Until We're More by Cindi Madsen
Series Fighting For Her Series
Genre New Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher Entangled Embrace
Publication Date August 27, 2018
Chelsea is smart, funny, gorgeous, and the best friend I’ve ever had. Ever since she left, I’ve been a wreck. I’ve been focused on keeping my family’s MMA gym afloat while I train and coach fighters, anything to not miss her more. But now she’s finally back, along with her grumpy, possessive cat, and things are weird between us.
By weird, I mean I can’t stop thinking about her in that way. She’s in the room next door, and it takes all my control not to storm in there, sweep her up, and bring her back to my bed. Even stranger, I’m pretty sure she’d be into it.
And this time, I’m not going to stop fighting until we’re more.
He’s my best friend; he’s my best friend; he’s my best friend…
I inhaled another gulp of the ocean-scented air that’d welcomed me home and pushed inside the MMA gym where I’d spent countless hours sitting on the sidelines, forever suspended between whatever literary world I’d escaped into and a world of striking drills, sparring, and ripped guys talking about past or upcoming mixed martial arts fights. That beautiful junction used to be my home base, but thanks to a whole mess of complications involving one of the guys who ran the gym, I hadn’t been here in way too long. Liam Roth was a light heavyweight contender, coach and fighter for Team Domination, and he also happened to be my stoic, laconic best friend.
My breath leaked out of me like a balloon that hadn’t been tied, complete with the screechy noise. Liam stood in the middle of the caged-in area with no shirt on, the sweaty sheen coating his body accentuating all the muscles upon muscles. Really, universe? Couldn’t you at least hook a girl up and help make my goal a little attainable?
I hadn’t been back to San Diego in six months, and goal number two—right after proving I was upper management material—was to only think of Liam in the most platonic of ways. No more having romantic-type feelings for him. Nope, I was over that. Done being a slave to unrequited love. Of course, it was much easier to stay on track from hundreds of miles away.
The scent of rubber and worn leather invaded my senses and the familiar tap, tap, tap of gloved fists made me yearn to settle into my usual chair and turn into the girl I used to be. The one who avoided her actual home by watching her best friend train for hours. Past Chelsea hadn’t had much of a social life besides that, but since it meant being around Liam, that version of me hadn’t cared.
Current Chelsea was working on grabbing life by the balls, although she still preferred nights in, and there hadn’t been much ball grabbing, which was a whole different issue. I’ve been doing so well, though. I went out on that date a month and a half ago.
For the record, I knew better than to grab the balls. Not that I’d gotten near enough to do that, and not that I wanted to do that. The point was to put myself out there and engage in life instead of letting it pass me by, which included dating with the intention of bedding. Eventually. When I found the right person. If that ever happened.
Full disclosure: I’d accidentally compared my last date to Liam, and naturally the guy fell short, but again, I was trying.
If at first you don’t succeed, jump on a dating app and swipe, swipe again.
Vaguely I noticed no one was seated behind the front desk. Prying information from Liam—especially over the phone—was like convincing a baby to release their death-grip on a sucker, but I’d gleaned that nowadays, Liam’s sister only occasionally worked at the gym yet still came in often, since her newish boyfriend was also part of Team Domination. As much as I wanted to see Brooklyn, I was sorta glad no one manned the desk right now because it made it easier to hang back and soak in the action. Aka, ogle the fighters, and I had my eyes on one in particular. The very same guy I’d watched strike and hit more times than I could count through the years, and my pulse skipped to the rhythm of his motions.
A digital clock on the wall ticked down the time the fighters had left in this training round—three minutes to go, which meant they’d started these drills two minutes ago.
Three minutes to figure out what to say to him, which felt so foreign and…icky. After a few long months of hardly any contact when I’d almost given up on him, Liam had actually started picking up the phone once in a while. Things were still more stilted than they used to be, and thanks to that, a combination of missed calls on both sides, and then deciding it’d be fun to surprise him, he had no idea I was coming. Maybe part of that also stemmed from my worry that he wouldn’t be as excited as I was, and I definitely didn’t want to hear him tell me I should stay put, several states away.
My heart dropped and tightened at the same time, which left the organ struggling to function properly. Things hadn’t been the same between us since shortly before I left. For years we’d fended off assumptions and accusations of being more than friends. Again and again we’d explain that we were just friends and why was that so hard to believe? Back then I’d even meant it, and I had no doubt he did, too.
Then, about a year ago, my feelings went rogue on me. I’d tried to stop them. But, hello, he was tall and buff and he had this longish, forever-tousled blond hair that made him look like a certain Norse god who wielded a hammer. While I’d always noticed Liam was hot, suddenly I couldn’t notice anything but that.
I didn’t have many friendships, and I couldn’t risk messing up ours unless he felt the same. Problem was, Liam had never been what you’d call forthcoming with the emotions, and I debated the best way to test the waters, while also being terrified of what I’d discover if I actually got brave enough to dip in a toe.
One night he went to give me a goodbye peck on the cheek, the way he’d done dozens of times through the years. (Back in high school, I was the sole proprietor of the mushy farewells, but eventually he began reciprocating.) My daydreams got tangled up with real life, and in an uncharacteristic moment of impulsivity, I turned my head so that our mouths would line up instead. Last second, I came to my senses—with a side of chickening out—and he caught the corner of my lips.
I froze, my heart bruising my ribs with every too-strong, too-fast beat.
Visions of him pulling me closer for a purposeful, square-on-the-mouth kiss flashed through my brain as a sizzle worked its way through my veins.
He shook his head, a hint of confusion in his features. Then he gestured to the swollen, purplish-blue eye he’d gotten from a sparring session gone too far. “Sorry, my depth perception must be off.”
He backed away, as if he needed to ensure no more accidental brushing ensued, and I pretended that my squashed hope wasn’t twitching like a dying bug.
In order to keep myself from screwing up our relationship, I’d resorted to drastic measures. Not that I was testing him or anything, because an amazing job opportunity had come up, and in a lot of ways, it seemed like the escape I’d been looking for. If it hadn’t been for Liam, I would’ve probably put more space between my toxic family and me the second I graduated high school. So when I’d mentioned the job and told him it included having to relocate to Denver, I’d watched his face, hoping to see anything that might lead me to believe his feelings ran deeper. I could stay for more, but I couldn’t keep waiting and hoping and wrecking my career goals and social life on something that’d never happen.
Seriously, do you have any idea how hard it is to date when you have a ginormous, overprotective best friend? The few guys who’d actually hit on me ran in the other direction once they met Liam.
Instead of saying he didn’t want me living that far away, Liam told me a fresh start would be good for me and that the job sounded perfect, and the fact that he was so blasé about it made it clear I needed some space before I went and did something that’d ruin everything. And the time away had been good for me. I’d grown a lot over the last six months. I’d learned how to be bolder—although I was still working on that, particularly when it came to my job—and how to make new friends.
It gave me a chance to attempt to date and experience what it was like to spend time with people other than Liam.
Naturally, the move wasn’t without a downside or two. I occasionally missed the beach and the MMA gym and even my dysfunctional family, although that was a slippery, complicated slope. While the distance erected a natural barrier, I’d feel bad I wasn’t there for my mom the way I should be, tell myself that maybe things would be better now that we’d had space, and finally answer one of her calls. Before I could fully get out the words “Hi, Mom,” I’d be wrapped up in her net and end up sending money to placate her, as well as my guilt.
As for the number one con, though, the one that surpassed them all…?
He was standing in the center of the caged-off rectangle, still hammering out fighting drills.
What if he’s not excited? What if he’s moved on and is Mr. Popular now, so many friends he doesn’t have time for me? Even in my head that didn’t seem right, not because he couldn’t be a local celebrity with a nonstop social life but because it so wasn’t him.
For the first time since I’d asked—i.e. practically begged—for my boss to add me to the team that would be opening a branch here, doubt over my decision crept in. Not great, since I already had enough doubt I could pull off showing the marketing firm I worked for that I was managerial material.
I have six weeks to prove that I’d be a great manager, and that I’m an asset to whatever team I’m on.
Six weeks to enjoy San Diego and spend as much time as possible with Liam—without falling for him all over again and making things weird. Again.
No big deal. I’m the picture of self-control.
Just ask that box of doughnuts I plowed through on my drive halfway across the country. Okay, so I’d meant to only eat a couple, but that was different. Doughnuts obviously loved me back.
First things first, I needed to summon some of that boldness I claimed to have gained over the past several months and see where Liam and I were even starting from.
My gaze returned to my guy—er, my guy friend—and blood rushed through my head in that way that made it hard to think straight, and I just… Well, I was right there with every girl who’d ever swooned in Liam’s presence, which was a lot. I used to watch in amusement as they would turn into babbling idiots around him, and I’d even teased him about his groupies, but right now, it didn’t strike me as very funny. I had all the empathy for any girl who went and fell for Liam Roth. Especially since he was so damn hard to get over.
The five-minute buzzer sounded, Liam’s unwavering focus on his training broke, and slowly—like that serious slow-motion-type shit you see in romance movies—his eyes scanned the area and landed right on me. My heart stopped for one second. Two seconds…
A grin curved his lips, and then my feet were propelling me forward, and he was rushing down from the caged-in training area, and a floaty, fuzzy sensation took over my body.
Just when the hugging I desperately wanted to commence was finally within my reach, Liam stopped short, his arms dropping to his sides.
Oh no. My worst fears have come true. We don’t even know how to act around each other anymore.
He frowned as he glanced down at himself—since he was looking at his muscles, I figured that made it okay for me to follow suit. You know, in case he had any questions. Why, yes, your abs do look crazy-amazing and I have imagined licking them.
So much for my thoughts behaving themselves. Self-control was…a process.
“I’m all sweaty from training.” Liam glanced over his shoulder, in the direction of the locker room. “I’ll hit the showers real quick and then—”
I flung myself at him, not caring. Needing my arms around him and his arms around me, because conflicted feelings or not, I’d missed him with a nearly consuming longing that begged to be appeased. “You look… I mean, training is obviously… And I’m so happy to be…”
Great. Now I was the babbling idiot in his presence, something I hadn’t been since I was twelve. Guess that was karma, paying me back. In addition to being a bit flustered by his hotness, it went deeper than that. This was my Liam, my rock, my friend who’d always been there for me. The guy I could have fun doing absolutely nothing with.
He tightened his grip, hugging me so vigorously my toes left the ground. “Damn, I missed you.” His deep voice rumbled through me, unfurling heat in my gut, and just like that, my goals turned hazy all over again.
He’s my best friend; he’s my best friend; he’s my best friend…
Tour Wide Giveaway
To celebrate the release of UNTIL WE’RE MORE by Cindi Madsen, we’re giving away for a $25 Amazon gift card!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open internationally. One winner will be chosen to receive a $25 Amazon gift card. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Entangled Publishing. Giveaway ends 9/6/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Entangled Publishing will send one winning prize, Pure Textuality PR will deliver the other. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!
About Cindi Madsen
CINDI MADSEN is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance and young adult novels. She sits at her computer every chance she gets, plotting, revising, and falling in love with her characters. Sometimes it makes her a crazy person. Without it, she’d be even crazier. She has way too many shoes, but can always find a reason to buy a pretty new pair, especially if they’re sparkly, colorful, or super tall. She loves music and dancing and wishes summer lasted all year long. She lives in Colorado (where summer is most definitely NOT all year long) with her husband, three children, an overly-dramatic tomcat, & an adorable one-eyed kitty named Agent Fury.
FLIRTING WITH FOREVER
By Kendall Ryan
Release Day: September 3rd
I've waited years for the perfect girl, yet she was right in front of me all along.
My best friend, Natalie, has been by my side through everything. Leaning on my shoulder, borrowing my sweatshirts…and making my pants too tight when she flashes me that sassy smile that drives me crazy.
But she has no idea about that last part. She doesn't have a clue I've felt this way about her for years.
Until one night after too many cocktails, we fall into bed together.
I'm flirting with my forever…she just doesn't know it yet.
This book is a sexy, slow-burning best-friends-to-lovers romance with a guaranteed HEA and no cheating. Dive in, and get ready to melt for Cam!
I look up at Cam and meet his eyes, brimming with secrets. I need answers, and I need them now.
No more secrets, Cam.
“What’s going on?”
The man in my arms doesn’t answer with his words. Instead, he takes hold of the edge of my towel and pulls it from my body. I gasp at the sensation of our skin pressing intimately together. I brace myself against his chiseled arms, digging my fingers into his biceps for purchase.
He isn’t done. He lifts his hands, one to my hip, one to my cheek. His thumb draws a small circle on my exposed hip bone. With the side of his knuckle, he traces the outline of my lower lip. I stay very, very still so he won’t notice the slight shudder racing down my spine.
“I can’t tell you,” he says so softly that it breaks my heart.
“Yes, you can.” I barely recognize my own voice. Cam’s eyes, dark and hurting, are locked on my lips. I want to ease that pain.
And I think I know how.
I lean in closer, pulling myself up to his level with my hands on his chest. Our breaths mingle and everything is warm, the air between us aflame.
“You’re killing me.” These are the words that fall from Cam’s lips before they meet mine.
My lips are locked against his in the softest of kisses. I catch his lower lip with my own, pressing every ounce of my feelings into him. Every thank you for being there for me. Every you’re perfect for being exactly what I need.
Can he feel how much I care for him?
He’s still for a whole Mississippi second—a second too long for me to bear.
Oh God. What have I done?
But the moment I pull away, Cam leans in. His hands are on my face, holding my lips against his. He tilts my head, digs his fingers into my hair, and opens his mouth to mine.
“Natalie . . .”
The sound of my name slipping so lustfully from the back of his throat sends a jolt all the way down. All the way down.
I pull myself even higher on my toes, clinging to him with my arms around his neck. He returns the favor, wrapping his arms around my waist and pulling me tight against him. Our mouths are magnetic, unable to separate, unwilling to stop.
My God. I’m kissing Cam.
I’m kissing my best friend.
I’m kissing him and I can’t stop.
I dart my tongue between his lips, caressing the underside of his upper lip. He growls, maddened by my bold move. His fingers blaze fiery trails down my neck and shoulders. His hands explore me, memorizing the slope of my back and the curve of my hips. Each touch is so soft, yet so electric.
Soon it’s all frantic kisses and eager moans that I’m pretty sure are coming from me. I press into his shoulders, leaving handprints on his chest. My fingers draw lines down his abdomen, then finally trace along the bulge beneath his towel.
Cam jerks back, his eyes full of questions.
But there’s no more time for questions. We’ve wasted far too much of it.
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A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of more than two dozen titles, Kendall Ryan has sold over 1.5 million books and her books have been translated into several languages in countries around the world. She's a traditionally published author with Simon & Schuster and Harper Collins UK, as well as an independently published author. Since she first began self-publishing in 2012, she's appeared at #1 on Barnes & Noble and iBooks charts around the world. Her books have also appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists more than three dozen times. Ryan has been featured in such publications as USA Today, Newsweek, and InTouch Magazine.
Visit her at: www.kendallryanbooks.com for the latest book news, and fun extras
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A woman is forced to question her own identity in this riveting and emotionally charged thriller by the blockbuster bestselling author of The Good Girl, Mary Kubica
Jessie Sloane is on the path to rebuilding her life after years of caring for her ailing mother. She rents a new apartment and applies for college. But when the college informs her that her social security number has raised a red flag, Jessie discovers a shocking detail that causes her to doubt everything she’s ever known.
Finding herself suddenly at the center of a bizarre mystery, Jessie tumbles down a rabbit hole, which is only exacerbated by grief and a relentless lack of sleep. As days pass and the insomnia worsens, it plays with Jessie’s mind. Her judgment is blurred, her thoughts are hampered by fatigue. Jessie begins to see things until she can no longer tell the difference between what’s real and what she’s only imagined.
Meanwhile, twenty years earlier and two hundred and fifty miles away, another woman’s split-second decision may hold the key to Jessie’s secret past. Has Jessie’s whole life been a lie or have her delusions gotten the best of her?
Our property is fringed by trees so that as we sit on the deck’s edge, Aaron and me, it feels as if we’re all alone, partitioned from society by the lake and the trees. If we have neighbors, we’ve never seen them. Never laid eyes on them. Never spied another home through the canopy of trees. Never are we disturbed by the sound of voices, but only the colloquy of birds as they perch in the trees and yammer back and forth about whatever it is birds talk about. On occasion the helmsmen will wave a hearty hello from behind the steering wheel of their sailboats, but more often than not they’re too far away to see Aaron and me at the dock’s edge, feet dangling southward, holding hands, sitting in silence listening to the breeze through the trees.
We’re marooned on an island, stranded and shipwrecked, but we don’t mind. It’s just the way it should be.
Aaron’s work shift begins at two in the afternoon and ends when the last customer leaves and the kitchen is clean, most nights stumbling into bed around midnight or after, smelling of sweat and grease.
But the days are ours to do with as we please.
Last week, Aaron repaired the greenhouse door and we stripped it of cobwebs and bugs. We spent days cultivating the garden and Aaron made good on his promise of raised beds, three feet by five feet by ten inches deep, made of white cedar that will one day house cucumbers and zucchini. But not this year. It’s far too late in the season to grow produce this year and so for now we buy it from any number of tatty roadside farm stands. We live two miles from town and even though the population around here expands sevenfold in the summer months thanks to a healthy tourist population, outside town it’s still mainly rural, long stretches of open country roads that intersect with nothing but sky.
Instead of planting produce this year, Aaron and I sowed perennial seeds to enjoy next year: baby’s breath and lavender and hollyhocks because all the fences and cottages around here, it seems, are flanked with hollyhocks. We placed them in peat pots of gardening soil in the greenhouse and set them in the sunniest spot we could find. In a month or so, we’ll transplant them to the garden. They won’t bloom for some time, not until next spring. But still, I stand hopeful in the greenhouse, staring at the peat pots, imagining what might be happening beneath the soil’s surface, whether the seeds’ roots are taking hold, pushing down into the soil to anchor the seedling to this world, or if the seed has merely shriveled up and died in there, a dead embryo in its mother’s womb.
As I clear out the last of my birth control pills and run a hand across what I imagine to be my uterus, I wonder what is happening inside there too.
I had Mom cremated at her request. I carry her around now in a rhubarb glazed clay urn with a cork in the top, one she bought for herself when the cancer spread. It’s cylindrical and inconspicuous, the cork stuck on with an ample amount of Gorilla glue so I don’t lose Mom by chance.
Mom had two wishes when she died, ones she let slip in the last brief moments of consciousness before she drifted off to sleep, a sleep from which she would never wake up. One, that she be cremated and lobbed from the back end of the Washington Island Ferry and into Death’s Door. And two, that I find myself and figure out who I am. The second hinged on the esoteric and didn’t make obvious sense. I blamed the drugs for it, that and the imminence of death.
I’m nowhere near accomplishing either, though I filled out a college application online. But I have no plans of parting with Mom’s remains anytime soon. She’s the only thing of value I have left.
I haven’t slept in four days, not since some doctor took pity on me and offered me a pill. Three if you count the one where I nearly nodded off at the laundromat waiting for clothes to dry, anesthetized by the sound of sweaters tumbling around a dryer. The effects are obnoxious. I’m tired. I’m grumpy. I can focus on nothing and my reaction time is slow. I’ve lost the ability to think.
Yesterday, a package arrived from UPS and the driver asked me to sign for it. He stood before me, shoving a pen and a slip of paper up under my nose and I could only stare, unable to put two and two together. He said it again. Can you sign for it? He forced the pen into my hand. He pointed at the signature line. For a third time, he asked me to sign.
And even then I scribbled with the cap still on the pen. The man had to snatch it from my hand and uncap it.
I’m pretty sure I’ve begun to see things too. Things that might not be real, that might not be there. A millipede dashing across the tabletop, an ant on the kitchen floor. Sudden movements, immediate and quick, but the minute I turn, they’re gone.
Masters and Mercenaries: The Forgotten, Book 1
By Lexi Blake
Coming August 28, 2018
Six men with no memories of the past
One leader with no hope for the future
A man without a past
Jax woke up in a lab, his memories erased, and his mind reprogrammed to serve a mad woman’s will. After being liberated from his prison, he pledged himself to the only thing he truly knows—his team. Six men who lost everything they were. They must make certain no one else gets their hands on the drugs that stole their lives, all while hiding from every intelligence organization on the planet. The trail has led him to an unforgiving mountainside and a beautiful wilderness expert who may be his only hope of finding the truth.
A woman with a bright future
River Lee knows her way around the Colorado wilderness. She’s finally found a home in a place called Bliss after years lost in darkness. The nature guide prefers to show her clients the beauty found in the land, but she also knows the secrets the mountains hold. When she meets Jax, something about the troubled man calls to her. She agrees to lead him to the site of an abandoned government facility hidden deep in the forest. She never dreamed she was stepping into the middle of a battlefield.
A love that could heal a broken soul
Spending time with River, Jax discovers a peace he’s never known. Their passion unlocks a side of himself he didn’t even know he was missing. When an old enemy makes his first move, Jax and River find themselves fighting for their lives. But when his past is revealed, will River be caught in the crosshairs of a global conspiracy?
“This place is beautiful,” he said when she hesitated.
She nodded but didn’t move from her seat. “I love it here. I went to college in Denver, but I always missed this place. When I was younger, my dad had a house in Creede. He started the business there, but when he could, he moved us out of town. My dad was a loner, I suppose. Creede has a population of four hundred and Dad thought that was way too many people.”
“I know the feeling. I lived in London for a while. That was definitely too many people.” He kept his tone even. It was odd. Now that he was here, that hunger he always felt was tempered by her fear. He’d thought he would take anything offered to him, but he couldn’t having met her. If the blonde had offered herself up, he would have turned her down. Over the two hours they’d sat in the booth, eating fried food and drinking beer, he’d figured something out. Some people were more special than others. River was special. He should be more cynical. He could hear Damon Knight telling him to be cautious, but he couldn’t make himself do it. Perhaps it was the fact that he didn’t have a long well of history to draw from and to teach him that this was likely a mistake.
It didn’t feel like a mistake.
“Wow. I’ve never been farther than Kansas City.” She still wasn’t moving and her voice had taken on a tremulous tone.
His heart constricted, and it was surprisingly easy to not listen to his dick. His dick was pleading with him to get aggressive. His dick was trying to convince him that if he could get inside her, she would accept him.
Yeah, he wasn’t going to listen to his dick.
“If you’ve changed your mind, I can call my brother to pick me up. I have a phone and so does he. His number is programmed in. I don’t want to scare you. I had a good time talking to you tonight. It was one of the nicest nights I’ve had in a long time.” Ever. It was the best night ever. It was the first night he felt normal, though he wasn’t exactly sure what that word meant. Comfortable was a better one. That tight feeling in his chest had eased as he’d sat in the booth with River and Tucker and Heather.
Although he’d hated lying to her.
She finally turned, looking at him. Her eyes shone in the moonlight. “You mean that, don’t you?”
He wanted to touch her. He’d had to force his hands not to move toward her all night long. The most he’d allowed himself was to have their hips and shoulders touch as they’d sat next to each other. He’d decided it had been a good thing he’d sat next to her because he was fairly certain he had a case of Big Tag’s crazy eyes, and she would have seen them had he sat across from her.
“I do mean it. Please don’t get me wrong. I want you. I would like nothing more in the world than to take you into that cabin, lay you out, and make a feast of you. I want to kiss you and when I say that I don’t merely mean your lips. I want to put my mouth all over your body. But more than I want that, I want you to like me.” It was important somehow. He wouldn’t see her after tonight, but he couldn’t stand the idea that she was afraid of him.
Everyone was afraid of him. Everyone he knew was waiting for his powder keg to blow, but he’d sworn to himself earlier in the evening that it wouldn’t blow around her. He would protect her even if it was only for one night.
NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband, three kids, and the laziest rescue dog in the world. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance and urban fantasy that she found the stories of her heart. She likes to find humor in the strangest places and believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome, or foursome may seem.
FACEBOOK / TWITTER / WEBSITE / AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE
An Earl Like You by Caroline Linden
Series The Wagers of Sin
Genre Adult Historical Romance
Publisher Avon Books
Publication Date August 28, 2018
When you gamble at love . . .
When Hugh Deveraux discovers his newly inherited earldom is bankrupt, he sets about rebuilding the family fortune—in the gaming hells of London. But the most daring wager he takes isn’t at cards. A wealthy tradesman makes a tantalizing offer: marry the man’s spinster daughter and Hugh’s debts will be paid and his fortune made. The only catch is that she must never know about their agreement . . .
You risk losing your heart . . .
Heiress Eliza Cross has given up hope of marriage until she meets the impossibly handsome Earl of Hastings, her father’s new business partner. The earl is everything a gentleman should be, and is boldly attentive to her. It doesn’t take long for Eliza to lose her heart and marry him.
But when Eliza discovers that there is more to the man she loves—and to her marriage—her trust is shattered. And it will take all of Hugh’s power to prove that now his words of love are real . . .
He kissed as if he meant to conquer her . . .
Eliza could only stare back. He’d kissed her until her brain melted and her tongue turned to lead. Good heavens, she wished he’d do it again.
He stopped and cleared his throat. “Miss Cross, that went further than I planned,” he finally said, his voice very low and still rough with want.
His hands drifted to rest on her hips. He put his mouth next to her ear. “Should I apologize for what happened?”
The tiniest shake of her head.
His lips touched the sensitive skin behind her ear. “May I call on you?”
“Yes,” she whispered.
Eliza gazed up at him, wondering if he could tell from looking at her that she was about to fall headlong in love . . .
Tour Wide Giveaway
To celebrate the release of AN EARL LIKE YOU by Caroline Linden, we’re giving away three paperback copies of My Once And Future Duke!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to US shipping addresses only. Three winners will each receive a paperback copy of My Once And Future Duke by Caroline Linden. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance. Giveaway ends 9/7/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted.CLICK HERE TO ENTER!
About Caroline Linden
CAROLINE LINDEN was born a reader, not a writer. She earned a math degree from Harvard University and wrote computer code before discovering that writing fiction was far more fun. Since then, the Boston Red Sox have won the World Series three times, which is not related but still worth mentioning. Her books have been translated into seventeen languages, and have won the NEC-RWA Reader’s Choice Award, the Daphne du Maurier Award, the NJRW Golden Leaf Award, and RWA’s RITA Award. She lives in New England.
The Governess Game by Tessa Dare
Series The Girl Meets Duke Series
Genre Adult Historical Romance
Publisher Avon Books
Publication Date August 28, 2018
He’s been a bad, bad rake—and it takes a governess to teach him a lesson.
The accidental governess.
After her livelihood slips through her fingers, Alexandra Mountbatten takes on an impossible post: transforming a pair of wild orphans into proper young ladies. However, the girls don’t need discipline. They need a loving home. Try telling that to their guardian, Chase Reynaud: duke’s heir in the streets and devil in the sheets. The ladies of London have tried—and failed—to make him settle down. Somehow, Alexandra must reach his heart . . . without risking her own.
The infamous rake.
Like any self-respecting libertine, Chase lives by one rule: no attachments. When a stubborn little governess tries to reform him, he decides to give her an education—in pleasure. That should prove he can’t be tamed. But Alexandra is more than he bargained for: clever, perceptive, passionate. She refuses to see him as a lost cause. Soon the walls around Chase’s heart are crumbling . . . and he’s in danger of falling, hard.
As many women as he’d charmed and seduced in his life, he could honestly say he had never, ever encountered a woman like this one. She rolled a sugar lump back and forth with the tips of two fingers. He wanted to suck those slender fingers into his mouth and run his tongue over them, between them, lapping up the sweetness until she gasped with forbidden pleasure. The fantasy was so vivid, he could taste it.
Perhaps the brandy had muddled his senses.
Or perhaps he couldn’t help wondering how it would feel for a rational, clear-eyed woman to see
Him—truly see him—and still find him worth the risk.His heart clawed up his throat and battered his eardrums, and all because a tidy little governess was taking longer than usual to reject him. Absurd. Stupid, really.
“I don’t want you to kiss me,” she said, “now that I’ve thought it through.”
See? There it was. She was clever enough to see the black, rotted mess where his soul ought to be, and she wanted no part of it.
She lifted her tiny, delicate hand to his cheek.
Her gaze drifted over his face like an apple blossom, finally coming to rest on his mouth.
“I think . . .” She wet her lips. “I think I’d rather kiss you."
Tour Wide Giveaway
To celebrate the release of THE GOVERNESS GAME by Tessa Dare, we’re giving away one hardcover set of The Duchess Deal and The Governess Game!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a hardcover set of The Duchess Deal and The Governess Game by Tessa Dare. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance. Giveaway ends 9/28/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!
About Tessa Dare
TESSA DARE is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty historical romances. Her books have won numerous accolades, including Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® award (twice) and the RT Book Reviews Seal of Excellence. Booklist magazine named her one of the “new stars of historical romance,” and her books have been contracted for translation in more than a dozen languages.
A librarian by training and a booklover at heart, Tessa makes her home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband, their two children, and a trio of cosmic kitties.
All Dressed in White by Charis Michaels
Series The Brides of Belgravia
Genre Adult Historical Romance
Publisher Avon Impulse
Publication Date August 21, 2018
From USA Today bestselling author Charis Michaels comes the next sweeping romance in her Brides of Belgravia series…
Self-made shipping magnate Joseph Chance never planned on falling in love. He simply needed financing for a new business venture and a marriage of convenience provides it. Then he meets Tessa St. Croix, his future bride, and is instantly smitten. But when the angelic beauty reveals a life-changing secret on their wedding night, Joseph thinks maybe some dreams shouldn’t come true. He leaves England, reconciling himself to a detached, convenient marriage after all.
Eleven months later, Tessa Chance has built a new life for herself in the heart of London. She’s learned her new husband's business and is determined to support herself and her responsibilities. When Joseph returns to London unexpectedly, nothing is as he imagined. His estranged wife has become the one person who can help him secure his company’s future, and her allure can tempt him still. Determined and hopeful, Tessa jumps at the chance to prove herself and justify the secret that tore them apart.
Although bruised pride and broken hearts lie between them, Joseph and Tessa realize the love they once felt has never truly left. If they can learn to forgive each other, they’ll soon discover the truest love can heal all wounds.
In the stable, Tessa busied herself untying the goat and stringing the rope on a peg. “There is something I should like before I go, Joseph,” she said, giving the animal a final pat.
“What have we forgotten?” he asked.
“A kiss.” She left the animal and started to him.
“I beg your pardon?” he said stupidly, uselessly, the best he could do. His actual thought was thank God, which was surely the wrong reaction. His pulse leapt and his hands tingled, itching to scoop her up.
His distress must have been obvious, because she chuckled. Her blue eyes lit up the dim stable. She said, “And it’s not because I am grateful that you have taken my idea of Hartlepool so very seriously.” She stepped to him and placed her palms on his lapels. Joseph stared at her hands.
“I am grateful,” she went on. He had trouble focusing on her words. He stared at her mouth.
She went on, whispering, “Even if the idea is utter folly—especially if it is folly—I am grateful. But I want to kiss you for no other reason than I enjoyed it so very much before.” She paused, holding his gaze. Her speech felt a little prepared, but he didn’t care. He would hear it again and again.
“I know my final reaction alarmed us both,” she said softly, “but I want you to understand that my final reaction was not my only reaction. I have not stopped thinking about all the things I loved about that kiss.”
And then the speech ended, and she raised her chin, and lifted onto her toes.
She looked so very earnest and excited and delicious, he’d almost been too enchanted to respond.
Instinct prevailed, and he dropped his mouth onto hers. He had the fleeting thought, This is actually happening, and stifled a groan. He widened his stance and swept her against him, his hands surging up the curve of her back, kneading every vertebra of her spine. Restraint deserted him. When he reached her neck, he cradled her head.
She kissed like a woman, he thought, not a girl. He loved her proficiency, her confidence. Her anxiety aside, there was no shy, halting uncertainty in the way she kissed. She slid her hands from the rough wool of his lapels to the slick waistcoat beneath. Nuzzling close, she wrapped her arms around him him beneath his jacket, sharing warmth, sharing a heartbeat.
He pulled away to trail kisses down her neck. “I should be going with you,” he rasped against her skin.
“You should not,” she sighed. “You should oversee delivery of your guano and sell the next lot. You should provision for the next expedition. Perry and I have are accustomed to managing tight spaces and long stretches and babies. I am quite talented.”
You are torture, he thought.
And this had been an ancillary reason he wouldn’t travel with her. The thought of ten nights in ten inns seemed almost inhuman for him to endure. Not now. Not when there was so much to explore about their future.
The thought of exploring while also sharing a country inn suite with a chatty nursemaid? Thin walls and adjoining doorways and the four of them in a coach? It would require an amount of restraint and patience that he did not possess.
He’d been working beside her with maps and open trunks for a week and not touched her once, and now she was veritably climbing his body—and thank God for that. But when they finally, truly delved in to the topic of their life together, whatever it might be, and—hallelujah—when he could touch her all night long, he wanted to be in one location, and he wanted a locked bloody door.
“I pray God you are safe and comfortable,” he said, and he scraped his stubble-rough face against her cheek.
“But we will miss you,” she said. “And there is so much yet to say. And do.”
He swiped his mouth across her lips and she strained to catch it.
“Yes,” he rasped, burying his face in her neck. “So very much yet to do. In Hartlepool, whatever it turns out to be, we will take the time, however long. I can depend upon it, Tessa? Right?”
“Uh-hmmm,” she agreed, searching for his mouth.
Joseph growled, swept away by her enthusiasm and the promise of more. He gathered her so close, he worried she couldn’t draw breath, but then she was grabbing fistfuls of his shirt, wrestling him closer still. She met his passion kiss for kiss, deeper, more urgent.
Joseph swept his hands down her ribcage and beneath her bottom, pressing her to him. She made a whimpering nose and bowed in, swaying, clinging. He dragged his hands to her waist and lifted her, staggering to the stable wall. She released one hand and reached behind her, feeling for the smooth stones, but he pivoted and fell against it. Tessa collapsed against his chest with a sigh.
Joseph turned his head to break the kiss, gasping for air. “Tessa,” he said, a plea, a prayer.
“You came every day,” she panted, “but . . . never . . . once . . . kissed—”
He captured her mouth. “I didn’t realize,” he said, dropping his lips to her neck, “we could enjoy the privacy of the mews.”
She laughed and arched her neck. “Boot rooms and stables,” she said. “I’m beginning to doubt your affinity for the finer things.”
“My affinity is for you, madam,” he growled in her ear, “and there is no finer. Never has a woman excited me as you do.”
“Joseph,” she breathed, straining for his mouth.
“It will be my greatest pleasure to show you every finery.”
“Your greatest pleasure?” she teased.
Joseph paused, reared back, and stared into her face. She looked at him from beneath lowered lashes, an expression of mischief and affection and need.
He made a strangled noise and descended on her mouth again. “Hartlepool cannot come soon enough,” he said between kisses. “Not soon enough.”
Tour Wide Giveaway
To celebrate the release of ALL DRESSED IN WHITE by Charis Michaels, we’re giving away two Brides of Belgravia prize bundles, each including a paperback copy of All Dressed in White and an ebook copy of Any Groom Will Do!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to US shipping addresses only. Two winners will each receive a Brides of Belgravia prize bundle, each including a paperback copy of All Dressed in White and an ebook copy of Any Groom Will Do by Charis Michaels. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance. Giveaway ends 9/4/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!
About Charis Michaels
USA Today bestselling author CHARIS MICHAELS believes a romance novel is a very long, exciting answer to the question: “So, how did you two meet?” It’s a question she loves to answer again and again with different characters, each time she writes a book. Prior to writing romance, she studied Journalism at Texas A&M and managed PR for a trade association. She has also worked as a tour guide at Disney World, harvested peaches on her family’s farm, and entertained children as the “Story Godmother” at birthday parties. She has lived in Texas, Florida, and London, England. She now makes her home in the Washington, D.C.-metro area.
When a Duke Loves a Woman by Lorraine Heath
Series Sins For All Seasons
Genre Adult Historical Romance
Publisher Avon Books
Publication Date August 21, 2018
A NEW STANDALONE HISTORICAL ROMANCE IN THE SINS FOR ALL SEASONS SERIES.
Gillie Trewlove knows what a stranger’s kindness can mean, having been abandoned on a doorstep as a baby and raised by the woman who found her there. So, when suddenly faced with a soul in need at her door—or the alleyway by her tavern—Gillie doesn’t hesitate. But he’s no infant. He’s a grievously injured, distractingly handsome gentleman who doesn’t belong in Whitechapel, much less recuperating in Gillie’s bed . . .
Being left at the altar is humiliating; being rescued from thugs by a woman—albeit a brave and beautiful one—is the pièce de résistance to the Duke of Thornley’s extraordinarily bad day. After nursing him back from the brink, Gillie agrees to help him comb London’s darker corners for his wayward bride. But every moment together is edged with desire and has Thorne rethinking his choice of wife. Yet Gillie knows the aristocracy would never accept a duchess born in sin. Thorne, however, is determined to prove to her that no obstacle is insurmountable when a duke loves a woman.
“What are you doing?”
“As I intend to be here through the night, I decided to get comfortable.”
The slow unknotting and unwinding of his neck cloth was next. Then he began rolling up the sleeves of his shirt. She’d seen him naked. Why was it the baring of only his forearms was so much more provocative?
Loosening the top two buttons of his shirt, he returned to the bed, sat on its edge, and reached for the tray, picking up a cloth she hadn’t noticed.
“You’re not going to wash me.”
He arched a brow at her. “Do you really want to engage in a battle you can’t possibly win?”
“You shouldn’t assume just because I’m a woman that I would lose.”
“I’m not assuming that at all,” he said, his voice low and raspy, sending warm tingles along her spine even as she recognized the threat of a challenge when it was being delivered. He leaned in until she could almost see her reflection in his dark eyes. “But I am assuming, as much as you pretend otherwise, that there is a measure of feminine vanity in you and you will be in want of a clean face when I kiss you.”
Tour Wide Giveaway
To celebrate the release of WHEN A DUKE LOVES A WOMAN by Lorraine Heath, we’re giving away three paperbacks copies of Beyond Scandal and Desire!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to US shipping addresses only. Three winners will each receive a paperback copy of Beyond Scandal and Desire by Lorraine Heath. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance. Giveaway ends 8/31/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!
About Lorraine Heath
LORRAINE HEATH always dreamed of being a writer. After graduating from the University of Texas, she wrote training manuals, press releases, articles, and computer code, but something was always missing. When she read a romance novel, she not only became hooked on the genre, but quickly realized what her writing lacked: rebels, scoundrels, and rogues. She’s been writing about them ever since. Her work has been recognized with numerous industry awards, including RWA’s prestigious RITA. Her novels have appeared on the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists.
He’s always had her back…
Now can he earn her love?
Deputy Dwight Prentice has secretly loved Brenda Stenson since they were teenagers.
Now the auctioning off of a rare book has thrust the widowed museum curator into harm’s way.
Keeping his Colorado town safe is the lawman’s most heartfelt mission. But protecting the innocent Brenda from a deadly threat will test Dwight’s limits as a law officer and as a man.
Eagle Mountain Murder Mystery
From the very first words, a brilliant opening sentence, I was intrigued and enthralled by this story. These Eagle Mountain murder mysteries have proven to be entertaining, action and passion filled tales that with constant plot twists mesmerize the minds of the readers.
Deputy Dwight Prentice, the solid, hardworking, straight-talking, cowboy cop has been attracted to Brenda since their days in high school. Life happened and they never got the chance to see if there was something more into the attraction, until now that Brenda is a widower and her life seems to be in danger.
Brenda has faced more tragedy and trouble in her life than most people experience through their lifetime. Yet she is a strong, surviving woman. She has held herself together by the sheer will of her mind at times, understandably guarding her heart against more disappointments and sorrow. To let her guard down would take some time, to trust again even more effort. But deputy Dwight might be just the person to slip through her reservations, at least the temptation to let him into her heart and soul is strong.
The twist in the plot kept coming. The threats to the museum and to Brenda are constant, and the crimes, petty malice towards her are puzzling. Everything seems to be connected to the book on the auction at the museum, but is the book also connected to the missing developer Henry Hake and the land he owns at the edge of the town?
The suspense is alluring and hooked me into the investigation, there are still many curious questions left unanswered towards the development and Henry Hake, unsolved crimes, and I can't wait to read the next installment in the series.
Brenda and Dwight's tangible connection, the nearly visible zizzle of the attraction, was filled with passion and well balanced with the adorable sweetness of the fragile trust that is developing between them. The constant threats towards Brenda kept me on my toes while I was sighing and swooning over Dwight guarding the love of his life.
I love the world the author has created in the small town in Eagle Mountain. The charming characters are well thought out, the ardent romances developing swept me off my feet, while the gripping tension from the riveting suspense is edgy, dangerous, and deadly. A must-read series for sure!
~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
Cindi Myers worked as a newspaper reporter, travel agent and medical clinic manager before turning to writing full time. She's written both historical and contemporary romance, as well as dozens of short stories and nonfiction articles. Cindi thinks writers have the best job in the world.
Former president of San Antonio Romance Authors, Cindi is a member of Romance Writers of America, Novelists Inc., and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers.
She and her husband and their two dogs live in the mountains Southwest of Denver. When she's not caught up in creating new characters and stories, Cindi enjoys reading, quilting, gardening, skiing and hiking. She's also in demand as a speaker, teaching workshops and making presentations to both local and national writing groups.
An agent will do anything to take down a terrorist.
Even if that means using a woman as his weapon.
To locate a terrorist, Ren McClement must find the criminal’s “dead” wife Natalie. His plan: use the innocent beauty as bait.
But when his duplicity leads them into grave danger, Ren reveals his secret to Natalie...and his passion for her.
Will furious Natalie be able to forgive his lie? And will they get to the mastermind before he unleashes mass destruction?
An ardent love story and an explosive finale to the riveting romantic suspense series that has kept the readers on the edge fearing for the protagonists' lives, while swooning over the ardent romance.
Natalie's survival instinct and strength to withstand the horrible abuse her ex-husband Freihoff, the searched after killer and domestic terrorist, done on her made me admire her while her destiny broke my heart. To think that she was so whole, so strong, still standing and taking care of herself after everything she went through is nothing sort of amazing. One of the things that I truly admire about Janie Crouch's writing is the way she builds her heroines to be tough, capable, smart, independent women, with an inner strength that carries them through the worst possible scenarios life can put them in.
Ren had a bit worried at the beginning, I admit, but I warmed up to him soon, when I witnessed his kindness, his good heart, his struggles with honesty while working undercover, and his aim to protect and guard Natalie with everything in him. The sweet and luscious love story developing between Ren and Natalie is the center of the story, capturing my heart, making me sigh because of the tangible, strong connection between them, the way they get each other, and oddly enough, the trust that was building between despite the circumstances.
The secrets Ren had to keep to accomplish his mission, to stop the terrorist attack yet keep Natalie safe while getting her co-operation gave the story intensity and put the whole situation on a frail edge that could crumble at any moment. The wild nature surrounding them while on hiding put their endurance on a test, yet it is the threat from the fellow humans that can end their lives before they have a chance to explore the passion and feelings flaming between them.
The smoothly flowing and well-written story pulls you in, brings all the feels into the surface, and makes you fall in love with the characters. I loved how the whole Omega team was present in the tale while the suspense was fierce, each doing what they are the best at. They pulled Natalie into their fold and brought me in tears with the support and kindness they showed her.
With the delightfully tender and gentle love story for the founder of the Omega sector, the agency bit farewell to the readers, with the final showdown to capture the terrorist that has plagued them for so long, tortured themselves and their loved ones and even killed their own.
Now I want to go and binge-read the whole series again...
~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
She’s fighting for her life.
He’ll risk everything to keep her safe.
When Rachel Roberts is nearly abducted, she makes a panicked call to the one man she can trust.
Lawman Dane Jones will do anything to protect his best friend’s widow.
Plagued by the guilt he bears over the man’s tragic death and his undeclared love for Rachel, Dane must confront his past in order to stop a madman.
Their lives—and their futures—depend on it.
An emotional, action-packed ending to the exhilarating series with riveting suspense and passionate second chance romance.
The Riker County has come to be near and dear to the reader's hearts over the series. Not only has the author entertained us with gripping stories, but she has brought insights to her home state Alabama with endearing tidbits of life down south.
In The Negotiation, all the loose ends are tidied up, explanations and reasons are given, and the motives behind the mayhem the county is facing are revealed.
The story starts with suspenseful chaos when Rachel Roberts and one of her students falls victims of a kidnapping attempt. The events start to roll from there with an escalating speed until everything comes to an explosively intense ending. The present trouble is connected to the past murders, the ones that changed both Rachel and Dane Jones' lives forever.
The awkward tension between the former friends, Dane and Rachel, is palpable. There are things that have been left unresolved, conversations that should have been had years ago, and forgiveness that requires facing the truth and mercy towards oneself.
Mix into the past hurt the current threats and deadly attacks towards both of them, a little kid needing protection and shelter, and the deeper romantic attraction and feels festering inside of Dane and Rachel, and you have a poignant tale of action and love, with a generously sentimental and loving wrap up to the tales from Riker County, Alabama.
The bones and foundation of the story are solid and strong, the twists of the plot are well thought out. There are just a couple of mundane editorial mistakes that took my attention momentarily away from the intensity of the tale, but regardless, the book was thrilling and entertaining.
~ Four Spoons
She was this Montana Man’s greatest temptation . . .
Alina Cooke—little sister of his two best friends—is the last woman DEA agent Jay Bennett should be waking up next to on the day of her brother’s wedding. But their powerful attraction ignited a powder keg of desire, and their once simple friendship has just become impossibly complicated.
Alina’s always been steady, focused, and lived on the safe side of life. Jay is totally devoted to his dangerous job. She knows a future with him will be filled with worry that one day he won’t come home. She’s done it with her brothers. She’s not sure she can face that uncertainty with the man she loves. Yet being in his arms is a bad idea they keep repeating, again and again.
When Alina is run off the road, Jay fears his job has made her a target. But the threat in Alina’s life is closer than they think. As the enemy gets more ruthless, Alina proves she’s no easy target and Jay will do anything to bring them down. Because surviving and being together is the only thing that matters.
Montana Heat series is one of my favorite romantic suspense series I have read in the past year or so. Jennifer Ryan's writing is sharp, bright, and passionate. It brings out the intensity of the action and suspense and the enormity of the emotions whirling in the minds and hearts of the protagonists. Starting one of her books puts an automatic 'do not disturb' sign surrounding me because I will be immersed into the tale, and not coming out for anything until I get to the end of the exciting book.
Tempted by Love tells the story of Alina Cooke and Jay Bennett, a love story of a best friend's little sister tempting the seasoned agent.
Alina is a smart, professional, goal-oriented, accomplished woman. She grew up with two older brothers who work for the law enforcement and knows the dangers and threats it involves. To fall for a man who puts his life in danger daily is not the ideal situation in Alina's mind, yet the temptation is burning hot every time she looks into Jay's eyes, the feelings churning and growing in her heart taking over the rational thinking.
Jay Bennett is a sensible, wise man with a quick, brilliant tactical mind. He is a dedicated man of the law who has put the job first for most of his career. Now his priorities are challenged as he realizes his attraction to Alina is much more than a physical fling.
I loved the chemistry between Jay and Alina. There's unique honesty, straight talking, and true feels and connection happening between them. They have known each other for some time, yet when they finally have a chance to spend time with just the two of them, the romantic feelings start to bloom.
And when their lives are in danger, they have to face and accept some realities of life faster than they expected.
There is a twofold suspense building up in the tale. Alina's pharmacy is facing unexpected turbulence and is connected to the recent crimes in the neighborhood. The opioid crisis in the States is in the front and center of the tale, giving perspective and even information on the dangers and depth of the issue.
The second fold of the suspense is the action from Jay's point of view from True To You, book two in the series, where King and Cara Potter are battling against the druglord and their feelings towards each other. That deadly war ends up putting King and Jay's lives into dire straits, and Alina's feelings towards Jay are challenged.
The escalating tension of the threats and danger surrounding Jay and Alina, the growing feelings between them, and all the challenges they have to face regarding their families, the drama from the past, present, and the possibilities of the future together, it all is twined into an exhilarating, riveting, and entertaining tale.
~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
One moment will change their lives forever…
Competitive skier Mindy Wright is a superstar in the making until a spectacular downhill crash threatens not just her racing career but her life. During surgery, doctors discover she’s suffering from a severe form of leukemia, and a stem cell transplant is her only hope. But when her parents are tested, a frightening truth emerges. Mindy is not their daughter.
Who knows the answers?
The race to save Mindy’s life means unraveling years of lies. Was she accidentally switched at birth or is there something more sinister at play? The search for the truth will tear a family apart…and someone is going to deadly extremes to protect the family’s deepest secrets.
With vivid movement through time, Tear Me Apart examines the impact layer after layer of lies and betrayal has on two families, the secrets they guard, and the desperate fight to hide the darkness within.
It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to diagnose her silence and lack of movement. She’s riding with King Thor. Thorazine for the uninitiated. A strong antipsychotic agent overused in mental facilities to keep rowdy, disturbed, or otherwise uncooperative patients calm.
I like riding with the King even less than having Ratchet snip my nails, so I cut the stranger some slack. I rifle through her things. Her few clothes are wadded in the bottom of the laundry bag, and she wears the same baggy sweats and sweatshirt I currently model because my civvies are in the laundry. The rest of the bag has small toiletries, a hospital-issued toothbrush and toothpaste, a comb. She isn’t a voluntary.
Voluntary commitment, when the patient agrees to come in for a certain amount of time to get their head shrunk. Technically, I am a voluntary, which is why I have a few more privileges than most. I’ve also been here for a little over two months, and I am ready as fuck to get out of here. What they don’t like to tell you is when you go in voluntarily, you don’t get the choice to voluntarily leave. No, that’s up to them, to Dr. Freakazoid and Ratchet and the “treatment team.”
I quickly search the rest of the room and see she only has the clothes on her back and in her bag. Interesting. A non-voluntary could be a nice diversion. When she comes back from her ride, I might find she’s a mumbling, drooling idiot, or a tinfoil baby, or a suicide, or even a criminal. We’re all mixed in, the permanent residents and the temporary, the clinically insane and the criminally. The latter makes for fascinating conversation. The bandage on her arm tells me the rest of the story. Someone was a bad girl. I like her already.
I pick up her comb. Mine is missing several teeth. I need a brush—my hair is too thick for this tiny piece of plastic crap—but a fresh comb is better than what I have. I switch them out, then get to work on my hair.
Without moving, in a voice low and melodious and laden with the sharpness of a thousand razors, she says, “Touch my things again, and I’ll kill you.”
I continue with the comb. She turns, and when I look up, I am startled. The hatred in her eyes is so intense it’s like a demon from hell is suddenly perched on the bed. Her hair floats around her head like a dark storm cloud, and I can practically smell the thunder coming off her. I take a step back and toss the comb on her bed.
At this movement, she smiles and turns back toward the window.
FIS Alpine World Cup
January 4, 2018
“Now coming to the gates, last year’s junior Alpine Downhill champion, Mindy Wright.”
Mindy hears her name called, and her heart pounds in her throat. She knows what they are saying in the booth. They are discussing her leap into the majors. A year ago she was the Junior World Champion in three disciplines and the overall. She is special. Unique. Now, barely one year into her adult career, she is killing it. They are comparing her to her heroes, Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin, speculating that with this final run, she can overtake their records and become the new youngest Alpine Downhill champion. They are talking about her parents, their sacrifices, and Mindy’s grueling training, the intense life she’s led, uncomplaining, with a smile on her face all the time. Sunny. They call her the girl with the sunny disposition.
This sunny girl is going to become the world’s fastest female downhill skier in less than two minutes, and then what will they call her?
Mindy can feel the energy in the air; the tension is palpable. She has a good chance, she knows it. Her practice run was at a record-breaking pace. She is going to blow this run away. The mountain is hers for the taking.
Everyone wants her to win this race and take the trophy. Trophy be damned, if she hits her points, she will automatically qualify for the US Olympic team. No pressure or anything.
She takes the little burst of adrenaline from that thought, lets it get her moving. The snow started falling intensely about ten minutes earlier. She’d heard the officials discussing whether to hold the skiers on the hill until it passed, but now their radios crackle with assurances that the blizzard is only at the very top and the course clears after the first turn.
Mindy readies herself, visualizes the course, her body bending and weaving as her mind takes her through every turn one last time.
A buzzer pulls her to the surface. There are no shouts and screams as Mindy slides into place in the starting house; the crowds are at the bottom of the mountain, less than ninety seconds away. It’s snowing hard up top, not gentle whispers of white drifting down, but tiny flakes wedged together in the sky creating a perpetual wall of white. The eerie silence, the loneliness of it, makes her heart pump harder. She often feels like this when she takes her place at the gate. Beat, alone. Beat, alone. Beat, alone. It feels good. It feels right.
She adjusts her goggles against the blinding white and slaps her skis against the icy snow, digging in her poles, making sure her ankles are seated and her boots tightly clipped. In response, the snow seems to come down even faster; the first section of the course is completely obscured from her vantage point above the gates. She has to have faith that they won’t send her down if it is too dangerous, that the reports saying it clears after the first turn hold true. Anyway, Mindy knows this course like the back of her hand. She has raced here many times. Considering the awful weather, it is a blessing that the championships are being held in Vail. She has the home field advantage.
Kill it, Mindy!
It is her mom’s voice, spectral and distant. It happens every race, and it’s strange because she knows her mom and dad are at the bottom of the mountain, waiting for her to slide to a stop in front of them, her skis shuddering on the snow, her fist in the air, pumping hard because she’s won.
Once, she’d told her mom how cool it was, standing up there alone, hearing her voice cheer her on. It had become the talisman, the good luck charm. Her mom smoothed down her hair with a quizzical smile and said, “I’m always with you, Mindy. No matter what.”
The Protector by HeleKayDimon
Series Games People Play Series
Genre Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher Avon Books
Publication Date July 31, 2018
Salvation, Pennsylvania. The commune located in the small town was advertised as a modern Utopia: a place to live, share, and learn with other like-minded young people. Cate Pendleton’s sister was one of them. Now she’s dead—and Cate won’t rest until she finds out who killed her. Stonewalled at every turn, she approaches a DC Fixer for help and ends up with Damon Knox, a mysterious man with a secretive past. But Cate soon discovers that she not only needs Damon, she wants him, which isn’t good—for the attraction brewing between them will only lead to complications that can turn into danger . . .
Damon has tried to erase the hellish memories and the evil that happened in Salvation ever since he left a long time ago. Still, he can’t turn his back on Cate. As Damon works with Cate to uncover her sister’s killer, he finds himself drawn to her more and more. But how will she feel about him when she learns about his connection to the place?
Joining forces to uncover the truth, they must stay one step ahead of a cunning killer who’s bent on not being exposed.
I am not a hero, Cate.” He tried to pull away.
She held on, resting their joined hands against her chest. “Never said you were. You’re a flesh and blood man.”
And this close, she could smell the soap on his skin and see the darker streaks in his green eyes.
“Very much so.” His breath seemed to hiccup.
“So . . .”
When his voice trailed off she got a taste of what it felt like to have someone drop the end of important sentences like she often did. But she didn’t think he tried it or that he was playing games.
“Now you’re the one who should finish the sentence.” Her voice came out in a breathy whisper.
“We’re in a tense situation. Stress sometimes disguises itself as something else.”
The words crashed into her brain, wiping out every other thought. She pulled back a bit, but kept holding his hand.
“What are you talking about?”
His gaze traveled over her face now, landing on her mouth. “How much I want to kiss you.”
Tour Wide Giveaway
To celebrate the release of THE PROTECTOR, we’re giving away one paperback copy of the book!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a paperback copy of the The Protector by HelenKay Dimon. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance. Giveaway ends 8/14/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!
About HelenKay Dimon
Award-winning author HELEKAY DIMON spent twelve years in the most unromantic career ever – divorce lawyer. After dedicating all of that effort to helping people terminate relationships, she is thrilled to deal in happy endings and write romance novels for a living. Her books have been featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine and E! Online. HelenKay loves hearing from readers, so stop by her website at http://www.helenkaydimon.com and say hello.
Defense attorney Brynn Holloran is right at home among cops, criminals, and tough-as-nails prosecutors. With her sharp wit and pointed words, she has a tendency to intimidate, and she likes it that way. She’s a force to be reckoned with in the courtroom, but in her personal life, she’s a mess.
When a vicious murderer she once helped prosecute resurfaces and starts a killing spree to wipeout those who put him behind bars, one thing becomes clear: Brynn needs to run for her life.
With no help from the police, Brynn is forced to take matters into her own hands, turning to a private security firm for protection. But when Brynn defies advice and gets involved in the investigation, even the former Secret Service agent assigned to protect her may not be able to keep her safe. With every new clue she discovers, Brynn is pulled back into the vortex of a disturbing case from her past.
As the clock ticks down on a manhunt, Brynn’s desperate search for the truth unearths long-buried secrets and reignites a killer’s fury.
A gripping, breathtaking, increasing tension in a story that blew me away with the brilliant twists in the plot, where no one is safe, with memorable characters who make an impression, as they are fighting for truth, justice, happiness, and love.
Defense attorney Brynn Holloran is a woman easy to admire. She is smart, capable, and bright. She knows what she wants and she is not afraid to go after it. She has guts and she is brave, but she does recognize that she needs help, that she needs protection, and that the team handling it knows more about their expertise than she does. She is no doormat and giving up control is not easy for her, but sometimes it is necessary.
I loved the chemistry between Eric and Brynn. Eric is protective, professional, smart, commanding, even intimidating, and more than capable to handle the demanding job. I loved the mutual respect and admiration Eric and Brynn have for each other, they are equal in the other’s eyes, and so well suited for each other.
The story has three major components that are cleverly twined together, each component bringing its own intensity to the tale. There is the case Brynn is defending in the courtroom where a young man’s life is on line. There is the mad killer on the lose who escaped from the prison and is hunting for his own kind of justice, the burning need to find the killer, and to learn the truth of what happened during his trial. And then there is the love story developing between Eric and Brynn, a romance that is ardent, tender, and adorable at the same time, bringing in the swoon factor on a high level, with the hero who lives to protect, and with the heroine who is not afraid to ask what she wants.
Laura Griffin writes stories that capture my mind and heart while I’m completely immersed in the destinies of the characters. The images are vivid and sharp, the cases twisted and complicated, the emotions deep and wide, and the fear, tension, and suspense as palpable as the tangible passion sizzling between the protagonists. Desperate Girls was an absolutely riveting story, and I can’t wait to read more about the intriguing and powerful men and women working at the Wolf Security.
~ Five Spoons