Having discovered her night with surgeon Sam Ryder had unexpected consequences, Kate Ashton is left reeling when he walks into her emergency department. Now she'll have to tell this "emotionally broken" man she's been belatedly warned about that she's pregnant!
Sam's feelings might be frozen, but he wants to be a dad. When Kate reveals she's afraid of becoming a mom, her heartrending story opens Sam's heart. He must convince Kate to give them a chance.
This baby was meant to be--perhaps their love is, too...
Emotional, heartrending story about the courage to love, to take a chance and trust the other to be there if you ever fall.
Sam Ryder's heart was broken two years ago when his fiance died just weeks before the wedding. He never got over the hurt, the pain, the yearning to turn back the clock and possibly save her. The survivor's guilt is eating him inside out, and the last thing in his mind is a new relationship, not to mention one with a baby, a family. He is a kind man, gentle, considerate, and gifted doctor, yet his heart isn't available to be won over.
Kate Ashton is a talented nurse, like a machine on the ward. But her personal life has always been a mess. She had a childhood no one deserves, she has no concept of being a mother or having a family. Her big heart and bad judgment get her in trouble constantly, and falling for the one night stand would be the worst thing to do, especially since he left her in the hotel room the next morning without a word. Or so she thought.
I liked both of the characters, they were so honest and genuine with their fears, hopes, and wishes. The journey they were on wasn't easy, there were many tears and desperate moments. And those fears were legitimate, Kate was terrified to be a mother, to not be able to do it, to hurt her child unintentionally, she was lost with her overwhelming angst, yet couldn't help but love the little one growing inside her. Kate yearned for affection and love from Sam while knowing his heart wasn't there to be surrendered.
Sam is such a solid, trustworthy man. He stands behind his words and doesn't make false promises. His desire for Kate hasn't subsided, quite the opposite, if only the sorrow from the past wouldn't pop up in the least expected moments to ruin the healing gained.
Reading about Kate and Sam falling in love and finding their peace with the past, and moving on with their lives, and the difficult journey they had to take to reach that goal was an emotional, tear-filled experience to me. All the feelings were on the surface, and to convince the other that they truly did love each other was a beautiful and adorable moment to witness.
The story is a perfect mix of the developing relationship, hectic work on the hospital ward saving lives, and supportive friends rallying around the couple as they search the right thing to do with the situation they were in. A delightful, thought-provoking, captivating, and poignant story, get your tissues ready, you will need them.
~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
Draw the Line
By: Kim Carmichael
Released December 27, 2016
The performance artist and con artist come together for the ultimate marriage of convenience.
Performance Artist, Argyle Brink, lives his life as one big art exhibit. No matter if he is hatching from a gilded egg to show his emergence as a new persona, or donning a suit of mirrors to reflect reality back to his audience, he never misses an opportunity to take a chance and stand by his convictions. Only one thing has eluded him…fame.
In order to save her family’s estate, Malone Summersfield must never return to England. After conning an art critic into taking her across the pond as his fiancée, she thinks her life will be smooth sailing. However, when the man’s wife enters the picture, she realizes the con is all on her, and she needs to get married now. When the strange, yet handsome, performance artist offers to marry her for the price of co-starring in his reality show, she figures she’ll give it a go and become a living art piece.
The show takes on a life of its own, gaining ratings from the sparks between the two stars. Airing everything from their dirty laundry, to public sex in an abandoned zoo, and even living off the grid in a micro house, nothing is off limits. However, when the INS decides to investigate their marriage further, and Argyle uses their predicament to broaden his art, Malone wonders if she will ever come first in his life.
With their marriage, their show, and her citizenship at stake, the two must decide if the ultimate truth lies in the art or in their love.
Back at their loft, she caught his wrist before he slid the key into the lock.
He turned toward her, pressing his back to the door. “When you say my name my whole body responds.”
“How so?” Part of her was never sure if he was serious or in a constant state of playing a role that he didn’t even realize.
His gaze firmly on her face he held his hand out, palm up. “Put your hand on mine.”
She did as he requested.
“Do you ever wonder why there are five fingers?” He turned his attention to their hands together. “Is that all we needed? Would there have been a benefit to a sixth? Could we still have functioned with four?”
Something about his words, the way he took in everything mesmerized her and she shook her head.
“There’s something about holding hands.” As if it were a priceless vase he lifted her hand to his face. “A public sign of a union, but even when we’re alone I feel the need to hold your hand, have that connection to you. It’s intimate.” He dipped his head down and took his time kissing each one of her fingers.
A jolt ran through each of her fingertips. How long were they going to play these games? “Argyle?”
He gave her a quick glance then kissed her palm.
Be it extreme need that came from being denied or just wanting her husband, her body flooded at the simple, yet passionate, act. “Oh.” Would he ever turn off whatever experiment or art project he thrust them into and make love to her?
He slid his lips up to her wrist, giving her an open mouth kiss there before moving to her forearm.
“Argyle.” Again she tried to figure out her husband.
“Yes?” When he spoke his breath brushed against her skin, sensitizing her every one of her nerves.
She couldn’t take much more of his teasing and she let out a moan.
“Perhaps we should go inside.” He turned back to the door.
“Are you joking?” She caught his arm.
“I’m not one for much joking.” Once more he faced her. “However, if there is something you want, I’m sure that you will find it ready for the taking.”
Done with the games, done with his cryptic words, and unwilling to go to sleep in a state of want one more night, she pushed him back, stood on her tiptoes and kissed him.
She crushed her lips to his. However, while he opened his mouth and gave her access, he didn’t respond and she pulled back, the fire within her raging. What the hell was this?
He wrapped his arm around her and pulled her tight against him. “Why don’t you kiss me, explore me and only worry about learning me rather than concentrating on conventions and how to hurry to some preconceived goal?”
Unsure if this was one of his art works or what, she was left with no choice but to do as he requested. Again, she stood up on her toes, and this time rather than rush to kiss him, she caressed her mouth against his. Like before, he gave her complete access, his lips molded to hers and she kissed him, this time expecting nothing in return.
She took the time to take each of his lips between her own, studying his taste, manly yet sweet, and she let her tongue explore his mouth.
Between them, his erection grew, creating a large bulge that made her desire increase. Something about just kissing him, discovering him, and taking her time aroused her even more. By the time she pulled back, she was breathless as well speechless.
Q: Describe yourself in five words or less.
Crazy, quirky, anxious, creative, loyal.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your book?
It is my twist on the marriage of convenience trope. I love marriage of convenience as it gets the characters together quickly.
Q: How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
Argyle was a secondary character in On The Dotted Line and I loved him so he got a story.
Q: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
His family was my pride and joy I loved them.
Q: What gave you the most trouble with this story?
Malone’s back story, I had to make sure it made sense.
Q: If you had a theme song, what would it be?
Opportunities by the Pet Shop Boys
Q: Name one thing you won’t leave home without.
My cell phone.
Q: Name three things on your desk right now.
A salt lamp, a pair of Chanel sunglasses and my coffee cup.
Q: If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?
Whoever is married to Josh Holliway. I guess Mrs. Holliway.
Q: What do you like to do when you aren't writing?
Play with my fur baby and shop.
Q: A la Twitter style, please describe your book in 140 characters or less.
The performance artist and con artist in the ultimate marriage of convenience.
Q: What types of scenes are your most favorite to write?
Ones where a bunch of chaos happens and its all ridiculous.
Q: What are you favorite types of stories to read?
Though I write contemporary romance I love historical romance because its totally different than what I write.
Q: What do you like best about being a writer? What is the most challenging part?
I love creating my own worlds and getting to share my characters lives.
Rejection is the hardest part.
Q: What do you do when you are not writing?
Think about writing.
Q: Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
This book, Argyle’s family is inspired by my family a little bit.
Q: Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
I love to work with Hollywood and pop culture.
Q: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Never give up even if you think all is lost.
Q: Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Thank you so much for everything, I promise to always try to give you the story you are hoping for!
Kim Carmichael began writing twelve years ago when her love of happy endings inspired her to create her own.
She has a weakness for bad boys and techno geeks, and married her own computer whiz after he proved he could keep her all her gadgets running.
When not writing, she can usually be found slathered in sunscreen trolling Los Angeles and helping top doctors build their practices.
Author Links: WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS
To Tempt a Viscount
Entangled Nobility #1
By: Naomi Boom
Releasing January 13, 2017
The Wild Rose Press, Inc.
Lady Laura Rosing knows two things: first, she will marry for love, and second, she detests rakes.
When she meets Lord Gavin Farris, she understands immediately that he fails both her criteria, and worse yet, he is an absolute cad who refuses to leave her be.
Lord Farris has always appreciated women and cannot understand why Lady Laura is so resistant to his charms. While pretty, she is not his usual type, but something about her intrigues him. Much to his chagrin, he finds himself desperately in love with her, but he may be too late.
His adamant refusal to marry just might have planted her firmly in the arms of another.
Lord Farris’s dark eyes bored into hers before he stepped predatorily closer to her. He gazed down at her with his dark, smoldering eyes and said, “You do not truly believe that. Judging by your dilated pupils and the blush on your skin, you find me incredibly attractive.”
Laura scoffed and backed up a step. She needed room to breathe. “You would like that, wouldn’t you?” She gulped nervously as his eyes narrowed, and he took a step closer to her. Naturally, she continued to reverse her step until her back hit the bookcase.
He smiled as he slowly removed the glass of water from her hand and set it on the bookcase. He then brought his hands to either side of her and leaned in until their faces were mere inches apart. “Yes, I would like that very much. Unfortunately, I am too much of a gentleman to act on our mutual attraction.”
As he spoke, Laura could not seem to take her eyes away from his full lips, at least until his words sank in. Her eyes regained their focus as she realized he was standing much too near. This was precisely why she preferred normal gentlemen. They did not act strangely.
“Are you sure you are a gentleman?” Laura asked derisively. She immediately regretted her impulsive retort. He was just too near to her for her mind to perform rationally, otherwise she was sure she would have behaved herself.
One eyebrow lifted in question as he grinned wickedly. “Are you asking me not to conduct myself as a gentleman?”
His dark smile and wicked words made Laura pause as she stared at his lips, so near to her own. Her stomach was in knots, and she did not know if she should slap him or kiss him. She had never been kissed, but right now, she wanted his lips on hers more than anything. In Laura’s heart of hearts, she wished, just a little bit, that he would not behave as a gentleman. She could not form words, however, and only managed to shake her head slightly as common sense prevailed.
“In that case, my dear, I suggest you run along.” His feet moved silently as he stepped away from her, but Laura could not budge until he growled, “Go, or we both shall regret what happens.”
Her feet grew wings as she flew out the door and down the dark hallway. As she rounded a corner, she realized she had left her water on the bookshelf, although her bread and book were still clutched in her other hand. No matter how strong her thirst, she would never return downstairs now. Not when he was there.
Naomi Boom is an author with a newly-discovered love for writing. Her inspiration struck when she was searching for the perfect historical romance novel to read. Nothing sounded appealing, so she decided to write her own. That one novel has morphed into a series, and hopefully many, many more.
She currently resides in Kansas with her family but has her eyes planted on an acreage in eastern South Dakota. Once her husband retires from the United States Army, they will return to her home state where she will continue to pursue her passion.
Author Links: WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS
Have a former FBI agent and a park ranger met their match in the wilds of Montana?
With a mysterious death to solve in Glacier National Park, Customs and Border Patrol agent Casper Lawrence must come up with motive, means, opportunity and a killer.
If he doesn't crack this case by the book, the former FBI agent on strike two will be out. Teamed with a beautiful park ranger, the cowboy agent with the gritty past has to trust sexy lone wolf Alexis Finch.
But as their investigation takes them through dangerous terrain and an outlaw motorcycle club's turf, Casper will do anything to keep Alexis and what they've ignited alive.
Wild Montana with its delicate, tender, nearly fragile air around the main characters put against the relentless and unforgiving wilderness of Montana and a murder case with only a foot left from the victim telling a gruesome story amazed me.
I absolute loved Casper Lawrence and commend the author's ability to built an alpha male with such a tender and sensitive side without taking away from his 'alpha' male characteristics. Life had humbled him, put him a situations no one should have to face, resulting in questionable actions, and broken soul in a strong man.
Alexis Finch had faced her own challenges and demons in life, building a strong and capable woman. The daily test in her life to be able to work with her abusively controlling ex-husband set her in a vulnerable place, more so than she ever even realized.
Casper and Alexis has an honest, palpable connection and chemistry between them. They fit together, mind, body, and soul. They are true equals, with respect and appreciation to each other. I adored them as a couple, they made sense in the best kind of way. Their life experiences abled them to understand where the other was coming from like life had prepared them to be there for each other as the time came.
The puzzling murder case with nearly any clues had a frightening tone around it. Not only because of the Motorcycle Club and its threatening members but the direction of where the clues were pointing to, the impossible implications of the results.
Through the story, I was impressed with Casper and Alexis. The fact that they were not 'the best and the brightest' but had to fight for every single step in life made me admire them even more. The vulnerability and humble attitude, honesty and openness, it was natural to relate to them and love them, made me want to embrace them.
Whenever a treacherous action and deadly suspense is paired with the ruthless nature and wilderness giving it several different kinds of challenges and enemies to fight and conquer, the fervor of the tale intensifies giving it another layer of depth and acumen and this was proved in Wild Montana frequently.
~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
Love Unexpectedly #3
By: Lauren Layne
Releasing February 14, 2017
Over the course of one wild road trip, feuding childhood sweethearts get a second chance at love in this charming rom-com—a standalone novel from the USA Today bestselling author of Blurred Lines and Good Girl.
When Lucy Hawkins receives a job offer in San Francisco, she can’t wait to spread her wings and leave her small Virginia hometown behind. Her close-knit family supports her as best they can, by handing over the keys to a station wagon that’s seen better days. The catch? The cross-country trip comes with a traveling companion: her older brother’s best friend, aka the guy who took Lucy’s virginity hours before breaking her heart.
After spending the past four years and every last dime caring for his sick father, Reece Sullivan will do just about anything to break free of the painful memories—even if it means a two-week road trip with the one girl who’s ever made it past his carefully guarded exterior. But after long days of bickering in the car turn into steamy nights in secluded motel rooms, Reece learns that, when it comes to Lucy, their story is far from over. And this time, they just might have a shot at a happy ending.
Although listed as a title in the Love Unexpectedly Series, all books in the series stand alone.
“Spock, we’re giving you Horny!” my mom blurts out, apparently fed up with my denseness.
Her utterance is too much for my siblings to handle and they both burst out laughing, retreating into the kitchen to rejoin the party where there’s wine.
Oh what I wouldn’t give for wine right now.
“I, um . . . you’re giving me the car?” I ask.
“Because yours broke down,” my dad explains, walking forward to thump Horny’s dented hood.
“And this one’s . . . not broken down?” I ask skeptically.
Look, it’s not that I’m not grateful. My parents are trying to give me a car, I appreciate the sweetness of the gesture, it’s just . . .
Here’s the thing about Horny: he barely got us three kids through high school. I mean, Horny is the car that sputtered and shook making it the 3.2 miles to Jefferson High, no matter who was behind the wheel.
I’m even going to come all the way clean here and say that early on in my freshmen year, I was embarrassed showing up in Horny. Then I realized I was lucky to have a car at all, and well . . . I dunno, I guess Horny became a part of us Hawkins kids’ charm, because the station wagon was practically an institution from Craig’s high school reign all the way through Brandi’s.
But poor Horny quit working years ago. Much to Brandi’s chagrin, he gave up the ghost a mere two months before her high school graduation, and I spent the last bit of her senior year being picked up by my parents.
“He’s going to take you to California,” Dad says, giving the car another thump.
“Really?” I step forward and run a tentative finger along the familiar panel. He’s had a bath, so at least that’s something. “Because last I knew, he wouldn’t even make it out of the garage.”
“Yeah, well, we neglected him for a while, but he’s right as rain now,” Dad says, puffing out his chest as though Horny’s a fourth child.
“Like, as in he actually starts?”
“Purrs like a kitten,” my mom says with an emphatic nod, even though I know she doesn’t even like cats. “We didn’t believe it, but we took him to church on Sunday and there were no issues.”
I literally bite my tongue to keep from pointing out that this is hardly a feat. Sacred Presbyterian is 0.8 miles away from the house.
“You took Horny into a shop?” I ask, starting to warm to the idea of having a car again. I’m a little touched, actually. Money is tight for my parents. Dad’s a PE teacher, and Mom gives a mean winery tour, but the gig’s never paid much.
“Not exactly, it was more of a bartering situation,” Mom says.
“Yeah?” I say, going around to the driver’s seat, already giddy with the prospect of telling Oscar I’ll be able to come see him in Miami after all, even if I won’t exactly be riding in style.
“Reece agreed to fix him up.”
I’m lowering myself into the car as my dad says this, but I reverse so quickly I hit my head. My skull doesn’t even register the pain, because I’m too busy registering the hurt in my heart at the familiar name. “I’m sorry, what?”
“Reece,” my mom says, giving me a bemused look. “He’s always been handy with cars.”
“He fixed up the car in exchange for what?”
And then I feel—I actually feel—the air change around me as the side door to the garage opens, and a new presence sucks all the air out of the space.
I don’t turn around. I don’t move. But I feel his eyes on me. Over me.
“Reece is headed out to California too,” my oblivious mother chatters on. “It worked out perfectly actually. Now you two can ride together, and your dad and I don’t have to worry about you alone in the middle of nowhere with a twenty-something-year-old car.
They think the car is going to be the problem here? It’s not the car that’s toxic to me. It’s him.
Reece Sullivan. My brother’s best friend. My parents’ “other son.”
Slowly I force myself to turn, and even though I’m prepped, the force of that ice-blue gaze still does something dangerous to me.
He winks, quick and cocky, and I suck in a breath, and I have to wonder . . .
I wonder if my parents would feel differently about their little plan if they knew that their makeshift mechanic is the same guy that popped my cherry six years earlier under their very roof.
And then broke my heart twenty-four hours later.
Lauren Layne is the USA Today bestselling author of more than a dozen romantic comedies. She lives in New York City with her husband (who was her high school sweetheart--cute, right?!) and plus-sized Pomeranian.
In 2011, she ditched her corporate career in Seattle to pursue a full-time writing career in Manhattan, and never looked back.
In her ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books.
For a list of all her works, please be sure to check out her official website!
Author Links: WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS
Can a sexy SEAL discover the truth before terror explodes?
Loaned to the task force taking on the most dangerous Homeland Security challenges, injured SEAL Jon "Ghost" Caspar is assigned to protect a former lover and her daughterand prevent an imminent terrorist attack on his Wyoming hometown.
Single mom Charlie McClain hoped she'd never again see the gorgeous cowboy who broke her heart, but with her safety compromised, she needs Ghost. Can she still resist his rugged charms and keep a bombshell secret about their affair?
With a terrorist on the loose, Ghost struggles to remain professional. But the elite bodyguard can't guard his heart against beautiful Charlie and her adorable daughter
Hot Combat has such an energetic, intense feeling in it through the story. The action is brutal and cruel and it hits at the most unexpected times. The boisterous passion between Jon and Charlie is reignited as soon as they meet again, yet the feelings between them are deep and rooted.
I loved this story. I loved the vitality of it, it was flowing off the pages with such drive I was lost in it, the rest of the world not existing.
Jon and Charlie have nurtured the fire between them for years deep in their hearts. Jon is kind, caring, protective, and has tenderness in him that made me swoon. He is wounded, in a crossroads in his life, and the chance meeting with Charlie changes everything.
Charlie is tough, capable, independent, and makes things happen. I loved how she took charge and was willing to make compromises and sacrifices if needed when facing the malice and danger. They were so perfect for each other, it was a joy to watch them fumble into love, wishing they would live long enough to have a chance with a future together.
I loved how the team was set up, how there wasn't that 'staging' that sometimes comes with the first book of a series. All fell into the place naturally, the team is skillful and competent and I am looking forward getting to know them better. The action they engaged in wasn't only against the homegrown terrorist and angry townfolks, it was also against the elements, nature, and wildlife. It set my heart raising, the danger and death coming right at them with rancor. A perfect mix of suspense and threat, delightful family bonding, and luscious passion and sweet loving.
~ Five Spoons
Rescued by Love
The Ryders #4
By: Melissa Foster
Released January 11, 2017
Addison Dahl is excited to return to Elpitha Island for her best friend Gabriella’s wedding. A weekend of sun and fun is just what she needs before setting out on her newest adventure—roughing it in the wilderness. Addison is tough, she’s independent, and she doesn’t “do” feelings toward men. But lately her friend—and Gabriella’s brother-in-law—sinfully sexy and ornery-as-hell Jake Ryder has been the star of her late-night fantasies, and she can’t get him out of her mind. It doesn’t help that the chemistry between them is scorching hot. With any luck, a few days in the wilderness will snap that craziness out of her head.
As a top search and rescue professional, Jake Ryder spends his days saving those in need and his nights in the arms of willing women who offer nothing more than a few hours of sexual enjoyment. But there’s only one woman he wants, and he’s spent the last several months trying to get beautiful, smart, and sassy Addison to give him one sinful night. He’s sure one night will lead to more.
The night of the wedding the heat between Jake and Addy ignites, and they’re powerless to resist their explosive passion. Wild kisses, sensual touches, and heartfelt conversations brings them closer together, and when the weekend ends, Jake is determined to keep Addy close and make her his. But Addy has other plans...
Addison Dahl leaned against the outdoor bar, surrounded by all the beauty an evening wedding on Elpitha Island, a small stretch of land off the coast of South Carolina, had to offer. Couples danced beneath twinkling lights, children darted across the lawn with sparklers in hand, laughing and making designs against the night sky. With ocean views as far as the eye could see, island music sailing through the air, and a lighthouse standing sentinel, Addy’s best friend, Gabriella, married her forever love, investor Duke Ryder. Tonight was bittersweet. Addison had worked as Gabriella’s legal assistant for several years, and now Gabriella was talking about starting a family and cutting back on her practice. She and Duke were leaving for their honeymoon in a couple days, and Addy was leaving for ten days of soul-searching in the mountains in upstate New York. She couldn’t help wondering how different their lives would be when they returned from their trips.
“They look happy, don’t they?” Trish, Duke’s younger sister and Addy’s friend, joined her by the bar. A lock of her dark hair swept across her cheek with the breeze, and she tucked it behind her ear, her eyes dancing with excitement. She’d been absolutely glowing since her fiancé, rock star Boone Stryker, had proposed to her earlier in the evening. He’d surprised her not only with a ring, but also with a wedding that was scheduled to take place the day after tomorrow right there on the island.
“Blissfully happy,” Addy agreed. Duke, an investor, was beautifying Elpitha, where Gabriella had grown up. He was single-handedly making all of Gabriella’s dreams come true. Addy was happy for her friend, but her needs were vastly different. As the daughter of a world-renowned fashion designer, she didn’t want or need a man to take care of her. She’d had enough of that for a lifetime. At almost thirty years old, she doubted she’d ever meet a man fierce, smart, and passionate enough to hold her interest for a week, much less forever. Addy had never felt anything beyond turned on for any man, and at this point she assumed it was just how she was wired. Which, apparently, was vastly different from the head-over-heels-in-love women she was currently surrounded by.
“I’m so glad Boone decided to get married here,” Trish said dreamily. “I couldn’t have asked for a more romantic setting.”
Elpitha was the epitome of romantic, but life moved too slow for Addy on the tiny island, and the Internet moved even slower. She needed excitement the way others craved downtime, which was what she loved most about living in New York City.
“Speaking of romance,” Trish said conspiratorially, “Jake hasn’t taken his eyes off of you all night.”
Addy forced herself not to glance at Trish’s older, arrogant, fast-talking, hotter-than-sin brother she’d been hard-core fantasizing about since she’d met him several months ago. She really needed to get him out of her head once and for all, because he was starting to mess with her mind. It didn’t help that he hit on her every time they were together, which was often, because Addy joined Gabriella and Duke, along with several of his siblings—almost always including Jake—for drinks or dinner about every other week. Hopefully her ten days away would get the sexy player out of her head for good.
“Oh!” Trish exclaimed. “My fiancé is finally done dancing with my mom.” She lowered her voice and said, “I can’t get enough of saying that. My fiancé. I’ll catch up with you soon. I want to get in his arms before one of Gabriella’s pretty cousins tries to snatch him up.”
Trish crossed the lawn with a bounce in her step, leaving Addy alone with her thoughts. A cool breeze swept up the bluff, lifting the hem of her royal-blue halter dress clear across her thighs. She felt the heat of Jake’s gaze before she lifted her eyes, catching sight of him striding confidently in her direction. Chin held high, eyes dark as night, every step full of potent male swagger, he zeroed in for another round of innuendos. The man had a homing device for all things sexual. Pretending not to notice the heat of his stare searing through her normally impenetrable nerves, she looked around for something to distract herself, wishing she had her phone so she could at least scroll through Tumblr. She’d spent more than a handful of nights trolling the naughty pages of nearly naked--okay, and maybe a few naked—men as a distraction from the one coming closer by the second.
Jake moved like a lion, stealthy and powerful, seemingly oblivious to the excited voices and laughter all around him as he patiently stalked his prey. Being hunted by a man who looked like he could take down a predator with one hand tied behind his back was an exhilaratingly dangerous feeling. And hunted was the only way to describe the way he came just close enough to mark his territory without physically staking claim. Not that Addy wanted him to stake claim.
That’s not entirely true.
She’d like him to drive his stake into her but not claim her. They’d been playing this seductive game for months, giving her plenty of time to decipher her feelings. Or rather, her impulses. Addy didn’t do feelings toward men. But she couldn’t deny that over the past few months she’d seen more in Jake than just his badassery and ability to weaken knees with a single glance. She’d come to admire the way he protected his siblings, was always there for his brothers’ significant others, and the way he acknowledged the accomplishments of others, both male and female. Addy was used to working with men who were too wrapped up in themselves to see past their own noses, and she’d grown up with a father who had never allowed women the need to make decisions, much less accomplish anything significant.
She couldn’t help comparing her understated father, who moved like the wind, silently handling every aspect of her and her mother’s lives before they even had a chance to think, to Jake, a bull in a china shop with no airs about him. She admired Jake’s open appreciation for both beauty and brains as much as she admired his brooding, alpha tendencies. She’d love to know if he packed the same dose of virility in between the sheets as he did when he was flirting. He had an edge about him that never seemed to soften. Even the appearance of a smile on his impossibly chiseled face knocked her off-kilter. It came across as a wicked invitation, one she’d like to take him up on, if not for the fact that he scared the shit out of her.
Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance, new adult romance, and women's fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Melissa's emotional journeys are lovingly erotic, perfect beach reads, and always family oriented.
Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Life of the Party
Calypso Falls #1
By: Kris Fletcher
Releasing January 17, 2017
In this all-new contemporary romance series, the five Elias sisters of Calypso Falls, New York, discover that love sometimes arrives in surprising ways...
Jenna Elias was always the life of the party, coasting on her charm and beauty, hiding the shame of the scandal surrounding her absentee father, a corrupt politician. But the party ended all too soon with an injury that left her partially paralyzed and a husband who simply left her. Now, at age thirty, she’s back in Calypso Falls. She leads a simple existence working in her sister’s coffee shop, but Jenna misses the joy she once had in her life. Then Cole Dekker walks into the coffee shop.
As idealistic as he is sexy, the local lawyer is running for mayor of Calypso Falls. Drawn to Jenna’s quick wit and radiance, he asks her to volunteer for his campaign. As the two start working together, there’s no denying the powerful attraction they feel for each other. A desktop makeout session leads to much more. But when Jenna’s dad returns to Calypso Falls and wants to be a part of her life again, the association could spell political suicide for Cole—and the end of a once-in-a-lifetime chance at true love.
(Jenna) couldn’t quite stop staring at him.
Her rational brain ticked through the points—attractive guy, my age, waiting politely—while something within her urged her to look harder. Deeper. Before she missed something vital.
Then he raised his eyebrows and tipped his head, and she caught it. The flash of humor. The air of expectancy. The feeling that, in this moment, she was the only thing that mattered to him.
“Could I get a coffee, please?”
Hello, reality, you cruel bitch.
“Um . . . sure. Sorry. I’ll be right with you.”
Okay. So his desperate focus had been not on her, but the caffeine she represented. Nothing wrong with that. Better, even, than the possibilities being offered up by her imagination.
She returned to the register and focused on the order she needed to modify. It would be a lot easier if she wasn’t certain that he was following her every move, watching her hands glide across the keyboard like they held Harry Potter’s wand. Or maybe he was the one with the magic. It certainly took all of her resolve to stay on task when she had this sense that she was being compelled to turn back to him.
Lucky for her, learning to walk again had taught her a few things about determination.
At last the receipt was modified. She braced herself and returned to Mr. Compelling with the practiced smile she kept in her pocket for any situation requiring tact and/or faking.
“Sorry for the delay. One coffee, right?”
“Right. Milk, no sugar.”
“Let me deliver these and I’ll get right on that.”
She reached for the tray, but he placed a hand across it.
“Hang on,” he said.
Well, hell. There was nothing like watching a guy turn into an entitled, demanding jerk to crash through the Hormone Net.
“I’ll be right back.” She said it firmly, resisting the urge to explain playground rules about taking turns to him.
“That’s going to the table in the corner, right? The loud group?” At her nod, he added, “I’m with them. Add my coffee to the bill, let me pay up, and I’ll do the delivery myself.”
Her first thought was that Aunt Margie had got things seriously wrong when she said that all men were shortsighted asses who couldn’t see beyond the ends of their peckers.
Her second was that he’d caught her limping and felt sorry for her.
She straightened her shoulders, her backbone, her hips. “Thanks, but I can manage.”
“Sure you can. But I’m heading that way anyway.”
“That’s very kind of you, but I’ve kept them waiting long enough.”
“Yeah, well, I kept them waiting longer. If I come bearing gifts, they might be more forgiving.” The grin flashed again. “In fact, why don’t you toss a few of those muffins on the tray, too. I have a lot of groveling ahead. It might go better if I feed the beasts before I throw myself on their mercy.”
How was a girl supposed to resist that?
Kris Fletcher writes about small towns, big families, and the love that grows despite them. She has a thing for underdogs, which probably explains her lifelong devotion to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Kris shares her central New York home - fondly known as Casa Kitty – with her husband, kids, two cats, and a large population of wild killer dust bunnies. You can learn more about Kris, her books, and the view from her balcony at www.krisfletcher.com.
Author Links: WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS
Meeting the Cowboy's Family
Looking for inspiration, artist Ella Langton rents a cabin in the isolated Porcupine Hills of Alberta. She didn't count on having neighbors, but rancher Cord Walsh and his three children are just a stone's throw away.
Still healing from a tragic accident, Ella has no plans of reaching out, but she's having a hard time keeping them out of her yardand her thoughts. And when little Suzy ropes Ella into helping her with an art project, she can't help her growing feelings for the girl's rugged daddy.
With three persistent children, Cord and Ella may find their fenced-off hearts opening up sooner than they thought!
Inspirational and encouraging novel that with a beautiful and a bit fragile example shows in practise what it means when we are promised that God will carry us even through the darkest times in our lives, and He can use that time for our best and through that darkness guide us to the path we are supposed to be on.
Yes, I was touched by this story, it spoke to me, and got directly to my heart. Ella's heartbreak was so vivid, the dark place her marriage had taken her into, with the shame and secrets, poured into the canvas and made her career, but it left her yearning for something more, light, joy, life into her days. She is a strong character, survivor really, with a big yet broken heart. She has so much kindness, passion, wit, and charm, but she is afraid to let it lose, to live again, to have joy again in her life.
Cord lives with his own regrets and shame from his marriage, but his three children, the ranch, the work with his wife's legacy, it all takes his time and thoughts, not really leaving him time for the daily to-do list, not to mention gives him time to reflect and heal from Lisa's death.
I love Cord's kids. They all had solid characteristics, a true joy to be around. They craved for love and affection, and attention. They play a center role in the story, bringing Cord and Ella together, and helping them both heal and move on.
All the parental figures who were introduced in the story twisted the plot to a new direction. Not everything was completely resolved regarding Lisa's parents. I think Ella and Cord will have to face that storm until smoother sailing is possible.
I was immensely impressed how Ella's art played another center role in the plot, and I admit a little jealous of her ability and gift to express herself in that form.
I have really fallen in love with these Love Inspired stories, and how the faith-based stories often spoke to me through the characters if I am willing to hear what they have to share.
Courting the Cowboy ended up being a deep, thoughtful, and encouraging story of second chances in life, and how every step we take in will be leading us to our destiny, even if the destiny is not what we expected and planned it to be. I'm still a bit in awe of the tale and I know I'll be thinking about it for a good while
~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
Daring to Fall
Hidden Falls #2
By: T.J. Kline
Releasing January 17, 2017
Emma Jordan has returned home after her father’s death to run the animal sanctuary that had been his legacy. But strange things start happening, and it seems that someone is out to shut her down, someone who doesn’t mind putting lives in jeopardy to see it through. When Hidden Falls’ sexiest fireman starts to ask questions, Emma needs to make sure his charm doesn’t distract her from keeping her dreams alive.
Ben McQuaid has an obligation as a local fireman to protect the community, even from a well-meaning wildlife veterinarian who’s in way over her head. But, it’s becoming hard to keep his loyalty to the town and his desire for the pretty vet separate. As Ben and Emma become caught in a dangerous game of cat and mouse, their feelings for each other are growing.
Will they let duty drive them apart or will they dare to fall?
A complicated, slow building romance, one animal sanctuary filled with wildlife, and something suspicious lurking around the sanctuary feeding the town with falls information and setting Emma's business to fall. The author invites the readers to the front and center first-row seats to be mesmerised by the movie like scenes flowing of the pages and alluring the mind.
The unique setting of the wildlife sanctuary was a great learning experience. The details of the care and treatment of the different animals and the management of the place were depicted to the point. The smear campaign against Emma and the sanctuary brought additional mystique, danger, and suspense into the story adding a great deal to the plot and its twists.
Ben McQuaid is one of the truly 'good-guys'. He is kind, considerate, protective, he doesn't understand the lure of a one night stands or sex without commitment, he is the kind who is looking for a long term relationship and complete commitment. His track record is not the best when it comes to his past relationships, often falling for the woman in need of a rescuing, and ending up heartbroken and disappointed. It was easy to like him and cheer for him, as he goes with full effort trying to win Emma's heart.
Emma has had enough hard knocks in her life and does her best to put up walls and protect herself from all and anything she thinks she needs protection from. I blame the walls she had up for the fact that it took me considerable time to warm up to her. She comes off as unapproachable and prickly at first, but I did warm up to her as the story progressed, and she does show her softer side, her caring and vulnerability towards the end.
The secondary characters play an important role in the development of the story, and most of them are drawn with a detailed, well-developed structure. The readers get to know the McQuaid family better, especially Andrew, whom I found abrasive as he mangled with Ben and Emma, and the development of their relationship. His way to protect Ben could have used some finesse from Andrew's part, even though he does step up at the end to help instead of hinder. I just can't wait to see him fumble in love!
When raw attraction and heated passion turns into a gentle, poignant, and deep emotions that take hold of your heart when you least expect it and leads to complications you were not ready for - Emma and Ben have their hands and hearts full as they navigate their feelings, while trying to save and rescue the sanctuary. An enjoyable, compassionate, and heartfelt tale that left me eagerly wait for more in the series.
~ Four Spoons
“Hey, Ben, I have a favor to ask.”
Ben McQuaid rolled his eyes skyward. Of course, his brother Andrew needed another favor. Lately, Ben seemed to be the one doing the favors more often than receiving any. But, that’s what brothers did for one another, right? And with six siblings, most of them younger, that added up to be a lot of favors.
“Make it quick, I’m on my way into the fire station for my shift.”
“Good, because this is more of an official call than a favor anyway. I need you to head down to the Quinn place on Mosquito Road. Apparently, there’s a cat stuck in a tree. It seems stupid to call it in to the firehouse and drag the engine out for a cat. See? I’m actually doing you a favor and saving you all that cleaning and polishing you have to do just for driving a truck out of the garage.”
They’d be cleaning the engine anyway. Plus, without an engine, Ben had no ladder to get up the tree. “So, what you’re suggesting is that I shimmy up the tree the way I did when we were ten to get the football you and Grant would get stuck.”
Andrew’s chuckle sounded through the receiver. “Pretty much. Look, the call just came in from dispatch and you’ve got to drive by there on your way into town anyway. No sense in making it an official call.”
There was nothing about this that was a favor for Ben. “What’s wrong, is there an apple fritter with your name on it? This way you save yourself the effort of having to fill out another police report, right?” Andrew wasn’t fooling him.
“There’s that too.” Ben heard Andrew address someone else in the background. “Hey, I have to run. There’s a domestic dispute at the winery. You got this, right?”
“Yeah, I’ll take care of it,” Ben said with a sigh.
“Thanks. I owe you one.”
“One?” Ben muttered to himself as the receiver disconnected in his ear and he took the turn off onto Mosquito Road. “You owe me more than that.”
He wasn’t looking forward to this. Hollister Quinn was one of those old guys who spoke his mind, loudly and often. He’d been the first in line to protest the latest upgrades being done to spruce up their small foothill town. Said he liked it rustic, the way it’d been for years and that it should stay that way. However, now that there was talk about Hidden Falls trying to become more of a tourist attraction along the way to Tahoe, an idea that would bring higher profits for local businesses which, in turn, kept the town thriving, Quinn was complaining even more. A visit with Quinn, even to retrieve a kitten, was sure to bring a lengthy lecture about how the people of Hidden Falls were selling out. Ben rubbed the knots of tension already building at the back of his neck.
Pulling into the circular driveway in front of the Quinn house, he maneuvered his pickup between several other vehicles, none of which were Hollister’s. A crowd was already gathered under one of the tall pines in the front yard.
“Great,” the old man complained as Ben edged closer to the chaos. “Please, tell me you’re here to do something productive, not just here to gawk like everyone else. I need someone to get that damn thing outta my tree.” He pointed to where a tabby kitten yowled loudly from a high branch on the tree.
Ben squinted, following the old man’s gaze. “Are you sure that’s a cat? It doesn’t look—”
“What else would it be?” Quinn rolled his eyes before glaring at Ben and shoving him toward the god-awful howling the cat in the tree was making. “Do your job, fireman, and get that thing down.” He turned away, muttering something about the woman running the animal sanctuary down the road but Ben didn’t quite catch it and he wasn’t about to risk having the old man rip him a new one again.
“Sure thing, Mr. Quinn,” Ben agreed, wondering again why he’d wanted to be a firefighter. Sweating it out with the cattle on his parents’ ranch sounded a hell of a lot better right now than climbing a tree to get the shit clawed out of him by a frightened kitten.
He glanced around at the large group of neighbors that had come to watch, curious at the interest for a simple kitten stuck in a tree. It wasn’t a big enough deal to warrant this sort of hullabaloo. The kitten yowled louder and Ben had just lifted his foot onto the ladder Quinn had left braced against the side of the tree when Ellie Quinn, the old man’s daughter, hurried to his side.
“Ben, I’m sorry. I tried to get my dad to just leave the poor thing alone, but you know how he is.” She shot him a coy smile and her eyelashes fluttered.
Ellie was a nice woman. The same age as his younger sister and obviously interested in him. She was sweet, kind to everyone she met, a member of the local women’s shelter planning committee and generous to a fault. In fact, she was exactly what he wanted in a woman, plus she had a “girl next door” quality that made her adorable. His mother had been trying to set them up for months, reminding him that he should be giving her grandchildren before she was too old to enjoy them. The problem was, Ben wasn’t attracted to Ellie at all. He wanted to be, but every time he was around her, there was no stirring in him, no warm fuzzies like he’d had with other women. Nothing to get a rise out of him, so to speak, at all. It was almost like he wanted to continually find himself getting screwed over by crazy women. “Don’t worry about it, Ellie,” he said, waving a hand in her direction and looking up the tree. “I’ll just get this guy down and he’ll take off back home.” Ben wasn’t nearly as confident about his ability to get the cat down as he sounded but Ellie was sweet. He couldn’t blame her for her cantankerous father.
She cocked her head and gave him a confused look. “Oh. Um, okay.”
Putting one foot over the other as he climbed the ladder, trying to ignore the jeers and shouts from below, Ben pulled himself into a fork in the tree, hanging his legs over the branch as he straddled it. He could barely see the spotted fluffy coat of the kitten but, from what he could see, it was definitely young. He’d never understand how a stupid animal could get itself into a tree but couldn’t get back out. Then again, it wasn’t like people didn’t get themselves into some pretty precarious positions they couldn’t figure their way out of.
Tucking his feet under him so he was squatting on the limb, grateful for the heavy tread of his work boots, Ben reach for a thick branch to his right, using it to swing him to the V beside where the cat was hiding. The gasp from the onlookers below nearly made him laugh. Sure, falling would be painful but the fifteen-foot landing into mulch couldn’t hurt any more than the second story floor of an old farmhouse collapsing from under him during a call and dropping him into the concrete basement below. Those two fractured ribs had hurt like hell.
Straddling the second branch, he watched the kitten for a moment. The poor animal was scared out of its mind. Its big blue eyes were round with fear and, from this vantage point, he could see that it was a matted mess. Tiny claws clung to the rippled bark of the tree and he wondered how he was possibly going to convince the frightened animal to let go without his very vulnerable bare arm replacing the tree trunk under its claws.
“Here, kitty,” he called quietly. The cat turned toward him and he saw the unmistakable black tufts over the kitten’s ears. It turned away again, edging out onto the branch and he saw the stubby tail.
Holy crap, that is not a cat. It’s a freakin’ bobcat kitten.
“Shit,” he muttered. “That damn brother of mine owes me big time.”
T. J. Kline was bitten by the horse bug early and began training horses at fourteen—as well as competing in rodeos and winning several rodeo queen competitions—but has always known writing was her first love. She also writes under the name Tina Klinesmith. In her spare time, she can be found spending as many hours as possible laughing hysterically with her husband, teens, and their menagerie of pets in Northern California. That is, when she isn't running around the California Gold Country researching new stories.
Author Links: WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS
A Shot with You
Bourbon Brothers #2
By: Teri Anne Stanley
Releasing January 9, 2017
One more will never be enough…
Bourbon is in Brandon Morgan’s blood. His family owns the best bourbon brand in the country—or it will be with his marketing genius. And after meeting the fiery daughter of a tequila distillery owner, he’s never been more sure.
His barrels, her tequila. It’s a match made in heaven. But only if he can keep his hands off the owner’s daughter…and his secrets to himself.
Lesa Ruiz will do anything to keep Little Possum afloat, but one look at Brandon’s gorgeous dimples and Lesa knows two things for sure: forever is not in the cards with this man and he’s way too sexy to resist for long.
Well, three things… Brandon is hiding something, and she’ll need to get a lot closer to figure it out and save her family’s legacy.
Brandon Morgan stood in front of the Travel Adventures office in Puerto Vallarta and stared down at Mexico’s youngest extreme watersports guide.
Call him Mr. Excitement with as much sarcasm as you like, but he was on vacation, and he’d choose the fun. The “high adventure” he’d signed up for was as appealing as a trip to the dentist. For fillings. Without anesthetic. And it was his vacation, damn it. If he had to leave his cozy, air-conditioned stateroom and its wifi connection, he was going to live it up in a way that made him happy.
He looked at the kid and said, “Sorry, bud. I think I’m gonna contribute to my life insurance for a few more years. I’ll pass on ski-surfing today.”
“But senõr, you’ve already paid for the trip. If you join the tequila tour, you’ll have to pay again.” And I’ll lose the generous tip you’d give me for bringing you back alive. If I bring you back alive.
At least that’s what Brandon figured he meant, so he gave the kid a few bucks and escaped into the liquor store that had a sign reading, “Tequila tour! Cruise guests welcome!”
Before he reached the smiling attendant behind the counter, a familiar label caught his eye: Blue Mountain Bourbon, Dangerous Dave’s Eight Ball. Sweet. His distribution team had managed to get it out, right on time. It wasn’t available on the ship, so he snatched a bottle from the shelf and carried it back to the cashier.
“This bottle, and one ticket for the tequila tour.” He could skip the tequila tasting—yech—and have bourbon. No cactus water for him.
“You’d better hurry, amigo,” the attendant told him. “The bus is leaving.”
Brandon threw a handful of bills at the guy and sprinted from the shop, across the crumbling roadway, and leaped onto the bus filled with grinning, sunburned tourists.
As the doors shut behind him, he fell into an empty seat next to an elderly woman with purple hair. She didn’t glance away from the iPad she held to the window, videoing the scenery, which in this case, consisted of a broken-down truck in front of a store claiming to have “Authentic Aztec silver jewelry at rock bottom closeout prices.” Brandon would have to remember to stop by there to pick up something for his mom’s birthday. Mom would appreciate authentic rock-bottom-discounted jewelry. After all, she’d loved—and still occasionally wore—the vending machine plastic gemstone ring he’d given her when he was eight.
The bus jerked with a hiss of air brakes and jolted forward.
“Welcome to the Pequeño Zarigüeya tour! Sit back and enjoy the ride as you enjoy these hits of Mexican radio.” The music that fuzzed through ancient speakers was nothing that had been produced before his parents were in diapers, but then, he wasn’t a big connoisseur of south-of-the-border pop. Maybe they did play a lot of Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass here these days.
He’d made the right choice to bail on the extreme sports and could instead fantasize about mergers and acquisitions to his heart’s content. He slid the bottle of bourbon into his drawstring backpack and tucked it between his knees, grateful to have escaped another freaking adventure.
Gramps had challenged Brandon to “get the hell off the cruise ship and do something interesting. Meet some women instead of hiding in your cabin to work, for Chrissakes,” so for the last few stops he’d done things that his family and friends deemed exciting. He’d gone on a zip line tour of the rain forest in Costa Feo. And spent the next day swallowing Advil. He’d gone kayaking down the Rio Tehuantepec and wound up with mosquito bites the size of dinner plates. At least he was pretty sure he didn’t have Zika virus, always a bonus. Plus, he could check “Stretch outside of comfort zone” off of his corporate leadership self-improvement list. But he’d had enough.
This distillery tour—this was what interested him. He wouldn’t pretend that he was going to drink instead of work—as one of the sons of a prize-winning bourbon distilling family, sniffing samples of tequila and touring a distillery was work. It was market research and checking out the competition, and he loved it.
“Hey! You. Mr. Cutie Drawers!”
Brandon grunted when a sharp elbow dug into his ribs.
He sucked in a deep breath and looked at his seat mate, who grinned at him. Her lipstick-smeared teeth reminded him of a vampire ready for the second course.
“Name’s Edna VanMacintosh. From Alberta, Florida.”
“Uh, Brandon Morgan. Crockett County, Kentucky.”
“You a coal miner or a tobacco farmer?”
“Just kidding. I know there’s also horses and hillbillies in K.Y. I’m a hairdresser,” she rasped, without waiting for him to elaborate. “Was going to go on this trip with my husband for our second honeymoon, but he went and died on me.”
“I’m sorry,” Brandon told her after a beat. “So you’re taking this trip in his memory, that’s nice.”
“Nah.” She wheezed with laughter. “He died fifteen years ago. I was bumping uglies with his brother Si for a while, thought I might get him to come along, but then he died, too. I’m on this trip hoping to find me some new man-flesh.”
“Oh.” Brandon’s brain froze.
She cackled and gave his ribs another jab. “Don’t look so scared. You’re not quite man enough for me. I like ‘em a little more broken in. A few more miles on the odometer. I don’t want to spend ten years trying to teach you all the tricks.”
Brandon was torn between massive relief and the need to point out that in spite of the way his last few relationships had ended, he wasn’t wet behind the ears.
Fortunately, massive relief won out, because Edna looked like she might be inclined to want details on his skills.
“You married? You look like the marrying kind. I bet you’ve got two point four kids, too.”
“No, not married.”
“Well, why the hell not?”
“Just haven’t met the right girl, I guess.” And the one he thought was “right” turned out to be terribly, horribly, wrong.
“Hmph. You a virgin?”
Brandon coughed. “Well, ma’am—”
Edna snorted. “Just kiddin’. What kind of girl you lookin’ for? There’s a shit ton of horny women on that cruise ship back there. I’ll hook you up before we make it back to San Diego.”
“I’m not really looking—”
“Are you gay? ’Cause there’s plenty of single men hanging around, too. You like the hairy ones or the twinkly kind?”
“No, no. Not gay. But I’m not looking for anyone on this cruise.” He decided to elaborate, before she came up with any more wild assumptions. “Most of the girls I’ve met on this trip are a little too busy taking selfies and Snapchatting themselves to have a conversation.”
“Oh. Well, if you’re looking for a wife, you’re gonna be looking for a while. You’re a good-looking fella, but girls these days are all about the temporary hookup. The Redbox and Cool.”
“Netflix and Chill?”
Unfortunately, Edna was right. He’d gone out with a few women in the past few years, but he always found something that didn’t work for him with each one. Like…she didn’t want to hang out while he added one last entry—or fifty—to a spreadsheet. Or she wanted to actually go on dates instead of visiting random liquor stores to check his company’s product placement. Or maybe she’d only pretended to be crazy for him while she helped to steal thousands of dollars’ worth of inventory from his family’s business. Maybe he was too picky, but some of those things were deal breakers.
“I’m not looking for a wife,” he told her. “But some meaningful conversation would be nice.”
Edna cackled. “Is that what you kids are calling it these days?”
The bus made a hard left and lurched onto a—was this really a street? It seemed more like an alley. Trees scraped the windows on each side of the bus, before parting to reveal a boarded up house, followed by a weed-strewn yard full of broken-down cars and skinny dogs.
A hundred yards later, the bus groaned to a halt in front of a colorfully painted but rickety wooden fence, and half of the occupants immediately stood and shoved into the aisle. Brandon waited until there was a space and stood, too. He hoped Edna would find another victim to interrogate, but alas, she actually grabbed his belt so she wouldn’t lose him as he joined the milling crowd of partiers in front of the gate that read Pequeño Zarigüeya Entrada in colorful script.
“So what are you looking for, in case we get lucky and find you the right girl? Surgeon, lawyer, international venture capitalist?”
An international venture capitalist might be nice. They did have internet at Blue Mountain, and most of that work was on the phone or online, right? But realistically… “I don’t know. Accountant? Tax attorney?” Someone who would want to climb the corporate ladder with him, not over him.
The gate opened, and a laughing, dancing, Mexican goddess swirled out into the crowd. “Welcome to the wonderful world of tequila!” she called out. “I can’t wait to show you Pequeño Zarigüeya.”
Okay. Maybe he should add “tequila distillery tour guide” to his list of options.
Most true bourbon aficionados would say that you should only drink Kentucky’s best with a little water, if you have to add anything at all. Some wouldn’t even condone ice. But seriously…how many people can drink straight whiskey without making that face? You know the one. The “HOLY CRAP, MY ENTIRE BODY’S GOING TO CATCH ON FIRE!” face.
And if the bourbon industry turned their nose up at the cocktail mixers of the world, they wouldn’t sell much liquor, would they?
Besides, there are so many awesome cocktails that include bourbon, that it would be very wrong to ignore them.
There’s the Old Fashioned, which is made with whiskey, bitters, simple syrup, a twist of orange and a cherry. The Manhattan, which has bourbon, vermouth (bleh!) and a cherry (I detect a theme!). Don’t forget about the Mint Julep…mint, sugar, bourbon…
And my old family favorite, the Whiskey Sour. I remember getting to have a tiny bit of this on special occasions when I was younger. It was sure better than the beer we’d maybe possibly try to sneak out of the garage refrigerator! The traditional recipe calls for fresh lemon juice, sugar, and whiskey, but here’s the Big Dick version (Big Dick was my dad, Richard. Not a commentary on the character or man parts of anyone):
1 can of frozen lemonade
Dump the contents of the can in to a blender
1 can of bourbon
Use the lemonade can. It will help rinse all the lemonade into the blender.
Add a bunch of ice and grind the heck out of everything, until you have a slurry.
1 can of Sprite
Give it a quick mix.
You gotta do that part last, because 1), if you add the Sprite after the bourbon, you’ll be sure to rinse out any residual liquor that would otherwise go to waste stuck to the inside of the can, which would be wrong, and 2) the fizzy in the Sprite would go whizzy if you added it before you blenderized it.
Pour into glasses, give to guests, and watch Mom start to act silly.
Teri Anne Stanley has been writing since she learned to hold a crayon. Though her handwriting hasn’t improved, her spelling is a little better now. She spends her days as an evil genius’s sidekick in a research lab, and her nights weaving tales of heroic hunks and sassy, smart women. When she’s not at work, Teri, Mr. Stanley, and the Stanlettes enjoy spending time at their weekend estate, located in the thriving metropolis of Sugartit, between Beaverlick and Rabbit Hash, Kentucky.
Author Links: WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS
The Rule Maker
The Rule Breakers #2
By: Jennifer Blackwood
Releasing January 16, 2016.
Ten Steps to Surviving a New Job:
1. Don’t sleep with the client. It’ll get you fired. (Sounds easy enough.)
2. Don’t blink when new client turns out to be former one-night stand.
3. Don’t call same client a jerk for never texting you back.
4. Don’t believe client when he says he really, really wanted to call.
5. Remember, the client is always right—so you can’t junk punch him when he demands new design after new design.
6. Ignore accelerated heartbeat every time sexy client walks into room.
7. Definitely ignore client’s large hands. They just mean he wears big gloves.
8. Don’t let client’s charm wear you down. Be strong.
9. Whatever you do, don’t fall for the client. You’ll lose more than your job—maybe even your heart.
10. If all else fails, see rule number one again.
He scrubbed his palms over his face and rested his elbows on his knees. “This was not how I saw this night going.”
“Big Valentine’s Day plans?”
He lowered his hands and looked at me like I’d just claimed I single-handedly caused the storm raging outside. “I didn’t even know that was today. Does this mean we’re each other’s valentines by default?”
I scoffed. “Not a chance.”
He chuckled. “Always so blunt. I like that about you.” He quickly cleared his throat as if he hadn’t meant to say that. “Well, non-valentine, looks like we’re going to be stuck here a while. Have anything in mind?” he said.
I decided against packing on another insult. He was being nice, and this sure as heck beat staring at the wall the rest of the night. “My form of entertainment is at 6 percent battery, so I’m open to suggestions.”
“Mine is fully charged. Want to watch something?”
“Sure.” What else did I have to do? Before I knew it, I was sitting on the bed next to him, leaning against the ornately carved headboard. Snow gusting against the window was the only sound in the room as he searched for a show for us to watch.
Way too quiet.
I fidgeted with my necklace, moving the small diamond back and forth on the chain. The last time I was in bed with Ryder… I didn’t even want to finish that thought, because it’d do nothing but make this situation worse. I chanced a peek in his direction.
He chewed the inside of his cheek, swiping through our options. “This is awkward, huh?” he said.
“We’ve achieved Urkel status.”
He chuckled and scrolled through the show queue. “Would you rather watch Law and Order: SVU or Criminal Minds?”
“That is quite possibly the worst Would You Rather question ever asked.”
His eyes cut to mine. “I didn’t know I was playing a game.”
“You’ve never played it?”
He shook his head.
Lainey and I played this game all the time in college, and when we’d take road trips together. She always came up with the grossest ones. “It’s simple. All you have to do is ask the person which horrible thing they’d rather do. The harder the question, the better. Like would you rather lay in a pit of snakes, or eat questionably dead roadkill?” I pointed to his phone. “Oh, John Tucker Must Die. I like that one.”
“Negative, ghost rider.” He scrolled past my suggestion. “And what the hell does questionably dead mean? Is it still twitching, or are we talking suspicious cause of death?”
I shrugged. “The interpretation’s up to you.”
“You’re absolutely no help.” He swiped his thumb across his beard and contemplated. “I guess I’d go with the snakes.”
“Okay, now it’s your turn,” I said.
“Do I really have to play? I thought we were picking a show.”
I shot him a look.
“Fine. Would you rather have me or Chewbacca as your valentine?”
“Too easy. The spider.”
He put his hand to his heart. “You wound me.”
“Stop being such a baby.” I swatted at his chest and immediately pulled my hand back. Nope. Would not go there. “Okay, would you rather not be able to see or talk for a month?”
He answered instantly. “See.”
“Right. You’d probably go nuts if you couldn’t open that big mouth of yours.”
His lips twitched. “You’re one to talk.”
“Excuse me?” Okay, I did have a tough time keeping my thoughts on lockdown outside the office, but that was my own cross to bear.
“Don’t even try to play it off like you’re innocent.”
I’d dated a lot of losers in the past, most who hadn’t even bothered to get to know me, but even after only hanging out a few times, Ryder had me pegged. He was perceptive. I saw the look in his eyes whenever I dealt with Jason. His attention focused solely on me was unnerving. “Jerk,” I sputtered.
“Now I know you’re holding back. You can do way better than that.” He scrolled through his phone again. “How about Die Hard?”
“Are all your show selections about death? I’m starting to worry I made a mistake coming over here.” My lips pulled into a smile and I quickly extinguished it. God, I wanted to hate him.
“Fine.” He continued looking at the Netflix queue. “Would you rather eat sushi from a taco stand, or lick an airplane armrest?”
“Good one. Sushi.” I pointed to his screen. “How about 10 Things I Hate About You?”
He shook his head and chuckled. “Are all of your suggestions going to not-so-subtly tell me you hate me?”
I smiled sweetly. “Maybe.”
“Just think, most people would find this to be a romantic escape. Two people, stuck in the mountains on Valentine’s Day,” he said.
“We’re Hallmark movie material, all right,” I deadpanned.
“Okay, fine. How about The Walking Dead?”
“Your show picking powers have been officially revoked.” I grabbed the phone from his hand.
“Hey!” He grabbed for the phone, and I held it out of reach. “You’re going to regret that.” Within seconds he was on top of me, playfully pinning me to the bed, his strong hands circling my wrists. Air evaporated from my lungs as our gazes connected.
I was immediately transported back to that night.
Tell me what you want, Zoey. Tell me what you need from me.
I swallowed hard. That was months ago, and those words still haunted me from time to time. Because he did exactly that, gave me what I wanted and needed. Repeatedly.
Jennifer Blackwood is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance. She lives in Oregon with her husband, son, and poorly behaved black lab puppy. When not chasing after her toddler, you can find her binging on episodes of Gilmore Girls and Supernatural, and locking herself in her office to write.
Author Links: WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS
He ll keep her safe but can he keep his distance?
When Addison Cobalt learns she has a potentially volatile stalker, she tries to hide it from her business partner, Logan Dane. The hyperprotective, supersexy cohead of their security company will only try to take control of the situation and her.
Which is exactly what Logan does when he finds out about the stalker.
Addison craves the safety of Logan s body, but that doesn t mean she s willing to give up her independence, or all of her secrets, for him. She has a few ways to shake Logan s iron control, but it s a wicked and risky game.
Because the only thing more dangerous than her stalker is Mr. Dangerously Sexy himself!
From fun and sexy banter to soul-searching conversations Addi and Logan's relations has always been filled with high emotions and edgy attraction and when they finally give into the fires burning inside them, the scenes are scorching hot and immensely sensual.
Addi and Logan both have lived their recent years doing their best to honor the memory of Addi's father. They both have their own ideas of what this means, thus keeping them apart in their personal lives.
I loved the spark between them, there were these jitters coming off of them every time they are close to each other, or even thinking of each other, that created addictive energy around them.
They both present a tough as nails exterior when inside they have insecurities, hurt, regrets, and turmoil of feelings they don't know what to do about. To be able to be in each other's lives they have to find an equal footing to live on, a balanced foundation based on trust, honesty, and respect.
The stalker Addi has added another dimension to the story, giving Logan the chance to be close to Addi, and for them to open up to each other, with the kind of raw honesty, about their personal lives and feelings that they have avoided before.
Fun, lusciously exciting and intensely seductive characters fumbling with their emotions and deep feelings, scenes that go from steaming hot to threatening and menacing with deadly danger. I enjoyed the story, the characters, and their journey, that while filled with heat and passion, also had loving, tender, and caring moments that stole my breath away.
~ Four Spoon with a teaspoon on the side
Stefanie London is the USA Today bestselling author of over ten contemporary romances with humour, heat and heart.
Originally from Australia, she now lives in Toronto with her very own hero and is currently in the process of doing her best to travel the world. She frequently indulges in her passions for good coffee, lipstick, romance novels and zombie movies.
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The start of a new chapter?
Braden Garrett felt blessed the instant his adopted baby girl was laid in his arms. Fifteen months later, the widowed CEO feels out of place as the only man at the local library's toddler music class! Until his gaze falls on the librarian. Beautiful Cassie MacKinnon sparks a desire he'd long forgotten…but why can't he convince her to go out with him?
After a disastrous broken engagement, Cassie's given up her dreams of white picket fences. That is, until tall, dark and sexy Mr. Garrett sparks fantasies of a different kind! Tempting as Braden is, though, Cassie is afraid the single dad only sees her as a substitute mommy. Or is the dedicated daddy offering everything she's ever wanted—true love and family—in one perfect package?
Baby Talk & Wedding Bells was more realistic than I expected and hit home on two questions rarely seen tackled on romance novels: adoption and infertility, and a relationship/marriage for the sake of a family instead of romance and love.
Both Braden and Cassie were likable and relatable characters that I enjoyed getting to know. Cassie had had her heart broken by the loss of family and unsatisfying relationships. She was determined not to fall in love, even though Braden and his daughter, even his mother, were so tempting with the warmth and affection that had been missing in her life for so long.
Braden has had his own heartbreak and trouble with his marriage before his wife died. He will not fall in love, has no interest to get emotionally involved, yet he is looking for a wife as a companion and a mother for his daughter.
The feelings that both Braden and Cassie goes through are rather raw and deep. The process for them to find peace in their hearts and lives, and find the balance they are looking for, the joy and cheer they were able to share with each other, it all takes it time, effort, and compromises they had not expected to make.
During this process, Cassie goes on a date with another man, and Braden claims to want only a marriage of convenience without bringing Cassie up to the same page with him. Both things that I wasn't a fan of, and in general don't like in my romance novels.
Braden's rowdy family around them, and Cassie's family of heart at the library, are a great addition to the story and the secondary characters help to move the plot along and contribute to the story in a significant way. Not to mention little Saige, Branden's daughter, who stole every scene she was in with her cuteness overflowing.
A fascinating story about marriage, children, the journey one has to go through to get to the point to be ready to be in a committed relationship, and the fumble life and love sometimes is.
~ Three Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
Souls to the Polls
Maggie Frew is a demon. Like all demons, she works in politics – keeping her darkness under control by feeding it a steady diet of malevolence and sin.
The problem: Maggie’s candidate in Virginia, older than dirt Peter Cameron , doesn’t have an evil bone in his body. And without a steady source of food, Maggie’s demon could wind up controlling her.
The plot thickens: A crime spree heats up in the sleepy town of Leesburg, Virginia, thanks to a rogue demon intent on creating mayhem. And now the creature has set its sights on Maggie.
Somehow, Maggie will have to find a new source of food, stop a rogue demon from exposing its existence to the world, and manage a campaign team made up of two seventy year-old Lesbians and Harry the Terrified Intern.
It’s high octane politics, comedy, romance, and campaign sabotage in Souls to the Polls
Patricia Murphy is a full-time writer in Washington, DC. She has a lot of years of experience working on campaign politics all throughout the US though, by her own admission, she was a pretty lousy campaign manager. This is due entirely to the fact that she spent most of her time writing about the off-the-wall anecdotes and colorful characters she met along the way instead of actually running the campaign.
Patricia is happily married with two overweight cats and her first child on the way. In her spare time, she enjoys yelling at the television during presidential debates and eating cold pizza for breakfast.