About jessicacoultersmith

Award-winning science fiction & paranormal romance author

New Release: Biological Instinct by M.A. Freeman #paranormalromance #shifters @writingmaf

Melanie: The plan is simple. Go on vacation and finally relax after five solid years of hard work. How was she supposed to know her well-meaning friends would hijack said vacation to set her up with a drool-worthy photographer — or that their setup would lead to a whole host of other problems like kidnapping, illegal experimentation, and weirdest of all, psychic abilities? Through it all is Liam, a written-off experiment, and their overwhelming connection.

Liam: Nothing is ever simple when it comes to Liam and the entity that lives inside him. All he knows is the entity is pushing for him to get to know Melanie. Their connection is undeniable, and it’s of interest to the ones who created him in a lab, as well. Liam’s one of the few of their experiments that worked, and the only one to form a bond outside of their scientific creations.

Warning: This book references memories of childhood abuse that may be triggers for some readers.

Get it at Changeling Press

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 M.A. Freeman

“I still don’t understand your choice of vacation, Mel. You live at the beach. Granted not on the beach, but close enough. Why’re you going to some random tropical island again?”

Melanie rolled her eyes at the angst-ridden demand as she continued to sort through the freshly washed clothes piled on her bed. She should have known better than to wait until the last minute, but making sure her office could function while she was away had tied up more of her time than expected. The whole situation with Patton Photography was just unfortunate.

“Are you ignoring me?” A ball of socks flew through the air and hit Melanie in the head. “I’m making a valid point about your vacation locale!”

She turned to face her best friend, Lorelei Sapelo, and smirked. “Yes, I am. The beach here and the beach on an island are two different beasts. Besides, I’m more excited about the jungle than the ocean.”

Lorelei sighed as she plopped down on the clothes-covered bed. “You’re usually more organized than this. Why’re you packing so late? Where’s the crazy OCDness I had to deal with all through college?”

Yanking on the sleeve of a T-shirt until Lorelei shifted her fat butt, Melanie pulled out the extra large tee and began to roll it into a tube. “There’s been a lot going on at work I wanted to handle myself. Besides, I don’t want all the hard work I’ve put into getting the editorial staff in shape to implode while I’m gone.”

“I know what you mean.” Lorelei shoved more clothes closer to Melanie.

“One day…” She held up her index finger for emphasis. “… is all it takes for all your hard work to just poof out of existence.”

“At least I have Rose to handle anything serious while I’m away. Your one-man show at your job is just asking for a headache. All those dusty tomes. My allergies would make me pay in so many ways, all of them horrible. Are you going to help me pack or just watch? I can’t be late to the airport in the morning.”

“You’re not going to be late. I’ll have you there in plenty of time.” Lorelei bounced off the bed and pawed through Melanie’s neatly organized closet. “Are you not taking anything but casual clothes? What if you meet a hot guy and you’re wearing grandma shorts?”

“Those are Bermuda shorts, and I’m taking a few maxi dresses and skirts as well, so I’ll try to meet this ‘hot guy’ while I’m wearing one of those.”

Lorelei sniffed, but she stopped messing up her closet. “There’s no need for that snippy tone, Melanie! I’m trying to be a true friend and help you not die an old cat lady.”

Melanie burst out laughing. “You know, I’m thinking of getting a cat when I return. It would be nice to come home to someone even if it is only an animal.”

“I rest my case, budding cat lady. Please don’t become a stereotype because I’ll never forgive you, knowing I’ll probably share the same fate.”

Bras, underwear, and a variety of mix and match bathing suits were added to the suitcase. “You’re not a cat person, so I doubt that will happen to you, Lori.” Melanie glanced around and frowned. “Would you check the bathroom for my toiletry case while I figure out where to put my shoes?”

Lorelei wandered into the bathroom, her voice slightly muffled. “Your less-than-concerned attitude concerns me. Oh my God, you met a guy, didn’t you?!” She returned, clutching the toiletry case. “Who is he? Do I know him? How hot is he? He’s not an idiot or a serial killer, is he?” She paused for breath before shaking her head. “No, you wouldn’t tolerate a moron, no matter how pretty, and a serial killer would already be taken care of.”

“This tendency you have to jump to weird conclusions will get you in serious trouble one day.” Melanie neatly situated her toiletry case in the space she had saved before adding a few other miscellaneous items: outlet adapters, copies of all her travel documents, and backup chargers for her cell phone and tablet. “And I haven’t met anyone. It was at work.”

“Ooooh, you’re lying. Tell me about Mr. Work?”

Knowing nothing would budge Lorelei when she got stubborn, Melanie went into the living room and grabbed her tablet off the coffee table. A few taps and the image of a lush jungle came into view. That was what she showed Lorelei.

Her eyes examined the picture for a moment and widened when she found the hidden jaguar perched in the trees. The incredible, close jaguar that stared from the image with boneless curiosity.

“How did he take this without getting eaten?”

Melanie reached over and tapped the image again to get the byline information to come up. “I’d like to know that, too, because you and I both know there was no zoom involved, and the camera wasn’t perched in the tree. However, Mr. Patton has been out of the country for months, and when he is stateside, he’s basically a recluse.”

Lorelei read the short byline information before handing the tablet back to Melanie. “So, spill. What sort of contact have you had? And where’s a picture?”

A few more taps on the tablet and Melanie answered, “Like I said, it’s been for work. We’ve been communicating through email about an issue with some of the photographs. Nothing personal has been involved, so you can get that gleam out of your eyes. I would like to meet him because there’s something about his photos, and I’m curious about the process he uses to achieve what he does.” She turned the tablet back to Lorelei. “This is the only picture he has for his bio.”

They both looked at the candid photo of a tall, well-muscled man wearing khaki cargo pants, a khaki bush shirt, and a plain baseball cap. His features were shadowed, but they could make out a generous amount of scruff on his face and the displeased line of his mouth, not much else.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

M. A. Freeman lives near Wilmington, NC and never makes it to the beach. Any free time is consumed with books, either reading or writing. An avid traveller and self proclaimed geek, trips abroad and to cons such as DragonCon in Atlanta are always on the agenda. Currently working full time in healthcare and attending school to obtain a Master of Library and Information Science degree to compliment the Bachelor’s of Arts in English and Creative Writing.

BOOK REVIEW: Dead Man Walking by Giana Darling #MCromance #darkromance

From USA Today & Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author Giana Darling comes a dark MC romance about a broken enforcer and the beautiful, innocent woman who shows him that light can exist even in the dark…

A killer. A criminal.
A psychopath.
The Irish enforcer for The Fallen Men MC is everything good girls are taught to stay away from.
Only, I found myself inexorably drawn into his dark gravitational pull. I wanted to know what it would be like to walk beside the human personification of Death and hold his hand, feel his kiss, and maybe even earn his undying love.
But Priest McKenna is older, cold as ice, and notoriously unfeeling.
So what are the odds that a dead man walking would come to life for little, insignificant me?
When a serial killer begins to target the women of Entrance, BC, and The Fallen suffers another terrible blow, Priest resolves to hunt down the killer himself.
And when the murderer sets his eyes on me?
My very own psychopath steps between me and certain death, thrusting us into an intimacy I prayed we would never recover from.

*A standalone book in The Fallen Men Series.*

Add to your Goodreads

MY REVIEW

4 stars

A minister’s granddaughter and the club’s enforcer – a man who thinks of himself as a psychopath, a killer, a man without a heart or conscience. If dark romances are your thing, with an MC theme, you’ll enjoy Dead Man Walking.

Bea has long been the good girl, doing what’s expected — on the outside. Inside, she feels the pull of the darkness, and the man called Priest. Like a moth to a flame, she can’t keep away, looking beyond what everyone else sees to the lonely man who hides in the shadows. While her family wants to keep her from Priest, fearing he’ll hurt her, there’s another man stalking her. Someone worse than the monster she loves – or so he thinks. But once Priest claims Bea, there’s no going back. He’ll walk through fire for her. Die for her. And he will damn sure protect her at all costs.

Be warned, there’s knife play and Priest has a certain fascination with Bea’s blood. If that’s a hard pass for you, this may not be the right book for you. But if you like the thought of a good girl who’s not so good, not trying to tame the beast but live in the darkness with him, go one-click! You won’t be disappointed.

*Disclaimer: The review above is only my opinion. I purchased a copy at Amazon. The author did not request a review.

BOOK REVIEW: The Fate of Crowns by Rebecca Garcia #YoungAdult #Fantasy @rlgarciabooks

With my brother’s death came the crown and all the trappings that accompany it. Now, my father—the most dangerous man in Magaelor—seeks to control my future.

But fate has other plans.

Thrown into mer-filled waters, I’m dragged into the rival kingdom of Berovia. Surrounded by those who murdered my brother and wished my entire family dead, I must find my way back to my kingdom. There, a marriage between myself and the dark fae prince could bring peace to a century’s old division between the fae and sorcerers.

But dark revelations and deadly lies threaten to destroy my destiny. I must make the choice between my duty, family, and heart before it’s too late.

Will I allow myself to become the exalted Queen of everything? Or be reduced to a cautionary tale as the shattered princess of nothing?

The Fate of Crowns is a young adult fantasy, perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Laura Sebastian, Holly Black and Kendare Blake.

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MY REVIEW

5 stars!

Magic, intrigue, betrayal, and a princess determined to protect her people,

In a time of fae and magic-wielding humans, when prejudices run deep, there’s one girl who could save them all. The princess first has to learn to see the world with her own eyes and stop believing the lies she’s been told her entire life. Her family isn’t as perfect as she believes, and those closest to her will cause her the most pain. Even when she finds herself in enemy lands, Winter can’t accept that things aren’t what they seem. So eager to please and protect her family, she’s blinded to the truths she faces every day. Will she ever be able to accept her entire life has been a lie?

The book was beautifully written, full of mystery and fantasy, friendship, and so much more. With strong characters, the tried and true plot of corrupt kingdoms, and enough action and drama to keep you turning the pages, The Fate of Crowns has proven to be a memorable tale. But be warned, it does end with a cliffhanger. I’ll be eagerly anticipating the next installment in this series.

The Fate of Crowns is a must-read!

*Disclaimer: The review above is only my opinion. I received a copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Cover Reveal: The Right Kind of Wrong by Shilpa Suraj #RomanticSuspense @shilpaauthor

 

 

He’s dangerous, damaged and doomed but he’s hers…

With no name, no medical history, multiple gunshot wounds and enough security to rival the Prime Minister’s, Dr Aria Dubey’s new patient is something more than she asked for. And everything she might just need.

Intelligence Officer Karan Bhatnagar has only vengeance on his mind. Nothing will stop him from seeking justice for his murdered parents. 

Not even almost losing his own life. And certainly not the doctor who healed but couldn’t save him. The woman he can’t afford to fall for. And the killer’s next target.

There’s only one thing left to do…find the killer and end him before he ends them. Will Karan and Aria risk everything for a love that is all kinds of wrong? And yet, is the right kind of wrong.

 
Releasing on 26th January!
 
 
About the Author:

 

Shilpa Suraj wears many hats – corporate drone, homemaker, mother to a fabulous toddler and author.

An avid reader with an overactive imagination, Shilpa has weaved stories in her head since she was a child. Her previous stints at Google, in an ad agency and as an entrepreneur provide colour to her present day stories, both fiction and non-fiction.

Contact the Author:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Newsletter

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Cover Reveal: My Saving Grace by Melanie Moreland #ContemporaryRomance @MorelandMelanie @EJBookPromos

Title: My Saving Grace
Series: Vested Interest – ABC Corp Series
Author: Melanie Moreland
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 25, 2021
Cover Design: Karen Hulseman of Feed Your Dreams Designs

Grace VanRyan has her life mapped out.
Law school, a career with ABC, and a bright future ahead of her.
Until Jaxson Richards steps into the picture. He’s everything she hasn’t planned for.
Older, sexy, off-limits.
And her new boss.
When the passion between them explodes, will her life blow up along with it?

New York Times/USA Today bestselling author Melanie Moreland, lives a happy and content life in a quiet area of Ontario with her beloved husband of twenty-seven-plus years and their rescue cat, Amber. Nothing means more to her than her friends and family, and she cherishes every moment spent with them.
While seriously addicted to coffee, and highly challenged with all things computer-related and technical, she relishes baking, cooking, and trying new recipes for people to sample. She loves to throw dinner parties, and also enjoys traveling, here and abroad, but finds coming home is always the best part of any trip.
Melanie loves stories, especially paired with a good wine, and enjoys skydiving (free falling over a fleck of dust) extreme snowboarding (falling down stairs) and piloting her own helicopter (tripping over her own feet.) She’s learned happily ever afters, even bumpy ones, are all in how you tell the story.
Melanie is represented by Flavia Viotti at Bookcase Literary Agency. For any questions regarding subsidiary or translation rights please contact her at  flavia@bookcaseagency.com

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Cover Reveal: Used by Kate Dunbar #RomanticSuspense #coverreveal @kdunbarwrites @alyssamg89

This is all of me. The good, the bad, the used, and the broken…

Heartbreakingly beautiful and completely engrossing, A young woman’s life takes a disturbing and utterly fascinating turn as the past she’s put behind comes back to haunt her.  USED is packed full of twists, turns, and a gripping romance sure to leave readers emotionally spent and asking for more.

USED, a brand new standalone romantic suspense from debut author Kate Dunbar, will be releasing on March 8, 2021 on all retailers! Don’t miss the fantastic cover below, and pre-order your copy today!

“USED was amazing. Like seriously amazing. I can’t remember the last time I hated to put a book down so I could go to sleep and then immediately pick it up to finish it the next morning. And yet, here we are and that’s what I did.” ~ Samantha Chase, New York Times Bestselling Author

“Rarely have I read a book so vividly described, so rich with emotion, that I felt like I lived it. USED is the kind of book that engages your heart and takes you on a journey that leaves you hopeful and empowered by the end.” ~ Erika Kelly, Award Winning Author of the Rock Star Romance Series

Photography by K Keeton Designs
Cover Design by Uplifting Author Services

Model: Cameo Hopper

About USED (Coming 3/8/2021):

At the age of seventeen, after a decade of lies, hurt, and severe abuse by her brother Lucas, Sabra Valentine is able to breathe.

Lucas is behind bars thanks in large part to Sabra’s quick thinking and self-preservation-even if that’s one more secret she has to keep.

Now, seven years later, life is moving forward, and Sabra is starting to heal, live, and love again with her friends and Trevor Collins by her side. He’s tall, dark, and sexy, and he doesn’t fall for Sabra’s games. The future is finally looking bright-until one phone call shatters everything.

Used is a romantic suspense with domestic thriller elements. Please be aware that there are topics that may be triggers for some readers, and this work is meant for mature readers.

PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY!

✦Amazon US ➜ https://amzn.to/2LJCEQV

Amazon Intl https://geni.us/4fBU5
✦Apple ➜
http://apple.co/3nDaQuK

✦Kobo ➜ http://bit.ly/39s8hGz

✦Nook ➜ http://bit.ly/2LMTD4z

✦Audio ➜ COMING SOON!

✦Goodreads ➜ https://bit.ly/38AlFct

Heartbreakingly beautiful. This book isn’t about angst and pain. It’s about a fighter-a survivor-that we all attain to be. The story tears you apart in the best ways and builds you back up in the most beautiful.” ~ Nichole Chase, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author

“Used is a raw, heart-wrenching story of surviving trauma, but it’s also so much more. It’s a romantic, emotionally gratifying tale of unflinching, all-in love. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.” ~ Brenda Rothert, Author

USED is being narrated by Stella Hunter and will be available March 8th! Stay tuned for all the pre-order information! Sign up for Kate’s newsletter to get the latest audio news! www.katedunbar.com

About Kate Dunbar:

Kate Dunbar is a wife, mom of three, and obsessive tea drinker who loves a great story. She’s passionate about people and learning what makes them tick. You can find her eavesdropping, people watching, and living her best life wherever the winds take her.

Website: https://katedunbar.com/

Facebook: https://fb.com/KateDunbarAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kdunbarwrites

Newsletter: https://katedunbar.com/

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/3q6SqEa

Book Blitz: The Winter Heals by Marie McGrath #YoungAdult #ContemporaryRomance @Marie_McGrath_ @XpressoTours

The Winter Heals
Marie McGrath
(Honey Cove, #2)
Publication date: January 12th 2021
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

It was almost impossible to heal when everyone was out to get you.

Shelby Rowe was stuck between two worlds—the one she wanted and the one everyone else wanted for her. As the daughter of a prominent family in Honey Cove, Shelby’s life was out of her control. Her friends, interests, and even her love life was controlled by others.

When a new girl moves to town, Shelby’s life was turned upside down as she gets a glimpse of what life could be like—no obligations, no pressure. As the Christmas break begins, Shelby is left stuck between what is expected and what she feels is right. Split in half, Shelby has to make decisions to correct her life and heal her spirit.

Will she allow others to control who she is? Or will she finally go out on her own?

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Luke watched me as I eyed Priscilla and Tabitha from across the room. “Don’t panic, Shelby. You’re by far the most beautiful one in this ballroom tonight.”
“Thanks, Luke, but I’m not worried about what anyone else looks like.”

He nodded and smiled, but it didn’t quite make it to his eyes.

I probably wouldn’t have believed me either. I wasn’t fully lying, just wasn’t the entire truth. Priscilla had a chance to outdo me; it was just her insecurities that came back for her. If she had more confidence, people wouldn’t hate her as much for the nasty things she always inflicted on others. Although, I supposed someone else could say similar things to me. I certainly hadn’t always been the nicest one around. I had done plenty of cruel things, things I still was ashamed of, but I tried to change. That had to account for something, right?

Priscilla and Tabitha spotted me and strutted my way.

Luke tightened his grip around my arm and into his chest. Did he think I needed protecting?

Tabitha leaned forward to air-kiss my cheek. “Shelby, darling. You look fabulous.”

I reciprocated the gesture. “As do you. This color is stunning on you.”

She smiled and swished her dress against her ankles.

Priscilla’s eyebrow arched as she came closer for a hug. “Beautiful accessories, Shelby. It all really makes your eyes pop.”

I strained to smile, knowing anything they uttered about my appearance was merely a nod to social etiquette. It wasn’t genuine, at least not in the way I longed for a true compliment.

“Your mother outdid herself this year, Shelby,” Tabitha said.

“I’ll let her know you think so.”

Luke cleared his throat and nudged my side with his elbow.

“Sorry, ladies, how rude of me. You know Luke, obviously, but he’s my date.”

Luke grinned from ear to ear. “Ladies, you both look radiant this evening.”

They both curtsied.

“Well, we would love to stay and chat all night, but we must socialize with the guests. I’ll see you two later.”

I pulled Luke to stand at the second Christmas tree halfway between both exits.

Luke’s eyebrow rose. “Why did we walk away from them? We should be mingling with everyone.”

I snorted. “Please, Luke. I will mingle with the people who matter. Those two don’t matter. They will just gossip about anything they hear anyway, not worth our time.”

“Then who should we talk to, in your opinion? I think they matter to everyone else. If you aren’t flaunting me to your friends, what will people say?”

“They will have plenty to say, and we can discuss things with them when we are stuck at a table for dinner.”

“I suppose.” Luke moved his arm around me and hovered his right hand on the small of my back.

I bit the corner of my lip to avoid from shivering—or worse, cringing at his touch. It wasn’t awful, but it was more than I wish I had to endure.

“You know, you never told me if I looked dashing or not,” Luke said with a devilish grin.

I smiled. “You and I both know you do, especially with all of your matchy-matchy to my dress color.”

Luke feigned shock. “Is that a compliment from Shelby Rowe. Oh man. Alert Santa we’ll have a blizzard.”

I rolled my eyes. “Dramatic much?”

“Not at all. I only seem to get snarkiness from you.”

I shrugged. “Not always.”

“I apologize. You’re correct. I get snarky Shelby unless we’re pretending to be together. In which case, I get hushed-tone snarky Shelby.”

I giggled. “Is that so? How does one emanate snark in a hushed-tone kind of way?”

“I think you know how.”

I smiled and looked into his hazel eyes. Okay, so he could be charming when he wanted to.

“There it is.”

“There’s what?”

“A genuine smile.”

My father, with my mother in tow, strutted toward us. “Shelby and Luke, how splendid. You both look exquisite,” my father said. “Are you ready to meet a few people, Shelby?”

I followed my parents as Luke accompanied me. I straightened my frame and plastered a smile on my face. It was showtime.

An older couple stood to the side of the ballroom.

My father shook the older man’s hand and clapped his back. “Mr. Wyatt, this is my daughter Shelby and her date, Luke Warrington. Shelby, Mr. Wyatt is the head of sales at Rowe Industries.”

I curtsied as Luke shook the man’s hand.

“It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Wyatt,” I said.

“Hello again, sir,” Luke added.

My mother looked between us all but stayed silent. Her voice echoed in my head, “A true Rowe woman is seen but not heard. She makes her presence known but never overshadows the man she is with.”

Author Bio:

Marie McGrath lives in a small rural town in Maryland. She hopes to inspire others with her stories. Her favorite genres to read are YA Romance and Contemporary Fiction. She loves the color turquoise, tigers, and listening to music.

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Book Blitz: Fetching by Kylie Gilmore #RomCom @KylieGilmoreToo @XpressoTours

Fetching
Kylie Gilmore
(Unleashed Romance, #1)
Publication date: January 12th 2021
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Romance

He’s her knight in shining armor. Only she’s no damsel in distress.

Wyatt
I’m a self-made billionaire with a soft spot for damsels in distress, so when I move to the quirky lakeside community of Summerdale, I immediately zero in on the woman I most want to…ahem, rescue. Only the stubborn woman refuses to cooperate.

Sydney
When Satan, aka Wyatt Winters, moves to town, I do my best to be welcoming. After all, I’m the owner of the historic restaurant and bar that he keeps showing up at, despite criticizing nearly everything about it. Deep breath. I might’ve lost my cool and made a rude gesture in his direction. And told him off. How was I to know he was considering investing in my place?

Did I mention I’m in debt up to my eyeballs and every bank has turned me down?

Still, there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell I’d ever work with him. Or admit he fires me up in every way.

And then a snowstorm traps us together and—

I’m melting.

This romantic comedy stands alone with a swoonworthy happy-ever-after! No cliffhangers.

NOTE: A portion of Fetching’s book sales will go to Pets for Vets, a nonprofit that trains shelter dogs to be therapy companions for military veterans with PTSD.

Unleashed Romance Series
Fetching (Book 1)
Dashing (Book 2)
Sporting (Book 3)
Toying (Book 4)
Blazing (Book 5)

Goodreads / Bookbub / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

EXCERPT:

Sydney

Wyatt catches my eye. “Appetizers are good.”

Pleased that he finally said something positive about my place, I close the distance, stopping at his table. “Glad you’re enjoying them.”

He leans back in his chair. “Have you ever thought of upgrading the dinner menu?”

My temper flares, but I manage to keep a civil tone. “No. Locals love it.”

“Not saying it’s bad, just unoriginal. I mean, every meal comes with either French fries or baked potato. A new chef might bring some life to the place. Isn’t that what tonight’s fundraiser’s all about? Keeping this place open?” He taps the table. “With the right management, a better chef, this place has potential.”

I manage this place, and the chef is a family friend. I bare my teeth. “Seems you know a lot about the restaurant business.”

“Not at all. I just appreciate a good one.”

I jam my hands on my hips and glare at him. Obviously he thinks we’re a bad one! I’m so furious I can’t even speak.

He cocks his head. “Cindy, are you cross with me?”

“Who the hell do you think you are?” I snap. “Coming in here and insulting my place left and right! If you don’t like it, don’t come back.”

He arches a brow. “Since you own the place, maybe we could talk about some serious improvements. You don’t know what you don’t know, am I right?”

I bristle. “This place was my great-grandfather’s, passed down the generations, and now it’s mine.” I leave out that Drew is the one who actually inherited it and declared it a lost cause because of the debt dragging it down. I took it over rather than let him sell it. “It’s an institution in this town, and we’re doing just fine without your city snark. How dare you walk in here and spew your judgment over all of us!”

He smirks. “I don’t recall spewing.”

My heartbeat roars in my ears, anger clouding all good reason. I desperately want to smack that smirk off his face.

He gestures to his ale, which he barely touched. “I didn’t like this one. Could I get one of those local Connecticut ales you mentioned?”

I stare at his glass of ale. I want to throw it in his face and watch his shock as it drips down his beard, fancy sport coat, and dress shirt.

He chuckles. “That’s an evil look in your eye, Cindy. You’re thinking about dumping this drink on my head, aren’t you?”

How did he know? “Not at all,” I lie.

He leans close and smirks. “I dare you.”

Author Bio:

Kylie Gilmore is the USA Today bestselling author of the Unleashed Romance series, the Rourkes series, the Happy Endings Book Club series, the Clover Park series, and the Clover Park STUDS series. She writes humorous romance that makes you laugh, cry, and reach for a cold glass of water.

Kylie lives in New York with her family, two cats, and a nutso dog. When she’s not writing, reading hot romance, or dutifully taking notes at writing conferences, you can find her flexing her muscles all the way to the high cabinet for her secret chocolate stash.

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Release Blitz: Lighter by A. Aduma #LGBTQ #YAbooks @ballardofme @GoIndiMarketing @ninestarpress

Title: Lighter

Author: A. Aduma

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 01/11/2021

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Female

Length: 55300

Genre: Contemporary YA, LGBTQIA+, contemporary, YA, gay, bisexual, Kenyan expats living in the States, East African culture, Swahili, teen pining and angst, unrequited feelings, family drama, drug use

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Description

After a bad breakup, Rasheed is determined to spend his last year of high school focused on his course work and to finish it with as little drama as possible. But when disaster strikes and his grandma ends up in the hospital, the threads holding his life together start to slowly unravel. Now, Rasheed has to deal with the return of his absent mother and sharing a home with her despite their strained relationship.

With old hurts surfacing and family dynamics shifting, Rasheed finds comfort and humor from his best friends, the Herman twins he’s tutoring, and his crush, Adam Herman, who’s not as unavailable as Rasheed had once thought. With more time spent together, Rasheed finds his feelings for Adam may never have gone away. And the feelings may not be as one-sided. Except, Rasheed has to confront old mistakes and come to terms with his own issues first, and a relationship may just complicate everything.

Excerpt

Lighter
A. Aduma © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
“Please tell me it’s mahamri,” I said enthusiastically when I saw Granma kneading dough that would hopefully be rolled, cut into little squares, dipped into deep frying oil, and covered in whipped cream to create a slice of heaven. Paired with hot chai, it opened the door to another dimension.

Granma pounded the dough, one-two, and flipped it over. “It is.”

“Should I start on the tea?”

“You should start by taking the trash out.” She straightened, wiped the thin film of sweat from her forehead, and pointed to the overflowing trashcan. I could have emptied it last night, but I had an assignment due and each second counted; the four minutes it would have taken had seemed like a lifetime.

“Okay.” I stepped farther into the kitchen and pinched some of the dough. Granma smacked my hand with her flour-covered one. I should have seen it coming; it was a dance we’d been doing since I was five­­—I’d pinch the dough, she’d slap my hand, and warn me about worms making my stomach swell.

Sure enough she said, “Tumbo lako litafura.”

I refrained from rolling my eyes. The way she used to tell it, when I was a kid my stomach would get as large as a balloon before it burst, spraying worms everywhere.

I tossed the dough in my mouth, grabbed a pot, filled it with water, and put it to boil for tea. One thing Granma and I liked was tea—tea in the morning, tea in the afternoon, tea before bed—and coming to America hadn’t changed that. As soon as she was done with the mahamri, she’d set herself up on her favorite floral armchair in front of the TV with her cup of steaming hot tea and catch up on some daytime soaps. Sometimes I joined her—TV dramas had some really cute guys.

“They finally gave up the dog,” Granma announced.

“Huh?”

“Mrs. Kyle and that dog. The pepo chafu will not be terrorizing us again.”

Mrs. Kyle lived on the other side of the street, one house down from us. Her bulldog, Teddy—a name that maybe shouldn’t be handed out so easily to slobbering dogs—had the bad habit of chasing and attacking people, and she refused to put it on a leash. Granma did not like her. The whole neighborhood didn’t like her.

“Paul was right,” she continued, “Soon as someone threw in the word ‘sue,’ she became more accommodating.”

There’d been a lot of that lately—Paul this and Paul that. It would have slipped my mind if I hadn’t noticed her FaceTiming him two weeks before, and then a day ago. Paul only lived a fifteen-minute drive away, so why not text? Anyway, what was so important that she needed to video call?

“I’m guessing some are for Paul?”

“Yes.”

“That’s nice.”

She pulled a drawer open and retrieved a rolling pin. “Why are you saying it like that?”

“How am I saying it?”

“Like you mean to say something else.”

“It’s nothing— Okay, you and Paul are…friendly,” I teased.

“I don’t have many friends; another one never hurts.”

“True, but I don’t know many people who go around fixing other people’s houses out of the kindness of their heart.”

Granma fixed her eyes on the dough and started to roll it. “It’s called kindness. Looks like you’ve forgotten the meaning of the word.”

“I remember,” I said quickly before it turned into a speech about undugu. Yes, yes, love thy neighbor, unless it was Mrs. Kyle, of course. Lines had to be drawn somewhere.

I added a cinnamon stick and some ginger into the pot and turned to head back to my room. Granma pointed to the trashcan. “Usitume nikwambie mara ya pili.”

Right, the trash. I sighed.

Her eyes bored into me as I bent to pick it up, which usually made me more self-aware. Like, had I brushed my teeth or cleaned my room? “I don’t know where your mind is nowadays.”

I paused. “Just tired.” Second week of school, Granma!

I was still trying to shake off summer vibes and find my back-to-school rhythm. It wasn’t going great. On top of the mound of piling homework and the early waking hours that turned me into a zombie—sometimes even with growling, and on really bad days, I could bite someone’s head off—I was trying to dodge Scott, my ex-boyfriend. Whenever he weaved his way into my thoughts, my chest would burn with shame, and my body would turn into a bundle of nerves. That chai and mahamri better come quick. I needed a pick-me-up.

“You put your shirt on backward on Tuesday and didn’t notice.”

“My mind was elsewhere.”

Her eyes narrowed. “And you’re not on drugs?”

I refrained from sighing. “No, I am not on drugs.”

“What is it, then?”

“Not enough sleep.”

“Why? What do you have to stress about?”

I slumped. Things were off, and I couldn’t shake the oddness. Before I could get that out, Granma shuddered, exhaled loudly, and reached for the counter, clutching it tightly.

I moved toward her. “You okay?” But she waved me off.

Her mouth opened, closed, opened again, but nothing came out. I frowned in confusion. Finally, after a few seconds, she said, “Trash.”

“Okay, okay.”

“And check for your keys.”

“Ha ha.” Again, I was tired that day.

I shifted my eyes to her hands, still gripping the counter and repeated, “You okay?”

“I…haven’t pounded dough in forever.”

Her words were labored and breathy. She had been pounding away like an MFA fighter. Maybe that was it. Now I knew what I’d get her for Christmas—a stand mixer. Maybe that would encourage her to make mahamri more often and not break a sweat while doing it. I could do it, but I’d never gotten them right—soft and sweet but with a tinge of lemon and overwhelming taste of coconut. Mine usually came out too hard.

I lifted the bag and headed outside.

“And water my herbs for me.”

I huffed. I ought to have known going to the kitchen when Granma was there meant a one hundred percent chance I’d come out with a chore.

“Am I hearing you grumble?”

“No.”

“Good because that would be disrespectful to your elders.”

I held back the eye roll and made my way to the garbage bins. I dumped the trash and went to water her plants.

Granma had raised-bed planters for her herbs that Paul had made for her. The day he did it, Granma had prioritized keeping him company to watching her TV dramas even though she was religious about not missing episodes. Then there was that time Natalie had been over for their book club—they were the only two in the club, and they read one book a year, spent five minutes talking about how they didn’t get a chance to read it, and gossiped the rest of the time—and I overhead Granma describe Paul as a fine, fine man. Sure, there had been some wine involved, but still.

I winced when the scent of mint made me think of Scott. He loved mint-flavored ice cream and chewing mint-flavored bubblegum. I’d made it another week successfully avoiding him—thank you crowded hallways and different schedules. It was exhausting. I was constantly in flight mode. There had to be another way.

Apologize, a voice echoed in my mind. Apologize? As in, like, say sorry and stuff? Hmm.

Not that I hadn’t thought of it before, but how did people do that? The idea sounded foreign. Save for when I stepped on someone’s foot or bumped into them by accident; that was easy because they were accidents. Honest mistakes. What I had done had not been an honest mistake. So how did someone apologize for dumbness?

It was easier to stay clear of him, avoid any more drama, and focus on school.

If I ignored it maybe it would have no option but to magically—

“Eedy!” I paused, spooked by how she sounded—like a rusted engine trying and failing to come to life. As I put the watering can down, there was the sound of a body hitting the floor with a soft thud.

My heart leaped into my throat, and my stomach twisted with dread.

I rushed back to the house and found Granma lying on the floor—flat on her stomach and still as a rock. The world tilted and blurred together.

“Granma?” I said in a shaky whisper. I fell to my knees and with weak arms managed to turn her over. My breath caught at the sight of her. Her dark eyes were wide open, unfocused, and unblinking. A chill snaked down my back. I leaned down and felt her warm breath on my face. Oh, thank fuck.

I grabbed her hand and recoiled at its limpness. “Granma, are you okay?” Of course, she wasn’t okay.

She groaned.

“Tafadhali amka!” Please get up. I tried to pull her up and failed. Granma wasn’t small, and despite my size, I couldn’t get her to move. My pulse started to race and a heavy weight pressed down on my chest; breathing became difficult. I gasped for breath.

No. No. It would be alright.

“Musa?” she whispered roughly.

The hope I’d been holding on to sank somewhere to my toes. “No, Rasheed. Eedy.”

Musa was my babu’s name—my grandfather—a man we’d silently agreed to never speak of, ever. To Granma, saying his name was equal to calling on the devil, which wasn’t that far off from the truth.

I needed to call for help. She lay on the floor, immobile, her empty stare on me. I did not want to leave her. My eyes blurred. I stood on shaky feet and rushed to get my phone still buried under books from last night’s homework rush. My palms were sweaty enough it took a few swipes before I hit dial on the emergency contact. The person on the other end promised the ambulance would be coming soon.

I returned to crouch next to Granma and took her hand. She slurred something unintelligible that I failed to understand. “They’re coming.” I squeezed her hand.

She grumbled. It sounded like a mangled animal. I blinked to keep the tears from falling, but that only made them fall harder.

“Itsfine,” she slurred. Her hand twitched in mine.

It didn’t seem fine.

Last time she had ended up in hospital, it hadn’t been fine. Three weeks after I turned eight, and the world had turned upside down. I fought off the gnawing helplessness and tried to cling to positive thoughts. It would be alright.

Granma would be alright.

She didn’t really have a choice. She had her dramas waiting for her, Christmas was a few months away—Granma loved Christmas, all those sales and store decorations hyped her up—and I was going to graduate from high school.

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NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Aduma is an economics major at the University of Nairobi in Kenya, and the type of person who feels incomplete without a book in hand. When not reading or writing, Aduma can be found lost in spreadsheets and graphs with music for company. Follow A. on Twitter.

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New Release: Repeat Offender by Lani Lynn Vale #RomanticSuspense @LaniLynnVale @alyssamg89

Repeat Offender

Souls Chapel Revenants MC Book 1

Lani Lynn Vale

Release Date: January 12, 2021

About the Book

Lynnwood Thatcher Windsor has lived a lot of lies. Seen a lot of good men go down.

But he will not stand by and watch as the world he’s built from the ground up burns to ashes before his eyes. Even if he has to build an army to combat the problem he sees brewing around him.

One step at a time, he carefully lays out his plan, building layer after careful layer until everything is where he wants it to be.

Every part is impeccably played, his pawns are in the perfect place, and then she barrels into his life, totally scattering every single piece he’s set in motion.

The bad thing is, she doesn’t even realize how badly she’s messed up until she’s roused the beast.

***

The day that Six Ines Broussard met Lynnwood Thatcher Windsor was the worst day of her life.

First, she has a public breakup with a man she’s not even dating. Second, she has to deal with a black-tie event that she’d rather gouge her eyes out than to go to. Third, she then has to sit at a table for hours on end with the one man she despises.

Just wanting a break, she thinks she’ll lose herself for a few hours and do what she loves to do best—spend time by herself and go for a walk in the middle of nowhere, spot some birds, and get a little sun. Only, her day doesn’t go nearly as planned.

She walks right into the middle of hell. And at the center of it? Lynnwood Thatcher. The mayor. The man that she took one glance at on the night of his inauguration and dismissed as boring. A total stick in the mud.

Only, he’s not so boring shirtless, in the middle of nowhere, doing things that are very illegal.

At first, she’s appalled. Then her interest gets piqued. Stuck-up suit is hot! And he has tattoos. Oh, and let’s not forget one hell of a mouth on him!

Then he goes and kidnaps her, and she realizes that nobody is quite as hot as you thought they were when they’re now holding you hostage.

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MY REVIEW – 5 STARS!

With every new release, I say I have a new favorite. But Lynn’s book? Just wow! I’ll be re-reading this one multiple times.

While the book does have intrigue like all Lani Lynn Vale books, this one seemed lighter and more focused on their relationship. It wasn’t a bad thing. The main conflict is left unresolved, but the story didn’t feel unfinished. You still get a happily-ever-after, the super hot sex, and alpha male yumminess.

Six was feisty, unique, and a truly awesome main character. Despite the age difference, she was perfect for Lynn. Their interactions are what made the book truly amazing.

And Lynnwood… (sigh) best book hero ever! All alpha, and a true badass. Despite his skills at interrogation and torture, when it came to Six, Laric, and Bruno we got to see the gentler side of him. He was the perfect mix of kind and deadly to make him a swoon worthy hero.

I can’t wait to read the next book. Ms. Vale’s writing just seems to get even better with every book.

*I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

About Lani Lynn Vale

Lani Lynn Vale is a Wall Street Journal & USA Today Bestselling Author of over thirty titles. She is married with three children, two dogs, two cats, a donkey, and a couple (a couple also meaning over twenty) chickens.

When she’s not writing, you can find her curled up in her favorite chair reading.

Lani is married with three children and lives in the Great State of Texas.

Website: http://www.lanilynnvale.com/

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