Spotlight – The Best Friend Bargain

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I’m so happy that I get to host Robin Bielman today as she shares her newest Kisses in the Sand story with us.  We’ve seen Robin’s stuff before and I’m sure lots of you are going to be super excited to see she’s got a new book out.

*****

Hey everyone! Happy summer!

I don’t listen to music while I’m writing. I’m one of those writers that like to have it quiet when I sit at my laptop to work. But music is a big part of my pre-writing ritual. I’ll listen to music to help get my head in my story (very often while I’m also running on the treadmill) and then I’ll sit down and hopefully the words flow. So, here’s the playlist for the songs I listened to over and over again while I was writing Danny and Olivia’s story, The Best Friend Bargain.

“Hold Me Up” by Conrad Sewell

“Levels” by Nick Jonas

“Sleeping With A Friend” by Neon Trees

“The Other Side” by Jason Derulo

“Ready For Your Love” by Gorgon City

“Take Me” by Rufus

“Simply Being Loved” by BT

“To The Skies” by Kaskade

Happy reading and music listening!

~ Robin

*****

The Best Friend Bargain CoverThe Best Friend Bargain

Kisses in the Sand #3

by Robin Bielman

Publication Date: August 8, 2016

Genres: Adult, Entangled Lovestruck, Contemporary Romance

Blurb:

Olivia Lincoln has a plan guaranteed to get her life back on track. A plan that involves her best friend, Danny. And he’s on board, too…until she blurts out that they’re engaged and expecting a baby, and the news spreads like wildfire.

The problem? Danny doesn’t do marriage. Or family. And everyone knows it, including Olivia.

As irritated as he might be, protecting Olivia is what Danny does. But put best friends under one roof, add house rules begging to be broken, accidental nakedness, and pancakes in bed, and what started as a marriage between friends threatens to turn into the real deal…which would ruin everything.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2aHALPZ

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*****

DON’T MISS THE OTHER BOOKS IN THE KISSES IN THE SAND SERIES!

Keeping Mr. Right Now #1 CoverKeeping Mr. Right Now (Kisses in the Sand, #1):

A temporary agreement neither could keep…

Brainy, organized Sophie Birch is no beach bunny. In fact, she’s totally out of her element among the sun-bronzed crowd at a film festival in beautiful White Strand Cove. When a surf lesson introduces her to Zane Hollander, suddenly she’s up close and personal with the world’s sexiest surf star. But what can a great-looking, experienced athlete possibly see in a klutzy out-of-towner who’s never set foot in the ocean?

Zane Hollander’s playboy reputation has never been a problem…until recently. Now his management team wants him on his best behavior to entice a meaningful new sponsor. Sophie Birch is the perfect girl to help reform his image. She’s genuine and respected—and their relationship is purely fictional. But the more Sophie blooms under the beachy sun, the more Zane knows he’ll just break her heart. Because nothing’s more important to Zane than following the tide.

Blame It On the Kiss #2 CoverBlame it on the Kiss (Kisses in the Sand, #2):

The one guy she shouldn’t want…

Honor Mitchell has lived with guilt and regret for a long time, so when she promises to do the things on her dying best friend’s wish list, she’s determined to follow through and do something right for a change. But when she’s thrown together for wedding duties with the one man who complicates her vow–just by looking at him–she has to put her faith in Bryce Bishop’s pledge to help her, no strings attached.

Bryce’s near one-night stand with his ex-girlfriend’s best friend a few months ago might have been a mistake, but helping the beautiful, free-spirited Honor with her promise isn’t. His trust in women is shot, but he can’t help but play his best man card to his advantage and help Honor tick off the items on his ex’s list, even if it puts him in a no-win situation. Because his assistance might get Honor what she wants, but suddenly being the do-good guy puts his plans–and heart–in serious jeopardy.

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*****

The Best Friend Bargain Teaser 5

Excerpt:

The tail end of daylight cast a glow around her in one-of-a-kind beauty and he found himself tucking her hair behind her ear as she looked up at him with similar appreciation.

When her gaze moved to his mouth, he was a goner.

He ignored the voice inside his head reminding him she was his best friend and once they crossed this line they could never go back, and gave her two seconds to say something to change his mind.

One, two…

She took a step back.

One kiss. One kiss to get it out of his head and put it to rest. She might have placed another foot between them, but Danny saw the indecision in her eyes. He inched closer anyway, unwilling to let her go without one more try. It was a jerk move, but if he didn’t get to taste her he’d go insane wondering.

He cradled her neck in his hands.

“Danny.” He liked how breathless his name sounded on her lips.

“We have to. I’m going out of my mind, Liv.”

She half gasped, half sighed, a pleasure-and-pain kind of sound he wanted to turn into one of satisfaction. They had to get this crazy new attraction out of the way so they could go back to being just Liv and Danny. “Make it terrible,” she whispered.

He smiled. “I’ll do my best.”

“To make it awful,” she reiterated.

“Prepare yourself for the worst kiss ever.”

Her small smile made itself at home inside his chest. He lowered his mouth to hers. No tongue, he told himself. Keep it innocent. Safe.

*****

Robin Bielman (1)Author Info:

When not attached to her laptop, USA Today Bestselling Author Robin Bielman can almost always be found with her nose in a book. A California girl, the beach is her favorite place for fun and inspiration. Her fondness for swoon-worthy heroes who flirt and stumble upon the girl they can’t live without jumpstarts all of her story ideas.

She loves to go on adventures, and has skydived, scuba dived, parasailed, gotten lost in the wilderness (and only suffered a gazillion bug bites for it) hiked to waterfalls, and swam with dolphins. In her spare time she also likes to put her treadmill to good use while watching her favorite TV shows, take hikes with her hubby, indulge her sweet tooth, and play sock tug of war with her cute, but sometimes naughty dog, Harry.

She dreams of traveling to faraway places and loves to connect with readers. Keep in touch and sign up for her newsletter on her website at http://robinbielman.com.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Newsletter | Amazon

*****

The Best Friend Bargain Teaser 3

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*****

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Book Review – Worked Up

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I can hardly wait for you guys to meet Duke … he’s sitting at the top of my book boyfriend list and it is going to take a lot to bump him off🙂

*****

Worked Up CoverWorked Up

Made in Jersey #3

by Tessa Bailey

Publication Date: August 1, 2016

Genres: Adult, Entangled: Brazen, Contemporary Romance

Blurb:

Factory mechanic Duke Crawford just wants to watch SportsCenter in peace. Unfortunately, living with four divorcee sisters doesn’t provide much silence, nor does it change his stance on relationships. But when a fellow commitment-phobe stumbles into his life, getting him good and worked up, he can’t deny his protective instincts.

Samantha Waverly’s brother just put her in an impossible situation. The only way out? Marry huge, gruff, gladiator look-alike Duke—for show, of course. She doesn’t make promises—she knows too well how easily they can be broken—and this is no exception.

As the blistering attraction between them grows, the lines around the no-strings relationship blur. But Duke and Samantha’s marriage is only for show…or is it?

Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QPWO3QcVFA

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*****

ARE YOU WORKED UP? DON’T MISS THE OTHER BOOKS IN THE MADE IN JERSEY SERIES….

Crashed Out #1 CoverCRASHED OUT (Made in Jersey, #1)

Blurb:

His inspiration. His torment. And his temptation…

Jasmine Taveras is the reason Sarge Purcell grabbed his six-string and bailed the hell out of New Jersey four years ago. She’s the fuel for every song he’s ever written-each one laced with bitter, hard-edged, hungry lust. Now, with his hugely successful band is on temporary hiatus, Sarge is determined to prove to Jasmine that this “kid” turned into every inch the man she’s always needed…

Men are slim pickings for a single factory girl in Hook, New Jersey…until tall, broad-shouldered hotness walks-or ratherstorms-into Jasmine’s life. Sarge’s return shouldn’t affect her this way. He’s her best friend’s much younger kid brother, and the kind of rough, gritty, sexiness Jasmine has no right to taste for herself. Even if he lets her.

But lust is a blinding, insatiable force. And when it crashes, it will take both Sarge and Jasmine down with it…

Thrown Down #2 CoverTHROWN DOWN (Made in Jersey, #2)

Blurb:

He has one last chance to deserve the girl of his dreams…

Overachiever River Purcell was never supposed to be a struggling single mom, working double shifts just to make ends meet. Nor was she supposed to be abandoned by her high school sweetheart, breaking her heart into a thousand jagged pieces. Now Vaughn De Matteo is back in town, his sights set onher…and River is in danger of drowning a second time.

No one believed Hook’s resident bad boy was good enough for River. Not even Vaughn himself. But he’ll fight like hell to win back the woman he never stopped loving, to keep the daughter he never expected, and convince himself he’s worth their love in the process–even if he has to rely on their fierce and undeniable sexual chemistry.

But even as River’s body arches under his hungered touch, the demons of the past lurk in the shadows. Waiting for Vaughn to repeat his mistakes one last time…

*****

Excerpt:

Unbelievable. First, Duke couldn’t get a damn moment of peace in his house, now his only refuge, The Third Shift, had been invaded. Was it so much to ask in life for a sporting event to go uninterrupted by a woman? Granted, the doe-eyed brunette hadn’t asked for his assistance—and she was a far cry from the four sisters terrorizing his household indefinitely—but an interruption was an interruption, no matter how you sliced it.

He couldn’t help but notice this particular disruption was…pretty. Too pretty for him. Not that her appearance mattered one way or another to Duke. Facts were facts, though. She had a way of moving. Long, graceful moves that ran smack into uncertainty. As if she kept forming courses of action only to change her mind halfway through the execution stage. Ask him why he’d taken the time to form such a detailed observation and his answer probably wouldn’t make much sense. Unfortunately, noticing her way of operating had led to…other observations. Impolite ones that would’ve surrounded the freckles on her cheeks with pink instead of flawless ivory.

Good thing he wasn’t looking for a woman. Not for one night. Not for nothing.

With resolve firm in his mind, Duke focused on the problem at hand. Namely, the issue distracting him from America’s game. The two men harassing Doe Eyes were machinery mechanics who worked under him at the factory, and after his brief directive to fuck off, they wasted no time shuffling away, beer bottles held up like little white flags.

“Sorry, Duke.”

“No problem, Duke.”

He grunted, watching them enviously as they rejoined their friends in front of the giant flat-screen. At least someone would get to watch baseball now, huh? As for him, he appeared to be stuck. For as long as Doe Eyes graced The Third Shift with her not-from-around-here presence, that is. Because if it wasn’t the knuckleheads looking to purchase her drinks, it would be someone else. And after he’d watched her flounder over a simple drink order and whack her noggin on the bar, he figured she deserved some peace and quiet.

Which she would get, so long as she let him watch the motherloving game.

Duke grabbed the closest stool, flipping it around and repositioning it behind Doe Eyes. Trying not to wince over the loud creaking as he climbed on, Duke crossed his arms and went back to watching the game, bottle of Bud in hand.

He should have known the silence wouldn’t last. It never did.

“Did you just…set yourself up as a roadblock?”

*****

Worked Up Teaser 3

Review:

Bet none of you see this coming … but I’ve not read anything else in this series *gasp*!  Lucky for me, it worked out again because I don’t think anything from the previous stories really will impact you enjoying this one.  It looks like Duke may have made an appearance or two but I didn’t notice anything missing.

Let’s start with how unbelievably HAWT Duke is for being a not so typical hero.  He’s a terse, mountain of a man who isn’t built or handsome in the traditional hero way (he’s even hairy with a bit of a paunch), but there’s just something about him.  For all his gruffness, he’s protective, hard working and dedicated to his friends and family.  And he’s got a mouth on him … oh, man, does he know how to speak the dirty talk!  Knows how to back it up too – whew, baby!

I think that some may find his high-handedness a little off-putting but it works for him and Samantha, which is all that matters.  The insta-attraction might also be a no-no but I think that Bailey makes it work.  While the timeline is very short, there’s something really believable about their interactions, developing feelings and motivations.

The other thing that definitely works is how absolutely adorable Samantha is.  She’s quirky, funny and, while she’s distrustful of relationships, she had a huge heart that yearns for family.  Meeting big softy Duke, who would do just about anything for his sisters and who takes her under his wing, has her conflicted on getting involved.

While they get together under unusual circumstances, Duke and Samantha quickly find themselves in a situation that is not what they expected … and maybe more they can handle.  Funny, touching, sexy and sweet, Worked Up is a fantastically fun read that had me by the heart from the very first and never let go.

*****

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 | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Newsletter | Amazon Author Profile

*****

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*****

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Spotlight – Heart of Desire

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Y’all, there is so much about this book that I like – the sibling’s friend, enemies to lovers, just to start … I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy🙂

*****

Heart of Desire FinalHeart of Desire

Handful of Hearts #2

by Jenna Jaxon

Blurb:

Follow your heart to find your desire

Miss Katherine Locke is irked to start her third season dancing with the disagreeable Lord Haversham, her brother’s friend and her own arch enemy. After three years out, however, she’s finally interested in the dashing Lord Finley—only to find out her cousin has set her cap for him too. To make the man jealous, Kate feigns interest in Lord Haversham, only to be shocked to find the handsome lord apparently falling for her. With time running out, should she accept his suit and risk falling in love despite herself?

Marcus, Lord Haversham, is in a tight pinch. His estates are failing and worse, he’s just lost three thousand pounds to his best friend, Lord Ainsley. Ainsley’s solution: have Marcus marry his shrewish sister and he’ll cancel his gambling debt plus give him ten thousand more pounds for her dowry. With nowhere to turn, Marcus agrees, praying he can keep word of the wager from Miss Locke long enough to charm her into marrying him. But can he avoid falling in love himself?

*****

Excerpt:

The music had a lively air and Miss Katherine Locke would’ve thought herself fortunate to be out again in Society after a long, cold, dull winter in Somerset save that her partner, Lord Haversham, was the rudest man in London. Well, his lordship was about to discover that Kate Locke was not one to suffer fools lightly.

“So you refuse to allow your sister to waltz, yet you are quite willing to stand up with me and dance this, according to you, most scandalous of dances.” Kate smiled into the odious wretch’s face. “My lord, I should say that smacks of hypocrisy.”

“Indeed.” Lord Haversham turned them skillfully at the end of the floor. “I would say it showed a want of character in your brother for allowing you to dance it with me. The waltz should be danced by married couples and no one else.” He pulled her close against him, so their bodies almost touched.

She gasped at her proximity to the rogue. How dare he make a spectacle of them on this crowded dance floor?

“You see?” he whispered, peering into her face, his gaze intent upon her mouth.

All she could see were his cool gray eyes, as the crisp scent of his sandalwood cologne filled her nose.

“Ainsley should be horsewhipped for allowing it.”

“I’ll see to it he horsewhips you if you don’t let me go.” Kate gave a hopping step and smashed her foot down on top of his.

Lord Haversham lurched forward, actually falling onto her.

For the briefest moment, they stood pressed together in a warm embrace that made Kate tingle all over. Then outrage swept through her, and she pushed him away. “How dare you,” she seethed, trying to pull away from him.

“That was your fault, and you know it. And if you make a scene that results in me having to marry you, I swear I will lock you in the tower at my grandfather’s castle and throw away the key.” Lord Haversham righted himself and smiled at her with clenched teeth.

*****

Author Info:

Jenna Jaxon is a multi-published author of historical  and contemporary romance.  She is currently finishing revisions to  her fifth full length novel, To Woo A Wicked Widow, set in Regency England and the first book in her five part series, The Widow’s Club.

Only Marriage Will Do, second book in her Georgian  House of Pleasure series is with the editor. Her medieval trilogy, Time Enough to Love, is being published by Rising Phoenix Publications. Book 1, Betrothal is currently available.  Book 2, Betrayal, will be available later this fall.

Jenna has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager.  A romantic herself, she has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise.  She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories. She lives in Virginia with her family and a small menagerie of pets.  When not reading or writing, she indulges her passion for the theatre, working with local theatres as a director.  She often feels she is directing her characters on their own private stage.

She has equated her writing to an addiction to chocolate because once she starts she just can’t stop.

https://jennajaxon.wordpress.com/

*****

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Spotlight – Truly, Madly, Deeply

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Kick off your shoes, stick your toes in the sand and indulge yourself in a sweet second chance romance on the island of Mimosa Key.  Nick DeMarco is back in Barefoot Bay and is hoping for Lila Novak’s forgiveness. Little does he know, he’ll get a whole lot more than that. Fans of Roxanne St. Claire’s Barefoot Bay will love meeting new visitors and residents of Mimosa Key in this Kindle Worlds Barefoot Bay romance by Jeannie Moon.

5 (1)

*****

TrulyMadlyDeeply-KindleWorld-PROMOTruly, Madly, Deeply

by Jeannie Moon

Release Date: 08/23/16

Publisher: Kindle Worlds

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Format: Digital

Blurb:

Nick DeMarco was a covert operative who breezed in and out of the lives of the people he cared about often without warning. This included his sister Josie’s best friend, Lila Novak.

Nick and Lila had a torrid affair the last time he dropped into Barefoot Bay, and now that he’s back, possibly for the long haul, he hopes she’ll forgive him for disappearing without a word.

Lila loves her life as a teacher at Mimosa High School, but her affair with Nick has thrown her a curveball she never expected. Carrying his baby, she’s faced with the loss of her job unless she agrees to do the last thing she wants to do – marry him.

Get More information at: Goodreads  | Amazon

*****

Excerpt:

There were few things that ticked off Lila Novak more than busybodies. And when said busybodies were making her life difficult, that really chapped her ass.

She sat at the district office, having been summoned from Mimosa High School by the superintendent of schools, and while she waited she saw a parade of people enter the conference room. Her principal, the vice principal, the personnel director, and her department chair were all part of the group that was going to see her. This wasn’t good.

Nothing like kicking a girl when she was down.

Her department chair, Mary Chavez, poked her head out and motioned to Lila. “We’re ready for you. Don’t let them upset you, and don’t lose your temper.”

Mary was a sweet woman, a joy to work for. Because of her, the math department at Mimosa was a fun place to be. Her colleagues were friendly, and unlike some departments, they all liked each other. However, Mary knew Lila could have a smart mouth, and this wasn’t the time for wit. Even if some people deserved her wit shoved up their butts.

The superintendent sat at the far end of the table, and the other administrators flanked him left and right. This wasn’t going to be easy.

Lila stood at the other end of the large oval table. Alone.

“Lila, have a seat,” the big guy said.

“Thank you,” she replied. That was a load of shit. She had no reason to thank them.

“So,” he began. “We hear you’ve gotten yourself in a bad spot.”

This was really making him uncomfortable, and based on the scowls from a few others in the room, she was in more than a bad spot.

“Sir, I am pregnant, yes.” Lila took a deep breath before continuing. “I’ve tried to keep it private, but that’s hard to do in such a…close knit community.” It’s full of nosy women with nothing else to do, is what she wanted to say. But Lila held her tongue, knowing that sassing the superintendent and his minions wouldn’t help her cause. “While I’m sure it might make some people uncomfortable, it isn’t something I want to talk about.”

“Unfortunately, that’s not an option,” the personnel director broke in. She was new to the district, and Lila didn’t catch her first name, but her last name was Smith. “You have to talk about it. There is a clause in your contract regarding morality…”

Bile stuck in her throat. Sweet baby jeebus. A morality clause. It was the 21st century, wasn’t it? “I don’t understand.”

“We hold our teachers in very high regard,” the woman drawled. “And we’ve gotten a number of complaints about the situation. Parents are extremely upset about having an unwed, pregnant teacher in front of the classroom.”

A knot formed in Lila’s chest. Crushing breathlessness made her audibly suck in air, but she didn’t cry. No, she wouldn’t give this pit of vipers the satisfaction, but there was no hiding how this was affecting her.

No one seemed to care that she was in distress. They were all sitting very still, apparently awaiting Lila’s response.

“I see y’all staring at me, but I don’t know what you want me to say.”

“We thought you could offer some clarification, or explanation, so we can better understand how this all came about,” the nameless personnel director shot at her.

“Ma’am, if you want an explanation for my pregnancy, may I suggest you speak to a health teacher.” Yep. She just snapped at someone who held her fate in her hands.

“There’s no need to get snippy, young lady.”

“I’m sorry, but I believe there is.” Lila wasn’t going to be intimidated. “This is a private matter.”

“Who is the baby’s father?” Ms. Smith blurted out.

BOOM. There it was. That’s what they were driving at. There had been an ugly rumor about her and the father of one of her students. He’d made some unwanted advances in a bar. It didn’t matter that Lila had told him to buzz off; people had talked.

“I haven’t told the baby’s father yet, and I’m not comfortable telling you before I tell him.”

“Lila,” her chair began, “taking a hard line here isn’t going to help.”

“I’m sorry, but he’s overseas on assignment.” That was all Lila could come up with, and it might or might not have been true. She didn’t know where Nick DeMarco was. She hadn’t heard from him in months. “That’s all I can say.”

When she said he was overseas, everyone came to attention.

“Is he in the service of our country?” the superintendent asked.

Lila nodded. She didn’t know what Nick was doing, but he did work for the government. “I think I should tell him first, don’t you?”

“Lila, I don’t like this any more than you do, but something must be done. I have parents calling for your job.”

“Well, sir, with all due respect, you can tell them this is none of their business. I’m sure you’re aware that I am a very good teacher. My students are engaged and do very well.”

“I am. Your reputation in the classroom is excellent, but regardless of how accepting society has become of single parents, our teachers are held to a different standard. Parents are very upset.”

“Am I being dismissed?” There was no use in beating around the bush. If the decision had already been made, the time would be better spent polishing her resumé.

“I don’t want to do that, but I am in a difficult position.”

Of course. His contract was up for renewal. The last thing he needed was a bunch of parents complaining that he wasn’t responsive. If they started calling for his head, who knew how the board of education would respond? Lila didn’t know what she was expected to do. The baby was already in the picture.

“I guess you’ll let me know if I have a job, then?”

She started to get up from the chair when her department chair came to her defense. “Lila is one of our best teachers. Surely there’s a way for this to work out.”

Silence settled over the room, because no one seemed to have any answers. They were looking everywhere but at each other. Glancing off into space or keeping their eyes trained at the table. Except for Ms. Smith, who was staring at Lila. Now she didn’t know if she should leave or stay.

“Lila?” Her principal, Joe Alex, broke the quiet. “How is the clean-up from the fire going?”

That got everyone’s attention. Being a pity case wasn’t her first choice, but Lila would take it. She couldn’t be without a job. Especially not now.

The superintendent’s face dropped. He wasn’t a bad person, but he was a puppet. Now his conscience was getting to him. Lila just hoped it worked in her favor. “I’ll be in touch,” he said flatly. Then he stood and left the room, leaving Lila in the same place as she’d been before, without any answers.

~

“Motherfucker, that hurts.” Over the course of his career, Nick had been shot, stabbed, beaten, and thrown off the roof of the building. But the searing pain from the injection into his injured shoulder was like nothing he’d ever felt. Of course, he’d been unconscious after the stabbing, and the shooting, and during the beating he managed to throw a few punches himself. Getting thrown off a building? Not something he would recommend.

But he’d recovered from every injury. He’d come back to duty stronger than ever, almost like he had to prove himself. Rumor was some people wondered if he was even human. Nick had to laugh at that. Of course he was human, he just took his work seriously. There were a lot of bad people out in the world, and it was Nick’s job to make sure they didn’t hurt anyone.

This time, however, his shoulder had been almost completely ripped out of the socket. The damage had been repaired as much as it could be, but for the first time in his career, Nick didn’t know if he was going to be able to do his job like he had before.

There had been mutterings about a desk job. A fucking desk job. He couldn’t see himself settling into a regular routine, making assignments, even if it did carry a promotion. He was an adrenaline junkie, pure and simple, and if he wasn’t out in the field chasing bad guys, he didn’t know what he was going to do.

“So will the cortisone fix what ails me?”

The doctor shrugged. It was another resident, another no-name who didn’t know anything about him. To the guy in the scrubs, Nick was just another case. He didn’t understand that Nick’s life as he knew it was on the line.

“Dr. O’Neill will be in in a minute. He has more details about your next step.” Without another word, the drone doc left the room. At least he would get to talk to the guy who did the surgery. Maybe he would finally give Nick a straight answer.

His cell phone beeped, and he glanced at the screen. His sister. The text was short. Are you alive?

Nick smiled. Josie, as always, got to the point. This time, he answered. Sent back a simple: yes. But that was all she was gonna get for now.

He was still figuring out how he felt about her relationship with Tony. Never in his life had he suspected his best friend and his sister had been having an affair. Now, Josie was going to be a queen. An honest to God, crown-wearing, scepter-wielding queen. Okay, maybe that was too dramatic. But she would have a crown. His little sister would have a crown.

Nick lay back on the table, knees bent, arm folded over his eyes. Jesus. What if he couldn’t go back in the field? He’d never thought about life after fieldwork, but now it was the only thing on his mind.

He tried to focus on something good, something positive, and immediately Lila Novak’s face flashed in his memory. Talk about secrets. The four days he’d spent in bed with Josie’s best friend had been just what he needed. The woman was a contradiction; on one hand she was full of piss and vinegar, but on the other she was beautiful, smart, sweet, and the sex had been a friggin’ miracle. Nick thought about her a lot, probably too much.

Still, he wanted to see her. He figured whatever the doctor said, he’d head to Florida for some R&R. His grandparents’ house was empty, and while he was there he was sure he could get Lila to see him. As long as she wasn’t too pissed off. He’d left without saying goodbye, and in his experience women really hated that.

He expected Lila was no different.

The door burst open and Dr. O’Neill entered the space. A big man, career Army, Nick peeked out from under his arm and the doctor tossed a wry grin in his direction.

“Hiding, Colonel?”

Colonel. He wasn’t used to being called by his rank. “Just trying to figure out what kind of bullshit you’ll be feeding me about my shoulder.”

“No bullshit,” the doctor said. “Truth only. Your shoulder was a hot mess. I was able to do some repair on the ligaments and tendons, but at this point it’s not stable. I can’t recommend you be allowed to go back to fieldwork at this time.”

“So, I’m going to be a desk jockey? I can’t do that. I’ll go crazy.” Nick’s fear of desk work was what drove him to volunteer for a special covert ops unit. He went where he was needed, working sometimes for the CIA, the NSA, or different branches of the military. When people asked what he did, he said he was a “security consultant”. It wasn’t a lie.

“You can stay in the Corps,” the doctor reassured him. “There are plenty of things a man with your knowledge and talents can do. You’re just not going to be swinging from trees or jumping off buildings anymore.”

“Should I retire? I mean, if I can’t do the work…”

“I didn’t say never, but not now. There’s a lot you can still do. Hell, with all your experience, you’ll be running the Joint Chiefs inside of six months. But you aren’t indestructible. You may recover enough to get back to the insanity you call a job, but I don’t recommend it.”

That particular statement made him think—and the conclusion wasn’t good. Lately, every injury meant a tougher recovery. He knew he was getting older, but his body was finally telling him what that meant. “Shit.”

The doctor took a seat across from him. “Nick, I’ve treated your last two orthopedic injuries. Your missions are more dangerous because that’s the way of the world right now, but even you have limits; you’re almost forty.”

“Thanks for the reminder.” Forty was still a couple of years away, but one thing Nick couldn’t deny was that he was feeling it.

Nick wasn’t a quitter, but he also wasn’t stupid. He knew when there was no point in arguing. He placed his feet solidly on the floor, stood, and extended his hand to O’Neill. “Thanks, Doc. I appreciate it.”

Shaking his hand, the older man wore an expression that told Nick he wasn’t the first to possibly have his career cut short and he wouldn’t be the last. But it still sucked.

Leaving the exam room, he took the stairs five flights down. He didn’t talk to anyone; it was raining, but he didn’t hail a cab, hoping the walk would clear his head. Finally, soaked to the bone, Nick jumped on the Metro. He was sure he looked sketchy, but he didn’t care. It would keep people away. He got off in Foggy Bottom, walked past the White House and down the mall, ending up on the steps of The Capitol. A security guard gave him the eye, suspicious. As he should be.

Nick was a dangerous man.

He was lighter—leaner—than he’d been before the injury. Not surprising, and probably a good thing.

It was pouring now, reminding him of an op that had dropped his team in the middle of a South American jungle.

God, what he wouldn’t give to be back there again.

Looking up, he felt like the heavens were taunting him.

He had to get out of town. He had a couple of options. He could head to an island and decompress in a tiki hut over a lagoon in Fiji. He had a friend with a chalet in the Alps. It was beautiful and secluded, but there would be no skiing or climbing.

The last idea was the one that really appealed to him. Barefoot Bay. He’d head to his grandparents’ house in Florida to regroup and figure out what to do next.

Sure, people knew him, but most of them wouldn’t ask questions, and the tiny coastal island of Mimosa Key was about as far away from work as he could possibly get. Sure, there might be nosy neighbors, but no one would be shooting at him.

And he’d try to see Lila. If she was still speaking to him.

Yeah, no doubt about it. Thoughts of Lila alone made Florida a very good idea.

*****

Moon_Headshot_2015Author Info:

Jeannie Moon has always been a romantic. When she’s not spinning tales of her own, Jeannie works as a school librarian, thankful she has a job that allows her to immerse herself in books. Married to her high school sweetheart, Jeannie has three kids, three lovable dogs, and resides on Long Island, NY. If she’s more than ten miles away from salt water for any longer than a week, she gets twitchy.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | GoodReads| Amazon

*****

7 (1)

Giveaway:

Gift box filled with reader goodies – Four romance novels A Visa gift card (10.00) A COACH key fob. Author swag

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b050ef29266/

*****

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Spotlight – A Solitary Romance

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I’m thrilled to welcome Violet Sparks today as she answers a few questions and gives us a look at the first book in her new Only Love Series.  I think a sweet romance is the perfect way to kick off the new week, don’t you?

*****

How did you come up with the title?

The main character, Katrina Crimshaw, is a jewelry aficionado.  She runs into a man from her past, someone she found incredibly attractive but was too shy to pursue.  I combined the idea of a solitaire ring, representing her love of jewels, with the loneliness that sometimes accompanies someone who is fearful or shy, and came up with A Solitary Romance.

What books/authors have influenced your writing?

I’ve always loved how Charles Dickens could weave a story together with unforgettable characters and intersecting plots.  I appreciate how he inserted humor in his books as well.  I admire the way William Faulkner packed a punch and how the Brontës created amazing atmospheres, including unexpected twists in their stories.  The contemporary author, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, is a master of characters, atmosphere, and storylines.

Have you ever hated something you wrote?

I would not say that I’ve hated any of my work.  Anything can be polished, rewritten, examined with a fresh eye, or edited for improvement.  I do go through some fear each time I start a new book.  Will I be able to come up with anything funny?  Can I do the characters justice?  Will unnecessary details hinder the story?  In other words, how can I possibly pull this off?

Where did your love of writing come from?

I have always loved storytelling.  My mother used to catch me as a toddler making up stories for my own entertainment.  She fostered my love of writing by introducing me to classic literature in grade school, and I won writing awards as a teen.  Then, life and career got in the way.  I always hoped to return to writing, and the encouragement of a friend got the ball rolling for me.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

A Solitary Romance is ever so slightly autobiographical.  I enjoyed reliving my early career days and the fun I had with one of my girl pals.  Also, because everything in the book felt familiar, it required little research.  I appreciated how my writing could flow without stopping to investigate other subjects.  Because I love the arts, I savored drawing on my experiences at a major auction house.  There’s a scene in the book where a character helps her friend squeeze into a gown in a dressing room by very creative means.  This actually happened, and my friend managed to fit me in that tight, red dress by the same method!  Just thinking about that little episode brings a smile to my face!

Do you have any advice for other writers?

My advice to other writers is to keep on writing!  Find a good editor you enjoy working with and don’t rush your writing process.  Read and write as much as possible and do not allow others to discourage you.

*****

cover (1)A Solitary Romance

Only Love Series #1

by Violet Sparks

Sweet Romance/Inspirational Romance

Blurb:

Katrina Crimshaw leads a double life as an auditor by day and jewelry blogger at night. When she meets the man of her dreams, again, her life becomes even more complicated. Juggling success under a pen name with her day job and continued encounters with Robert, a man from her past that she adored from afar, proves complicated for the shy bean counter. When an attractive museum director enters her life, all bets are off as the day dreaming Katrina tries to make sense of her predicament.

When passion flares in this second chance romance, will she let love slip through her fingers again? A Solitary Romance is a clean romance that will set readers’ pulses racing and book one of the Only Love Series.

Get it on Amazon

*****

VsparksAuthor Info:

Violet Sparks pulls from her career in corporate America, her time at a major auction house, and her love of all things girly when penning her romance novels. She won writing contests as a teen and always dreamed of becoming an author. A fan of the arts, Violet created one-of-a-kind gift items, sold in shops throughout Southern California, before raising a family. She met and married the man of her dreams and they now have two young children. Violet has a zeal for vintage costume jewelry, literature, museums, and travel. She writes a blog about her other passions under a pen name.

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Book Review – Hanky Spanky

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25103483Hanky Spanky

Erotically Bound Book 2

by Francesca Hawley

Curious Sub seeking the perfect Dom…

Karen Eckberg has spent months in front of a webcam, writhing and moaning, dutifully performing to Master Lars’ voiced commands. She’s sexually alive for the first time in her life but when her perfect Dom turns out to be none-other than her high school crush “Aw Shucks” Andy Larson, life takes an even more sensual turn than she’d ever expected.

Karen is everything Andy Larson has ever wanted in a sub, achingly responsive and eager to please her Master in every way. Unfortunately, their red-hot affair both in and out of the dungeon draws unwanted attention from his possessive ex-wife fueling Andy’s protective streak.

And now there’s no safe word that can protect Karen from a woman scorned.

While I know this book isn’t going to be for everyone, I think that those that do give it a chance are going to enjoy themselves.  We get a bit of the kink out of the way early on, with a trip to a BDSM club, but after that it is mostly just really hot sex (with the occasional Sir or Master thrown in).  The main story though is about finding the match for you and weathering some rough times.  It’s nice to see Andy find someone that fits so well with him, especially after how unfulfilling his first marriage was.  And he does a great job supporting Karen and showing her what a fantastic person he thinks she is.  I liked watching them develop their relationship into something that works for them.  And as awful as she is, I also liked seeing them handle his ex together.

You should know what you are getting into from the title, so there should be no surprises there.  And while it isn’t my main genre of romance, I’m not the type to turn away from a little of the heavy stuff J  I’m sure there are those who are more in tune with this scene who may have issues with the way the BDSM is handled (again, not my major thing so I just go with what works for me) or those that just don’t like it all (aaand you should know that going in) but as a novice who just enjoys an entertaining story I was more than pleased.

Book Review – Till I Kissed You

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cover84924-mediumTill I Kissed You

Cottonbloom #3

by Laura Trentham

It’s summertime in Cottonbloom, where two lovers find themselves at a crossroads just as things start to heat up. . .

Regan Lovell grew up on the wealthy Mississippi side of Cottonbloom—and now, as mayor, she’s determined to save it from the fate of so many small towns. Part of her plan to help the local economy is the Labor Day tomato festival. If only she wasn’t being undermined by Sawyer Fournette, who’s planning a crayfish-themed celebration on the Louisiana side of the river on the very same weekend. The pranks and sabotage are getting out of hand, and she’s had it with him—no matter how much she enjoyed those stolen hours in his truck bed, so many years ago…

Sawyer knows that Regan’s never forgiven him for breaking her heart—but despite his reputation as a low-class swamp rat, he’d never hurt the woman who still secretly drives him crazy with desire. Someone in Cottonbloom has it out for her, though, and Sawyer intends to watch her back…and the rest of her too, if she can ever let go of her distrust. But will a common enemy be enough to unite them—and finally fulfill the promises they made one passionate night under the stars?

I hate to say it but it took me a little bit to get into this book.  I absolutely loved the first two in this series (Kiss Me That Way & Then He Kissed Me) and was so excited at the idea of finally getting this couple’s story … and it was because of that that I kept at it until I got hooked.  I can’t put my finger on exactly why, maybe it was because I was so anxious to get their HEA that the build-up just got to me, but whatever it was I was very happy that I didn’t give up.  Once it did get going I had a hard time putting it down.

I love Sawyer.  He’s got a good heart, cares about his family and his community.  His only big weaknesses are his feelings for Regan and how his insecurities from his childhood still cause him moments of doubt.  Especially with the wealthier ‘Sips (most importantly Regan’s mom).

Regan isn’t my favorite of the heroines but she grew on me as we find out her secrets and fears.  She’s a complicated person but she’s spent her whole life hiding every little thing and putting on a “face” for everyone.  I think that it causes her to be misunderstood by not only those around her but the readers as well.  As we get to see beneath the surface we start to understand her more.

The threat to Regan wasn’t as big of a deal as I expected it to be after having it be a part of all three stories – if you’ve read the others, it pretty much continued on in the same vein, but of course we finally get to find out who is behind it, which worked very well with what we’ve seen so far.  I was also thrilled to get the resolution on what happened to Regan & Sawyer all those years ago, causing such bad feelings between the two of them.  Unfortunately those emotions are still present and give them all sorts of trouble in the present.  But it was fun seeing them try to fight it out!

As is to be expected from Trentham, complex personal interactions and layered personalities are present in the last of the Fournette stories.  These stories are so much more than just a romance – it’s the chance to get to know people and love them like family.  I’m happy that there are more coming (most especially a HEA for my favorite Alabama transplant) and I definitely am looking forward to the new & sure-to-be interesting characters we will have the pleasure of meeting :)

(This is part of a series but can stand on its own with minor overlap to other stories, which are explained well so you can easily keep up if this is your first book.)

Book Review – Knocked Out By Love

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cover94145-mediumKnocked Out By Love

A Love to the Extreme Novel

by Abby Niles

Brody Minton has loved Scarlett Harris for years. But she’s his best friend’s wife, so he’s worked hard to keep his distance. Hearing the marriage is over shouldn’t change anything. Only an ass would make a move on a friend’s ex… Except Scarlett wants help getting back in the dating game, and Brody’s torn. If he helps her out, he can keep an eye on her and guard her vulnerable heart. But having the woman he’s longed for for years in arms’ reach is hell on a man’s restraint, no matter how iron strong his will.

But loving Scarlett is only half the fight.

All Scarlett Harris wants is to get away for a while and rethink her life after filing for divorce from her lying, cheating bastard of a husband. The gorgeous Bahamas sounds like the perfect escape, except she’s booked in very resort Brody “The Iron” Minton is staying at for his sister’s wedding. Now her ex’s best friend is dogging her every move, and is a witness to her first pathetic attempts at flirting in years. If Brody isn’t going to leave her alone, then she’ll just recruit him to help get her reacquainted with her single self.

There are stories that you enjoy but are difficult to get into and then there are stories that suck you in.  This is definitely the latter – I was absolutely stunned to look up and realize I was over halfway thru the book and had no intention of putting it down any time soon!

I totally see where Brody is coming from with his attraction to Scarlett.  He’s spent months avoiding her because she was his best friend’s wife but just because she’s divorcing him it doesn’t make it any easier to turn off those feelings of guilt.  I like him as a man even more for it.  He’s got things he feels strongly about – family, friends, loyalty.  It is hard for him to ignore them … until he finds out exactly what happened.  I love the way he’s there to support Scarlett, both before and after the Bahamas vacation.  She needs someone to be there for her and he does it so well.  And so sexily🙂

Scarlett finds herself single, beaten down and unsure of herself.  Trying to get her single girl mojo back isn’t working and even more so once Brody is in the picture again.  Until she finds herself attracted to her old friend … and figures out that it could be mutual.  I totally get where she’s coming from too – her insecurities and fears.  I’m going to give a minor spoiler in saying that I loved how she was able to resolve things with her ex at a time when they both needed it most.  There is something freeing in that interaction that could color so much for her and Brody, while it also helps her figure things out on what she needs to do to have a happy future.

There are some serious issues at play here but Niles handles them very well.  I also appreciate how she gives the two of them a supportive relationship – both of them are there for each other in ways that matters, understanding what is needed and providing the support that the other needs.  The last few chapters are just fantastic and I think the ending is just too darn adorable.

I read the first couple of stories in this series, but then I skipped a couple.  This one can definitely stand on its own, although it looks like there’s some set up here for future stories.  And I’m definitely gonna keep my eye out for what she brings next.

Book Review – Kickin’ Up Dust

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Y’all, we’ve got a cowboy as hot as Texas in July … and he’s not afraid to show you🙂

*****

Kickin' Up DustKickin’ Up Dust

Operation Cowboy Book 1

by Em Patrova

July 19, 2016

Blurb:

This Marine follows the rules. This cowgirl is all about breaking them.

After losing his best friend and CO, Matt, in combat, Brodie Bell didn’t think his spirits could sink any lower. He was wrong. One look at his and Matt’s storm-flattened hometown nearly levels him.

Los Vista needs a leader, and as Brodie takes the weight of the world on his shoulders, he comes up with a plan. Merge the two ranches left standing, pray for a good calving season…and keep his hands too busy to get busy with Matt’s sexy little sister.

Danica was in pigtails when Brodie and Matt went off chasing glory. Now she’s a woman with a broken heart, but if Matt knew of the depraved cravings Brodie ignites in her body, he’d haunt her from the grave.

As they work to mend miles of broken fences, Brodie fights to ignore Danica’s tiny cutoff shorts and mile-long legs—and to ignore the “weapon” that’s locked and loaded in his Levis. Because the last thing he wants is to dishonor his friend’s memory by ravishing the sweetest little cowgirl he’s ever laid eyes on.

Warning: Involves a sweet and sassy ranch girl who knows her way around a rope, and a Marine turned cowboy who’d like to tie her down and spank her until she begs for more.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28514351-kickin-up-dust

Amazon Kindle: http://amzn.to/29qUFfO

B&N Nook: http://bit.ly/29qUYaA

Kobo: http://bit.ly/29pp42j

iBooks: http://apple.co/29l8UAI

Google Play: http://bit.ly/29tHJYc

*****

Review:

So, I just have to say I have absolutely NO idea why no one thought it was a good idea to tell these 4 guys that their entire town (including some of their homes) was leveled by a tornado.  It isn’t like it happened in the last couple of days … I get that they were away at war and really couldn’t do anything about it, plus they’d just lost their close friend, but wow!  I would be so beyond ticked off if I came home to something like that completely unawares.

But I did appreciate the way that Patrova picked it up from there – the way that the guys pitched in, the actions of the townsfolk, and the feeling of community as they all tried to work something out.  In a place like that where you have to support each other, that doesn’t go away just because you lose your house  It is highlighted in times of hardship.

My other trouble spot was why Brodie would think that he wasn’t good enough for Danica.  I get that they held Matt in such high regard that after his death they would put his little sister on his pedestal but he’s a good man and has a lot to offer her.  If he’d given any indication that he was just trying to play her I might feel a little different about it, but he genuinely cares.  And he’s a pretty good catch🙂  The military taught him a thing or two about being in control, which he brings to all areas of his life … ALL areas.  Mix in his sexy cowboy-ness and *whew* scorcher!

Danica is strong in her own right but has always had a soft spot for Brodie.  Having him come back in her life looking as hot as can be and taking charge makes him almost irresistible.  Unfortunately he seems determined to stay friends but she’s cowgirl enough to take him on!

The grief from Matt’s death does weigh on the both and I feel that Patrova handles it pretty well.  Fortunately they have a lot to deal with that keeps them from dwelling and allows them to take their time to work through it all.  It’s a lot to hit them with all at once but they are strong Texas folk and easily up to handling it.

We get glimpses of the rest of the men, enough to know that they all have their strengths as well.  I’m curious to see what they have in store for them as they work to setting their town back to rights … and finding that special someone to help & support them.

*****

Em PetrovaAuthor Info:

Em Petrova lives in Backwoods, Pennsylvania, where she raises 4 kids and a Labradoodle named Daisy Hasselhoff. Her dream is to find an old pickup and travel small-town USA, meeting new people. Her heroes are hardworking–in bed and out–and she is known for panty-scorching erotic romance.

She also writes lesbian romance as Hallie Knight.

Website: http://www.empetrova.com/

Newsletter: http://www.empetrova.com/subscribe.html

Twitter: http://twitter.com/empetrova

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

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/empet16/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4342760.Em_Petrova

Amazon: http://amzn.to/29xEkYLIY

*****

Click the link below to check out the rest of the stops on the tour

http://rockstarlit.com/content/kickin-up-dust-operation-cowboy-book-1/

Book Review – This Loving Feeling

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cover88713-mediumThis Loving Feeling

A Mirror Lake Novel

by Miranda Liasson

Samantha Rushford’s future looks bright: the high school art teacher is getting ready to leave Mirror Lake and move to Boston with her ambitious boyfriend, and she hopes a diamond ring is just around the corner. But her past still has a hold on her—especially the bittersweet memory of her rebellious ex, who kissed her passionately before he left town without a word.

Since then, Lukas Spikonos has parlayed his rebel ways into life as an up-and-coming recording artist. When he shows up for a surprise gig at the high school prom, Sam is more dumbstruck than starstruck—he used the words of a poem she wrote about their breakup to create a number one hit. But Lukas hasn’t returned just to impress students; he’s facing some real-life responsibilities and needs Sam’s help. But she has her own unresolved issues about the life she wants to lead. Will the music—and the pull of true love and family—put their hearts back in harmony?

I remember Lukas & Sam from This Love of Mine and that I couldn’t wait to find out how they come back together again.  And Liasson delivers a winner.

It’s quite a few years later and Sam’s ready to start a life with someone else … then Lukas comes back into town.  Even though she’s tried very hard to move on, having Lukas nearby is throwing everything into turmoil.

Lukas has worked very hard to be successful.  A foster kid who never really knew love or family, he doesn’t believe that he’s got what it takes to be in a relationship.  He’s convinced that leaving was the best thing he could do for Sam.  Until he sees her again.

I adored these two together.  Sam tries so hard to be the good girl but she’s hiding her spirit and trying to fit into what she thinks she should want, not necessarily what she does want.  Having her sexy and oh-so-tempting ex around, showing her what a great man he’s grown up to be, definitely isn’t helping things.

And while Lukas may not think he has what it takes to be a family man, especially with the crazy life of an up-and-coming rock star, his actions definitely speak loudly.  He may not have had the best childhood but he’s turned into a kind and caring man.  He just has to learn to believe in himself.

It is so great seeing these two come together again.  While they have a few bumps getting there, they manage to figure out what works for them and throw everything they have into making it work.  Knowing that things will work out makes it easier to sit back and see them work through their issues.  Those growing moments just grabbed my heart and didn’t let go.

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