Office Mate (Milford College #2) by Noelle Adams is available NOW!
Title: Office Mate
Series: Milford College #2
Author: Noelle Adams
Genre: Contemporary Romance
The last thing I want is to share my beautiful office with an uptight, unfriendly new English professor. I don't care if he's incredibly hot. He's still the worst office mate in the world.
We're stuck together for a year, and that might be too long for me to resist discovering what's hiding beneath his buttoned-up appearance.
Office Mate is the second book in the Milford College series, novellas about the faculty and staff of a small liberal arts college
“Hey,” I say as I come in, dropping my keys onto my desk and turning to face him.
He looks up from his computer. His expression is unsmiling but not angry. “Hi.”
“I’m sorry about before. I’m not sure what got into me. I’m not usually so… irritable. I’m really sorry.”
His mouth turns up just a little. His eyes soften palpably. “Evidently I’m an irritating kind of person, so that probably explains it.”
“No, you’re not!” I lower my tone as I continue. “You’re really not that irritating. I should never have implied that about you. It’s just that I’m usually really good at getting to know people, and I’ve been frustrated that I can’t seem to get to know you.”
He frowns. “You don’t know me?”
“Of course not.” My eyes are wide in surprise. “You think I’ve gotten to know you?”
“I thought we were making progress.” He seems bothered by that piece of information, and he looks down at his desk as if he’s thinking. “I’m afraid I’m never going to be the life of the party, if that’s what you’re hoping for.”
“I know that. I mean, I don’t care about that. I like all kinds of people. I just feel like you’ve got so many walls up I can’t seem to get around them.”
“Maybe if you wouldn’t run away every time things start to get better between us.”
Shit. He has no idea. I have to run away occasionally, but it’s not because I don’t want to get to know him.
It’s because I want to tear his clothes off.
No way I can admit that to him.
I clear my throat and think fast. “I haven’t run away that much. You just confuse me.”
“What can I do to be less confusing?” Leave it to Evan to go about getting to know someone with the same sober determination he uses to tackle everything else.
“I don’t know. Don’t you ever just hang out and relax?”
“You want to hang out with me?”
Yes. Of course I do. In particular, I want to hang out in bed with him. “I just meant to get to know each other a little more. So we can get along better and be more comfortable sharing the office.” There. That didn’t sound too bad. That didn’t give away my irrational lust for him.
He nods. “I like to bike, but that’s obviously not your thing. I can go with you when you walk, if you’d like. Or…”
“I was thinking about watching the Lord of the Rings movies since you like them so much.”
My heart clenches. Ridiculously. “You were?”
“Maybe you can watch them with me. I would enjoy that.”
“Yes. Would… would you?”
“Of course I would.” His eyes never leave my face.
“What if you don’t like them?”
“I’m sure if you like them, then they can’t be that bad.”
We smile at each other, and I let out a long breath.
I still have way too many papers to grade today, but things are definitely looking up.
Action, danger, and threats, mind manipulations and international crimes, sweet yet passionate romance with your best friend's baby sister - Shadow have it all, and it is wrapped into an entertaining and fast-moving tale that holds your attention.
The oldest and most ardent Crouch fans (waving my hand vigorously) might recognize some of the base storyline from a novella, Covert Intents, that she first published 2015. There was a scene that triggered the recognition for me, yet it just whet my appetite towards the story, to find out how the story was expanded, changed, and brought into the Linear Tactical setting, and into a full-length novel. Certainly, it didn't disappoint!
The Linear Tactical series with its ardent stories that at the same time spooked you and enamored you have become one of my all-time favorite series that I can't get enough of. There is the tight brotherhood, the humor, and banter between them, the palpable love and loyalty they have for each other and their loved ones, and the passion they have towards everything they put their minds into, not the least to protect those in their circle of their 'family'. Yes, the stories can be read as standalone books, yet I would recommend to read them in order, as some of the plotlines do continue throughout the series, and you can get so much more out of the story knowing the background to the events and to the team members. Like, for example, the mind-manipulation to Heath Kavanaugh's brain.
While I got a thrill out of the mysterious manipulation tactics (that started in Ghost) and finding out the reasons and culprits behind them, I am happy to see that the relief for those who suffered the consequences of the crimes is here, and the particular storyline seemed to be wrapped up in Shadow.
Both Heath and Lyn were lovable characters, so effortless to connect with. I loved the way they saw each other, how they brought the best out of each other, and the protective yet understanding way Heath reacted to Lyn's health problems. I loved Lyn's sharp mind, both of their ability to get languages, and her strong will that she was finally able to express to her male-dominated family as well. Lyn and her personality, her drive for independence and acceptance from her family, reign the tale when it came to the protagonists, as Heath and the insights to his background were staying more in the shadows of the strong heroine.
Intense situations, secrets, betrayals, menace, and peril are tangibly part of the tale that engaged, engrossed, and charmed my mind.
~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
USA TODAY bestselling author Janie Crouch writes what she loves to read: passionate romantic suspense. She is a winner and/or finalist of multiple romance literary awards including the Golden Quill Award for Best Romantic Suspense, the National Reader’s Choice Award, and the coveted RITA© Award by the Romance Writers of America.
Janie recently relocated with her husband and their four teenagers to Germany (due to her husband's job as support for the U.S. Military), after living in Virginia for nearly 20 years. When she's not listening to the voices in her head (and even when she is), she enjoys engaging in all sorts of crazy adventures (200-mile relay races; Ironman Triathlons, treks to Mt. Everest Base Camp) traveling, and movies of all kinds.
Best friends. A fake relationship. And only one bed.
New York Times bestselling author Shannon Stacey delivers the feel-good beach read you’ve been waiting for.
Noah Stafford loves his life—his happy, single life. So what if he made up a fake girlfriend to stop his boss’s matchmaking? He kept things close to the truth—Carly really does have long, sexy legs and a killer sense of humor. She just happens to be his best friend. His wicked awesome and completely platonic best friend.
But now his boss is having a destination wedding, and Noah is expected to attend…with Carly, his girlfriend.
Carly Randall has no interest in living out a rom-com plot. But Noah is her best friend, so she agrees to help. Still, once they arrive on Cape Cod, she can’t explain the sudden butterflies she feels when he looks at her that way. Or why she doesn’t mind when Noah’s hands stray a little south of her back.
What happens on the Cape stays on the Cape.
Except not really, not at all, and once their sexy faux-cation is over, Noah and Carly return to a reality where everything’s changed. Going for it would mean risking their friendship…but forgetting how good they were together just isn’t an option.
The fun and flirty story, going from witty dialog and humor to the smoldering hot and emotional romance in a heartbeat.
I love Shannon Stacey's way to tell stories, there is so much feels, family, friends, and heart in the tales mixed with drama and passion, life, and loving. And this new series starts off with so much promise of wonderful tales coming in our way.
I loved the connection, the deep friendship Noah and Carly have. They had been best friends forever, and they knew each other like no one else. The fake romantic relationship started off as fun and games, but soon the deep desires came to surface, and oh boy, lit up the scenes.
The story is an easy and fast read, yet it covers all the developing emotions well. And since Carly and Noah are best friends, there is a solid, believable foundation they are building their romantic relationship on.
Shannon Stacey books are always a must-read for me, and One Summer Weekend has all the feels and elements of an entertaining, ardent, adorable love story to me
~ Five Spoons
Sexy, romantic and so crazy fun.”
-- Maria Luis, Amazon bestselling author
Beauty and the Bayou, an all-new sexy, small town, opposites attract rom com from
New York Times bestselling author Erin Nicholas, is available now!
Sawyer Landry knows he's been beastly to be around for the past few months. But he can't seem to remember how to be fun-loving and friendly. Until he sees Juliet Dawson on his boat dock... and realizes that hip waders are, apparently, one of his turn-ons. But despite the beauty in the boots, the last thing he needs right now is a city girl in his way for the next two weeks.
But he's not really getting a vote. Juliet is determined that her little brother rebuild the dock he and his idiot friends smashed. She's quirky, klutzy, independent...and possibly an even bigger pessimist than Sawyer is. He's incredibly drawn to the cynical fish-out-of-water, who seems to be the one person who isn't intimidated by his growling.
The big, gruff boat captain is the first person in a long time to want to watch out for her and Juliet finds that hotter than his grandma's jambalaya. Well, that and his sexy scar, his emotional baggage, and the sense of humor and fun that is buried deep.
But Sawyer doesn't need any more people to worry about long-term and the things that make him feel protective of Juliet aren't going to go away. So, this two-week adventure can't be anything more than a fling. With Juliet down on the bayou, there's an even bigger threat than alligators and hurricanes. There's the very good chance of someone ending up with a broken heart.
“I guess when we need relief from the heat, we go, you know, into the actual shade.” He looked amused. “Among other things.”
It wasn’t so much that she needed to know other ways to keep cool. But she really liked the way he looked when he was mildly amused. It was a very good look on him.
“Lots of water and sweet tea,” he said.
She gave an involuntary shudder.
His amused smile grew. “No to sweet tea?”
“Not my favorite,” she admitted. “But don’t tell Ellie,” she added quickly.
He chuckled at that. “I would never.”
Yeah, the chuckling was nice, too. “I’ve got the water covered though,” she said.
“Well, when we get hot there area couple of other things we do,” he said.
Had he moved closer?
Juliet swallowed. “Like what?”
“We take clothes off,” he said.
Yeah, his voice was definitely deeper now.
“I gue—” She cleared her throat. “I guess that makes sense, but there are bugs and sunburn to consider.”
He gave her a nod. “Sunscreen and bug repellent are important. Cora makes bug repellent that’s amazing.”
Huh. Homemade bug repellent. She might have to give that a try. These people intrigued her, she had to admit. “What about the flying debris?”
Sawyer glanced at the boards behind her. “Yeah, well, I guess we do take some risks down here.”
Ah, ha. “I’d rather be a little hot than dealing with an infection from a piece of wood imbedding itself in my skin and muscle tissue.”
Sawyer paused, then shook his head, almost disbelievingly. “Okay, girl. Then that only leaves one other thing to do when you get too hot.”
For a moment, looking into Sawyer Landry’s eyes, for the first time since she’d been ten years old, Juliet wanted to take her clothes off and jump into a body of water.
That lasted about twelve seconds. But that was twelve seconds longer than she’d considered doing it to that point.
“I don’t have a swimming suit.”
“You don’t need one. The fewer clothes the cooler you get.”
“Skinny-dipping?” she asked.
“Skinny-dipping,” he confirmed.
“You actually skinny-dip?” she asked.
Sawyer Landry naked.
She just took a few seconds to relish that thought…and the images that went with it. Skinny-dipping with Sawyer might be the one way she would ever even possibly consider any of that. “Do you have a private pool with lots of chlorine and a maximum depth of three feet?” she asked.
She wondered if being naked but with a life jacket on still counted as skinny-dipping.
“Don’t need a pool when I’ve got a whole bayou in my backyard.”
She shuddered. “There is no way I’m jumping in there. Clothes or not.”
“So, the naked part of skinny-dipping isn’t the problem?” Sawyer asked. “It’s the water?”
“It’s absolutely the water,” she said. It was actually all water, but water where she could see the bottom, touchthe bottom, and that was pumped through a filtration system was tolerable. Maybe. For a short period. With plenty of floatation devices within reach. “I mean, other than just the dirt, there are snakes and alligators and fish…and fish and alligator poopin there.” She frowned. “Do snakes poop? I mean, they probably do, right?”
Sawyer blinked at her. “I’ve never really thought about it.”
She nodded. “They almost have to. And they probably do it in that water, too.” She shuddered again. “No, thank you. There are just places I do notneed dirty bayou water.”
“It’s the poop that’s keeping you from skinny-dippin’?” Sawyer asked, clearly trying not to laugh. “You are really thinking about the wrong thing when it comes to bein’ wet and naked, darlin’.”
The New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Erin Nicholas has been writing romances almost as long as she’s been reading them. To date, she’s written over thirty sexy, contemporary novels that have been described as “toe-curling,” “enchanting,” “steamy,” and “fun.” She adores reluctant heroes, imperfect heroines, and happily ever afters.
Erin lives in the Midwest, where she enjoys spending time with her husband (who only wants to read the sex scenes in her books), her kids (who will never read the sex scenes in her books), and her family and friends (who claim to be “shocked” by the sex scenes in her books).
Connect with Erin
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Today we have the blog tour of RULES OF A REBOUND by Nina Crespo!
Check it out and be sure to grab your copy today!
Title: RULES OF A REBOUND
Author: Nina Crespo
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Mortification kept Natalie’s gaze on the string of four condom packages lying on the counter between her and Rome. The printed words “Do Me” glittered and flashed on them like neon signs, mocking her clumsiness.
Heat flamed in her cheeks. “Oops. That was an accident.” She’d just meant to take out cash to pay for her drink.
But the amusement in Rome’s golden-brown eyes expressed exactly what he thought. Yeah, right, the condoms just magically flew out of your purse.
More heat surged into Natalie’s face. But they really had. Determined to salvage some of her pride in failing the flirting game, she made a grab for the condoms, but he did, too. As he slid them from the counter, his fingers brushed hers. A rush like the kind that came from heady, high-proof alcohol almost threw her off-balance.
“Uh-uh.” He grinned, and a slight dimple sunk in below a semi-circle shaped scar on his right cheek. “I’m not giving these up. They’re the best tip I’ve gotten all night.”
“They’re not your tip.”
“Could have fooled me.” He stuffed them into the front pocket of his jeans.
Her gaze riveted on the slight bulge to the left of his zipper. “They’re my property.”
“Looks like they’re mine now.”
Mine. His husky possessive tone conjured up images of him pinning her up against the wall as he made good use of one of the “Do Me” condoms, doing her.
“Excuse me,” a woman farther down called out. “Can we get some service? The show’s about to start.”
Rome’s attention remained on Natalie. “Hold on. I’ll be back.”
She held out the money. “But I need to pay.”
“You will.” Rome’s mouth lifted with a faint lopsided smile before he turned away.
His self-assuredness made Natalie’s heart flutter. She was all into compensating for whatever transgressions he accused her of. Was it wrong for her to strip off her clothes, lay on the bar, and give herself to him as payment? Yeah, it was definitely inappropriate, no matter how much the thought of doing it turned her on.
The woman Rome served at the bar smiled coyly up at him and brushed her fingers over his forearm.
As his deep chuckle floated over the woman’s laughter, Natalie suppressed an eye roll. And a tinge of envy. Obviously, she wasn’t the only one willing to be his sexual sacrifice. So what? Like she cared if some bottle-blonde flirted with him. Technically, she’d caught his attention first. Yes, things had gotten a little messy in the process, but she’d still landed him. Experiment over. Time to go. Cori and Alexa were probably wondering where she’d run off to.
As she went to put her money down and leave, Rome opened a mini fridge and grabbed a bottle of champagne. He stripped off the foil covering, deftly loosened the wire cage, then draped a towel over the bottle. As he pointed it away from the crowd, he twisted the bottom of it, and a muffled pop reverberated. Rome glanced over at her and winked.
Seriously. Did he think opening that bottle would impress her? But as much as she tried, she couldn’t stop a laugh or tear her gaze away from him as he served champagne to customers at the bar.
Natalie put her purse on the counter. Staying until he came back to her was purely about principle. No way in hell was she leaving her party favors behind so he could use them on some other woman later on. He had her “Do Me” condoms, and she wanted them back.
Minutes later, Rome returned to her with a cocktail glass filled with ice, amber liquid, and topped with a maraschino cherry. He set it in front of her.
“Sorry. I’m all out of condoms to pay for my drinks.”
He nudged the glass closer. “This one’s on the house. Try it. I think you’ll like it.”
She would, huh? No one read her that easily, but he had made the effort. Natalie took a drink, and the bite of alcohol mingled nicely with a hint of sweet. “Not bad. What’s it called?”
“A Do Me Slowly.”
The low tone of his voice made her tingle. “If this is some kind of ploy to change my mind about getting my condoms back, it won’t work. I have plans for using them.”
Lust sparked in Rome’s eyes, mesmerizing her to the point where she failed to realize his mouth was suddenly just inches away.
“So, you still think they’re yours?” As he leaned in farther, his hair-roughened cheek brushed hers, and her knees grew weak. “That’s definitely something we need to talk about.”
Catch up on the Standalone Series:
Nina Crespo lives in Florida where she indulges in her favorite passions — the beach, a good glass of wine, date night with her own real-life hero and dancing.
Her lifelong addiction to romance began in her teens while on a “borrowing spree” in her older sister’s bedroom where she discovered her first romance novel.
Let Nina’s sensual contemporary stories and steamy paranormal tales feed your own addiction for love, romance, and happily ever after.
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Today we have the release week blitz for Melissa Foster’s CALL HER MINE!
Check out this fantastic new contemporary romance and be sure to grab your copy today!
Title: CALL HER MINE
Author: Melissa Foster
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Fall in love in Harmony Pointe, where hearts are lost, found, and sometimes misplaced…and everyone get a happy ever after.
If a woman can’t find love in the quaint town of Harmony Pointe, it’s sure to find them—whether they’re looking for it or not. Here, the remaining single Dalton siblings are about to discover that they’re next in line to get swept away by love. A sweet and sexy spin-off of Melissa’s beloved Sugar Lake series.
Ben Dalton has always been honest, except where his heart is concerned. He’s been in love with his best friend—saucy, smart-mouthed Aurelia Stark—forever. But Ben’s a planner, and timing has never been on his side. When he finally decides to make his move, Aurelia beats him to the punch with a move of her own—to a different town.
Aurelia loves her new life in the charming town of Harmony Pointe. She has a great apartment and her very own bookstore, and best of all, the sinfully hot, commitment-phobic friend she’s crushed on for years is no longer just around the corner. Maybe she’ll finally be able to leave her unrequited love behind and move on.
But when a baby is left on Ben’s front porch—a baby that is presumably his—Aurelia is there for him. Neither one knows the first thing about babies, but how hard can it be? Ben and Aurelia are catapulted into a world of love, laughter, and tracking down the baby mama, and it might even add up to a very happily ever after . . . just not one either of them expects.
AURELIA LOOKED LONGINGLY at the muscular arm circling her waist and the large hand cupping her breast over her shirt and promptly closed her eyes, chastising herself for doing it again. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride was beginning to ring too true, and it was all Ben Dalton’s fault. She’d had a ridiculous crush on her Henry Cavill–lookalike best friend for far too long, and it was getting in the way of her life, her thoughts, hereverything. Every time she went out with a guy, she compared him to Ben, who looked rugged and yummy in jeans that hugged his thick thighs and perfect ass and could rock a suit like he’d strutted off a runway. But it wasn’t just his looks. She quickly bored of every date, waiting for them to be quippy, fun, and unknowingly seductive like Ben. If she wasn’t careful, she’d end up the spinster of Sweetwater, New York. Harmony Pointe, she corrected herself. Though she’d grown up in Sweetwater and had moved back to reopen her grandmother’s bookstore and combine it with the Ben’s sister Willow’s bakery, Sweetie Pies, Aurelia had recently changed directions. In an effort to stop waking up in Friendsville, she’d bought an adorable bookstore with an apartment above it on the corner of Main Street and West Avenue in the next town over, Harmony Pointe.
She allowed herself another minute to enjoy the feel of Ben’s broad chest against her back, his titillating breath warming her neck, and yes, even his morning wood pressing into her bottom. The situation would be sexier if the man child wrapped around her wasn’t also drooling on her shirt.
That was about all the action she’d ever see from him.
She’d spent the last month swearing she was done doing this with him. But when he’d called her last night and said, “Come on, Rels, hang out with me. I miss you,” that’s all it had taken. The way he said Rels always made her stupid heart melt. She’d been called Aurelia since the day she was born—the day her mother had died—by everyone except by Ben. He had coined the nickname Rels—or Relsy if he was in a particularly sweet mood—and he only seemed to use it when they were alone. It was ridiculous that a secret nickname could made her feel special, but it did. She knew she was important to him. She was the first person he called to share any kind of news, and they were known in their circle of friends as Ben and Aurelia—always linked, like Ben and Jerry. Two people who seemed to exist as one perfect combination.
Except she didn’t want to be Ben and Jerry.
She wanted to be the perfect combination of man and woman, like Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively. The type of couple who had wild, crazy sex and woke up naked, tangled in each other’s sticky body parts, not clothed on a chaise lounge in the middle of Benjamin Unable-to-Commit Dalton’s couch with drool on their shoulders.
The Harmony Pointe series is published by Montlake Romance and will be available in
paperback and audio formats, and exclusively in digital format for Kindle and Kindle apps.
Download a free Kindle reading app here: https://amzn.to/31ERYkl
AUDIO - iBooks
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. Readers adore Melissa's fun, flirty, and sinfully sexy, award-winning big family romance collection, LOVE IN BLOOM featuring the Snow Sisters, Bradens, Remingtons, Ryders, Seaside Summer, Harborside Nights, and the Wild Boys After Dark. Melissa's emotional journeys are lovingly erotic and always family oriented.
Melissa also writes sweet and clean romance under the pen name Addison Cole.
Melissa has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Her interests include her family, reading, writing, painting, friends, helping others see the positive side of life, and visiting Cape Cod.
Melissa is available to chat with book clubs and welcomes comments and emails from her readers. Visit Melissa on social media or her personal website.
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The Bewildered Bride by Vanessa Riley
Series Advertisements for Love
Genre Adult Historical Romance
Publisher Entangled Amara
Publication Date August 12, 2019
October 4, 1818, Gretna Green, Scotland
The words between my Adam and the innkeeper left me shaking.
Get your bed wench out of here.
A chemise slipping from my shoulder exposed our so-called sin.
How dare you bring a whore to my good establishment!
The hate echoed in my head, rattling and shaking my conscience.
I was frozen.
Torn between fleeing and defending my love, I settled for hiding with blankets at my chin.
How could that horrible man reduce my vows said before God to something illicit and tawdry?
Plink. Plink. Scatter.
Coins dropped to the floor.
My hearing was sharp, sharper than my sight, and I could picture Adam throwing pence to prove a point.
Didn’t he know points stabbed?
Even a rich man’s son could be killed.
Adam came back inside our room and slammed the door. “My love, we must leave. Ruthy, we have to be on the road sooner than I wanted.”
His voice was calm, like nothing had happened. He finished dressing, tied his perfect cravat, and leaned over the mattress, kissing my nose.
But I knew Adam.
He prayed and called for blessings but could curse like a hot-headed sailor.
My love’s cheeks were red, flushed with anger, and he kept clenching and unfurling his fingers as if he’d fight the next person who crossed his path.
“I adore you, my Ruth.”
My husband’s voice—perfection. So sweet to my ears, if a masculine sound could be called sweet. I couldn’t think when he whispered my name.
“Ruthy, my love, I’m going to the stables.”
I pressed my hand to my middle and pushed hard on my stomach to squash the wiggles and tingles inside.
“Wait here for me.”
“No, I must come with you,” I begged to stay at his side.
“No, my Ruthy. Another time you’ll get what you want. But this is for your safety. My wife must stay safe.”
Mesmerized, I nodded. His power over me was complete. He took his gold cross from his neck and put it about mine. “So, you won’t forget me while you dress.”
The trance ended when he turned and reached for the door latch.
“Don’t, Adam. Don’t do anything rash.” I wanted to say stupid, don’t do anything stupid, but that would push him into trouble. His hot temper surpassed mine when he thought I suffered.
“I won’t, Ruthy. I won’t be long.”
Fingering the cross, I decided to try one more time to keep him. I feared that I’d never see him again if he left this room. My hands came together, palms flat and pointing up toward him. “Adam, please stay. Let me dress and come with you. I don’t want us apart.”
“I’ll be back for you when our carriage is ready. My wife is not waiting in the cold.” He came back and kissed my forehead like a reward for a good girl.
But I was his girl. And he was all mine.
Tossing me a wink, Adam slipped to the door again. “I’ll be back soon, to help you lace up your corset and anything else I had a hand in removing.”
My husband loved his jokes, but his jaw was stiff. His face remained beet red. Anger would eat him up.
The door closed with a thud. The lock clicked.
I was alone.
I climbed out of bed and found my shoes. Low boots with hard soles were better than bare feet when running for your life.
I paced around the smallish mattress of the rented room. The bedclothes he’d tossed off when the innkeeper had pounded on the door lay here and there. A pillow flopped half against the bedpost.
It looked like a struggle, where a volatile argument had occurred, not an abandoned lovers’ nest.
The floorboards creaking under my shifting weight made my heart race.
I stopped, grabbed the pine footboard, and tried to breathe.
My ears perked to the footsteps outside my door.
I kept watching the door that didn’t open.
The pounding in my head grew so loud I saw stars and could almost envision Adam coming across the threshold. But I knew that was my fear twisting up my insides.
The vengeful innkeeper had given us an hour to leave. That time couldn’t be up, not yet. Adam hadn’t returned.
My only possessions—a balled-up dress, a nightgown, a silver brush—I tossed into my trunk. I should lock it up, close the metal clasps, but I wasn’t done in this room and wanted to leave the way I came, on my husband’s arm
I picked up my pearls from the bed table. The smooth beads felt cold in my sweating palm. Five days ago, I’d worn them for Adam as we’d married with the anvil priest.
Adam had beamed at me with a wide lazy smile as he had tonight, before the knock upon our door.
The pearls were now slippery in my hand. I tossed them into the trunk before they fell and burst apart. Papa had given them to me for my birthday, something to wear for my coming-out. Or for a wedding to a groom he’d choose.
My concerns for my parents pressed. I pictured Mama rocking, blank faced, in a chair, fearing her wild child was lost to the streets. Gone a fortnight, traveling from London to Scotland and only now heading back—I must be dead to them. Surely, they think me killed, even slaughtered like my uncle.
Adam had persuaded me to send no note. He’d said it was too risky then had smothered my complaints in a kiss. That silver-tongued devil could convince me the world was flat, that I was the Queen of England. One look at me with his deep-gray, almost black, eyes would send me spinning. He wove sweet words about me—I was better than Papa’s silk—and I became boneless and agreeable and not myself.
I pounded the footboard with my palm. I was Mama’s wild child, at nineteen, her oldest. I had caused such trouble—breaking curfew, sneaking out, running from chaperones.
I sank onto the bed, trying to stop my sobs.
A full minute I sat before I couldn’t bear it and leaped up.
Sitting on sheets that had lost the warmth of Adam’s body but teased the scent of his Bay Rum cologne ripped everything wide open.
I didn’t know who owned these tears—Mama, Adam, or me?
I had to get out of this room that now felt too big and empty.
Over my corset and chemise, I yanked on my favorite dress. I buttoned it fast and crazy, missing hooks and holes. There wasn’t time to fix it, so I hid the uneven placard under my shawl.
This, my wedding gown, should be worn with care. Fragile, soft silk, colored in primrose yellow, I’d worn it with pride when I’d become Mrs. Adam Wilky.
Fussing and cussing sounded outside my door. Maybe the innkeeper had found another couple to evict.
I’d wait until the corridor cleared, and then I’d leave.
Quiet. No footsteps. No creaking floorboards.
Locking my heavy trunk, I then struggled with it, and walked out of the room.
I held my breath, tiptoeing with my head up.
Soon I was halfway to the stairwell, too far to turn back. My boldness and pride kept me from retreating. I shifted the trunk and mumbled that I was resilient. I was a Croome as much as a Wilky. That should mean I possessed strength like my papa and shrewdness like Mama.
But I was alone, and none of these notions seemed to stick, not when someone had cursed at me and wished me dead.
Resting for a moment, I brushed at the creases in my dress.
Mama’s hot scolds about lazy bones admonished my soul. The spring muslin gown should’ve been folded, placed with its bodice lines straight on the chair, not tossed with lover’s abandon, without thought or care.
I laughed, a gut-wrenching chuckle. Fleeing for my life had fashionable consequences.
Come on, Ruthy, I said to myself, modeling Adam’s way of keeping me calm. We were only a half day’s travel to London. A few more hours and we’d be at Nineteen Fournier to face my parents. The grief I’d caused shifted through my brainbox, raising questions I didn’t want to think about.
Did we rush to elope?
Had we found love too fast?
Would this passion last?
Moonlight streamed through an open window. I headed toward it like a moth, swinging my heavy trunk. I peeked out the glass to get a glimpse of Adam or the carriage.
The light of the stars made the silver band on my finger sparkle. Pride cut through the confusion in my bosom. I am Mrs. Adam Wilky, the wife of a man who understands me better than any. He is worth it. I just need to find him.
I forced my chin to lift, forced my limbs to move, forced myself to believe I’d soon be safe in my husband’s arms.
Glowing slit eyes crossed my path.
I ran. The heaviness of my trunk jerked my shoulders. Blinking, I turned the corner and saw nothingness, especially nothing soft or furry or as scared as me.
My sight wasn’t normally bad, but thick-rimmed reading spectacles like Papa’s would someday be mine.
Finally, finally, finally—I found the stairwell, dashed inside, and hid in its blackness.
Back flat against a wall, I filled my lungs and waited.
My breath caught in my throat, and I hugged my trunk as if it were Adam. He’d told me to wait, that he’d come back for me, but my heart was about to tear apart. I was afraid I’d never see him again.
Never ever were we to part.
Sweat dripped down my neck. My hastily done chignon fell. It was frizzy and damp on my neck. I couldn’t fix it now. I needed Adam.
Counting my steps, I made it to the bottom of the stairs. Ten paces more and I was out the door. I held my breath again. No carriage.
I set the trunk down by my foot. Though small, the thing was heavy, very odd for a leather-skinned box holding so few items.
Cupping my hand to my face, I hunted for my love.
I saw nothing but road and fence.
Oh Lord, had he left?
I prayed with hands folded in front, fingers pressed high, eyes shut tight, like a good girl who hadn’t broken a commandment, defying her parents, one who hadn’t lied about going to Mrs. Carter’s for tea. She was one of Mama’s closest friends. Maybe they comforted each other.
“Where are you, Adam?”
He’d never leave me, not by choice.
Stories of his family’s treachery slammed into my chest. All the air fled. I forced my breath in and out and tapped my foot to this rhythm then leaned out and looked from side to side.
Every cloak-and-dagger meeting by the dock, near my father’s warehouse, swept into my head, the motion roaring, swinging my balance like a fiddler’s reel.
Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh. Every whispered conversation swirled.
Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh. Adam’s walk, his smile, swam past my eyes.
He’d said his uncle was after him.
I’d thought it was a joke. Something that added to the mystery of him.
Had evil come and taken my husband?
Why did Adam have to be digging into his uncle’s business, nosing about stuff that could get him killed? He could be slaughtered, like my uncle.
Papa’s brother had been murdered for being too black and building his business in areas where my people weren’t supposed to be. A bloodied jacket was all that had ever been discovered.
I’d found it balled up on the steps like he was nobody and nothing to this world.
That couldn’t be Adam’s fate, a bludgeoned cape that would haunt my mind forever. It would remind me of his walk, that swagger, draped in ebony velvet. The best time of my life had been loving him.
I looked down at my trembling hands.
My whole arm vibrated. I couldn’t control it.
I was lost.
The panic that stalked my thoughts covered me, catching me in a fine fabric mesh. It was too wide. No seams to split. No way out.
Fear for the man I loved did me in.
I started sinking.
No way out.
I tipped over.
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To celebrate the release of THE BEWILDERED BRIDE by Vanessa Riley, 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 8/16/2019 @ 11:59pm EST. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!
Award winning, Amazon Bestselling author, VANESSA RILEY, worked as an engineer before allowing her passion for historical romance to shine. A Regency era (early 1800s) and Jane Austen enthusiast, she brings the flavor of diverse, eclectic peoples to her stories. The author of Madeline's Protector, Swept Away, Unmasked Heart, The Bargain, and Unveiling Love, she has won the Beacon Award, the Colorado Award of Excellence, and placed in the International Digital Awards for her Regency romances. Vanessa Riley is a historical buff who has spent many years researching Regency society. During her undergraduate studies at Penn State, she gained a love of Western Civilization and took as many classes as she could while pursuing Bachelors and Master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering. Her love of history has given her a passion for conducting precise research in architecture, customs, and rituals of the times. She lives in Atlanta with her career military husband and precocious child. You can catch her writing from the comfort of her southern porch with a cup of Earl Grey tea.
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Will Gold Valley's most reclusive cowboy finally find a reason to heal?
As a former EMT and a wildland firefighter, there's no one Jacob Dalton can't rescue--except himself. Since his best friend's tragic death, Jacob has isolated himself...until Vanessa Logan returns to Gold Valley. He saved her life during a medical call years ago, and he's never forgotten her. The instant jolt of heat between them takes him by surprise, but he knows that giving in to it would only end in disaster...
For Vanessa, returning home was about healing, not about exploring her attraction with Jacob. He is the guardian angel from her past--with strong, capable hands and an irresistible mouth. A temptation she knows she can't afford. Until the chemistry between them explodes, and unites them in a way they could never have imagined...
What an amazing, emotional, dark, edgy, and inspiring story this was.
I haven't had this kind of emotional connection to a story since Eagle by Janie Crouch and I have not shed as many tears as I did with this one since Redemption by Kelly Moran.
I loved every moment of the story, it just got deep under my skin. It had the raw feels, the utter despair that is so real and lifelike, I could feel the pain of the protagonist, as well as triumph and victory when the inner demons were won.
Vanessa has faced so much in her life, it was inspiring and encouraging to see her shine, clean from the drugs and alcohol. She had conquered the past, was doing the work with her dysfunctional family, facing the old teenage drama and trouble that set on the hazardous path. I loved how she had found her place in the world and was able to use the dark times in her life to shine the light to those who needed it. She truly is a heroine, a woman to admire.
Jacob was the perfect match for Vanessa, in all the possible ways one could imagine. He had his own dark secrets and regrets, he had his own hickups with his family and friends. Yet there was that man inside Jacob who was willing to stand up for and with Vanessa when needed, who had her back, who believed she was worth sticking around and saw the woman she truly was, inside out.
There were so many layers in this story, things I loved, like the victorious, inspiring, engaging story of Vanessa and Jacob, as well as the new side to Olivia, Vanessa's twin sister whom we met in an earlier book. I enjoyed the banter, admired the work they did at the ranch, and swooned over the romance between them but even more swoon-worthy I found the support they gave each other in everyday life, that was so admirable and adorable!
The author has taken some very raw, difficult issues from real life, showing the hurt and pain, the true tragedies one can face, and made them into a beautiful, fragile, powerful story of redemption and conquering your inner weaknesses, finding your place, and finding your soulmate.
Get some tissues ready and let the feels come as you experience this remarkable story of life, love, and family drama...
~ Five Spoons!
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Maisey Yates lives in rural Oregon with her three children and her husband, whose chiseled jaw and arresting features continue to make her swoon. She feels the epic trek she takes several times a day from her office to her coffee maker is a true example of her pioneer spirit. In 2009, at the age of twenty-three Maisey sold her first book.
Since then it’s been a whirlwind of sexy alpha males and happily ever afters, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Maisey divides her writing time between dark, passionate category romances set just about everywhere on earth and light sexy contemporary romances set practically in her back yard.
She believes that she clearly has the best job in the world
"Carly Phillips is synonymous with red-hot romance."
--Lauren Blakely, New York Times Bestselling Author
DARE ME TONIGHT, an all new steamy standalone from
New York Times bestselling author Carly Phillips
is available now, and you do not want to miss this Dare/Knight crossover novel!
“Okay, I’m in the bathroom, door closed. What in God’s name is going on?” Thank God Avery did as she was told.
“I found the guy. The one. He’s in the other room now and I’m freaking out!” She didn’t tell Avery who she was with. Her half sister and best friend would pick up on the pertinent details.
“Oh my God. You’re going to lose your virginity!” Avery squealed.
“Shh! Just tell me I can do this. I need to know I’m not crazy.”
Avery’s breathing sounded over the phone, and then, “You waited this long. If you’ve found the guy, you’ve found the guy. Now pull up your big-girl thong and get back in there!”she instructed.
Laughing, which broke the tension and was just what Sienna needed in the face of Ethan’s intensity, she relaxed, comfortable again with her decision. “I’m going. Thank you! Bye!”
She breathed out, brushed her teeth, and went to undo her dress only to find she couldn’t reach the back herself. So that was how it was going to go.
She drew a steadying breath and returned to ask Ethan for help. She stepped back into the room.
He’d removed his jacket and hung it over a chair and rolled up the sleeves of his dress shirt, revealing tanned, muscled forearms.
She swallowed hard and, knowing she was blushing, said, “I need help with my dress.”
His eyes darkened at the request, ice darkening to a darker, sexier shade of blue.
She turned, pulling her long hair to one side.
He placed his empty glass on the nearest table and strode over, all her senses aware of him as he came closer. His seductive scent, the heat of his body, the sharp inhale of his breath as he placed his big hands behind her and slowly, seductively pulled down the zipper, until she felt the rush of cool air on her bare back and the warmth of his breath near her neck.
She was more aware than ever of the tiny scrap of lace she called underwear and the matching bra she’d chosen to wear. Just because she’d liked the set, not because she’d ever thought anyone besides her would see it.
His breath hissed out, and suddenly his calloused finger traced a line down her spine, causing her nipples to peak and tighten with awareness, sharp spikes of desire shooting to her core.
He slid the sides of her dress down and the garment dropped to the floor, leaving her bared to him in more ways than just physical. She hadn’t been prepared for such intensity, though she should have been. Everything about Ethan Knight was potent. Tonight had the power to change her world except, as he’d reminded her, it was one night.
A night never to be shared with anyone. She’d ignored the dagger she’d experienced at being relegated to his dirty secret, telling herself she understood. Sometimes there were reasons for discretion, and with everything at stake for him with the Miami Thunder Stadium, his request made perfect sense.
Even if it dug at the very pieces of her heart that she’d glued together over the years.
Tonight was about sex. Desire. A yearning so strong she was ready to give up the thing she’d held on to, waiting for the right time. The right man.
She’d found him, she thought, turning and finding herself in his arms, backed against the wall, his mouth coming down hard on hers.
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The Rogue to Ruin by Vivienne Lorret
Series Misadventures in Matchmaking Series
Genre Adult Historical Romance
Publisher Avon Books
Publication Date July 30, 2019
The Bourne Matrimonial Agency has one rule: Never fall in love with a client, which shouldn't be a problem when one’s faking an engagement to the rogue across the street . . .
Ainsley Bourne needs the family business to succeed. But one obstacle stands in her way—Reed Sterling, the huge, handsome, former prize fighter and owner of the gaming hell across the street. His scandalous customers scare off all her marriage-minded patrons and since the devilish brute has no intention of relocating, she sets out to ruin his unsavory establishment. Yet when a vile suitor from her past reappears, Ainsley hastily claims an attachment to the first man who comes to mind . . . Mr. Sterling, to be exact.
Reed doesn’t know who is more surprised by Miss Bourne’s declaration. She clearly hates him, and he’d never admit their arguments simmer with unrequited attraction. Something about the pleading look in her eyes calls to Reed, and against his better judgment, he quickly plays the part of the besotted fiancé.
Pretending to be in love requires a convincing charade. But with each tantalizing touch and every scandalous kiss, Ainsley starts to wonder if Reed was ever really the enemy at all.
“I hardly need your advice,” Ainsley scolded him in return, every word pushing her flesh against his. Almost as if . . . as if she had just kissed him.
But this wasn’t kissing, she assured herself. This was merely a new form of arguing.
Anticipating his next contradiction, she angled her head for closer contact and Reed growled in response.
The low, primal sound sent an unexpected thrill rushing through her.
“It would be a waste of breath to attempt to tell you anything,” he said, fitting his other hand over the curve of her cheek to cradle her face. “Even if I wanted to say that your lips are soft and plump and more luscious than wine-poached pears, I wouldn’t.”
Then he tilted her head back to cement his argument, opening her mouth with his own. He nibbled gently into her flesh, tasting the seam of her lips without hurry. The slow, thorough exploration caused her eyes to drift closed.
Her senses centered on the firm, enticing pressure of his mouth, the delicious rasp of his tongue. A wanton mewl tore from her throat, hungry and needy and urgent.
The unguarded sound brought her to an uncomfortable admission . . .
She might be kissing the enemy.
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To celebrate the release of THE ROGUE TO RUIN by Vivienne Lorret, we’re giving away one paperback copy of Ten Kisses to Scandal!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a paperback copy of Ten Kisses to Scandal by Vivienne Lorret. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance. Giveaway ends 8/31/2019 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copy out to the winner directly. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!
USA Today bestselling author, VIVIENNE LORRET transforms copious amounts of tea into words. She is an Avon author of works including: The Wallflower Wedding Series, The Rakes of Fallow Hall Series, The Season’s Original Series, and the Misadventures in Matchmaking series.
For more information on her books, sign up for her newsletter at www.vivlorret.net.
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Brazen and the Beast by Sarah MacLean
Series Bareknuckle Bastards Series
Genre Adult Historical Romance
Publisher Avon Books
Publication Date July 30, 2019
New York Times Bestselling Author Sarah MacLean returns with the next book in the Bareknuckle Bastards series about three brothers bound by a secret that they cannot escape—and the women who bring them to their knees.
The Lady’s Plan
When Lady Henrietta Sedley declares her twenty-ninth year her own, she has plans to inherit her father’s business, to make her own fortune, and to live her own life. But first, she intends to experience a taste of the pleasure she’ll forgo as a confirmed spinster. Everything is going perfectly…until she discovers the most beautiful man she’s ever seen tied up in her carriage and threatening to ruin the Year of Hattie before it’s even begun.
The Bastard’s Proposal
When he wakes in a carriage at Hattie’s feet, Whit, a king of Covent Garden known to all the world as Beast, can’t help but wonder about the strange woman who frees him—especially when he discovers she’s headed for a night of pleasure . . . on his turf. He is more than happy to offer Hattie all she desires…for a price.
An Unexpected Passion
Soon, Hattie and Whit find themselves rivals in business and pleasure. She won’t give up her plans; he won’t give up his power . . . and neither of them sees that if they’re not careful, they’ll have no choice but to give up everything . . . including their hearts.
In twenty-eight years and three hundred sixty-four days, Lady Henrietta Sedley liked to think that she’d learned a few things.
She’d learned, for example, that if a lady could not get away with wearing trousers (an unfortunate reality for the daughter of an earl, even one who had begun life without title or fortune), then she should absolutely ensure that her skirts included pockets. A woman never knew when she might require a bit of rope, or a knife to cut it, after all.
She’d also learned that any decent escape from her Mayfair home required the cover of darkness and a carriage driven by an ally. Coachmen tended to talk a fine game when it came to keeping secrets, but were ultimately beholden to those who paid their salaries. An important addendum to that particular lesson was this: The best of allies was often the best of friends.
And perhaps first on the list of things she had learned in her lifetime was how to tie a Bosun knot. She’d been able to do that for as long as she could remember.
With such an obscure and uncommon collection of knowledge, one might imagine that Henrietta Sedley would have known precisely what to do in the likelihood she discovered a human male bound and unconscious in her carriage.
One would be incorrect.
In point of fact, Henrietta Sedley would never have described such a scenario as a likelihood. After all, she might have been more comfortable on London’s docks than in its ballrooms, but Hattie’s impressive collection of life experience lacked anything close to a criminal element.
And yet, here she was, pockets full, dearest friend at her side, standing in the pitch dark on the night before her twenty-ninth birthday, about to steal away from Mayfair for a night of best-laid plans, and…
Lady Eleanora Madewell whistled, low and unladylike at Hattie’s ear. Daughter of a duke and the Irish actress he loved so much he’d made her a duchess, Nora had the kind of brashness that was allowed in those with impervious titles and scads of money. “There’s a bloke in the gig, Hattie.”
Hattie did not look away from the bloke in question. “Yes, I see that.”
“There wasn’t a bloke in the gig when we hitched the horses.”
“No, there wasn’t.” They’d left the hitched—and most definitely empty—carriage in the dark rear drive of Sedley House not three-quarters of an hour earlier, before hiking upstairs to exchange carriage-hitching dresses for attire more appropriate for their evening plans.
At some point between corset and kohl, someone had left her an extraordinarily unwelcome package.
“Seems we would’ve noticed a bloke in the gig,”
“I should think we would have,” came Hattie’s distracted reply. “This is really just awful timing.”
Nora cut her a look. “Is there a good time for a man to be bound in one’s carriage?”
Hattie imagined there wasn’t, but, “He could have selected a different evening. What a terrible birthday gift.” She squinted into the dark interior of the carriage. “Do you think he’s dead?”
Please, don’t let him be dead.
Silence. Then, a thoughtful, “Does one store dead men in carriages?” Nora reached forward, her coachman’s coat pulling tight over her shoulders, and poked the dead man in question. He did not move. “He’s not moving,” she added. “Could be dead.”
Hattie sighed, removing a glove and leaning into the carriage to place two fingers to the man’s neck. “I’m sure he’s not dead.”
“What are you doing?” Nora whispered, urgently. “If he’s not dead, you’ll wake him!”
“That wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world,” Hattie pointed out. “Then we could ask him to kindly exit our conveyance and we could be on our way.”
“Oh, yes. This brute seems like precisely the kind of man who would immediately do just that and not immediately take his revenge. He’d no doubt doff his cap and wish us a fine good evening.”
“He’s not wearing a cap,” Hattie pointed out, unable to refute any of the rest of the assessment of the mysterious, possibly dead man. He was very broad, and very solid, and even in the darkness she could tell that this wasn’t a man with whom one took a turn about a ballroom.
This was the kind of man who ransacked a ballroom.
“What do you feel?” Nora pressed.
“No pulse.” Though she wasn’t precisely certain of the location one would find a pulse. “But he’s—”
Dead men were not warm, and this man was very warm. Like a fire in winter. The kind of warm that made someone realize how cold she might be.
Ignoring the silly thought, Hattie moved her fingers down the column of his neck, to the place where it disappeared beneath the collar of his shirt, where the curve of his shoulder and the slope of…the rest of him… met in a fascinating indentation.
“Quiet.” Hattie held her breath. Nothing. She shook her head.
“Christ.” It wasn’t a prayer.
Hattie couldn’t have agreed more. But then…
There. A small flutter. She pressed a touch more firmly. The flutter became firm. Slow. Even. “I feel it. She said. “He’s alive.” She repeated herself. “He’s alive.” She exhaled, long and relieved. “He’s not dead.”
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a paperback copy of Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance. Giveaway ends on 8/12/2019 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copy out to the winner directly. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!
New York Times, Washington Post & USA Today bestseller SARAH MACLEAN is the author of historical romance novels that have been translated into more than twenty languages, and winner of back-to-back RITA Awards for best historical romance from the Romance Writers of America.
Sarah is a leading advocate for the romance genre, speaking widely on its place at the nexus of gender and cultural studies. She is the author of a monthly column celebrating the best of the genre for the Washington Post. Her advocacy for romance and the women who read it earned her a place on Jezebel.com's “Sheroes” list of 2014 and led Entertainment Weekly to call her "gracefully furious."
A graduate of Smith College & Harvard University, Sarah now lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.
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The Third Mrs. Durst by Ann Aguirre
Series n/a; standalone
Genre Adult Romantic Suspense
Publisher Midnight Ink
Publication Date August 8, 2019
On the third day, Michael finally came home. When he did, he brought flowers. Warily I took the white roses, trying to contain my urge to flinch away from the hand that then dropped onto my head. I shivered, controlling my reaction with significant effort.
“You’re upset,” he said. “I may have overreacted, but the idea of losing you … it drives me crazy. I only reacted that way because I love you so much.”
When he put a pretty pink diamond ring on my finger to conclude the apology, I let him draw me close and rested my head on his chest, vowing not to make him feel insecure again. I’d never considered myself irresistible, but Michael clearly thought other men couldn’t see me without wanting me.
Stroking my back, he went on. “Men are animals, Marlena. You’re too innocent to understand that, and that’s why I have to fight twice as hard to keep you that way.”
I swallowed hard. What would Michael say if I told him I already knew? One of my mother’s boyfriends had shown me when I was eleven, and then later, Bobby Ray Hudgens reinforced the lesson. Before, I’d never thought those violations made me dirty, but I had no doubt my husband would feel that way. He’d probably think I was some little Lolita, seducing men with a sway of my hips.
“Oh.” It was the only sound I could make.
My lack of response didn’t matter because he was in the mood to talk. “I’ve never told you this … because I’m not proud of it, but I was married before. She … left me. And it took a long time for me to get over that.”
Left you? Is that what you’re calling it? My heart hardened into titanium, untouchable, impenetrable. But I couldn’t let on how much I already knew—about his past, and I couldn’t think on it too deeply or he might read that awareness in my expression. I understood far too well to be drawn in by diamond rings and repentant smiles.
But I kept up the pretense. “There’s never been anyone else,” I said softly.
“I do know. It’s part of what makes you perfect. But sometimes I lose the thread, and I’m sorry for that.”
It amused me to test him, though, and to see how he’d respond. “I went running in the park yesterday. Vin took me. But there was nothing personal about it.”
Michael nodded. “He gave me a full report before I came in. Now that I’ve had some time, I know you weren’t leading him on. And what happened with Will Stone, well, he’s a lecher, but that’s not your fault.”
It was tough to get the words out, but I could only cower for so long. “Next time you’re upset, if you could dial it down … I was really scared.” There, I said it.
“I’ll never hurt you,” Michael said. “You are my most precious possession, and it’s my greatest joy to protect you.”
That wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I wanted an I’m sorry, I’ll do better, like he always forced out of me. And the fact was, he had hurt me. I had a circular bruise around my wrist from where he’d hauled me around and another on my hip due to my tumble over the ottoman, deep and blue, fading to green. I bit in the inside of my lip against an instinctive protest. I’m not your possession. I’m not.
Tour Wide Giveaway
To celebrate the release of THE THIRD MRS. DURST by Ann Aguirre we're giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to internationally. One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Ann Aguirre. Giveaway ends 8/18/2019 @ 11:59pm EST. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!
NY Times and USA Today bestselling author ANN AGUIRRE has been a clown, a clerk, a savior of stray kittens, and a voice actress, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in Mexico with her husband and children. She writes all manner of genre fiction for adults and teens.
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Today's feature is A HIGHLANDER WALKS INTO A BAR by Laura Trentham.
One lucky US reader will win a copy of the book to themselves by commenting
here on the blog post or Books & Spoons social media. (Must have a US mailing address to win. The book will be delivered by the publisher St Martin Press. The giveaway will end by Sunday 11th of August. The winner will be informed by email.)
The timeless romance, soaring passion—and gorgeous men—of Scotland comes to modern-day America. And the rules of love will never be the same…
Isabel Buchanan is fiery, funny, and never at a loss for words. But she is struck speechless when her mother returns from a trip to Scotland with a six-foot-tall, very handsome souvenir. Izzy’s mother is so infatuated by the fellow that Izzy has to plan their annual Highland Games all by herself. Well, not completely by herself. The Highlander’s strapping young nephew has come looking for his uncle…
Alasdair Blackmoor has never seen a place as friendly as this small Georgia town—or a girl as brilliant and beguiling as Izzy. Instead of saving his uncle, who seems to be having a lovely time, Alasdair decides he’d rather help Izzy with the Highland Games. Show her how to dance like a Highlander. Drink like a Highlander. And maybe, just maybe, fall in love with a Highlander. But when the games are over, where do they go from here?
“I brought home a surprise!” Rose Buchanan threw her arms out wide as if embracing the world. From the sto- ries she told to the way she entered the room, Rose was exuberant and entertaining and enjoyed being the center of attention.
Isabel Buchanan, who was perfectly content on the fringes, pushed her wavy hair off her sticky forehead with hands that trembled from the nightmare drive through At- lanta to the airport to pick up her mom. Her mom’s trip to Scotland had doubled as both research and vacation. The jammed stop-and-go traffic had left Izzy flustered and al- ready dreading their exit from the airport.
Rolling her stiff shoulders, Izzy stepped around the bumper of the car, popping the trunk open on the way. Her mom had a beautiful plaid scarf of greens and browns and blues tossed over her shoulder and what appeared to be new earrings. Either purchase might inspire her mother to gush, and she would expect reciprocal gushing from Izzy. Making an educated guess, Izzy asked, “Are those ear-rings your surprise?”
Without waiting for an answer, she hauled one of her mom’s giant wheeled suitcases closer and prepared to heave it into the back. The sooner they got out of Atlanta, the sooner she could get back to work planning the High- land festival. Or she might pour an extra-large glass of wine and escape into a book. A guilty pleasure, consider- ing how much she still had to get in order in three scant weeks.
“Allow me, please.” A bearded man who had been roll- ing cases to the curb stepped forward with a grin and an accent Izzy couldn’t place.
She checked her pockets and winced. No cash to tip the man, and no hope her mom had thought of something so inconsequential.
“Do you like them? They’re hammered silver.” Her mom flipped her bobbed matching silver hair to the side and displayed one earring with her fingers. “And as a matter of fact, I did buy them from a lovely shop in Edin- burgh, but I brought something bigger home. Something more exciting.”
“Your scarf? It’s lovely.” Izzy gave her mom limited attention while she watched the man load suitcase after suitcase into her trunk, fitting them together like a puzzle. More luggage than her mom had left with. She waved to catch the man’s attention. “Hang on. That’s not all my mom’s stuff.”
For the first time, Izzy really looked at the man. He was close to her mom in age, and good-looking in a bear- like way with a gleaming white smile highlighted by a salt-and-pepper beard. His full head of hair was a shade darker, but graying heavily at the temples. The expres- sion on the man’s face when he looked in her mom’s direction—a mix of adoration and amusement—cleared the fog of confusion.
Lord have mercy, her mother had brought back a six- foot, two-hundred-pound-plus souvenir from Scotland.
From A Highlander Walks into a Bar. Copyright © 2019 by Laura Trentham and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Laura Trentham is an award-winning author of contemporary and historical romance, including Then He Kissed Me and The Military Wife. She is a member of RWA, and has been a finalist multiple times in the Golden Heart competition. A chemical engineer by training and a lover of books by nature, she lives in South Carolina.
Hidden emotions, life-changing secrets, regrets of the past, and one little boy in the middle of the mayhem - an emotional read that brought a range of feels to the top and had me reacting from smiles and sighs to tears and even with displeased annoyment.
I loved little Sammy. He was such a joyful boy, facing his challenges, and trying his utmost to communicate and show his love to his guardians.
Arianna Shrader was misjudged and mistreated by those who were supposed to have her back and guard her against the hurdles of the world. She was easy to relate to and I admired her determination and giving spirit. She knew that some of her choices in the past caused pain to others, she owned up to them, and often put other's needs in front of her own.
At first glance, Jack DeMoise seemed like a good, kind, generous, considerate man. I liked him, I understood why Arianna would fall for him. I liked his honesty, him standing up for Arianna and for the possible relationship they could have - until he didn't.
Jack and Arianna had a connection, they had a lot in common, they shared the interests, they shared the faith in God, and they both loved Sammy. The attraction was palpable, even though they were slow to act on it. What happens when Arianna's secret is revealed, was a tough setback to me. Jack takes the betrayal, that wasn't necessarily Arianna's, to the next level, and his behavior becomes something that is hard to look over or get redemption from. I struggled with this, and how it affected others around Jack, mostly to Sammy but also to Arianna.
In a way one could say it is what it is - even Christian people can be hateful and mean, even people of faith make mistakes and judges others unfairly. And that is all true. Yet despite the sweet romance, the growth in faith Arianna experience, the adorable Sammy, the hope-filled ranch, and Jack standing up to his father when needed, the way Jack continued to react after the secret is revealed - that was a bit harsh towards Arianna. And the reason why I will give this book
~ Three Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
Lee Tobin McClain read Gone With The Wind in the third grade and has been an incurable romantic ever since. The PW bestselling author of eight contemporary romances for Harlequin Love Inspired and twenty independently-published novels and novellas, she recently contracted with Harlequin HQN to write three mainstream romance novels, coming in 2019. When she's not writing, she's probably cheering on her daughter at a gymnastics meet, mediating battles between her goofy goldendoodle puppy and her rescue cat, or teaching aspiring writers in Seton Hill University's MFA program. She is probably not cleaning her house.
A tough and competent leading lady, a woman comfortable in her own skin, who knows her capabilities and is proud of them is extremely appealing to me. I adored, admired, and respected Carly Valentine, and everything she stood for.
The story is a fast-paced thriller with political touches and small kingdom in upheaval.
I loved the intensified suspense, and the romance developing between the secretive hero and the potent heroine. Yet the political speech in the prologue with 'make Lukinburg great again' quotes put a burden on my mind regarding the hero, an obstacle he needed to overcome to get me on his side.
I enjoyed the tight family ties Carly has with her father and brothers. The back and forth between the siblings was entertaining and while it was a lot of jokes and banter, there was an element of protectiveness and shielding their sister from trouble and heartbreak that was endearing.
Ivan Mostek, the hero, was a gentle and kindhearted man with a touch of geekiness mixed with extreme capableness on many fronts. He was likable and good-natured, he had secrets and responsibilities that he was sworn to, and he hopelessly, helplessly, and completely fell for the force to be reckoned with,
Carly Valentine, who impressed him with her professional tactics from the first moment they met.
I always enjoy Julie Miller's stories, the strong characters she creates and the balance between action, suspense, and romance in the smoothly flowing tales. Through her stories, I have fallen for Kansas City and the skilled police officer who protect the town.
~ Four Spoons
USA TODAY bestselling author Julie Miller writes breathtaking romantic suspense. She has earned a National Readers Choice Award and two Daphne du Maurier Awards among many other prizes for both her series and single title books. She was also honored to receive the RT BookReviews Career Achievement Award for Series Romantic Suspense, and has twice been a finalist for RWA’s prestigious RITA Award. With millions of copies in print worldwide, many of her books have appeared on the USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly, Amazon and BookScan Top 100 Romances bestseller lists.