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LETHAL LIES by Rebecca Zanetti (Blood Brothers, #2) Blog Tour

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Title: LETHAL LIES

Author: Rebecca Zanetti

Series: Blood Brothers, #2

On Sale: May 16, 2017

Publisher: Forever

Trade Paperback: $14.99 USD

eBook: $5.99 USD

 

“4 1/2 stars! Top pick! This is a true thriller that will keep readers frantically flipping the pages as death and danger come at the protagonists from several directions.  Zanetti’s brilliance at storytelling is on full display…When it comes to high-octane thrillers, they don’t get better than Zanetti!” —RT Book Reviews on LETHAL LIES

 

“Zanetti’s stories are always woven with vivid detail and a breakneck pace. As a reader, there’s really no time to draw a peaceful breath until the story ends. Lethal Lies is another winner.” –Heroes & Heartbreakers on LETHAL LIES

 

“Zanetti balances the adventure and menace of Zara and Ryker’s lives with a relatable romance. The result is a story that’s sexy and emotional, and filled with a rich look at love in all its forms.” —The Washington Post on DEADLY SILENCE

 

“Budget your time, readers, because this is one that’s hard to put down.” — Heroes & Heartbreakers on DEADLY SILENCE

 

SYNOPSIS

A deadly secret can’t stay buried forever . . .

 

Revenge. It’s the only thing that will help Anya Best sleep at night. The serial killer who murdered her sister is on the loose, and Anya will stop at nothing to put him behind bars—even use herself as bait to lure him out of hiding. But she can’t do this alone.

 

Private investigator Heath Jones’s job is to bring bastards to justice. This time it’s personal. He knew the Copper Killer’s latest victim so when her sister asks for his help, he’s all in. But when Anya uses the media to taunt the killer, she exposes Heath’s identity, putting them both in jeopardy. Now, secrets buried long ago are coming to light and the forces determined to destroy him are watching Heath’s every move, waiting to exact their own revenge. And they’ll use anything and anyone to get to Heath.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Google Play | iBooks | Indiebound | Kobo | Target

**Pick up the print edition for exclusive bonus content!**

EXCERPT

She swallowed and met his gaze. “All right. Let me get this straight. We’re going undercover to flush out a killer who’s obsessed with me, and you’re offering to play at being my man for real with no strings or future?” She hoisted the bag onto her shoulder. “That’s some ego. Are you that good in bed?”

“Yes.” And that was definite interest in her eyes.

She clicked her tongue. “I’ll keep your offer in mind.”

“You do that.” He maintained a low and calm voice. “While you’re considering, let’s look at the situation. You have publicly made me your fiancé in order to draw out a killer, which means I have to act as such. Any halfway intelligent law enforcement officer or private investigator would keep his redheaded fiancée very close after the stunt you just pulled. If you’re not with me, the killer is going to be very suspicious.”

She stilled, expressions crossing her face rapidly. “That’s a good point,” she said slowly.

Yeah. Sometimes reality helped him out a little. Plus, the killer had a hard-on for her, and he must already have plans to take her at some point. She’d just upped the timeline. “In addition, you need protection around the clock now, and I’m willing to provide that. So while you’re keeping my offer in mind, we’ll be staying in the same hotel room or same apartment.” He made sure he had her full attention. “While we plan the wedding, of course.”

Her challenging smile thrilled something inside him. “That’s fair.”

He stepped back to give her some space. “Good. Are you ready?”

“Yes.” She looked around the room. “I do have to ask. What if I didn’t agree with you about your keeping secrets from me? Considering people shoot at you, and I’m going to be at your side, it seems fair that you tell me who these people are.” She cocked her head to the side and focused back on him.

“I have more immediate concerns than being fair,” he said smoothly. “You brought me into this mess.”

A frown drew down her eyebrows. “Listen. I want an answer about you.”

“I just gave you one.” At her mulish expression, he searched for better words that wouldn’t end in an argument.

Suddenly, the door blew wide open and bounced loudly off the table. “Anya!” he yelled, jumping for her.

Lethal Lies
Lethal Lies by Rebecca Zanetti
My rating: 5 of 5 starsHappy Book Birthday!
If there is such a term as blockbuster for the book world then Lethal Lies should be classified as one. It packs thrilling action, gripping suspense, and sexy romance brought together by fantastic writing, great characterization and a plot that will keep you guessing until the very end.
Professor in criminal psychology Anya Best wants to avenge her sister’s death. To the catch the serial killer who had originally targeted her but in sad twist of fate took her sister and murdered her, Anya’s going to have to outsmart him, lure him into making a mistake by putting herself as bait all while trying to not fall in love with the lethal and dangerous man she hoodwinked into pretending to be her fiancée.This time the Lost Bastards detective agency is going to get its man. Led by Heath Jones, he and his two brothers are on a mission to find the Copper Killer whose latest victim was an FBI agent they’d previously worked with. But when the agent’s younger sister Anya puts a huge spotlight on herself and Heath, the brothers know they’ll soon be fighting against Dr. Isobel Maddison and the sadistic Sheriff Cobb as well.

A doozy of a race against a deranged killer and escaping their past ensues, resulting in a lot of pretend kisses between Heath and Anya that soon start feeling very real. With plot twists I never saw coming, I loved rolling with the nonstop action, suspense and sexiness. Lethal Lies in an amazing add to the series.

Being this a Sin Brother’s spin off the story wouldn’t be complete without a cameo by at least a couple of the Gray brothers. Yes, I know, there are a lot of brothers, but they’re all wonderful heroes with shells reinforced by horrific childhoods but with a core so deliciously caring, loyal, protective and loving you can’t help but fall in love with them. I equally anticipate, because doh! its Denver’s book! and dread it because it’ll be the last in the series.

Lethal Lies is book #2 in the Blood Brothers series by Rebecca Zanetti. It is a standalone romantic suspense lovers with enjoy. Told from both points of view.

THE BLOOD BROTHERS SERIES

DEADLY SILENCE, #1

LETHAL LIES, #2

TWISTED TRUTHS, #3

Series Page on Goodreads

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rebecca Zanetti is the author of over twenty-five romantic suspense, dark paranormal, and contemporary romances, and her books have appeared multiple times on the New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon bestseller lists. She has received a Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review for Wicked Edge, Romantic Times Reviewer Choice Nominations for Forgotten Sins and Sweet Revenge, and RT Top Picks for several of her novels.  She lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her own alpha hero, two kids, a couple of dogs, a crazy cat…and a huge extended family.  She believes strongly in luck, karma, and working her butt off…and she thinks one of the best things about being an author, unlike the lawyer she used to be, is that she can let the crazy out.

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A CHARMED LITTLE LIE by Sharla Lovelace blog tour!

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Spinning a story of a joyous marriage to make 
a dying woman happy is forgivable, isn’t it?
A CHARMED LITTLE LIE
Charmed in Texas #1
Sharla Lovelace
Releasing April 18th, 2017
Lyrical Shine

Lanie Barrett didn’t mean to lie. Spinning a story of a joyous marriage to make a

dying woman happy is forgivable, isn’t it? Lanie thinks so, especially since
her beloved Aunt Ruby would have been heartbroken to know the truth of her
niece’s sadly loveless, short-of-sparkling existence. Trouble is, according to
the will, Ruby didn’t quite buy Lanie’s tale. And to inherit the only house
Lanie ever really considered a home, she’ll have to bring her “husband” back to
Charmed, Texas for three whole months—or watch Aunt Ruby’s cozy nest go to her
weasel cousin, who will sell it to a condo developer.
Nick McKane is out of work, out of luck, and the spitting image of the man Lanie described.
He needs money for his daughter’s art school tuition, and Lanie needs a
convenient spouse. It’s a match made . . . well, not quite in heaven, but for a
temporary arrangement, it couldn’t be better. Except the longer Lanie and Nick
spend as husband and wife, the more the connection between them begins to seem
real. Maybe this modern fairy tale really could come true . . .

Excerpt

I didn’t look back, and I didn’t care. Nick’s hand was warm in mine, and when we reached the dance floor they’d cleared a space for, he tugged back gently to make me turn around. The look in those dark eyes nearly took out my knees. He pulled me into his arms, leaving no room for imagination, and I let my hands slide up his chest to his neck, and around back as his eyelids grew heavy.

Roberta Flack crooned softly, the first time…ever I saw your face… And something in me went warm from head to toe. Something besides whatever was in that punch. Something more real than that.

“Nice save.”

“I tried.”

“How was the punch?” he asked.

I wound my fingers into his hair and pulled his head down.

“See for yourself,” I said, the last word finished against his lips.

Sparks ignited throughout my body as our lips met. Soft. Slow. Wet. Needing. Our bodies moved as one with the music, so close, so tightly pressed together I could feel his heart beating. My hands traveled slowly back down his chest and around his middle as his came up into my hair. When his tongue ran over my top lip, I knew he could feel my gasp. And when I pulled him in deeper to taste him, I felt the low growl in his chest rumbling against mine.

His fingers twisted in my hair as he dove deep and then pulled back, deep again and back, teasing me, pulling back to kiss my lips one at a time, as I kept clinging tighter. I was drunk on it. Breathing shallow. My fingers curling into his shirt with the need for more.

The first time…ever I kissed…your lips…

It was erotic, the way he kissed me. The way I kissed him. Slow, matching our movements. Intimate. Electric and emotional at the same time. And so full of desire and barely restrained need, that my body was trembling with it when he held my face and leaned his forehead against mine.

I wanted to keep my eyes closed. Absorb the feel of him, the song, the words, the taste. Just hold on to it a little longer. But I felt the heat of his gaze and my eyes fluttered open. And everything inside me turned to liquid fire. No one—ever—had looked at me like that. Had wanted me like that. The mirror image of what was churning inside me was all over him. In the desire mixed with the trouble haunting his eyes. This wasn’t the game. That thought hit me like a sucker punch to the gut. This was—

His mouth covered mine again, hungrier, hotter, and I melted into it. The burn in my chest at the realization of just how fucking real this was, stole at my breath, and I didn’t care. It was more than we were supposed to be doing but—God, it was so good. It was so good my heart felt like it was swelling to the size of the room. Wrapping around us as his hands cradled my face and he broke from the kiss, moving his lips along my face, my cheeks, back to my lips, both of us breathing fast. It was more. Nick was giving me the more. It wasn’t just physical; it was bursting inside me.

When he pulled me to him, I buried my face in his neck and held him as tightly as I could as the words slowed to an end. I didn’t want it to be over. I didn’t want to let go.

I could hear my heart in my ears, pounding with every breath. He smelled like soap and something woodsy and Nick, and I always knew that but being up close enough to lick him made the smell intoxicating.

The music stopped.

The lighting was changing. I had to let go of him, and the second I moved he backed up too. Just a little. Just enough for me to see the mouth I’d just gotten to know intimately. His gaze fell to my lips as well, before dragging up to my eyes. Things had changed. In the course of time it took for that song to make its evolution, our reality had shifted. And the real kicker was that I think we both knew it already had.

A Charmed Little Lie
A Charmed Little Lie by Sharla Lovelace
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Welcome to Charmed, Texas a picturesque town where you can find crazy townsfolk, possibly haunted houses, old flames, and new beginnings.
Sharla Lovelace pens another wonderful small town romance filled with emotion and desire, quirky characters and fun twists.

When Lanie lied to her Aunt Ruby about having the job of her dreams and a husband to match it, her intentions were good. She didn’t want her dying aunt to worry about her. But after reading her aunt’s will she finds out her good intentions have an unpredictable impact in her life and now she desperately needs to find a fake husband who’ll live with her in order to save her childhood home from falling into the hands of her greedy cousins. As Lanie has forsaken love, she’s in no danger of falling for her newfound gorgeous roommate is she?

Nick McKane needs a job to pay for his daughter’s education and he’s just desperate enough to accept a perfect stranger’s insane plan to fake a marriage for three months. But as he deftly jumps into his role of loving husband while getting to know Lanie the illusion they create is slowly turning into reality, but can he trust in them enough to believe it’s real or will he walk out on them when the time is up?

I get the impression that Sharla Lovelace has a great time writing about small towns, creating the charming places with interesting townsfolk and their wacky dynamics. I loved reading about Charmed and feeling as though I was transported there. Aside from the parochial appeal, I very much enjoyed the slow burn relationship between the perky Lanie and sexy yet closed off Nick.

It’s clear that they both have vested interests in pulling off the lie, but Nick is able to jump effortlessly into his role whereas Lanie has a more difficult time having to quit her current job, not being able to accept her actual dream job in California all while having to deal with the ridiculously attractive man who struts dripping wet in only a towel after a hard run and before heading to work at the local dinner filled with fawning females who can’t get enough of the easy going new chef.

“How was the punch?” he asked.
I wound my fingers into his hair and pulled his head down.
“See for yourself,” I said, the last word finished against his lips.

Sparks ignited throughout my body as our lips met. Soft. Slow. Wet. Needing. Our bodies moved as one with the music, so close, so tightly pressed together I could feel his heart beating. My hands traveled slowly back down his chest and around his middle as his came up into my hair. When his tongue ran over my top lip, I knew he could feel my gasp. And when I pulled him in deeper to taste him, I felt the low growl in his chest rumbling against mine.

Having the need to show everyone that they’re madly in love and happily married requires them to be out and about together, holding hands and showing other PDAs which helps to fuel the already existing smoking hot attraction, but it’s during the quiet times when they’re alone when they get to know more of each other when that attraction turns into so much more.

I loved both Nick and Lanie equally. She was so lively yet a tad broken and insecure, but not enough to that it stopped her from defending her “husband” against all the unwanted female attention he got. That was so much fun to witness. Nick on the other hand was a bit walled off having had bad luck whenever it came to love, but I just swooned over every time he got instinctively protective over Lanie, whenever he flirted with her when no one was there to watch or listen in, and every time he sexily called her “Mrs. McKane.”

“What was that, Mr. McKane?” I said, putting my cake-covered hand to my ear. “Was that the sound of losing?”
Nick grabbed my hand and stuck one of my fingers in his mouth, sucking the cake off with his tongue. Everything stopped for me for a moment, the world going on tilt, and he winked as he licked his lips.
“What was that, Mrs. McKane? …The sound of shock?”

There’s so much I’d love to share, so many things I highlighted from sweet, to sexy, to emotional. Needless to say I was captive with their story and wanted to know how it would all turn out. I look forward to reading the next book in this series and anything else Sharla Lovelace puts out for the sentiments she evokes and the emotive stories she composes.

A Charmed Little Lie is the kickoff book in the series Charmed in Texas by author Sharla Lovelace. It is a standalone contemporary romance with a great balance between fun, wit, steaminess, and heartfelt emotions. It is told from the heroine’s point of view with a happy ending.

 

Sharla Lovelace is the bestselling, award-winning author of sexy small-town love stories. Being a Texas girl through and through, she’s proud to say she lives in Southeast Texas with her retired husband, a tricked-out golf cart, and two crazy dogs. She is the author of five stand-alone novels including the bestselling Don’t Let Go, the exciting Heart Of The Storm series, and the fun and sexy new Charmed in Texas series.

For more about Sharla’s books, visit http://www.sharlalovelace.com, and keep up with all her new book releases easily by subscribing to her newsletter. She loves keeping up with her readers, and you can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

 

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Beard Science by Penny Reid Review Tour. Excerpt, teasers, review and GIVEAWAY!!

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Beard Science

by Penny Reid
Winston Brothers #3
Publication Date: October 11, 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Humor, Romance

beardscience

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | iBooks | Kobo | Nook | Google Play | Smashwords

Make a deal with the devil and you might get what you want, but will it be what you need?

Jennifer Sylvester wants one thing, and that one thing is NOT to be Tennessee’s reigning Banana Cake Queen. Ever the perpetual good girl and obedient daughter, Jennifer is buckling under the weight of her social media celebrity, her mother’s ambitions, and her father’s puritanical mandates. Jennifer is officially desperate.

And desperate times call for Cletus Winston.

Cletus Winston is a puzzle wrapped in a mystery covered in conundrum sauce, and now he’s in a pickle. Despite being convinced of his own omniscience, extortion by the exalted Banana Cake Queen of Green Valley has taken him completely by surprise. So… what’s a maniacal mastermind to do?

Likely, the last thing you expect.

‘Beard Science’ is the third book in the Winston Brothers series, is a full-length romantic comedy novel, and can be read as a standalone.

Beard Science
Beard Science by Penny Reid
My rating: 5++ of 5 stars
You just can’t find writing like Penny Reid’s elsewhere. It’s Penny Reid or bust!

“I loved her both rationally and irrationally. And I wanted her with a ferocity that had kept me awake at night and tortured during the day.”

Jennifer Sylvester detests being the Banana Cake Queen. Perhaps detests is a too strong word for the sweet Jenn. Regardless, she knows she wants is a husband of her own choosing who’ll respect her and give her a big family. An impossible goal as long as she continues to be a good daughter abiding by her parents controlling ways. So what is a girl to do when she’s never been kissed and is desperate? It’s obvious, but only to her. She turns to Cletus Winston.

Behind the peculiar and “harmless banjo-playing hermit” façade lies the conniving genius mind of Cletus Winston. Perceived by his own design as a “simpleton,” he has control and power over just about everyone, they just don’t know it. But he only actively expends time and effort meddling in the lives of his family, thank goodness. So when her highness, the Banana Cake Queen, surprisingly blackmails him, she turns his orderly life sideways. Can he help her and return back to his controlled life?

“My heart was a danger to itself and to me because Jennifer Sylvester and I were not suited… things would be complicated between us. I couldn’t abide complicated… I wanted predictable, and she’d never ceased to surprise me. Together we would not be perfectly pragmatic. We would be impressively impractical.”

Let me start by saying that every time I read a Penny Reid book I fall more in love with her writing and curse the fact I haven’t had time to read all her books yet. I’ll also admit that even though I loved Cletus, wanted to get to know the clever oddball and would love to be one of the only 24 people he has time for, I was sure I’d love him as a hero. He was great in Grin and Beard, undeniably funny and brilliant. I just couldn’t picture him as swoony enough for a book boyfriend. Of course I shouldn’t have doubted Reid’s amazing ability to develop richly layers characters in interesting plots.

Cletus isn’t just remarkably smart and devious, he has his weaknesses and loves fiercely. Jenn is kind, compassionate, remarkably smart in her own way and quirky fun. I loved being in their heads and the journey they embarked on was absolute delightful from start to finish.

These two transformers (because there’s definitely more than meets the eye about them) made me laugh, smile, swoon and fan myself with delicious slow burn between them. I loved how Jenn really saw Cletus and thus caught the almost all-knowing man off guard, and how while helping Jenn bring her backbone to the fore, Cletus finds his perfect match.

“Jennifer was the key to my cage. She was the key to my future. We fit together. Her strengths counterpoised my weaknesses.”

I loved how Jenn gave so much importance to such things as humility and forgiveness, how much value she put in being a mother which were also valued by Cletus. I got a really kick out of Cletus lovingly torturing his brothers and always going for and getting what he wanted. I could keep on telling you I could keep on telling you all the things I discovered and loved about these two but I’ll finish with two other outstanding aspects that need mention.

First, the family element which not only included great past and future characters I enjoyed reading about, but also that wonderful feeling of being part of a group of people who’ll love, help give sage advice and support you no matter what.

“You’ll know one day, Cletus. You’ll discover what it’s like to find the other part of yourself. You’ll know it’s her, only her, always her. Maybe not right away, but eventually you’ll know. She’ll be your beginning, middle, and end. And your intentions won’t matter. Love brings its own intentions, and all other plans, hopes, and dreams fade to insignificance in the face of love.”

And second, the witty dialogues that made me laugh and snort and made this story fly by.

“Jenn and I are going to make some sausage pie.”
“Sausage pie?”
“That’s right, sausage pie.”
“I see. So Jennifer is going to let you put your sausage in her pie.”

Beard Science is book #3 and the finale in the Winston Brothers series by Penny Reid. It is a delightful standalone romantic comedy you won’t want to miss. I can’t recommend this book enough. Told from both point of view with a happy ending.

* I was given an ARC of this book courtesy of the author via IndieSage PR. The excerpts are from that copy. *

Excerpt

“So Cletus told me I needed to change one thing every day. He wasn’t specific about what I should change, just that I should decide on the one thing myself.”

Billy nodded.

I continued. “At first I didn’t see the purpose, but—do you know?—Cletus was right. Something as trivial as paining my nails a different color made me feel like I could do anything I set my mind to.”

Billy smiled.

I continued. “Cletus also said-”

Billy cleared his throat. “Do you go to the jam session much? I think I’ve only seen you here a handful of times.”

“I don’t, actually. I’d like to, but Saturdays are busy. I’m usually making special orders on Friday night. I’ve heard you sing a few times, though. You should do it more often, you have such a nice voice.”

Billy smiled again, his eyes sliding to me then away. “Thank you.”

“And Cletus is amazing on the banjo. Last year he did a folksy version of Thriller, during Halloween. It was spectacular.”

Billy sighed.
Conversation was surprisingly easy with Billy Winston, once I stopped being afraid of saying the wrong thing. Instead of worrying, I just said whatever I wanted. He wasn’t a big talker, other than asking me questions, so I filled the silence. Sometimes what I said made him laugh. Sometimes it made him nod. Sometimes it made him cough.

But usually whatever I said made him smile. And that was nice. He was nice.

He pulled his truck into the community center lot and it was clear the jam session was already in full swing. The evening was chilly, so folks were dressed in coats.

I pulled my shawl over my shoulders and Billy opened my door, helping me from the car. I slipped my fingers back into the crook of his elbow while trying to suppress a new, and more powerful, flutter of excitement as we approached the community center.

I wondered if Cletus would be there. I wondered what he would think of my dress, and my hair in a bun, and my purposefully minimal makeup, and my nail polish. Even though I was nervous, I grinned at the thought.

“What are you smiling about?” Billy asked, giving me the side eye.

“I’m nervous,” I answered honestly, feeling breathless, then asked before I could catch myself, “Do you think Cletus is here?”

Billy’s mouth tugged to the side and he studied my face. “I’m sure he is. Why?”

“I wonder what he’ll think of my dress,” I admitted excitedly.

Billy chuckled and shook his head.

“What? What is it?” I pressed, searching his profile for a sign as to why he was laughing.

He pulled us to a stop and faced me. “Since this is a practice date, do you want me to give you a tip?”

I nodded eagerly. “Yes, please. All tips are welcome.”

“Okay. Here goes,” he gathered large breath, like he was bracing himself, and said, “When you’re on a date with a man, it’s probably best not to bring up a different man.”

My lips parted as my face fell. “I’m sorry. I keep talking about your brother.”

“No, no. It’s fine.” He reached for my hand and squeezed it. “This is a practice, no need to apologize. I’m not upset. But if this were a real date, you bringing up Cletus and wondering what he’s going to think of your dress would definitely rub me the wrong way. If I’m on a date, I want that woman to be thinking only of me. Does that make sense?”

I nodded, because it did make sense. “Just like, I probably wouldn’t like it—if this were a real date—if you kept bringing up other woman.”

“That’s right.” He moved my hand back to his arm. “You’ll want to keep the conversation about the two of you.”

I considered things as we walked. “Thank you, Billy.”

“For what?” He opened the double door for me, placing his hand on the small of my back to usher me inside. The entryway was full of people, but I hardly noticed them.

“Thanks for doing this, and for the tip. Thanks for sacrificing your Friday night.”

Billy covered my fingers on his arm with his hand. “It’s not a sacrifice, Jennifer.”

“Well, it can’t be pleasant.”

He grinned again and gave me an incredulous look.

“What? What did I do this time? Do you have more tips?” I needed to know. I hoped he filled the whole night with tips, so I would be an expert when the time came for a real date.

Billy’s grin faded as his piercing blue eyes moved over my face. If he’d done this just last week I think I would’ve fainted on the spot, mortified and terrified and assured of my own failure.

But so much had changed in a week. I wasn’t afraid of him anymore. I was changing, becoming braver. So I met his glacial eyes straight on and lifted my eyebrows encouragingly.

“You can tell me, whatever it is,” I whispered earnestly, stepping closer. “Like I said, all tips welcome.”

Finally, he said, “You have no idea how gorgeous you are, do you?”

I gaped at him, because that was not what I’d expected him to say.
But before I could recover, a stern voice to my left interjected. “She has no idea whatsoever.”

I turned and found Cletus standing at my shoulder. Startled, I stumbled a step to the side so I could see him better. What I found surprised me.

His jaw was clenched.

His mouth was curved into a frown.

And Cletus’ eyes, a dangerous and fiery blue, were narrowed on his brother.

 

 

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About Penny Reid

Author-Photo-Penny-Reid-300x300

SEX! It all started with sex, between my parents. Personally I don’t like thinking about it, but whatever works for you is a-ok with me. No judgment. The sex happened in California and much of my life also occurred in that state until I moved from the land of nuts (almonds), wine, silicon… boobs, and heavy traffic to the southeast US. Like most writers I like to write, but let’s get back to sex. Eventually I married and gave birth to 2 small people-children (boy-6, girl-4 as of this writing).

By day I’m a biomedical researcher with focus on rare diseases. By night I’m a knitter, sewer, lino block carver, fabric printer, soap maker, and general crafter. By the wee hours of the morning or when I’m intoxicated I love to listen to the voices in my head and let them tell me stories. I hope you enjoy their stories.

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Beard Science by Penny Reid Release Blitz Package

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Beard Science

by Penny Reid
Winston Brothers #3
Publication Date: October 11, 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Humor, Romance

beardscience

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | iBooks | Kobo | Nook | Google Play | Smashwords

Make a deal with the devil and you might get what you want, but will it be what you need?

Jennifer Sylvester wants one thing, and that one thing is NOT to be Tennessee’s reigning Banana Cake Queen. Ever the perpetual good girl and obedient daughter, Jennifer is buckling under the weight of her social media celebrity, her mother’s ambitions, and her father’s puritanical mandates. Jennifer is officially desperate.

And desperate times call for Cletus Winston.

Cletus Winston is a puzzle wrapped in a mystery covered in conundrum sauce, and now he’s in a pickle. Despite being convinced of his own omniscience, extortion by the exalted Banana Cake Queen of Green Valley has taken him completely by surprise. So… what’s a maniacal mastermind to do?

Likely, the last thing you expect.

‘Beard Science’ is the third book in the Winston Brothers series, is a full-length romantic comedy novel, and can be read as a standalone.

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Beard Science
Beard Science by Penny Reid
My rating: 5++ of 5 stars
You just can’t find writing like Penny Reid’s elsewhere. It’s Penny Reid or bust!

“I loved her both rationally and irrationally. And I wanted her with a ferocity that had kept me awake at night and tortured during the day.”

Jennifer Sylvester detests being the Banana Cake Queen. Perhaps detests is a too strong word for the sweet Jenn. Regardless, she knows she wants is a husband of her own choosing who’ll respect her and give her a big family. An impossible goal as long as she continues to be a good daughter abiding by her parents controlling ways. So what is a girl to do when she’s never been kissed and is desperate? It’s obvious, but only to her. She turns to Cletus Winston.

Behind the peculiar and “harmless banjo-playing hermit” façade lies the conniving genius mind of Cletus Winston. Perceived by his own design as a “simpleton,” he has control and power over just about everyone, they just don’t know it. But he only actively expends time and effort meddling in the lives of his family, thank goodness. So when her highness, the Banana Cake Queen, surprisingly blackmails him, she turns his orderly life sideways. Can he help her and return back to his controlled life?

“My heart was a danger to itself and to me because Jennifer Sylvester and I were not suited… things would be complicated between us. I couldn’t abide complicated… I wanted predictable, and she’d never ceased to surprise me. Together we would not be perfectly pragmatic. We would be impressively impractical.”

Let me start by saying that every time I read a Penny Reid book I fall more in love with her writing and curse the fact I haven’t had time to read all her books yet. I’ll also admit that even though I loved Cletus, wanted to get to know the clever oddball and would love to be one of the only 24 people he has time for, I was sure I’d love him as a hero. He was great in Grin and Beard, undeniably funny and brilliant. I just couldn’t picture him as swoony enough for a book boyfriend. Of course I shouldn’t have doubted Reid’s amazing ability to develop richly layers characters in interesting plots.

Cletus isn’t just remarkably smart and devious, he has his weaknesses and loves fiercely. Jenn is kind, compassionate, remarkably smart in her own way and quirky fun. I loved being in their heads and the journey they embarked on was absolute delightful from start to finish.

These two transformers (because there’s definitely more than meets the eye about them) made me laugh, smile, swoon and fan myself with delicious slow burn between them. I loved how Jenn really saw Cletus and thus caught the almost all-knowing man off guard, and how while helping Jenn bring her backbone to the fore, Cletus finds his perfect match.

“Jennifer was the key to my cage. She was the key to my future. We fit together. Her strengths counterpoised my weaknesses.”

I loved how Jenn gave so much importance to such things as humility and forgiveness, how much value she put in being a mother which were also valued by Cletus. I got a really kick out of Cletus lovingly torturing his brothers and always going for and getting what he wanted. I could keep on telling you I could keep on telling you all the things I discovered and loved about these two but I’ll finish with two other outstanding aspects that need mention.

First, the family element which not only included great past and future characters I enjoyed reading about, but also that wonderful feeling of being part of a group of people who’ll love, help give sage advice and support you no matter what.

“You’ll know one day, Cletus. You’ll discover what it’s like to find the other part of yourself. You’ll know it’s her, only her, always her. Maybe not right away, but eventually you’ll know. She’ll be your beginning, middle, and end. And your intentions won’t matter. Love brings its own intentions, and all other plans, hopes, and dreams fade to insignificance in the face of love.”

And second, the witty dialogues that made me laugh and snort and made this story fly by.

“Jenn and I are going to make some sausage pie.”
“Sausage pie?”
“That’s right, sausage pie.”
“I see. So Jennifer is going to let you put your sausage in her pie.”

Beard Science is book #3 and the finale in the Winston Brothers series by Penny Reid. It is a delightful standalone romantic comedy you won’t want to miss. I can’t recommend this book enough. Told from both point of view with a happy ending.

* I was given an ARC of this book courtesy of the author via IndieSage PR. The excerpts are from that copy. *

About Penny Reid

Author-Photo-Penny-Reid-300x300

SEX! It all started with sex, between my parents. Personally I don’t like thinking about it, but whatever works for you is a-ok with me. No judgment. The sex happened in California and much of my life also occurred in that state until I moved from the land of nuts (almonds), wine, silicon… boobs, and heavy traffic to the southeast US. Like most writers I like to write, but let’s get back to sex. Eventually I married and gave birth to 2 small people-children (boy-6, girl-4 as of this writing).

By day I’m a biomedical researcher with focus on rare diseases. By night I’m a knitter, sewer, lino block carver, fabric printer, soap maker, and general crafter. By the wee hours of the morning or when I’m intoxicated I love to listen to the voices in my head and let them tell me stories. I hope you enjoy their stories.

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Sparking the Fire by Kate Meader Blog Tour and Giveaway

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Heating up reading lists this Fall will be Kate Meader’s highly anticipated Sparking the Fire, the “sexy and sassy” (#1 New York Times bestselling author Jude Deveraux) steamy third novel in the Hot in Chicago series, where former lovers unexpectedly reunite for a sizzling affair that will have the director yelling, “Quiet on the set!”

 

AN OLD FLAME STILL SIMMERS…

Wyatt Fox, resident daredevil at Engine Company 6, needs a low key job to keep him busy while he recovers from his latest rescue stunt. Consulting on a local movie shoot should add just enough spark to his day. But then in struts Molly Cade: the woman who worked his heart over good, and then left him in the Windy City dust.

 

BUT WILL A NEW SHOT AT LOVE LEAVE HER BURNED?

Actor Molly Cade, America’s fallen sweetheart, finally has her shot at a Hollywood comeback with a dramatic new role as a tough-as-nails firefighter that promises to propel her back into the big time. And she’s not going to let anything stand in her way—even a certain brooding, blue-eyed firefighter she’s never quite been able to forget…Their story is straight out of a script: irrepressible, spunky heroine meets taciturn, smoldering hero. But these two refuse to be typecast, and when the embers of an old love are stoked, someone is bound to get burned…

7f950-goodreads

Sparking the Fire
Sparking the Fire by Kate MeaderMy rating: 5 of 5 stars
A tantalizing sexilicious story with a flowing story line, witty banter, a to-die for surly hero and lively superstar heroine. A contemporary romance you won’t want to miss.

“She might have made her mark on his body, but he had branded his on her soul.”

Once upon a sultry summer night Molly Cade was an unknown theater actress who had a torrid one week anonymous affair with a marine who became the measure for all others. A number of blockbusters, an Oscar nomination, one failed marriage, a tainted public image, and several years later land Molly back in Chicago with an opportunity to comeback big in the starring role of a dramatic firefighter movie. The catch, she has to convince America’s favorite firefighter to endorse the film. Her plan, butter up the technical consultant the CFD is sending over.

“The elusive Dempsey. How was it possible that the man who had lit her on fire, body and soul, was also the man who could get her closer to her heart’s desire—a straight shot at his sister?”

After an on the job injury puts former marine firefighter out of commission for a couple of months he’s assigned as an advisor on a movie shoot. He’s adverse to the idea until he finds out the only woman who’s ever lit his life and heart, and feeds his fantasies is starring and producing it. Will they pick up where they left off and part ways like they did the first time around or will the re-write their story with a Hollywood happy ever after?

“Kissing her was like realizing that your world until now was monochromatic. Color sparked behind his eyelids and traveled all over his body, setting off mini-explosions of bliss.”

I can’t remember how or why I picked up a Kate Meader book the first time. I know exactly why I’ve done it every time since and will continue to do so. She’s an excellent writer that hook you right from the start and keeps you charmed and entertained throughout her stories. I want to tell you every little detail I loved about this story, but I would be practically quoting the entire thing so I’ll try to be brief.

“A primal urge to bomb her every cell with sensation rocked him. He wanted to run his bearded jaw over all that silky softness. Watch the gooseflesh pleasure-prickle her skin.”

Molly is an awesome heroine the kind you want to be friends with and not just because she’s a Hollywood superstar. She’s strong, kind and clever, she handles her fame with grace and has a vulnerable side that makes her very relateable. I liked that she was ambitious but she didn’t let that cloud her good judgment and I loved how she interacted with the Dempseys and just couldn’t control herself in the presence of hunky, bearded Neanderthal.

She poked him in the chest. “Drunk, sober, any state, I would be doin’ you tonight, Mister. Lucky. That’s what you are. A total BILF.”
“BILF?”
“Beard I’d like to fuck.”

Oh Wyatt! He left me in a pile of delicious mush. He’s a broody, cavemanish BILF! He’s the silent, odd man out in a rowdy family of firefighters. A calm and collected man who has grown to know and accept the incredible love from his foster siblings but still feels wholly inadequate, especially when it came to the only person “capable of turning him into this beast, the Abominable Un-Wyatt.” I loved how he was fiercely protective of his family and Molly.

She placed her palms on his shoulders. “You planning to glare me into orgasm, Marine?”
“I don’t glare. I smolder.”

The romance between Wyatt and Molly certainly sparks the fire. It is fun, flirt, touching and smoldering hot. I find it so hard to choose which quote to include. It grew a organically from lust to love and I cheered them on just as much as his family did, especially since the odds were against them.

“What in the fuckity fuck of all that is fucking fucked did you do to drive your woman away?”

Oh yeah, Wyatt’s family, a total hoot and completely addictive. I want to be Molly’s friend and Wyatt’s family.

Sparking the Fire is the third and final book in the Hot in Chicago series by Kate Meader. In true Meader fashion, it’s a fun, flirty, smoldering hot, standalone contemporary romance with a delicious alpha male, a vivacious heroine and a back and forth guaranteed to make you smile. Told from both points of view with a swoon worthy happy ending.

* I was given an ARC of this book courtesy of the author via NetGalley. The excerpts are from that copy. *

Praise for Sparking the Fire, Book 3

“The tale of hot firefighters and the women—and one man—who love them has come to an end. Meader ends this series with role playing, fierce family loyalty and multiple orgasms. The male protagonist goes through a transformation that showcases his vulnerability, insecurities, possessiveness and protectiveness. The many instances of a family sticking together through it all are more than enough to tug on the heart strings, but the steamy sex and sentimental pillow talk make this book a must-read.”

RT Book Reviews Four Star Review, Scorcher

 

“Can a firefighter and a movie star really make it work? Meader (Rekindle the Flame, 2015) immerses you in Wyatt’s tight-knit family of foster siblings that she’s built throughout the Hot in Chicago series, and readers will feel like part of the family in no time. Her descriptions of Chicago will leave fans wanting to travel to the Windy City and fall in love with their own firefighters.”

—Booklist

Sparking the Fire buy links

S&S  

AMAZON

B&N

BAM

INDIEBOUND

IBOOKSTORE (ebook)

KINDLE (ebook)

NOOK (ebook)

GOOGLE PLAY (ebook)

About the Author

Kate Meader was raised on romance. An Irish girl, she started with Catherine Cookson and Jilly Cooper novels, and spiced it up with some Mills & Boon. Now based in Chicago, she writes romances of her own, where sexy contemporary alpha heroes and strong heroines match each other quip for quip. When not immersed in tales of brooding mill owners, oversexed equestrians, and men who can rock an apron or a fire hose, Kate lives on the web at katemeader.com.

Fire Giveaway

We are excited to do a Fire Giveaway to celebrate the third in Kate Meader’s Hot in Chicago series, Sparking the Fire. This giveaway will include Flirting with Fire (Book 1) and Playing with Fire (Book 2). You can visit all sites on the blog tour to enter the Fire Giveaways – but keep in mind you can only win once! U.S. only.

Blog Tour:

September 14:

RT Book Reviews – Exclusive Excerpt only

September 20:

Heroes and Heartbreakers – Exclusive Excerpt + Giveaway

September 23:

USA Today’s Happy Ever After – Exclusive Excerpt only

September 26:

Harlequin Junkie – Spotlight + Giveaway

Under the Covers – Interview

A Midlife Wife

Mrs. Leif’s Two Fangs About It

September 27:

Collector of Book Boyfriends

Literary Gossip

The Romance Reviews

Once Upon a Twilight

Straight Shootin’ Book Reviews

September 28:

Four Chicks Flipping Pages

In Between the Pages

Reviews by Crystal

Read Love Blog

September 29:

Abigail Books Addiction

Read Your Writes

Booklovers for Life

Dirty and Thirty

September 30:

Lush Book Reviews

Art, Books & Coffee

Jack of All Trades, Master of None

The Lovely Books

October 3:

The Romance Dish

Margie’s Must Reads

Girl Meets Books

Dirty Girl Romance

Jen’s Reading Obsession

Jackie’s Books ‘n Bags

What’s Better Than Books?

TJ Loves to Read

Curvy and Nerdy

Hot Guys in Books

KT Book Reviews

October 4:

About That Story

Love is a State of Mind

Closet Geeks and Slow Mo

Book Junkiez

Books Are My Friends, Come See Why

Off-Grid-Momma’s Bookshelf

Fire and Ice Book Reviews

Polished Book Worm

Ingrid’s Book Blog

Thoughts of a Blonde

E-Reading After Midnight

October 5:

Cocktails and Books

WTF Are You Reading?

Alathia Paris Morgan

The Reading Café

Those Crazy Book Chicks

Anonymisses

The Sassy Bookster

Always Booking

I Love Romance

Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews

Kitty’s Book Spot!

 

October 6:

Bea’s Book Nook

Kricket’s Chirps Romance Blog

Ever After Book Reviews

Marie’s Tempting Reads

Jenerated Reviews

I’m A Sweet And Sassy Book Whore

Ebookobsessed.com

A Fortress of Books

Author Liaisons

Sexy Bibliophiles

The Librarian – Blog Talk Radio Author’s on the Air – Interview Only – Listen Live at 7:30 pm ET!

October 7:

Once Upon a Page

Ramblings from this Chick

Southern Yankee Book Reviews

Dog-Eared Daydreams

Oh My Growing TBR

Bujoijoi22

After Dark Book Lovers

Literary, Etc.

Misty’s Book Bin And More

Fiction Fangirls

The Book Quarry

HOT TIP: Kate is also offering a $25 Amazon gift card during the Sparking the Fire release tour. It will run Monday September 26 to Friday October 7. Enter here.

YOU BEFORE ANYONE ELSE by Julie Cross and Mark Perini

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Be a #ModelCitizen and Enter to Win!

YOU BEFORE ANYONE ELSE
Julie Cross & Mark Perini
Releasing August 2nd, 2016
Sourcebooks Fire
Bestselling author Julie Cross teams up with international model Mark Perini to create You Before
Anyone Else
, a poignant and authentic contemporary YA novel and companion to Halfway Perfect.
The supportive friend, the reliable daughter, the doting big sister: Finley is used to being the glue that holds everyone
together. But while her sweet demeanor makes her the perfect confidant, her wholesome look isn’t landing her the high-paying modeling jobs, which are what Finley needs if she is going to reopen her mother’s dance studio.
Enter Eddie. He’s intense and driven, not to mention the life of every party, and he completely charms Finley. The last thing she wants is another commitment to stand in the way of her dreams, but when she’s with Eddie, their chemistry takes over and she can let go of her responsibilities and just be. After all, what’s so wrong about putting herself first once in a while?
Except Eddie is hiding a secret. A big secret. And when it surfaces, he and Finley are going to have to choose between their love for each other and everything else… 
 
BUY NOW
Amazon | B & N | Google | iTunes 

Excerpt

FINLEY

“What are you so afraid of?” Summer asks.

I take a sip of the beer Dima brought me a few minutes ago. “Oh, I don’t know, addiction, overdose, puking on some innocent victim’s shoes, random drug testing by the agency…”

Summer laughs. “Drug testing on models? Yeah, that’ll be the day.”

Okay, so maybe I just don’t want to do it. Even if I should be in my so-called experimental phase.

I wouldn’t exactly label myself a rule follower, but I guess I’m just cautious. I haven’t always been this way. Not that I’ve done drugs, but before high school, I was all about ballet. Let’s just say I had a rep for being the sassy troublemaker. My mom being my ballet teacher may have had something to do with my behavior. My fingers immediately move to the cross dangling from my neck—I’ve only removed it a couple times over the last four years. Somehow, it’s always warmer than my hands.

I debate texting my dad to ask him if he’s done coke or molly. He’d probably tell me. But I wouldn’t want to freak him out. Seems like a conversation better reserved for a weekend visit instead of late on a Friday night when I could be too far gone to help, for all he knows.

I glance around the room and finally spot someone I know: my friend Alex and his girlfriend Eve. Alex and I did a big Calvin Klein shoot last year, and Eve was the photographer’s assistant. Actually, Eve used to be a model too, another preteen/teen phenom like Elana, who headlined that CK shoot along with Alex. My part had been fairly small, and still, that was my biggest job ever.

“Have you met Alex?”

Summer shrugs, grabs two more shots of vodka, and hands me one. “Like I would remember.”

I down the shot quickly and prepare to talk to Alex and Eve. Maybe they’ve done drugs and can advise me. But my buzzing phone distracts me. I pull it out of my purse and glance at the new text.

JASON: Yeah, it’s so weird to be home again. But I missed it.

My stomach flip-flops. He replied to my text. Hours later, but still…this could mean—

“Oh lord, you’re pathetic.” Summer is leaned toward me, reading over my shoulder. “That’s probably enough for you to live off of for another six months or so, right?”

I glare at her and shove the phone back into my purse.

“No comeback? Wonder why…” She pretends to be in deep thought. “He said he missed it. Not you. Cut the fucking cord already. It’s not healthy.”

If only it were that easy. When you’re in a relationship with someone for four years, you get so comfortable with that person. It’s daunting to start all over again.

I make my way across the room to see Alex and Eve, who are leaning against the back of the couch, more absorbed in each other than anything else.

“I heard Elana’s back from France?” Alex asks me, keeping his voice low.

“Yep, her and her mom. I think her mom is driving her crazy, but that’s to be expected. French Mama is driving me crazy too.”

They both laugh at the mention of French Mama, but I can’t take credit for that title. Summer made it up.

“I can’t believe her parents let her come back to New York,” Eve says.

Alex smiles at her. “You’re just upset that they’re here and not in France where we can hit them up for lodging.”

My gaze travels back and forth between the two of them. “You guys are going to France? Are you going for Fashion Week?”

Eve shakes her head. “Nope. I did the Prada shoot, and I’m done for good. Got tuition for next year covered.”

Even though Eve had supposedly quit modeling a few years ago, she pulled a one-last-job stunt last spring to cover her tuition at Columbia. She’s a photography student with a lot of experience under her belt.

“We’re doing the cheap travel, backpacking in Europe but without actual backpacks thing,” Alex explains.

Across the room, another beer pong player is being requested. This could possibly be the most adventurous thing I’m willing to do here. I turn to Alex and Eve again. “Well, good luck in Europe. I’m gonna go play beer pong.”

“Hey.” I grab Dima’s shirt sleeve. “You need another player?”

He looks me over, deliberating. “Sure. Be the new guy’s partner.”

“The new guy?” I glance around. What does that even mean? New to the party, like he just walked in? I’ve been here fifteen minutes.

“He’s new to the agency,” Dima says. “First casting, and he books some big job.”

“So we hate him then, right?” I joke. I turn around to head toward the game table and run right into a guy about my age with wild, dark curly hair and designer jeans.

“This guy,” Dima says to me and then turns to the new guy. “Got you a partner. Finley. She lives in the agency apartment downstairs.”

They exchange a look that says I’ve been mentioned before. I’m not liking that too much, but usually, I don’t come to these parties. Instead, I bang on the door at two in the morning to tell them to

stop thumping around like elephants. Maybe I got a bad rep.

While we wait for Dima to find a partner, I snatch two beers from a nearby cooler and offer one up to New Guy. “So, Dima said you’re new, but he didn’t say where you’re from.”

“Uh…the Midwest.”

“The Midwest.” Okay. Someone doesn’t want to get personal. “Like Wisconsin or like Chicago?”

“Chicago…well, not in Chicago, but around it, you know?” he says.

“Right.” I pop open my can and take a drink. “What’s your name? I’m sorry, I don’t think Dima said…”

“Eddie.” He lifts his gaze again. “Eddie Wells. And you’re Finley Belton, the girl who lives downstairs.”

Summer breezes past me but stops when she spots me holding the beer pong ball. “Beer pong? Oh, you wild animal…grrrr.” She holds up her tiger paws and growls at me.

I give her the finger and then turn back to Eddie. “I’m one of the girls who live downstairs.”

“One is too bitchy, one is too underage, and one is nice,” he recites, most likely quoting Dima.

This is exactly what I’m trying to escape tonight. “Dima called me the baby bear?” I’m secretly hoping he catches my reference to Goldilocks.

“No,” Eddie says. “He called you Finley Belton, but I added the nice part, because you brought me a beer. And it is just right, not to mention you’re talking to me instead of staring and whispering to other people about me.”

Points for his fairy tale knowledge, and I’m sure the whispering is the result of whatever big job he’s landed. Too many models at this party.

Eve tries to be Dima’s partner, but he refuses and tells Alex to play with him. Eve opens her mouth to protest, but Dima holds up a hand. “Don’t even. I know your type. You’ll engineer some fancy trick shots. No Ivy League players showing me up. I got a rep to protect.”

“Fine,” Eve snaps. “I’ll just stand here and look pretty. And I’m definitely rooting for Fin and…” She gestures toward the new guy.

“Eddie,” I fill in for her. “Eddie from Chicago.”

“Eddie from Chicago,” Eve repeats. “Good luck.”

Summer returns and stands beside Eve, both leaning against the back of the love seat.

“Fin makes a great partner,” Summer says to Eddie. “She knits. Lots of finger dexterity.”

I shoot her a glare and will my face not to heat up. So not cool.

Review

You Before Anyone Else
You Before Anyone Else by Julie Cross
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars


Fun, flirty, endearing and touching. Not what I was expecting but I completely enjoyed this story about self-discovery and breaking the mold.

Eddie picks up a lock of my hair. Slowly, he slides it between his fingers. “You’re not my type either. Too pretty. Too nice. Too smart. Too perfect. I’d hate to go after someone I could actually fall for…”

Finley has a goal no one knows about. To achieve it she needs big bucks and therefore better contracts which usually go to edgier, rebellious models and not the selfless, goody goody ones like her. Trying to get out of her comfort zone she decides to have a fling with a fun, yummylicious stranger. As it turns out though, he’s the newest model at her agency who’ll be living in her same building. Can she resist the attraction she feels toward Eddie? After she finds out he’s keeping secrets of his own, will she still feel the same way about him?

Eddie Wells’ confident, carefree façade couldn’t be further from the truth. He’s taken a job no one knows about because he needs the money to refocus his life which he’s not exactly sure what direction will take. And just the tip of the iceberg of secrets he’s keeping. But in the meantime, he’d love nothing more than to spend time with the smart, beautiful, down to earth girl who makes his feel calm but only wants a one night stand. Can he convince Finley to at least give him a chance to enjoy the now? Will spending time with her make him open up and reveal all his troubles? When the time comes, will he be able to give her up?

My head clouds with a million thoughts – “Who are you Eddie Wells? What is your story? Why does it seem like you have so much to tell? And why is your mouth so easy to stare at?”

I was invited to read this title because I read and enjoyed Julie Cross and Mark Perini’s previous book Halfway Perfect and I’m incredibly thankful for the invite. I liked You Before Everyone Else immensely, which really doesn’t come as a surprise because I’ve read other books by Julie. I will say this though, given the blurb I was expecting a light, fun r about models. What I got was certainly fun, but also endearing characters whose stories pulled at my heart strings.

“Neither of my parents have ever cooked a meal for me. I have no memory of being hugged by them. Ever. They’ve never taken me to the zoo or the park…”

The characterization is fantastic. Both Eddie and Fin feel real and relateable. They’ve both had difficult pasts but neither are boggled down but them. They’re both trying to be better people despite their histories and striving to find their place in the world and in each other’s lives. Finley is totally a goody-two-shoes who tries to help her father, her brother’s, Eddie, everyone really. She’s selfless and ignoring what she’s really wanted to do all her life. I loved how, with Eddie’s help, she found her confidence and made herself a priority.

Eddie was totally adorable. He’s completely lost, a stray, as Finley’s roommate called him. But he’s incredibly sweet, strong and determined to be better than his father, his family. Just be better and try to do the right thing. My heart broke for the total lack of warmth and support he had but applauded his bravery and loved that he found his place in Finley’s life.

There is of course a good dose of delicious chemistry and great banter between Eddie and Fin, however this is a new adult book and their sexy times are mostly delectable make out sessions which fade to black. Something I liked because then the focus is on the actual relationship between them.

I loved the dynamic between them which was strong and sweet, tentative and yet intense. The way they accept and support each other is lovely. If they put what they truly want on a map, their paths barely cross because modeling to them is a means to an end. Yet they don’t try to change the other, but rather try to fit as best as possible their lives to one another. Which included Fin’s incredibly adorable twin brothers and amazing dad.

I absolutely have to give a shout out to Fin’s father, Sam. He’s loving and supportive, really cool and understanding. He wants what’s best for his daughter but isn’t imposing in any way. The completely opposite to Eddie’s family.

You Before Everyone Else hits all the right New Adult marks about barely being old enough to vote, not old enough to drink and still having tough adult choices to make and finding oneself. The pace was terrific, I desperately wanted to know Eddie’s secrets and then wanted to know how everything would unfold and was so glad that the ending was a very realistic and happy.

Even though this book isn’t marked as a series, I loved having Alex, Eve and Evana from “Halfway Perfect” back, playing pivotal roles in the story. You Before Everyone Else is a YA standalone book, told from both points of view with a happy ending.

Julie Cross and Mark Perini, along with Tasty Book Tours, are celebrating
those who have taken the steps in Breaking the Mold on society’s expectations,
like Finley, the heroine from YOU BEFORE ANYONE ELSE!  We are looking for anyone who would like to
share their story and be entered to win a 2017 Erin Condren Life Planner!
 
Head over to fb.me/TastyBookTours and leave a comment with your story.  Feel
free to share picture of your journey and use #breakingthemold at the end of
your comment!
 
Entries must be in by 11:59pm, Aug
15th, 2016.  No purchase
necessary to enter.  If under 12 years
old, you must have approval by a guardian to enter.   

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Julie Cross is a NYT and USA Today
bestselling author of New Adult and Young Adult fiction, including the Tempest
series, a young adult science fiction trilogy which includes Tempest, Vortex,
Timestorm (St. Martin’s Press).
She’s also the author of Letters to Nowhere series, Whatever Life Throws at
You, Third Degree, Halfway Perfect, and many more to come!Julie lives in Central Illinois with her husband and three children. She’s a former gymnast, longtime gymnastics fan, coach, and former Gymnastics Program
Director with the YMCA.She’s a lover of books, devouring several novels a week, especially in the
young adult and new adult genres.Outside of her reading and writing credibility’s, Julie Cross is a
committed–but not talented–long distance runner, creator of imaginary beach
vacations, Midwest bipolar weather survivor, expired CPR certification card
holder, as well as a ponytail and gym shoe addict.

 

Mark Perini is
a New York City based author debuting his first YA novel, Halfway Perfect.
Additionally, Mark is a featured author in the NA anthology, Fifty First Times.
Mark began his career as an international
fashion model when he was 18 years old, while simultaneously obtaining a
business degree from Seton Hall University. He has a passion for traveling the
world, and he’s made a blood pact with friends to see all seven ancient wonders
of the world before he’s thirty. Four down three to go.
 
Don’t miss the companion novel
HALFWAY PERFECT

Release Blast Info for SWEET CAROLINA MORNING by Susan Schild

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Life down South just got a whole lot sweeter…

 

SWEET CAROLINA MORNING
Willow Hill #2
Susan Schild
Releasing Aug 2nd, 2016
Lyrical Press

Life down South just got a whole lot sweeter in Susan Schild’s new novel about a woman whose happily-ever-after is about to begin…whether she’s ready for it or not. 

Finally, just shy of forty years old, Linny Taylor is living the life of her dreams in her charming hometown of Willow Hill, North Carolina. The past few years have been anything but a fairy tale: Left broke by her con man late-husband, Linny has struggled to rebuild her life from scratch. Then she met Jack Avery, the town’s much-adored veterinarian. And she’s marrying him.

Everything should be coming up roses for Linny. So why does she have such a serious case of pre-wedding jitters? It could be because Jack’s prosperous family doesn’t approve of her rough-and-tumble background. Or that his ex-wife is suddenly back on the scene. Or that Linny has yet to win over his son’s heart. All these obstacles—not to mention what she should wear when she walks down the aisle—are taking the joy out of planning her wedding. Linny better find a way to trust love again, or she might risk losing the one man she wants to be with—forever…

Excerpt

from Chapter 1: Trouble in the Stepmother Hood

Though it was February, the galley kitchen at her future husband’s old farmhouse was steamy and hot, but Linny hardly noticed. Peering at the pages on the counter, she pushed back up her nose the reading glasses she’d had to borrow from Jack and double-checked to make sure she’d not left out any key ingredients. Why had she printed the recipe in ten-point font?

Tonight’s menu came from a website she’d found called Recipes for Picky Eaters, and she hoped it was a winner. She shook her head, chagrined at Jack’s reaction to the first possible menu she’d suggested. He’d kept that pleasant smile on his handsome face, but his eyebrows had shot up. Once they’d come back down to normal, his veto had been so diplomatic. “Darlin’, the mountain trout, braised Brussels sprouts, and beet salad sounds tasty, and I hope you cook them for me real soon, but eleven-year-old boys’ tastes tend to be more… well, mainstream.”

Blowing back a stray lock of hair, she turned on the oven light and peeked inside. The neat rows of crusted chicken breasts were browning nicely in their casserole dish home. The side dishes—creamy-looking mac and cheese and green bean casserole topped with onion rings—were both bubbling gently. She breathed in cooking smells and was transported back to Sunday suppers at the farm when Nana and Paw-Paw were still alive. Sighing, she felt a wash of safety, contentment, belonging. Those were just the feelings she wanted to infuse in this new little family.

Sliding into the chair, Linny admired the old kitchen table and touched the swirls of the tiger oak. It felt warm, solid. How many other families had sat around it and shared their lives over meals? She pictured her and her two men gathered around like in a scene from the Hallmark Channel, talking and laughing about their day. Jack and Neal would lavishly compliment her on her cooking, she’d blush, wave them off, and act as though it was no big deal. “I just threw the meal together,” she’d trill.

Trouble was, it was a big deal, and not just because Linny was just learning to cook. She rubbed her chin and thought about it. This morning, Jack had sat his son down after they’d cleaned up from their pancake breakfast and told him that he and Linny were marrying in the summer. Linny had just sat beside Jack and let him do the talking but felt a stab of sadness as she saw Neal’s face fall. Forlorn. He looked forlorn. When he asked in a trembling voice, “So, you and Mom aren’t ever getting back together?” she thought her heart might break. He still held out hope for his family to be whole again, the way it used to be. Never mind that Neal’s mother, Vera, had already remarried the year before. Though Linny and Jack had been dating officially since October, she’d only just started spending a lot of time with the two of them. Jack hadn’t wanted to introduce her to his son until they knew they were serious, so Linny was only just getting to know the young man.

Linny got a nervous flip in her stomach when she thought about becoming a stepmother. She’d gone thirty-eight years without children, and in a few short months, she’d be slipping into this new role without even a course or certificate. Linny got up and made herself a mug of Chamomile tea. Calming, the label said.  She sat back down and blew on the tea to cool it and tried to quell the thrum of the squadron of butterflies that was revving up in the pit of her stomach.

Staring out the window, she thought of the other scenarios she’d been imagining, in living color and the minutest detail. If she messed up in this new job, he’d be that troubled teen with the shaved head who sold pot and lived in their basement after he dropped out of school in tenth grade. Neal would end up being the inebriated driver of a speeding car full of kids who drove them into a tree after leaving an unchaperoned party. Her heart banged as she tried to obliterate the image she’d seen in this morning’s News and Clarion -the mangled wreckage of a barely recognizable car driven by a teen going the wrong way on I-40. He’d killed himself and badly injured a whole vanload of kids on the way home late from a church youth group retreat. Pulling out her phone, she scrolled through her emails as the good smells wafted from the oven and felt her shoulders relax as she reread Mary Catherine’s note. Nice to have a best friend who practiced family law.

Under the subject line, Impending Stepmother Hood, her friend wrote:

You asked for advice on your new parenting gig. Remember, a lot of divorced couples and blended families don’t talk civilly and don’t act in the best interests of children. In my practice, we serve more of the send-the-kids-home-dirty and talk-trash-about-the-stepmother crowd. What not to do may be more useful than what to do.

Another disclaimer: I’m no expert on teenage boys just because I had one. Remember just a few months back, my nineteen-year-old almost got a DUI on a bike. Boys are knuckleheads between the ages of eleven and twenty-four. Your nerves will fray no matter how hard you try to be a good mother—or, harder yet, stepmother—but I will tell you what I know.

 Meet me for a quick breakfast 7:00 a.m. Wednesday at Jumpin’ Joe’s Bean House?

Blowing out a sigh of relief, Linny replied, Perfect. She let herself sink back into the chair for a moment. Thank goodness for Mary Catherine.

Glancing at the clock, she rose and fretted as she checked the timer. Last weekend’s cookout at her place had been a bust. Neal had picked at his food, claiming he “’just wasn’t hungry.”’ What American boy didn’t like grilled hamburgers and French fries made from scratch—from the actual potato? Could it be that he didn’t like her? She tried to dismiss the thought. How could he not like her when she was already so fond of him? He was whip smart, mostly well mannered, sensitive, and had an offbeat sense of humor that would catch her when she wasn’t expecting it and make her burst out laughing.

Tonight would be different, she decided, setting flatware firmly at the three places at the table. After grilling Jack extensively about his son’s food likes and dislikes, she’d scoured the internet for the perfect menu. If she was finally going to embark on this mother thing, she sure as heck was going to excel at it. She’d do the whole shebang: soccer weekends, volunteering on field trips, deep talks about life. She’d waited long enough for this little family, and now that she’d got it, dang it, she was going to do it right. The water glasses spilled over as she set them too firmly down on the table.

Jack and Neal were still at the barn with the mare that was about to foal. She picked up the walkie-talkie and pressed the button. “Supper’s ready, men.”

The line crackled. “Be right up,” Jack said cheerfully. “I’m hungry as a bear.”

She’d just finished putting on a slick of lip gloss as they clattered into the room, bringing with them a wash of fresh February air. Her heart still skipped a beat when Jack gave her a boyish grin, and she longed for a kiss, but there was sweet-faced Neal, right on his heels. She felt a pang of regret. She and Jack had talked about it and agreed on the rule of no smooching or PDAs in front of the boy right on the brink of becoming a man. She felt wistful. Leaning against the stove, she smiled as she took them in, amazed at how much commotion the two could make just walking into a room, with their thudding boots, unzippering coats, biceps punching, and easy laughter. Linny raked back her hair with her fingers. Man, her too quiet life had sure changed.

 
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Start the Willow Hill Series at the beginning!
Susan Schild writes
wholesome and sunny Southern fiction. She likes stories about charming men,
missing money, adventuresome women, sweet dogs, and happily ever afters at any
age. 
Susan is a wife and a stepmother. She enjoys rummaging through thrift store for
treasures like four dollar cashmere sweaters and amateur watercolor paintings.
She likes taking walks with her Lab mix, Tucker, and his buddies. She and her
family live in North Carolina.Susan has used her professional background as a psychotherapist and a
management consultant to add authenticity to her characters.

SWEET SOUTHERN HEARTS,
the final book in the Willow Hill series, will be released in January of 2017.
Readers can look forward to more adventures, new beaus, sinister ministers,
lovebirds over fifty, a road trip for Mama and her pals, and maybe even an “I
Do”…or two.

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