Review – Kiss My Giraffe

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Kiss My Giraffe

Boys of the Bayou Gone Wild series

by Erin Nicholas

Blurb:

Enemies to friends to almost lovers … then back to kind-of enemies … to lovers. For a guy who wanted to keep things simple this is anything but.

Fiona knew Knox would be mad when she moved in next door.

And not because she brought a collection of wild animals with her.

And she was right. 

So she intended to leave him alone. Mostly. 

But he’s not ignoring her. He’s actively working to send her and her “ridiculous menagerie” (rude) right back out of town.

Still, as hard as she tries, it’s impossible to stop thinking about the small town grump’s long hair and tattoos and that mouth. 

Not the one that’s almost always set in a grim line and says things like, “you got a permit for that?” 

Nope, the one that kisses her like she’s everything he’s ever wanted and says very dirty things in her ear. And sweet, protective, supportive things. Sometimes. Accidentally. When she catches him off-guard. 

The one that also says he only wants a long-distance fling with her. Nothing serious. And that he never dates women he sees every day. Like his neighbor. 

Well, fine. If he doesn’t want her—and her unbelievable past and that-can’t-be-real future—then she doesn’t want him either. He can just kiss her…giraffe. (Yeah, she actually has a couple of those.)

Now she just needs to convince her heart to give him up.

Fall in love today!

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

Amazon Worldwide: https://mybook.to/kissmygiraffe

Apple Books: https://apple.co/3hLxTmG

Nook: https://bit.ly/345qIT5

Kobo: https://bit.ly/3tn0Ni5

Google Play: https://bit.ly/3K4P8LG

Add to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3vDelbY

Start your binge today with Otterly Irresistible!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3wl0BTv

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

Add to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3wNGZW6

*****

Excerpt:

“Remember that thing we talked about at Christmas?”

Knox felt his gut clench. They’d talked about sleeping together. And him becoming the temporary foster dad to three baby otters.  

And they’d kissed for the first time. A kiss that had been causing annoying, unwelcome, frustrating dirty dreams for three fucking months. 

“About having a salacious affair where we sneak around behind our friends’ backs and sleep together whenever I’m in town?” she pressed when he didn’t answer.

“Yes. I remember.” 

Too well. He was incredibly pissed about how often he’d replayed that conversation and how restless he’d been waiting for her to call or come back to Autre.

He didn’t pine for women. Ever. He did the opposite of that. 

But now she was here. And Knox wasn’t sure what he was feeling. Her showing up unannounced wasn’t unusual. Fiona Grady rolled into Autre without warning more often than not in her grape-soda-purple truck that sent his heart hammering and cock hardening. 

But it had been three months since he’d seen her. Since they’d talked. Since he’d had any clue what she was doing, where she was, how she was.

Suddenly, she was on his doorstep asking about their plan to bang whenever she was in town for a couple of days?

“Okay, well, there’s something I need to tell you that will make you not want to do that anymore,” she said. “So I was wondering if maybe you wanted to get naked together once before I told you and ruined everything?”

He opened his mouth to reply. Then shut it without a word. What the hell?

He glanced over his shoulder. Three minutes ago, he’d been sitting at his kitchen table doing paperwork with a cup of coffee and listening to a podcast about new creative urban development ideas. 

Now the woman he was low-level obsessed with was on his porch asking if he wanted to have sex before she told him something that would make him not want to have sex with her anymore.

He ran a hand through his hair. This was why Fiona Grady was no good for him. She came into his carefully controlled and organized life and made things chaotic and messy.

“Are you sick?” he asked.

“Sick? No.”

“Dying?”

“No.”

“Is anyone dying?”

“No.”

“Are you married?” He braced himself. He knew very little about this woman, actually, and if she belonged to someone else, he’d… leave her alone. And hate that man. And never forgive her for stirring him up like this.

“Absolutely not.”

“Engaged?”

“No.”

Okay, that was all…way too much of a relief. He should not be this happy to hear that. 

“Did you kill someone?” he asked.

She tipped her head, her mouth curling. “Is that a definite deal-breaker?”

No, probably not. Knox narrowed his eyes.  

“No, I haven’t killed anyone.”

“Are the Feds looking for you? Or will I be implicated in some kind of crime if I let you in?”

“Not that I’m aware of.”

“That’s not a no.”

“I’m just being honest.”

Fair enough. Fiona was a wild animal advocate. The type of person to show up at roadside petting zoos and ‘circuses’ to monitor how the animals were treated and hand out literature to people attending the events, raising awareness about the poor conditions and treatment of those animals. She showed up to help rescue and care for animals, wild and domestic, after natural disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires. She regularly lobbied local, state, and even the national government for animal protections. 

The chance that she could have done something in the “gray area” for one of her causes was pretty good. 

The problem with that was he knew that wouldn’t keep him from wanting her. 

She was precisely the kind of woman he should be avoiding. 

He studied her face for another long moment, then gave in to the inevitable. He pushed his door open.

“Yeah?” she asked. 

“Yeah.”

She wasn’t dying, wasn’t married, and hadn’t killed anyone. And he wanted her more than he’d ever wanted another woman in his life. So how was he possibly going to shut the door on her? After three months of missing her? He wasn’t that strong. Or stupid.

*****

Review:

So I’ve been enjoying Knox and Fiona dancing around each other for quite a few books now, and I was really looking forward to their story, but I’ll admit that I was really convinced early on that Knox was beyond a … jerk. Then he shares his reasons for wanting a long distance relationship (which was a big of a surprise) and my heart just went out to him. I didn’t think that I could like him any more than I did coming in but then he showed us his ooey-gooey center and he’s now my favorite book boyfriend – nerdy, sexy, intense, and sweet.

Fiona is still sassy, strong, and committed to her animals, to her loved ones, and to ruffling Knox’s well put together feathers. Her secrets are just as audacious as she is and nothing less than we should have expected from her. I loved getting to know her (and those close to her) better as the story unfolds. She understands Knox as no one else does and truly appreciates him. If she can only convince him that they can make a relationship work.

Small town charm, boisterous characters, and enough heat to keep things interesting all mix together to give readers a satisfying conclusion to the Boys of the Bayou Gone Wild series (although, never fear – there are more books coming from this world).

*Part of a series but can be enjoyed as a stand alone, although the prequal Otterly Into You is a must read and currently free on Amazon.*

*****

Author Info:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Erin Nicholas has been writing romances almost as long as she’s been reading them. To date, she’s written over thirty sexy, contemporary novels that have been described as “toe-curling,” “enchanting,” “steamy,” and “fun.” She adores reluctant heroes, imperfect heroines, and happily ever afters.

Erin lives in the Midwest, where she enjoys spending time with her husband (who only wants to read the sex scenes in her books), her kids (who will never read the sex scenes in her books), and her family and friends (who claim to be “shocked” by the sex scenes in her books).

Website: http://bit.ly/2NkB2uF 

Facebook: http://bit.ly/2tdTM8e 

Twitter: http://bit.ly/2QLd1Pr 

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/3a3rnm4 

Instagram: http://bit.ly/36NqV9y

Website: http://bit.ly/2FM3Doo

Stay up to date with Erin Nicholas by joining her mailing list:
http://bit.ly/38a5Fv5

*****

Spotlight – The Marquess of Magic

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The Marquess of Magic

Sisterhood of Secrets series

by Jennifer Monroe

Historical Romance, Regency Romance

Date Published: May 19, 2022

Publisher: WOLF Publishing

Blurb:

In this mesmerizing Regency romance by Jennifer Monroe, a mysterious marquess and a misunderstood beauty need to realize that when love and magic mingle with desire, the results can be extraordinary…

Spellbound by a glamorous man…

Miss Diana Kendricks is the rarest of young women: She is actually looking forward to becoming a lifelong spinster!

Disillusioned by what she has seen of married life, she eagerly awaits the day when she is considered securely “on the shelf.” However, Diana fails to take into account the most treacherous twist—her own traitorous heart, which finds itself skipping a beat when she meets Lord James Barrington, mysteriously labeled as the Marquess of Magic.

Love is the greatest enchantment of all…

Lord Barrington has always loved magic. Since childhood, he has found it thrilling to perform illusions and conjurations, to shock an audience, and leave them breathless. But in ordinary life, no magic can vanish away the dangerous secret he hides. James should not even be considering marriage. But when he chances upon Diana, she seems like his perfect match—beautiful, witty, with similar interests to his own. He cannot risk losing her to another suitor, and soon James has hopelessly ensnared both their hearts.

But James’s secret will not stay hidden in the shadows. When it comes to love, the truth may be the greatest magic trick of all—and James must soon reveal it, lest he lose his one true love forever…

The Full Sisterhood of Secrets Series
#1 Duke of Madness
#2 Baron of Rake Street
#3 Marquess of Magic
#4 Earl of Deception
#5 Knight of Destiny
#6 Captain of Second Chances
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09KCHWB5V

*****

Author Info:

Jennifer Monroe writes Regency romances you can’t resist. Her stories are filled with first loves and second chances, dashing dukes, and strong heroines. Each turn of the page promises an adventure in love and many late nights of reading.

With over twenty books published, her nine-part series, The Secrets of Scarlett Hall, which tells the stories of the Lambert Children, remain a favorite with her readers.

Contact Links

Website: http://www.jennifermonroeromance.com

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

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

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

Publisher’s Contact:

Website: http://www.wolf-publishing.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WOLFPublishing.WhereStorytellingLives

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wolf.publishing/

BookBuzz: https://book-buzz.net/marquess-of-magic-by-jennifer-monroe/

*****

Spotlight – The Alphahole’s Guide to Marrying The Enemy

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Enemies become lovers in this hot and hilarious marriage of convenience. 

The Alphahole’s Guide to Marrying The Enemy

by Piper Marlowe

Blurb:

The Brooklyn warehouse is filled with graffiti and pigeon poo. It’s practically begging to be converted into luxury loft apartments.

And yet, will my mother sell it to me, her only son, the investment wunderkind?

“Darling, buildings have souls,” she says, between sips of green juice.

“Show me that you’re on the path to spiritual wellness, and I’ll give it to you.”

Enter Sydney Taylor, my best friend’s little sister, spiritually well enough for even my mother’s past selves to approve of, and my least favorite person on earth…in this life or any of the others I’ve supposedly lived. I wouldn’t date her if she was the last woman on earth. I’ve repeatedly fantasized about shipping her to Mars.

Instead, I marry her.

I know, I know, my crew has quite the history with phony relationships, but this one’s different.

No matter what my mother sees in our auras.

Or how much I want to hate-boink her maddeningly sweet little…

Yep, once my mother signs over that building, I’m definitely going to walk away from this hot-fakery totally unscathed.

And if you buy that, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

Fall in love today!
Amazon: https://amzn.to/3ESI7fr 
Amazon Worldwide: https://mybook.to/enemypm

Add to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3ER7ApV

*****

Excerpt:

Love means nothing. 

In tennis, that is. 

Love just means you haven’t scored yet. Keep playing. Keep hitting that ball until you make a winner out of yourself. In tennis, a winner can’t have love. 

And I’m a winner. I’m the one who wins, and wins, and then sleeps with the prom queen. Normal people wish they could walk in my shoes for a few hours, then they feel jealous when they meet me. 

I’m a stone-cold winner. Twenty-eight, TriBeCa penthouse, over a billion in the bank, a dick that could choke a giraffe. Women love me, then hate me later on. That’s fine, as long as they love me first. I’ve won every single game I’ve ever played. Well… except this one.

“That’s the match!” my mother says, beaming at me from across the court. 

Fuck, I let that last volley of hers sail right past my head. I glare at the stupid yellow ball as it bounces off the court. 

Yep. That’s the set. Four games to two. At least I didn’t get love though. That’d make me a real fucking loser.

“Good job, Maryann,” I mutter. Mom doesn’t mind that I call her by her first name. She didn’t think it was weird even when I started doing it at six. 

“Chin up, sweetheart.” My mother walks off the court at my side, beaming as she slides her sunglasses on top of her ageless blond head.      

“You know, you only lost because you never commit to your backhand.”

“I lost,” I say, “because Sydney Taylor kept distracting me.”

Honestly, the Kensington Tennis Club is the exact last place I ever thought Sydney fucking Taylor would show her face. It’s the summer meet-and-greet locale for all of New York’s high society. While Sydney got a membership to that club by being born into one of the richest families on the planet, she’s never wanted to hang around with any of us “trust-fund assholes.” Her term, not mine. Like I said, WASP-y tennis club isn’t her idea of a good time. I’d have expected her to be building outhouses down in Guatemala or getting into a fist fight with Richard Spencer. 

Not that I’d blame her.

But here she is, seated at a table on the patio, shooting me one smug grimace after another. When she catches me staring, she cheerfully flips me off. Then, in case anyone becomes shocked by her unladylike display, she uses her middle finger to scratch her forehead. 

Classy save, Syd. 

I fucking hate her, and the feeling’s mutual.

*****

Author Info:

Piper Marlowe is an absolute legend, if you know where to look. And trust us, you don’t.

For national security reasons, her identity is a secret. As a matter of fact, there’s a good chance that at this very moment, she’s undercover, speaking with a bad Lithuanian accent to a bunch of shady characters. She can neither confirm nor deny that she’s writing ultra-fun, uber-witty, hot-darn-sexy romance to distract from the stress of her current clandestine operation.

Or maybe romance writing is the cover for a cover?

She could tell you, but then she’d have to . . . you know. That.

Facebook: https://bit.ly/3MnIS2U

Stay up to date with all releases by signing up to Piper’s mailing list: https://bit.ly/3vsJptu

Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3EBcdUO

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

Website: www.pipermarlowebooks.com

*****

Review – Beach House Summer

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Beach House Summer

by Sarah Morgan

Blurb:

USA Today bestselling author Sarah Morgan returns with the ultimate beach read, as one woman forges the most unlikely friendship of all, and embarks on a summer of confronting her past in order to build the future she wants…

When Joanna Whitman’s famous ex-husband dies in a car accident, she doesn’t know what to feel. Their dysfunctional marriage held more painful secrets than she cares to remember. But when she discovers that the young woman with him in the crash is pregnant, Joanna feels compelled to act, knowing exactly how brutal the media spotlight will be on celebrity chef Cliff Whitman’s ex-wife and his mysterious female friend.

Ashley Blake can’t believe it when Joanna shows up in her hospital room and suggests they hide away at her beach house on a sleepy stretch of California coast. Joanna should be hating her, not helping her. But alone and pregnant, Ashley can’t turn down Joanna’s offer. Yet she knows that if Joanna ever found out the real reason Ashley was in that car, their tentative bond would shatter instantly.

Joanna’s only goal for the summer is privacy, but her return causes major waves in the local community, especially for the man she left behind years ago. All Ashley wants is space to plan for her and her baby’s future, and to avoid causing any trouble for Joanna. But as secrets spill out under the hot summer sun, this unlikely friendship is about to be put to the test.

*****

Review:

Morgan’s latest is a lovely story about how not everything is what it seems and sometimes the only way to go forward is to look to the past.

Joanna has spent years in a spotlight that she doesn’t want and since divorcing her celebrity chef husband she’s done everything she can to avoid it. The sudden death of her husband under scandalous circumstances has the press back at her door. Realizing what it means for her, and the woman in the car with him, Joanna takes them both and heads to her home town to hide. Which also puts her close to those she left behind many years ago. While they wait for the press to find them, secrets come out and connections are made.

Beach House Summer is a slow burn as Joanna and Ashley get to know each other and examine who they are & what they want. Joanna also has to face her past – a friendship lost and a love that might be again.

Spotlight – Temptation in Istanbul

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Hi readers! I’m Hana Sheik, and it’s release day for my second Harlequin Romance/Mills & Boon True Love, Temptation in Istanbul. Yippee!!! I’m here to share an excerpt from the book with you today. It’s a first kiss scene, and I’ll never tire of writing any firsts between lovers.

If you love first kisses too, I hope this one hits your sweet spot.💕

Temptation in Istanbul

by Hana Sheik

Blurb:

A single dad’s greatest temptation? The nanny on his doorstep!

Billionaire Faisal is anxiously awaiting custody of his little girl, who’s been living miles away with her mother. First he must win the approval of her nanny, Maryan, who has traveled with her to Istanbul. While he shows Maryan the delights of his city, the instant attraction between them is hard to ignore. But Maryan leaves in two weeks, so Faisal must decide how much of his bruised heart he is prepared to risk…

Purchase link for Temptation in Istanbul:

https://books2read.com/TemptationIstanbul

Harlequin

Mills & Boon UK

Mills & Boon Australia

*****

Excerpt:

He offered her a hand.

Maryan hesitated a second, and then she grasped his hand, his long, strong fingers holding hers in an even-pressured grip.

Their hands remained clasped longer than necessary.

Longer than she’d have normally liked.

But Faisal had made her feel like she wasn’t alone. Like her troubles were his in a way, and she’d come out of this baking and talking feeling lighter, calmer.

Happier.

“Maryan.” He spoke her name in a breathy whisper; a reverence pulsed from those two syllables. So much so that it sounded less like her name and more like a prayer. She shivered visibly, unable to help the reaction. Her body temperature rose when he closed the short gap between them and his hand brushed up her arm before moving to cup her too-warm cheek. It was a simple touch that set off a firework of desire in her.

“Thank you for listening. For asking. For pushing to know.”

He spoke her mind. Those were the exact words she wished to utter to him. And she would have, had she had a voice to do it with.

His next breath was drawn out, the heat of it brushing her cheek when he planted a quick kiss there.

She stood frightfully still, the pressure of his soft mouth, the emotion behind the gesture, forcing open an ocean’s worth of yearning for him. When he slowly drew his head up, almost reluctantly, Maryan made her choice.

Or maybe he’d made it first, and she went along for the ride.

Because when his eyes regarded her, and his face pushed in closer again, their noses brushing, she pulled up onto her toes and connected their lips in an intimate play of his chaste kiss on her cheek. A hunger accentuated their lip-lock. It colored the moan rumbling through his chest and the heated press of their bodies as he backed her into the opposite counter.

Resurfacing for air was expected but unwanted.

Maryan would’ve gladly allowed Faisal to steal another kiss and rob her of breath again. A clanging alertness took hold of her when he growled, “Maryan,” and splayed his heavy, warm hands on her hips.

This time she knew who made the decision for them.

She pushed him away first. Gently, pleadingly. She didn’t have the strength to do it twice.

“We can’t.” And they really couldn’t. They had to think of Zara. What would she wonder if she caught them kissing?

And I’m leaving in a week.

A week wasn’t a good enough reason to jump into bed with the first good-looking billionaire who swept her off her feet. Chemistry or no chemistry, sleeping with Faisal would be a stupid and dangerous move. Stupid because there was no chance it would become a meaningful relationship, and dangerous for the very same reason.

She backed away, her shaking hands giving up on untying her apron.

Abandoning the kitchen, she hightailed it to her room and didn’t look back until she closed her door.

She counted the seconds that lapsed from the time she left him.

When no knock came from the other side and no footsteps down the hall, she pressed a hand to her thumping heart and analyzed what happened downstairs with Faisal.

He’d kissed her.

Correction: they had kissed.

She’d been an active participant in it. That, and she couldn’t kid herself that she hadn’t thought of kissing him before then.

As Maryan stood there, her body more alive in that second than it ever was, two things were clearer now about her and Faisal. Their hearts were both closed off to love, and their attraction was a potent force of nature that went against everything she thought she could feel with another human being before.

*****

Author Info:

Hana Sheikfalls in love every day reading her favourite romances and writing her ownhappy-ever-afters. She’s worked as a data entry operator, customer service rep, telemarketer, andghostwriter—but being a romance author is without a doubt the best job ever! Born in Somalia, shemoved to the beautiful capital of Canada as a toddler, and still lives there happily with her family.

I love to hear from readers. Come say “hi”:

Facebook Author Page

Twitter

Goodreads

Amazon Author Page (US)

Website

*****

Giveaway:

Giveaway to Win 3 x paperback copies of Temptation in Istanbul (Open to UK / Ireland / US &Canada)

*Terms and Conditions–UK / Ireland / US and Canada entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfillment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494496/?

*****

Review – Rule Breaker

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Rule Breaker

Las Vegas Vipers series

by Stacey Lynn

Blurb:

Spending the night in jail isn’t exactly how I planned to spend Christmas, but I’ve had worse holidays…

Now that I’m out, it’s time to accept my real punishment. Coaching ten-year-old terrors on the ice, in my non-existent free time. My Coach thinks it’d be good for me. Remind me where I came from. He should know I’ve tried every day of my life for the last ten years to forget.

The youth hockey league is a hell I didn’t plan on and the worst penalty possible…

Until the day a sweet, single mom cracks a joke about her kid, and then all bets are off.

I’m the best defenseman in professional hockey, but I didn’t see her coming… now what in the hell do I do? I’m not equipped for a relationship. I’m definitely not ready to have a kid depending on me, but I can’t deny she makes me feel things— want things I never imagined I could have.

I should save us both the trouble and stay far away from her. But rules were made to be broken, and I was never good at following them anyway.

Download today on Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, Kobo!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3Gs0J6f

Apple Books: https://apple.co/3IAHUyd

Nook: https://bit.ly/3qTIRf7

Kobo: https://bit.ly/3fQrtBF

Google Play: https://bit.ly/3tUlAeZ

Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3fiuF8L

*****

Review:

You feel sorry for Holly when you first meet her – her ex is a total *insert favorite bad word here*, he cheated on her with her best friend and then moved in with the woman right next door! But once Dom sets his sights on her … 🙂 Holly is a good mom, a caring person, and quickly finds herself drawn to the broody hockey star. And is surprised to find that attraction reciprocated.

This is my first Las Vegas Vipers book so I don’t know what impression previous stories gave readers about Dom but based on Rule Breaker I loved him. He’s troubled but loves his sister and will do whatever he can to help her. He’s made himself a loner because he wants to keep his family & his history quiet. Forced to coach a little kids hockey team, he finds himself drawn to Holly and her son. Before he knows it he’s getting involved and letting other people into his own life. The way that has him growing closer to his teammates turns out to be just as pivotal for him as the relationship that develops with Holly.

Lynn’s latest is funny, angsty, sexy, and entertaining. She gives us characters we can root for, plenty of steam, a boatload of feels, and a HEA that just tugs at the heart. A bit of a warning – there are some sensitive topics discussed, but I don’t feel like she treated them lightly (although I’m no expert in any of them).

*Part of a series but can be read as a standalone.*

*****

Author Info:

Stacey Lynn likes her coffee with a dash of sugar, her heroes with a side of bossy, and her wine a deep shade of red.

The author of over thirty romance novels, many of which have been best-selling titles on Amazon, AppleBooks, and Barnes & Noble, she loves being able to turn her vivid imagination into a career that brings entertainment and joy to her readers. Focused on sports romance and emotional, small-town romance, she also loves stretching herself in different genres.

Born in Texas and raised in the Midwest, she now makes her home in North Carolina and loves all things Southern. Together with her ultimate tall, dark, and handsome hero, she has four children. Her life is a chaotic mess that fights with her Type-A, list-making, neurotically organized preferences and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Connect with Stacey

Website: www.staceylynnbooks.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6995826.Stacey_Lynn

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Stacey-Lynn/e/B00CD6VVQG/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/staceylynnbooks

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/staceyssultryreaders/

Instagram: www.instagram.com/staceylynn.author

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/staceylynnbooks

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@staceylynnbooks

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/stacey-lynn

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/staceylynnbooks/_created/

~

Spotlight – Set On You

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Set On You

by Amy Lea

Blurb:

Fitness influencer Crystal Chen is so focused on herself and the gym that no man can get in her way: except for firefighter and new gym patron Scott, literally, when he steals her squat rack. Soon the competition – and their undeniable chemistry – heats up as they fight for gym domination. But after their escalating jabs, the last place Crystal expects to see Scott is at their grandparents’ engagement party. As Crystal discovers the softness under his muscular exterior, she feels a deep bond forming – but when internet trolls come after a viral picture of them, Crystal and Scott will have to ground their budding relationship in what they know is real.

Amazon | Bookshop

“Lea’s steamy debut romance features well-developed, likable characters with slow-build chemistry…VERDICT Hand this one to fans of Helen Hoang and Talia Hibbert.” Library Journal  

“Fresh, fun, and extremely sexy. Set on You is a romance of unexpected depth.”—Helen Hoang, USA Today bestselling author of The Heart Principle  

“Just the right dose of delicious steam. Amy Lea has crafted an ode to all of us who struggle with self-acceptance while remaining determined to love ourselves.”—Ali Hazelwood, New York Times bestselling author of The Love Hypothesis 

Set on You is energetic, steamy, bubbly, and so, so fun. But more than that, it’s also a hugely important book that celebrates body positivity in the most joyous way possible.”—Jesse Q. Sutanto, author of Dial A for Aunties 

*****

Author Info:

Amy Lea is a Canadian bureaucrat by day and contemporary romance author by night (and weekends). She writes laugh-out-loud romantic comedies featuring strong heroines, witty banter, mid-2000s pop culture references, and happily ever afters.
 
When Amy is not writing, she can be found fangirling over other romance books on Instagram (@amyleabooks), eating potato chips with reckless abandon, and snuggling with her husband and goldendoodle. Learn more at https://www.amyleabooks.com.

~

Review – The Dachshund Wears Prada

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The Dachshund Wears Prada

by Stefanie London

ISBN: 9781335639837

Publication Date: May 3, 2022

Publisher: HQN Books

Blurb:

How do you start over when the biggest mistake of your life has more than one million views?

Forget diamonds; the internet is forever. Social media consultant Isla Thompson learned that lesson the hard way when she went viral for all the wrong reasons. A month later, Isla is still having nightmares about the moment she ruined a young starlet’s career and made herself the most unemployable influencer in Manhattan. But she doesn’t have the luxury of hiding away until she’s no longer “Instagram Poison.” Not when her fourteen-year-old sister, Dani, needs Isla to keep a roof over their heads. So she takes the first job she can get: caring for Camilla, a glossy-maned, foul-tempered hellhound.

After a week of ferrying Camilla from playdates to pet psychics, Isla starts to suspect that the dachshund’s bark is worse than her bite—just like her owner, Theo Garrison. Isla has spent her career working to make people likeable and here’s Theo—happy to hide behind his reputation as a brutish recluse. But Theo isn’t a brute—he’s sweet and funny, and Isla should not see him as anything but the man who signs her pay cheques. Because loving Theo would mean retreating to his world of secluded luxury, and Isla needs to show Dani that no matter the risk, dreams are always worth chasing.

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*****

Excerpt:

three

Isla trudged along the hallway toward her apartment, high heels swinging from her finger. Usually she wouldn’t dare go barefoot on public carpet—especially not in a building of questionable standards, like this one. But after walking six blocks to get home in the pretty, stiletto-heeled death traps, her feet had officially given up the ghost.

Besides, foot hygiene was the least of her problems. With another rejected job application—this one coming through before she’d even made it home from the interview—she had bigger things to worry about.

Isla unlocked her front door and stepped inside, her lips quirking at the familiar sight. Her little sister, Dani, was standing next to the wall, one hand resting on a makeshift barre crafted from a shower curtain rod and some wall brackets they’d found at the dollar store. She was dressed in a plain black leotard and a pair of pink ballet tights with a hole in the knee. Her battered pointe shoes were frayed around the toes, though the ribbons were glossy and new, stitched on with the utmost care.

Classical music blared from the stereo and Isla hit the pause button. “What have I said about disturbing the neighbors?”

Dani paused mid-plié. “If you’re going to do it, do it properly.”

“That’s not what I said.” She shot her sister a look, trying to ignore how her leotard was digging into her shoulders. It was clearly a size too small because the damn girl was growing like a weed. At fourteen, she’d already surpassed Isla in height.

“Oh, that’s right.” Dani grinned. “You said that about schoolwork. But, to be fair, ballet is even more important than schoolwork, so…”

“We’ll agree on that when you can pay the bills with pliés.” Isla hung her keys on the hook by the door and dumped her purse onto the kitchen counter.

“Working on it.” Dani continued warming up, her pointe shoes knocking against the floorboards. “How was your day?”

Ugh. You mean, how were the three dozen rejection letters and this last interview, which was clearly only for curiosity’s sake because the recruiter straight up laughed the second I left the interview room?

“It was…fine,” she said, without much commitment.

In reality, it was anything but fine. What had her old boss called her? Oh, that’s right: Instagram poison.

“You told me once that saying something is ‘fine’ is no better than saying it’s ‘purple pineapples.’” Dani dropped down from her relevé and frowned. “What happened?”

What hadn’t happened?

Isla pulled a bottle of wine out of the fridge and poured her-self a glass. She’d been rationing it, since the only stuff that was left after this was a box wine of unknown origin. “Amanda lost her contract with that makeup company and her movie is flopping. She sent me an angry email today.”

“Whatever happened to all publicity is good publicity?”

“It’s a myth. Turns out some things are career killers.” Isla took a gulp of the wine. “And now I’m that woman who filmed a Disney princess vomiting all over herself.”

After the live video had been splashed across the internet and featured on network television, Isla had swiftly been fired from her job as a senior social media consultant with the Gate-way Agency. All her freelance clients had dropped her like a hot potato, too. Now, anyone who searched Isla’s name got page after page of the same thing: vomit girl and the person who was too dumb to stop recording.

Hence the growing pile of rejected job applications.

“I take it the interview didn’t go well?”

Isla cringed at the concern in her sister’s voice. Most fourteen-year-olds were worrying about frivolous things, like which shade of lip gloss was the most on trend or how to craft the perfect TikTok dance routine. Hell, she would argue that’s the stuff they should be worrying about. Not whether they were going to have a roof over their heads.

“No, it didn’t,” Isla admitted. “But honestly, I’m not sure I would have wanted to work there anyway.”

It was a total lie.

Isla was ready to take anything at this point. It was humiliating to be begging for jobs she could have done ten years ago with her eyes closed, only to be rejected because the recruiters had found someone “with more experience.” Umm, what? In other words, she’d been officially blacklisted from the social media industry.

“How come?” Dani walked over to the kitchen, her arms swinging gracefully by her sides. Her dark hair was in a neat bun on top of her head, tied with a piece of leftover ribbon from her pointe shoes. “Were they not very nice?”

“Not really.”

Dani came up to Isla and put an arm around her, stooping so she could lean her head against her big sister’s shoulder. Some days it felt like it was them against the world. Given they didn’t actually know where their mother was these days—and they hadn’t seen either one of their dads in God only knew how long—they really did have to stick together.

Isla remembered the day it all happened—the eve of her twentieth birthday. Their mother had announced she was eloping overseas with a boyfriend she’d known less than a month, and they hadn’t seen her since. Apparently motherhood was a temporary commitment, in her eyes. That left Isla responsible for the well-being of another human, and more terrified of the future than she’d ever been.

Six years later, Isla had built a life for them both. She’d fostered and financed her half sister’s dreams, built up her own dream career and done it all while hiding how often the numbers weren’t in their favor. But the older Dani got, the more keenly she observed what was going on.

“Maybe you can ask the ballet school for our money back,” Dani suggested quietly.

Her spot had been secured for the summer intensive ballet camp months ago, before Isla’s job situation had fallen apart.

“I know it was really expensive,” she added.

Isla felt tears prick the backs of her eyes, but she refused to let her sister see even a sliver of her emotion. It was her job to be a pillar. To be the strong one. To be the positive mother figure neither of them ever had.

“Dani, I would sell my right kidney if it meant you could go to ballet camp.”

“I’m pretty sure that’s illegal.”

Isla snorted and wrapped her sister into a big hug. Like al-ways, she smelled of oversweet vanilla perfume and mango-scented shampoo. She would do anything for this kid. Anything to make sure Dani grew up knowing that dreams were worth chasing, and that family came first no matter what.

“And how do you know so much about black market organ sales?” Isla raised a brow and Dani laughed.

CSI.”

“Ah, of course.” She laughed. But when Dani pulled back, Isla noticed her sister’s characteristically carefree attitude was hidden under the worry swimming in her blue eyes. Isla hated seeing that. “Why don’t we go to Central Park, huh? We’ll take your phone and I can get a few shots of you for your Instagram account.”

“Really?” Dani’s eyes lit up.

“Sure. Just let me get changed.”

“I promise not to make you take a hundred photos this time.” Dani grinned and did a little pirouette in the kitchen. “Not even half that!”

“Don’t make promises you can’t keep,” Isla shot over her shoulder as she headed into her bedroom. “Trust me, I know where you get those perfectionistic tendencies.”

The second Isla closed her bedroom door behind her, she slumped against it and deflated like a balloon the day after a birthday party. Outside, the city roared with life. Sirens and horns, music blaring from the open window of another apartment, the shrieking laughter of people enjoying the early evening. She gazed out of the window, her eyes catching on the usual things that faced their cozy (read: cramped) place. There was a glimmer of light as the sun reflected off glass panes, and the zigzag of a fire escape from the building opposite them. The same three apartments always had their blinds wide open—either inviting voyeurism or not caring enough to prevent it.

Sometimes she wondered about their lives. Had they been stuck and struggling at some point like her? Had they lost faith in themselves and the world?

After she got fired, Isla had assumed it would all blow over if she kept a low profile and didn’t make matters worse. But then Amanda’s movie tanked and all her sponsorships fell through, and people stopped taking Isla’s calls. Even when she’d tried to laugh the whole thing off as a “Miley Cyrus exercise” her contacts had frozen harder than an Upper East Sider’s Botoxed face.

New York could be like that—when you were successful it felt as though the sun was made of gold. And when you fell from grace, you hit the concrete so hard you shattered every bone in your body.

How much longer was she going to be able to keep faking that everything would be fine? Rent was due next week and the final payment for Dani’s elite ballet camp had come out of her account a few days ago. Isla’s eyes had watered at the amount. But Dani had worked so hard, practicing every day and pushing herself to the limit to beat out the rich kids with their prestigious coaches and private lessons and their lifetimes of opportunity.

How could Isla pull the rug out from under Dani like that? What kind of lesson would that be teaching her?

“You’ll figure this out,” she said to herself. “Someone will hire you.”

After all, she had to make it work. Because letting her sister down was not an option.

Excerpted from The Dachshund Wears Prada by Stefanie London,
Copyright © 2022 by Stefanie Little.
Published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.

*****

Review:

While it’s entirely predictable, London’s newest is charming and cute. In the beginning Theo is gruff and standoffish, very Beast to Isla’s Beauty but as we get to know him we see the lonely man underneath and the reasons he’s kept himself separated. Time spent around Isla’s bright and understanding spirit has him coming out of his shell more and more. But it leaves him vulnerable and that’s not something Theo likes to be.

Isla is struggling to find work to be able to support her sister and a chance encounter with Theo in the park gives her the help she needs. While working on winning the trust of his temperamental dachshund, Isla also gets a glimpse into the heart of Camilla’s equally troubled owner. And the more she sees, the more she likes.

As good as the romance is, the secondary relationships are important as well. There’s something wholesome about Isla’s relationship with her sister. The way she shows her support and patience, the sacrifices she’s made for her, and the way Dani is willing to help her sister in return. And I really hope we get to see more of Isla’s friend, Scout, as her support is very important to the Thompsons and I’m curious about her story. Theo doesn’t have very many people in his life, by choice, but you can see the caring that’s there for those that have known him the longest. And the stories of his grandmother show just how awesome she was.

There’s so much about this book that I liked. It’s fun, steamy, & emotional and even though I could see their problems coming a mile away, the path to them and then to a HEA made for a very enjoyable read.

*****

Author Info:

Stefanie London is a USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance. Her books have been called “genuinely entertaining and memorable” by Booklist, and her writing praised as “elegant, descriptive and delectable” by RT Magazine. Originally from Australia, she now lives in Toronto with her very own hero and is doing her best to travel the world. She frequently indulges her passions for lipstick, good coffee, books and anything zombie related.

Author Website

Instagram: @stefanielondon

Facebook: @London’s Lovelies

Goodreads

*****

Spotlight – Unbranded

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Unbranded

Montana Bred series

by Linda Bradley

Blurb:

Threatened by the unexpected, a devoted rancher refuses to compromise her ambition or her legacy.

Chloe McIntyre is determined to become the co-CEO of her grandfather’s Montana ranch, but her father isn’t ready to become partners—yet.

Jaded memories of her parents’ shotgun wedding gone wrong cloud her attraction for best friend Matt Cooper when she discovers she’s pregnant—with his baby. Chloe believes raising a child isn’t in her genes, and she doesn’t expect a marriage proposal. She keeps her condition a secret to hold her position on the ranch and continue what she does best: wrangling strays and working alongside hired hands.

After her father announces his first choice for co-CEO, a wild ride jeopardizes the pregnancy, and Chloe questions life choices. Will the cowgirl grit she has inherited from her grandmother be enough to rein in her disappointment, or will she walk away from everything that could flourish into love?

“Linda Bradley’s magical manipulation of words creates a symphony in the reader’s mind, building lasting impressions to savor. If you love young women with grit and determination, then this is the story for you.” – Roni Hall, author of Montana Wild and Third Man on the Left

Buy Link: https://amzn.to/3rHAByC

*****

Excerpt:

CHAPTER 1

I peed on the stick and said a prayer.

I wasn’t sure which stirred the queasy flutter in my belly, the fact I could be pregnant or the fact I’d have to own the responsibility. Matt and I weren’t ready for an addition. We’d been friends since college. We never talked about marriage, and I liked it that way.

My toe-tapping didn’t speed up the process. I wiped my sweaty palms on my jeans. The stopwatch on my phone ticked like the stride of a sloth. I wrapped the pregnancy test in tissue, tucked it beneath the washcloths in the vanity drawer, peeked into the hallway, then decided to go downstairs to the kitchen. I stuck my head in the refrigerator. The blast of air cooled my brow. My stomach rolled over.

My relationship with Matt wouldn’t ever be the same.

I grabbed a bottle of water, shut the door, and twisted the top off. The plastic container crackled. With an eye on the clock, I drummed my fingertips on the counter. The granite was cold, unforgiving.

I peered out the picture window. Maggie and Dad were nowhere in sight. The midday sun lit the majestic Montana landscape. Dad had brought me here to live on his parents’ 617 Ranch when I was eight—6/17, my grandparents’ wedding date.

“I miss you, Grandpa,” I whispered to his spirit and pictured him, the way he looked when I came here eighteen years ago. I wiped away brimming tears, turned on a heel, hurried back to the bathroom, and locked the world out.

I never knew my grandma, Ida May, and I wished I had. I’d seen her in old photographs and always wondered what part of me was like her. If any. And did she watch over me with my granddad?

My hands shook as I read the results on the white plastic stick. My vision blurred. There was no mistake about the outcome. I leaned against the counter and glanced in the mirror. I didn’t feel twenty-six and pregnant.

The knock at the door jarred me. I took a deep breath, wrapped the evidence in toilet paper, then buried it beneath the existing trash.

“Chloe, are you in there?”

I turned on the water, washed my hands, and took a seat on the toilet to search the far crevices of my mind for an answer. Every problem had a solution. All I had to do was find it. Maggie called my name, again. My heart raced.

“Just a second.” I pounded my fists into my thighs. The hangnail on my pointer finger caught in the fray of my blue jeans, and I bit my lip.

“Chloe? I could use your help.” She paused. “Chloe,” Maggie’s voice was muffled through the heavy door. “Are you okay?”

“Yes.” I dried my damp cheeks, stood, shook out my legs, and inspected myself in the mirror. My wavy, dishwater blond hair framed my flushed cheeks. The silver necklace I wore flickered in the light.

“I’m coming.” I steadied my hand and reached for the doorknob.

Maggie stood in the hallway, leaning against the railing. Her lips pinched when our gazes met. I hoped I could hide my secret behind a smile. “What’s going on?”

She stepped closer, the corners of her eyes her lined with concern. She was beautiful as ever, perhaps even more beautiful than when I first met her. Her slender fingers pushed strands of hair from my face.

Maggie tucked her long, strawberry blond hair behind her ears. I didn’t think she’d ever go gray. I desperately wanted to ask her how it felt to carry a child.

“What’s wrong, Chloe?”

My shoulders fell forward. What was I going to do with a baby? Maggie stroked my hair.

“Chloe, what’s wrong?”

I had no words. Maggie held my hands in hers. The flecks of gold in her green irises shimmered like an Irish field as the light streamed through the window at the end of the hallway.

“It’s nothing.”

“You’re obviously upset. You’re shaking.”

“Matt and I had an argument.” I lowered my gaze at this lie.

“About what?”

Maggie examined me through narrow slits. Hopefully, she wouldn’t go all Maggie on me. That’s what Dad called it when she sensed something was off. As amusing as I thought it was when she turned the tides on him, I didn’t want to be in the undertow should she suspect a fissure in my world. She had the nose of a hound when it came to pretense. I suspected she acquired this inherent sense before retiring from her elementary teaching career.

“I should talk to Matt first,” I answered.

I swallowed away the knot at the back of my throat and leaned against the wall. My shoulders fell forward. I tucked my fingers in my pockets and hooked my thumbs through the belt loops of my faded jeans.

My flat stomach wouldn’t be so flat much longer.

“I can’t imagine anything being so bad. You and Matt get along so well.”

I leaned back; my shoulder blades skimmed the wall. “Yeah, I’m sure we can work it out.” How do you work out a baby?

“I could use your help in the barn. Butch and Sundance have gotten into the burrs. I tried combing their tails, but they aren’t having it. Thought maybe you could win them over with your charm and sugar.”

I scuffed my boot lightly against the floor. “Butch and Sundance always find the burrs.” So did I.

“Yes, they do”—Maggie smiled—“but they make up for their horseplay with hard work and loyalty.”

“Nice one,” I said, following her downstairs and into the main part of the house filled with rustic furnishings, love, and everything Montana. Pretty soon it would be filled with the pitter-patter of little feet.

“I’m sure whatever it is, it isn’t as bad as you think. It’s easy to make a mountain out of a molehill.” Maggie stopped at the bottom of the stairs and turned to face me. “When you want to talk, I’m here.”

“Thank you,” I said.

“Do you feel like helping me?” She picked up Dad’s corduroy barn jacket from the floor and hung it on the antler hall tree.

“Yeah, I can’t let Butch and Sundance stay gnarled and knotted like your momma’s knitting yarn.”

“Speaking of my mom, I’d love to see her, up close and in person. I sure miss her.” Maggie straightened the plaid throw on the back of the leather sofa. “Your dad’s in the pasture rounding up cattle with the guys. Butch and Sundance have also been rolling in the mud. I can’t wait ’til someone fills in the hole they’ve made. You’d swear they were a couple of wallowing hogs.”

She stopped short in front of me, and I bumped into her. “Sorry,” I said.

“No need to be sorry. I’m used to it. You’ve been on my heels since the day I met you. Remember the time we bumped heads and I needed stitches?”

“How could I forget?”

Maggie pushed the hair away from her left temple. “The scar is completely gone, but the memory lives on, dear girl.”

There was a message in her words. She wasn’t one to hold a grudge. She was making a point.

“I figured if I brought it up again, it would take your mind off whatever is troubling you. Michigan seems like a lifetime ago.”

“Sure does,” I said. “Some days I’d give anything to be a little girl again.”

Maggie’s gait across the dark planked floors was slow and easy. Over the years, she had absorbed our Gallatin Valley tempo of living and tamed her Midwestern suburban ways, but she hadn’t forgotten her roots. When she wasn’t riding or doing chores, she photographed ranching life in Montana with hopes of publishing her images in a coffee table book.

I turned off the kitchen lights and put on my cowboy hat. Maggie reached for me and squeezed my hands. Her soft touch melted my insides.

“I miss those days, too. I think I got the better end of the deal though,” she said.

“Why’s that?”

“Because I inherited you after the diapers, colic, and ear infections. I might’ve missed the baby and toddler years, but you were still young enough to cuddle with when I married your dad.”

“Actually, I think I got the better end of the deal. You’ve made life easier. Having you made up for my mom’s absence.” I hugged her. “Mom’s Hollywood modeling career has taken a toll on both of us. Me and her. Maybe someday she and I can make up for lost time, mend some of the rifts. She’s always busy though.” I opened the mudroom door. Samson, our scrappy bulldog, waited for us outside. He was seven but had the heart of a pup. “Come on, boy, let’s get to the barn and see what’s going on. If it weren’t for me, this place would go under.” Samson woofed and lollygagged down the path beside me. “I swear this dog is Bones reincarnated,” I said to Maggie. “He has the same swagger and muddy brown eyes.”

“Hey, what do you want for dinner tonight? I picked up some thick cowboy steaks at the butcher’s today. How’s that sound?”

She tripped on a rock and grabbed my arm to balance herself.

“Maybe.” I shrugged.

“Geez, you must really be down in the dumps. Steak is your favorite.”

“Steak sounds delicious. Wish Grandpa were here to cook. I wish he were here to do lots of things.” What I wanted most was to curl up in his lap and bury my head in his shoulder. At the end of the day, whether I’d screwed up or not, I was his girl. And with him gone, I didn’t quite fit in anymore. Somehow, Grandpa always made me feel like one of the guys. Dad, Grandpa, and I had been the three amigos. The banter came easily, and our intentions flowed freely in his presence. “I can’t believe it’s been almost two years,” I said.

“Seems like yesterday, most days.” Maggie blew a kiss toward his memorial marker up on the ridge, then whistled for Samson to get out of her garden. “His method of harvesting beets and carrots makes for a slim crop. He’s got to stop digging holes.”

Samson wasn’t the only one digging holes. I looked toward the ridge where we’d scattered Grandpa’s ashes. The shimmy down my spine forced my shoulders back, and I lifted my chin to the breeze. In my mind, my grandmother appeared to be nudging Grandpa out of the way. “You know what, Maggie? I’ll cook.”

“You sure? Your last attempt resulted in a near four-alarm fire.”

“I’m positive—and thanks for the reminder. I put the last fire out, and I’ll extinguish the ones to come.” I tucked my fingers in my back pockets. A baby might fill Grandpa’s void, but the sole way to make sure his legacy lived on was to take today’s bull by the horns and wrestle it to the ground. I’d dreamed of running the ranch, not raising a child. I was being given a chance to follow in my grandmother Ida May’s footsteps, which meant it was time to quit bellyaching about what I couldn’t change and do something about the things I could. The McIntyre ranch had an heir on the way, and I was speaking for both of us now.

*****

Author Info:

Linda’s inspiration comes from her favorite authors and life itself. Her character-driven stories integrate humor found in everyday situations, family drama, and forever love. Her distinct voice creates memorable journeys and emotion. 

Linda’s been a finalist in the Booksellers Best Contest and Romance Reviews Readers’ Choice Awards. Linda lives in Michigan with her artist husband, sons, and rescue dog. Linda loves art, animals, and stories with hope and heart.

“Maggie’s Way is a heart-warming tale of love and loss, fear and friendship. With charming characters and a moving plot, Linda Bradley’s debut gently reminds us that it’s never too late for second chances.” —Lori Nelson Spielman, International Best Seller, Author of The Love List and Sweet Forgiveness

“Linda Bradley’s fresh voice will keep readers riveted from beginning to end. Bradley delivers a heart-warming story full of disarming honesty and beautiful drama…This one stands out!” —Jane Porter New York Times and USA Today best selling author

FB Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/LBradleyAuthor/

Book Bub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/linda-bradley

Amazon: https://amzn.to/37BxzoX

Website: https://lindabradleyauthor.com/index.htm

~

Spotlight – Right Number, Wrong Girl

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Right Number, Wrong Girl

by Emma Hart

Blurb:

Taking a work call for my best friend in my undies? Check.

Filling in for her after an emergency and getting mistaken for her? Check.

Royally messing it all up until the hot duke-in-waiting I hate but can’t keep my hands off steps in to save me? Uh, check…

Yes, yes, that all sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Until you consider I now have to plan and execute an 80th birthday party for the Dowager Duchess of Devon, and I can’t organize my hairbrushes. The current duchess is the ultimate type A personality, determined to micromanage the entire thing.

I’m a type… XYZ . . . LMNOP . . .  Maybe not even that.

When all my attempts go to hell in half a handbasket—I can’t even mess up properly—the only hope I have to pull this thing off is duke-in-waiting Hugo Edwards.

The dreamy, handsome, makes-my-heart-pitter-patter, arrogant tosspot Hugo Edwards.

He and his brother are the only people who know who I really am. The success of their grandmother’s party relies on us getting along long enough to make it happen—and me and Hugo keeping our hands off one another behind closed doors.

None of which is easy to achieve.

When my best friend shows up to take over from me, the fact that I’ve fallen for Hugo is the least of my worries…

Grab your copy today, exclusively on Amazon! 
Amazon: https://amzn.to/3xRmdb2
Amazon Worldwide: https://mybook.to/RNWG 

Add to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3MeSTQE

*****

Excerpt:

He turned to me. “I don’t see a car outside. Did you drive here?”

I paused. “No. I cycled.”

“You cycled?”

Evelyn snorted, getting up. “People do use things other than cars to get around, you know. Back in my day, cars were for the rich.”

Hugo slid her a look. “You were the rich. You are the rich.”

“Good point. Never mind, then.” She winked at me, adding a cheeky grin to it, and walked towards the door. “I trust you’ll be taking Camilla back to her cottage.”

“Oh, it’s fine,” I said, right as Hugo said, “I won’t be passing there.”

Evelyn stopped dead in front of him and craned her neck to look up at him. “It wasn’t a request, Hugo.”

He rolled his shoulders. “Understood.”

“That’s what I thought.” She tapped his leg with her stick, and he stepped aside to let her pass.

It was abundantly clear who ran the roost around here.

Hugo sighed the second she’d disappeared. “Are you ready?”

“You don’t have to take me,” I said, picking up the rucksack and slinging it over my shoulders. “It’s really not far by bike.”

“I don’t want to take you, but the idea of Grandma finding out I didn’t is something I like a whole lot less, so let’s go.”

“I have Nora’s bike with me. I can’t just leave it here.”

“I’ll throw it in the back. Come on.” He motioned for me to follow him again, and I begrudgingly did so.

I could not think of anything I wanted less than to spend time in an enclosed space with Hugo. Or any space, really. We’d not exactly hit it off at the pub, and that was clearly a theme we were going for given that we’d sniped at one another every time we’d spoken.

So sitting in a car?

No, thank you.

“I’ll ride the bike back,” I said when he opened the front door.

“Just let me take you. I’m trying to be nice,” he huffed.

“You’re only being nice because she told you to be. You’re not doing it out of the goodness of your heart. There’s a difference.” I stepped outside.

He followed me, pulling the door closed behind him. “Either way, think of it as an olive branch.”

“I’m not a fan of olives.”

“Of course you’re not.”

I gave him a withering look, then sighed. “How are you going to get the bike back? Do you have a bike rack on your car?”

“I have a pick-up truck.”

I blinked at him. “What is this? Little Texas?”

Hugo scratched his cheek. “Look at where I live.”

Pointedly, I turned around and stared at the huge manor house. “Downton Abbey?”

He licked his lips and looked up.

I swear.

If he did that counting thing he did with his Grandma…

“Don’t start counting,” I warned him.

His gaze snapped down. “You caught that?”

“You have the discretion of a pick-up truck parked outside Downton Abbey.”

“Maybe I should count to ten instead of three with you,” he muttered, walking over to where I’d left Nora’s bike. “It might make me be able to be nice to you for real.”

“I’m not a child.”

“You’re acting like one.”

“So are you.”

“Fair point,” he agreed, wheeling the bike over. “Come on. I’ll toss this in the back and take you there.”

All right. Fine. I clearly wasn’t winning this argument, and even if he was only doing it because Evelyn had made him, I’d accept the olive branch.

At the end of the day, he knew I wasn’t Camilla.

I was loathe to admit it, but I needed his help.

It meant I’d have to try to get along with him.

“Thank you,” I said, watching as he carefully put the bike in the bed of a muddy black pick-up truck. “So why do you have this miniature lorry?”

He chuckled. “Exmoor.”

“You’re going to have to elaborate.”

He opened the passenger side car door for me. “I’ll explain on the way.”

“Thank you.” I put both my bags in the footwell looked at the truck.

I was five-foot-three.

These wheels were almost bigger than I was.

How on Earth was I supposed to get in there? I supposed I was going to have to haul myself up and hope for the best.

I braced my hands on the seat and the door, took a deep breath, and yanked myself up. My hand gave way on the soft fabric of the seat, and my foot slipped on the metal step. My life flashed behind my eyes, and I was about to scream when Hugo grabbed me from behind.

He wrapped one arm around my waist and held me against his body. My heart pounded uncontrollably, and I didn’t know if it was from the fear of my near fall or because I was nestled tightly against him.

He had a very firm body.

It wasn’t the worst thing I’d ever been pressed up again, for what it’s worth.

“Need a leg up?” His lips were far too close to my ear, and his words were said on an exhale that skittered warmly against my cheek.

Yep.

Yeah.

Yes.

The heart pounding was definitely from his closeness.

This was an unwelcome development.

*****

Author Info:

Emma Hart is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over forty novels and has been translated into several different languages.

She is a mother, wife, lover of wine, Pink Goddess, and valiant rescuer of wild baby hedgehogs. She lives in North Wales with her family, three cats, one very large dog, and an undetermined number of chickens and ducks.

She’s known for her hilarious, sarcastic romantic comedies with wildly inappropriate grandparents, and has been dubbed “The RomCom Queen” by her readers.

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