ARC Review & Excerpt: SCORE by Victoria Denault

Score_LaunchWeekBlitz

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: SCORE

Author: Victoria Denault

Series: San Francisco Thunder, #1

On Sale: May 9, 2017

Publisher: Forever

Trade Paperback: $14.99 USD

eBook: $3.99 USD

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He’s used to winning, but now he’s playing with his heart.

Jude Braddock. Hockey god. That’s how everyone sees him now. But when they were teenagers, Zoey knew him as the kid who didn’t have enough nerve to make a move on their one and only disastrous date. Seems he doesn’t have that problem anymore, though. According to the rumors, he’s with a different woman every night. After a rough divorce, the last thing Zoey needs is more heartbreak. But Jude’s cocky, playful attitude is mighty hard to resist.

Jude knows he isn’t built for long-term relationships. But he’s getting sick of women pounding on his door in the middle of the night looking for a rematch. When Zoey comes back into his life, it’s like fate has given him a second chance. He’ll do anything to make her happy again. Is this what love looks like? He has no idea. All he knows for sure is that this time, he’s playing for keeps.

 

San Francisco Thunder

“Denault launches a new series, featuring the bad boys of the San Francisco Thunder, with gusto, passion and heaps of tension and sensual detail.  Several genre-defying complications makes the story feel unexpectedly fresh.  Moreover, the consistent reinforcement of the female characters’ strength and individuality turns this book into something unique, and provides plenty of incentive for fans of sport romances to seek out this new series without delay.” –RT Book Reviews

“Sexy, sassy, and a perfect new adult read for fans who love hockey and romance, not necessarily in that order. An excellent new sports series launch.” –Library Journal

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Excerpt 

Still staring at my blank phone screen, I stumble toward the door and of course I walk straight into someone. Of course. Because to- day is going to be shitty in every possible way. Luckily, I manage to avoid getting chai latte on either of us; it barely spills over the lid and only dribbles onto my hand.

“I’m so sorry!” I say at the exact same time she does, and I look up to see a familiar face staring back, but I can’t place it.

She blinks azure eyes and then her whole face lights up. “Zoey?

Zoey Quinlin? Oh my God!”

She’s hugging me before I realize what’s happening. I wrap the hand not covered in latte around her back and return the embrace. She pulls back, still holding my shoulders, and smiles. “Holy crap! It’s been over ten years! Oh my God.” She pauses and glances around before adding in a softer voice, “It’s Dixie. Dixie Braddock. You used to babysit me at my family’s summer cottage in Maine. You were friends with my brother, Jude.”

“Holy shit! Dixie Braddock?” I can’t believe it. The last time I saw her she was thirteen. Wheat hair; pink, suntanned skin; freckles across her nose and chronically scabbed-up knees from trying to keep up with her older sisters and brother, who were all daredevils on their bikes and skateboards and surfboards. Babysitting them—well, the girls, anyway—for the two years I lived in Maine was a highlight of my summers. And so was seeing their brother. Shit, I hadn’t thought of Jude Braddock in a while. I find myself smiling now that I am.

“You live in San Fran?” she questions as she takes my elbow and leads me over to the counter and hands me a napkin for my latte- soaked hand.

“Yeah. Stayed local after college,” I explain as I put down the latte and wipe my hand. “And you live here?”

She nods, her sleek blond bob moving like a curtain around her face. She looks close to the tiny thing I babysat but much more refined and beautiful now. I do the math: she’s only twenty-four, but she looks more put together than any twenty-four-year-old I’ve known.

“Yeah. I went to school for sports media, then interned with the San Francisco Thunder hockey team, and they hired me full- time this year.” Her eyes dart around, and her voice drops again. “Jude plays for them, so I use my mom’s last name, Wynn, so no one thinks he got me the job. He didn’t.”

“Jude is in San Francisco?” I don’t know why I felt the need to say that with such breathless shock. I knew he made the NHL, but I had thought he was playing in Milwaukee. That’s where he was last time I Googled him, which was three years ago, before I married Adam.

“Yeah. Got traded a couple years ago,” Dixie explains. “So how’s your family? Where’s your dad preaching now?”

“He’s retired. Mom and Dad are in Sacramento,” I explain. “My brother, Morgan, is a teacher here in San Francisco.”

“Morgan!” She laughs and her cheeks turn a little pink. “Sadie, Winnie and I had such a crush on your brother when we were little. Remember we used to keep begging you to invite him over when you were watching us?”

I nod and can’t help but smile back. Yeah, that memory hasn’t faded. The Braddock girls wanted my brother to come over, but I never invited him. Not because he was gay, which I already knew at that point, but because if Morgan was around, he would tease me about gawking at Jude, which I always did if he happened to come home before Mr. and Mrs. Braddock’s date night ended.

Dixie glances at her phone in her hand, and I realize we both must have been looking at our screens when we collided. She frowns. “I have to go. I have a meeting at the arena in twenty.” She puts a hand on my arm again. “But I would love to catch up with you, and I know Winnie and Sadie would too. They’re going to be in town this weekend. Would you be able to do brunch?”

“Yeah, I can do brunch,” I reply and am shocked at how excited I am at her suggestion. I haven’t really done much of anything social since the separation. I kind of lost touch with a lot of my friends after marrying Adam and adopted his circle of friends. And they all promptly orphaned me after the separation. I didn’t care much because I didn’t feel up to social interaction, but suddenly this seems like a pleasant distraction from my reality. The Braddock family was one of my favorite parts of my childhood.

“Amazing!”  Dixie almost squeals.  “How about  tomorrow.  Eleven?”

I nod. “Where?”

“You pick.”

“MKT?” I blurt out because it’s in my hotel and I’m too flustered to think of anything else. To be honest, I don’t even know what they serve for brunch.

“Great! Sadie loves that place, and she’s normally impossible to please.” She hugs me again. “See you tomorrow! Winnie and Sadie are going to be so excited!”

And then, before I can even lift my hand to wave, she’s back out the door. She never even got a coffee, but she doesn’t seem to notice. I’m more dumbfounded and confused than I was from the phone call with Minerva. The Braddocks are here. Well, at least Jude and Dixie are here. In San Francisco. Where I live. When the hell did that happen?

I look around the coffee shop to make sure there’s no one else from my past lurking around. A teacher, a neighbor, another sister of an old unconsummated love. Although Jude was my only unrequited love, but he did have three sisters. Whom I will be having brunch with tomorrow. Crazy!

I slip out of Peet’s and concentrate on the clicking of my heels as I make my way back over to my office. I finally take a sip of my jostled latte. It’s barely warm but the caffeine still manages to clear my head a little. Not enough that eagle-eye Marti doesn’t notice something is up.

“Everything okay?” she wants to know as she stands at her desk, gathering things she needs for her day and placing them in her bag. “You look more out of it than you did before the coffee.”

“I ran into someone I haven’t seen in a long time,” I murmur, and for some reason Jude’s seventeen-year-old face floats through my head, not Dixie’s from this morning. “The last time I saw her was in Maine eleven years ago, so it was surprising.”

“Wow.” Marti takes a break from filling her Michael Kors satchel with listing flyers. “Small world, huh? I love when that happens. Unless it’s someone I hate. Was it someone you hate?”

“No. Not at all,” I reply and drop down gently into my seat. “She and her sisters were sweethearts. Seems like they still are. I’ll definitely find out, because I’m having brunch with them tomorrow.”

“Cool.” Marti isn’t paying attention anymore. Her eyes are focused across the room on Parker McDavid, who is the owner of our company. He’s midforties, tall with a dad bod that is oddly at- tractive, probably because he covers it in perfectly tailored designer clothes. His dark hair is graying in all the right places, like George Clooney’s, and his eyes are warm and his smile is kind. But he’s an astute businessman who expects a lot from his Realtors, and Marti is constantly trying to impress him. I am too, if I’m being honest, but I’m new. She’s not new, but she’s still hungry.

“I’m going to tell Parker about the deal I just closed, and then I’m off for a condo showing,” Marti explains and barely even waves good-bye as she hustles toward the kitchen Parker just disappeared into for his morning croissant and English Breakfast tea.

I open my laptop and pull up my email, determined to keep my mind focused on work. I need to send a follow-up email regarding the potential Haight listing, but my brain is bouncing from Adam to Dixie.

One future encounter I’m dreading—confronting Adam—and one I’m looking forward to—seeing the Braddock sisters. But the one that isn’t destined to happen is the one that fills me with excitement I haven’t felt in a long time—the potential that since I’m meeting three Braddock siblings I might also run into the fourth: Jude.

 

My Review 

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Holy crap! I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVED this book. Victoria Denault has been on my radar and TBR for about a year now, but I never got some time in my reading schedule until now. And honestly, I could just kick myself for not making time for her sooner. Victoria’s writing style is amazing. She likes to describe her writing style as a cross between Christina Lauren and Nicholas Sparks. And while I agree with that description wholeheartedly, I think she is all that and more. She reminds me a lot of Susan Elizabeth Phillips (with a dash of Tessa Bailey thrown in for that yummy, hot, steam factor!) with her world building, details, humor, and wit. I’ve already placed this series right next to SEP’s Chicago Stars series. Yes, it’s that good! 

So yes, the cover of this book looks like your average contemporary sports romance novel, but it ended up being so much more. The characters are deep and complex with fully fleshed out personalities, feelings, and a broad range of emotions. I found myself lingering reading the last 20 pages of this book because I wasn’t ready to let go of this world and these characters. Jude, Zoey, and the gang have definitely ended up being some of my favorite characters ever.

I loved the pacing in this book of how Jude and Zoey got to know each other again with the second chance that life gave them. Their slow burn romance was one of the hottest ones that I’ve read in awhile. I loved how even though they knew each other from when they were teenagers, they still took the time to just be with each other before taking their relationship to the next level. They built everything on their rekindled friendship. Basically this book was everything that I LOVE about romance. I can’t recommend this book and author enough. I can’t wait to go through her backlist and hopefully that will tide me over until SLAMMED. I cannot wait until I get that book in my hands! It’s shot to the top of my most anticipated of 2017 list.

* I received a copy of this book via the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

XOXO, 

-M 

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Victoria Denault

 

Victoria Denault loves long walks on the beach, cinnamon dolce lattes and writing angst-filled romance. She lives in L.A. but grew up in Montreal, which is why she is fluent in English, French and hockey.

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Excerpt Reveal: Preservation by Kate Canterbary

Some things have to fall apart before they can be put back together.
 
PRESERVATION
The Walshes #7
Kate Canterbary
Releasing May 23, 2017
Vesper Press


Two lonely hearts.
Just once, she’d like
to be someone’s first choice.
She’s strong-willed
and spunky, but she’s left picking up the pieces from her ex’s lies and
manipulations, and daydreaming about taking a scalpel to his scrotum.
Flying under the radar
is what he does best.
He’s laid-back and
loyal, but he wants the most off-limits woman in his world, and nothing will
ever make that a reality.
An arrangement of
mutual benefit.
Two months, four
dates.
Five, if things go
well.
Five at the most.
But possibly six.
Definitely no more
than six dates.
Only the appearance of
a romantic relationship is required, and they expect nothing more from their
time together. There will be none of those
benefits involved.
One wild weekend.
 
After waking up in bed
together—very naked and even more hungover—the terms and conditions of their
arrangement no longer apply. Now they’re faced with something riskier than
exposing their fake relationship:
letting go of the past and zipping up the future.
Some things have to
fall apart before they can be put back together.
PRESERVATION excerpt – © 2017, Kate Canterbary
 
Riley pointed at the plate
between us. “These are my favorite pretzel bites in the city. Try
some.”
I shot him a sharp look.
“Are you just trying to get me in a good mood?” I asked. “I did eat lunch today.”
“Oh yeah?” he
asked, dipping two pretzels in the accompanying sauce. “What did you have?
Based on you yelling at me about noticing your shoes, I’d say it was an iced
venti skinny latte.”
“Almonds,” I
replied. And an iced venti skinny latte but I wasn’t copping to that just yet.
Riley tried to fight a
laugh, and failed. “Almonds?” he repeated.
“Chocolate covered
almonds, yes.” I folded my arms across my chest. “It was an
appropriate amount of calories, fat, protein, and carbs.”
He shook his head and ate
another pretzel. “I don’t want to live in a world where a few
almonds—chocolate or otherwise—are lunch.” He pointed to the plate and
pushed his beer toward me. “Eat. Drink. Please.” 
I glared at the pilsner
and pretzels. I hated being told what to do. Just fucking hated it. But then my
stomach growled—goddamn it—and Riley
shot me a pointed glance.
“People think that a
rumbling stomach is the sign of hunger,” I said, reaching for his glass. I
drained the beer and then selected a pretzel for dipping. “It is not.”
Riley gazed at me, his
expression flat. It gave me a moment to study him while choosing another
pretzel. He was wearing jeans, a tailored shirt with the cuffs rolled up to his
elbows, and a pinstriped vest, and his hair was a wreck. It looked like he’d
been tugging the dark strands in every conceivable direction. His eyes were
rimmed with a bit of red and his lids heavy, as if he’d been rubbing them or
hadn’t gotten much sleep. Perhaps both. There was a small notebook beside his
phone, and a mechanical pencil tucked into the spiral binding.
And he was still more
attractive than I knew how to handle. Even tired and irritable, and ordering me
to eat his pretzels and drink his beer, he was hot as fuck. I bit into another
pretzel and offered him a small smile.
“Would you say the
chip on your shoulder is massive or epic?” he asked. There was no hint of
amusement in his tone, and he was staring at me with more ice than I’d believed
he could muster. It didn’t feel like we were sniping at each other anymore.
“It might be semantics to you but I’m trying to get a feel for what I’m
dealing with here.”
But then one of his big
hands found my leg under the table. He squeezed and rubbed his thumb along the
hollow of my knee, and I started to believe I’d been all wrong about this man.
There was the player and there was the overgrown kid, but there was so much
more than that. 

Kate Canterbary doesn’t have it all figured out, but this is what she knows for sure: spicy-ass salsa and tequila solve most problems, living on the ocean–Pacific or Atlantic–is the closest place to perfection, and writing smart, smutty stories is a better than any amount of chocolate. She started out reporting for an indie arts and entertainment newspaper back when people still read newspapers, and she has been writing and surreptitiously interviewing people—be careful sitting down next to her on an airplane—ever since. Kate lives on the water in New England with Mr. Canterbary and the Little Baby Canterbary, and when she isn’t writing sexy architects, she’s scheduling her days around the region’s best food trucks.

Start The Walshes series for ONLY $0.99

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ARC Review & Dream Cast: TOO HARD TO FORGET by Tessa Bailey

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The third book in New York Times bestselling author Tessa Bailey’s Romancing the Clarksons series about four siblings on a cross-country road trip, perfect for fans of Gena Showalter and Julie James!

This time, she’s calling the shots.

Peggy Clarkson is returning to her alma mater with one goal in mind: confront Elliott Brooks, the man who ruined her for all others, and remind him of what he’s been missing. Even after three years, seeing him again is like a punch in the gut, but Peggy’s determined to stick to her plan. Maybe then, once she has the upper hand, she’ll finally be able to move on.

In the years since Peggy left Cincinnati, Elliott has kept his focus on football. No distractions and no complications. But when Peggy walks back onto his practice field and into his life, he knows she could unravel everything in his carefully controlled world. Because the girl who was hard to forget is now a woman impossible to resist.

 

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Buy The Book Here

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My Review & Thoughts

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Lawdt! Tessa Bailey has done it again! She’s gone in and ripped my heart out and then put it back together in the most beautiful way. I’m already a huge fan of fan of Tessa’s but this series has renewed my love for her even more. The Romancing The Clarkson series follows the four Clarkson siblings as they drive cross country from California to New York to fulfill their mothers last dying wish for her children.

TOO HARD TO FORGET is the third book in the series and one of the most teased books by Tessa herself.  Peggy Clarkson is the youngest sibling and the one with the most mysterious love life. Peggy and the remaining Clarkson gang make a pit stop in Cincinnati where Peggy attended college so that she can confront the man who broke her heart. Football coach Elliot Brooks hasn’t seen Peggy in three years and is shocked when she pops back into his life once again. Elliot is closed off and going through the motions in his life. He might be successful on the field, but he’s miserable in his own dark life.

I can’t tell you how emotional this book was. Full of plenty of feels. I loved how the story was told in dual POV and past and present so that we could see the real emotional pull between Peggy and Elliot. I’m usually not a huge fan of second chance romances because I always feel like I’m missing out on something that has happened between the couple off the page. But Tessa has a wonderful way of telling a complete and whole story so that it doesn’t even feel like a second chance romance. And of course Tessa always knows how to bring the steam and the sex scenes. She’s earned the nickname Queen B for having the most amazing smexy scenes, emotional, and fleshed out characters and wild good times.

And because she’s so good at leaving you wanting more, I absolutely cannot wait until September to read Belmont and Sage’s book. My grabby hands need it STAT!! Bravo Tessa for writing yet another amazing book to add to your portfolio of amazing writing!

*I received a copy of this book via the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way effects my thoughts and opinions.

XOXO, 

-M 

 

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Author Dream Casting

Too Hot to Handle

Dream Cast

Tessa Bailey

For the record, this is SO HARD. For the Romancing the Clarksons series especially, I have a specific image in my mind for each character and none of them match an actor/actress perfectly. So I am going to take Elsa’s advice and Let it Go (let go of the images in my head, that is). Enough rambling! Here is my dream cast (the main characters, anyway) for TOO HARD TO FORGET!

 

Jon Hamm

Coach Elliott Brooks: Jon Hamm. Now, I’m not talking about suave Don Draper. If Jon is going to pull off my hard-ass football coach, he’s going to need some scruff and a bad attitude. There was an episode of Mad Men where Jon went juuuuust the right amount of dominant and that’s what makes him my Elliott.

cu

Peggy Clarkson: Ashley Greene. This one is a little easier. I think Ashley Greene is incredibly beautiful and she could also pull off Peggy’s devil-may-care flirtatious presence, while still guarding secrets with her eyes.

Kyler

Kyler Tate: Christian McCaffrey. Okay, so he’s not an actor. He plays for the Broncos. But he has the perfect sexy charmer smile and a ton of charisma. I would pay for his acting classes myself!

Nickelodeon's 26th Annual Kids' Choice Awards - Red Carpet

Alice Brooks: Kiernan Shipka. Might as well stick with a Mad Men theme, right? She already played Don Draper’s daughter (Sally Draper) and can exude angst like nobody’s business, so she’s a great choice for Alice!

 

About The Author

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Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans, and laptop, and drove cross-country to New York City in under four days. Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend, and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the work force as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention.

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

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

 

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Cover Reveal: PRESERVATION by Kate Canterbary

Some things have to fall apart before they can be put back together.
 
PRESERVATION
The Walshes #7
Kate Canterbary
Releasing May 23, 2017
Vesper Press


Two lonely hearts.
Just once, she’d like
to be someone’s first choice.
She’s strong-willed
and spunky, but she’s left picking up the pieces from her ex’s lies and
manipulations, and daydreaming about taking a scalpel to his scrotum.
Flying under the radar
is what he does best.
He’s laid-back and
loyal, but he wants the most off-limits woman in his world, and nothing will
ever make that a reality.
An arrangement of
mutual benefit.
Two months, four
dates.
Five, if things go
well.
Five at the most.
But possibly six.
Definitely no more
than six dates.
Only the appearance of
a romantic relationship is required, and they expect nothing more from their
time together. There will be none of those
benefits involved.
One wild weekend.
 
After waking up in bed
together—very naked and even more hungover—the terms and conditions of their
arrangement no longer apply. Now they’re faced with something riskier than
exposing their fake relationship:
letting go of the past and zipping up the future.
Some things have to
fall apart before they can be put back together.

 

Kate Canterbary doesn’t have it all figured out, but this is what she knows for sure: spicy-ass salsa and tequila solve most problems, living on the ocean–Pacific or Atlantic–is the closest place to perfection, and writing smart, smutty stories is a better than any amount of chocolate. She started out reporting for an indie arts and entertainment newspaper back when people still read newspapers, and she has been writing and surreptitiously interviewing people—be careful sitting down next to her on an airplane—ever since. Kate lives on the water in New England with Mr. Canterbary and the Little Baby Canterbary, and when she isn’t writing sexy architects, she’s scheduling her days around the region’s best food trucks.

Start The Walshes series for ONLY $0.99

ARC Review: Ain’t He Precious by Juliette Poe

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Ain't-He-Precious-FOR WEB-newWelcome to Whynot, North Carolina, population 3,872. It has one stoplight, one bar, and the one-and-only Trixie Mancinkus.

Eleven years ago, Trixie graduated Harvard Law, turned down a job offer from one of the most prestigious law firms in Boston, and headed home to Whynot to open her own firm. Not only did she leave behind the big city, but she also left her boyfriend of three years. And just so we’re clear… that would be me.

So what am I doing in Whynot at this very moment? It seems Trixie needs help with a legal case and for some insane reason, she called on me for assistance. I’ve been in town for five minutes, and I’m every bit as out of place as I feel. Trixie is all sweet, southern curves to my tailored suits and high-priced haircuts. It’s a culture clash of north versus south and about the only thing we have in common is our physical attraction to each other.

But I have a new motto since coming to Whynot: When life hands you lemons, all you need is a little sex and sweet tea to make things better.

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SecondChance

 

Excerpt

Over lettuce wraps, I let her vent more about her brother but I only let this go on during the appetizer. Once our entrees arrive, I insist we change the subject. She’s not calming down, only getting more worked up, and diversion has always worked best with Trixie.

“Raleigh seems to be a nice town,” I say conversationally in an effort to get her relaxed.

She rolls her eyes at me because as much as I know how to “handle” her when her temper is spiked, she recognizes the fact that I am indeed handling her. Apparently, she finds it adorable. She cuts a piece of her orange chicken and gives in to my attempt to switch the conversation. “It really is. It’s spread out so you don’t have that overwhelming big-city feel, but you have all the luxuries a big city affords like museums, professional sports, fine dining, etcetera.”

“Overwhelming is an interesting choice of words,” I observe. “You didn’t feel that way in Boston, did you?”

I’m surprised when her cheeks turn a bit red. Her voice is reluctant when she admits, “Yeah… it was a bit too much for me.”

My mouth hangs open as I stare at her. How could I not know that? We had made plans to live in Boston, and there was a time when she was completely on board.

“I’m sorry,” she blurts out. “I know what you’re thinking… Why would I have even considered all those plans we’d made if I felt that way?”

“Got to admit… this is a bit surprising to hear.”

Trixie puts her fork down and levels her gaze on me. “Ry… I loved you. And I loved Cambridge. It was small and well… comfortable. It wasn’t small like Whynot, but it reminded me of home a bit. But honestly, I was only considering staying there in Boston because of you. I didn’t like it at all. Too many people. Too much concrete and glass. Too much noise. It’s just not me.”

“You should have said something a lot earlier than you did,” I reprimand her quietly. I can’t help feeling a bit angry over this revelation, because who knows what would have happened had we had some honest discussions about where we wanted to go that could suit both of us.

“Would it have changed anything?” she asks me bluntly. “You were set on Boston. You wanted that job at Hayes Lockamy. You worked your ass off at Harvard and the clerkships to get that job offer. It was everything to you.”

“It wasn’t everything,” I tell her sharply.

“Maybe not,” she retorts. “But it clearly meant more than me. As I recall, I asked you to come to Whynot to practice, and I got a resounding ‘no’ to that offer.”

“You sprung that on me at literally the last minute, Trixie,” I say angrily. “After I’d accepted the job offer at Hayes Lockamy. You didn’t give me any time to process any of it.”

“And you didn’t bother to try to talk me into staying,” she snaps.

“Seriously, Trix,” I say in exasperation. “I’ve been here two days, and I’ve watched you in your element. You were born to live here. This is where you’re supposed to be. Being a small-town lawyer in Whynot surrounded by your close-knit, if not nutty, family is what brings you joy. Are you seriously trying to infer that you would have left all of this to stay in Boston with me if I’d just tried to talk you into staying?”

“No, what I’m saying,” she sneers at me as she leans across the table but I don’t miss the light sheen of tears in her eyes, “is that you and I clearly weren’t meant to be, and we’re both better off for making the choices we did.”

Now that hits me hard, right in the middle of my chest, and I have to resist the urge to rub my knuckles over my breastbone to ease the pain.

Trixie merely pushes up from her chair, grabs her purse, and practically runs out of the restaurant.

“Shit,” I mutter as I stand up. I grab my wallet, take out enough money to cover the meal and tip, and toss it down on the table.

I jet out of the restaurant, scan the area, and see Trixie walking quickly toward her car. I wouldn’t put it past her to jump in it and drive off without me, so I break into a fast trot to catch up with her. My hand latches onto her elbow just as she reaches her car, and I spin her to face me.

“What the hell, Trix?” I ask her with frustration, anger, and a little bit of self-loathing that I let the conversation get so out of hand. I’ve always been the mild-mannered one between the two of us, knowing how to deftly control and sidestep her temper so it doesn’t get the better of her.

Or me.

I brace, expect her to rail and rant some more. Instead, she launches herself right at me, making a tiny hop to throw her arms around my neck. Her mouth comes to mine hard as one of her hands grips into my hair, fisting it tight.

Jesus Christ… stars wink in my vision at the feel of her mouth on mine, so long forgotten and yet completely familiar all at once. I don’t think—just act. My arms band around her tight, hauling her body to mine. I push her back into the side of her car, tilt my head, and I kiss her back with every bit of longing and regret that she seems to be mutually feeling in this moment.

 

 

WritingAs

 

My Review 

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This sweet and charming book was the perfect palate cleanser. Short and sweet, but still brimming full of emotions. I’ve read Sawyer Bennett before, so I already knew going into this book that I was going to enjoy every single word. I really loved the close family aspect between Trixie and her family. Especially between her and her grandfather. You could tell that they mean everything to her and moving back home to Whynot after law school was the best decision for her, even if it meant leaving Boston and her relationship with Ryland. Trixie and Ryland end up reconnecting after eleven long years away from each other and in the course of four short days in the quirky and charming southern town.

This was the perfect beginning to a new series. I’m really excited for Trixie’s brother, Lowe’s story which was nicely set up in this book. If you’re a fan of second chance romances and have a few hours to kill with a novella, then I highly recommend this book.

*I received an copy of this ARC via the author in exchange for an honest review*

XOXO, 

-M 

 

AuthorPhotoJuliette Poe is the sweet and swoony alter ego of New York Times Best Selling author, Sawyer Bennett.

A fun-loving southern girl, Juliette knows the allure of sweet tea, small towns, and long summer nights, that some of the best dates end sitting on the front porch swing, and that family is top priority. She brings love in the south to life in her debut series, Sex & Sweet Tea.

When Juliette isn’t delivering the sweetest kind of romance, she’s teaching her southern belle daughter the fine art of fishing, the importance of wearing Chucks, and the endless possibilities of a vivid imagination.

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Excerpt & Blitz: Forever Mine by Erin Nicholas

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ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: FOREVER MINE

Author: Erin Nicholas

Series: Opposites Attract, #2

On Sale: March 28, 2017

Publisher: Forever

Mass Market: $7.99 USD

eBook: $3.99 USD

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The second book in New York Times bestselling author Erin Nicholas’s series about three geeky girls and the hunky guys who fall for them.

Maya Goodwin doesn’t believe in holding back. Ever. As a cop, she never hesitated to throw herself into harm’s way to save someone. Even after an injury on the job forces her to retire, she’s not afraid to keep risking it all to get the life she wants. With a new career teaching martial arts to kids already underway, she’s looking forward to the future – and taking a chance on the unbelievably hot Dr. Alex Nolan.

Maya – daring and spontaneous – is the exact opposite of what Alex always thought he wanted. But when a nine-year-old daughter he never knew existed shows up on his doorstep, Maya is the one who helps them hold it together. With love on the line, will the guy who’s always played it safe be willing to take the biggest risk of all?

 

BUY THE BOOK HERE:

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THE OPPOSITES ATTRACT SERIES

 

Opposites Attract

COMPLETELY YOURS, #1

FOREVER MINE, #2

Series Page on Goodreads

Excerpt 

Alex laughed. He liked Maya. The thought hit him directly in the gut.

Maya smiled brightly, and he admitted that he was intensely attracted too. Now fast attraction—that he’d experienced before. But it had been a long time since even that had happened.

“I’m Dr. Alex Nolan. I’m on staff at Boston Children’s Hospital. I’m on their website if you want to look me up.”

Maya suddenly frowned. “I can’t believe I didn’t think of that.”

“Of what?”

“Googling pediatricians and finding out who you are after the mall the other day,” Maya said.

Alex raised an eyebrow. “Wouldn’t that be a little creepy?”

“Probably,” she agreed. “Maybe that’s why I didn’t do it.”

He laughed. “Well, to further decrease the creep factor, I do have a kid,” he said. “A daughter. Charlotte. We call her Charli. She’ll be ten next month. She’s very into superheroes, GR, and swords, and I know nothing about any of that. I liked the demonstration at the mall and thought I’d come check out your studio.”

“So you’re wanting to sign her up,” Maya said with a nod. “Okay, not creepy at all.”

“Uh…” Alex knew this was going to sound strange. “Actually I want to take the class myself.”

Maya frowned. “These classes won’t teach you about superheroes exactly,” she said. “They are kind of a combination of stage fighting and martial arts and self-esteem workshops.”

“I know.” He’d been on the website. Which is how he’d found out more about the studio. And where he’d stared at Maya’s photo before going in to look up more about her on the internet. Which was how he found out that her classes had won some local awards, she’d been a brilliant cop—who had not, incidentally, been fired for beating someone up—and that she regularly blogged about superheroes and their fandom and the psychology of that fandom. He’d bookmarked her page immediately.

“And the things you do in class sounds like the perfect bonding activity for Charli and me. I’ll take the class and then go home and teach her.”

Maya looked puzzled. “Why not just bring her to class?”

“She…” He swallowed. Charli would love Maya. Hell, if she saw Maya with those pointy-weapon-things, she’d want to be Maya.

But Alex had only seen Maya twice, and he’d already witnessed her get hit with a Bo staff, punched in the ribs, and cut with some kind of sharp hand weapon. Which reminded him that she’d been bleeding.

He looked down, but the bleeding had already slowed or stopped. Which was what happened when a person with normal blood got cut. But Charli didn’t have normal blood. She didn’t bleed faster, but she would bleed longer—because of the genetic mutation he had passed on to her.

He’d told her mother that Charli should be able to try whatever she wanted. But he’d also told her he’d keep Charli safe. If Charli took classes here, he would have to fill Maya and her staff in on the hemophilia and precautions and treatment…

“She has some special needs,” he said, cringing a little as he said it, knowing that Maya might easily jump to conclusions that were not at all correct. But it didn’t matter what she thought. This was the right thing for Charli.

But Maya didn’t even blink. “Okay,” she said. “I understand. Maybe…” But she trailed off while watching him thoughtfully without completing the sentence.

“Maybe what?” he asked.

“Maybe I could teach you and your daughter a private Super You class.”

He was surprised at her offer, but more—he was tempted. Which meant he had to say no. The timing for meeting a gorgeous, intriguing woman couldn’t have been worse. “I think a class with lots of other people, especially kids, would be better.”

“Why?”

Maya was direct. He liked that. And he could return the favor. “Because you look just as good in workout pants as you do in leather.”

Her eyes widened in surprise just a beat before her smile widened. “And that’s a problem?”

“It is when I’m trying to give all of my extra time and attention to my daughter.”

She studied him for a moment. “Okay,” she finally said with a nod. “And once you see the class, if you change your mind, she’s always welcome.”

Alex relaxed. “Thanks.”

“You’re not going to feel funny taking a class with a bunch of kids?”

“I love kids,” he told her.

“What about the tights and cape?”

“Tights and cape?” Alex repeated.

“The costume,” she said with a nod.

“Thought the participants all helped create their own character,” he said, realizing she was messing with him.

“They do.”

“Well, there’s no way in hell I would create a character that would wear tights.”

Maya’s gaze wandered over him, head to toe, before she said, Too bad.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Erin Nicholas CREDIT Lifetouch Portrait Studios Inc

Erin Nicholas is the author of sexy contemporary romances. Her stories have been described as toe-curling, enchanting, steamy and fun. She loves to write about reluctant heroes, imperfect heroines and happily ever afters. She lives in the Midwest with her husband who only wants to read the sex scenes in her books, her kids who will never read the sex scenes in her books, and family and friends who say they’re shocked by the sex scenes in her books (yeah, right!).

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Enter to win one of 10 mass market paperback copies of FOREVER MINE!

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ARC Review & Excerpt: THE BASTARD BILLIONAIRE by Jessica Lemmon

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ABOUT THE BOOK:

Beauty and the Beastly Billionaire . . .

Eli Crane is one tough bastard. After an explosion left him injured and honorably discharged from the Marines, all he wants is to be left alone. Yet his brothers insist he take a greater role in the family business. They’ve hired him ten personal assistants—and Eli sent each one packing as fast as possible. But when beautiful number eleven walks through the door, Eli will do anything to make her stay.

Isabella Sawyer’s employment agency can’t afford to lose Eli Crane’s business. Her plan: to personally take on the role of his PA, and secure her reputation with the wealthy elite in Chicago. But this beauty and her hot billionaire bad boy soon find themselves mixing business with pleasure in the most delicious ways. And passionate, stubborn Isabella won’t rest until she tames this wicked beast . . .

 

BUY THE BOOK HERE:

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THE BILLIONAIRE BAD BOYS SERIES

The Billionaire Bachelor, #1

The Billionaire Next Door, #2

The Bastard Billionaire, #3

Series Page on Goodreads

 

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Excerpt:

Standing, she smoothed her hands down her pants and flipped her hair. She had planned to quietly finish her work and leave without seeing him again. No such luck. And no hiding that she was heading his way when her heels clicked along the concrete floor.

Well.

The kiss had happened. The button incident had happened. There was no taking it back. Regardless of how either of them felt about it, she was going to continue working here. So. She would deal with the here and now.

Since the sun was shining, Eli’s lair was welcome instead of foreboding. No fire cracked in the hearth today. Also unlike his usual, he wasn’t at his desk. He was at the printer.

“This yours?” He offered a sheet of paper.

“Yes.” She couldn’t keep from explaining. “Pressed the Print button by accident.”

Mi printer es su printer.”

Isa accepted the document and Eli sank his hands into his jeans pockets, his forearms flexing with the movement.

“I wasn’t—”

“I shouldn’t—” they said at the same time.

He pursed his lips and she looked at her shoes. “Go ahead.” She was going to say, I wasn’t offended when you kissed me, but now that she’d had a millisecond to think it through, maybe she should pretend the kiss hadn’t happened. Which was . . . impossible. Standing this close to him, it’s all she could think about.

“I shouldn’t have ruined your shirt,” he said.

“I dared you to.”

“Why?” His eyebrows compressed along with his lips.

“Because you have accepted the role of beast, but I don’t believe that’s who you are.” She let her gaze linger on his face before tracking down his body. “And because I like a challenge.”

“Do you?” He took a wide step toward her.

She matched his move and took one step closer to him. “Yes. I don’t wilt easily.”

He threaded her hair between his fingers, a look of longing and hurt mingling in his eyes. “I was about to lie and say I shouldn’t have kissed you.”

Shivers climbed her spine as she remembered how firm his lips felt against hers. “Maybe . . . you shouldn’t have stopped.”

 

My Review:

 

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Holy Crapoly, did I LOVE this book! This was my first Jessica Lemmon book and I am just kicking myself for not reading her sooner. The easy flow of her writing style sucked me in right away. Reading her words felt like I was snuggling up on the couch with my favorite blanket and a mug of hot chocolate. Instant comfort! Even though this is the third book in series, this book can absolutely be read as a standalone. I didn’t have any trouble keeping up when previous characters and story lines were brought up. That being said, I do want to go back and read the previous two books now.

Eli Crane is back home in Chicago from his most recent tour of duty, to run help run his families hotel empire, Crane Hotels with his brothers Reese and Tag. Since coming back from the Middle East, Eli has gained the reputation for being a difficult person to get along with to say the least. He has already gone though many personal assistant that he has purposely scared off, until he meets Isabella. Isa is able to see though Eli’s BS right away and isn’t scared off my his gruff exterior. Eli notices right away that Isa is tenacious, stubborn, and very strong.

I loved being able to have a front row seat to watching Eli change and grow and how his and Isa’s relationship developed from working, to friends, and then to lovers. They really had the time to really get to know each others deepest and darkest parts of themselves. I also loved the family aspect to this story. No matter how hard Eli tried to push his family away, they kept rallying around him tried to make his transition to civilian life as smooth as possible.

I can’t recommend this book or author enough. I can’t wait to block out some time to binge read all of Jessica Lemmon’s back list. I already know I’m going to have a blast meeting all of her different characters. I am so happy to have a new to me, favorite aut0-buy author!

XOXO, 

-M 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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A former job-hopper, Jessica Lemmon resides in Ohio with her husband and rescue dog. She holds a degree in graphic design currently gathering dust in an impressive frame. When she’s not writing super-sexy heroes, she can be found cooking, drawing, drinking coffee (okay, wine), and eating potato chips. She firmly believes God gifts us with talents for a purpose, and with His help, you can create the life you want.

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads

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Release Day & Review: BLUSH FOR ME by Kristen Proby

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From New York Times Bestselling author Kristen Proby, comes a steamy new standalone romance in her bestselling Fusion Series

 

BLUSH FOR ME!

 

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About BLUSH FOR ME:

New York Times bestselling author Kristen Proby continues to delight the senses with the latest novel in her delectable Fusion series.

As the take-charge wine bar manager of Seduction, Portland’s hottest new restaurant, Katrina Meyers is the definition of no-nonsense, and she isn’t afraid of anything. Well, almost anything: she hates to fly. When she’s forced to travel on a death trap with wings, the turbulence from hell has her reaching for any safe haven—including the incredibly handsome guy sitting next to her.

Ryan “Mac” MacKenzie hasn’t been able to get his sexy seatmate out of his head. The way she clung to him stirred something inside him he didn’t think existed: tenderness. As the owner of a successful wine touring company, Mac thinks he’s got a handle on what life can throw at him and he’s not prepared for any surprises, especially in the feelings department. And when he brings a tour into Seduction, he sees the petite spitfire he just can’t forget.

Mac is determined to discover what else they have in common besides fine wine and the inability to keep their hands off each other. But what will it take for two stubborn people to realize that what they have is so much more than a hot chemistry between the sheets and to admit to falling in love…?

 

Order Your Copy Today!

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And Don’t Miss the First Two Standalone Novels in the Fusion Series!

LISTEN TO ME
CLOSE TO YOU

 

 

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EXCERPT:

“Have you flown before, Kat?”

“No.” I swallow hard and tighten my hands into fists.

“Okay, take a deep breath,” he says. He’s not touching me, which is good because I’d have to break his nose, and this is already stressful enough. But his voice is soothing. “Good. Take another one. Miss, can we get a bottle of water, please?”

I just keep breathing. The flight attendant returns with a little baby bottle of water, which Mac uncaps and holds out for me.

“Take a drink of this. Just a small sip.” I comply, the cold water feeling good on my throat. I feel ridiculous. This flight is full of people who are not having panic attacks.

“I’m sorry,” I whisper. “This is my biggest fear.”

“I can tell,” he says gently, and I raise my gaze to meet his. He’s a handsome guy, his short hair styled nicely, his jaw firm, eyes direct. He’s tall, with long arms and legs and a lean body. “How are you feeling?

“Better,” I reply, surprised to find it true. “The water helped. Thank you.”

“No problem. Are you going to Napa Valley on vacation?”

“Work,” I reply, shaking my head. “I’m attending a conference.”

“So you’re a wine enthusiast then?”

“You could say that,” I reply with a smile. “I own a wine bar in Portland.”

His eyes narrow for just a moment. “Really? Which one?”

“The one inside Seduction.”
“I’ve heard great things about that place.”

I smile widely now, intensely proud of the restaurant that my four friends and I have built from the ground up. Seduction is our baby, our pride and joy.

“That’s nice to hear,” I reply. “You’ve never been?”

“Not yet, but I’ll make a point to go the next time I’m in the area.”

So he doesn’t live in Portland.

Bummer. Mac is one guy I wouldn’t mind running into again.

 

To say that I loved this book is an understatement. I read this whole book cover to cover in one sitting. It’s rare that I get the chance to do that or that a book sucks me in that deeply. BLUSH FOR ME is the third installment in the Seduction series, but can definitely be read as a standalone.

Kat Meyers is one of the co-owners of the wildly popular Seduction restaurant & bar with four of her best friends, in Portland, Oregon. Each one of the women has something special to bring to this place. Kat’s specialty is having a special knack for wine and other drinks. But wine especially. While traveling to a week long wine convention in California, Kat meets Mac.

Mac is intrigued by Kat from the first moment that he lays eyes on her. She doesn’t look like the other women he usually dates. Kat has a sleeve tattoo, is a natural red, dresses in the rockabilly clothing style, and doesn’t take shit from anybody. I loved how strong and confident she is and how she’d like to be in a relationship, but isn’t will to compromise herself for any man. Mac is bossy alpha who just wants to take care of Kat, take some of the weight off of her shoulders. He’s sweet, funny, caring, and romantic. I just loved their relationship and how it progressed. It started off as one thing and ended up being another.

Over all this was another amazing read by Kristen Proby. She never disappoints in delivering the funny, sexy, and feels. She will easily be one of my all time favorite authors for a long time to come and I can’t wait until the next book in this series is released.

xoxo,

-M

 

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Wicked hot, charming, and wittingly captivating. Kristen Proby made me blush several times reading this sexy love story.”

~Audrey Carlan, #1 NYT Bestselling Author

 

 

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Author Pic - Kristen ProbyAbout Kristen Proby:

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Kristen Proby is the author of the bestselling With Me In Seattle and Love Under the Big Sky series. She has a passion for a good love story and strong, humorous characters with a strong sense of loyalty and family. Her men are the alpha type; fiercely protective and a bit bossy, and her ladies are fun, strong, and not afraid to stand up for themselves.

Kristen lives in Montana, where she enjoys coffee, chocolate and sunshine. And naps.

 

 

 

 

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BLUSH FOR ME Goodreads ** Kristen Proby Goodreads

 

 

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Release Day & Excerpt: THE DEEP END by Kristen Ashley

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✮✮✮A delicious world of erotica, BDSM with alpha-subs and their Dommes, and a gripping love story…Welcome to The Bee’s Honey! The first book in New York Times bestselling author Kristen Ashley’s Honey Series, THE DEEP END is a seductive and rich love story now available! ✮✮✮

Fall into THE DEEP END and grab your copy today!

 

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About THE DEEP END (Erotic Romance Releasing March 7, 2017):

Enter a decadent sensual world where gorgeous alpha males are committed to fulfilling a woman’s every desire…

Olivier isn’t sure what he’s gotten himself into when he joins the Honey Club, only that a dark part of him hungers for the lifestyle offered by this exclusive club. Here, no boundary will be left untested…and one’s deepest fantasies will become an exquisite reality.

When Amélie invites Olivier to surrender, she gives the alpha submissive what he craves. Soon they both find themselves falling harder than they ever anticipated—but as their connection deepens, the truth about Olivier’s past could destroy everything…

Gripping and seductive, The Deep End is the first book in a sensational new series from bestselling author Kristen Ashley.

Amazon | Kindle | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

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THE DEEP END - Tour teaser 2

 

 

 

EXCERPT:

As he slowly closed the door behind him and moved his eyes to look through the room, taking it in, she watched them get wide.

They dropped to her and his amusement was clear. Not only radiating from his gaze but twitching his lips.

Another unusual—and unacceptable—reaction.

He thought this was funny.

She hoped like fuck she had the opportunity to prove him wrong.

She crossed her arms on her chest and slightly put out a foot, like she was about to start tapping her toe. In the wrap dress she wore, she knew this opened the overlap, not exposing anything, but the promise for him was impossible to resist.

His attention dropped to her legs.

“In the playrooms,” she began with a snap, and his gaze cut to hers, “I want eye contact. Unless otherwise instructed, you should not only feel free to look me directly in the eyes, if I’m in your line of sight or I’m not giving you something that your body’s natural reaction would make it difficult to meet my gaze, I require it.”

She stood there staring as he did nothing but dip his chin in acknowledgment.

Cheeky.

Exceptionally cheeky.

Fabulous.

“Unless I’ve asked for their silence or for them to ask for leave to speak, I also require my toys to respond when they’re spoken to. Even if it’s only a ‘yes, Mistress,’ or ‘no, Mistress.’”

His stance relaxed, like he was settling in at the beginning of a show he found vaguely intriguing, and his deep rumble of a voice bounced like boulders through the room. “Yes, Mistress.”

Christ, even his voice declared his challenge.

“Excellent,” she allowed. “Your name?”

“Olivier,” he answered.

French.

Also unusual, at least in this country. And interesting.

She liked it a great deal.

She studied him.

He let her, holding her eyes.

“I’m Mistress Amélie,” she eventually informed him.

“I know. You got a lotta fans out there…Mistress.”

The hesitation over him saying “Mistress” gave less of the impression he was testing her and more of the strange impression the word was unpracticed when, with any experienced sub, it would slip right off their tongue.

She made no comment to that.

“There are things we should go over,” she remarked.

“Right,” he stated, his big body adjusting again, now like he was settling in further, intent on giving her the same attention he would a flight attendant who gave the safety address.

That being no more than a courtesy.

She fought the shiver his actions created but allowed the irritation.

“Your safe word is kitten,” she stated.

“Yes, Mistress.”

“You’re open to any kind of play,” she went on.

“Yes, Mistress.”

“It’s important and now’s the time to share should there be anything you wish me to shy away from, Olivier. Especially as this is the first time I’ve played with you.”

Something in his eyes flashed. Blue eyes that were the color of nothing and everything. Not sky. Not sea. Not midnight. A pure blue that only existed in the unchartable depths of a rainbow.

She felt that flash snake up between her thighs, taking residence in her womb.

He wanted this conversation done so she would play with him. He wanted the preliminaries over so they’d get to the good stuff.

He wanted her.

She stared into those blue eyes and for a moment felt mesmerized.

For God’s sake, Leigh, she berated herself in an effort to pull it together. Rainbow?

“Olivier,” she prompted.

“I’m open to anything,” he confirmed.

 

 

 

 

Kristin Ashley - headshotAbout Kristen Ashley:

Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA and nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn’t taken her first breath!). Her mother said they took Kristen away, put her Mom back in her room, her mother looked out the window, and Gary was on fire (Dr. King had been assassinated four days before). Kristen’s Mom remembered thinking it was the end of the world. Quite the dramatic beginning.

Nothing’s changed.

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana and has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus, she’s blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her family was (is) loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. They all lived together on a very small farm in a small farm town in the heartland. She grew up with Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing, it keeps getting better.

 

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Review & Excerpt: HOMETOWN COWBOY by Sara Richardson

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ABOUT THE BOOK

 

Title: HOMETOWN COWBOY

Author: Sara Richardson

Series: Rocky Mountain Riders, #1

On Sale: February 28, 2017

Publisher: Forever

Mass Market: $7.99 USD

eBook: $5.99 USD

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In the New York Times bestselling tradition of Jennifer Ryan, Maisey Yates, and B. J. Daniels comes the first book in Sara Richardson’s western contemporary romance series about bull-riding brothers.

 

NEVER FALL IN LOVE WITH A COWBOY

 

Jessa Mae Love is done with relationships. No matter how tempting he might be, she cannot—will not—fall for a man like Lance Cortez. The outrageously handsome cowboy is practically a living legend in Colorado, as famous for riding bulls as he is for breaking hearts. What would a big-time rodeo star like him see in a small-town veterinarian who wears glasses, rescues animals, and cries when watching rom-coms? Turns out, plenty.

 

Raising bulls, riding the circuit, and looking after his ailing father—Lance never stands still for long. Yet Jessa catches his attention, and the more she tries to resist him, the more he wants her. When she agrees to move to the ranch to keep an eye on Lance’s dad, Jessa tells him they have to keep it professional: no flirting, no sweet talk, and definitely no kissing. But with Jessa now living under his roof, that’s easier said than done . . .

 

BUY THE BOOK HERE

 

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THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN RIDERS SERIES

 

HOMETOWN COWBOY, #1

COMEBACK COWBOY, #2

RENEGADE COWBOY, #3

 

Series Page on Goodreads

 

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Excerpt

Holding her breath, she stood perfectly still and quiet—minus the loud drumbeat of her heart.

The knocking didn’t stop.

“Hello?” A man’s deep rumbling voice sent her heart off to the races again. There was something vaguely familiar about it . . .

“It’s Lance Cortez. I need to talk to you.”

Lance! Oh. Holy. No. This was not happening. She gazed longingly at the other side of the living room to the safe darkness of the tiny hallway that led to her bedroom. There was no way she’d get through there without him seeing something. Like her ass, maybe.

Get the front door with the windows, the ignorant Home Depot salesman had advised. It’ll let in the most light. Yes, and now it would also give Lance a clear view of a very full moon.

She flattened her body against the cabinets, craning her neck, and sure enough, he stood right there on her front porch, now peering through that lovely window on the door. Oh, god. Her lungs heaved so hard it felt like the Bold Lift Bra was about to bust at the seams. Calm down, she in-

structed herself. He’ll go away. He had to go away.

“Jessa! I know you’re in there. Your car’s here,” he called again, rapping the door with that big manly fist of his. “I need to talk to you. It’s an emergency.”

Tell me about it! Maybe she could call 9-1-1 and have him escorted off her porch . . .

Footsteps thudded on the front porch, moving closer.

Sweet lord! Lance Cortez was peeking through the bay window!

“Hang on a sec!” she yelled, then hit the deck, pressing her body against the wood floor. Lifting her head, she as- sessed the distance to the hallway. It might as well have been twenty miles.

Okay. Think. What would Naomi do? That was an easy one. She never would’ve gotten herself into this situation in the first place because Naomi had the ability to get dressed without the assistance of coffee.

“Jessa, I really need a word,” Lance called again.

“Be there in a minute!” Despite the fact that she was basi- cally naked, sweat itched on her back. Her room. She had to get to her room. And there was only one way. She’d have to army crawl. As long as she stayed on this side of the couch, Lance probably wouldn’t be able to see her from the win- dow. It was risky, but what other option did she have? He obviously wasn’t going away.

Here goes. Trying to remain one with the floor, she squirmed forward, shimmying past the bookshelf. Squirm, pull, squirm, pull. She edged against the couch, bare skin grazing the cold wood planks.

Yes. Yes! It was working. Almost halfway now . . .

A scratch stung her hip as something sharp caught the delicate strap of her thong.

Uh oh. Contorting her body, she tried to get a better look. A loose staple from the re-upholstery job she’d done on the couch had hooked her adorable brand-new panties. Cam it! She should’ve known a staple gun wasn’t enough hold a couch cover together. Thanks a lot, Pinterest.

“Jessa!” More pounding.

“Hold on! Give me a minute!” she called, trying to wring the panic from her tone. What the hell was his problem, any- way? Couldn’t he take a hint? She pushed onto her side to free herself from the staple, but her legs smacked into the end table. The whole thing toppled over with a deafening crash. Ow! Shit! She rolled over, gripping the backs of her calves. At the same time, the thong stretched, ripped, and snapped, falling to the floor underneath her.

“Jessa?” Lance yelled through the door. “What was that?” The doorknob clanged like he was trying to get in. “Is every- thing okay?”

Hot tears filled her eyes. “Fine!” Minus the throbbing in her legs and the fact that she’d just shredded a fifty-dollar thong.

“Are you sure?” he persisted, the sonofabitch. “That sounded bad. Is the key still out here?”

The key? Oh, dear god, the key! Her dad had always left a house key underneath the flowerpot . . .

A new wave of terror surged, blinding her with white-hot fear.

The sound of metal clanged in the lock.

“No!” She squealed, scrambling to hide herself behind a small square throw pillow from the couch. “Please! Don’t come—”

The door sprang open.

Right as Lance stepped around the couch, she shifted the pillow to cover her lower hemisphere.

“What’re you—?” He halted like he’d been shot, his gaze bouncing from her eyes to her bra and then, sure enough, down to the pillow.

“Turn around! Cover your eyes,” she wailed. For the love of god! Humiliation curdled into anger. “Why’d you have to come in? Who just barges into someone’s house, huh?” Why couldn’t he have waited on the porch like she’d asked?

“Uh . . . ” He seemed to be frozen in place. “Sorry. I heard the crash. Thought you were hurt . . .”

Was he gawking? His lips had parted with surprise. And then there were his eyes. Wide and unblinking. Men didn’t usually look at her like that . . .

“What the hell happened?” he asked, finally finding the decency to turn around and stare out the bay window.

Securing the pillow against her lower abdomen with one hand, she covered her Boldly Lifted chest with her arm in case he decided to peek again. “I had a bit of an accident.” She should make something up. Something really exciting. Something like she and a mystery man were playing this kinky game . . .

“Are you hurt?” Lance asked, his head swiveling toward her again.

She kept herself covered. Oh, yes. She was hurt. On more than one level. “I’m fi e,” she choked out. “Can you get my robe? It’s hanging up in the bathroom at the end of the hall.”

“Right. Your robe.” He sort of side-shuffled his way down the hall and back, before tossing the robe at her without turn- ing around.

Clutching her salvation, she scurried up to a standing po- sition, the backs of her calves still aching, and wrapped the fabric around her, tying the belt securely at her waist.

Lance peeked over his shoulder as if to check on her, then turned all the way around.

She wasn’t sure if she was out of breath due to the terrible thong ordeal or to the fact that the elusive Lance Cortez looked so different up close. She’s seen him around town since she’d been back, but she’d never looked at him that closely. He’d never looked at her the way he was now, either.  Eyes open slightly wider than a normal person’s, lips parted like he couldn’t remember what it was he’d wanted to say.

Yes, well, neither could she. Not with the sight of his dark hair, which curled slightly at the edges. It was mussed like he’d been nervously running his hand through it all morning. And those eyes. An arctic blue-gray. Cutting. He wore a dark red flannel shirt with the sleeves pushed up over his bulky forearms. His jeans were faded and worn like he worked hard, which she’d heard he did.

“So . . .” His voice had this deep soothing reverberation that made her want to curl up against him. “Did you fall or something?”

Or something. “I was in the kitchen making coffee,” she informed him, trying to smooth her hair into soft waves like it had been before she’d gone to battle with the couch. “Wasn’t expecting anyone to show up at my door . . . ” Espe- cially the enigma that was Lance Cortez. “So I panicked and was trying to get back to my room without giving you a show.” Which was clearly too much to ask from the uni- verse.

“Oh.” His gaze seemed to fixate on the leopard-print thong that lay a mere two feet from his boots.

As swiftly as possible, she swiped it off the floor and shoved it into the pocket of her robe. “Um. Did you need something, Lance?” Because her humiliation meter was about tapped out for the day and it wasn’t even seven o’clock.

 

My Review

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This was my first Sara Richardson book and it definitely didn’t disappoint in the least. I have to admit that I’m always not a fan of the Western romance/Cowboy hero trope, but I really enjoyed this book. Hometown Cowboy is the first installment in the Rocky Mountain Riders series and provides a solid opening to this new world.

I love the scenic setting of Topaz Falls, Colorado. Small town romances are one of my weakness, so this whole series ticks off a major box on things I love about reading romance. The cast of characters are sweet, warm, & charming as cherry pie. We first meet Jessa Mae Love, a vet as she’s made the decision to be done with dating and relationships after a crappy breakup. First being a HUGE animal lover, I loved reading about a heroine with a huge heart for animals. Lance Cortez is Jessa’s cocky, sexy love interest who happens to be a heartbreaking famous rodeo star. Once the two of them cross paths, sparks fly.

I also loved how Jessa and Lance help each other get over their emotional barriers from their childhood, so that they could be together in the present. I’m very excited to read about the secondary characters in this series because I just can’t get enough for Topaz Falls. If you’re a fan of Jill Shalvis or Susan Mallery, then you need to add Sara Richardson to your TBR right away.

XOXO, 

M

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

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Sara Richardson grew up chasing adventure in Colorado’s rugged mountains. She’s climbed to the top of a 14,000 foot peak at midnight, swum through Class IV rapids, completed her wilderness first-aid certification, and spent seven days at a time tromping through the wilderness with a thirty-pound backpack strapped to her shoulders.

 

Eventually Sara did the responsible thing and got an education in writing and journalism. After a brief stint in the corporate writing world, she stopped ignoring the voices in her head and started writing fiction. Now she uses her experience as a mountain adventure guide to write stories that incorporate adventure with romance. Still indulging her adventurous spirit, Sara lives and plays in Colorado with her saint of a husband and two young sons.

 

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