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Erin Nicholas' GOING DOWN EASY excerpt & giveaway



Gabe had sent her flowers.Addison stood staring at the gigantic bouquet of white flowers sitting on the desk she was using for the day.

“These are magnolias, right?” she asked Elena.

“They are. The state flower of Louisiana.” Elena stroked the petal of one of the gorgeous flowers. “Someone knows your weakness for all things New Orleans.”

He definitely did. Addison hadn’t even needed to read the card to know who the flowers were from. Gabe knew she was a sucker for anything that was traditionally associated with the city. Beignets, bourbon, masks, beads, gas lanterns, and balconies with looping wrought iron railings. For six months he’d been taking her out on the Sunday she was in town and letting her soak up the city. And now she’d gone from associating those things with New Orleans and the unique spirit of the city to associating them with him.

But why was he sending her flowers? That was new. So far, their routine was she showed up at the bar on Saturday night, they spent the weekend together, she left on Monday morning, and then thirty days later, they repeated it all over again. There was no contact in between times. No texts or calls—they didn’t have each other’s number. No letters or gifts—he didn’t have her address. And definitely no flowers.

“See you soon, Gabe,” Elena read from the card. She lifted her eyes, meeting Addison’s. “Gabe? Who’s Gabe?” Then her eyes widened. “Wait. These aren’t from Gabe Trahan, are they?”

Oh, crap. Addison took a deep breath, thought briefly about lying, and then realized there was no real reason to not tell her friend the truth. “Yes.”

Elena’s eyes widened, almost as if she hadn’t expected that answer. “Really? You’ve seen him since that first night?”

Addison rounded the desk and set the folder she was carrying on top of the nearest stack, straightening the pile of already straight files. “Yes,” she said simply. The fewer details she offered, the better, probably.

“When?” Elena asked. “I had no idea you’d seen him again.”

And then it hit Addison . . . Elena wasn’t just her friend anymore. She was Addison’s boss. Was this going to reflect badly on her? Was a just-when-she-was-in-town affair something Elena would frown upon?

“I didn’t think it was important to mention. We just . . . went out a couple of times.” They had. They’d gone out to Preservation Hall for jazz. They’d gone to Café du Monde for coffee and beignets. They’d gone to the French Market. They’d gone to Gabe’s bedroom. And his shower. And his kitchen table. And his balcony . . .

“You’re dating Gabe Trahan?” Elena asked, planting her hands on her hips.

“No,” Addison said quickly. “Not dating. We’ve had . . . drinks when I’ve been in town.” And many, many orgasms. And laughs. And fun.

“Which time?” Elena asked.

“Which time what?”

“Which time that you were in town did you have drinks?”

Addison sighed. “Each time.”

“You’ve seen him every time you’ve been in town since you met him?” Elena asked, clearly shocked.

“Yes. But,” Addison added before Elena could go on, “it’s nothing serious. It’s been . . . a fling. Just a little fun. No big deal. And”—she took a deep breath—“this weekend was the last time. Now that I’ve moved here, I won’t be seeing him anymore.”

Saying it out loud made her heart clench even harder than it had when she’d driven away from him that morning.

***

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As far as flings go, single dad Gabe Trahan is pretty sure that Addison Sloan is his best bet. Once a month, Addison comes to New Orleans and then…It. Is. On. Until Addison returns to New York, it’s just hot, happily-no-strings-attached sex. And beignets. And jazz. But lately for Gabe, it isn’t nearly enough.

Sure, maybe Addison’s gotten a bit hooked on Gabe. After all, who can resist a guy who’s so sexy, so charming, and so…available? But maybe he’s too available for her right now. Addison’s just moved to New Orleans, and relationships are definitely off the table. Besides, guys always bail when they learn her secret: she’s a single mom.

Only Gabe’s not running. Worse, he’s thrilled. But Addison never signed up for ever-after romance, and Gabe won’t settle for anything less. Now it’s a battle of wills—and when it comes to the woman he’s falling for, Gabe isn’t above playing a little dirty.

 
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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Erin Nicholas has been writing romances almost as long as she’s been reading them. To date, she’s written over thirty sexy, contemporary novels that have been described as “toe-curling,” “enchanting,” “steamy,” and “fun.” She adores reluctant heroes, imperfect heroines, and happily ever afters.

Erin lives in the Midwest, where she enjoys spending time with her husband (who only wants to read the sex scenes in her books), her kids (who will never read the sex scenes in her books), and her family and friends (who claim to be “shocked” by the sex scenes in her books).

Excerpt ~ THE WORKS OF CHRIST MY PROOF OF GOD'S EXISTENCE by Edward King

Write Now Literary is pleased to be coordinating a blog tour for Edward King.  

 

Book Title: The Works of Christ My Proof of God’s Existence  
         
Genre: Christian, Poetry, Inspirational 
            
Paperback
ISBN: 9781498464451

Meet Edward
Edward King is a positive-writing author, who tells us about how to look at things in a positive perspective. With his inspirational writings, he has come a long way from being at on verge of death to being able to inspire many people with both his life and his writings. With his quick healing from the death-defying car accident, Edward King goes through everyday looking to God for all of his answers and finds so much inspiration. He writes to show everyone the God he knows. 
                                             About The Book
In August 2010, Edward King was in a traumatic car accident that nearly ended his young life. From this accident, he had an incredible out-of-body experience. This is his story along with a collection of simple poetry designed to help one come closer to Christ.

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Sometimes we lose vision, and we’re blinded by our desires,
but the Lord always cares about us, and he always inspires
a servant of his to show each of us some clues
that he will always love us, and his guidance, we’ll never lose.
From our birth to our death, he will always be there
to cleanse us of our sins and enable us to care
and love every one of our brothers and sisters in his name,
for he loves us so much, he totally cleansed everyone’s shame.


DO OR DIE COWBOY & giveaway w/ June Faver

Putting it all on the line for love…

Cowboy musician Tyler Garrett has a once-in-a-lifetime chance to put aside his rough-and-tumble rancher’s lifestyle and realize his dream. He’s on the road to Dallas to record a demo when that dream gets kicked sideways by a beautiful woman on the run.

Leah Benson will do whatever it takes to keep her daughter safe. But when her dangerous past catches up with her, she needs a hero—and luckily for her, Tyler Garrett was born and bred for the role.

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They made a bed for Ty on the lumpy sofa. He’d insisted he could sleep in the truck, but gave in when Gran insisted.

“In the old days, the hands used to stay in the bunkhouse,” Gran said. “There are beds and a kitchen. It used to be real comfortable.”

“Yes, Ma’am,” Ty said dutifully.

“But, it’s not clean out there. You just make yourself comfy right here.” She patted the sofa invitingly.

Leah cast a last glance at Ty and headed for Gran’s spare room, Gracie in tow. She found their nightclothes among the hurriedly packed bags and dressed Gracie for bed. Tucking her in, Leah gave her a kiss on the forehead. Eddie jumped on the foot of the bed and curled up too.

Gracie mumbled a hurried prayer, ending with, “an’ God bless Mommy, an’ Gran, an’ Ty. Amen.”

Leah’s breath caught in her throat. How could this big cowboy come to mean so much to them both in so few hours? How is Gracie going to feel when he’s gone? She swallowed hard. How am I going to feel?

She leaned down to brush a kiss on her daughter’s forehead, and pulled the covers up under her chin. “You go to sleep now.”

Dutifully, Gracie snuggled down beneath the quilt and closed her eyes, her angelic expression the picture of peace and contentment. 

Gazing at her child’s sweet face, a knot formed in her chest. This is the best place for us. I haven’t been able to give Gracie much, up until now, but maybe that will change. She gave herself a mental head slap. It will change. Things will get better.

Leah thought about her options. Maybe she could get a job back in Langston. It was the closest town and where Gracie would be enrolled in school, come September. She wasn’t quite sure what she might be able to do, but she was used to hard work, so surely someone would give her a chance. 

The house was quiet. Tiptoeing out of their room, Leah padded down the hall toward the kitchen in her bare feet. Silently, she took a glass out of the cupboard and filled it with water from the tap.  Moonlight spilled in through the window, bathing her in a soft glow as she lifted the glass to her lips. When she’d finished, she set the empty glass in the sink.

Turning, she almost stumbled over Lucky. The dog had been so quiet she hadn’t heard him approach. Leaning down, she stroked his head. “Hey there, stealth doggy. You snuck up on me.” She spoke in hushed tones, barely above a whisper. The dog swished his tail from side to side.

“Do you need some water too? I put a big bowl right over here.” She checked the corner of the kitchen where she had left one of Gran’s mixing bowls earlier, but found it empty. “Oh, thirsty, doggy. Let me give you a refill.” She held the bowl under the tap and set it on the floor, tucked in the corner so no one would run into it. “There you go.”

The dog began to lap noisily. Leah knelt down beside him to run her hand over the silky fur. “Good boy” she whispered and rose from her crouch. When she turned, she ran smack into a brick wall. A warm muscled brick wall with arms. She stifled a scream as she pushed off the wall and was gathered into a rough embrace.

“Easy, Leah.”

“Oh, Ty! You scared me.” Swallowing hard, she braced her hands against his powerful bare chest. The sensation sent her heart into a flutter. Longing surged through her. Longing for what, she wasn’t quite certain, but longing nonetheless.

“Sorry,” he murmured, his voice deep and raspy. “I thought Lucky was getting into something. He held her firmly against his warm torso.

She swallowed again. “N—No, I’m sorry I woke you.” Gazing up, she couldn’t read his expression in the darkness.

He expelled a breath, staring down at her moon-washed face. “You are just too pretty for my own good.”

A rage of desire swirled low in her belly. Her pulses pounded in her ears. With no direction, she rose on her tiptoes and lifted her chin.

He made a sort of growl back in his throat before his arms tightened around her and he lowered his head. His kiss was soft, tentative at first, and then deepened. Lifting her off her feet, he devoured her mouth with hungry kisses. Heat from his bare flesh infiltrated her thin gown, setting fire to her desire.   

His hunger seemed to fuel hers, as the kiss continued to escalate.

Passion bloomed in her chest, sending a flush of pleasure throughout her being. When she came up for air, she had wrapped both arms around his neck. Gasping for air, she shivered. Everything was happening too fast. The room seemed to be spinning, or was it just her head? Heat emanating from his warm skin sent a spiral of lust to her core. She stroked her fingertips against the side of his face. The rough stubble of his beard rasped against her cheek, her neck, her shoulder. “I’m sorry,” he whispered. Holding her tight he gave her a squeeze before setting her on her feet.  “I had no business doing that.”

Stunned, Leah stepped back, “No—I…I mean…”

Ty rubbed her cheek with the back of his fingers. “I’m sorry.” He stepped away and, giving one rueful glance at her, he strode from the kitchen leaving Leah leaning against the cabinet, shaking in the aftermath of their encounter.

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Meet Stella Peretti, head of an all-female jewel heist crew ~SHIMMY BANG SPARKLE with giveaway

What Stealing A Diamond and Stealing a Heart Have In Common with the Heroine from Shimmy Bang Sparkle by Nicola Rendell 
 
Hi! My name is Stella Peretti. I am the head of the only all-female jewel heist crew west of the Mississippi. We call ourselves the Shimmy Shimmy Bangs. I got started in this life of crime when I was a girl. I saw something that I knew was unfair and I had to do what was necessary to make it right. I’ve heard that the old hardened cons who learn about us say we are “Robin Hooding” our way around the Southwest. I’m really proud of that! 
 
Nick gets involved in my plan to steal the North Star diamond because of an accidental text that I mistakenly send to him. I know, I know. Dummy! But because my girls are not able to execute the heist with me, Nick offers his expertise. I’m reluctant at first. But he wins me over. He’s competent, persistent… and sexy. God, so sexy!
 
What have I learned from my experience with Nick? Surprisingly, stealing someone’s heart is a lot like stealing a diamond. Here are five skills that you need for both: 
 
If You’ve Got It, Flaunt It. 
 
I don’t go into a heist or a relationship with my guns blazing. Instead, I give a little bat of my lashes, show a little leg, play up my most feminine qualities. Being a good flirt is a huge advantage in my line of work… and in nabbing Nick Norton, too! 
 
It’s a Confidence Game.
 
Having confidence in yourself is key to getting what you want, either in a heist or winning a man’s heart. 
 
Play Dirty.
 
There’s a time for playing by the rules and being a good girl, but it’s no holds barred in love and theft!  
 
Be Careful… But Not Too Careful.
 
When it comes to heists, I’m a planner. But when it comes down to it, it takes guts to steal a diamond. And it takes guts to fall in love as well. Soemtimes you just have to open your heart and see what happens.

All Or Nothing.  
****

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I’ve known a lot of thieves who are doing twenty-to-life for a Zales one karat diamond.. And sure, I’ve stolen my share of engagement rings but only if it’s easy pickings. If you’re going to risk your liberty and your heart, it damn well better be worth it. The North Star is worth it. And so is Nick.

All Nick Norton wants is to stay on the straight and narrow…and never get caught stealing again. Then he lays eyes on her: Stella Peretti—100 percent sexy and absolutely irresistible. Especially when he sees her smooth moves lifting a two-karat diamond. Nick realizes he’s found the sparkling woman of his dreams—one so perfect for him it’s almost criminal.

The Shimmy Shimmy Bangs are master jewel thieves who are planning the heist of the century. And Shimmy leader, Stella, isn’t about to let anyone—even if he is a hunky, tatted-up studmuffin—get in her way. But when two of her girls are put out of commission, Stella realizes that Nick isn’t just a red-hot distraction. He might be the answer to her pilfering prayers.

Now, Nick and Stella are putting everything on the line for one last job. But when two thieves have this much chemistry, it’s only a matter of time before somebody’s heart gets stolen.

 

Bestselling author Nicola Rendell loves writing naughty romantic comedies. After receiving a handful of degrees from a handful of places, she now works as a professor in New England. Nicola’s work has been featured in the Huffington Post and the USA Today blog Happy Ever After. She loves to cook, sew, and play the piano. Her hobbies might make her sound like an old lady, but she’s totally okay with that. For more information and updates, visit www.NicolaRendell.com.

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Katie Ruggle's THROUGH THE FIRE excerpt & giveaway

He’s tall.

He’s dark.

He’s brutally handsome…

And he may be her only hope. 

Kit Jernigan despairs of ever fitting in with her new tight-knit K9 unit—they’ve been through too much to welcome a stranger. So when a killer strikes, it’s a fight to convince her fellow officers to trust her long enough to catch the woman she knows is responsible.

She can’t do it on her own. What she needs most is a partner: local fire spotter Wesley March.

Wes knows in his heart that Kit is right, and he’s willing to leave his lonely tower to help her prove it. But the more time they spend together, the hotter the fire smolders…and the more danger they’re in. A member of the K9 unit’s inner circle is determined to have her revenge—no matter who gets burned in the process.

This time, it’s personal. 

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Her hair was just as beautiful down as he’d imagined it would be. Wes shifted his weight and fought the urge to fidget with the salt and pepper shakers. He didn’t know what to do with the excess energy that was coursing through him. He’d asked her on a date, and she’d agreed. Even though hours had passed and the date had begun, he still marveled at it. If it hadn’t been horribly early, he would’ve called Leila to let her know it had worked. His bravery had been rewarded.

Seeing her was worth enduring the heavy weight of the other diners’ stares and the buzz of their whispers. He normally did his best to avoid all the townspeople, but he’d ignore their avid interest for Kit’s sake. It was difficult, though. Even the sleepy waitress gave him a curious, wide-eyed look when she stopped at their table to fill their coffee cups and chat lightly with Kit. After she walked away, Kit said quietly, “That’s Jules. She and Theo are together.”

He nodded. “You’re good with people.” She reminded him of Leila that way. Both women always seemed to say the right thing, even when they didn’t know someone. “That must be useful when you’re working.”

She studied him with a slight smile that was kind, rather than mocking. “Thank you. I’m not always the most tactful, so I sometimes get myself into trouble that way. I do best with kids.”

“I can see why. You’re both very honest.” His interactions with children had been minimal as an adult, but he remembered the sometimes brutal honesty of his peers from when he was a kid.

She laughed a little, and the sound warmed his insides. “‘Honest’ is the nice way of saying that we don’t think before we speak sometimes.”

“That can be good, though.” He couldn’t look away from her. From the sheen of her black satin hair to the way her green sweater followed her slight curves, she was riveting. He felt like he could stare at her for days and not get bored. “My sister, Leila, always tells me the truth, even when it’s uncomfortable. That’s so much easier than trying to figure out how people really feel when their words don’t match their thoughts.”

“If everyone were that honest, my job would be a lot easier.”

“That’s true.” He watched as she picked up her coffee mug with both hands and took a sip. Her fingers were small and slender, with unpolished, short nails, and he marveled that she could use them to take down people twice her size. The mention of her job reminded him of something. “One of my neighbors stopped by the tower.”

“Rufus?” she asked, setting down her coffee. He saw a muscle twitch in her cheek and felt a remembered jolt of fear at the thought of how close she’d been to losing her life.

“No. Murphy.” She seemed to relax a little as she watched him, waiting patiently for him to continue talking. He loved how she wasn’t in a rush. Her manner calmed him and made conversation, which was usually a minefield of missed cues and uncertainty, so much easier. “He spends a lot of time in the woods south of town. Trapping, mostly.”

Wes paused, wondering if she would question him about Murphy’s activities. He’d never actually caught his neighbor in the act, but Wes had found a few illegal leg-hold traps that he was pretty sure belonged to Murphy. He was still trying to figure out the best plan to convince Murphy to stop, since the traps were dangerous, as well as cruel. Kit didn’t say anything, just kept her gaze on him, giving him her full attention.

“My neighbors don’t trust law enforcement…or any government agency, really. In the last year, they’ve started to come to me with a few things. They know I work for the forest service, so I believe they consider me an intermediary, someone halfway between them and the government, if that makes sense?”

“It does.” Her coffee forgotten, she stayed completely locked on him, and he felt the rush of that focused interest. “You’re their backwoods ambassador.”

His laugh was a surprise, even to him, more pleased than amused. It was such a pleasure to be understood. “Yes. Exactly. I pass on the information they give me to the right agency, and they can hold on to their anonymity.”

“Win-win.” Pushing her coffee mug aside, she laid her forearms on the table so she could lean even closer to him. “What did Murphy tell you?”

“Are you still working on the case of the house that burned down last Monday?” Even if she wasn’t, he still planned to tell her the information he’d gotten from Murphy. If he was the backwoods ambassador, then she was the Wes ambassador. He was acquainted with the other cops, and he didn’t have any problem with them since the crooked lieutenant had been arrested a few weeks ago, but he already trusted Kit. She might have been new to the area, but he had a gut-deep feeling that she wouldn’t betray him.

“Yes.”

Wes lowered his voice, even though the closest other diners were several tables away. “Murphy was checking his traps and saw someone leave that house minutes before it went up in flames.”

“How close was he?” Kit had softened her voice to match his.

“Approximately fifteen feet from the edge of the house’s backyard.”

“Could he describe the person? Does he know them?” Although the words were quiet, there was an urgency to them that made his blood run faster. It wasn’t a bad feeling. Ever since he’d met Kit, he’d felt so much more alive.

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Regina Cole's TO HAVE AND TO HARLEY Giveaway

You may now kiss the biker

Bethany Jernigan owes her bestie. Big time. So when wedding planning overburdens the bride-to-be, Bethany steps in to handle the nitty-gritty. But the guy in charge isn’t anything like she imagined. He’s gruff, tattooed, and 100% male. His staff is even rougher around the edges, and it’s not long before she feels as if she’s stepped into some kind of crazy alternate reality.

Are those…bikers? Arguing about wedding favors?

Trey Harding never wanted this to get so out of hand. One little lie somehow snowballed into a world of dresses and flowers and food and holy-hell-he’s-in-over-his-head. But it’s not like he can confess he’s not the wedding planner he’s pretending to be—especially now that he’s falling for the maid of honor! His charade is becoming a farce, and as engines rev and ribbons fly, Trey’s running out of time to figure out how to tell the truth without losing his new family, his crew…or the woman of his dreams.

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Regina Cole, lover of manly muscled arms, chest hair, and mini-marshmallows, has been reading romance since her early teens. When she’s not frantically pounding away at the keyboard, she can be found fishing with her family, snuggling with her hubby and tiny twin boys, or slinging mud in her magical home pottery studio. She lives outside Raleigh, North Carolina.

Fling Club Inspirations by Tara Brown & Giveaway

 
 
My book releasing is Fling Club, sort of like Fight Club but with romance.
 
The fabulous main characters are Cherry and Ashley, an unlikely match. It’s opposites attract to the extreme. Cherry is a spoiled rich girl with a serious problem, how to get revenge on the mean girl ruining her life. And Ashley is a sexy, geeky MIT scholarship student who doesn’t fit in her world. He doesn’t even want to. He can’t stand the rich elite and makes no bones about sharing that opinion.
 
Cherry’s from a rich family and went to school at a private, well known academy where the expectations from parents are demanding. She is demure and reliable, a doormat like most of her friends. Letting parents and guys take the lead in their lives. 
 
After summers of the boys running the shore and parents ruling their lives, the girls decided to take back the power. One girl in particular. She created Fling Club, a fun way to control the dating and socializing the young women were expected to participate in. The head mean girl who runs it, Cait, is every young woman’s nightmare. Controlling, conniving, and completely self-centered. If you have a social life and friends, it’s because Cait allowed it. She has all the parents and every guy on the shore fooled, while all the young women are terrified of crossing her.
 
When Cherry catches Cait in bed with her boyfriend, the fake friendship is off just as the summer is beginning, meaning Cherry has to come up with a plan for revenge against her frenemy.
 
With the help of her sarcastic and judgmental brother, Andy, and her pessimistic and evil genius sister, Ella, Cherry is about to wreak havoc on Fling Club, and Cait.
 
This is where Ashley comes into the plan. He is the bait. Sexy, funny, sarcastic, and just arrogant enough that they don’t have to worry about him falling for Cait while she is falling for him. But after a couple weeks together, the plan is threatened when Ashley and Cherry start falling for each other.
 
He desperately wants Cherry to see that she is so much more than she pretends to be, and that fitting into her world isn’t worth the price she is paying. And once she starts seeing herself the way he does, she realizes how much she hates the person she has always pretended to be.
 
Fling Club, which used to be called The Exception to the Summer Fling, is an old story I wrote a decade ago but never published. It came to me when I was driving. I was crossing North America, moving from the West Coast to the East for my husband’s work in 2008. My girls were watching movies in the backseat, kid’s movies. So I got to listen to that the entire six day drive.
 
I don’t even remember the movie they were watching, I think it was a Barbie movie, maybe Princess and the Pauper, but it got me envisioning the moment Cait marched back and forth in front of the new recruits, cruelly telling them the rules of the summer fling club. (Being a HUGE fan of Cruel Intentions and Gossip Girl, of course I already had a stable of possible plots for mean rich girls.)
 
The story really formed when I got Cait down in my head, thanks to the long drive and the kids movies.
 
Cait needed to be that sweet and powerful girl the parents would respect and want their daughters to emulate. But she also needed to be terrifying and controlling so the girls went along with whatever she demanded of them. Even if it was disturbing. Of course, Cait is similar to Kathryn from Cruel Intentions, she is calculating and cold. Almost sociopathic in her nature. But I decided to spin the story a little and make our poor little victim, her equal in social rank.
 
Cherry might be the weaker link at the start of this story, but she comes from a good family with a lot of money. And as the story progressed she evolved from the damsel in distress who can’t cope with anything into a strong young woman. I wanted her to be victim of the story but then I also wanted her to be the savior. Her own savior. I like that love helped her find herself, but she needed to do the work.
 
I think we nailed that, and the way the characters are meant to make you hate them. I wanted the readers’ feelings to grow and change as the characters did. Cait is unbearably horrible and yet somehow relatable once we have all the facts. Cherry is weak and pathetic to start but grows into someone we liked in the end. And we made the bad guy someone you didn’t expect.
 
I love the idea that there is an underbelly in the wealthy world, a place we don’t see because they hide it from us. And I adore the meet cute we have created for the entire series of standalone novels, the Post-it Note Wall.
 
Welcome to the Serendipity Series, starting with Fling Club.
Title: Fling Club
Author: Tara Brown
Release Date: August 14, 2018
Publisher: Skyscape
 
Summary
 

For the young, rich, and beautiful, summertime in the Hamptons means one thing: Fling Club. Only this time, Cherry Kennedy won’t be selecting a boy for a fleeting romance. Nope, this season, Cherry is out for revenge. Her target? The Fling Club founder and society darling who slept with Cherry’s now-very-ex-boyfriend. And all Cherry needs is the perfect guy for her plan…Ashley Jardine can’t afford to refuse. He scored almost a full ride to MIT. But that almost still costs a lot. And this is so much money for a little game of revenge and a chance—albeit short—to live the high life. Here, rich girls rule the shore, and everyone has a role to play. Only nothing in the job description warned Ashley that the redhead who’s running the scheme would be so crazy. And cute. Or that he wouldn’t be able to stop thinking about her.

Now, everything is going according to plan—until an unexpected attraction raises the stakes. It’s enough to turn the perfect payback into absolute heartbreak.


Author Biography
 
The international bestselling author of Roommates and the Puck Buddies series, Tara Brown writes in a variety of genres. In addition to her comedic Single Lady Spy series, she has also published popular contemporary and paranormal romances, science fiction, thrillers, and romantic comedies. She especially enjoys writing dark and moody tales, often focusing on strong female characters who are more inclined to vanquish evil than perpetrate it. She shares her home with her husband, two daughters, two cats, an Irish wolfhound, and a Maremma Sheepdog. Find out more about Tara by visiting www.TaraBrownAuthor.com.
 
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Maria Vale's A WOLF APART excerpt & giveaway

Can a human truly make room in her heart for the Wild?

Thea Villalobos has long since given up trying to be what others expect of her. So in Elijah Sorensson she can see through the man of the world to a man who is passionate to the point of heartbreak. But something inside him is dying…

Elijah Sorensson has all kinds of outward success: bespoke suits, designer New York City apartment, women clamoring for his attention. Except Elijah despises the human life he’s forced to endure. He’s Alpha of his generation of the Great North Pack, and the wolf inside him will no longer be restrained…

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Here Elijah visits Thea’s isolated cabin. He comes to the realization that his usual posturing isn’t going to work on her and he decides to try something else.

Here’s the truth. I didn’t do anything. The letter you wrote for Liebling? The one that you showed me in New York? It would have been just fine as it was. A change or two maybe to make it stronger. Our letterhead, sure. But it was fine as it was.”

So why did you say it was more complicated?” The smell of coffee hits the back of my throat as she spoons the grounds into the filter.

Because I wanted to see you again.”

She stops for a moment before screwing the lid back on and returning it to the cold box.

That’s kind of pathetic.”

I know. I’m not used to being pathetic, but there it is.”

A thin wisp of steam starts to curl up from the kettle.

And why are you here now?”

Same reason. I wanted to see you again, and after yesterday…I wasn’t sure you would.”

You’re right. I wouldn’t have.” She raises her arm, stroking her cheek with the back of her hand. “Your skin is so soft,” she whispers, low and deep and urgent [imitating me]. “You should never wear anything but silk.”

If I weren’t so humiliated by the words, the sound of her voice would have made me come right there.

She grins and hands me the mug and a spoon.

When you’re done with that, give it back.”

What?”

The spoon. I’ve only got one.”

She pours milk into the bowl in front of her and then coffee, and then taking the spoon from my hand, she swirls the clouds of milk through her bowl of coffee.

It is so terribly, achingly intimate.

There is, I realize, looking over the rim of my mug, only one of anything here. A single cup. A single bowl. A single small skillet. A single pot. A single chair. A single plate. A single towel hanging from the bathroom door.

The only thing that might accommodate more than one is the bed with its thick duvet and four pillows.

Doug wanted to expand Thea’s cabin. Install a refrigerator, a sofa, a TV. What did he say? “That’d be nice, right?” He wanted more. More noise, more stuff, more him.

But he missed the point of this place. Thea’s cabin isn’t just a shelter that could use modernizing and expanding; it’s a bulwark protecting her solitude. And no matter what he thought could be done, should be done, it would not be done, because there was no room here for more Doug or more of any man.

But…I am not any man. I am not a man at all. And as wolves, we understand what it is to be wordless. We understand the primal importance of silence.

She stirs distractedly, staring at the silence beyond the window.

How long have you been here?”

Four years,” she says, “give or take.”

That’s a long time to be in the middle of nowhere. Do you ever get bored?”

Bored? Never. I like the quiet. Helps me focus. For me, things get muddled when there are too many voices telling you what to do or how to be. Can I warm you up?”

You have got to be kidding me.

I glare down at the mountain ridge in my pants, pointing out that the only thing this woman with a steaming pot in her hand is offering to warm up is my coffee.

My…brain suddenly goes all curious about whether Doug is out of the picture. Because I don’t want him or anyone else offering to refill her.

You don’t get lonely?”

Sometimes. Not a big deal. Then I just make more effort to see friends. But most of the people I see need me. I like it. It feels more real than when someone’s squeezing you into their schedule, praying that you’ll cancel at the last minute.” She taps at the window with her finger, then wags the same finger. Even I, who am a creature of the forest, can’t see who she’s reprimanding. “Do you?” she asks. “Get lonely, I mean.”

Me? Pffft. I see people all the time.”

That’s not what I asked.”

I think of all the clients I have spent time with, laughing and impressing and cajoling. And all the women I have spent time with, laughing and impressing and seducing. And in the end, have come home, vomited, and crawled into bed with a wolf-shaped hole in my chest.

Yes. Sometimes.”

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Maria Vale is a journalist who has worked for Publishers Weekly, Glamour magazine, Redbook, and the Philadelphia Inquirer. She is a logophile and a bibliovore and a worrier about the world. Trained as a medievalist, she tries to shoehorn the language of Beowulf into things that don’t really need it. She currently lives in New York with her husband, two sons and a long line of dead plants. No one will let her have a pet.

Susan Stoker's DEFENDING ALLYE Excerpt & giveaway

Allye turned to her right and glanced at the group of men sitting at the only square table in the room—and froze.

Her breathing increased, and her fight-or-flight instinct kicked in. The men weren’t paying any attention to her and hadn’t seen her yet.

Allye took one step backward toward the doorway she’d just walked through. But she was too late.

“What the hell?” The exclamation had come from Black. The man she’d met just over a week ago on a mission she knew wasn’t exactly public knowledge.

Five more heads swiveled to look in her direction, and Allye could do nothing but stare. It was as if she could actually feel the amount of testosterone in the room increase.

All six men at the table were big. And good-looking. And staring at her as if they’d never seen a woman before.

But it was Grayson Rogers’s eyes that she couldn’t look away from.

Without a word, he stood, a fluid movement that was as graceful as those of any dancer in her troupe, and walked toward her.

“Kitten, what the hell are you doing here? How’d you find me?”

She loved the sound of her nickname on his lips, but his second question sounded more like an accusation than an actual “Boy, am I glad to see you again” statement.

“I . . . I didn’t know you’d be here,” she stammered. “I wasn’t looking for you.”

He looked confused.

“I called Rex, and he arranged to meet me here. But he hasn’t shown up yet. I was sitting out there”—she pointed at the doorway—“talking to the bartender, Dave, and got bored waiting. I didn’t know you’d be here,” she repeated.

“Rex,” Gray said under his breath, then held out his hand. “Whatever the reason, I’m glad to see you again. Are you okay?”

Allye liked this gentler Gray. She nodded and put her hand in his outstretched one. The second she touched his palm, his fingers closed around hers. The warmth from his body seemed to seep into her. She hadn’t even known she was chilled until she felt how warm his skin was. “I’m okay,” she said softly.

“No one’s been following you?” Gray asked.

Allye shrugged. “I don’t think so. I’ve felt uneasy recently, but it’s probably just a result of what happened to me before.”

Gray frowned and tightened his fingers. “Maybe, maybe not. Come on, I want you to meet my friends.”

She allowed him to lead across the room. He stopped at the table and wrapped an arm around her waist. Their hips were smashed together, and she felt every finger as he gripped her opposite hipbone.

“Guys, I’d like you to meet Allye Martin. Allye, these are the guys. Meat, Arrow, Ball, Ro, and you know Black.”

“Hi,” she said awkwardly. “It’s nice to meet all of you.”

Her greeting was returned by all the men, and she couldn’t help but squirm under their scrutiny. The man Gray called Meat got up, snagged a chair from a nearby table, and placed it next to the empty one. She sat when Gray gestured to it. She didn’t lean back in the chair but instead sat fully upright, wondering what in the world was going on.

“So . . . you’re the woman Gray rescued the other week, huh?” Arrow asked.

Allye swallowed, then gave him a small nod.

“What I’m about to tell you, kitten, isn’t common knowledge. But after what you’ve been through, and given the fact that you’re supposed to be meeting Rex here, so he obviously trusts you, I’m comfortable telling you. These men and I are all part of a group called Mountain Mercenaries,” Gray said quietly. “Rex is our leader, so to speak. He contacts us when he has rescue jobs for us to do, mostly involving women and children who are being abused or were abducted. And before you ask, we’re highly qualified. All of us are former military, all different branches, for the most part, and we’ve been through extensive training.”

Allye stared at him for a second, then her eyes went to the rest of the men around the table. She was surprised that he’d explained as much as he had, but she had no trouble believing that these men had the skills and strength to operate rescue missions.

Then something Gray said sank in.

“Mercenaries?”

He nodded.

Allye was confused. “You have a name? Can I look you up online? Hire you?”

“No.”

“Then why have a name?” Allye thought it was Ball who answered.

“Because Rex decided, rightly so, that we would become more well known if we were associated with a name. He wanted the bad guys to fear hearing the Mountain Mercenaries were coming for them. And it’s worked. There was a situation not too long ago where a bad guy in Chicago was desperate to keep Rex and his Mountain Mercenaries out of his business. Desperate enough to kill his own son when he couldn’t control him anymore.”

Allye wasn’t sure she wanted to know the details about that. But she was still a little confused. “But mercenaries are guns for hire. Like, they go where the money is and don’t care about right or wrong, good or bad. They’re all about the money. Aren’t you more like vigilantes or something? Working around the law to do what’s right and good?”

Gray stared at her, but the other men around the table chuckled.

Finally, Gray grinned. “Knew you were too smart for your own good,” he said. “You’re right, but when Rex formed our little group, he thought Mountain Mercenaries sounded tougher than vigilantes.”

Allye rolled her eyes. “Yeah, I guess Vengeful Veterans doesn’t exactly have the same ring, does it?”

And with that, the other men burst out laughing.

***

 

About the Book

Title: Defending Allye

Author: Susan Stoker

Release Date: August 7, 2018

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Summary

Ever since his rescue op off the Pacific Coast, Mountain Mercenary Gray Rogers hasn’t been able to forget his latest “job”—Allye Martin. Any other woman would have panicked during a rescue, but the wily dancer kept her cool—even after being kidnapped by an elusive human trafficker. And Gray couldn’t be happier when a grateful Allye follows him home to Colorado Springs…

For Allye, finding sanctuary in the arms—and bed—of the former Navy SEAL is only temporary. People are disappearing off the streets of San Francisco, victims of the same underground trade that targeted her, and Allye could be the key to dismantling the entire operation. She’s willing to do anything to bring them down. Gray isn’t—for good reason. But you don’t say no to a tough girl like Allye who refuses to play it safe.

Now Gray is risking more than ever before. The Mountain Mercenaries have his back. But is it enough to keep the woman he loves out of harm’s way?

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Susan Stoker is a New York TimesUSA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author whose series include Badge of Honor: Texas Heroes, SEAL of Protection, and Delta Force Heroes. Married to a retired army noncommissioned officer, Stoker has lived all over the country—from Missouri to California to Colorado—and currently lives under the big skies of Texas. A true believer in the happily ever after, Stoker enjoys writing novels in which romance turns to love. To learn more about the author and her work, visit her website, www.stokeraces.com, or find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/authorsusanstoker.

 

BRAVE NEW EARL by Jane Ashford w/ giveaway

Jean searched the parlors on either side of front hall, calling softly and beginning to feel foolish. This was obviously a futile quest. She had given up and turned back when she noticed a line of light under the library door. She went in, finding the chamber still warm, the coals of a fire still glowing. “Tab?” she said.

I beg your pardon?”

Jean started so violently that a drop of hot wax splattered from the candle to the back of her hand. The pain made her breath catch.

Lord Furness rose from the chair by the hearth. “What are you doing here?” she asked. “With no lights?” In her fright, she sounded accusing.

I don’t sleep well,” he replied. “I often come down. And you?”

I was looking for my kitten.”

Got out, did he?” Still half in his broken reverie, Benjamin eyed his guest. The lines of her body were beautifully revealed by her thin wool dressing gown and gossamer nightdress. Her hair had been braided down her back, but soft tendrils had escaped all around her face. He imagined what that hair would look like loose—what a wild riot of curls.

I don’t see how,” she said, her tone oddly defensive. “But he’s not in my room.” The candle wavered in her hand. “Oh, what if he’s in the kitchen when your cook gets up.”

The cook will cope.” Miss Saunders’s unexpected appearance was like a dream, yet so different from the ones that usually disturbed his nights.

Why must everything I do go wrong? I had this one small creature to care for—”

And tomorrow we will find him,” Benjamin interrupted. “There’s no sense looking in the dark. Too easy for him to hide. We’ll turn out the staff in the morning. By then, he’ll be hungry and come looking for food.”

Yes.” Miss Saunders startled suddenly, setting the light of her candle dancing over the walls. “The portrait seemed to move.”

Benjamin looked up at Alice’s likeness above the mantel. “Yes, when it’s dim like this, she does. Seem to.”

You loved her very much,” said Miss Saunders softly.

We met at a ball in London, fell in love, married, and were parted by death all in a year. Such a short time to encompass so much.”

A life sliced in half,” she replied. Her tone was contemplative and…bitter?

Yes.” Benjamin sank back into his chair. “You understand that?”

Oh yes.” Absently, she sat down opposite, putting her candle on the low table by the fireplace.

A love you lost?”

She shook her head, setting the errant curls bobbing. “Say rather…a person who defined my existence.”

It was a striking phrase. He waited a moment. When she didn’t go on, he asked, “Who?”

Miss Saunders hesitated before answering, “My mother.”

Ah. That can be a deep bond.”

Yes.”

The single word dropped between them like a rock tossed into a well. The echoes were odd, Benjamin thought. Not sadness, not regret. “You miss her a great deal.”

Miss Saunders laughed without humor. “How I wish I did. She haunts my dreams.”

Benjamin felt as if some mighty hand had reached deep inside him and struck a chord. His whole being resounded with it. He leaned forward and took her hand. It was trembling.

As his strong fingers closed over hers, Jean couldn’t look away. Under his dressing gown, his nightshirt was open at the neck. The strong column of his throat rose above a muscular chest. She’d never been more intensely aware of another person, much less a man.

The past keeps its claws in us,” he said.

The phrase was so exactly right. “It feels like talons,” she said. “Sunk right in. No matter how you fight, they won’t come loose.”

A mouse carried off by a hawk,” he said.

Lips parted in amazement at his understanding, Jean nodded. Lord Furness leaned nearer. She’d moved toward him as well, she realized, irresistibly. For a moment, a kiss seemed inevitable. They grew closer, closer. She could feel a hint of his breath on her skin.

Then, all at once, he seemed to become aware of their proximity, their laced hands. He let go, drew back. In a welter of emotion, Jean did the same. Color flickered in the corner of her eye; the image of her cousin Alice looked down on them from above the mantel.

Lord Furness cleared his throat. “So, you see.” He took a breath. “Previous…events make it more difficult with Geoffrey. For me. Despite what I might wish.”

Jean gazed at him.

The resemblance.” He indicated the portrait with a gesture. “It…flashes out at me. There and then gone. He looks just like his mother, and then he doesn’t. If it was one or the other, I’m sure I’d grow accustomed. But I find it hard to take the…sudden blow.”

She nodded. Her dreams were like that. Some memories as well.

I’m very glad you’re here to help,” he added.

You are?”

Yes.”

I’d thought you seemed to be doing well. With the pony and all. Perhaps I wasn’t needed.”

He sat straighter. “We agreed to work together, for Geoffrey’s sake.”

But I’m not sure what I can do.” She wanted to help him, Jean realized. She wanted a number of things she hadn’t recognized until tonight.

Lord Furness turned away. “I ran today,” he said in a harsh tone. “I had to get away from him. My own son. I hid in this room as I’ve been doing for far too long. I wanted never to come out.”

But you did.”

And I was a bear at dinner. Surly and curt.” He turned back to her. “Do you see that hiding is easier?”

Jean couldn’t look away from those blue-gray eyes. They were mirrors and temptations and beckoning abysses. “Yes,” she whispered.

He blinked. Jean felt as if she’d tripped on a missed step. She felt Alice staring down at her. In a confusion of emotion, she stood. “I…I should go up.”

He didn’t argue. Was he finding it just as difficult to speak? Shaken, Jean took her candle and went.

When she entered her room—minutes, eons, later—Tab was sitting on her bed. He gazed at her in seeming reproach and mewed. “Where were you?” cried Jean. “I looked everywhere.”

Mew,” said Tab. He kneaded the damask coverlet, pulling a thread of the pattern loose.

Don’t. Oh, I’ll have to ask for a plain bedcover.” She put the candlestick on the bedside table and ran a hand over the kitten’s silky fur. He flopped over and offered his pale belly, tiny paws waving in the air. Jean laughed and petted him.


An Earl mired in melancholy is no match for a determined woman…

Widower Benjamin Romilly, Earl of Furness, has given up hope of finding happiness. His wife died in childbirth five years ago, leaving him with a broken heart and a child who only reminds him of his loss.

Miss Jean Saunders is a cousin by marriage. She doted on Benjamin’s late Countess, and can’t bear it when she hears rumors that the Earl is too bereaved to care for his young son. She arrives on the scene to evaluate his fitness as a father, and if necessary, to take his son away.

Jean’s sudden eruption into the Earl’s household simultaneously infuriates and invigorates him. She may be the only person who can breathe life into his neglected home—and his aching heart…

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