Release Blitz: Bayou Dreaming by Lexi Blake #ContemporaryRomance @authorlexiblake

The town bad boy might just be the man of her dreams.

Bayou Dreaming, an all-new heartfelt romance from New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake is available now!

New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake’s heartfelt contemporary romance set in Louisiana’s Butterfly Bayou

Roxanne King left the big city looking for a simpler life, but after years of proving herself on a SWAT team in New York City, being deputy in a sleepy Louisiana parish is something of an adjustment. She’s settling in, but she knows she made some mistakes in the beginning–Zep Guidry being the worst of them. Zep drifts through life on his looks and Cajun charm. Roxie learned the hard way he’s not for her.

Zep is a man who knows what he wants, and what he wants is Roxie. He’s just not sure how to get her. They spent one hot night together a year before and now all the lovely deputy seems interested in doing to him is arresting him. He’s not used to a woman he can’t charm, but Roxie seems immune. He’s determined to win her back by any means necessary. Including becoming the kind of man she desires.

And when Roxie’s past comes calling, it might be the opportunity Zep needs to show Roxie that the town bad boy might just be the man of her dreams.

Download your copy today!
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About Lexi Blake


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband, three kids, and the laziest rescue dog in the world. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance that she found success. She likes to find humor in the strangest places. Lexi believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome or foursome may seem.

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Website: http://www.lexiblake.net/

Dealing with David by Katriena Knights #contemporaryromance @crazywritinfool

After a painful marriage and an even more difficult breakup, Antonytte Mullin has sworn off men. Even her best friend’s “re-wedding” isn’t enough to spark romantic urges in Tony’s broken heart. Until she sees…him.

David Peterson mooned over Tony all through high school, but she never gave him the time of day. Now he’s back, at their mutual friend’s renewal of wedding vows, and with a successful career under his belt, he’s ready for revenge. But when he sees Tony, revenge is the last thing on his mind.

When they’re snowed in together, they get the chance to discover if bruised and broken hearts really can mend.

Previously published by Samhain Publishing

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EXCERPT

Not for the first time, Tony Mullin wondered why in the world she had agreed to stand up in Jim and Julia Richie’s second wedding. Looking at herself in the mirror in the dark blue velvet medieval monstrosity of a dress, she couldn’t really come up with an answer.

Except that Julia was her best friend, had been since forever, and renewing her vows on her tenth anniversary meant the world to her. Plus—and Tony was hesitant to admit the additional motivation even to herself—a good portion of her high school graduating class was going to be there, as well as Julia’s other friends and family. None of Tony’s fellow classmates had seen her since not long after graduation. Truth to tell, Tony had something to prove.

With a sigh, Tony adjusted the tall, pointy hat over her sleekly upswept hair and pinned it in place, adjusting the gauzy blue veils around her face. A collection of dark blonde strands refused to stay in place, falling in less than artful disarray around her face. She looked ridiculous.

The fabric was wonderful, though. Tony slid her hand down the sensuous softness of the velvet and imagined once again the suit it would become once the ceremony was over—Tony’s own version of a designer suit she’d seen in a fashion magazine. It was one of the reasons she’d finally agreed to participate, especially when Julia had offered to foot the bill.

The dippy hat seemed to sit a bit too low on her forehead. Tony loosened a few pins and readjusted it. It hadn’t seemed right, letting Julia buy the dress. But Julia had insisted.

“It’s not a wedding wedding, after all,” she’d argued. “We’re just renewing our vows.”

Tony had just shaken her head, knowing she was about to agree to whatever Julia asked, as much to get her hands on that rich, blue velvet as anything else. “I still can’t believe you convinced Jim to wear tights.”

Julia and Jim’s first wedding had been a simple affair, with a Justice of the Peace presiding and Tony and her then-husband Rudy James serving as witnesses. But Julia had always wanted a big to-do with the wedding party in medieval garb, and that was what she was about to get. The participants were the same—Julia as bride, Jim as groom and Tony as the lone bridesmaid—but the setting looked like something out of a bad Robin Hood movie.

“More like Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” Tony muttered. She stepped out to meet the crowd.

Not for the first time, David Peterson wondered why he’d been invited to Julia and Jim Richie’s second wedding.

Apparently, he wasn’t the only guest with the same question. Except the curious gazes that followed him as he walked up the aisle asked not, “What is he doing here?” but “Who is he?”

David muffled a smile as he sat down. He had most of a pew to himself. The guest list appeared to consist of his and Julia’s entire graduating class, but that had only been about fifty people. Maybe thirty-five of them were here now, sprinkled among faces he didn’t recognize who were probably Julia’s family. Many of their classmates had moved out of state after graduation. David had planned never to see them again. He wanted to see them now, though. Wanted them to see his success. Petty, he knew, but somewhere inside, he was still the nerdy teenager who’d taken the brunt of far too much harassment. He wasn’t proud of it, but there it was.

He smoothed his Star Wars tie, straightened his Armani suit jacket and picked up his program. As he glanced over the order of the ceremony, his heart did a strange little flip, and suddenly, he understood why the universe had conspired to put him in the same room with the people who’d ruined his teenage years.

Julia’s single bridesmaid was Antonytte Mullin.

Mullin. Not James. Mullin.

And David knew he had fallen into the hands of Fate. The question was, what would he do now he was there?

ABOUT KATRIENA KNIGHTS

Katriena Knights wrote her first poem when she was three years old and had to dictate it to her mother under the bathroom door (her timing has never been very good). Now she’s the author of several paranormal and contemporary romances. She recently moved from the mountains of Colorado to Urbana, Illinois, where she lives in a house that’s almost a hundred years old with her daughter and a variety of animals. So far, the house appears not to be haunted.

Author’s Website | Twitter

Release Blitz: Catch a Falling Snowflake by Ava Kelly #LGBTQ #holidayromance @ThunderEternal

Title: Catch a Falling Snowflake

Series: Snow Globes, Book Four

Author: Ava Kelly

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: November 23, 2020

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male, Female/Female

Length: 18700

Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, contemporary, gay, pansexual, transgender, lesbian, intercultural, holiday/Christmas, established couples, children, grieving, family, holiday traditions, foster care

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Synopsis

The previous winter, Leon followed his twin sister Sara to a new town where she could be with her partner, Amber. There, Leon’s boyfriend Nick, friends Jeff and Daniel, and their nine-year-old daughter Abby, swiftly swept him up into their lives, a newfound family.

After a year of growing their relationship, Leon is ready to take it to the next level. Nick, however, has been stalling. When Ben, Abby’s best friend, is suddenly abandoned, Leon is excited to finally care for the children he’s always wanted. Haunted by the mistakes of his past, Nick attempts to reconcile his feelings of inadequacy as a parent with Leon’s wishes.

Against the backdrop of winter holidays filled with traditions from around the world, it is up to Leon to decide if he’s willing to stand by Nick, or if he should find his happiness elsewhere.

Catch a Falling Snowflake, the fourth story in the Snow Globes holiday series, can be read as a stand-alone, but greater enjoyment will come with reading about these characters in the order written.

Excerpt

Catch a Falling Snowflake
Ava Kelly © 2020
All Rights Reserved

The community center was quiet for a Thursday. With vacation and beckoning winter celebrations a day away, Nick expected the ebb of youthful visitors to slow down. Besides, early afternoon was always the calmest, no matter the day. Perhaps that was why he’d chosen this particular time for the support group. Sure, it served those who worked nights, unlike most of the other meetings usually held in the evenings, but Dr. Mahler had had a few requests to organize one during the day, and that was where Nick came in.

He’d been back in his hometown for two years, and soon after settling in, he’d started attending one of the grief support groups. Not that his loss was still fresh, not after years, but as a check-in with himself. As an example for others that, yes, survival was possible. He’d made friends with the local therapist; she was supportive, and he’d booked a session or two when he needed an objective ear. He was doing well.

With a smile to himself, Nick checked on the coffee thermos on the side table, then made sure the heaters underneath the windows of the meeting room were turned on. Outside, snow fell in sparse flakes. Not enough to settle and disrupt activity, but enough to give the air that chilling bite of winter.

Beyond the hills on which the town stretched, the mountains rose toward the gray sky, covered in thick pine forests. He’d missed the view. Missed the people, the smells, the buildings.

He was back to stay. No matter what happened, he wouldn’t leave again. He’d made sure to have some safety nets this time around, just in case. Volunteering for the center, for one, running this group for another, and Dr. Mahler, whom Nick had grown to trust after two years.

Nothing, however, was more important than the people in his life.

Footsteps and voices from the corridor pulled Nick from his musings. He turned to greet the two people walking in, and then another, and another, until six strangers sat in the circle of folding chairs, staring at him. Nick cleared his throat.

“I guess we should start,” he said. “Hello, everyone. My name is Nick, and I’ll be your group leader here. I’d like to remind you that this is not a therapy session, but only a space to talk. If you feel like you need more, Dr. Mahler is here.”

He gestured then, to the side, where a small office was nestled behind glass windows, door closed. The doc waved at them from her desk, legs kicked up casually onto it, crossed at the ankles, an open book in her hand. She grinned and gave them all a thumbs-up.

Around Nick, a couple of people nodded, someone waved back, and the youth with their nose in the collar of their hoodie snorted. Nick made a mental note to check later on their age.

“Doc will be here until tonight, so if you wanna sneak back after we’re finished…”

That, at least, earned him some chuckles. Nick tried not to read too much into it. He’d been to meetings full of strangers before. This would be no different. Determination reinforced, he took a deep breath.

“We’re here to talk, but don’t feel like you have to. You can just listen, if that works. But I’d like to remind everyone to be mindful and respect the privacy of these meetings.”

All nodded, and Nick copied the gesture with a thank-you.

“Has anyone been to one of these meetings before?”

Headshakes and muttered noes.

“Well.” Nick shifted. “We talk about those we’ve lost. We talk about us. The weather. Sports. Music. That movie last week with all the sword fighting.”

“And blatant disregard for proper archery,” a woman said.

“That too.”

“Does it help?”

Heads swiveled to the person in the hoodie.

“It can,” Nick said. “Sometimes it helps to just be around people who’ve been through similar things. Not everyone processes in the same way, though, so it might not be as useful.”

“Have you— Did—” Hoodie shook themself into silence, and Nick nodded anyway.

“I’ve been there. Actually, this week marks a sort of anniversary for me, so I wanted to start by telling you my story if you’d like to hear it.”

That got him their attention. Curiosity and wariness, too, but it was to be expected. First time could be scary, especially under the strain of mourning. Nick remembered with clarity his first visit to an informal support group. His first group session, though, was hazy around the edges. He leaned forward, elbows on knees, and clasped his hands together.

“I was born here. With the exception of college, I’ve lived here for twenty-six years. I had a wife and a best friend and a baby on the way.”

He’d had Lauren and Jeff, twins he’d known since childhood. Through shenanigans and quiet moments and major decisions, they’d always been there. Nick and Lauren had gotten married right after college, and four years later—

“My wife died during childbirth. I watched it happen, and it’s not an image I can ever unsee. It broke me enough that my immediate thoughts were harmful toward myself and the baby. A girl. Innocent and frail, and not at fault at all. I left before I even held her once, and then spent the next seven years healing. Wasn’t pretty. Hurt a lot.”

Nick swallowed and shifted, pausing to collect his thoughts.

“What happened to her?” Hoodie asked.

“My wife’s twin brother adopted her. He was also my best friend.”

Not anymore. Jeff had a new bestie. When Nick first met Amber, he hadn’t paid much attention. It had been a brief interaction as it was, two years back, when she’d provided a ride to Jeff’s place. Amber was tall and sometimes moved like she wanted to make herself smaller. Less visible. Quiet too. Later, Nick learned she kept most people at a distance. Not in any way that might’ve been rude or hostile, but more along the lines of hiding behind a hard, thick shell. Kinda like Nick used to be, way back.

A deep breath.

“I hurt both him and the kid,” Nick continued, “because I stayed away for a long time. No contact whatsoever.”

“You suck,” Hoodie commented, but Nick fully agreed.

“Yes. Grief can make us hurt others, even when we don’t want to. It’s not excusable, though it can be explainable. Still, being mindful of those I loved was a hard-learned lesson for me.”

“But now you’re back.”

Nick nodded. “We’re working on me making up for it.”

“How?” The question came from the side, a woman with a drawn face, hugging her middle with both arms. Nick recognized that look. Guilt.

“I returned two years ago,” Nick said. “Found my friend and the kid happy. There was even a second parent involved—my friend’s life partner. Instead of being reasonable, I blew it by being an ass to them. Said mean things, made threats. Friend’s partner made me see logic. I’m grateful for him being there. They got married this summer.”

He offered a quick grin, blinking back the sting behind his eyes. Daniel was someone Nick respected through and through. He was good for Jeff and Abby.

“I don’t understand why they forgave me for being such an ass, but they did. As for my long absence… That’s the part with more serious repercussions and has been a lot harder to work through. Friend is letting me though. He’s willing, but I had to take the first step. Say that first apology—” He looked at the woman who’d asked directly. “—and not expect it to be accepted.”

“Harsh.”

“Yes, but we make mistakes, and we must bear the consequences. The best we can do after hurting others is to allow them the space they need, and understand if they can’t forgive.” With a long exhale, Nick straightened. “It’s not that grim. Sure, in the wake of what you—we’ve all been through, it might seem that what comes ahead is insurmountable. Sometimes it is, in which case you either dig through or go around, or choose a whole different path. It might also be a long, drawn-out, tiresome battle. Grief is not easy. But it’s survivable.”

And that was the whole point. That was why Nick was there, opening himself up over and over again.

“My journey is in a good place right now. I’m an uncle for the kid, her parents are my friends, and hey, I even have a boyfriend. Accidental acquisition, it was very rom-com.”

Faces perked up with undisguised interest, and Nick offered them a small smile. He got it. After Lauren, when the pain had still been so fresh he could taste it, he’d latched on to happy tales as distractions on the good days. On the bad ones, not so much. Looking around the room, it seemed his current audience wanted to hear this part of his story.

The previous year, they’d spent part of the holidays on a training retreat with Abby’s elementary school chess club, along with other third graders from all around. Daniel and Amber had chaperoned, with Nick and Jeff trailing along.

“Last winter vacation we went to this resort in the Alps. It involved a lot of children, chess, and snow—more like yelling on the slopes, actually—but it was fun. First time I met him, he threw line after line of quips while I stood there, all coherence gone. In retrospect, I should’ve realized it, but you know”—he gestured—“I was unaccustomed to someone catching my interest so suddenly.”

Nick had replayed that particular moment in his head over and over again. Leon smirking, stupid green hat over curls poking out in tiny swirls at his temples.

“And then we found out we had to share a room. You’ll never guess—”

“There was only one bed,” said Hoodie with a groan.

“Yep! We had a connection during that short vacation, but we parted ways, and I thought that would be that. Only, after I’d gotten home, I figured I didn’t want it to end. I had no idea he was coming here for New Year’s, so on December 31st, he found me in the park, brooding over lost chances.”

A few half smiles twitched around the room. Hoodie gave a thumbs-up.

“So your anniversary is coming up,” an old man to the left commented.

“Indeed. Speaking of, friend and partner’s anniversary is on the thirtieth. Seems to be a trend with us.”

Not to mention Sara and Amber had gotten together around Christmas, too, as far as Nick could tell, but those two had several anniversaries they celebrated during the year, and Nick was unclear on which was what.

The old man nodded pensively. “Martha and I, we had it on Halloween. We celebrated the day before and the day after. She said we couldn’t let candy steal all our fun, though she loved giving it out.”

With that, the others started pitching in, and Nick gave himself an inner pat on the back.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read Universal Link

Meet the Author

Ava Kelly is an engineer with a deep passion for stories. Whether reading, watching, or writing them, Ava has always been surrounded by tales of all genres. Their goal is to bring more stories to life, especially those of friendship and compassion, those dedicated to trope subversion, those that give the void a voice, and those that spawn worlds of their own.

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Release Blitz: Liquid Courage by Stephanie Shea #LGBTQ #ContemporaryRomance @Stephan98794910 @GoIndiMarketing

Title: Liquid Courage

Author: Stephanie Shea

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: November 23, 2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 85800

Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, contemporary, new-adult, coming out, college, dark, friends to lovers, soulmates, slow burn/UST

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Synopsis

Alexandria Van Kirk has always been a slave to her romantic nature. When a night of liquid courage lands her in bed with one of her best friends, Alex is confronted by a host of feelings that terrify her. Feelings about her friend and, unexpectedly, a barista from her favorite café.

It’s a tug of war between heart and body. Desire against all her daydreams of someone to share silence, sunsets, and coffee with.

But Alex’s past is also about to catch up with her. Tortured memories and the girl they’re all about. It’s like fighting the pull of a whirlwind. A surefire losing battle. But embracing a newfound romance amid the return of an old flame is a precarious balance, one not even Alex herself is sure she can manage.

How the hell does she choose between the girl she loves and the one she could never confess loving to begin with?

Excerpt

Liquid Courage
Stephanie Shea © 2020
All Rights Reserved

It had been brewing for weeks.

No.

Months.

Alex supposed it didn’t matter how long. Tensions between her and Ryan had reached a boiling point. Her body thrummed with quiet unease as vodka scorched down her throat and seeped through her veins. She shouldn’t have been drinking this much. What had she eaten? A few chips and maybe half a dozen gummy bears? No wonder the liquor had gone to her head so fast. It was sort of a nice buzz though—enough for her to feel a little less inhibited but still be aware the creepy guy she’d met earlier had been trying to talk her into a dark corner for the last ten minutes.

She leaned against the doorframe, gaze weaving through the mass of sweaty bodies dancing in the living room to land on Ryan.

Ryan tossed her head back in a laugh, grinding on some random guy who was more than happy to have his hands all over her. Her red, ruched dress rode up her thighs with every move. She flipped her jet-black hair and swept it all to one shoulder as her eyes landed on Alex, a smirk lingering on her lips.

Alex’s skin prickled with sweat.

Maybe it wasn’t the vodka.

Maybe it was the fact that Dom had crammed more than fifty people into a house meant to accommodate three for the riot he called a birthday party. God knows Alex didn’t go to these things for fun, but Dom was her oldest friend. She loved him way too much to not show up for his birthday, even if she was as close as any technology-obsessed millennial to becoming a hermit.

The guy—what did say his name was?—leaned closer, pulling her attention to his gangly, unattractive form. “So, do you want to maybe take a walk down to the park?” He stared at her expectantly, sweaty red strands of hair clinging to his forehead. As if she was going to be lured into the park at midnight to be groped by some guy who resembled a ’90s crackhead.

“Do you know what Einstein’s definition of insanity is?” she asked.

“No. But being this close to you definitely drives me crazy.”

Alex rolled her eyes, pushing him out of her personal space. A spot to herself to wait out the night. That’s all she needed. The one she’d been standing in had been perfect. Until now. Her gaze flittered across the room where Ryan had been dancing only to land on strange faces. “Damn it.” She started forward and bumped her way through the teeming living room toward the kitchen.

Nothing.

Doubling back, she tried scanning every five-feet-something girl who had dark hair. It hadn’t occurred to her before how many girls fit the criteria. Still, it would only take seconds to process that this girl’s hair was a few shades too light; that one’s skin wasn’t pale enough. Another was wearing a nearly identical dress, but the arch of her back didn’t seem quite right. Ry had a bigger ass.

Alex halted at the sight of Ryan sitting hunched over in a loveseat across the living room. She pushed her way through the dancefloor. “Ry?” Alex tilted her head slightly. “What’s wrong?”

Ryan peered up, eyes glossy and gleaming as she grinned at Alex. “Nothing.” Her head fell to her lap again.

Alex drew her brows together. Nothing really appeared to be wrong with Ry besides her being a little tipsy and possibly playing an adult version of peek-a-boo. She slid into the free space on the couch and shifted at the press of Ryan’s thighs against hers. Proximity wouldn’t do much to resolve her internal conflict. It sure didn’t soothe the thought that even sitting there with this thing between them still simmering was a terrible idea. She forced it down. “Tell me what’s wrong.”

“I told you. It’s nothing.”

“Ry…come on.” Alex nudged her, pressing her forehead to the side of Ryan’s face to provoke her into lifting her head again.

“I got a little light-headed. I’m better now.”

“Promise?”

Ryan turned her head, her lips brushing against Alex’s. “Promise.”

Alex’s breath caught, her pulse climbing. The heat… It wasn’t the vodka or the party being too crowded. It was them. A million red lights went off in her head. Ryan was one of her best friends. Risking that would be stupid and impulsive, and they’d both had too much to drink.

Ry dragged in a deep breath, and their lips brushed again, and Alex’s hesitance burst into spectrums of green. She leaned forward, taking Ryan’s lips in a gentle kiss. Slow, timid almost, as if they were both afraid to react too much. To react more than the other.

Was it good or bad that Ryan had kissed her back? Even with all the weird tension between them, she’d never imagined how acting on it would feel. Some lines weren’t meant to be crossed. Now that she had, she craved more of Ryan’s lips on hers—soft and yielding.

They jerked apart as a girl bumped into them, spilling the last few drops of her drink onto Ryan’s lap. The girl giggled and offered a barely coherent “Sorry” as she stumbled away.

Ryan stood, Alex following as Ryan weaved her way through the crowd almost aggressively, forcing people out of the way with her hands to clear a path.

“Ry!” The music smothered Alex’s attempt.

Ryan rounded the corner at the end of the hallway leading out of the living room.

Alex quickened her steps. As she rounded the bend too, she noticed Dom’s bedroom door had been opened. She took a tentative step inside. “Ry? Are you in her—”

The door slammed, and Alex turned. Ryan backed into it with a thud, pulling Alex against her, their lips pressed against each others. Alex’s hands found Ryan’s hips, and she squeezed. Everything from her grip to the way her teeth latched onto Ryan’s bottom lip was a confession. There’d be no stopping now. Not unless Ryan came to her senses and pulled away. Deep down, Alex was pleading for that to happen before things went too far, before their bodies admitted every word their lips refused to speak.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read Universal Link

Meet the Author

Stephanie Shea is a self-proclaimed introvert, who spends her days as a banker daydreaming of becoming a full-time novelist. Her mind’s fixation on characters and plotlines date back to high school when she’d find herself scribbling notes on her first novel instead of paying attention in calculus. These days, she reaches for a Post-It in her desk when inspiration strikes.

Her favorite things include binging tv shows, creating worlds where no character is too queer, broken or sensitive, and snacks. Lots of snacks.

Someday, she hopes to curb her road rage, and get past her anxiety over social media and author bios. Find her on Instagram.

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Book Blitz: Igniting Love by Sara Ohlin #ContemporaryRomance @SaraOhlin222

Igniting Love
Sara Ohlin
(Rescue Me Series, #2)
Publication date: November 17th 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

When an embittered artist crosses paths with a young widow, the heat is on…

When personal chef and single mom Katie Walsh jumps back into the dating game, Leo Treversini’s gaze in the doorway of a local bar lights up her whole body. Bumping into him a week later, Kate thinks fate is calling—until Leo’s bitter words hit her like a punch to the gut.

Recently returned to the up-and-coming Corvallis neighborhood, metal artist and loner Leo feels the beautiful power of Katie’s eyes like the flame from his torch, but discovering his muse is married and the young mother of three daughters cuts him to the quick.

Except…Katie is widowed, which means she’s free to love again—if she can trust a man with her heart and her most precious gifts, her daughters. As Leo is free to love her, if he can overcome a past betrayal and believe in Katie’s love. Add in the meddling community, Katie’s family and teenage internet crime and it’s going to be far from easy…or even likely.

Katie’s love might be just the balm Leo’s wounded heart needs, but will he have the courage to face his crushing past to accept it?

Can the artist with the wounded heart love his muse?

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EXCERPT:

He was so fierce and striking, almost a mirage as the heat swirled around him, and something pulled her to him, almost as it pushed her away. Fire, flame and heat and it was all consuming and not enough at the same time. She dragged her arm up and pushed her hair back off her neck. Gosh I’m hot! Is the entire fricking sky the sun? It’s relentless. “Um.” She smiled because for some reason her body whispered ancient words, You know him.

She wanted to run her hands all over him. See if he felt as beautiful as he looked. Oh my God. She smacked her hand over her eyes. She was having a conversation with herself and she wasn’t sure how many selves were involved. Her brain was trying to talk her down from the cliff of ridiculousness, but her soul was electrified for the first time ever. Or was it woozy, icky and hot? I don’t feel so good.

“It’s hot out.” Wow, she was such a stellar linguist. But she didn’t dwell on how stupid she sounded, because his eyes blazed over her, like he wanted to devour her, but would hate every second of it. He is angry. The veil was back from the other night, and not a hint of a smile graced his beautiful face…more like scorn. His weird demeanor was one more thing she could add to the crazy list of things happening at the moment. She liked lists. Car in ruins, check. Feel like I might faint, check. Sweating like pig, check. Beautiful mystery man I can’t stop dreaming about from the bar Friday night glaring at me, check. She unstuck herself from her car and tried to communicate even while her thoughts tornadoed together.

“I need a mechanic,” she said, taking a step toward him. She wanted to be closer. “My uh…” She gestured to her van. “I think my starter’s having a tantrum again.” She wiped the sweat off her forehead. Not one single muscle moved in his body. He waited, his arms tight across his chest. She couldn’t even tell if he’d heard her. “Can you, uh, are you… Do you work for Matt?”

“Nope.” That one word, again. She wasn’t sure whether to feel lucky, relieved or insulted. Why did she feel such burning around him? And why did he glare at her like he hated her?

“Did I, um, do something?” she asked. Lordy her tongue was like sludge.

He pulled a water bottle out of his back pocket and guzzled some down. Oh, cold water. “We’re booked up. You’ll have to take your infidelity and your piece-of-shit car somewhere else.” And with his final punch thrown, he tossed the empty water bottle in the dumpster, turned and walked away.

“What?” she whispered. Standing there boiling under the sweltering day on asphalt so hot it even smelled like fresh tar, with sweat sticking her curls to her cheek and forehead, his words hit her like a lance. A hidden thorn from the most beautiful rosebush. Unexpected pain.

My Review: 4 stars

Grumpy artist meets quirky single mom in this cute yet steamy romance.

Our first few glimpses of Leo show us an angsty, brooding man who has the soul of an artist and the outward appearance of a bear. I loved him at once. Having lived with a moody artist, I wanted to smack Leo upside the head when he’d jump to conclusions without giving Katie a chance to explain, but overall he was a sweet, thoughtful, smart man and perfect for Katie.

Katie might be a tough single mom, but like most moms she’s put herself last for so long she’s not sure she’s allowed to grab hold of a new relationship with Leo. She’s smart and determined, and her love for her daughters is inspiring.

Seeing the heat between these two, as well as their family moments with the girls, made this a sweet story that kept me smiling. If you want a romance with insta-love, lots of heat, and a big bear of a man with a gentle touch, you can’t go wrong with Igniting Love… but be warned, Katie’s youngest, little CeCe will steal your heart. That girl is too adorable for words.

*I received an ARC of Igniting Love. The review above is my honest opinion.

Author Bio:

Puget Sound based writer, Sara Ohlin is a mom, wannabe photographer, obsessive reader, ridiculous foodie, and the author of the contemporary romance novels, Handling the Rancher, Salvaging Love, Seducing the Dragonfly and Igniting Love.

She has over fifteen years of creative non-fiction and memoir writing experience, and you can find her essays at Anderbo.com, Feminine Collective, Mothers Always Write, Her View from Home, and in anthologies such as Are We Feeling Better Yet? Women Speak about Healthcare in America, Take Care: Tales, Tips, & Love from Women Caregivers, and Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Although she’s the author of many essays about life, grief, motherhood and the connections we make through delicious food and shared meals, Sara loves creating imaginary worlds with tight-knit communities in her romance novels. She credits her mother, Mary, Nora Roberts and Rosamunde Pilcher for her love of romance.

If she’s not reading or writing, you will most likely find her in the kitchen creating scrumptious meals with her two kids and amazing husband, or perhaps cooking up her next love story.
She once met a person who both “didn’t read books” and wasn’t “that into food” and it nearly broke her heart.

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Book Review: To Be Your Only by Rae Kennedy #NewAdult #NetGalley #bookreview

I’ve been in love with Wes since I was in braces. Him—not so much. But this is the summer I’m finally going to get him to notice me. And fall madly in love with me so we can live happily ever after, obviously.

Unfortunately, my best friend and partner-in-crime decided to run off for the summer, so I’m stuck with her annoying older brother, Eric, as my wingman.

Did I mention he’s annoying? This would be much easier if I weren’t constantly rolling my eyes at his sarcastic remarks or wishing I could wipe that little smirk off his face.

Want to know the most aggravating part? Now that things are finally starting to go my way with Wes, I can’t stop thinking about Eric and his dumb mouth.

This is can be read and enjoyed as a standalone novel.

Add to your Goodreads

MY REVIEW:

New Adult romances generally have a lot of steam, and this one was no exception. Kyla and Eric were heating up the pages!

I wouldn’t necessarily call this book a friends-to-lovers story. It’s clear in the beginning Kyla is annoyed by Eric, and it’s not until her best friend, Eric’s sister, leaves that decides to make Eric her “wingman” while she tries to win her long-time crush, Wes. The banter between Kyla and Eric is reason enough to like this book. They were cute together, and funny. I honestly couldn’t understand what she saw in Wes other than looks. He came across as not having much of a personality.

If you like goofy guys who are sweet, then Eric is your perfect hero. I generally prefer more of an alpha type of hero, but there’s a lot to be said for a sweet guy with a sense of humor. He’s different from your typical romance book boyfriend because he doesn’t pursue Kyla. He comes across as shy and a bit insecure at times. Instead of fighting for her, or tossing her over his shoulder caveman style, he decides to help her win Wes — even though it’s clear it pains him to think of the two of them together. You’ll find yourself rooting for him to get the girl.

Kyla was a force of nature. She has a loud, vibrant personality with a heavy dose of immaturity. There were plenty of times I wanted to yell at her, but about 1/3 of the way through the book, she came across a little less juvenile. In the end, I think it was her fear of not being good enough, not being wanted, that drove her to act the way she did. I particularly enjoyed the scenes of her with her grandfather. It gave her character more depth and made her less superficial.

This would have been a four to five-star read for me, but the first four or so chapters didn’t read as smoothly as the rest. It took me a bit to really get into the story and have that “I need to know what happens” feeling. There were a few scenes that were just too unbelievable. While there are lots of super hot scenes, once she admits she had feelings for Eric, their romance is such a mix of emotions it’s a bit of a rollercoaster right. Just when it seems everything is working out, the book comes to what felt like a rather abrupt ending. I kept trying to turn the page on my e-reader, thinking there would be at least a little more. The end scene seems more focused on Eric’s sister and on Wes’s budding romance with a waitress.

Overall, it was an enjoyable book and I was so glad Eric and Kyla got their happily-ever-after. — 3.5 stars!

*Disclaimer: I received an ARC from NetGalley. The review above is my honest opinion.

New Release: Nobody Knows by Lani Lynn Vale #ContemporaryRomance #bookreview @LaniLynnVale

Nobody Knows

Lani Lynn Vale

Release Date: November 10, 2020

About the Book

All he ever wanted was to matter to someone.

What he didn’t know was that he did matter to someone.

Someone that worried about him every single day that he was gone.

***

Malachi Gabriel Gnocchi was missing for two years. Thanks to a mission gone wrong, not only had he been captured, but his best friend along with his fellow teammates had been taken, too.

He spent two years in hell, hoping and praying that one day he’d get to go home.

And one day he does. Only, he isn’t the same person that left. Every single thing that made him Malachi is no more.

***

Sierra started writing to soldiers overseas through the soldier pen pal program when she was in high school. Years later, she had no idea that the one soldier that she’d been paired up with in the very beginning would be the one man that would change her world eight years down the road.

When the letters from her soldier stopped, she knew that something bad had happened.

When they started back up again two years after the last letter, she thought that someone was playing a joke on her.

Only, that joke wasn’t a joke at all.

The man on the other end of those letters is a man that’s dying slowly from the inside out.

He’s a living, breathing, mess and there’s only one thing she can do to help him.

Write him back and hope that she can bring him back from the edge.

Purchase Links

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2IQ7pSB
Amazon Intl.: https://geni.us/unfq

Apple: https://apple.co/2IX03wV
Nook: https://bit.ly/31upX1m
Kobo: https://bit.ly/35pGB38

Goodreads: https://bit.ly/2Tg1usc

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/

Facebook: https://bit.ly/LLV-fb

Instagram: https://bit.ly/LLV-IG

Twitter: https://bit.ly/LLV-twitter

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/LLVgoodreads

BookBub: http://bit.ly/LLVbb

MY REVIEW

5-stars!

Every time I think Lani Lynn Vale can’t write a better book than the last, she proves me wrong. Nobody Knows has quickly moved into the #1 slot on my favorites list.

Malachi has been such a mystery. While Ms. Vale doesn’t go into detail of all that he suffered while he was a POW, she gives us just enough to understand his mindset and appreciate even more his connection with Sierra. He’s all alpha, but not without his own weaknesses that make him human. I adored his character and loved getting a better look at who he really is instead of the quick glances we’ve had in the past.

Sierra is the perfect contradiction of strong yet soft. When it comes to her family, she’s often done what she felt was best for them. Even if it means lying about her boyfriend. But seeing her take a stand, do what she feels is right for her, and sticking to it even when her family seems to turn their backs on her made me want to cheer her on!

Malachi and Sierra have off the charts chemistry, but their relationship is so much more. This was a perfect friends-to-lovers tale with all the gooey moments that make you smile. As is typical of any Lani Lynn Vale book, you don’t just get romance. Be prepared for lots of drama!

With enemies coming from both sides, Malachi and Sierra need each other more than ever. I flipped the pages, devouring every word, anxious to see what happened next — only to be deeply saddened when the book came to an end (because I wanted more!).

Well done, Ms. Vale! You’ve written another winner! I can’t wait to read the next book.

*Disclaimer: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. The review above is only my opinion.

Cover Reveal: Beautiful Facade by Kathryn S Rose #NewAdult @XpressoTours

Beautiful Facade
Kathryn S Rose
Publication date: February 2021
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

On the day that 16-year-old Winter Starling had her life and dreams shattered by a sexual assault, she meets Kai, a boy from her high school obsessed with music. They develop a deep friendship, which comes to an abrupt end when Kai unexpectedly has to leave. Winter has no idea why he went or any way to contact him.

Ten years pass, and Winter has constructed a new reality for herself. Now living in Melbourne, she has a successful career in advertising and is engaged to Liam King, a star player in Australian Rules Football. Winter has a perfect life.

During a night out, Winter runs into Kai, now the lead singer of ‘The Stonevilles.’ Winter and Kai rekindle their friendship, and to everyone around them, their attraction is evident. With Kai back in her life, Winter’s past threatens to ruin her relationship with Liam and everything she has worked to achieve. But can she risk losing Kai a second time?

Emotional and edgy, Beautiful Facade is about love, loss, healing, self-discovery, and the messy battle between one’s head and one’s heart.

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Author Bio:

Kathryn S Rose is a mum, wife, reader, writer, traveller, and food enthusiast. Writing a book was always on her bucket list, and finally, with Beautiful Facade, it has come into fruition.

Kathryn is interested in the study of human behaviour and obtained a Bachelor of Social Science, with a focus on Community studies and Welfare Work.

Since completing her studies, she has worked in several jobs, which have enhanced her understanding of social issues, human development, relationships, and lifestyle. Some of these insights are reflected in her writing and give her inspiration.

Besides books, Kathryn has many other loves. She enjoys listening to live music, relaxing at the beach, embarking on random hiking adventures, and indulging in too much food and wine with family and friends.

When Kathryn and her family aren’t traipsing around the world, they can be found residing in Perth, Western Australia.

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New Release: Deacon by Jeanne St. James #ContemporaryRomance @JeanneStJames

Title: Blood & Bones: Deacon

Series: Blood Fury MC #4
Author: Jeanne St. James
Genre: Contemporary/MC Romance
Release Date: November 7, 2020
Cover Design: Golden Czermak @ FuriousFotog
Cover Model: Joe Adams

Sometimes a challenge comes along that can either make or break you…

Deacon has a great life. A loyal brotherhood within the Blood Fury MC. A successful bail bonds business he runs with his cousin, Judge. A faithful dog. He’s also an expert at seducing the ladies. He’s got the looks. He’s got the charm. And he’s got the skill.

Or at least he thought he did. Until he met his match. A woman who not only resists him, but challenges him at every turn. 

As an expert bounty hunter, he’s been hired to capture a violent fugitive. Dealing with a dangerous man is one thing, but dealing with a stubborn woman is quite another. And the victim just happens to be her younger sister.

For Deacon, winning over a woman has never been this difficult. The more she fights his “charm,” the more determined he is not to give up. This is one war he can’t afford to lose, not only for her, but with locating the fugitive before he finds his victim. 

It’s a challenge he’s willing to take on, as long as it doesn’t destroy him first.

Note: Blood & Bones: Deacon is the fourth book in the Blood Fury MC series. As always, this book has no cheating, no cliffhanger and has an HEA. It’s recommended to read this series in order.

“Four fuckin’ days.”

He lifted one eyelid and stared at his giant of a cousin who was filling the doorway of Deacon’s office.

He had his feet kicked up on his desk with his ankles crossed, his arms crossed over his chest and he’d been trying to take a little snooze. He guessed that wasn’t going to happen any time soon. He reluctantly lifted his other eyelid.

Judge apparently had a burr up his ass today.

Deacon just might be that burr.

“Last I checked there are seven days in a week, not four. Learn to count, cuz.”

Judge took a step into the office and shoved Deacon’s feet off his desk. “Four fuckin’ days to do a job that shoulda taken two.”

“Got sidetracked.”

“Yeah, like normal. By pussy.”

“It was decent pussy.” Otherwise he would’ve been home a day earlier.

“Glad you were havin’ fun while my ass was back here takin’ our business seriously.”

“Hey, I got the job done and the money should be hittin’ our account any day now.”

Judge only grunted.

His cousin and business partner couldn’t argue that because it was true. They were getting a nice little chunk of change for Deacon finding a fugitive out in the boonies of northern Pennsylvania. The skip had been hiding out in a hunting cabin in the woods, where cell phone coverage was sketchy, and the neighbors consisted of mostly white-tail deer, black bear and squirrels. And a few backwoods rednecks.

Despite that, Deacon managed to track down the bail jumper, get him cuffed and deliver him to the nearest police station for the bondsman to come haul his ass back to Jersey.

It actually only took him a day and a half. But Deacon wasn’t bringing up that point right now. Not when he had a scowling giant standing a couple feet away from him.

Fee-fi-fo-fum.

“What’s up your ass anyway? Is Cassie findin’ herself unsatisfied with your baby carrot cock and forcin’ you to fuck your Fleshlight again?”

“Got nothin’ to do with Cassie.”

“Then, why you bein’ a dick?”

Judge planted his knuckles on Deacon’s desk and leaned over until they were face to face. “’Cause I can.”

“Whatever. Be Mr. Grumpy McGrumpFace all you want. I still wuv you.” He puckered his lips and made kissing sounds at Judge. “You need a hug?”

“Need you to take your fuckin’ job seriously.”

“This ain’t a job, Judge. It’s my business, too.”

“Then fuckin’ act like it!” his cousin bellowed.

Justice, his American Bulldog, got up from lying at Deacon’s feet to come around the desk. He nudged Judge with his nose.

“Jussie don’t like you yellin’, just sayin’.”

“Then stop makin’ me do it.”

Deacon’s cell phone rang and vibrated at the same time. Unknown Number popped up on his screen. He snagged the phone off his desk and put it to his ear. “Deacon Edwards, skip tracer extraordinaire and all around awesome badass.”

He grinned as Judge rolled his green eyes.

“This Justice Bail Bonds?” the male with a heavy accent on the other end asked.

He sat straight up in his chair. “Yeah, it is.”

“This is Anthony Bianchi from Bianchi Bail Bonds…”

“Okay?” Deacon hit the speaker button on his phone and placed his cell on the desk so Judge could listen, too.

“From Philly,” the man finished.

So, that was the accent. Fucking Philly. He hated that city. It was almost like Jersey, but way worse. It was Jersey’s sweaty armpit.

Even so, the guy was acting like they should have heard about Bianchi Bail Bonds. Like they were famous or something.

“Yeah, so…” Deacon prodded.

“Yeah, so got ya numba from anotha bondsman. He said you’re good at trackin’ down these fuckwads when they skip.”

Well, that sounded like a glowing review. His eyes met Judge’s. “Yeah, I’m good.”

“I need betta than good.”

“I’m betta than good,” Deacon repeated with a smirk.

There was a pause on the other end of the call. “You makin’ fun of my accent?”

He nodded while answering, “Nope. So, what d’you need from us?”

“Got a skip that might end up in your area. This guy’s a real piece of work, though. Domestic abuse. Sexual assault. Attempted murder. How tha fucka got bond, who fuckin’ knows. Probably some asshole judge who’s worried about tha man’s reputation ratha than the victim’s right to live without fea.”

Fea? Deacon rolled his eyes. For fuck’s sake, fear.

This dude was worried about victim’s rights? He was making scratch off that “fucka.”

“Also, tha asshole’s got no problem with witness intimidation.”

“So, he’s dangerous,” Deacon concluded.

“That’s what I’m sayin’,” Anthony said. “He’s been in and out of jail, likes to use and abuse women. Sweet talks ‘em for a while, gets in good with ‘em, then boom, runs up their credit cards, wipes out their bank accounts, and’s got no problem thinkin’ he’s a man by makin’ a woman do what she don’t wanna do. I got two sistas, I don’t got time for that kinda trash, hear what I’m sayin’?”

“Yeah, I hear you,” Deacon muttered. He didn’t have time for that kind of trash, either. Jemma might be his cousin, but she was more like a sister to him and he wouldn’t want a man doing that to her. Or any other woman.

“Anyhow, he’s bad fuckin’ news. That means if you take this job and you see ‘im, you gotta watch yourself. Make sure you got protection. I wouldn’t put it past ‘im to take a shot at ya. I wouldn’t put it past him to take out tha woman. Which is why I’m callin’ ya.” The man hacked a couple of times, not bothering to cover the phone when he did so. “Last woman he fucked up and drained dry is now up near you in Mansfield. Probably tryin’ to hide out ‘til the trial. But now the mothefucka’s probably lookin’ for her to either convince her to drop the charges or make her disappea.”

Like swim with the fishes type of disappearing?

“You notify Mansfield PD?” Deacon asked him.

“Yeah, first call I made.”

“They probably don’t have enough people to sit on her full time.”

“That’s why you were my second call.”

Deacon could hear the unspoken “dumbass” on the end of that. “Wouldn’t it be smarter to get her a damn bodyguard?”

“Prolly, but that ain’t my problem. My problem’s findin’ tha fucka and deliverin’ him to the court and gettin’ my fuckin’ money back. I’m a business, not a babysitta. The victim has to look out for her own ass. It was her fault for gettin’ involved with this putz in tha first place.”

So, Bianchi was saying the victim pretty much deserved what she got. Fucking great.

“She the only victim involved in his current case?”

“Yeah. He did a numba on her, and guess she wasn’t gonna take it lyin’ down.”

“Good for her,” Deacon muttered.

“Not so good for her, if this whacko finds her.”

“He got connections? Like, does he have the assets to take out a hit on her?”

“Nah. He’s just a broke-ass losa. Gets his jollies from breakin’ women, physically and financially.”

“So, what are you askin’ me to do?” Deacon asked, scraping a hand down his beard.

“Snag his ass and hold ‘im for me.”

“You sure he’s comin’ up this way?”

“Nope. But if I can find the victim, so can he.”

“She aware he skipped?”

“Don’t fuckin’ know. Again, not my problem. That’s tha DA’s problem.”

The District Attorney for the City and County of Philadelphia probably had way bigger problems and cases than one domestic abuse incident. Their office was most likely overwhelmed.

“So, ya interested?” Bianchi asked.

Deacon met Judge’s eyes. His cousin gave him a slight chin jerk.

“Depends on what it’s payin’,” Deacon said after a few seconds.

“I’ll give ya ten.”

A measly ten percent? Deacon shook his head and laughed. “Then no, ain’t interested. ‘Specially if this asshole’s violent.”

“Twelve then.”

“No.”

“Whadya want? No guarantee he’s headin’ up your way.”

“Right, that means I might be wastin’ a lot of time sittin’ on the vic if he decides to go underground and forget she ever existed.”

“Got a feelin’ he won’t forget her. He’s tha kinda dick who don’t like a bitch gettin’ tha better of ‘im.”

“Yeah?”

“He might go underground, then pop up like a weasel when she least expects ‘im, slice her damn throat and then go back into his hidey-hole. He’s tha kinda dumbass who thinks if there’s no witness, tha charges will be dropped.”

“Again, sounds like she needs a bodyguard. Not my area of expertise.”

“And again, that’s her problem, not mine.”

Judge blew out a breath and shook his head.

Deacon was sure his expression matched Judge’s annoyed one. This guy was a total fucking asshole. But, in truth, the man was right, his job had been to provide a bond for a criminal. That was it. He wasn’t a crusader of justice.

But then, neither was Deacon or Judge.

He pursed his lips and considered what the job may be worth. “Twenty-five percent.”

“Cazzo! I’ll find someone cheapa.”

“You get what you pay for, Bianchi. You get fucked if he’s not captured. Somethin’s better than nothin’, right?”

Through the phone, Deacon heard fingers drumming against what he figured was a desk, so he stayed quiet and waited.

“Twenty,” Bianchi countered.

“Twenty-five. Last chance or I’m hangin’ up. Don’t got time for these fuckin’ games.” He needed to stare at the back of his eyelids soon. Bianchi was interrupting his nap.

“All right. You drive a hard bargain. Twenty-five.”

Deacon smiled up at Judge. His cousin didn’t return that smile. “Email us the bond, docket, photos, any info I’m gonna need.” He rattled off the business email address. “Soon.”

“Gonna get it to ya in the next half hour.”

“I’ll be in touch if I got any questions. You find him first, let me know.” Deacon ended the call before getting a response. He leaned back in his comfy office chair and folded his arms behind his head. “What you thinkin’?”

Judge shook his head. “Just wonderin’ what pussy you’re gonna fall into while in Mansfield.”

“Don’t be a hater. Not ready to settle down like you, old man.”

“Then hopefully you’re wrappin’ it tight when you go divin’.”

“Also not makin’ the same mistake you did. Learned from you to never trust a fuckin’ woman.” He grinned. “’Cept for Mom. I trust her.”

“Maybe you shouldn’t,” Judge threw at him as he walked out of Deacon’s office.

“What does that mean?” Deacon yelled.

Judge paused right outside the door. “When she used to tell you all the cookies or pie were gone? She was just savin’ that shit for me.”

“Bullshit.”

“Keep tellin’ you, I was the son she never had.” A snort came from down the hall.

Justice sat down next to him and whined. “Guess you’re gonna be hangin’ with Bubba Grump for a few days. I got some scratch to make.” The bulldog laid his head on Deacon’s lap and turned his chocolate brown eyes up at him. “Would take you along if I could, believe me. You can hang with ya sista. And Daisy.” He rubbed Jussie’s head. “And make sure you take a huge shit in the giant’s boots. I’ll give you extra treats when I get back if you do.”
JEANNE ST. JAMES is a USA Today and international bestselling romance author who loves writing about strong women and alpha males. She was only thirteen when she first started writing. Her first published piece was an erotic short story in Playgirl magazine. She then went on to publish her first romance novel in 2009. She is now an author of almost fifty contemporary romances. She writes M/F, M/M, and M/M/F ménages, including interracial. Want to read a sample of her work? Download a free sampler book here: BookHip.com/MTQQKK

To keep up with her busy release schedule check her website at www.jeannestjames.com or sign up for her newsletter: http://www.jeannestjames.com/newslettersignup

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Book Blitz: Fighting for Us by Bella Emy #ContemporaryRomance @BellaEmyWrites

Fighting for Us
Bella Emy
(Love is Worth Fighting For Series, #1)
Publication date: November 1st 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

LORENZO
I had it all.
A wonderful family with a loving wife who was my world and a beautiful baby girl.
I didn’t need anything more to be rich in my eyes.
Then one day, everything changed and my world was ripped apart.
My wife, my everything, was taken from me, and I was left alone to raise our baby girl.
I was forced from late night sessions at the gym to changing diapers all by myself.
Thank God for the help I received from my parents and siblings or I would have been lost.
I accepted my fate of being alone with my baby girl and living life with just us two…
Until the day I met her, and she became everything worth fighting for.

CARISSA
Life was so perfect.
A loving fiancé, wonderful friends and family, and a job I adored.
Until one day, my world was turned upside down and the man I loved threw the promise of forever down the drain and walked out of my life.
The day he walked out of my door, I knew that everything I had ever grown up to believe in was a lie.
Love is unconditional but love sure as hell doesn’t last forever.
The vow to love me for the rest of our lives ended quickly as he pulled away from me, and buried himself in the arms of his ex.
I was left alone, cursing the male species and everyone who had found their happily ever after.
My sister and my best friend were the only ones there for me…
Until the day I met him, and he became everything worth fighting for.

**This book is part of Kisses Under The Mistletoe, a collection of 10 stand alone holiday stories from 10 authors!

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

I push my cart into aisle five: baking supplies. Shannon’s birthday is tomorrow, and I’m planning on making her a birthday cake. Red velvet cheesecake.

Cheesecake. Cream cheese. I’d better go grab some before I forget. I need to head to the dairy section of the grocery store. I always leave that aisle for last because every time I’m there, I freeze. It totally doesn’t help that I’m wearing a miniskirt right now. Like what had possessed me?

Emy is supposed to be coming over for dinner, and afterward, we’re planning to head out. Shannon can’t make up her mind on whether she wants to go to the movies or go dancing. I’m hoping she picks the movies because I really don’t want to go dancing, but it is her birthday, and I will sacrifice what I need to make her happy.

I push my cart into the dairy section and scan the items. Yogurt… butter… mozzarella… cream cheese. Bingo.

Reaching to grab it, my hand brushes against another as it tries to grab the same thing.

I snap my head to the left and… holy shit. What are the odds? Out of all the freaking places to be on a typical weekday afternoon… How?

Lorenzo “Guns” Trevano is here, shopping at the same freaking grocery store as me. I’m surprised he doesn’t have people to shop for him.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” I say, pulling back. My heart speeds and my hands tremble. I can’t believe he’s standing so close to me.

A warm smile forms on his face. “No, no. It’s my fault. Please, go ahead.”

I smile back, unable to withhold it. Slowly, I reach forward and grab two containers of cheese, still staring at him.

His smiling face turns into a puzzled expression. “That’s a lot of cream cheese,” he says. “Planning brunch for a big crowd?” Now he’s smiling again.

Suddenly realizing that I was grabbing more cheese off the shelf, I quickly stop. Somehow, two containers of cream cheese became four, four became five, and finally six. In no time, I had managed to clear the store of their entire stock of cream cheese by putting them all in my basket.

I feel my cheeks turning bright red. Way to embarrass yourself, Carissa.

“Oh, fu—” I catch myself before letting out the obscenity. “I’m sorry…” I begin placing the containers of cream cheese back.

He chuckles and holds out his hands to show he’s not offended. “May I?” he finally asks, pointing at the containers still in my hands, asking if he can have one.

“Oh, yes, of course!” I pass one to him. “You want more?”

He chuckles again. “No, no. One is quite enough, thanks.” He places it into his cart.

Of course it is, Carissa, you moron.

Who goes out to clear the supermarket of their entire stock of cream cheese? Only me. I place all but two of the containers back onto the shelf.

“I’ve seen you around before… I’m Lorenzo,” he says in a cool, sultry voice, extending his hand.

I reach and grab it. Holy fuck, what a grip. His hand is like twice the size of mine… maybe more. I don’t know, but my tiny one gets swallowed by his much larger one.

I nod. “Yes, I saw you at the match the other night. I’m Carissa. Nice to meet you.”

Now he nods and then our hands let go.

But our eyes don’t. We don’t let go of one another’s gaze, and I’m beginning to feel uncomfortable… self-conscious.

Shit, is my hair in place? Is this shirt too tight? Ugh… I hate questioning myself right now and feeling this way.

His eyes are completely eating me whole, and it seems like he’s staring at… my lips? Fuck, is my lipstick smeared? I want to pull out my pocket mirror from my purse, but it would be too obvious.

Okay, I need to take a deep breath and relax. I need to cool off. I need to remind myself he’s just another guy.

Another guy who is most likely another asshole.

Shit, a guy like him probably has women hanging all over him on a daily basis. He’s sure to be a complete heartbreaking asshole. They’re all the same, and I’m sure he’s as cocky, arrogant, and dick-headed as they all are.

I’ve had more than my share of it all, and I’m not looking for another way to get my heart broken.

I need to keep my cool and remind myself that all guys are no good. All guys are pricks only looking for one thing.

He breaks my train of thought with his next words. “Well, I don’t mean to hold you up. I’m sure you have places to be.” He pauses for a second, staring at my mouth again for a bit too long. “It was nice officially meeting you, Carissa.”

Damn, the way he said my name…

Nodding, I respond, “Likewise.”

Our eyes continue to take one another in, but something deep inside me is causing heat to form deep in my core.

Fuck, he’s hot. His smoldering look, burning into me… his sexy grin… He’s igniting a fire within me I’m not sure I can control.

Dammit, Carissa. Get your shit together. Focus…

Remember, he’s no good for you. He’s an asshole, only looking for one thing.

Okay, sure, all guys are pricks, assholes, and shitheads only looking for one thing, but something about the way he bores his gaze into me is making it really hard for me to follow the rules I set aside for myself.


Author Bio:

Bella Emy is a USA Today Bestselling Author.

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She loves all books, but her favorite genre to read, as well as write, is romance. Bella loves creating heartbreaking stories that will deeply touch her readers, but in the end, a good HEA is usually the turnout.
Whenever Bella is not typing away on her computer with a nice hot cup of coffee, she loves spending time with her family and friends. Her favorite places to go are the movies, the beach, or just on a good plain old road trip. Some of her must haves are coffee, chocolate, pizza, music, & movies.

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