Excerpt – Chapter 1 – Hooking Up by Helena Hunting

Hooking Up by Helena Hunting Pre-Order Today!

 

Amalie Whitfield is the picture of a blushing bride during her wedding reception–but for all the wrong reasons. Instead of proclaiming his undying love, her husband can be heard, by Amalie and their guests, getting off with someone else. She has every reason to freak out, and in a moment of insanity, she throws herself at the first hot-blooded male she sees. But he’s not interested in becoming her revenge screw.

Mortified and desperate to escape the post-wedding drama, Amalie decides to go on her honeymoon alone, only to find the man who rejected her also heading to the same tiny island for work. But this time he isn’t holding back. She should know better than to sleep with someone she knows, but she can’t seem to resist him.
They might agree that what happens on the island should stay on the island, but neither one can deny that their attraction is more than just physical.

Filled with hilariously scandalous situations and enough sexual chemistry to power an airplane from New York City to the South Pacific, Hooking Up is the next standalone, laugh-out-loud romantic comedy from Helena Hunting, the New York Times bestselling author of the Pucked series and Shacking Up.

 

Read Chapter 1 of Hooking Up

One

Wedding Unbliss

Amie

This is the happiest day of my life. I allow that thought to roll around in my head, trying to figure out why it doesn’t seem to resonate the way it should. This should be the happiest day of my life. So I’m not exactly certain why the uneasy feeling I associate with cold feet is getting worse rather than dissipating. I’ve already done the hard part; walked down the aisle and said “I do.”

My husband excused himself to go to the bathroom several minutes ago and, based on Armstrong’s itinerary for the day, speeches are supposed to begin promptly at eight-thirty. According to my phone, that’s less than two minutes from now, and he’s not here. The emcee for the evening is awaiting Armstrong’s return before he begins. And then the real party can start. The one where we get to celebrate our commitment to each other as partners for life. As in the rest of my breathing days. Dear God, why does that make my stomach twist?

I sip my white wine. Armstrong pointed out that red is not a good idea with my dress, even though it’s my preference. Besides, I don’t want it to stain my teeth. That would make for bad pictures.

I glance around the hall and see my parents, who are probably celebrating the fact that I didn’t walk down the aisle with a convicted felon. And frankly, so am I. My dating history pre-Armstrong wasn’t fabulous.

The sheer number of people in attendance spikes my anxiety. Speaking in front of all of these people makes me want to drink more, which is a bad idea. Tipsy speeches could lead to saying the wrong thing. I check my phone under the table again. It’s after eight-thirty. The longer Armstrong takes to return, the further behind we’ll get. The music playlist, devised by Armstrong with painstaking efficiency, leaves no room for tardiness. If we don’t start on time I’ll have to take out a song, or possibly two, to compensate for his delay and he’s selected the order in such a way as to make that difficult and that will annoy him. I just want today to be perfect. I want it to be reflective of my decision to marry Armstrong. That I, Amalie Whitfield, can make good choices and am not a disgrace to my family.

“Where the hell is he?” I scan the room and take another small sip of my wine. I should switch to water soon so I don’t end up drunk, especially later, when all of this is over and we can celebrate our lifelong commitment to each other without clothes on. I’m hopeful it will last more than five minutes.

Ruby, my maid of honor and best friend for the past decade, puts a hand on my shoulder. “Would you like Bancroft to find Armstrong?”

Bancroft, or Bane for short, is Ruby’s boyfriend who she’s been living with for several months. Recently I find myself getting a little jealous of how affectionate they still are with each other, even after all this time. Cohabitation hasn’t slowed them down on the sex or their PDA. I have hope that Armstrong and I will be more like Bane and Ruby now that we’ll be sharing the same bed every night.

I’m about to tell Ruby to give him another minute when a low buzz suddenly fills the hall. It sounds like a school PA system. I start to panic—they can’t start the speeches without Armstrong at my side. What’s the point of speeches if the groom isn’t present?

I’m halfway out of my seat, ready to tell the deejay, or whoever is behind the mic, he needs to wait, when a very loud moan echoes through the room. The acoustics are phenomenal in here, it’s why we chose this venue.

I glance at Ruby to make sure I’m not hearing things. Her eyes are wide. The kind of wide associated with shock. The same shock I’m feeling.

Another moan reverberates through the sound system, followed by the words, “Oh, fuuuck.”

A collective gasp ripples through the now-silent crowd. While the words themselves are scandalous among these guests, it’s the voice groaning them that makes me sit up straighter, and simultaneously consider hiding under the table.

“Fuck yeah. Ah, suck it. That’s it. Deep throat it like a good little slut. Fuuuuuccckkkkk.”

My mouth drops and I look to Ruby to ensure I have not completely lost my mind. “Is that—” I don’t finish the sentence. I already know the answer to the question, so it’s pointless to ask. Besides, I’m cut off by yet another loud groan. I clap a hand over my mouth because I’m not sure I’m able to close it, my disbelief is as vast as the ocean.

Ruby’s expression mirrors mine, except hers is incredibly animated since she’s an actress. “Oh my God. Is that Armstrong?” Her words are no more than a whisper, but they sound very much like a scream. Oh no, wait, that’s just Armstrong on the verge of an orgasm. But these sounds are nothing like the ones he makes when he’s in the throes of passion with me.

I clutch Ruby’s hand. The next sound that comes from him is a hybrid between a hyena laugh and a wolf baying at the moon. And every guest at our wedding is hearing the same thing I am. Our wedding. Someone other than me is blowing my husband at my own wedding. My mortification knows no end.

I grab the closest bottle of wine and dump the contents into my glass. Some of it sloshes over the edge and onto the crisp white tablecloth. It doesn’t matter. There’s plenty more where it came from. I chug the glass, then grab Ruby’s.

People lean in and whisper to each other, eyes lift to the speakers. A few people, the ones who are probably just here for the social-ladder-climbing potential, question who it is.

“Is the deejay watching porn?” That comment comes from a table full of mostly drunk singles in their early twenties.

Several eyes shift my way as I carelessly down Ruby’s wine and someone asks where the groom has disappeared to.

The grunts and groans grow terrifyingly louder. This is nothing like what I’m used to in bed with Armstrong. The dirty words aren’t something he ever uses with me, mostly it’s just noises and sometimes a “Right there” or “I’m close,” but that’s about it. He’s never talked to me like he is to the woman currently providing oral pleasure. And I’m very adept at oral. Although with Armstrong it’s very polite, neat oral, with no sounds other than the occasional hum. Slurping is uncivilized and a definite no-no.

I reach past Ruby for the bottle of red since I don’t really give a flying fuck about purple teeth right now. As I sink low in my seat I pour another glass of wine, surveying the people in the ballroom from behind the cover of the centerpiece. The centerpieces are huge and excessive and I don’t like them at all, but at least provides a protective barrier between the guests and my disgust, which I’m certain they must share. He sounds like a wild animal rutting. It is entirely unsexy. I have no idea who he’s getting intimate with, but I’m suddenly very glad it’s not me.

And doesn’t that tell me more about our relationship than it should.

It’s only been about thirty seconds—the most humiliating thirty seconds of my life—before Armstrong comes. How do I know this? Because he says, very clearly, “Keep sucking, baby, I’m coming.”

And “baby,” whoever she is, makes these horrific gurgling noises. It sounds like some form of alien communication. It’s way over the top, and apparently Armstrong is loving it, based on the string of vile profanity that spews from his asshole mouth.

“Holy crap. Is this for real? That was really fast,” Ruby mutters.

I guzzle my glass of wine. Then decide the glass is unnecessary and take a long swig from the bottle before Ruby snatches it away. Wine dribbles down my chin and onto my chest, staining the white satin purple. My dress is ruined. I should be freaking out. But I really don’t care.

“Come on,” Ruby tugs on my hand. “We need to get you out of here while people are still distracted.”

My older brother Pierce and the emcee are standing in the middle of the hall, gesturing wildly to the speakers above us. My other brother, Lawson, is on his way toward the podium in an attempt to do something. I don’t think there’s anything he can do to stop this train wreck from there.

Ruby tugs again, but I’m frozen, still trying to figure out what exactly just happened. Well, I know what’s happened. I just can’t believe it.

The sound of a zipper and the rustle of clothes follows. “Thanks for that, now I’ll be able to last later tonight,” Armstrong says.

“What about me?” A female asks. Her voice is nasally and whiny.

“What about you?”

“Well I helped you, aren’t you going to help me?”

“Didn’t you come with a date?”

“Well, yes, but—” God her voice is familiar. I just can’t figure out where I know it from.

“My cousin, right? He loves my sloppy seconds. Speeches are starting. I gotta get back to my ball and chain.”

Gasps of horror ripple through the room, followed by a few giggles. These people really are assholes.

I think I’m going to throw up. I can’t believe he’s going to come out here and pretend nothing just happened. Like some other woman didn’t just have her lips around his cock. His distinctly average cock. Maybe even slightly below average in length, if I’m being one hundred percent honest.

A door opens and closes.

Lawson turns on the mic behind the podium and taps it, sending screeching feedback through the room, making people cringe. Too bad no one did that a minute ago.

Murmuring grows louder and glances flicker to the head table and then away as Brittany Thorton, a seriously skanky debutante, comes strutting through the doors, using a compact to check her lipstick. She’s made it her mission to attempt to get into the pants of half the eligible men in this room. She’s followed, not five seconds later, by a very smug-looking Armstrong.

“I’m going to kill him.” I grab the closest steak knife, but it appears my hasty, and possibly felonious, plan is unnecessary. My brothers leave their respective posts and stalk toward him. Across the room my mother is gripping my father’s arm, whispering furiously in his ear. Great. Just what I need, additional family drama.

“Oh shit,” Ruby gasps.

I follow her gaze to find Bane converging on Armstrong with my brothers. Bancroft is a tank and he used to play professional rugby. I’ve seen him with his shirt off, he’s built like a superhero and he’ll probably crush Armstrong, or at least break something. Possibly multiple somethings.

For a second I consider that Ruby should probably stop Bane from destroying Armstrong’s pretty, regal face, but then I realize I don’t actually care. In fact, the possibility that he might break Armstrong’s perfectly straight nose fills me with glee. Armstrong’s wellbeing is no longer my concern, it’s more about Bane ending up in prison for murder.

“I hope Armstrong has a good plastic surgeon, he’s going to need it once Bane is done with him.” Ruby echoes my internal hopes and her chair tips as she jumps up. “Come on, let’s get you out of here.” She nods to the right.

I notice my mother and father engaged in a heated discussion with Armstrong’s parents. I really don’t need this right now. Not the drama. Not the humiliation. All I wanted was a nice wedding. Instead I end up with a husband who gets a blow job during our reception—and it’s broadcast to everyone attending.

Ruby urges me into action. “Don’t worry about them. Get your stuff and we’ll get you the hell out of here. I’ll have the limo meet you by the entrance near your bridal suite as soon as I can.”

I nod and stumble unsteadily to my feet, thanks to having consumed the better part of a bottle of wine in the last minute and a half. It’s amazing how ninety seconds can change a person’s entire life.

All hell breaks loose as more men jump in to either pummel or extract Armstrong from the pummeling. I grab my clutch and phone from the table, gather up my stupid, too puffy gown, and head for the bridal suite, where I had prepared for what was supposed to be the most amazing day of my life. And now it’s likely the worst, at least I hope the mortification level I’m experiencing can’t exceed this. I feel like the foulest version of Cinderella ever.

I rush down the empty hall and grab the doorknob as I fumble around in my clutch for the key. I’m surprised when it turns. I thought I’d locked it before we left for the ceremony. Regardless, I need to get away from everyone before I either lose it or commit a felony. Maybe both. Murder in the first. Armstrong will be my victim. And maybe that horrible skank, Brittany.

I thrust the door open and slam it closed behind me, locking it from the inside. Tears threaten to spill over and ruin my makeup. Not that it matters since there’s no way I’m going out there again. I can’t believe my forever lasted less than twelve hours. I can’t believe the man I’m supposed to spend the rest of my life loving couldn’t be faithful to me for even one day. What the hell is wrong with me? With him? I’m as devastated as I am angry and embarrassed. Once I annul this farce of a marriage I’ll become a spinster. I should probably go ahead and adopt six or seven cats tonight.

“I need to get out of this dress,” I say to myself. I reach behind me and pull the bow at the base of my spine. Instead of unfurling, it knots and I only succeed in pulling it tighter. Of course my dress has to be difficult. I growl my annoyance and rush over to my dressing table where my makeup and perfume are scattered from earlier today. Half a mimosa sits unconsumed beside the vase of red roses Armstrong had delivered.

The card read: I can’t wait to spend forever loving you.

What a load of bullshit. I drain the contents of the champagne flute, not caring that the drink is warm and flat. Then I throw the glass, because it feels good and the sound of shattering crystal is satisfying. Next I heave the vase of roses, which explodes impressively against the wall, splattering water and shards of glass across the floor.

I yank out a couple of the drawers and find a pair of scissors. They actually look more like gardening shears and seem rather out of place, but I don’t question it. Instead I reach behind me with my back to the mirror and awkwardly try to cut myself free. It’s not easy with the way I have to crane my neck.

“Goddammit! I need to get out of this stupid dress!” I yell at my reflection. I think I might actually be losing it just a touch now. I stop messing around with the laces in the back and shove the scissors down the front. I nearly nick myself with the blade—they’re a lot sharper than I realized—but that doesn’t slow me down. I start hacking my way through the bodice; layers of satin, lace, and intricate beading sliced apart with every vicious snip.

I just want out of this nightmare.

 

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About the Author

NYT and USA Today bestselling author of PUCKED, Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She’s writes contemporary romance ranging from new adult angst to romantic sports comedy.

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New Release – Chasing Christmas Eve by Jill Shalvis

From New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis comes the next sexy, standalone novel in the Heartbreaker Bay series… Don’t miss the amazing excerpt and giveaway below, and grab your copy today!

 

 

Meet cute…

Run for the hills—temporarily. That’s Colbie Albright’s plan when she flees New York for San Francisco. Wrangling her crazy family by day and writing a bestselling YA fantasy series by night has taken its toll. In short, Colbie’s so over it that she’s under it. She’s also under the waters of a historic San Francisco fountain within an hour of arrival. Fortunately, the guy who fishes Colbie out has her looking forward to Christmas among strangers. But she’s pretty sure Spencer Baldwin won’t be a stranger for long.

Make merry…

Spence’s commitment to hiding from the Ghosts of Relationships Past means he doesn’t have to worry about the powerful—okay, crazy hot—chemistry he’s got with Colbie. Just because she can laugh at anything, especially herself… just because she’s gorgeous and a great listener…just because she “gets” Spencer immediately doesn’t mean he won’t be able to let Colbie go. Does it?

…and hope for a miracle.

Now the clock’s ticking for Colbie and Spence: Two weeks to cut loose. Two weeks to fall hard. Two weeks to figure out how to make this Christmas last a lifetime

 

 

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Excerpt

At the unexpected sight of Spence, Colbie startled hard. How was it that he was the one who needed glasses and yet she’d not seen him standing against the window? “No, I don’t kill a lot of people,” she said cautiously because she was wearing only a towel in front of a strange man. “But I’m happy to make an exception.”

He laughed, a rough rumble that was more than a little contagious but she controlled herself because, hello, she was once again dripping wet before the man who seemed to make her knees forget to hold her up.

“I didn’t mean to scare you,” he said and pushed off the wall to come close.

She froze, but he held up his hands like, I come in peace, and crouched at her feet to scoop up the clothes she hadn’t realized she’d dropped.

Leggings, a long forgiving tee, and the peach silk bra-and-panty set that hadn’t gotten so much as a blink from the TSA guy.

But it got one out of Spence. He also swallowed hard as she snatched them back from him.

“Hold on,” he said and caught her arm, pulling it toward him to look at her bleeding elbow.

“Sit,” he said and gently pushed her down to a weight bench. He vanished into the bathroom and came back out with a first aid kit.

It took him less than two minutes to clean and bandage the scrape. Then, easily balanced at her side on the balls of his feet, he did the same for both her knees, which she hadn’t noticed were also scraped up.

“You must’ve hit the brick coping as you fell in the fountain,” he said and let his thumb slide over the skin just above one bandaged knee.

She shivered, and not from the cold either. “Not going to kiss it better?” she heard herself ask before biting her tongue for running away with her good sense.

She’d raised her younger twin brothers. Scrappy, roughhouse wild animals, the both of them so there’d been plenty of injuries she’d kissed over the years.

But no one had ever kissed hers. Not surprising, since most of her injuries tended to be on the inside, where they didn’t show. Still, she was horrified she’d said anything at all. “I didn’t mean—” She broke off, frozen like a deer in the headlights as Spence slowly lowered his head, brushing his lips over the Band-Aid on her elbow, then her knees.

When he lifted his head, he pushed his glasses higher on his nose, those whiskey eyes warm and amused behind his lenses. “Better?”

 

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About the Author

 

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s sexy contemporary and award-winning books wherever romances are sold and click on the blog button above for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

 

 

 

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Excerpt & New Release – The Corner of Forever & Always by Lia Riley

Title: THE CORNER OF FOREVER AND ALWAYS

Author: Lia Riley

Series: Everland, Georgia #2

On Sale: September 26, 2017

Publisher: Forever

Mass Market: $7.99 USD

eBook: $5.99 USD

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Fairy tales aren’t ever what they seem . . .

Tuesday Knight’s dream of Broadway stardom has flopped, leaving her unemployed and brokenhearted. Ready to quit kissing frogs and make her own happily-ever-after, she takes a job as a princess in Everland, Georgia’s historical amusement park.

Mayor Beau Marino lives an unenchanted existence-all work, no play-which is fine by him. After his marriage ended in disaster, the last thing he wants in his life is more drama. But Everland’s new free spirit has a talent for getting under his starched collar.

When the town’s beloved but bankrupt park might be shut down, Tuesday and Beau face a choice. Can they join forces, save the day-and each other? Or will their fierce battle of wills destroy any chance of a fairy-tale ending?

In the tradition of New York Times bestselling authors Kristan Higgins, Jill Shalvis, and Marina Adair, comes the second book in Lia Riley’s Everland, Georgia series about two city sisters finding love in a small town.

 

 

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Excerpt

“I’m nervous.” The tightness in his tone backed up the muscles bunching near the hinge in his jaw. And the simple, honest admission did something to her that no amount of flirtatious back-and-forth ever would.

“So am I.” She began buttering the dish. “Who taught you how to cook?”

He stirred the chocolate in the double boiler, hands clenching the spoon. “Mama used to say that a man needed to know three things: how to fix a dessert, iron his own shirt and sew a button. That some day future women would thank her.”

  “Smart lady.” Tuesday laughed, grateful for a moment to recalibrate, to slow her racing heart. “I suck at ironing by the way.”

                  Beau gave her a resolute stare. “I make my own starch.”

                  “Stop.” She nearly dropped the dishtowel. “No, you don’t.”

                  “One tablespoon of cornstarch in two cups of water.”

                  Her gaze fixed on the rare smile tugging the corner of his mouth. The revelation was oddly endearing. “I’m not sure whether to be impressed or terrified.”

                  “Your mama didn’t teach you these things?”

                  Tuesday thought. “We grew up in small town Maine.”

                  “Sounds cold.”

                  “So, so cold. So much snow. So much cold. Beautiful though.”

                  “I’d like to check it out, in summer.”

                  “Yeah, good idea. My dad ran a maple sugarbush farm, made homemade maple syrup. Mom was his opposite. He loved being outdoors. She liked being inside. I guess they were opposites,  must have attracted at some point but over time they repelled each other. Pushed one another further and further away. She left when I was in high school. Moved down to New Hampshire where she was from and met a banker. They live in the suburbs. She has a housekeeper now.”

                  “She abandoned your family?”

                  “I. . .you know, I don’t know. My sister thinks so. I was the baby. My mom used to love to style my hair. She could do so many intricate braids. We didn’t have much money but she’d shop at thrift stores and garage sales and find me cute dresses. Sometimes I’d find her sad and I’d try to cheer her up. I’d ask her to brush my hair and she would,  even though sometimes I could hear her sniffling and I knew if I turned around I’d see her crying.”

                  Tears sprang to her eyes and she ground her fists into them. “Wow. Hello! Where’d these come from.” God, way to keep things light. Her inconvenient emotions would probably sink the night.

                  “I’m sorry that happened.”

                  “Me too.” She took a breath. Then another.

“Can we return to the regularly scheduled programming? Chocolate is always the cure.”

                  Beau looked like he might press forward but changed his mind at the last moment. “My mama taught me how to separate yolks from whites. Can I show you?”

                  “I won’t pretend that I have skills. Instruct away.”

                  “Okay, pick an egg, any egg.”

                  She selected a brown one and he stepped behind her, her back heating against his  chest. His arms slid over hers. “Now what you do is give it a tap to open the shell. No! Not so big, just a little one.” His hand engulfed hers, guiding the movement. “Good. That’s real good. Now let the yolk settle in one side. That’s it. Now you start to transfer the egg back and forth and back and forth, let the white run out like that until voila! All you have left is the yolk.”

                  Tuesday gawked at the golden yolk in the shell. “Martha Stewart eat your heart out.”

                  He checked the chocolate and milk, it had melted down into a decadent pool.

                  “Can we eat that as is? I’m sure the souffle is amazing and all but hey, a bowl of melted warm chocolate is going to do me fine.”

                  His laugh was just as decadently rich. “Haven’t you ever heard that good things come to those who wait?”

                  “Sure, by people waiting,” she quipped. “They need something to tell themselves.”

                  That really got him going, his deep laugh rich as sun-warmed molasses. “Let me make you a deal.”

                  “I’m not agreeing until I hear the terms.”

                  “Smart woman. When you have this dessert, you are going to say it’s better than the best sex you’ve ever had.”

                  She set her hands on her hips. “You have a low opinion of my sex life.”

                  “Nah.” He winked. “Just a very high opinion on my soufflé.”

                  She arched a brow. “You’re on.”

                  Standing behind her he continued to help guide her effortlessly through measurements and pouring, mixing and stirring. He didn’t grind on her or get perverted, not that she’d have minded. Chocolate was meant to be an aphrodisiac and she’d never experienced anything so sexily mundane as chatting over nothings in the kitchen with a man who didn’t try to cop a feel. He appreciated and and even savored her for who she was and what she offered which right now was fully dressed fairly polite company.

                  In fifteen minutes he opened the oven and slid the soufflé in.

“And now?”

                  “We wait,” he answered. “Until it’s puffed on top and jiggly in the center.”

                  “You have a way of making cooking sexy.”

                  “Do I? I guess that helps even the field.”

                  “How so?”

                  “You make breathing look sexy.” His gaze lingered on hers for a few beats before he turned and began to wash the dishes.

She stared at the back of his head, his broad shoulders, his narrow hips, blinking in surprise. He seemed wholly unaware that he’d broken her heart and put it back together, refashioned into something new, stronger and brighter.

 

 

Read the Rest of the Everland, Georgia Series

IT HAPPENED ON LOVE STREET, #1

THE CORNER OF FOREVER AND ALWAYS, #2

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About the Author

 

Lia Riley is a contemporary romance author. USA Today describes her as “refreshing” and RT Book Reviews calls her books “sizzling and heartfelt.” She loves her husband, three kids, wandering redwood forests and a perfect pour over coffee. She is 25% sarcastic, 54% optimistic, and 122% bad at math (good thing she writes happy endings for a living). She and her family live mostly in Northern California.

 

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Excerpt – Chasing Christmas Eve by Jill Shalvis

 

Christmas will be here before we know it, let’s get in the spirit!

From New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis comes the next sexy, standalone novel in the Heartbreaker Bay series… Don’t miss the amazing excerpt below, and preorder your copy today!

 

 

 

Meet cute…

Run for the hills—temporarily. That’s Colbie Albright’s plan when she flees New York for San Francisco. Wrangling her crazy family by day and writing a bestselling YA fantasy series by night has taken its toll. In short, Colbie’s so over it that she’s under it. She’s also under the waters of a historic San Francisco fountain within an hour of arrival. Fortunately, the guy who fishes Colbie out has her looking forward to Christmas among strangers. But she’s pretty sure Spencer Baldwin won’t be a stranger for long.

Make merry…

Spence’s commitment to hiding from the Ghosts of Relationships Past means he doesn’t have to worry about the powerful—okay, crazy hot—chemistry he’s got with Colbie. Just because she can laugh at anything, especially herself… just because she’s gorgeous and a great listener…just because she “gets” Spencer immediately doesn’t mean he won’t be able to let Colbie go. Does it?

…and hope for a miracle.

Now the clock’s ticking for Colbie and Spence: Two weeks to cut loose. Two weeks to fall hard. Two weeks to figure out how to make this Christmas last a lifetime

 

 

Pre-Order CHASING CHRISTMAS EVE in ebook or paperback, releasing 9/26/17

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Excerpt from Chasing Christmas Eve

#Motherforker

The elevator doors opened onto the fifth floor, Spence’s private floor. He guided Colbie off the elevator into a lobby with four doors. One led to the stairwell—which Elle came out of with Daisy Duke in tow, perfectly behaved now, of course.

Two more doors led to Spence’s private penthouse apartment and office. The last one opened directly into his gym. They went through that door, and while Elle flicked on lights and hit the alarm pad to enter his code, Spence heard Colbie gasp. He turned back quickly to find her staring in awe out the windows at the sun setting over the bay.

“Wow,” she breathed, still shaking but taking the time to eye the 180-degree vista of the city as she hugged herself in his jacket. He knew that from where she stood, she could see the rest of Cow Hollow, and past that, Fort Mason Park, the Marina Green, and the bay.

And he thought it was pretty wow too. He loved this view. It was one of the many reasons he’d bought the building in the first place.

I wouldn’t be able to work out to this view,” she said.

“Never gets old for me either.” Spence pulled out his phone to crank up the heat from his app before remembering he hadn’t dried the phone out yet. He had to actually use the control panel on the wall before going to her at the window. When he was stuck in his own head and unable to get anywhere with his work, he liked to stare out at the city that was more home to him than anywhere else had ever been.

“I love it,” she breathed. “I feel like from right here I can see all the way to the ends of the Earth.”

He knew what she meant. Out beyond the bay stretched the Pacific Ocean in all its deep-blue majesticness, clear to the gently curved horizon.

“I could so write to this view,” she went on in a hushed, amazed voice and turned to Elle, who was working out her thumbs—on her phone. “This is such a great building. I saw the pub downstairs. And the coffee shop and that cute reclaimed-wood furniture place. What else is there?”

“More shops and businesses,” Elle said, her thumbs still going, Daisy Duke at her side falling asleep standing up. “An eclectic mix on the first and second floors. Residential apartments on three and four.”

“I don’t suppose you have any apartments available for a short-term rental?” Colbie asked hopefully. “I’m only going to be here until Christmas Eve but would happily pay for the whole month to stay here.”

“Sorry,” Elle said. “But no.”

Spence met Elle’s gaze. She was the mother figure he didn’t need, the bossy-as-hell sister he’d never asked for, and his favorite and most important employee, but she was also a colossal pain in his ass. “What Elle means,” he said, “is that she doesn’t know of anything offhand but I’m sure she could check it out for you.”

“Hmm,” Elle said and nudged a trembling Colbie toward the shower area. “The restroom’s through that door. Fresh towels under the sink. Go get warmed up.”

Colbie, apparently too cold to further argue, nodded. She shut the door behind herself and they heard the lock click into place.

Cute, sexy, and smart.

“Are you kidding me?” Elle asked him, keeping her voice low.

“What?”

“Don’t ‘what’ me. You know what. You’re in the middle of saving the world right now for Clarissa, remember? So please tell me what the hell you think you’re doing.”

They heard the shower come on from inside the bathroom. “Look,” he said, trying to not picture Colbie stripping out of her clothes. “I got her into this mess. This is the least I can do.”

“No,” she said. “The least you could do is give her a hundred bucks for her trouble and send her on her way.”

“Cold, Elle, even for you.”

“Did you even get a last name on her? Or what she does for a living? Did you vet her in any way?”

“For what?” he asked. “I’m the one who ruined her day, not the other way around.”

“And how about the way she reacted to you even thinking about touching her phone? Did you notice that little red flag?”

“Of course. And I wouldn’t have let a stranger touch my phone either,” he said. “Hell, I barely let you touch it.”

“You know what I’m getting at,” she said. “Maybe she has something to hide, Spence.”

Or maybe she was in trouble. She’d denied that but he couldn’t help but think of her sweet eyes and the haunted depths he’d seen in them. “She needs a place to stay. Give her the empty furnished apartment I’m holding on the third floor.”

“We don’t do short-term rentals here. By your own decree.”

“We do today.”

There was a beat of silence. Since Elle was never silent, it had to be shock.

“You hold that open for a reason,” she finally said.

“Yeah, and so far Eddie’s refused to come in off the streets, hasn’t he?” Yet another problem he hadn’t been able to solve, which tightened the ever-present knot in his chest. “Make the rent cheap because she’s a struggling writer—she probably doesn’t have much money.”

Elle’s mouth fell open. “She’s a writer? Are you kidding me?”

“Not a reporter,” he said. “A fiction writer.”

Elle just continued to stare at him. “Are you even listening to yourself?”

“Look, I got her knocked into the fountain and it’s butt-ass cold out there, and she rolled with it.” He remembered Colbie’s throaty laugh and it made him smile even now. “She’d been a really good sport about it.”

“Maybe she had a good reason,” Elle said. “Maybe she was trying to get close to you. Hell, maybe she is a reporter and the whole thing’s a setup.”

“Come on,” he said. “She couldn’t have known Daisy Duke would send her sprawling into the fountain. This happened on my property—I’m making it right, end of story.”

“Fine.” Elle pulled out her phone, which had gone off four thousand times in the past four minutes. “But I’d like to remind your stubborn ass that you’ve not been yourself since this whole media thing. You need to be more cautious about connecting with a stranger who appeared basically out of nowhere.”

“She’s not running a con on me.”

“I’m not saying she is, but we both know you’ve been screwed over, twice if we’re counting, and you haven’t come to terms with the betrayal yet. So just be careful, okay? That’s all I’m saying.” She pointed at him. “And remember, you’re the smartest person in this building and probably the smartest person I’ll ever meet. Use your powers for good.”

He had to laugh. “Ditto.”

She blew out a sigh, gave him a quick hug, and then she and Daisy Duke were gone.

Spence let his smile slip as he walked across the room to check the thermostat again. He’d heard what Elle had to say, and he got it. He was still stinging, and he wasn’t himself. Added to that was the project for Clarissa. The unfinished project. It was critical work, more important than anything he’d ever done, and it was kicking his ass. He was on a deadline and could feel it breathing down his neck every single day that passed. He could afford no break in his concentration and efforts.

A problem now that 99 percent of his brain had short-circuited over the thought of Colbie naked in his shower…

He heard the water go off and he pictured her wrapping herself in his towel. Dripping wet… Shoving his hands in his pickets, he moved to the window and looked out at the view that had so impressed her. Once upon a time he couldn’t have imagined living in a place like this, much less owning it. But he’d conquered the shitty hand that life had dealt him.

And he’d do it again if he had to.

The bathroom door opened, and even better than h is fantasy, Colbie emerged from a cloud of steam, her willowy body wrapped in one of his towels, her exposed skin gleaming and dewy damp. Her hair had been piled on top of her head, but wavy strands had escaped, clinging to her neck and shoulders.

He couldn’t tear his gaze off of her. There was just something so uncalculated about her, so…natural and easy. She was like a beacon to him, which was both crazy and more than a little terrifying.

Clearly not seeing him against the wall, she moved with an effortless grace to the suitcase she’d left at the door. Bending low enough to give him a near heart attack, she rifled through her things, mumbling to herself that she should’ve researched more about how to be a normal person instead of how to kill someone with an everyday object.

“Do you kill a lot of people, then?” Spence asked.

“Motherforker!” she said with a startled squeak of surprise, whirling to face him, almost losing her grip on the towel.

Five days a week, Spence worked out hard in this gym. Mostly to outrun his demons, but the upside was he could run miles without losing his breath. But he lost his breath now.

And that wasn’t his body’s only reaction.

 

 

 

 

 

And don’t miss the previous books in Jill Shalvis’s Heartbreaker Bay Series, SWEET LITTLE LIES, THE TROUBLE WITH MISTLETOE, ONE SNOWY NIGHT and ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE, now available! Grab your copies HERE!

 

About the Author

 

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s sexy contemporary and award-winning books wherever romances are sold and click on the blog button above for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

 

 

 

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Review – Keeper by Amy Daws

 

 

They were best friends until they became roommates.

 

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They were best friends until they became roommates.

Booker Harris has spent the last several years pushing himself to become the best goalkeeper in the Championship League. Tired of living in the shadows of his headline-splashing brothers, he has finally carved a path of his own.

As a child, Poppy McAdams was content in her own little make-believe world, until the boy next door with dimples and pained eyes came barreling into her makeshift fort demanding all her attention.

Best friends for most of their lives, everything changes when Poppy abruptly leaves London for University.

Now she is back, and gone is the awkward girl from Booker’s youth. She has been replaced by a stunning woman with secrets. Secrets that Booker is desperate to know.

Sharing a bedroom wall with your best friend from childhood quickly turns to anything but sweet and innocent.

 

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BFF K’s Review of Keeper

 

I was so excited to dive into Keeper and the book lived up to my every expectation! The Harris Brothers Series is full of smart, funny, sexy boys and the women who meet them stride for stride. Booker and Poppy are no exception. Their story is filled with witty banter, emotional discoveries and lots of romance.

Booker is the baby of the Harris clan. He’s stretching his wings and exerting his independence. But, he’s reluctant to reach too far beyond his comfort zone. He’s thrilled when his childhood BFF returns to London. Though Booker’s still in the dark about her abrupt and semi-secretive exit from his life, he’s thrilled to have her back. And he’s ecstatic to offer up a room in his new flat. When Poppy blows into the new digs looking smoking hot and all grown up, his feelings are suddenly way beyond BFF!

Poppy is conflicted. On one hand, she’s thrilled to be back in London and back in the orbit of her bestie, Booker. On the other hand, there’s an attraction that she fears is one-sided and uncontrollable. The story unfolds with the stress and tension of this back and forth dilemma!

Keeper can turn a Sports Romance rookie into a full-fledged fanatic. And, if you already cheer for a great Sports Romance, Keeper will solidify a top spot on your list of fan favorites!

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

 

 

Excerpt from Keeper

Locking secret eyes with Belle, I quickly unwrap my purple ice treat and pop it in my mouth. I lean across the counter so I’m only a foot away from Booker, who’s now watching my lips. “So, Booker”—I suck hard and then take a nibble, my tongue swiping out to catch the syrupy liquid on my lips—“Do you know anyone who might be good for me?”

“Good for you for what?” Booker asks, his face devoid of any humour as he stares at my mouth with heat in his eyes.

“For a date. I thought maybe a teammate of yours might be good because they are familiar with Tower Park. They could show me around the stadium after the wedding. Give me a tour.” I wink.

His face turns red. “You’re not taking one of my fucking teammates to my brother’s wedding.”

“Why not?” I ask innocently and then plunge the lolly back in my mouth, going deeper this time.

He frowns as he watches my lips. “Because if you want a bloody tour of Tower Park, I can give you one.”

Rolling my eyes, I reply, “Fine, he doesn’t have to give me a tour. But I’m out of touch with people since I left, and you have a gaggle of teammates, Book. Surely you know someone who wouldn’t hate to spend the evening with me.”

“Roan DeWalt would be fun for her!” Vi interjects, snapping everyone’s attention to her as she whisks something in a bowl.

Tanner pipes up next. “Over my dead body he’s coming to my wedding. I’ve finally stopped wishing dismemberment on the prat.”

“It was only a suggestion!” Vi peals, looking perplexed. “It’s just that I set him up with our cousin Alice and she loved him! Roan is a South African dreamboat.” She waggles her eyebrows at me and I can’t help but smile. 

Suddenly, Booker stands, his stool screeching on the marble floor as he pushes it away. “Not Roan. Not any Bethnal players. None of them would work. You’re not their type.”

I hear Vi suck in a breath of air, and my cheeks heat with embarrassment. “Why not?” My jaw is tight with anger as my ice lolly drips, forgotten between my two fingers.

His fists clench on the counter. “Because I know you, Poppy. You’re not the kind of girl they’d go for.”

The way he’s acting gets right up my nose. I wanted to make him jealous, but that’s not what’s happening. He’s insinuating I’m not good enough for his mates, as if they’d never go for anyone like me. He doesn’t even know me as an adult. He’s pigeonholing me into the Poppy he thought he used to know. It’s complete and utter shit! “If you actually think I’m not good enough for your team—”

“They’re not good enough for you!” he shouts, interrupting me as he leans over the counter to get in my face. Booker eyes me hard, clearly not amused by my request. “No teammates, Pop. Not Roan. Not anyone. Got it?” His shoulders rise and fall as he pins me with the most aggressive face I’ve ever seen on him.

I can tell the moment he snaps out of it because his neck turns red and he looks around at his family, who are all staring at us with their mouths open. He shoves two hands through his hair as he turns on his heel and strides out the back door and into the garden.

It’s quiet in the kitchen as everyone sits there gobsmacked. 

“Wrong button,” Tanner quips and Belle elbows him in the ribs. I turn my red face to look at her and she nods with reassurance.

“I hope you girls know what you’re doing,” Vi says. Then she wipes her hands off and tosses the tea towel in front of me as she scurries out after Booker.

Meet the other Harris Brothers!

 

Meet the Harris TWINS  in Challenge & Endurance

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Challenge

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Endurance

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About the Author

 

 

Amy Daws is a lover of all things British and her London-based love stories bring the incredible city to life on every page. Read all about hot British men, hilarious heroines, and unforgettable and original ensemble casts that pull out all the feels. For more of Amy’s work, visit www.amydawsauthor.com

 

 

 

 

 

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New Release – Most Valuable Playboy by Lauren Blakely

 

 

From #1 NYT Bestselling author Lauren Blakely, comes the swoony and oh-so-romantic title…MOST VALUABLE PLAYBOY.

In MOST VALUABLE PLAYBOY, the NFL starting quarterback Cooper Armstrong needs his best friend’s sister to pretend to be his girlfriend. Violet is willing, but neither one expects their boyfriend-girlfriend scrimmage to turn into a full-contact sport so quickly. Find out if their fake play will become the real deal or if they can turn back the clock to when they were just friends in this sexy new standalone sports romance!

Now available on all retailers! Get your copy delivered now!

 

 

✮✮✮ MOST VALUABLE PLAYBOY is here! Grab your copy today! ✮✮✮

Hands down, my favorite thing in the world is to score. Touchdowns.

Don’t let the fact that I’m the leading pick in the Most Valuable Playboy charity auction fool you. These days, I’m only a player on the field. I’ve kept my pants zipped all season long — and it has been long — because nothing’s more important than leading my team to victory every week. Except maybe escaping from the team owner’s recently-widowed and handsy-as-hell sister who’s dead set on winning more than a date with me.

Enter Violet and a well-placed Hail Mary.

She’s my best friend’s sister with a smile as sweet as cherry pie and a mind that runs quicker than the 40-yard-dash. After Violet saves the day with the highest bid, I don’t even give her a two-minute warning before I kiss her in front of the whole crowd and then announce that she’s my girlfriend. Which would be fine except my agent tells me we have to keep up the act while he’s negotiating my contract.

Violet takes one for the team and pretends to be mine, but our boyfriend-girlfriend scrimmage quickly turns into a full contact sport, and I want it to go into overtime. The problem is — I’ve been riding the bench for years.

How can a guy like me, who finally has a chance to prove his worth on the field, convince the girl she’s most valuable to his heart?

MOST VALUABLE PLAYBOY is a brand new standalone sports romance written in the guy’s POV!

 

 

 Amazon ✦ Amazon UK ✦ Audible ✦ Audio on Amazon

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10% of the proceeds from the release day sales along with a portion of pre-orders across all retailers of MOST VALUABLE PLAYBOY will be given to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund and Houston Humane Society to help those in need from the natural disaster.

 

 

 

 


✦The audiobook is narrated by Zachary Webber! Grab your copy today! http://adbl.co/2gbiHT2


 

Excerpt from Most Valuable Playboy

Always a bridesmaid.

No Action Armstrong.

Ball Cap Boy.

Mr. Clean.

The Unused Insurance Plan.

Oh wait. Here’s one more, a personal fave.

Best Butt in the NFL.

Those are just some of the nicknames I’ve been given in the last few years. They don’t bug me. Not one bit. They’ve all been true, especially that last one. You should see my ass. You can bounce a quarter off my cheeks.

Here’s the thing—when you spend the first three years of your career warming the bench for the best player in the league, you can’t get a chip on your shoulder. You have to stay sharp and be ready for that moment when you swap out a ball cap for a helmet and get your pants dirty.

My time has finally come this season, and so far, we’re winning.

But tonight isn’t about what happens between the opening kickoff and the end of the fourth quarter.

Tonight is about the one game I’ve always dominated.

For the last few years, I’ve been the highest ticket item in the players’ annual charity auction, and I can’t help enjoying that. Because the guy I’ve backed up has been called a lot of things—a legend, the greatest ever, a titan of the game—but the one I most enjoy is “second-best-looking quarterback on the Renegades.”

Hey, I didn’t give him that name. The media did, deciding the dude who play second-string—me—had a prettier face. Before this season, I’d seen a grand total of 120 minutes of playing time in my first three years, but I’ve taken home the top honors in the charity auction, where some of the loveliest ladies come to bid on the players they want to take out for a night on the town.

Ah, the memories of those dates have warmed my heart, and other parts, on the sidelines when the games were dull. Evenings in limos, testing the strength of the leather backseat, nights in hotels that lasted way past dawn, mutually and blissfully ignoring the no physical contact between the winner and the player rule.

Yeah, I’ve enjoyed the fuck out of being paraded on stage in front of hundreds of women, their slender arms lifted in the air, raising their bids higher on me than all the other guys. It’s been my one chance to shine, even to stand out.

Those days are behind me, though, now that I’m finally leading the team down the field every single Sunday. I still expect to rake in top dollar for the charity I gladly support, but this time, I won’t be living it up and letting loose after hours. I have a reputation to protect, and a season on the line.

The trouble is, the woman who has her eyes on me at the Most Valuable Playboy charity auction wants my full enchilada, and it’s not on the menu anymore.

Guess that means it’s time to call an audible on the line of scrimmage.

 

 

 

 

 

“Lauren Blakely is a master at writing sexy, engaging stories that draw you in and make you fall in love with her characters. A definite go-to author for me!”
NYT Bestselling Author Melanie Moreland

 

 

“Lauren Blakely never ceases to amaze me with her sense of humor, her talent to write fabulous heroes and heroines and to pull an A game with a male POV. Most Valuable Playboy is a real treasure.
Becca at Little Read Reading Hood

 

 

 

 

“The slow burn, the teasing, the kisses, OH THE KISSES!!! MOST VALUABLE PLAYBOY exceeded all of my expectations. Lauren Blakely has a knack for making a reader fall for her characters.”
Jess at Jo and Isa Love Books Blog

 

Add it to Goodreads here!

 

 

 

Giveaway

✮✮✮ Enter to win this amazing MOST VALUABLE PLAYBOY GIVEAWAY! ✮✮✮

Lauren’s Most Valuable Playboy Team Spirit Prize Package Giveaway! This bundle is valued at $450 and includes a Coach Handbag ($300 value) and $150 Stub Hub Gift Card to use for tickets to the game, your favorite concert, or theater performance.

http://laurenblakely.com/valuable-playboy-giveaway/

 

About the Author

A #1 New York Times Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that’s hot, sweet and sexy. She lives in California with her family and has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than eighty times, and she’s sold more than 2 million books. In September she’ll release MOST VALUABLE PLAYBOY, a standalone sports romance. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter! laurenblakely.com/newsletter

 

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Excerpt – Shift by Staci Hart

Shift by Staci Hart

Publishing Date: August 24th, 2017

Genre: Contemporary Romance


Even the gods cannot betray the will of the stars.

It’s been a hundred years since she’s warmed my bed, a hundred years spent waiting for her. Now we’ll compete again in a game that matters little to me. But my prize is far greater than a token to be paid for a favor — I want her.

And for the first time in a very long time, I have the chance to keep her.

Because now the ground has shifted, tilted in my favor, and with her footing unsteady, she will fall.

I will catch her.

This time, I won’t let go.

 

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Excerpt

ARES

The city stretched up like quartz against the fading sunlight, the colors of the sky deepening with every second that slipped by. Ares’s eyes were on the horizon, slashed with the darkening skyscrapers at the southern tip of Manhattan, but his mind was a thousand years behind him, and her face filled the space in between.

They were Mars and Venus. Man and woman. Ares and Aphrodite. The bond between them was unbreakable, undeniable, no matter how she had tried to reject it, tried to stay away. She’d never quite succeeded. She never would.

Even the gods could not betray the will of the stars.

It had been a hundred years since she warmed his bed, a hundred years of waiting for her. Now they would compete again in a game that mattered little to him. His prize was far greater than a token to be paid for a favor — he wanted her. And for the first time in a very long time, he had a chance to keep her.

Adonis had been in the way far too long — even murdering the human hadn’t removed him from the equation — but now the ground had shifted, tilted in Ares’s favor, and with Aphrodite’s footing unsteady, she would fall.

He would catch her.

This time, he wouldn’t let go.

Ares had already chosen his human player, and soon he would make his way down to the throng of gods who waited for the game to begin. She would be there. She would make her choice, and the fire between them would ignite as it always did — first with a spark, then a flicker. Then, she would be consumed, and so would he.

It would be the same as it ever was, and he was so starved for her, his body tensed from head to heart to heel in anticipation of what was to come.

From a hundred years down to a few days, the distance traveled worth every second of longing, and with every moment that passed, the stars moved closer to alignment and to his favor. And there was nothing she could do to fight it.

He’d see to that.

About the Author

Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life — a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can’t forget that. She’s also been a mom, with three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She’s been a wife, though she’s certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She’s also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she’s been drinking whiskey.

From roots in Houston to a seven year stint in Southern California, Staci and her family ended up settling somewhere in between and equally north, in Denver. They are new enough that snow is still magical. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, sleeping, gaming, or designing graphics.

 

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New Release – Ready to Run by Lauren Layne

Named Best Book of the Month by Amazon and iBooks 
READY TO RUN
I Do, I Don’t #1
Lauren Layne
Releasing Aug 22, 2017
Loveswept

The Bachelor meets The Runaway Bride in this addictive romance novel about a reality TV producer falling for her would-be star: a Montana heartthrob who wants nothing to do with the show.

Jordan Carpenter thinks she’s finally found the perfect candidate for Jilted, a new dating show about runaway grooms: Luke Elliott, a playboy firefighter who’s left not one but three brides at the altar. The only problem? Luke refuses to answer Jordan’s emails or return her calls. Which is how she ends up on a flight to Montana to recruit him in person. It’s not Manhattan but at least the locals in Lucky Hollow seem friendly . . . except for Luke, who’s more intense—and way hotter—than the slick womanizer Jordan expected.

Eager to put the past behind him, Luke has zero intention of following this gorgeous, fast-talking city girl back to New York. But before he can send her packing, Jordan’s everywhere: at his favorite bar, the county fair, even his exes’ book club. Annoyingly, everyone in Lucky Hollow seems to like her—and deep down, she’s starting to grow on him too. But the more he fights her constant pestering, the more Luke finds himself wishing that Jordan would kick off her high heels and make herself comfortable in his arms.


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Excerpt from Ready to Run

Damn. Charlie hadn’t been lying about the hot blonde.

The woman walking straight toward him was all tight jeans, high heels, and confidence. And hot. Very, very hot.

Charlie muttered something admiring under his breath, and Luke’s gaze flicked to the man beside the woman. Tried to place him. Couldn’t.

Not too many guys around here who wore light-purple shirts and white pants with the same easy comfort that Lucky Hollow residents wore jeans and flannel.

No doubt about it—neither was from around here. Not by a long shot.

The man was a half step behind the woman, and Luke assessed that the woman was calling the shots.

His eyes narrowed as he realized that she hadn’t once wavered in her approach.

She knew what she was after:

Him.

She got closer and Luke saw that the face matched the body. Wide blue eyes, full lips, sassy shoulder-length blond hair that was just tousled enough to make a man wonder how it had gotten that way—to want to be the one to muss it.

Her gaze flicked over him, and Charlie whistled and muttered under his breath. “She just checked you out, man.”

She had indeed, but Luke was far from flattered. It hadn’t been the assessment of a woman checking out a man so much as a predator evaluating its prey.

As though she was evaluating him for . . . something.

Blondie stopped in front of him, and the second her blue eyes locked on his, Luke felt a little jolt of awareness and was irrationally annoyed. It had been a long time since he’d been quite so aware of a woman.

Once, he’d enjoyed the feeling—sexual chemistry was almost the perfect combination of pain and pleasure. A subtle punch in the gut that you wanted to experience again and again.

These days, though, he was having a hard time getting past the pain part. The shitty parts had outweighed the good parts just one time too many. Now he mostly settled for casual hookups with a divorcée a few towns over who was even less interested in com-mitment than Luke was.

He had zero use for attraction to a pretty, bold woman in high heels.

Luke noticed that for a sheer moment she had a slightly off-balance look, as though she too had felt the annoying zip of arousal when their eyes met, but she recovered quick-ly.

Pasting a sunny, generic smile on her face, she stuck out her right hand. “Luke Elliott. I’m Jordan Carpenter. This is my colleague, Simon Nash.”

Good manners had him setting down his equipment and extending his own right hand toward hers even as his brain caught on her name. Familiar, and . . .

Shit. Shit!

He managed to stop from jerking his hand back, but just barely. Instead, he gritted his teeth, gave her hand a perfunctory shake, and then fixed her with a glare. “You’re wasting your time, Ms. Carpenter. And mine.”

Blue eyes narrowed. “Aha. So you did get my emails.”

Those. The voicemails. The letters.

“Sure,” he said with a nod, shoving his hands in his pockets. “Just like I suspect you got the message that I didn’t want to be a part of your show.”

Charlie looked from the woman to Luke and back again. “Show?”

Ryan ambled over, his shit-eating grin telling Luke that this damn woman had already spilled the beans on why she was here. “Luke’s gonna be a national heartthrob.”

“International,” said the blond guy in the purple shirt.

Jordan Carpenter didn’t look at her companion, but all three firefighters did.

The other man gave the sort of easy smile that probably had him making friends easily. Luke didn’t want a new friend.

Especially not one who wanted to use his shitty romantic past for the sake of TV ratings.

 

Series Pre-Order Links

Series Pre-Order Links

RUNAWAY GROOM (Book 2)

JUST RUN WITH IT (Book 3)

 

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About the Author

Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of romantic comedies. She lives in New York City with her husband.

 

A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career. She signed with her agent in 2012, and her first book was published in summer of 2013. Since then, she’s written over two dozen books, hitting the USA TODAYNew York Times, iBooks, and Amazon bestseller lists.
 

 

 

Excerpt – Drunk Dial by Penelope Ward

 

 

From New York Times bestselling author Penelope Ward, comes a new, sexy standalone novel.

It seemed like a good idea at the time. Look up Landon Roderick, that boy from childhood whom I’d never been able to forget—even though he so easily forgot about me—and call him.

Then again, anything sounds like a good idea when you’ve had a little too much wine before bed, right? It was supposed to be just a quick, meaningless, prank call. Instead, I went off on him—unloading thirteen years of pent-up emotions.

I didn’t think he’d call me back.

I certainly could never have anticipated the weeks of sexually tense phone conversations that followed as I got to know the man he’d become.

Turned out, Landon had never really forgotten me, either. That special connection we had was still there. I opened up to him, but there were also things about me he didn’t know. And he had his own secrets.

Over the countless hours we talked on the phone, I wondered what would happen if we actually saw each other. One night, I did something impulsive again. Only this time, I went to the airport and booked a ticket to California. We were about to find out if one phone call could bring two lost souls together or if my drunk dial really was all just a big mistake.

A complete STANDALONE.

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Excerpt from Drunk Dial

Copyright © 2017

By Penelope Ward

After that evening, I hadn’t heard back from him for a few days.

Then, one night, a text came in from the same phone number I recognized as Landon’s. It was the first time he’d texted me.

I looked down to find he’d sent a photo.

I gasped.

It was a heavily tatted man set against the backdrop of the ocean at sunset. Oh, my. It was him—a selfie.

Fuck. Me. He was beautiful.

I wouldn’t have even known it was Landon were it not for the blue eyes I recognized instantly. The shaggy, caramel hair I remembered from the past was now a darker shade of brown and shorter, cropped closer to his head. His arms and his chest were inked, his body so perfect that if I squinted, it almost resembled carved stone.

I couldn’t stop looking at him. My eyes wanted nothing more than to explore the ridges and valleys of his stunning body.

Was this a cruel joke?

This was not Landon!

But, it was.

With my thumb and middle finger, I kept zooming in and out, examining the details of the ink across his chest and on his arms. There was really nothing sexier than a guy with perfect arms and a full sleeve tattoo.

Even though his lips seemed fuller than I recalled, they still curved into a familiar grin that oozed confidence. The eyes and that smile were the only traces of the boy I remembered. I wished I could’ve leapt through the screen to smell him, touch him.

“Hi, Landon,” I whispered, for a brief moment talking to the boy inside, not the man in front of me.

This Landon was the polar opposite of the Ivy League yuppie image previously in my head. The only thing the man pictured might have majored in was badassery. He looked like a rockstar, a rule breaker, displaying a sense of arousing danger—someone who must have had women from all walks of life drooling over him for the sheer fact that either they couldn’t have him or shouldn’t have him. It suddenly became clear why, as he’d alluded to, a woman might have been begging him for sex. That made me wonder if he had any secret tattoos in spots I wasn’t allowed to see.

God.

A fire was burning inside of me, and I knew it was my crush exploding into a full-blown obsession.

A self-conscious feeling came over me. If I was scared to show him a picture of myself before, now I was really hesitant.

The message that went along with the photo simply read:

Now show me you.

 

About the Author

 

Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today, and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling author of thirteen novels. With over a million books sold, her titles have placed on the New York Times Bestseller list sixteen times. She is the proud mother of a beautiful 12-year-old girl with autism (the inspiration for the character Callie in Gemini) and a 10-year-old boy. Penelope, her husband, and kids reside in Rhode Island.

 

Connect with Penelope Ward

Facebook Fan Group | Facebook | Website |Twitter | Instagram

 

Standalones from Penelope Ward:

Mack Daddy
Amazon     iTunes     B&N     Kobo

Sins of Sevin
Amazon     iTunes     B&N     Kobo

Neighbor Dearest

Amazon iBooks Nook Kobo

RoomHate

Amazon US Amazon UK iBooks Kobo Nook

Stepbrother Dearest

Amazon B&N iTunes kobo

Gemini

Amazon B&N iTunes kobo

Jake Undone (Jake #1)

Amazon B&N iTunes kobo

My Skylar

Amazon B&N iTunes kobo

Jake Understood (Jake #2)

Amazon B&N iTunes kobo

Other books from Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward

Playboy Pilot

Amazon US     Amazon UK     Amazon Paperback     iBooks     Nook     Kobo     Google Play

Cocky Bastard

Amazon US Amazon UK iBooks Kobo B&N

Stuck-Up Suit

Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon Paperback iBooks B&N Kobo

 

New Release – I Don’t Regret You by Jodie Larson

 

Regrets.

We all have them.

Like the Aqua Net hairstyles back in the 80’s, the 90’s grunge fad, or the person you lost your virginity to as a teen because you were “totally in love”.

I have a few of my own. Specifically, marrying my rebound guy but staying married because I was too weak to fight for my own happiness.

He took me down and kept me there for far too long.

I’m done. Done living with regrets and done not pursuing what makes me happy.

Then you came along and showed me that I was worth more than who I had become.

You are not my regret.

 

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Excerpt

Before I have the chance to turn, Henry reaches down and places his hands on my shoulders. I don’t jump, which surprises me. Maybe the wine loosened me up more than I thought.

“You must be in nerd heaven.” He trails his fingers across my upper back as he rounds the couch to sit next to me. Without thinking, I lean my head against his shoulder and turn my nose toward his neck. There’s that smell I adore; crisp and masculine. Like an autumn breeze. I need to figure out what cologne he uses since I still owe him a Christmas present. Is it too forward to buy a guy cologne if you’re not sure what your relationship status is?

“I’m having a lot of WTF moments. And somehow, I’ve forgotten the first few seasons, so I decided to start from the beginning.”

He sits forward and tilts my head so I can see him better. “When did you eat last?”

Good question. “What time is it?”

Henry raises a brow. “Um, just after ten.”

I start to laugh. “About twelve hours ago.” Not sure why that’s funny. I think the wine is making me loopy. It would explain so much, though.

My laughter earns me an eye roll as he picks up a bag I didn’t see him set down and disappears into the kitchen. Do I stay in here and watch the slaughter or go into the kitchen and watch the chef work his magic?

These are tough choices.

I empty the bottle into my glass, which only fills it halfway.

Hmm, looks like I was thirstier than I thought.

I try standing from the couch, only to fall back again. Well, there’s my answer.

By the time the mad slaughter is finished, Henry rounds the couch again, holding two plates heaped with the most delicious smelling pasta.

“How’d you know?” I eagerly take a plate from him, along with the offered fork, and dive into the cheesy goodness. Creamy yet hearty, especially with the giant chunks of bacon. My stomach grumbles again, this time in appreciation.

“Know what? That you wanted pasta?” I nod my head as I slurp a noodle past my lips. “Call it intuition.”

“Your ESPN is working wonderfully.” He laughs and I can feel it all the way through my chest.

“Don’t you mean ESP?”

“Isn’t that what I said?”

Henry takes his thumb and runs it over my mouth, grabbing a dribble of sauce collected in the corner. All thoughts leave as he drags it over my lips, letting me taste the combined saltiness of the sauce and his skin.

It’s hot and feels almost sinful. I let my tongue run along the pad of his thumb before wrapping my lips around it. Henry’s eyes dilate, turning darker, more primal. When he licks his lips, I almost drop my plate to devour him instead.

I’m navigating foreign ground. I don’t know if I’ve ever had this sort of a connection with another man before. Henry knows what I want without asking. And he’s such a great listener. He never gives that bored look I seem to find on most guys when I’m telling a story or venting my frustrations. Probably how he knew I wanted pasta tonight. He knew I was stressed and it’s my favorite dish in moments like these.

“Thank you for tonight.” I break our spell and focus on my fork as I push the food around.

“We haven’t done anything yet.” Yet. I turn to find him smiling at me. “Dinner was the beginning. Tonight is about getting you used to this new normal. Whatever you need, I’m here for you.”

He’s not real. No way. Must be a figment of my imagination.

“How have you stayed single all this time?” The words slipped out of my mouth before I could stop them.

Bless his heart, he doesn’t laugh at my obvious word vomit. Only tucks some hair behind my ear while giving me one of those special smiles.

“I was waiting for the right woman to come along.”

 

 

About the Author

Jodie Larson is a wife and mother to four beautiful girls, making their home in northern Minnesota along the shore of Lake Superior. When she isn’t running around to various activities or working her regular job, you can find her sitting in her favorite spot reading her new favorite book or camped out somewhere quiet trying to write her next manuscript. She’s addicted to reading (just ask her kids or husband) and loves talking books even more so with her friends. She’s also a lover of all things romance and happily ever afters, whether in movies or in books, as show in her extensive collection of both.

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