eBook copies of UNDER HIS CLAW by Viola Grace

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ba112ffc1334/

*****

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Book Review – Everybody Knows

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cover89394-mediumEverybody Knows

The Sunnyside Series #1

by Jacie Floyd

THE FAST LANE WAS GOING NO WHERE…Despite growing up the glitzy world of fashion models and rock stars, that lifestyle holds no appeal for librarian Harper Simmons. She craves small-town normalcy and a place to call home. With a philanthropic grant in hand, Harper sets out for Sunnyside, IL, eager to reopen the town library. But the locals aren’t very welcoming to the woman in designer clothes—once again showing her she doesn’t fit in.

GROWING UP IN A SMALL TOWN…Wasn’t all it was cracked up to be for Dr. Zach Novak. Yes, Sunnyside had given him security and self-confidence—but now he’s smothered by their constant scrutiny and inevitable matchmaking. Longing to view the world from a less-restrictive stage, he’s making plans to head out of town…until he meets the enchanting new librarian.

WHEN TWO WORLDS COLLIDE…There’s bound to be trouble. Harper and Zach’s physical and emotional connection has them steaming up the nights with a secret affair. When Zach leaves on a humanitarian mission, their relationship becomes public knowledge and Harper is blamed for driving him away. Allegations about her past further alienate the town, and she questions her desire to remain where she isn’t wanted. Even if Zach returns to Sunnyside, will he be lost to her forever?

It’s fantastic fun being there while Zach and Harper fall in love.  The great part is that it took half the book before they hooked up so that allowed for plenty of time for them to get to know each other better (and for us as well).

Zach has good guy syndrome.  He feels like he owes the town and does all he can to be everything to everybody, regardless of what it costs him.  But he’s getting close to getting out of town, too bad Harper comes into his life at the wrong time.  She’s sassy, caring, and tries hard to win over the town (but of course they don’t cooperate all that much).  And while Harper might be a fish out of water in Sunnyside, she’s got such a positive outlook on life that she can’t be bowed for long.  And spending time with Zach is enough to brighten anyone’s day – of course she finds him as wonderful as everyone else does.  He’s strong, compassionate, diplomatic, and has a solid head on his shoulders.  Unfortunately he’s so perfect that every woman is looking to get him hitched so he does everything he can to ignore his attraction to Harper … yeah, that goes as well as you’d expect:)

My only complaint is that I would have loved to see a little more development between Harper and her step-dad.  They don’t have a bad relationship but she hasn’t embraced him as he appears to want, not until the end anyway.  A little more attention could have made that moment even more heartwarming.   I’m hoping that we get more of Harper’s sister in a future book and that maybe that means more of her mom and step-dad as well.  Plus there are some interesting side characters that add a little extra oomph to this story and who are sure to be delightful if they get their own book.

As the first story in a new series, Everybody Knows is a great introduction to Sunnyside.  And while not all of the residents are appealing, there is great promise to what they could be and I can’t wait to see if Floyd delivers on it.

Book Review – The Purest Hook

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Can heavy metal rock God, Dred, put his turbulent upbringing in a Toronto group home behind him long enough to fall in love and save Pix from her past? Find out in THE PUREST HOOK by RITA nominee, Scarlett Cole and St. Martin’s Press. Fans of Laura Kaye’s Hard Ink series or Kylie Scott’s Stage Dive books will fall in love with the tattooed heroes of the Second Circle Tattoos!

*****

PurestHook_coverThe Purest Hook

by Scarlett Cole

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense

Release Date: May 3rd, 2016

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Blurb:

Can a love built on secrets survive?

Rugged, hot, and rock hard, Dred Zander is exactly the type of man that normally sends Pixie running. Not dreaming about running her hands down his washboard abs…and lower. The lead singer and guitarist for the band Preload embodies trouble behind his quick smile and guarded eyes, and Pixie left trouble behind her years ago along with the name Sarah Jane Travers and the pathetic trailer her mom called home. With her abusive past in her past, she has a new life, a new family at Second Circle, and a dream of opening her own business. She needs capital and time. What she doesn’t need is a tempting long-haired rocker or the paparazzi that follow him around.

But Dred has other ideas. Pixie’s sweet hazel eyes, purple hair and kaleidoscopic tattoo of exotic flowers that swirl up her arm haunt his dreams, and he knows she wants him too. He just has to convince her. But as a juicy exposé threatens to expose their pasts, and a blackmailer terrorizes their present, Pixie and Dred have to decide what really matters and fight like hell to keep it.

Available at: Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks | B&N

*****

TPH Guitar (1)

Excerpt:

Pyrotechnics went off all the way around the stage as the crowd screamed and cheered. He hugged each of the guys, then ran off the stage to pull Pixie from Harper and Drea. The break between the end of the act and the encore was approximately four minutes, and he had plans to use them wisely.

Pixie looked at him, her eyes wide in shock as he grabbed her hand.

“Quick,” he said to her, tugging her down the stage steps. There was no way he could make it back to his dressing room in time, so he hurried them along the black curtain that surrounded the stage into a darkened corner. He pushed her gently against the wall, trapping her in his arms.

“Watching you watch me, Pix . . . drove me crazy. You going to let me kiss you?” he begged. “Please.”

Pixie looked at him and put a hand against his cheek. “Yes.”

He slid both hands into her hair and pressed his mouth against hers. Energized from the performance, Dred struggled to rein in the need to kiss her fiercely. When he heard her groan, felt her lift up on her toes to loop her arms around his neck, he was done for. She was more than he’d dreamed of, and he’d dreamed a hell of a fucking lot. And yet none of his half-asleep fantasies could match the emotions currently blazing through him. Her tongue tentatively brushed against his so gently it was almost innocent. Well, as innocent as it could be when what he really wanted to do was take her against this black curtain.

It was fucking heaven.

He slid his hands down her body. Pixie giggled when he gripped her waist to pull her close. Ticklish. He’d have to remember that.

Not that he wanted to, but he needed to get back onstage. Fucking encore. He kissed her one more time, tasted the whiskey he’d given her earlier. The telltale thump of Lennon’s bass drum started to sound. He pulled back, willing his hard-on to take it down a notch before he got back onstage.

“That was quite the kiss,” Pixie said shyly.

He took her hand and led her back to the stage, positioning her right where she had been. It was impossible to resist kissing her again, and he grinned when Trent raised an eyebrow in his direction.

“Agreed. As beginnings go, Pix, it was pretty fucking epic,” he said with a wink, and walked back onto the stage to face the screaming fans.

*****

Review:

I love the idea that these two people, who have been damaged by their pasts, are able to use their terrible experiences to give them insight into each other, turning it all into something wonderfully positive.  They both have hang-ups, things that make having a relationship extremely difficult, but when they get together it creates something magical.

Pixie lived through an absolutely devastating thing but managed to come out the other side, showing her strength and resilience.  That’s not to say she doesn’t have her scars but lucky for her Dred is just the guy who has the understanding to help her work through them.  And while I hurt for her, my heart also aches for what Dred went through growing up.  I just want to cuddle the little boy that he was – alone, scared, and finding himself thrown into scary situations.

The relationship between the men of Preload, the way they support each other and will do just about anything to make sure that that each of them feels comfortable, is spectacular.  They have an unshakable bond forged in heartache and tested to show that it will last.  And it’s just a notch down on the awesome scale from the romance between him and Pixie:)  The way that he understands her and is willing to wait for her to be ready each step of the way is oh-so-sexy.  Every time he calls her snowflake my heart sighs.  I’m also ready to cuddle the grown up version of Dred but for an entirely different reason!

I will say my only complaint is how vague Cole is about the things that Dred’s boys experienced.  I understand that she wants the big reveals to happen during their own books, but that is one of those things that irritates me when reading a book.  I’m not the most patient of people and I think that might have something to do with it:) – I want my answers and I want them now … I will give her props though because I am so very anxious to get my hands on the next book!  And the next and the next!

As with the other books in this series, there is an element of danger and suspense.  It’s a great complement to the more emotional moments, helping to pull readers in and have them anxiously turning pages to find out how it all works out.  I feel bad for these people to have so many horrible things happen to them but they have the strength and support they need to come out happy on the other side.

Full of passion, humor and a massive amount of heartwarming goodness, this latest book in the Second Circle Tattoos series highlights how Scarlett Cole shines at creating can’t-put-down romances.

TPH teaser

*****

Scarlett Cole PhotoAuthor Info:

Scarlett Cole is a writer of contemporary romance and a two-time RITA finalist. Her debut, THE STRONGEST STEEL, has already become an Amazon best seller in romantic suspense, was a Best Debut Goodreads Author Finalist 2015, and Authors On The Air Global Radio Network Contemporary Romance Pick of 2015.

When Scarlett isn’t writing, she spends her time reading, hoarding mason jars, and working out to off-set an epic sour candy habit. She likes hot men, cold beer, and expensive shoes.

Having travelled the world for work and fun, Scarlett is a citizen of both Britain and Canada. A true city-dweller, she considers Toronto and Manchester home and likes to set her books in vibrant locations such as Miami and Los Angeles.

Rep’d by Beth Phelan at The Bent Agency, and published by St. Martin’s Press.

She’d love to hear from you on twitter @itsscarlettcole

Connect with Scarlett: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

*****

Giveaway:

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1 grand prize winner will receive a signed copy of The Strongest Steel (Second Circle Tattoos #1)

2 runner-ups will receive a $25 Amazon Giftcard!

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*****

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Visit all the blogs participating in the tour for reviews, excerpts, guest posts and more chances to win!

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Book Review – The Wedding Date

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cover85140-mediumThe Wedding Date

by Kelly Eadon

A LITTLE FAKE RELATIONSHIP NEVER HURT ANYONE . . .

Kate Massie has big dreams-they just haven’t worked out. Yet. In the meantime, she spends her days clerking for a judge and her nights fantasizing about her tall, dark, and sexy gym crush. So when she runs into him one night, she’s shocked to realize he was her shy, nerdy junior-prom date. But that isn’t where the surprises end . . .

James Abell needs a date to his sister’s wedding. So when Kate agrees, he’s relieved . . . until one little lie turns their wedding date into a full-blown fake relationship. Only it doesn’t feel fake-not the toe-curling kisses and definitely not the electricity. Neither of them is looking for something real . . . but they just might fall for their own little white lie.

This is another one of those times when I wished the couple would just talk to each other more, but I’m pleased to say Eadon handles it in a way that never made me want to smack either of them:)  Usually these things just frustrate me but she makes it work.  There are little points of drama here and there throughout the story but nothing was ever too big.

Kate and James get together under false circumstances and jump straight into a pretend relationship so they skip a lot of the get-to-know-you steps.  The crash course method of dating seems to work for them though (outside of that pesky sharing thoughts and feelings thing) … for the most part.  But that’s where those small bits of drama comes in.

Because they skipped over the more traditional parts, there are things about both of them that would have come up but instead bites them on the behinds.  With more time together and a trust built up between them, that’s where the good communications skills would have fixed it but without it there’s a bit of trouble.  Plus everyone has baggage, it’s just that with the speed that things happen it seems heavier here:) and Eadon does a great job of resolving everything smoothly.

A fun story of a backwards romance, The Wedding Date is entertaining and best of all not too frustrating.  The couple has their issues but they come across as real and the resolution is smooth.

Book Review – The Bad Boy’s Baby

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cover86486-mediumThe Bad Boy’s Baby

A Hope Springs Novel

by Cindi Madsen

There are certain words that have always described Cam Brantley: Town bad boy. Soldier. Protector. But never, ever dad. Until he returns home from his latest military tour to discover the girl he had one smoking-hot night with is now mom to the adorable two-year-old Zoey. Who has his eyes.

Plenty of words could describe Emma Walker these days. Mom, dutiful granddaughter, budding designer, the town’s golden child. But when her longtime crush Cam Brantley comes back to town, she knows the perfect word to describe herself: screwed.

Cam and Emma are both shocked to discover he truly wants Zoey in his life. But Cam’s not sure he’s ready to be a dad, and Emma can’t gamble her daughter on maybes. As the long-simmering heat between Cam and Emma reaches a boiling point, he’ll have to work past his demons in order to be the man both girls need.

I’ve read quite a few of Madsen’s books and loved every one of them – I’m not sure how I missed this series, but this is the first I’ve read (not that it caused me any issues).  Although I do kinda wish I’d read Heath’s story because I think it would have helped with understanding some of Cam’s history with his dad, but otherwise this one stands alone really well.

Because of the way that Cam grew up, readers totally understand why he is anti-relationship … and why he reacts so strongly to the idea of having a daughter but not being involved with her.  Watching him get a crash course in fatherhood is super sweet and helps ease him into the idea of a family.  He’s still got concerns and fears but spending time with Emma & Zoe makes it super hard to resist them.  And for us to resist him:)  Because a strong, Alpha, ex-military man falling in love with his precocious little girl?  Absolutely darling!

Spotlight – Worth the Wait

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I have absolutely no idea why this one isn’t already in my TBR pile but it has definitely been added after I got a couple of sneak peeks:)

*****

Worth the Wait_coverWorth the Wait

Divine Island #1

by Julie Ann Levin

Releasing May 17, 2016

Kingbird Press, LLC

Blurb:

Tropical beaches and second chances…

As a rule, Chase Hammond avoided going home to Divine Island whenever possible. But when his father has a heart attack, he’s left with no other choice but to go back and hope that he can avoid trouble and stay focused.

Recently divorced and struggling to keep all the elements of her life together, Natalie Rey has absolutely no desire to make her life any more difficult than it already is. But when Chase Hammond shows up on her doorstep, the man who rejected her years earlier, she’ll have to do her best to avoid the monumental distraction.

The last thing either of them needs is their sizzling chemistry getting in the way of their goals.

Can Natalie resist the sexy man who broke her heart years ago?

Will allowing him back into her life only lead to more heartache?

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29478174-worth-the-wait

Buy Links:       Amazon

*****

Excerpt:

Natalie Rey didn’t know the first thing about wielding the wrench in her hand, but not knowing things had never stopped her before. She wasn’t going to let a leaky faucet get in the way of finding a tenant, but so far, everyone had expected the shower in the master bathroom to be in working order.

Silly people, with their basic needs, like indoor plumbing.

No worries, Natalie was perfectly capable of watching videos of people who did know things.

Having watched the video no less than five times, Natalie repeated the instructions aloud. “Just replace the stem, tighten things back up, and no more leak.”

She did these things, intent on using the most precise movements. Except when she tightened the faucet, water shot out in a jet stream, hitting her right in the face. She screamed, (more like gargled), and held her hands in front of her body in a weak attempt to stop the water.

What made her think she could do this without the use of a real plumber? She turned the knob, only to have it come off in her hand. “Easy, my ass,” she said through her teeth.

“Nat? What are you doing?”

Natalie’s posture stiffened at the sight of Chase Hammond filling the doorway like he was holding the house up with his big, strong body.

Not now. Even as water sprayed wildly around her, she looked up at the ceiling, asking God why. Why would you bring Chase Hammond to my door at this moment?

Or ever for that matter.

“Obviously…” She cleared her throat. “I don’t know what I’m doing. What are you doing? Here? In my bathroom?”

“Where’s the valve to shut off the water?” Chase asked, focused and on track, responding to the situation as if she were in way over her head.

For the record, she was.

Looking even better than she remembered, he was glorious in his relaxed jeans and threadbare T-shirt, tight across his chest and loose around his flat stomach.

“The what?” Natalie asked, still standing in the spray, pretending like she wasn’t just ogling him.

“Outside, Nat.” He offered her a bemused smile, giving Natalie the impression that he knew exactly what she was doing. “There should be a valve to shut off all the water to the house.”

“Should I have turned that off before working on the faucet?”

He rewarded her with a broad grin, and Natalie’s brain went fuzzy, all neurons getting lost in a wave of static. She’d seen pictures of him as recent as a year ago, but she’d forgotten how mind crippling his smile could be in real time.

“Nat, the valve?”

Natalie pushed her shoulders back and lifted her chin. “Under the bushes. I think it’s on the west side of the house.”

He grimaced. “Of course, it’s under the bushes. Get out of the tub. You’re soaked.”

Natalie’s eyes widened, and she shook her head at the spot where Chase once stood. He’d sounded so bossy that she almost stayed put just to spite him. Instead, she climbed out of the tub and chastised herself for not turning the valve off in the first place.

The water slowed and then stopped running altogether. She breathed a shaky sigh of relief. The faucet was in worse shape than before she started, but at least the meter wasn’t running up at breakneck speed anymore. Besides, she had other things to worry about. Natalie hadn’t seen Chase Hammond in eight years.

Not that she was counting.

Chase returned to the bathroom and stared at her bedraggled state. She warmed as his eyes swept up and down her body.

She touched her palms to her cheeks. Yep, she was blushing. Just like when they were younger.

He leaned on the doorjamb with one hand at his waist. “The valve’s on the east side of the house in case you were wondering.”

Natalie’s head jerked in his direction. “Like I’m supposed to remember directional indicators at the drop of a hat? There was water spraying at my face.”

She looked down, having forgotten what she was wearing: Yoga pants, and a white shirt that clung to her body. Feeling nothing but ready for a wet T-shirt contest, she raised her chin and crossed her arms over her chest.

Again, the corners of Chase’s mouth tipped up. She dropped her arms to her sides in response. “Would you please hand me the towel?”

He did, without urgency if she had any opinion on the matter, and she wrapped it around her shoulders.

“The faucet?” he asked.

She held her hand out. “It’s right here and not at all attached to the wall where it belongs.”

He made a valiant effort to suppress his laughter and failed spectacularly.

“Please stop,” she asked,  although she was forcing back her laughter now. His laugh was contagious that way. It was a full-body display, the way he threw his head back. Hers wasn’t so good. It was the kind of laugh that could turn into sobbing if she wasn’t careful.

“Were you always this serious?” He took a step toward her and pulled the towel tighter around her shoulders. “Come on; you think it’s a little funny.”

He was so close she could imagine the feel of his unshaven face on her skin. Natalie worked at remaining unaffected, but he smelled like he was genetically designed to excite her hormones. If only she could press her face against his neck for a sampling of the goods.

“Do I look like I’m laughing, Chase? The video made it look so fricking easy.”

“It always looks easier in the video.”

She snorted. “Right, like you need to watch videos to fix things.”

“You’d be surprised,” he said.

She sighed and pushed her wet, shoulder length waves of brown hair away from her face. “I wanted to get these repairs done before my shift at the hospital.”

“I’m sure you were about to finish, and I interrupted you.”

She narrowed her eyes. “I do stuff like this all the time, and sixty percent of the time it works out.”

He nodded patronizingly and continued stroking her upper arms.

“Stop that.” She was wet and loving the heat that was coming off his body, or maybe that was just her reaction to him. “I can do this on my own.”

“I know you can,” he said. His eyes were so kind that she felt her heart squeeze. “How about I take a look and see if I can finish what you started?”

Natalie warred with her inherent stubbornness. “Don’t you have somewhere to be?”

“It’s just a faucet, Nat.”

“Yes…just a faucet that I couldn’t fix.”

“That’s not what I meant.” He relaxed his posture. “I’ve done this before.”

She nodded and took a step back from him. “Why are you here again? Ellie isn’t here. She’s off traveling with Chuck.” Natalie removed a leaf from his hair, something he must have picked up while looking for the valve.

Chase stopped to look at her. “Yes, I know where my sister is, thank you very much.” He moved around in the small bathroom. “Where’s the box the faucet came in?”

Distracted, Natalie stared at his muscles shifting beneath his thin shirt. “It’s behind the door. Wait! Don’t close the—”

He did just that.

“Door,” Natalie said, pressing the heels of her hands to her eyes. This was not happening. She was not stuck in a bathroom with Chase Hammond. Her shift at the hospital started in, oh, two hours. Everything remained broken. She was soaking wet, and did she mention stuck in a bathroom with Chase Hammond?

“Nat?”

She peeked from behind her hands. “Yeah, Chase?”

He slid his hands into his pockets and rocked back on his heels. “Why shouldn’t I have closed the door?”

“Fixing the door lock,” Natalie said, placing her hands on her hips, “was next on my list of things to do.”

Chase clicked his tongue. “Right after fixing the leaky faucet?”

Natalie nodded. “Right after fixing the leaky faucet.”

*****

Julie AnnAuthor Info:

Julie Ann Levin grew up in Miami, Florida. She graduated from Florida State University with a degree in English, majoring in Creative Writing. She loves to read all genres of Romance and especially loves contemporary, suspense, and paranormal.

She is known to binge read and is always binge writing.

Author Links:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads

*****

Giveaway:

a $25 eGift Card to choice book seller

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/521ac4c81032/

*****

Click on the banner below to check out the rest of the tour

VT-WorththeWait-JALevin_FINAL

Book Review – To Win Her Heart

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We’ve seen this one already as a spotlight, but I finally had a chance to read it:)

To Win Her HeartTo Win Her Heart

Book Three in the Players series

by Mackenzie Crowne

In order to protect her, they’ll both have to let their guards down…

Country music’s It Girl Jessi Tucker is fed up with her family’s stifling security measures. The threat of a dangerous stalker has gotten the men in her life—including her football star cousin, Tuck Tucker—monitoring her every move. To get the freedom she yearns for, Jessi hatches a plan to recruit Max Grayson, Tuck’s sexy brawler best friend, to play the role of her new boyfriend. But if her scheme works, will she be forced to hide her true romantic feelings for the sake of her independence? Or will she finally steal the heart of her dream man?…

Max has been pining for Jessi for years and would do anything to protect her, but a professional cage fighter with too many skeletons in his closet has no business being with one of America’s sweethearts. Yet while Max does his best to keep Jessi at arm’s length, the Tucker family persuades him to accept her offer.

Max believes he can keep Jessi safe from danger, but can he shelter her from his own dark secrets, the media’s unforgiving spotlight—and a mutual desire that’s harder to resist each day…

I knew I’d love this one because Crowne did such fabulous things with the first two books and I was so anxious to see what she would do for the oh-so-sexy Max:)  Even though he’s done extremely well for himself, Max still feels unworthy of Jessi for so many reasons – the way he grew up, the things he did surviving on the streets, their age difference, his relationship with her family.  Jessi though sees the man he is now and is convinced that nothing he’s done can change how she feels about him.  And now she’s got the perfect chance to make him see it too.

The Tuckers are a force unto themselves!  Smart, funny, caring and stubborn, once they start something they don’t give up easily.  And Jessi is going to need all of that to help her get through to Max.  As the two spend time together he starts letting slip some of the reasons why he’s been fighting their attraction so hard and it’s heartbreaking, for her and for us.

Unfortunately Max can be just as set in his thinking as she is so he’s not going to go down without a fight.  Convinced that he’s not good enough to be loved (completely missing how much his friends already love him and how they would do just about anything for him) Max has done everything he can to resist Jessi but close contact for too long pushes even him to the limit … and what a fabulous time that turns out to be:)

Interestingly enough the stalker part of it doesn’t play that big of a role, except to throw the two of them together and as a means to give them some alone time.  I actually liked the way it is handled because it makes sense in the story but if you are looking for something more suspense-y I think you might be disappointed.  Crowne definitely focuses on the romance part of it, delivering an emotional read full of ups & downs as the two fight for what they believe is right.

(Even though this is part of a series, you can start here … although, there’s a good chance you’ll be drawn in too and anxiously await whatever Crowne brings next!)

Book Review – Forever This Time

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We saw the second book in this series here.  Somehow I missed posting the review for this one but I finally got it posted:)

cover69790-mediumForever This Time

An Echo Lake Novel

by Maggie McGinnis

Bestselling author Maggie McGinnis welcomes us to Echo Lake, Vermont, where love lost can be found again…

FIND YOUR JOY

Boston therapist Josie Kendrew is really good at mending everyone else’s broken heart-just not her own. When she rushes home to Echo Lake after her father’s stroke, Josie finds herself face-to-face with too many painful memories from the past, including the loss of her “little sister” and Ethan Miller, the boy she left behind. Ethan is now all man-and he has done wonders as CEO of Snowflake Village, the Kendrew family’s Christmas-themed amusement park, which charms year-round visitors from all around New England. Suddenly, Echo Lake holds more than ghosts from the past. It also holds the possibility of a second chance at love…

AND NEVER LET GO…

Ethan’s been picking up the pieces of the Kendrews’ shattered family for as long as he can remember. But doing good isn’t the same as being happy-and Ethan can’t deny that the sweet, smart girl he once adored has become a gorgeous woman he cannot resist. For both Josie and Ethan, it’s a time of love and promise, and of finding the dreams they thought they had lost…

There is a lot of emotion hidden in what could have easily been just another cutesy romance.  The characters have a lot of conflicting emotions about Josie’s return – when she left suddenly all those years ago it caused a lot of hurt for a lot of people.  It’s rarely easy to come back but with the baggage on all sides, it’s really hard for her.  So while they may not have been ready at 18 to handle everything that life threw at them, both Josie and Ethan have done a lot of growing over the years and have worked to find a path that works for them.  Now, as adults, they might be better able to forge a long-term relationship if they can just open up to the possibility.

A sweet story about coming home again, forgiving and moving on, Forever This Time is a great start to what is sure to be a wonderful series.

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