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Jay Crownover’s RECOVERED Release Day Launch

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The road to recovery is full of twists and turns no matter who is in the driver’s seat.

From New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Jay Crownover comes a standalone romance with a hero sure to keep readers up long into the night. Pick up your copy of RECOVERED for just $.99 through release week only!

It was hate at first sight……

Affton

I hated Cable James McCaffrey.

He was entitled, spoiled, a user…and an addict.

He was out of control and didn’t bother trying to hide it.

He had everything anyone could want but still seemed miserable and lost.

Every move he made, every mistake he stumbled his way through, rubbed me the wrong way. However, I couldn’t stop myself from trying to save him from himself when no one else would. In the sweltering heat of the summer, Cable taught me that having it all means nothing if you can’t have the one thing you want more than anything else.


Cable

I was obsessed with Affton Reed.

She was rigid, uptight, and no fun. There was something about her innate goodness that called to me.

She acted like she was above all the normal faults and failures that clung to the rest of us like the scent of smoke after a fire.

I was infatuated with her, but that didn’t stop me from acting like she didn’t exist.

In the scorching heat of summer, Affton taught me that there is always a way back from the brink of despair. She showed me that the trick to having it all was realizing that it was already there, in my hands. All I had to do was hold onto it.

The road to recovery is full of twists and turns no matter who is in the driver’s seat.

RECOVERED is just $.99 through release week! Order your copy of RECOVERED today!

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EXCERPT:

I took another swallow of cinnamon-flavored booze and made a face as it burned down my throat. Maybe I could breathe fire. I needed to be able to if I was going to make it through the summer with Affton Reed looking over my shoulder. She had some of the strongest shields I’d ever seen. If my fire wasn’t hot enough, it would bounce off her and burn me to a crisp.

The sun was down, and I was pretty much sitting in the water now. I thought about lying down and letting it lift me up and carry me wherever it wanted. I wasn’t drifting anywhere good on my own. I heard splashing and felt the air behind me stir. No longer alone. No longer left to my own devices and bad choices.

I took another swig from the bottle, draining it, and looked over my shoulder at the girl making her way toward me. Her hair looked silver in the darkening light, and there was no mistaking the annoyance on her unmade-up face. She looked at me then shifted her gaze to the empty bottle in my hand. Her lips pulled into a frown, and her eyebrows tugged down into an angry V over the top of her nose.

“You aren’t going to make anything about this summer easy, are you, Cable?”

I had a thing for her voice. It was a little bit husky and a lot sweet with that slow, southern Texas twang in it. The way my name sounded when she said it, all exasperated and frustrated, was fucking sexy. It made me wonder what it would sound like when she whispered it in the dark while I was inside of her. I’d imagined that more times than I could count over the last eighteen months.

“I don’t really do easy, Reed.” I looked at the empty bottle in my hand and contemplated tossing it into the Gulf. Knowing my luck, I’d hit some endangered marine life and give the judge one more reason to add months onto my sentence. Instead, I reached up and handed it to the leggy blonde who was now standing next to me, the water well above her ankles.

“Jesus. Did you drink this whole thing?” She sounded incensed, and when I rolled my eyes up to look at her, it was clear she was contemplating hitting me over the head with the very weapon I’d just handed to her.

I shrugged. “Pretty much.” The bubbly teen girls barely had the chance to put a dent in it before I swooped in and snagged their stash.

She sighed from where she was hovering above me. I jolted in shock when she suddenly lowered herself to the wet sand next to me, the water immediately soaking into her frayed cutoffs and swirling around her ankles and hips as she copied my pose, my empty bottle caught between her feet. She leaned forward, rested her cheek on her knee, and gazed at me steadily out of those mesmerizing eyes. “I tried to tell your mother this was hopeless. I warned her there is no helping someone who doesn’t want to be helped. I don’t want to be here, Cable.” Her voice was hard, and I was surprised that her admission hurt a little bit. I didn’t want to be around me most of the time, but I was used to other people flocking to me, vying for my attention. “I don’t want to be here, but I have to be, so that means you’re stuck with me no matter how difficult you decide to make the next couple of months. I don’t have a choice.”

I wanted a cigarette. I needed something to occupy my hands and my mouth. I’d left the smokes and m y t-shirt on the steps of the deck off dad’s house. The steps led to the beach, just a few feet from the water. It was a beautiful house on a prime piece of property. With Affton here, it was nothing more than an expensive jail cell.

I knew exactly what means my mother had gone to in order to get Affton to agree to this madness. She told me outright she was blackmailing my former classmate, I think in a thinly veiled attempt to make me care about someone else’s future if I wouldn’t care about my own. I knew if I drove Affton away, her father would lose his job. It wasn’t fair, but my mom had been nothing short of ruthless in her pursuit of my sobriety. “My mom can be very convincing when she puts her mind to it.” She could also be tough as nails and immovable when she wanted something.

Affton snorted and shifted so her chin was resting on her knee instead of her cheek. She looked out over the endless landscape of water and sky, and I shivered even though it wasn’t cold. I lifted a hand to run it through my hair. My unease lived inside of me, crawled all around my bones and under my skin. I wasn’t used to it making its way to the surface because of someone else. There was a lot unsaid between me and this girl. The few words we’d exchanged were powerful, important ones that hung heavy between us. It was so much easier when I looked at her, and she refused to look back.

“I don’t think convincing is the word I would use…more like conniving. Either way, she tied my hands, so succeed or fail, you are stuck with me until the end of summer. Let’s get you into the house so you can sleep this bottle off and pray you don’t get popped for a piss test tomorrow.” She grabbed the bottle from where she had plunked the base in the sand and lifted a pale eyebrow at me. “You should have picked something…” she trailed off and gave me a shrug. “Less wussy to enjoy your last binge with. This stuff tastes like toothpaste.”

She offered me her free hand, and for a second all I could picture was grabbing it and pulling her under with me, letting the water cover us both and take us somewhere we would both rather be. I didn’t. I took her hand and struggled to my feet. Months of forced sobriety tumbled away under the wash of cinnamon whiskey. I wobbled and almost went back down, but before I could nose dive into the shallow water, Affton was there, arm around my waist, empty bottle pressed into my side, a chilly reminder that I’d already fucked this up and it was only the first day.

I had no idea how either one of us was going to survive the summer, and if we did, I had no idea how I was supposed to survive beyond that when I was once again left to my own devious and duplicitous devices.

MY REVIEWIn this raw, gritty and intense new adult romance, Cable McCaffrey needs to get a foothold in an uphill battle to stay sober but having the straight laced, beyond reproach and unattainable Affton Reed as his keeper during the summer is an ever bigger challenge.

Addiction ruined her life once, Affton is not about to let it derail her plans now and spending her summer trying to keep Cable out of trouble is only a speed bump even though she’s resigned to the fact that she’ll probably fail because he wasn’t just an entitled spoiled teen, no one ever said no to him. That is, until the day she tried to save him from himself which unchained a series of events that ended in tragedy. But time has passed and Cable is about to teach her a thing or two about having it all.

Even though Cable did his best to ignore her during high school, there was something about Affton that fascinated him, sadly his demons were bigger. But now he has the opportunity to have everything he wanted, all he has to do is try and hold on.

Both Affton and Cable are complex and interesting characters. While Affton was an incredibly strong, independent, and very centered young woman, Cable is lost and broken and riddled with self-hate. They’re complete opposites and yet perfect for one another because both are closed off due to loss, they both understand guilt and sadness.

Things never really go as planned, much less when two people are forced to spend time together, but it’s the perfect setting for this raw, real and honest romance. After a lot of pushing and provoking, they get under each other’s skin. Cable finds understanding and support from Affton and the possibility of losing her drives him to make an effort. The story moves between deep discussions of addiction, devastating secrets, forgiveness, redemption, hope and a beautifully intense romance neither Cable nor Affton expected.

Crownover expertly entwines addiction as a backstory for contemplation and interpersonal development while reminding the reader that before we can love others, we need to love ourselves.

Recovered is a standalone new adult romance by Jay Crownover. It is a powerful contemporary romance that hooked me from start to finish. Told from both points of view with a happily ending, no cliffhanger.

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About Jay Crownover:

Jay Crownover is the international and multiple New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men Series, The Saints of Denver Series, the Point Series, the Breaking Point Series, and the Getaway Series. Her books can be found translated in many different languages all around the world. She is a tattooed, crazy haired Colorado native who lives at the base of the Rockies with her awesome dogs. This is where she can frequently be found enjoying a cold beer and Taco Tuesdays. Jay is a self-declared music snob and outspoken book lover who is always looking for her next adventure, between the pages and on the road.

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Most All of You by Mia Sheridan Review

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MOST OF ALL YOU

by Mia Sheridan

SUMMARY

A broken woman . . .

 

Crystal learned long ago that love brings only pain. Feeling nothing at all is far better than being hurt again. She guards her wounded heart behind a hard exterior and carries within her a deep mistrust of men, who, in her experience, have only ever used and taken.

 

A man in need of help . . .

 

Then Gabriel Dalton walks into her life. Despite the terrible darkness of his past, there’s an undeniable goodness in him. And even though she knows the cost, Crystal finds herself drawn to Gabriel. His quiet strength is wearing down her defenses and his gentle patience is causing her to question everything she thought she knew.

 

Only love can mend a shattered heart . . .

 

Crystal and Gabriel never imagined that the world, which had stolen everything from them, would bring them a deep love like this. Except fate will only take them so far, and now the choice is theirs: Harden their hearts once again or find the courage to shed their painful pasts.

REVIEW

Two broken souls, one emotional story that’ll be impossible to let go of long after you’ve put it down. Mia Sheridan delivers a poignant story that will break your heart and put it back together with a deep and beautiful love that celebrates the triumph of the human spirit.

Gabriel Dalton had to cope with a horribly undesirable past, but he pulled through with his own unbreakable strength and will. Though there’s still a part of him that needs healing.

From an early age Crystal learned about loss, feeling the emotional pain down to her marrow and enduring the consequences of it by being neglected, deprived of the love and safety all children should enjoy.

Given her unfortunate circumstances and in order to evade ever feeling heartbreak again she built a fortress to protect her and learned to detach body and mind during the unpleasant moments she still has to endure. Until Gabriel Dalton with his tender gaze, gentle patience and sculptor’s hands chipped away her defenses and taught her that there are good men worth taking a risk.

It wasn’t an easy acceptance, she’s broken and afraid. She pushes him away again and again because every man she’s come across has only used and abused her. But Gabriel, sensing a dark past not unlike his own, doesn’t give up.

Together they find a love that’s capable of mending their brokenness. But it’s up to them, especially Crystal, to find herself and the ability to trust him.

Right off the bat, I was hooked and saddened by Crystal’s story. Her start in life was so desolate and only got worse with time. Her hardness and wariness was warranted. She needed those walls to survive. Gabriel saw that, but also saw her softness and the potential for so much.

Gabriel was such an incredible hero, having gone through his own hell also at a young age, but having a better family life, he came out broken yet with his soul intact. I fell in love with him right from the start with his shy smile and strong will. And the more I read, the more I fell, because he was just such good and gentle man, full of love, gratefulness and strength which was also so very sexy.

Most All of You is an emotionally naked story about fortitude, hope and healing brought by a virtuoso at lacing heartbreak, passion and love. A must read for all romance lovers. This one goes straight to my favorites list.

Most All of You is a standalone contemporary romance by author Mia Sherida. It is told from both points of view with a sweet, sweet happy ending.

BUY THE BOOK HERE

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Mia Sheridan is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author. Her passion is weaving true love stories about people destined to be together. Mia lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband. They have four children here on earth and one in heaven.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

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Add Most of All You to your shelf on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2uvpZY4

 

Giveaway

Win 1 of 10 paperbacks.

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Follow Forever Online

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Bad for Her by Christi Barth Release Blitz

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Today we have the release day blitz for Christi Barth’s Bad For You! I am so excited to share this new romance with you! Check it out and grab your copy today!

 

 

Title: Bad For You

Author: Christi Barth

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: October 3rd

Bad For Her Synopsis:

USA Today bestselling author Christi Barth launches a sexy new series about three bad-boy brothers in Witness Protection who are about to learn that going good is harder than they thought…

Doctor Mollie Vickers loves the tight-knit community of her tiny Oregon town. But she’s not a fan of the limited dating options. Sleep with a guy who tried to copy off her in junior high? Pass. Mollie’s sex life is flatlining… until a deliciously handsome man she’s never seen before stops to help her fix a flat tire.

 

As an ex-mobster, Rafe Maguire’s no saint. But he’s trying to turn over a new leaf. Although he probably shouldn’t kiss the hot doctor on the side of the highway. Or suggest a no-strings fling with a woman he has no business pursuing. Rafe’s life is too complicated for love—his new WITSEC-provided identity doesn’t fit him at all and there’s a U.S. Marshal watching his every move. He can’t tell Mollie the truth… but their chemistry is scorching and being good doesn’t mean he can’t be a little bad.

 

Mollie can’t resist the guy who looks rough, talks tough, and is loyal to the bone. But it’s obvious Rafe is keeping secrets. When the truth comes out, Mollie must decide if she could ever love an ex-mobster… or if this bad boy has truly gone good.

Grab Your Copy Today!

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Exclusive Excerpt:

Parking right at the nose of her Jeep, he got out. Tried to appear non-menacing. Which was the complete opposite of how he’d approached pretty much every situation for half his life. Hell, even the women he’d dated had known what he did and gotten off on the idea of his dangerous life.

The marshal had given him some pointers on how to come off as normal. One thumb tucked into the waist of his jeans, so it didn’t look like his fist was braced for action. Other arm relaxed at his side. She’d said something about a loose walk, but Rafe only knew one way to walk. To be safe, he stopped almost immediately.

“Hey there. Do you need some help?”

She turned to him with a whirl of her olive-colored skirt. It was too long to flash him any leg. But the motion did part her denim jacket to reveal a skin-tight orange tank. Too bad a green scarf covered what Rafe expected to be pretty spectacular breasts. “Only if you’ve got some sort of magic wand that’ll fix my tire.”

“I don’t like to talk about my magic wand before I buy a girl dinner.”

She cocked her head. Looked left, then right, then back at him. “You know, we’re all alone on a forested stretch of highway. Maybe save the sexual innuendo for a better time and place?”

“Name it, and I will.” Because she wasn’t scared of him. Nothing about her posture had gone defensive after he’d made his comment. Which, yeah, was sleazy and cheap. Rafe had to remember that he wasn’t in a big city with nine million people anymore. The disposable dating pool was limited. Probably not even eight thousand.

Sauntering forward—which proved the woman wasn’t scared of him—she gave him an up-and-down stare. Fair enough. Rafe did the same to her. Except he didn’t make it even partway down. He stalled out at her eyes. They were a smoky green; the color of the pine trees behind them, wrapped in fog. Bedroom eyes. Yeah, he could stare into those all night . . . and all the way through to breakfast.

“Okay,” she finally said. “You’re cute. But why should I give you a chance?”

Rafe liked that she went toe-to-toe with him. “I’m the one doing you the favor, remember? Turnabout is fair play.”

“What favor?”

“I’m going to fix your car.”

“Really?” She brightened all over, from her suddenly sparkling eyes to a bounce in her hair and a twitch in her ass as she rushed back to the tire. “I called for a tow truck, but they said it’d be more than an hour.”

“I don’t have a magic wand, but if you hand me that jack, I’ll get that flat off and the spare on in less than ten minutes.”

She shot him a sassy smirk. “This is one time when speed won’t count against you, I promise.”

 

About the Author:

Christi Barth earned a Masters degree in vocal performance and embarked upon a career on the stage.

A love of romance then drew her to wedding planning. Ultimately she succumbed to her lifelong love of books and now writes award-winning contemporary romance, including the Naked Men and Aisle Bound series. Christi can always be found whipping up gourmet meals (for fun, honest!) or with her nose in a book. She lives in Maryland with the best husband in the world.

 

Connect with Christi:

Website /Pinterest / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Blog

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Review Tour Info for READY TO RUN by Lauren Layn

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Named Best Book of the Month by Amazon and iBooks 
READY TO RUN
I Do, I Don’t #1
Lauren Layne
Releasing Aug 22, 2017
Loveswept

The Bachelor meets The Runaway Bride in this addictive romance novel about a reality TV producer falling for her would-be star: a Montana heartthrob who wants nothing to do with the show.

Jordan Carpenter thinks she’s finally found the perfect candidate for Jilted, a new dating show about runaway grooms: Luke Elliott, a playboy firefighter who’s left not one but three brides at the altar. The only problem? Luke refuses to answer Jordan’s emails or return her calls. Which is how she ends up on a flight to Montana to recruit him in person. It’s not Manhattan but at least the locals in Lucky Hollow seem friendly . . . except for Luke, who’s more intense—and way hotter—than the slick womanizer Jordan expected.

Eager to put the past behind him, Luke has zero intention of following this gorgeous, fast-talking city girl back to New York. But before he can send her packing, Jordan’s everywhere: at his favorite bar, the county fair, even his exes’ book club. Annoyingly, everyone in Lucky Hollow seems to like her—and deep down, she’s starting to grow on him too. But the more he fights her constant pestering, the more Luke finds himself wishing that Jordan would kick off her high heels and make herself comfortable in his arms.

Excerpt

Luke started to load up the gear and, realizing he was doing it alone, glanced over his shoulder to see where the hell his partner was.

Unsurprisingly, his friend was chatting up City Girl. Neither Charlie nor Ryan seemed to mind in the least that these two fancy pants had swooped into their town to capitalize on Luke’s past.

What was more surprising was that Jordan Carpenter was chatting right back, her smile seemingly genuine, her laugh real.

Luke ground his teeth.

He couldn’t say he’d put much thought into the woman behind the name as he’d been unceremoniously deleting her emails and voice messages, but if forced to assume, he’d have guessed aggressive shrew.

He suspected he was wrong there. Because while there was no mistaking the ambition in the woman, it wasn’t the cutthroat, ball-busting kind.

Her lean body might be all angles and long lines, but there was a softness to her as well. The way her hair did its own thing. The easiness of her smile, the quick laugh. The small but pert breasts.

Damn. He was staring.

He slammed the door shut. “Bander,” he shouted at Charlie across the lawn. “Let’s clear out.”

Charlie leaned into Jordan, whispering something in her ear that made her laugh, before walking away with a last wink.

Luke rolled his eyes. Really? This was happening?

“Hey, Elliott,” Ryan called. “You want to come over for a barbecue tonight?”

Luke crossed his arms and studied his friend suspiciously, waiting for the catch. “Who’s on the guest list?”

He saw Jordan and her purple-shirt friend exchange a look. Well, that answered that question.

Damn. Ryan never had been able to resist the urge to stir up trouble.

“It’s no problem if you don’t want to join us,” Jordan called out, lifting her hand to shield the afternoon sun from her eyes. “I’m sure your friends here can fill me in on everything there is to know about Luke Elliott.”

All about Luke Elliott’s romantic history was more like it. City Girl wasn’t even pretending to be coy about the reason she was here.

All former positive thoughts about her evaporated. Only the worst sort of human would use another’s failed relationships to advance her own career—for entertainment.

Luke turned away without another word, hauling himself into the driver’s seat of the truck as he waited impatiently for Charlie to get done shouting goodbye to every single person within earshot.

He drummed his thumbs against the steering wheel, refusing to even think about going to the BBQ tonight. If his friends wanted to stir up trouble, they could do so without his cooperation.

As for the two New Yorkers, they’d flame out all on their own. Weren’t East Coasters known for being impatient and fast moving?

Surely they’d be off to find some other glory-seeking asshole if he ignored them. One of the other guys could play the role for all he cared.

As Charlie hauled his ass up, Luke started the truck, his eye catching on Jordan Carpenter, who was watching him with a stubborn, determined look on her pretty face.

Damn it. She’d stir up all sorts of trouble unless he ran interference.

Luke pulled out his phone to text Ryan.

I’ll be there. Have beer.

Charlie leaned over, unabashedly reading Luke’s iPhone screen. “Ha. Knew it.”

“What?” Luke glared at his friend.

Charlie grinned wider, gesturing over his shoulder. “You’ve got a boner for the hot blonde.”

“Are you kidding me with this? She wants me to be the next bachelor.”

How were Ryan and Charlie not getting the absurdity of this?

Charlie shrugged. “So? Maybe it’d be good for you.”

Luke stared at his friend for a moment longer before putting the truck in drive. “The only thing that would be good for me is to push you out of this truck.”

Charlie was waving goodbye to Jordan and Simon. “See you tonight!”

Luke ground his teeth harder. He was already dreading the BBQ, but not going would only make matters worse. Clearly he needed to have a very blunt conversation with Jordan Carpenter.


Ready to Run by Lauren Layne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars   A great blend of fun and sexiness to kick off a series you won’t want to miss.Lauren Layne has a wonderful way of writing a story with good balance between delightful fun and hotness that grabs me from start to finish. I haven’t missed a single one of her books and I don’t plan on doing so because I know I’ll be getting an enjoyable escape every single time. With this first book in her I Do, I Don’t series, Ms. Layne sets the stage for an amusing and addictive series about runaway bachelors.

In Ready to Run we meet big city, reality TV producer Jordan Carpenter who is trying to recruit the small town, elusive firefighter Luke Elliot who’s left three brides at the altar. After being ignored via emails and phone calls, Jordan decides to head to the small and picturesque town of Lucky Hollow to talk to him personally, but no matter how much she tries to convince him to participate in the show he just won’t budge.

Much to Luke’s dismay and Jordan’s surprise, she’s having a good ‘ol time reacquainting herself with the small town life thanks to the warm welcome she’s getting from everyone else, from invitations to participate in the kissing booth at the county fair to his exes including her in their book club. Before long Luke and Jordan are incapable of ignoring their growing attraction, but as candidate he’s off-limits to her and her presence is dredging up old wounds.

There’s a lot more to Luke’s runaway groom story than he lets on and Jordan senses this because there’s no way a man who dedicates his life to saving people and even cats and is so liked by everyone would callously leave his brides, or would he? Can he let down his guard long enough to confess the reason behind his shielded heart and admit his growing feelings towards the sexy city slicker before it’s too late?

I really enjoyed Luke and Jordan’s story, especially the charming backdrop with all of the town’s endearing characters where everyone knows everyone else, and of course Jordan’s BFF, the colorful Simon. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series!

Ready to Run is the kickoff book in the Ready to Run series by Lauren Layne. It is a standalone, contemporary romance. Told from both points of view, with a happy ending.


NOW AVAILABLE!

Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of romantic comedies.
She lives in New York City with her husband.
A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career. She signed with her agent in 2012, and her first book was published in summer of 2013. Since then, she’s written over two dozen books, hitting the USA TODAYNew York Times, iBooks, and Amazon bestseller lists.
 

 

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Can’t Stop Lovin’ You by Lynnette Austin

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Brawley
must find a way to convince Maggie 
that their one true home is with each other.
CAN’T STOP LOVIN’ YOU
Maverick Junction #3
Lynnette Austin
Forever
THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME
 
Maggie Sullivan can’t wait to get out of Texas. Luckily, she just got the break she
needed to make her big-city dreams a reality. But then Brawley Odell swaggers
back into Maverick Junction, looking hotter than ever in his dusty cowboy boots
and well-worn jeans. He’s the guy she still dreams of at night. The guy who
broke her heart when he left her behind.
Fed up with city life, Brawley jumps at the chance to return home and take over the local
vet’s practice—and get back to the smart, sassy woman he’s never been able
forget. He couldn’t be prouder of Maggie’s new wedding-dress business . . .
until he realizes it may mean losing her all over again. Determined to win her
back, Brawley must find a way to convince Maggie that their one true home is
with each other.


NOW AVAILABLE IN PRINT!!

 

Lynnette Austin, a
recovering middle school teacher, loves long rides with the top down and the
music cranked up, the Gulf of Mexico when a storm is brewing, chocolate frozen
custard, anything by Blake Shelton, Chris Young, and Thomas Rhett, and sitting
in her local coffee shop reading and enjoying an iced coffee. She and her
husband divide their time between Southwest Florida’s beaches and Georgia’s
Blue Ridge Mountains. Having grown up in a small town, that’s where her heart
takes her—to those quirky small towns where everybody knows everybody…and all
their business, for better or worse. Writing for Grand Central and Sourcebooks,
she’s published twelve novels and is at work on a new series.
 

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Release Blast Info for MONSTER AMONG THE ROSES by Linda Kage

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Will you dare to gaze upon the monster among the roses?
 MONSTER AMONG THE ROSES
Fairy Tale Quartet #1
Linda Kage
Releasing July 24, 2017

“Do you know how to get to the rose garden?”

“No, you can’t go there. A monster lives there.”
 
Shaw Hollander is desperate.
 
Broke, unemployed, and determined to help his ailing mother, he falls on the good
graces of a wealthy benefactor who is willing to give Shaw a job at his mansion
in order to pay off his mother’s debts. Suddenly finding himself surrounded by
lavish riches, he has no idea what his duties truly entail until he’s sent to
the rose garden and meets the tragically mutilated Isobel.
This Beauty and the Beast story holds true to the core of the fable while shaking off the
element of fantasy and dragging it into present day reality. Shaw and Isobel
are ready to let you climb into their four-wheel-drive pickup and take a ride
with them into their version of happily ever after, but only if you first dare
to gaze upon the monster among the roses.

Excerpt

Great. I was lost. Shading my hand over my eyes, I decided the far right should take me in the general direction I wanted to go. So I went that way, only to end up at the edge of the house, but not where I’d started, and not close enough to the rose garden to get me inside.

Strangely enough, however, a boy played outside, using sidewalk chalk to color a picture of…what the hell was he drawing? Maybe some kind of dying animal with blood gushing from its side and an arrow sticking out of its back.

It didn’t look right, whatever it was.

I shook my head and jerked my gaze from the disturbingly morbid sketch. “Hey, kid.”

The boy jumped and looked up, hopping to his feet and backing away from me as I were the scary one.

No idea who he was; he looked too young to be Mr. Nash’s son from the photos I’d seen, plus he had white blond hair, the complete opposite shade of the young man in all the pictures in Mr. Nash’s office. But he was here, so he’d have to do.

Wanting to appear as non-threatening as possible, I smile and waved. “Hey. Sorry for bothering you, but do you know how to get to the rose garden?”

That must’ve been the wrong question to ask. His face drained of color. “No,” he said, shaking his head. “You can’t go there.”

What? “Why not?”

“A monster lives in there. Half her face is melted off. She eats the thorns from the roses so she can spit them at people, stabbing them in the neck to slice their throat open until they bleed out and die.”

O…kay.

Somehow, I’d stumbled across one of the children of the corn. Nice.

Lifting my eyebrows, I drew my own step in reverse. Time to retreat. “Dude, that’s gruesome.”

Please don’t kill me. Please don’t kill me. Please don’t kill me.

He gave a serious nod. “It’s true. My mom’ll tell you she’s real too.”

“Oh yeah?” Relieved he wasn’t claiming he’d sprouted from Satan’s cabbage patch but actually had a mother, I glanced around for this wise, all-knowing parent of his. Maybe she could tell me how to get to the conservatory. “Who’s your mom?”

“The cook,” he said, puffing up his chest as if that were the most important title in the house. “She’s worked here for fifteen years. She knows everything about this place there is to know. So…don’t go into the roses. You won’t come out alive. Lewis, the groundskeeper, doesn’t even go in there.”

Aha! So this place did have a gardener. I knew it.

I took a second to ponder why I was being sent to garden then, when Mr. Nash already paid someone to maintain the place. But if Lewis refused to go into the roses, as the kid had said, maybe it was rumored to be haunted or something, and that was where I came in. Then again, why wouldn’t Mr. Nash just hire a new groundskeeper who wasn’t so scared and superstitious? Then I stopped pondering the whys. It wasn’t my place to question strange, rich people and their strange, oddball orders. I was just here to do what I was told and save my mom.

Nodding gravely to the boy, I said, “Thanks for the warning, kid. But I think I’ll take my chances. Which way?”

He looked at me as if he’d never see me again because I was headed forth to my death, then he lifted his hand and quietly pointed toward another opening in the path of bushes.

“Thanks.” I nodded and got out of there before some of his creepiness started rubbing off.

Fortunately, he’d steered me in the right direction. I landed right at the outdoor entrance into the glass gazebo. Propping the door open, I carted my supplies inside and then paused to breathe deeply.

But fuck me, it smelled good in here. You didn’t have to be a flower enthusiast for this garden to amaze you. It was like the holy shrine of roses. A hallowed kind of reverence filled my chest. Haunted or not, I liked it. It felt peaceful and yet revitalizing.

Suddenly intimidated because I didn’t want to mess anything up in such a perfect place, my hands shook as I flipped back to the pages about rose care. The more I skimmed, however, the more confused I became.

These roses didn’t need a lick of my attention. They were all in excellent condition as if someone already tended to them. Maybe creepy kid had been wrong, and Lewis the groundskeeper came in here hourly to care for them.

Still…What the hell?

I frowned and slid my finger along the silken petals of a blood red rose. Perfectly pruned, weeded, and watered. It was as flawless as a thing could get.

But I couldn’t go tell Mr. Nash they didn’t need anything, could I? What if he fired me for lack of work to do, or because he thought I was lazy and lying about the roses not needing care?

I looked around again, searching for anything to water, or clip, or re-soil. It was crazy how thriving every single flower looked.

Maybe this was some kind of test, and Mr. Nash wanted me to fail. What if he’d never intended for me to work for him and the contract I’d signed to save my mom was being burned in the fireplace in this office as I stood here like a dumbass with nothing to weed.

Confused and worried, and growing a little angry, I scowled at a wall full of pink vine roses growing to my right. But they were honestly too pretty to be glared at, so my mood settled.

I bet Mom would love them. She was a fan of pink. And flowers. Plus, these were the good-smelling kind. I’d be a good son if I brought home such a flower to her. And it seemed as if they grew in abundance, not as if they were one of the rare breeds Mr. Nash had spoken of. So I reached for a bloom to pluck it from the vine without even thinking beyond how much it’d make my mother smile.

Behind me, a voice growled, “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

Jumping half out of my skin because I’d been certain no one had been in here with me, I whirled around only to gasp, “Shit!”

The creepy cook’s son hadn’t been lying.

In front of me stood an irate woman with half her face melted off.

 

I grew up on a dairy farm in the Midwest as the youngest of eight children. Now I live in
Kansas with my husband, two daughters, nine cuckoo clocks, and a cat named
Holly. My life’s been blessed with lots of people to learn from and love.
Writing’s always been a major part my world, and I’m so happy to finally share
some of my stories with other romance lovers.

I’m a member of Romance Writers of America, and I’ve been through a writing
correspondence class in children’s literature from The Institute of Children’s
Literarture, and then I continued my writing lessons by majoring in English
with an emphasis in creative fiction writing from Pittsburg State
University.

 

 

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WRECKED by J.B. Salsbury Release Blitz

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Title: WRECKED

Author: JB Salsbury

On Sale:  July 18, 2017

Publisher: Forever

Trade Paperback: $13.99 USD

eBook: $3.99 USD

Audio: $24.98 USD

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When you can’t trust yourself, how can you ask anyone else to?

It’s been months since Aden Colt left the Army, and still the memories haunt him. When he moved into a tiny boat off the California coast, he thought he’d found the perfect place to escape life. Then Sawyer shows up and turns his simple life upside down. Beautiful and sophisticated, she seems out of place in this laid-back beach town. Something is pushing her to experience everything she can—including Aden. But as much as he wants her, starting a relationship with Sawyer puts them both at risk. For Aden, the past doesn’t stay there; it shows up unexpectedly, uncontrollably, and doesn’t care whose life it wrecks.

EXCERPT

 

Oh no, fuck no!

I thought he was kidding. I should’ve known better. Aden’s intentions with me since I stupidly boarded this boat have been my torment for his enjoyment. He loved watching me squirm over the bait tank and when I proved I wouldn’t shy away from a challenge, he pulled out the big guns. From his flirty smiles to his teasing touches, he’s discovered my weaknesses and is exploiting them for his own entertainment.

Now this? Raw fish probably still warm from fighting for its life.

And now I’m God knows how many feet above water sitting on a two-seater bench held up by rusty ladders and staring down a piece of glistening pink meat.

“You have to eat it, it’s a rite of passage.” He offers the meat to my lips and I quickly turn my face away.

“I’m really not hungry.” As if the idea isn’t enough to turn my stomach, watching him clean the fish before sectioning off enough for lunch wasn’t much of an appetite builder.

“Of course you are.” He brings the piece to his own mouth and takes a bite, closing his eyes with a moan as he chews.

I feel a rush of bile hit my throat, or maybe it’s beer, either way it’s warm and it burns. “That’s disgusting.”

“You’re telling me you don’t like sushi?”

My eyes widen. Sawyer would say she’s never had sushi. But Celia’s a different story. She ate a live cricket in the eighth grade on a dare. She didn’t even flinch. “I like sushi, just not directly from the…um…source.”

“Doesn’t get fresher than this.” He takes another bite and I can’t deny that his response to eating it does give it some appeal.

“I think I need soy sauce or that green stuff.” What’s it called?

“Just try it.”

“I really don’t want to.”

“Oh come on.” He smiles in that cute crooked way that makes my heart dip and dive. “Live a little.”

I chew the inside of my mouth debating the cost/benefit of taking a bite of this fresh-out-of-the-ocean fish. On one hand, I’ll impress Aden. That in and of itself is worth the ick factor. But what if I throw up all over his boat? Is the chance of impressing him worth totally humiliating myself? I groan when I realize what I’m doing, exactly what I swore I wouldn’t do. I’m making an internal pros and cons list. I close my eyes and steel my resolve and my spine. Don’t think, just decide. I pop open my eyes followed by my mouth.

“Yeah?” He stares at my parted lips.

I nod, hoping he’ll hurry before I change my mind.

Lifting the rose-colored flesh forward, he places it between my teeth. It’s a small bite so I close my lips around his fingers expecting him to pull away…but he doesn’t. For a moment I’m suspended in his gaze, totally stuck while his hot fingers rest between my lips. This should be grossing me out; after all, I watched him gut this fish with his bare hands and to wash off all the blood he merely dipped them into the ocean. But all the thoughts of raw fish and a stranger’s finger do nothing to stave off the warmth blooming in my belly. My tongue pulls the meat deeper into my mouth, brushing against the rough pad of his forefinger. He bites his lip but finally drops his hand.

He watches intently while I chew and swallow.

“How was it?” His voice is low and gruff.

Lost in the heated moment, I barely tasted it. “Good.”

His hand cups the back of my head and he pulls me toward him, stopping just short of our lips touching. “I can’t fucking take this anymore.” His breath is sawing in and out, bursting against my mouth with impatience. “Let me.” It’s a demand, not a question.

A kiss. I don’t need to channel Celia or flip a coin…I know what I want.

I lick my lips and close the slight distance between us.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

New York Times bestselling author JB Salsbury spends her days lost in a world of budding romance and impossible obstacles. Her love of good storytelling led her to earn a degree in Media Communications. Since 2013 she has published six bestselling novels in The Fighting Series and won a RONE Award. JB Salsbury lives with her husband and two kids in Phoenix, Arizona

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