New Release – Batter of Wits by Karla Sorensen

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“Heartfelt, hilarious, with a dash of angst…Karla Sorensen shines with the perfect feel-good read!” –Author Catherine Cowles

Batter of Wits, an all-new funny and heartwarming romance from Karla Sorensen, is now available in Kindle Unlimited!

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Hate at first sight couldn’t possibly exist, right?

That’s what Grace Buchanan thought, before her useless car stranded her on the side of a deserted road just inside the Green Valley city limits.

When Tucker Haywood—tall and handsome and full of southern charm— shows up to help, her reaction to him is the strongest thing she’s ever felt in her life, and it makes no freaking sense.

It doesn’t make much sense to Tucker either. Not why she hates him, or why he finds her so intriguing. He knows well enough that Grace is moving to Green Valley for a fresh start, not to distract him when he’s got no room for something like her in his life.

The complications between them are endless, but that doesn’t stop her definitely not love-at-first-sight feelings from changing into something else entirely.

Grace and Tucker are about to learn the hard way that in Green Valley, hating someone has never tasted so sweet.

‘Batter of Wits’ is a full-length contemporary romance, can be read as a standalone, and is book #5 in the Donner Bakery series, Green Valley World, Penny Reid Book Universe.

 

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Excerpt from Batter of Wits

When I looked down, her hands were fisted on the countertop, shaking from the effort of keeping them still.

“I’d take a picture of that,” I told her, voice low and charged.

She tilted her chin up toward me. “Of what?”

In the low light of the apartment, her eyes glowed like melted gold.

“Your hands.” I licked my suddenly dry lips. “I feel like they’re telling me something that I can’t figure out.”

Grace peered down at the fists she was making, and her fingers relaxed, the skin no longer white around her knuckles.

“What are they telling me, Grace?” I begged.

She ducked under my arm and I exhaled heavily. Without the heat from her body against mine, I took a second to get myself under control. When I turned, she was handing me her camera.

“Go ahead,” she said.

I tilted my head. “You want me to take your picture?”

Grace studied the camera, carefully removing the lens cap and pulling it up to her eyes. She aimed it at my face, and I wondered what she saw. If I looked like I was one thread away from snapping, because that’s how I felt.

I’d never felt like I was one quick step away from freedom, but here, I was. One nudge over the edge of the cliff, and she’d have me free falling without a parachute. I’d never, ever wanted it so badly.

When I heard the click of the shutter, I rubbed the back of my neck. “Can I see?”

She ignored me, pulling the camera away so she could look at the digital image on the back. Her lips curved in a secret little smile.

“What do you see?” I asked.

Her chest expanded on an inhale. “Frustration.” Her eyes met mine. “Want.”

Words lodged in my chest, and I couldn’t tear them loose.

I held my hand out and she passed the camera to me. With a rough swallow, I squinted at the tiny viewfinder once it was at eye-level. Grace came into my eye line, holding my gaze with such directness that I fought the urge not to throw the camera across the room simply because it was between us.

It was her turn to ask. “What do you see?”

My finger pushed the slick button on top of the camera, and her mouth curled in surprise that I took a shot.

I pushed the button again as she took a step closer.

“You’re not answering me,” she said lightly.

“Because I can hardly think straight when you’re looking at me like that.” My admission was rough and hard, out before I could stop it.

She took another step, within reach now, and one of her hands slid up my forearm.

One more picture, the sound of the shutter snapping between us like a shot.

Somehow, I set it down on the counter without smashing it.

“You can’t lie to a camera,” Grace said quietly, watching her hand on my arm before the other landed on my heaving chest. “It captures things as are they are, good or bad or ugly or beautiful.”

I slid an arm around her waist and tightened my grip until she was flush against me. My other hand pushed up the back of her neck and into her hair.

“This is insane,” she breathed, dropping her forehead onto my chest.

“No, it’s not.”

Grace lifted her head and pinned me in place. “Tucker, seventy-two hours ago, I hated you. You can’t tell me this doesn’t feel a little nuts.”

I couldn’t stop my smile. “You didn’t hate me. Not really.”

One eyebrow lifted. “Wanna bet?”

About The Author

Karla Sorensen has been an avid reader her entire life, preferring stories with a happily-ever-after over just about any other kind. And considering she has an entire line item in her budget for books, she realized it might just be cheaper to write her own stories. It doesn’t take much to keep her happy…a book, a really big glass of wine, and at least thirty minutes of complete silence every day. She still keeps her toes in the world of health care marketing, where she made her living pre-babies. Now she stays home, writing and mommy-ing full time (this translates to almost every day being a ‘pajama day’ at the Sorensen household…don’t judge). She lives in West Michigan with her husband, two exceptionally adorable sons and big, shaggy rescue dog.

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Review – The Treble With Men by Piper Sheldon

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The Treble With Men, an all-new secret identity romantic standalone from Piper Sheldon, is now available in Kindle Unlimited!

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As far as Green Valley is concerned, Kim Dae disappeared into the Wraiths a decade ago. They were sort of right. Kim has spent her life since Jethro fighting her curious nature and trying to blend into the background. Unfortunately for her, a mysterious Maestro comes to town and takes quick notice of her for reasons unknown to anybody.

The masked conductor, known simply as Devlin, was already a source of much gossip thanks to his reputation for getting fired. Now, his sudden interest in the quiet fourth chair cellist has added fuel to the rumor fire. The new conductor of the symphony needs to learn to control his temper and finish his latest musical masterpiece and only the reluctant star of his symphony can help him do that. If Devlin can’t convince Kim to help to finish his latest composition he’ll lose everything.

Can Devlin and Kim compose without losing composure?

‘The Treble with Men’ is a full-length contemporary romance, can be read as a standalone, and is book #2 in the Scorned Women’s Society series, Green Valley World, Penny Reid Book Universe.

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Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

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BFF K’s Review of The Treble with Men

The Beauty and the Beast trope takes a musical, sexy, turn and Piper Sheldon delivers another fantastic story in the Scorned Woman Series.

There’s no doubt that Devlin is more than a little devlish….he’s cranky, intolerant, demanding, intriguing, beautiful and misunderstood! And, Christine/Kim is both drawn to him and a little terrified of him. The push and pull creates a puzzling and captivating storyline that you just can’t stop reading.

The book is full of surprises and grounded in unique settings. You’ll be drawn to the characters and their circumstances. I couldn’t wait to find out which mysteries I solved and which ones still surprised me! The story and characters are so appealing that you’ll race to the end to ensure that there is an HEA! Add this enchanting story to your TBR today!

 

An advance copy of this book was received. Receipt of this copy did not impact the content or independence of this review.

 

 

 

 

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Excerpt from The Treble with Men

“Let’s play through. I want to hear if you’re qualified,” Devlin said.

“Yes, Maestro.”

Around me, the symphony moved into the ready position. Devlin didn’t pick up his baton.

“You’ll need to move,” he said coolly, as his gaze flicked to the empty first chair.

Amazingly, my legs supported me despite how badly my knees tingled. The neck of my cello was tightly gripped in my fist like it was the only thing keeping me from spinning off the earth.

“We will start from the Andante movement,” he called out as I got situated.

Next to me Barry gave me a brief nod of encouragement. I managed a small smile back. Playing alone at night was a heck of a lot different than feeling an entire symphony watch you. I wiped my palms on my dress pants before straightening my spine.

My nerves were shredded. I did this for a living and yet I couldn’t get my bow to stop wobbling where it hovered just above the strings. My heart sputtered and cranked to a manic tempo. Carla should be here. What if something happened to her? The world began to tune out around me. Tears pricked behind my eyes. How ridiculous was that? I played with these people every day, but if I tried to speak or breathe or move, I’d start to cry.

“Hey.” Devlin’s voice was so soft I hardly noticed it at first. His biker boots appeared in front of my blurring vision. “Christine?”

I lifted my chin to find him standing in front of me with a furrowed brow. “Is she okay?” The question just slipped out, but I needed to know.

He dropped into a crouch to better hear me, causing me to pick up soft hints of cologne, fabric softener, and motorcycle exhaust. “What?”

I asked again a little louder but likely only Barry would be able to hear, if that.

His face was impassive like he was processing what I said. “Who? Carla?”

I nodded stiffly.

“Family emergency. She’ll be back on Monday,” he spoke softly.

“Oh.” A weight lifted from my shoulders.

My chest rose as I took a deep breath in. I released it slowly. Surely the entire room was waiting to see what my deal was.

“I appreciate you stepping in for her.” He lifted his chin to get me to look into his eyes. “I’m sure she would appreciate it too.”

I doubted that, but at least I wasn’t taking the performance from her. I was helping the orchestra out. I could absolutely do this. My thoughts had me worrying my bottom lip.

His focus lowered to my lips then quickly to where my hand gripped the shoulder of my cello. He cleared his throat. “Are you ready?”

I swallowed down my irrational fears. Carla was fine. It was just one show. I could do this. I got into position in answer to his question. Those dark eyes flitted around my face as though checking to see if I really was ready.

“All you need to do is watch me.” When he spoke his mask hardly moved; nobody would know he’d spoken at all. My gaze was locked on his as it smoldered with intensity. “It’s you and me.”

As though I could look anywhere else. When he gave me his focus, the rest of the room faded away. The rest of the world.

“Ready?” he asked.

I forced my shoulders down. He got back onto the podium and I lifted my bow to wait for my solo entrance as he counted the rest of the orchestra in. The notes on the page transformed into a foreign language. The music quieted, signifying my entrance. I drew my bow along the string, but my tense arm caused a noticeable wobble. A wave of heat burned up my neck, a flush likely giving me away. Just when I thought I might lose total control, I remembered his directions. I looked to him.

His arm conducted the rest of the orchestra smoothly as they played their soft accompaniment, but his head was turned to me. He was willing me to look at him. His eyes narrowed when mine finally met his. He nodded his chin subtly. I didn’t need to read the music. I knew this solo in my sleep. Instead, I kept my focus on him. I played. Everything else blurred into the background. The music came then. It flowed through me.

It was just us and the beautiful music.

About The Author

Piper Sheldon writes Contemporary Romance and Magical Realism books that hope to be New York Times bestsellers when they grow up. For now, she works as a technical writer during the day and writes about love the rest of the time. Of course she also makes room for her husband, toddler, and two needy dogs at home in the Desert Southwest.

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New Release – Cherish Her by Andrea Johnston

Title: Cherish Her
Series: Military Men of Lexington
Author: Andrea Johnston
Genre: Contemporary Romance; Small Town Romance; Single Mom Romance; Ex-military Romance

 

My life was perfect . . .

Until fate took it all away.

Heartache and broken bones left me searching for solace in the darkest of places.

It wasn’t pretty, but with the support of my family, I persevered and I’m stronger for it. My daughters deserve nothing less.

Things were finally back on track, until I met Grant Ellison. Tall, dark, and handsome he sets my heart racing. If only the fear of loving again didn’t paralyze me.

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Nobody was as surprised as me when I left a long military career for a slower pace in life. After all, I’ve never been one to make decisions lightly or without a plan.

A new town means a fresh start. Although it’s a lonely existence, I don’t regret my decision. Especially when a beautiful woman catches my eye.

Dakota Jennings’ strength and ambition are for all to see but her heart is protected by the strongest of walls. My new mission is to show her how precious she is and how great we can be together.

 

**The Military Men of Lexington is a series of interconnected, standalone, small town romances.**

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Excerpt from Cherish Her

“Do you have one of those pod coffee makers at your house?”

His random question pulls me from my thoughts and I actually do a double take before looking at him quickly before returning my eyes to the road.

“Huh?”

Very articulate, Dakota.

“You didn’t get your cup of coffee. I don’t know about you but if I don’t get my fill each morning, I’m only functioning at half rate. If you don’t have one of those pod things, maybe we should stop in town for a cup to go.”

Oh my goodness. Someone who gets my caffeine needs. If he tells me he wears glasses while he reads in bed I might combust. What is wrong with me? I’ve never been so scattered in my thoughts when it comes to a man. Even Jeff, bless him, never brought out this awkwardness and unbridled attraction. Of course, I never went without when Jeff was alive. It’s been years since I’ve been with a man. And, while the thought of dating has only recently come to the forefront of my mind, thanks to the man to my right, I’m a little overwhelmed.

“Oh . . uh . . . umm . . . yeah, I do. Sorry. I guess I’m a little off kilter now that I smell like I bathed in dark French roast with hazelnut creamer.”

“A dark roast kind of gal, huh? I was thinking of you as more of a flavored brew.”

“No way. I like my coffee to serve its purpose. Bold is the only way to go.”

Feeling his eyes on me, I glance his way. Slowly, he smiles before turning his attention back out his window.

“This is a nice neighborhood,” he comments as I approach a stop sign and signal to turn left.

“It’s been perfect for us. The houses are small, and while the lots are on the smaller side, it’s made maintenance easier.”

“Low maintenance is good.”

Turning into my driveway, I click the button to engage the garage door before cutting the engine. Opening the door, I look to Grant who is now on his phone.

“You weren’t serious about staying out here were you?” I’m sure he was but that’s silly.

“Of course. You shouldn’t invite strangers into your home, Dakota.”

“You’re hardly a stranger, Grant. Come on in and make yourself at home. Fair warning, two little girls live here. It’s likely there’s some sort of doll or glittery fairy lying around.”

Laughing, he exits the car and follows me into the house. “Help yourself to something to drink. I’m going to clean up and change. Be back out shortly.”

Meet the Military Men of Lexington
a series of interconnected, standalone, small town romances

Promise Her
Read for FREE with KindleUnlimited
Amazon US | Amazon Worldwide

Cherish Her
Read for FREE with KindleUnlimited
Amazon US | Amazon Worldwide

Love Her
Pre-Order Today! Releases July 23
Read for FREE with KindleUnlimited
Amazon US | Amazon Worldwide

 

Giveaway

 

Enter to win!

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About the Author

Andrea Johnston spent her childhood with her nose in a book and a pen to paper.

An avid people watcher, her mind is full of stories that yearn to be told.

A fan of angsty romance with a happy ending, super sexy erotica and a good mystery, Andrea can always be found with her Kindle nearby fully charged.

Andrea lives in Idaho with her family and two dogs. When she isn’t spending time with her partner in crime aka her husband, she can be found binge watching all things Bravo and enjoying a cocktail. Nothing makes her happier than the laughter of her children, a good book, her feet in the water, and cocktail in hand all at the same time.

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Review – Waiting for My Queen by Georgia Cates

🔥🔥 HOT NEW RELEASE 🔥🔥

The wait is over! Waiting for my Queen by Georgia Cates is LIVE!! #OneClick today!

 

Emilia—

All I’ve ever wanted was to marry for love.

But girls like me don’t have that luxury.

We are used as pawns in a game we can’t control.

The game? It’s called Mafia.

I was foolish enough to try to change the rules… and I lost.

 

Luca—

She was promised to me years ago.

And he dared to take her from me.

Dared to touch what was mine.

I put an end to that.

I hope he’s enjoying the view from his dirt room.

 

Emilia—

My beloved’s killer placed a ruby ring on my finger and called me his queen.

But that red gem symbolizes something different for me.

It represents the blood shed by those I love most.

Hell was empty the day we wed.

Because the devil was standing before me and said “I do.”

 

Luca—

I saw her as a possession.

A shiny toy I didn’t want other boys to play with.

But she’s so much more.

Beautiful and brave and strong and broken all at once.

She tastes like everything I’ve ever wanted.

 

Emilia—

Hidden and patient.

I wait for the perfect time to seek my revenge.

But slowly, I feel him possessing me.

His heart is full of darkness… and I still want every inch of him.

Hard as I try, I can’t escape loving this beautiful monster.

 

Luca—

I’m waiting patiently because I already know that she’s mine.

Mine in a way that no one will ever understand.

Even if she hasn’t yet realized it.

For love, I’d do anything.

For her, I’d do everything.

 

Add Waiting for My Queen to your Goodreads TBR: http://bit.ly/2QOCCWM

 

Buy Waiting for My Queen Today

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BFF K’s Review of Waiting for My Queen

Georgia Cates writes incredible mafia stories. (If you haven’t read the Sin Series, start with A Necessary Sin.) This new release blew my mind!

Waiting for My Queen starts off with a bang….lots of them. And Luca is the biggest jerk. I hated him. I thought there were absolutely NO redeeming qualities to him. And then Georgia Cates worked her magic. In the end, Luca was not only tolerable, he was understandable and even likeable.

Emilia is a firecracker. She’s a strong heroine who has to make some tough choices. Countless things in her life are decided for her and she is forced to sacrifice her will time after time. But, she continues to rise stronger, braver and better than ever. Emilia is a fantastic heroine.

And did I mention this book is set in the 1970’s? It’s such an unexpected backdrop, but really makes the story authentic and unique. I’m beyond hopeful that Georgia Cates will create a series around this new world she has constructed. Please read, Waiting for My Queen; then review and share how awesome it is so that we can all get more books in what could be a fabulous new series!

An advance copy of this book was received. Receipt of this copy did not impact the content or independence of this review.

 

 

 

 

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Waiting for my Queen, Georgia Cates is giving away ten signed paperback copies!

Enter here: https://www.facebook.com/213130102082500/posts/2976934679035348/

 

 

About the Author

 

Georgia resides in rural Mississippi with her wonderful husband, Jeff, and their two beautiful daughters. She spent fourteen years as a labor and delivery nurse before she decided to pursue her dream of becoming an author and hasn’t looked back yet.

When she’s not writing, she’s thinking about writing. When she’s being domestic, she’s listening to her music and visualizing scenes for her current work in progress. Every story coming from her always has a song to inspire

 

 

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Review – Beard Necessities by Penny Reid

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Billy Winston’s family is going to see him happy and in love if it’s the last thing they do.

Beard Necessities, the final standalone in the bestselling romantic comedy Winston Brothers series from New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Penny Reid, is available now!

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No one deserves a happily-ever-after quite as much as the second oldest Winston brother and his lady love, Claire McClure (aka Scarlet St. Claire). Cruelty and circumstance tore them apart almost twenty years ago. Secrecy and bitterness kept them separated.

But you know who’s tired of their separation and stubbornness? Everyone. Especially Billy Winston’s family. And now they’re going to do something about it.

Well-meaning interference means the star-crossed lovers can’t stop tripping over each other in the hills of Tuscany, the catacombs of Rome, and the waterways of Venice. Billy and Claire find themselves thrown together and at the mercy of the Winston siblings’ shenanigans.

But will their forced proximity bring them together? Or push them even further apart?

This second-chance romance brings back the entire Winston gang, playing cupid in one last story of love, hi-jinks, and family collusion.

BEARD NECESSITIES is a full-length contemporary romantic comedy, and can be read as a stand-alone, but it’s probably best read after books 0.5, 2, 3, 5, and 6 of the Winston Brothers series.

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Download your copy today!

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Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2mHnbEH

BFF K Review Beard Necessities

I hate to start a review by paraphrasing the synopsis but….”No one deserves a happily-ever-after quite as much as Billy Winston and Claire!” I’ve read every book in this series as soon as they released and I don’t think I’ve ever been as anxious for a story. I also found myself torn…I wanted desperately to devour it and I also wanted to slow down and savor every word!

If you’ve ever loved a series and felt deeply connected to its’ characters, you understand the thrill and sadness of realizing you’ve reached the end of their literary journey. And, I had been waiting for Billy’s story. The entire Winston Brother’s Series alluded to a dramatic history between Billy and Claire/Scarlet. And, it was a doozy. So much unrequited love and personal sacrifice create a really really lovely love story.

The entire Winston family comes together to make sure that Billy and Scarlet will finally get over themselves, forgive each other, forgive themselves and find their happily ever after. And, anything having to do with Cletus and the rest of the Winstons, is never simple, almost always hilarious and thoroughly full of love and heart!

I would say that you don’t need to read the Winston Brother’s Series to enjoy Beard Necessities, but I’m not going to give anyone a pass. If you read romance, this series is perfection. I love Jethro (and Sienna), Billy (and Claire), Cletus (and Jen), Ashley (and Drew), Beau (and Shelly), Duane (and Jessica), and Roscoe (and Simone) and you will too!

*For those that have read the the Winston Brothers, the Smartypants Romance books will give us glimpses into Green Valley and the characters we love! And so far, every book I’ve read has been fantastic!

**An advance copy of this book was received. Receipt of this copy did not impact the content or independence of this review.

 

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Excerpt from Beard Necessities

Strolling to the desk, I set down the milk and cookies, crossed my arms and turned to face my brother. “You’re pointing out that Scarlet and I will see each other during various family functions.”

“Correct.”

“And, therefore,” I continued reasonably, “I need to be nice to her.” I knew that already, and tonight—after watching her face crumple and feeling a part of my soul shrivel at the sight—I’d finally accepted it. I would be nice. I would be so damn nice. I’d be a saint.

But then Cletus said, “No, Billy. Not nice. Nice is for tea parties and doctor’s visits. You need to woo her.”

I blinked once. “Woo her.”

“That’s right. You need to woo the pants off her, hopefully literally, and then make that woman yours. Permanently. Once and for all. Put a ring on it. Woo is where it’s at. Jenn still has the centerpieces from our wedding if you’d like to borrow them.” During this enlightening monologue, he’d moseyed over and picked up the glass of milk and a cookie, dunked the cookie into the milk, and then took a bite just as he’d finished his listings of delusions.

“That’s never going to happen.”

“Why not? Those centerpieces are lovely. You don’t know your color scheme yet. Ask Scarlet before you decide.”

I ground my teeth. “Scarlet and I are never going to happen, Cletus.”

He shook his head firmly. “I’m disappointed in your lack of ambition, Billy. I thought we’d be on the same page. But I see now, I’m going to have to take a tough love approach.”

“Cletus—”

“I’m going to give you one chance,” he said, then pushed the rest of the cookie in his mouth and spoke around it as he continued, “One more chance is all you get. I’ve waited long enough for this and you know my feelings on delayed gratification.”

“Pardon?”

“It’s overrated.” He took a gulp of milk and picked up another cookie.

“No, Cletus. One chance on what?”

“I’m giving you one chance. One.” He pointed the cookie at me. “Tomorrow, you’re going to go find her, apologize to her for whatever that kerflufflefuck was I walked in on. Tell her you were suffering from temporary insanity, hopped up on illicit drugs, abducted by asshole probing aliens, whatever. I’m giving you one chance to make this right, and if you don’t take it, you are not going to like what happens next.”

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Enter the giveaway for a signed paperback set of the entire Winston Brothers Series!

http://bit.ly/2Y4LKcN

 

Meet the Author

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Penny Reid is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Best Selling Author of the Winston Brothers, Knitting in the City, Rugby, and Hypothesis series. She used to spend her days writing federal grant proposals as a biomedical researcher, but now she just writes books. She’s also a full time mom to three diminutive adults, wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja.

Connect with Penny

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

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Review – Black Sheep by Meghan March

Black Sheep: From New York Times bestselling author Meghan March comes a story of untold truths and one man’s redemption in the Dirty Mafia Duet.

Every family has a black sheep.

In the infamous Casso crime family, that black sheep is me—Cannon Freeman.

Except I’m not a free man. I’ve never been free. Not since the day I was born.

I owe my loyalty to my father, Dominic Casso, even if he won’t publicly acknowledge me as his blood.

I’ve never had a reason to go against his wishes…until I met her.

Drew Carson turned my world upside down when she walked into my club looking for a job.

Now, my honor and my life are on the line.

Going against my father’s wishes might buy me a bullet straight from his gun, but black sheep or not, it’s time to make my stand.

She’s worth the fallout.

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BFF K’s Review of Black Sheep

Black Sheep is a dark, foreboding, mind-twisting, delicious, angsty, steamy, suspenseful romance! Meghan March builds the most amazing worlds and this one is centered in the mafia. There’s more to Drew than she is revealing and Cannon doesn’t know why buy he’s absolutely willing to risk everything to discover all her secrets!

As with any Meghan March masterpiece, I can’t say much without spoiling all the delicious goodness! Both the audiobook and the book are incredible. Sometimes you just need a little mysterious mob drama and this book is the boss!

An advance copy of this book was received. The reviewer listened to the audiobook via the Audible Escapes package. Receipt of the advance copy did not impact the content or independence of this review.

 

 

 

About the Author

 

Making the jump from corporate lawyer to romance author was a leap of faith that New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author Meghan March will never regret. With over thirty titles published, she has sold millions of books in nearly a dozen languages to fellow romance-lovers around the world. A nomad at heart, she can currently be found in the woods of the Pacific Northwest, living her happily ever after with her real-life alpha hero.

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Review – On the Corner of Love and Hate by Nina Bocci

 

For fans of Lauren Layne and Kristan Higgins comes a delightfully “fun bit of fluffy entertainment” (Publishers Weekly) in the first book of a charming new series, in which a young woman is forced to help her old friend revamp his image for the upcoming mayoral elections…and discovers that she might not be as immune to his charms as she once thought.

When Emmanuelle Peroni’s father—and current mayor of Hope Lake, Pennsylvania—suggests she help with Cooper Endicott’s campaign, she’s horrified. Cooper, one of her (former) oldest friends, drives her crazy in every way possible. But he’s also her father’s protégé, so Emma reluctantly launches her plan to help him win the local election.

It’s not as easy as it looks. Cooper’s colorful love life is the sticking point for many voters, and his opponent is digging up everything he can from his past. It seems that every time Emma puts out the flames from one scandal, another one flares up. Emma knows that if Cooper wants to win, he needs to keep his nose clean. The only problem? She might just be falling in love with the one person she promised never to pursue: the mayoral candidate himself.

 

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BFF K’s Review – On the Corner of Love and Hate

I’ve been in a serious funk! You know, the kind of funk where you start book after book and can’t finish any of them. The funk where it takes you hours and days to get into a book. I can bust out audiobook after audiobook, because HELLO captive audience on the Interstate. But, I haven’t been able to finish a read book in ages, until On the Corner of Love and Hate by Nina Bocci! This book broke my funk and I couldn’t be more thankful! I was up until almost 2am to finish the story and then went to bed and read 2 chapters in a new story. My funk has ended, hallelujah!

On the Corner of Love and Hate is a sweet story full of tension, romance and so many butterflies. It’s a delightful small-town romance with an engaging cast of characters that draws you in and makes you want to be a part Hope Lake! This story is completely charming and a joy to read!

The banter between the characters and the internal dialogue are both stellar and keep the book moving at a great pace especially from 20% through the end of the book. I’m a bit of a policy/politics nerd and a rule follower. There were a couple of details that bothered me a bit. In “real life,” a few of the circumstances would not have really happened. For instance, the heroine of the story works for a Chamber of Commerce/Economic Development type agency and her dad is the Mayor. That probably wouldn’t happen in real life. I had to let a few of those details go, but I didn’t really mind because I was enjoying the story and the characters so much!

If you’re looking for a wonderful, heart-warming romance filled with lovable characters and a sweet plots, you definitely need to place On the Corner of Love and Hate at the top of your to be read list!

An advance copy of this book was received. Receipt of this copy did not impact the content or independence of this review.

 

About the Author

 

 

Nina Bocci is a USA Today Bestselling novelist, publicist, eternal optimist, unabashed lipgloss enthusiast, constant apologist and a hopeless romanticist. She has too many college degrees that she’s not using and a Lego addiction that she blames on her son.

Review – Pucked Love by Helena Hunting

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Pucked Love, the final sexy and emotional standalone in the NYT bestselling Pucked Series from New York Times bestselling author Helena Hunting, is available NOW!

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As an NHL player, relationships haven’t been my thing. Shrouded in secrecy and speculation, they never last very long. But then that’s what happens when you require an NDA before the first date.

Until Charlene. She’s like a firefly. She’s elusive, and if you catch her she’ll burn bright, but keeping her trapped dulls her fire and dims her beauty.

I caught her. And as much as I might want to keep her, I’ll never put the lid on her jar. Not at the risk of losing her. So I’ve let her set the rules in our relationship.

But as long hidden secrets expose us both, I discover exactly how fragile Charlene is, and how much I need her.

We’re all broken. We’re all messed up. Some more than others. Me more than most.

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BFF K’s Review of Pucked Love

There are few things I love more than seeing a clueless hero get knocked on his butt when he realizes he’s in love with the heroine. And does Darren take a tumble! I’ve read/listened to every book and novella in this series and I’m thrilled with this ending!

I’ll admit, I’ve been perplexed by Darren and Charlene the whole time. To be honest, their relationship just seemed weird. Were they a couple or weren’t they? It seemed like there were, but time and again they behaved in ways that made you question that. They seemed to like one another but were so secretive and closed off. His secrecy and her gosh darn pearls…what was the deal?

Darren and Charlene both had some significant baggage. And, they were really just hauling it around with them for years. It wasn’t until they were forced by both friends and enemies to confront their issues that they were able to come together and figure their s&%# out! It was so fun to take that journey with them. I think Darren and Charlene are one of my favorite couple’s in the series. I’m just so happy with the conclusion of their love story.

If you haven’t read any of the books in the Pucked series, you need to fix that immediately! They’re terrific books and fantastic audiobooks. I can’t recommend them highly enough! This series is fun, sweet, sexy – everything you want in a rom-com series and Pucked Love is the perfect conclusion!

 

 

An advance copy of this book was received. The reviewer listened to the the audiobook with the Audible Romance Package. Receipt of the advance copy did not impact the content or independence of this review.

 

 

Excerpt

You’re turning twenty-six. It’s your champagne birthday, so we need to do something fun.” Violet bounces, making her boobs shake and my mimosa slosh perilously. “It should be themed! We can all wear leather chaps!”

“Could you be any more cliché?” I roll my eyes. “Just to be clear, Darren doesn’t own chaps.”

“Just a ball gag and a mask with no eye holes, according to Alex.”

And we’re back to my sex life. I knew I was getting off so easy.

I wonder if Darren is catching this kind of heat today. I seriously doubt it’s worse than what I’m getting since I don’t think his friends are likely to push his buttons, but I’ll have to ask when I speak to him next. I’m not sure when that will be, either. The message I sent about Gertrude was pretty straightforward and doesn’t necessarily require a response. Maybe I should’ve worded it differently.

Sunny raises her hand, like we’re all still in middle school and she’s waiting her turn to speak. “Wouldn’t a mask with no eyeholes be dangerous? You wouldn’t be able to see where you’re going.” Her eyes widen, and she looks around the room. “And what’s a ball gag?”

I honestly love that Sunny has grown up in this highly overinformed society and still manages to be innocent.

“Yeah, Char, wouldn’t a mask with no eyeholes be dangerous?” Violet props her fist on her chin and smiles. “And please, do explain what a ball gag is.”

“I’m not sure you really want the answer to that, Sunny.” Poppy gives me a look I can’t quite decipher.

Sunny twirls her hair around her finger. “Why not?”

“Where’s the harm in a little bondage-sex education? It’s not like Miller’s ever going to go out and buy either item for her. First of all, Alex would murder him, and secondly, I don’t think that’s Miller’s thing.”

Sunny’s face lights up, and she does jazz hands. “Oh! I think I know what Miller’s thing is!”

Lily grins. “Eating your cookie?”

“He really likes to do that, a lot. When my belly gets too big I’ll have to watch from the mirror.” She gets a faraway look in her eyes. “But he has another thing! Kind of like how you and Randy are always getting it on in bathrooms, except I think it’s a bit more sanitary.”

“And it doesn’t cause thousands of dollars of damage,” Violet adds.

Lily throws her hands up in the air. “That sink was already falling off the wall. It’s not my fault it broke!”

“That was one expensive orgasm,” I say.

“And Randy says it was worth every penny.” Lily’s smile is devious as she bites her knuckle, then turns to Sunny. “Anyway, back to Miller’s thing.”

Sunny wiggles around excitedly in her chair. “So Miller paints my toenails for me.”

“Miller’s thing is painting your toenails?”

“Yes. Well, no. I think he likes my toes.” Her fingers go to her lips, and she looks around the room, her cheeks flushing.

“Say what now?” Violet asks.

”Sometimes he kisses them.” She covers her mouth with her palm and says something unintelligible.

Violet sits forward in her chair. “Hold on a second, does Buck have a foot fetish?”

“Um, I don’t know.” Sunny looks worried now. “Is that weird? Is it, like, mask with no eyeholes kind of weird?”

About the Author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Helena Hunting lives outside of Toronto with her amazing family and her two awesome cats, who think the best place to sleep is her keyboard. Helena writes everything from contemporary romance with all the feels to romantic comedies that will have you laughing until you cry.

 

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Review – I Bet You by Ilsa Madden-Mills

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She’s the one bet I can’t resist…

Wall Street Journal bestselling author Ilsa Madden-Mills returns with an all-new swoon-fest of a novel about what happens when you look beyond labels and take a chance on love.

I Bet You, an all-new sexy college romance standalone is available NOW!

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Sexy Athlete: I bet you…

Penelope Graham: Burn in hell, quarterback.

The late night text is random but Penelope knows exactly who “Sexy Athlete” is. And why she shouldn’t take his wager.

Ryker Voss.

Football star.

Walks on water and God’s gift to women.

Just ask him.

His bet? He promises Penelope he’ll win her the heart of the nerdy guy she’s been crushing on. His plan—good old-fashioned jealousy. Once her crush sees her kissing Ryker, he’ll realize what he’s missing. Sounds legit, right? The only question is…why is Ryker being so nice to her?

Penelope Graham.

Virgin.

Lover of sparkly vampires and calculus.

His mortal enemy.

Penelope knows she shouldn’t trust a jock, but what’s a girl to do when she needs a date to Homecoming? And Ryker’s keeping a secret, another bet, one that could destroy Penelope’s heart forever.

Will the quarterback score the good girl or will his secret mean everyone loses at this game of love?

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BFF K’s Review of I Bet You

I Bet You is a perfect New Adult, college romance! This story gave me similar feels to Madden-Mills previous work, Dirty English, which I LOVED!

Penelope is hard-working, sweet and kind. She has a troubled relationship with her father and she’s mourning the relatively recent loss of her mother. Those experiences have shaped her and given her a skeptical outlook on life and love. And, she’s a bit of a lovable nerd!

Ryker is a football star. His role as the Quarterback and leader of a championship caliber team gets him whatever and whoever he wants. Except Penelope. He’s drawn to her in spite of or because of that fact! He’s a more complicated person than Penelope originally believed and she struggles to match her assumptions of him to the reality. But, of course, their chemistry and attraction to one another is undeniable.

There aren’t a lot of twists and turns or surprises in this book. But, it delivers exactly what you hope for when you pick up a NA, college, football, romance! From start to finish, I Bet You is a sweet and charming coming of age tale. It is a definite one-click for Kindle Unlimited subscribers and all romance lovers!

 

An advance copy of this book was received. Receipt of this copy did not impact the content or independence of this review.

 

 

Excerpt from I Bet You

Penelope

I stand in front of the mirror in the restroom and gasp. Holy moly, I’m a total disaster. Red is on my shirt, my neck, my cheek, and there’s even a dab in my hair. I let out a heavy sigh as I wipe at it with a wet paper towel. At least my hair is auburn and the red will just blend right in. I scrub at the stain on my shirt, but all I end up doing is making a giant wet spot.

“Forget it,” I mutter to myself a few minutes later as I straighten my lopsided messy bun and adjust my glasses. My makeup is faded, and I reach into my apron for a tube of cherry red lipstick then quickly swipe it over my mouth. Like that’s going to improve the situation. I need a makeover and new clothes stat.

I walk out of the restroom and take in Sugar’s Bar and Grill, a restaurant in Magnolia, Mississippi. The dinner rush is over, but a few stragglers will come in, mostly college students. Only a block from campus, Sugar’s has a modern farmhouse feel with galvanized steel light fixtures, pale pine floors, and straight-back metal chairs, but the food…well, that’s what keeps the place hopping. It’s the only restaurant near campus to get anything you want served up with a side of fresh fried green tomatoes. Their menu also features Southern classics, such as chicken and dumplings or macaroni and cheese with bacon sprinkled on top. Just thinking about it makes my stomach rumble. I was so wrapped up in writing during my break that I forgot to eat.

I sigh and head to the football table, where they promptly hand over the money. “Nice doing business with you, boys,” I say before flouncing off, feeling Ryker’s eyes on me the entire time.

What’s his deal with me?

I mean, you’d think he’d want to avoid me because of the article, but it’s as if his mission is to be around me as much as he can. In fact, I’m not even sure he knew who I was before I wrote it since we don’t run in the same circles. I suspect he’s torturing me.

I push him out of my head and walk over to a table that needs bussing, picking up half-empty soda glasses and putting them on my tray. The door chimes, signaling that someone has come in, and I raise my head to see—

Whoa.

I freeze.

Bring out the angels and cue the hallelujah chorus.

Now that’s the kind of man I should be writing sexy scenes about.

Standing at the door is Connor Dimpleshitz—yes, his surname is unfortunate, but his IQ makes up for it. I’ve been crushing on him since our sociology class last semester.

Framed by a golden halo of sunlight as it glints through the windows, I decide he’s what would happen if Albert Einstein and Henry Cavill had a baby. “A hot genius. The perfect unicorn,” I murmur to myself.

I chew on my lip, debating on whether to mosey up to him and say hi or hide.

Hide wins. I know, I’m a little ridiculous, especially since we have calculus together this semester and he’ll obviously see me at some point in class.

But then I’ll have good hair and ketchup-free clothes.

I quickly survey the possibilities for my escape as the hostess seats him in another server’s section. My eyes land on the right side of the restaurant, where I could make a mad dash for the kitchen, but he’s bound to see me darting since I’d have to walk past him. Plus, I want to hang around and watch him without him knowing.

I come to a decision. Wrangling the tray of half-empty sodas I cleared, I quickstep it over to the back left corner, the farthest away from the double doors of the entrance. I maneuver my body into an awkward hunkering position behind a huge potted plant with wide fan-shaped leaves. At least five feet tall with a gnarly brown trunk, the green monster is perfect camouflage.

I peek around a big leaf that’s in dire need of a good dusting,judging by the motes floating around. Feeling paranoid that someone is a witness to my absurdity, I throw a quick glance over my shoulder to make sure no one’s around.

Ryker. Shit.

He’s staring at me from the football table, and there’s a glint in his gaze, as if he’s wondering what I’m doing.

I scowl and stick my tongue out at him. He makes me feel so rebellious and flustered and…excited.

I can’t even stop myself. Ugh.

His expression deepens in amusement, and I grimace, realizing my butt is sticking out. His annoying eyebrow jacks up and says, What the hell are you doing?

With eye telepathy I tell him to mind his own freaking business.

I pointedly turn my back on him and focus on The Unicorn.

A few seconds later, a familiar deep voice resonates from behind me, making me start. “You look a little flustered, Penelope. Spying on someone for your next story, perhaps?”

I freeze. Blink. His voice is husky and lower than before when he was calling me garçon, the tone reminding me of languid summer nights under a starry Southern sky while he gives me deep, passionate kisses—

Good Lord.Stop your daydreaming.Must. Stop. Reading. Romances.

I heave out a sigh and turn around to face Ryker.

What the hell does he want now?

***

“I don’t submit to the Wildcat Weekly anymore,” I say.

I worked for them most of last year, covering the home games and a few random articles. With a dad who was in the NFL, I know a lot about football, but when Sugar’s offered me more hours, I took it.

“No more football stories, huh?”

I shrug, my gaze taking in his chiseled cheekbones, the curve of his full lips, the hint of scruff on his jaw. Dammit, why is he so gorgeous? “What can I say? I covered the most fascinating story last semester—you. Guess I went out on a high note.”

He nods, taking that dig. “I always noticed you at the games.”

I scoff. “I didn’t think girls like me were on your radar.”

“You sat near the third row at the fifty-yard line taking notes at every home game.” His eyes drift over me. “And I didn’t say you were on my radar.”

“Really? Sounds like you did.”

“Trust me, I have more discriminating tastes.” He shrugs.

“Why, how sweet of you.” My Southern accent has thickened, the way it does when I’m sassy. It’s one thing to know he doesn’t like me, but for him to say I’m not up to his standards…well. “Did you pop over here just to be nice?”

He exhales and rakes a hand through his hair, calling attention to the lighter strands that have been bleached by the sun. “Honestly, I’m not sure why I came over here.” A conflicted expression crosses his face as he tugs at his collar. My eyes stare at the myriad of curly blond chest hairs that are poking out from the V-neck of the light blue Oxford he’s wearing with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. “I just wanted to make sure you were okay from the ketchup getting all over you, but everything I’m saying is coming out wrong.”

Oh. This is different. And not what I expected.

“I’m fine, Baby Llama. No need to worry. You can go. Your girlfriends are waiting for you.” I tilt my head back toward the football table.

He doesn’t budge. “Baby Llama?” An amused grin flashes over his face.

I shrug. It’s been my private nickname for him since sophomore year when I stumbled upon him coming out of an upstairs bathroom at the Tau house after a shower with only a white towel wrapped around his trim waist. Some jersey chaser was with him. His hairy chest had both shocked my virgin sensibilities and excited me at the same time. The unruly curls just made him seem more naked, as if I’d seen his cock. Much to my dismay, I’d later dream about rolling around on that bed of golden curls. Seriously, who takes a shower with a chick in the middle of a kegger? Ryker Voss, that’s who. Because he can. And girls do whatever he wants.

But not this one.

I respect the game—even love it—but I don’t fall for football players, especially high and mighty quarterbacks who think they walk on water. My dad was the star player at Waylon twenty years ago, and trust me, I know how they operate. They get what they want and then they walk out, leaving broken hearts everywhere.

“Have you ever seen a real llama?” he asks, continuing our conversation. It’s as if he’s actually trying to be nice. “I saw one at a safari park once. Little bugger tried to eat my hand off when I fed him, but he was cute. Maybe you need a poster of one in your room so when you see it, you’ll think about me. I’ll even sign it for you.”

And there’s the cocky again.

“Buy me one. I’ll throw darts at it.”

“Damn, you never stop.” He huffs out a laugh, his eyes lingering on my neck. “Oh, there’s a bit of ketchup here too,” he says, reaching out to glide his finger across the top of my collar, his knuckles barely brushing against my neck.

The feather-light touch is brief and not sexual, yet my body hums, tendrils of sparks racing over my skin. I suck in a breath and catch his scent, warm and spicy with hints of leather and sandalwood.

He blinks and clears his throat. “Um, I actually have this cleaner stuff that I spray on my practice clothes. It’s a miracle worker. You’re welcome to borrow it. Of course, you’d have to come by the football dorm to pick it up. We could even do laundry together if you wanted?”

He says the words softly, as if they’re nothing,and I’m staring at him full on.

Do our laundry together?

I suspect Ryker Voss is flirting with me, though not well. The pimply-faced checkout boy at Big Star has better lines than this.

Yet…

Something warm grows inside my stomach and then flutters around, the sputtering of newborn butterflies. He is the hottest guy on campus. Still, I remind myself he’s a player, gather my resolve, and shoot those butterflies down.

“You’re being weird, Ryker.”

“Because I’m being nice? Yeah. New year, new start. I want to forget all the bad stuff from last semester.” He pauses. “And the article you wrote.”

“Is that right? Even the part where I said you dishonored the sport and were a disgrace to college players everywhere?”

He stares down at his hands. “I had my reasons for what happened.”

So I heard. He got involved in the fighting to help his friend and fellow teammate Maverick save his disabled sister.

“Ah, well, I did write a follow-up article, but it wasn’t nearly as popular as the first one.”

He shrugs, and somehow, he’s closer now. I stare into his thickly lashed cerulean eyes and blink at the force of them. His irises…God, someone should name a crayon after them.

“So…do you want to do laundry together sometime?”

This again? My mouth parts. “What? Like a date?”

“Yeah.”

I blink rapidly, my brain trying to wrap about this new Ryker. “No. I’m sure you already have jersey chasers lined up outside your dorm vying to do your laundry. I’ve heard they actually beg to rub your shoulders and do your homework. I imagine they even fight to be the one to suck your sweet little toes.” I come to an abrupt halt. Suck his toes? SUCK HIS TOES? OMG. Where did that random comment come from? I don’t have a foot fetish. I blame it on his presence and carry on. “And don’t worry about me—I don’t need your laundry advice. A little ketchup never hurt anyone.”

Determination crosses his face and with a flurry of movement, he drops a small piece of paper onto the tray I’m holding.

I stare down at it. Sexy as Hell Athlete is written in masculine handwriting with a phone number after it. I look back up at him, my eyes tracing the enigmatic half-smile on his face.

“I wrote it down for you earlier and wanted to give it to you after the ketchup thing, but I chickened out.”

Several seconds go by.

“Will you give me yours?” he asks after a few moments of us just standing here.

“My what?”

“Number.” He grins.

I indicate the tray and my obvious impediment. “I don’t have any paper on me.”

“Just tell me. I’ll remember.”

I’m flustered, and that’s the only reason I rattle off my phone number. He grins and repeats it back to me.

He lowers his voice in a conspiratorial way. “So…you’re watching someone, I take it. Anyone I know?”

Feeling bemused by his attention, I shake my head, quickly losing control of this situation.

“For a writer, you seem to be at a loss for words. Do I make you speechless, Penelope?”

I scoff. “No.”

“I’m curious as to what has your attention back here.” He slides in next to me behind the plant, his shoulder brushing against mine. He’s a giant next to my slender frame, and all at once, I feel protected and safe, which is entirely wrong. It’s probably his male pheromones, lulling me into softness before the kill—and damn if it isn’t working. He murmurs something about us hiding together and spying on people, but I’m distracted because my face is up close and personal with the chest hair that pokes out of his shirt. I want to trail my fingers through it and see if it’s as soft as it looks. He smells like alpha male and sex. Hard, passionate sex that makes you orgasm fast and furious.

Not that I have any firsthand knowledge of that, of course, but I have my fantasies.

Gird your loins, Penelope.

Resist the quarterback.

But I’m getting sucked in.

I blame it on the dimple that appears when he smiles. My stomach does that fluttering thing again, and this time, I can’t shoo the butterflies away. I’m weak. I move my eyes up the strong column of his tanned throat to meet his gaze. At least ten seconds go by as we take each other in.

What. Is. Happening?

“You’re pretty,” he murmurs. “Have I ever told you that?”

“We don’t usually talk except for when I take your order.”

His hand reaches up and briefly touches a piece of my hair that’s fallen out of my topknot. He rubs it between his fingers. “Your hair…it’s—”

“Auburn,” I manage, clearing my throat.

“It reminds me of a new penny, the way the amber color catches the light…” His voice trails off, and he bites his bottom lip. “God, that has to be the stupidest thing I’ve ever said.”

“You have worse lines. Tell me, is doing laundry code for sex?” I say, staring up at him. I’m itching to straighten my glasses, a nervous reflex, but my hands are holding the tray.

“I only use lines on jersey chasers. You’re the kind of girl I have to work for.”

“What about your discriminating tastes?”

“Pure bluff. I think we have a real connection, Penelope.” His face is closer now, and I swallow, wondering how we must look to everyone else in the restaurant. I realize that in the process of talking, we’ve backed up to the wall behind the plant, and I figure the only table we’re visible to is the football one, but I don’t tear my eyes away from Ryker to check.

“You smell like rainbows,” he says.

My chest rises. I’m enjoying his full-court press. It’s…intoxicating. “What does a rainbow smell like?”

“Sweet and delicious.”

“It’s the suckers.” His eyes land on my lips, and it almost feels as if he’s touched them. Heat rushes over my skin. “The red ones are my favorite. I think they’re cherry or strawberry or raspberry…definitely not cranberry…that’s disgusting,” I say, rambling, feeling disoriented.

“It’s crazy, but I really want to kiss you right now,” he murmurs.

My eyes drift over his shoulder to where Connor’s table is. I can’t see his face, but I know he’s there, and even though I’m drugged by Ryker’s proximity, I remind myself he’s the one I should kiss.

Not Ryker.

Ryker is a player—just like my dad was.

He watches the direction of my gaze and follows it. “You’ve been watching Dimples hitz, haven’t you?” he says, a frown line appearing on his forehead. “Are you into him?”

My stomach dips. “Why would you say that?”

“Because you hightailed it over here when he walked in and you’ve been hiding ever since. So, I figure he either did you wrong or you’re infatuated, and since I haven’t heard any gossip about you and him, I’m guessing you must have a thing for him.”

Abort! Abort!He knows too much!

Sanity slowly returns to my brain in small increments, and I take a deep breath, orienting myself as questions race through my head. What if he uses my crush against me? Maybe he wants revenge for the article. I don’t know!

Flustered and unsure, my eyes dart around the restaurant, looking for an exit so I don’t have to answer his question.

My gaze lands on the football table he came from, and I notice Archer watching us with focused interest, a calculating look on his face as he whips his eyes from me to Ryker. He leans over and whispers to Blaze, who turns to peer in our direction. I pause, my brain analyzing and decoding. Why is Archer suddenly interested in what Ryker is doing over here with me—especially when there’s a pretty co-ed sitting right next to him, tracing little circles on his bicep?

Yet Archer’s eagle eyes are onus. Watchful.

I notice all three players at the table have suddenly given us their attention, anticipation evident on their faces.

Alarms go off in my head and things start to click into place.

How nice he was to me. How we ‘have a connection’. Yeah, right.

Mortification washes over me.

How could I not have seen it sooner?

God, I am an idiot.I was so distracted…

I’m a bet. A stupid freaking bet.

I feel like someone just punched me in the gut.

My survival instinct tells me to get away from Ryker, and obviously,I could just walk away and hold my head high, but I want to make a point and show those football players they can’t toy with me. I release the tray I’ve been balancing for what seems like days in his direction. The contents of the glasses spill out and crash to the floor, watered-down soda and ice drenching us before dripping down to the floor. The plastic glasses make a horrible clattering noise on the wooden floors, and I imagine most everyone in the restaurant heard it. I don’t look to see their faces. I only glare at Ryker.

He jumps back and stares down at the mess on his khaki pants then looks back at me. “Remind me to never bring up Dimpleshitz again.”

“Stop your games, Ryker.”

His face stills. “What games?”

My teeth snap together. Enough.

 

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About the Author


Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and USA Today best-selling author Ilsa Madden-Mills writes about strong heroines and sexy alpha males that sometimes you just want to slap. She’s best known for her angsty, heartfelt new adult college romances.

A former high school English teacher, she adores all things Pride and Prejudice; Mr. Darcy is her ultimate hero.

She’s also addicted to frothy coffee beverages, Vampire Diaries, and any kind of book featuring unicorns and sword-wielding females.

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Review – Dr. Strange Beard by Penny Reid

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Dr. Strange Beard, an all-new standalone in the bestselling, romantic comedy Winston Brothers Series by Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author Penny Reid, is available NOW!

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Hunches, horse races, and heartbreak

Ten years after Simone Payton broke his heart, all Roscoe Winston wants is a doughnut. He’d also like to forget her entirely, but that’s never going to happen. Roscoe Winston remembers everything—every look, every word, every single unrequited second—and the last thing he needs is another memory of Simone.

Unfortunately, after one chance encounter, Simone keeps popping up everywhere he happens to be . . .

Ten years after Roscoe Winston dropped out of her life, all Simone Payton wants is to exploit him. She’d also like some answers from her former best friend about why he ghosted her, but if she never gets those answers, that’s a-okay. Simone let go of the past a long time ago. Seriously, she has. She totally, totally has. She is definitely not still thinking about Roscoe. Nope. She’s more than happy to forget he exists.

But first, she needs just one teeny-tiny favor . . .

Dr. Strange Beard is a full-length romantic comedy novel, can be read as a stand-alone, and is the fifth book in the USA TODAY bestselling Winston Brothers series.

 

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BFF K’s Review of Dr. Strange Beard

I expect the unexpected from a Penny Reid story and Dr. Strange Beard does not disappoint! Simone and Roscoe’s story is quirky and unconventional. The characters are richly developed and incredibly unique. The storyline is fresh, current and both entertaining and informative. There is always something new to be learned and discovered while I’m immersed in great characters and a little bit of gooey romance on the side!

Roscoe has been a master avoider! His heart and mind can’t bear to remember his childhood best friend turned-love so he just avoids her. For years. Simone has never understood what happened to turn her best friend into a stranger. Perhaps this is the perfect time to find out!

Like all of the stories in the Winston Brothers series, this one is full of idiosyncratic characters, fun facts, interesting plot twists and just enough romance to make your insides mushy! Simone and Roscoe are complex and far from your traditional romance novel Heroine and Hero. But, that doesn’t mean you won’t fall in love with them while they fall in love with one another.

I know that when I pick up a story from Penny Reid, it will be like nothing else I’ve read. Even books in the same series are fresh and different from anything I’ve read before. I always feel so lucky to have the opportunity to read Penny Reid’s stories and Dr. Strange Beard is just another example of why she’s one of my most favorite authors!

 

 

 

 

An advance copy of this book was received. Receipt of this copy did not impact the content or independence of this review.

 

Excerpt Dr. Strange Beard

“Simone, this is not one of our adventures from when we were kids. This is not finding Blithe Tanner’s cat. These men are murderers, drug dealers, thieves.”

“I know.” Boy oh boy, did I know. I didn’t want to be here anymore than he did. I was frightened. Yet allowing Roscoe to be taken on his own hadn’t been an option. “I can handle myself, and I can provide backup for you, if you need it.”

Roscoe gripped my shoulders. “Nothing can happen to you, do you understand?” His words were emphatic, his gaze disoriented, desolate, frantic. “If anything happens to you, I’ll . . .” He swallowed, apparently unable to finish the sentence.

My heart twisted to see him like this. I wished there were some way to show him what I could do, what I was capable of, so he would stop seeing me as a liability.

Well, why can’t you?

“Huh.”

Now there was a thought.

Stepping out of his grip, I walked backward to the other side of the room and took a deep breath. “Okay. Come at me.”

He blinked. “What?”

“I want you to come at me.”

“Simone,” he seethed.

“Come at me, bro.” I did that little movement with my fingers, my palm turned upwards. “Come at me or I’ll start singing again.”

“I’m not doing this.”

“Fine.”Frustrating. “I’ll come at you.”

He stood there, features set, looking raw.

Moving quickly forward, staying light on my feet, I faked right and then went left, hooking him behind the back of his leg, catching his arm to twist behind his back, and sending him to the ground—face-first—with a thud.

I winced as he grunted, my knee at the base of his spine, his arm restrained behind his back. “Sorry! But you wouldn’t listen to me.” Leaning forward, I whispered in his ear, “Are you okay? Did I hurt you?”

Roscoe’s back and shoulders rose and fell with an expansive breath, like he was about to respond, but in the next moment he’d spun his legs to the right, leveraged my knee on his back to throw me off-balance, and slipped his wrist from my hold.

In my defense, my grip had been lax as I was purposefully trying not to injure him.

The next thing I knew, Roscoe had me pinned to the ground, air knocked out of me, him hovering above, and my gun digging into my ribs beneath my shirt. He’d been careful to subdue my legs, likely so he wouldn’t end up with a bruised ballsack.

His stare more probing than angry—which I took as a good sign—he said, “I didn’t teach you that. Where’d you learn that?”

Even though I was still coughing, I smiled and rasped, “Since college, take judo.”

He nodded faintly, his eyes moving between mine, looking concerned. “Are you okay? Did I hurt you?”

“No.” Endeavoring to catch my breath, I said, “I took it easy on you because I didn’t want to hurt you either, but I’m an asset, not a liability.”

“You’re definitely an asset.” Roscoe frowned, his gaze dropping to my mouth. “And a distraction,” he said, his voice rough.

“I’m a distraction?” I asked, my words still breathy.

I bucked, but he held me fast.

“Yes. . .” His stare turned inward. “You are most definitely a distraction.”

Even though I’d had plenty of time to recover and we’d been holding still for close to a minute, I was still breathing hard. This might have been because of my lingering irritation. Or, maybe it was because the length of Roscoe’s lean body was lying on mine. He held my hands on either side of my head, our faces even, his mouth just inches away.

Was it insane that I hoped he kissed me?

Yes?

No?

Let’s go with no.

He gave me his eyes again and I saw something there, a battle. He looked undecided, at war with himself, straining against something I couldn’t see.

“Roscoe?” I whispered.

Roscoe closed his eyes, and I thought he was going to let me go, but in the next second his lips descended, capturing my mouth in a tender kiss.

I moaned.

I kissed him back.

That’s what one does when Roscoe Winston kisses one. Moan and kiss. Repeat. Because not doing so would be a travesty.

His hold on my hands slacked, his fingers seeking and threading with mine. He settled his hips between my legs, his form relaxing. The weight of him was different now, warmer somehow. At least I felt warm. I also felt cherished as his tongue sought mine, again tenderly, stroking, causing my abdomen to twist and tighten into delicious knots.

He broke the kiss and a protest died on my lips as his mouth trailed down my jaw to the sensitive skin of my neck, sucking, licking, savoring me. What had felt warm and cherishing heated, and my hips tilted reflexively as he nibbled on my ear, cradling his rapidly growing erection.

We both gasped as his hips rocked in an answering yet inelegant movement. It felt perfect and essential in the moment.

“Oh God.” His hot breath spilled against my jaw, a ragged sigh. “What are we doing?”

“I don’t know, but don’t stop.”

 

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About the Author

Penny Reid is the Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Winston Brothers and Knitting in the City series. She used to spend her days writing federal grant proposals as a biomedical researcher, but now she just writes books. She’s also a full time mom to three diminutive adults, wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja.

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