MORE THAN A PHOENIX excerpt & giveaway with Ashlyn Chase

What do you get when you take

Two phoenix shifter brothers

Throw in one powerful witch

And one…monkey shifter?

Mallory Summers is losing it. She’s discovered she can talk to dead people—and she might be able to shift to monkey form. Firefighter Dante Fierro knows the quirky beauty isn’t crazy—just supernatural. But what would she think if she knew his secret?

Hothead Noah Fierro has his own sparks flying with gorgeous ER doctor Kizzy Samuels. While the attraction is mutual, so are the supernatural secrets. With this much sizzle going on, how do you not get burned?

Fighting fires is easy… Finding love is the hard part.

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“Why did you say no?” Ruth whispered from her spot on the buttery-soft leather sofa.
“I didn’t say no. I said ‘not now.’ It’s not the same thing,” Kizzy explained. Their father would be returning any minute. She had to shut down this conversation.
“It is to a guy. When was the last time you dated?”
Kizzy elbowed her sister in the ribs as their father ambled into the living room, scanning the thick tome in his hands.
“I don’t know, girls. I don’t see anything in here about who could be looking for the other books or why. We don’t even know for sure that there are two more. The story that the three together create unlimited power could be just that. A story. You swear you’ve felt someone probing, Ruthie?”
“I swear, Dad. I don’t know who it is, but the energy feels malignant.”
“Holy pickled pig’s feet!” Kizzy said. “Malignant? Are you sure?”
“Why is everyone questioning my psychic sense? I wouldn’t have said anything if the energy was neutral, benevolent, or if I wasn’t sure.”
“I’m sorry, Sis. Even though Dad and I are less psychic than you are, I would have thought we’d pick up on something like that.”
“Well, I don’t know about Dad, but you’ve had something else on your mind.” Ruth winked at her. “Besides, you can develop your psychic power, if you’re willing to spend the time practicing.”
“Oh? You’re distracted?” Their father picked up on the one thing Kizzy didn’t want to talk about. “Doctors like us can’t afford to let that happen. Is everything all right, Kizz?” He set the book on the mahogany coffee table and sat in the adjacent chair.
“Everything’s fine, Dad. Nothing to worry about.”
“Really? Because you girls know if there’s ever anything you need to talk about, I’m here for you. I’ve been both father and mother for fifteen years, and with the help of a nanny, I think I did a pretty good job.”
“You did. And we know you’ll always be there for us,” Kizzy said. “Don’t worry so much. You raised us to be independent women, able to handle ourselves.”
“Oh, go on. Tell him,” Ruth said.
“Tell me what?” He sounded alarmed. Now, he’d never let it go until she offered an explanation. She gave her sister the stink eye.
“There’s nothing to tell. It’s okay, Dad. Really. I just met a guy. Nothing may come of it.”
“She met a tall, dark, and handsome firefighter. And he asked her out. I hope she’ll give him a chance. It’s been too long, Kizz.”
“A firefighter? Oh, honey. That’s not a good choice. The job is dangerous. You’ll always be worried about him. And talk about crazy hours… They’re on for at least twenty-four at a stretch. I don’t see how that’s even legal. No one can function after a rough double shift. We both know that firsthand.”
“She turned him down,” Ruth said.
“Thank goodness.”
“Now, wait a minute,” Kizzy said. “I only said no for now, because of what Ruth was telling me. It sounded like a bad time. I didn’t necessarily turn him down for a date sometime in the future.”
Aaron Samuels sat forward. “It is a bad time. And so is any time in the future, as long as he’s a firefighter. I imagine that won’t change. They tend to be adrenaline junkies.”
“Come on, that’s an unfair generalization.” Kizzy knew she sounded defensive, but she didn’t care. “Noah’s whole family is part of the fire service. Keeping the city safe is a noble profession, and he seems to love it. Plus, he’s careful, and he does things for charity. He’s a good guy, Dad.”
“Noah? That’s his name?”
“And he works in Brookline?” her father asked.
“No. Downtown Boston.”
“Oh, cra—I mean, crumb bunny.”
“What does that mean?” Ruth asked and giggled.
“It means that’s a crummy place to work. He probably sees the worst of humanity there. If he were working here or in Chestnut Hill or somewhere in the suburbs, it might not be so bad.”
“For crying out loud, Dad. It’s the financial district! Not Dorchester or Roxbury. Maybe he’ll get a hot stock tip from a grateful broker. Why do you always assume the worst?”
“Dad, Kizzy, we need to focus on the book.” Ruth sent her an apologetic look. Clearly, she hadn’t expected the conversation to take such a pessimistic turn.
“Yes, you’re right, dear,” the elder Dr. Samuels said. “I wish I had your psychic powers, but I don’t. Male witches in our family have other gifts, but divination isn’t one of them. I have to rely on the two of you to keep me informed. Please put your love lives on hold until we figure out what this threat is. Please? Humor an old man, okay?”
Kizzy frowned. “I already did that, remember? I said ‘not now,’ and Ruth thinks I might have discouraged him altogether—even though I didn’t mean to.”
“And I’m engaged but without a date set, so I’m all yours for the time being. I’d rather not move back home though. Then I’d have to explain why to Gordon, and I don’t think he’d understand.”
“Look, I know you’re adults, but I’m still concerned for your safety. You’ll just have to put up with me being a little overprotective.”
“Don’t you think it’s time to tell Gordon the truth?” Kizzy asked.
“I’m not convinced it’s necessary yet,” their father said. “Until a date is set. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not pushing you to get married. Neither one of you. I’d rather you be one hundred percent sure of the man’s love, devotion, and trust.”
Kizzy sighed. “I know, Dad. And believe me, I’m grateful I don’t have to put up with some of the pressure my friends do. They tell me about parental conversations that include phrases like ‘I won’t be around forever’ and ‘you need to get married before the dreaded 3–0.’”
“You have plenty of time, Kizz. I like your sister’s idea of developing your psychic powers. Maybe between both of you, the other books can be located.
“We don’t know what’s coming for us,” he continued. “If it’s as malicious as you say, we may be facing something truly evil. I never told you this, but on her deathbed, your great-grandmother begged us not to let ‘the entity’ get all three books.”
“The entity? That’s what she called…it? Or them?”
“I wish I knew more. We tried to get her to elaborate, but she died moments later.”

* * * *

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WILD ON MY MIND excerpt & giveaway w/ Laurel Kerr


“What are you working on?”

Katie tilted the screen in Abby’s direction. “A new website. Do you want to see what I’ve done so far?”

Abby nodded eagerly. As Katie flipped through the unfinished pages, the girl leaned close.

“That looks so awesome!” she said.

A smile spread across Katie’s face. Sharing her work with a tween was completely different from showing her old, grouchy boss. Abby squealed constantly and even clapped her hands twice. She pointed at the screen, excitedly giving suggestions. Some, especially her personal stories about the animals, were great. Katie’s fingers flew across the keyboard as she felt a rekindling of her old excitement for web design. In fact, she and Abby were so engrossed in the website that they didn’t even notice when Bowie woke up.

“How long was I out?” he asked. Katie turned to see him sitting upright on the air mattress, rubbing the back of his head. The gesture caused his already disheveled shirt to hike up, revealing several inches of nicely toned abs. It also had the side effect of flexing his right bicep—his very nice, very muscular bicep.

Katie’s stomach flip-flopped. The man was seriously attractive.

Even a model would have trouble pulling off sexy dishabille so effortlessly. Sleep had cured Bowie’s drawn features and dark circles. The fact that he wasn’t fully awake only added an element of intimacy, despite Abby’s presence. His black hair stood up in uneven spikes, making Katie want to smooth it down…and not just because it looked messy.

Bowie wore the sexy look well—too well.

Katie didn’t want to feel that slow, pleasurable tug again. It had muddled her mind in the past, and she didn’t want to start gazing at him with puppylike adoration, especially now. She was having enough trouble trying to figure out her career path without adding distraction into the mix—especially distraction of the male variety.

She was an adult. She understood the pull of sexual attraction and knew how to prevent it from turning into infatuation. She certainly knew not to mistake it for love.

“It’s six thirty,” Abby chirped happily, bouncing up from the floor. “I gave your breakfast to Katie. I’ll go grab another bagel.”

She bounded from the room with the energy only someone under the age of thirteen could possess. Bowie yawned and stretched, showing even more of his stomach muscles. Halfway through, he must have realized that his shirt had slid up, because he stopped and yanked it down.

Pity. Although, really, wasn’t that what Katie wanted?

“You should have woken me,” he told her, standing up.

She shrugged. “You looked like you needed the rest, and I was on a roll with the website.”

Bowie shifted uncomfortably and said gruffly, “Thanks, but you didn’t need to do that. I’ve run on little sleep before.”

“No biggie. So have I. And I had plenty of fuel.” Katie gestured to the two empty cans of Red Bull beside her.

“Did the cubs wake up for a feeding?”

She nodded. “They drank like champs.”

“So what were you and Abby looking at when I woke up?”

Katie got up and handed him the laptop. “She was helping me put together information about the animals for the website. What do you think so far? I’ve kept it professional and user-friendly. We can add some flashier features, but I think the portal should be streamlined.”

“This looks great,” Bowie said, the enthusiasm in his voice sounding legitimate. “You accomplished all this last night?”

A part of her thrilled at his words. Even long after Katie should have known better, she’d yearned for his and Sawyer’s respect. Suddenly, her dad’s words from yesterday popped into her mind. Was a part of her still trying to prove herself? Is that why she wanted a flashy job so badly? To have something to brag about? To automatically impress people?

Before Katie could reply, the door opened, and Lou entered. He walked a little stiffly but was still steady on his feet. She wouldn’t call him frail, but he didn’t quite fit the category of robust either. Lou glanced back and forth between her and Bowie, and Katie didn’t like his speculative look. Both the elderly zookeeper and her mother were a little too eager for them to work together. Thankfully, Lou didn’t make any comment. Instead, he just greeted them cheerfully.

“So how are my charges this morning?” he asked.

“They’re good,” Bowie told him. “Katie said they took their bottles well last night.”

Lou turned toward her. “So, you stayed the whole night. Couldn’t tear yourself away from the little critters, could you?”

“Nope, especially when they were curled up in little balls next to Sylvia. Plus, Bowie looked like he was on his last legs, so I thought I’d give him a few extra hours of sleep.”

Lou’s eyes gleamed at her last comment, and Katie nearly winced at her blunder. She did not want to encourage the elderly vet’s matchmaking.

“Would you like to help me weigh the cubs and check them over?” he asked.

Katie nodded eagerly. “I’d love that.”

“I’ll be out feeding the animals,” Bowie said. “Let me know if you’re too tired to drive home, Katie. Lou can watch the cubs, and I’ll give you a lift.”

“I’ll be fine,” she told him, surprised by his offer.

He gave her a close look. “Are you sure? It’s not easy staying awake after an all-nighter.”

“It’s not my first,” Katie said. “I’m wide awake.”

Bowie nodded and was starting to leave when Katie thought of something. “This is most likely nothing, but I thought I heard an animal last night. It was probably just my imagination.”

He immediately turned around, his voice resigned. “What did you hear?”

“A chittering sound,” Katie said, and then, as best as she could, she mimicked it.

Bowie exchanged a look with Lou. Then both men said simultaneously in the same exasperated tone: “Fluffy!”

“Who’s Fluffy?” she asked.

“The zoo’s honey badger, but he isn’t a true badger. He’s more closely related to a weasel or a marten,” Bowie answered.

Katie had never heard of the creature, which surprised her. “What part of the world are honey badgers from?”

“Africa,” Lou answered before he turned to Bowie. “You better get Abby before she leaves for school.”

“Abby?” Katie asked in confusion.

Bowie nodded at Lou before turning to her. “Abby is the only person who can catch Fluffy.”

“Honey badgers are ornery critters,” Lou said, “but Fluffy has a real soft spot for our girl.”

Bowie scowled. “It’s those honey-covered larvae that she sneaks him.”

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Love runs wild at the Sagebrush Flats Zoo,
where a motley crew of big-hearted animals
helps the most unlikely couples find love.
When Katie Underwood discovers a litter of newborn cougar cubs, the last person she expects to come to the rescue is her former crush—and high school nemesis—Bowie Wilson. The worst part? He doesn’t seem to remember the trouble he caused her.
As a single father and owner of a cash-strapped zoo, Bowie struggles to balance budgets while raising his preteen daughter and a host of rascally animals. He considers himself lucky when Katie agrees to lend her talents to a publicity campaign in support of the zoo’s animal rescue programs—until he learns just what she’s planning…
This time, Katie is determined to resist Bowie’s charm. But a lovelorn camel, a matchmaking honey badger, and a nursemaid capybara have different plans. Can they and the rest of the zoo’s menagerie help Bowie break through the barriers surrounding Katie’s heart?
Love can’t be tamed…
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Cheryl Holt's New JILTED series & Giveaway

In the beginning of my career (back in the 1990s), books were much longer, and when I started writing, my stories were long and delicious and emotionally satisfying.  Then I spent a decade, having to make them much shorter, which meant (with the reduced page length) they were much less satisfying.  With the reduced length, I had to include less and less plot and action.

For the past few years, I’ve again been writing books that are much longer.  This gives me the opportunity to really dig into the characters and plot, so I can constantly tantalize readers in whole new ways.  When I first fell in love with historical romances (many years ago!), they were long and wild and fun, with the heroines staggering through in unpredictable circumstances, and I’m trying to take my writing—and my readers—back to the sorts of classic books I loved when I was first starting out. 

I’m releasing the three books together on the same day, so readers can scoop them up and read the whole story without having to wait for the next installment.  The books will be available as print books and e-books.  Mark your calendars!  Coming September 20th!  I’m counting down the days!    


“What time is it now?”

Josephine Bates, simply called Jo by her acquaintances, whispered the question to her half-sister and lone sibling, Maud.

“Almost one-thirty,” Maud whispered in reply.  “Something must have happened to delay him.”

“He’ll be here any second,” Jo loyally insisted. 

“Yes, I’m certain he will be,” Maud halfheartedly agreed.

They shifted uncomfortably, jumping as the vicar cleared his throat.  They were seated in the front pew at the church, so he was able to glare down at them with stunning effect.  He checked his timepiece, and he wasn’t discreet about it.  Then he cast an exasperated scowl at his wife.  She tiptoed over to Jo and leaned down so they could speak quietly.

“Miss Bates,” she said, “my husband has another wedding to perform.  The bride and groom are waiting.”

Jo and Maud didn’t have to peek over their shoulders to realize that fact.

The church door kept opening, and they would whip around to see who had entered, being positive Jo’s fiancé, Mr. Cartwright, would march in.  He’d be laughing and full of apologies as to why he’d been late for the most important appointment of his life.

But it had never been Mr. Cartwright.  Couples were lined up to wed after Jo, and they were accompanied by their friends and families.  Jo was the only person with no entourage.  Her only guest and witness was to be Maud.  Mr. Cartwright wasn’t bringing anyone either.

The members of the nuptial party behind them were occupying several rows and impatient for Jo to get out of the way so they could start their own joyous event.  Their glowers cut into her back.

When Mr. Cartwright had scheduled the ceremony, the vicar had firmly explained that it would be wedding day at the small chapel.  Every half hour, he would officiate with a new bride and groom.  He offered a quick service for those who didn’t have a pile of money to waste on frivolities or who couldn’t abide the enormous fuss and bother of a big celebration.

Jo was definitely part of that group.  She craved a fast conclusion where she could shuck off the past and become a bride.  She was eighteen, and with her pretty looks, sunny demeanor, and acceptable dowry, it was an opportunity she’d always expected to occur.  Yet she hadn’t expected it to occur quite so soon.

Mr. Cartwright had burst into their world like a comet streaking across the sky.  With very little effort, he’d swept Jo off her feet.  Her head was still spinning over how swiftly it had all coalesced.

She was about to have her own home, was about to escape Maud’s snits and rages.  It was so thrilling to be marrying, to have found a spirited, amiable husband like Mr. Cartwright.  She couldn’t believe she’d been so lucky.   

“I’m sorry to have been an impediment,” Jo said to the vicar’s wife.  “Please tell your husband to proceed with the next ceremony.  My betrothed, Mr. Cartwright, should be here shortly.  If your husband is amenable, perhaps he can squeeze us in afterward.”

“Yes, that will work.”  The vicar’s wife frowned at Maud, then at Jo.  “Should we send someone to check on Mr. Cartwright?  He’s over an hour late.”

Jo would have declared that he’d appear at any moment, but before she could defend him, Maud butted in.  “Maybe we should send someone, Jo.  I’m worried he might have suffered an accident.”

At the prospect, Jo’s pulse raced.  “He hasn’t had an accident, Maud.  Don’t jinx us.  There has to be a perfectly good reason for his failure to arrive.”

The vicar’s wife didn’t seem to think so.  “I can have my son, Tim, ask after him.  We’ll all be relieved to receive some answers.”

Jo wanted to remain steadfast, wanted to argue that Mr. Cartwright hardly needed to supply any answers, but Maud silenced her with a dour grimace.

He rented a room at a men’s boarding house.  Maud provided the address to Tim.  He nodded and rushed off.

Maud and Jo moved to the rear pew so the newcomers could have the front.  They sat through the ceremony, then the next one, and the next one too.  Jo’s spirits had flagged to their lowest ebb.  People passing in and out cast curious glances at her, having heard her groom hadn’t shown up. 

She slunk down, wishing she were invisible.  Who treated a bride as Mr. Cartwright was treating her?  Who treated any woman—bride or not—so shabbily?

Yes, Mr. Cartwright was always late.  He joked about it, and initially, she’d been irked by his sloppy manners.  But then, after she’d learned how jolly and carefree he could be, she’d set aside her aggravation.  He wasn’t like other men, and she was glad he wasn’t.

She’d grown up at her father’s estate in the country.  Her mother had perished when she was a baby, and Jo’s father had been a detached parent who’d mostly stayed in London.  She’d been raised by servants, with Maud as her sole companion.  Maud was five years older than Jo, and she was stoic, petty, and vain.  She barked and criticized, so having her as a companion was like having no one at all.

Jo had lived a modest, simple existence, and she hadn’t had any experience with wooing or romance.  The chief male to whom she could compare Mr. Cartwright was her deceased father.  He’d been grouchy and unhappy, so Mr. Cartwright was a breath of fresh air who’d brought excitement into her dreary world.

He didn’t love her.  They hadn’t known each other long enough for strong feelings to develop, but he certainly possessed a tender regard.  He wouldn’t leave her in the lurch.  Still though, it had been two hours. 

The weight of the day pressed down on her, and it was incredibly difficult to maintain her calm façade

“I have to step outside,” she mumbled to Maud, and she hurried away without pausing to discover if Maud followed.

She walked out, and she tarried, studying the busy street.  They were in London, at a chapel to which she and Maud had no connection.  She’d have liked to be married at her local church, but she’d let Mr. Cartwright convince her that London was better.

He’d been anxious to proceed immediately with a Special License, then he planned to whisk her away to Manchester so he could introduce Jo to his sister.  It was easiest to depart from London.  She’d agreed to his every suggestion, and why wouldn’t she have? 

She was thoroughly smitten, and he was such a delightful fellow.  Even Maud liked him—when she didn’t like anyone.  But now, with Jo standing by herself—her hair curled and braided and her bouquet wilting—she was beginning to panic.

What did she really know about Mr. Cartwright?  She’d had no parent to make inquiries or furnish advice.  There was only Maud, and Maud—her guardian—was as eager to be shed of Jo as Jo was to flee their tedious home.  When Mr. Cartwright had proposed, Maud hadn’t hesitated to consent. 

The church door opened, and Maud sidled out.

“Has he jilted me, Maud?” she asked.

“I refuse to speculate.”

“If he doesn’t come, I’ll die.  I’ll just die!”

“Nobody’s dying.”  Maud’s tone was very stern.

“Where is he then?”

“It’s his habit to be tardy.”

“It’s been over two hours!” 

Jo burst into tears.  She couldn’t help it.  The stress of the prior few weeks had finally caught up with her.  With Mr. Cartwright’s speedy courtship and his insistence on a quick wedding, she’d barely had time to pack her belongings and say her goodbyes.

One minute, she’d been a young lady living with her spinster sister in the house Maud had inherited from her grandmother.  Then the next, she’d been engaged and racing toward her new life as a bride.  It was too much to take in.

Maud pulled out a kerchief and stuffed it in Jo’s palm. 

“Don’t cry,” Maud scolded.  “You always look horrid when you do.  What if he strolled up this very second and your face was all red and mottled?”

Jo chuckled miserably.  “Dear Maud, you never cease to put me in my place.”

“Someone has to.  Otherwise, you’d be quite out of control.”

“Yes, that’s me—a wild, unrestrained girl.”

A hysterical laugh bubbled up, and she swallowed it down.  There was no more boring, reserved person in the kingdom than Josephine Bates.  To consider herself as ever being out of control was hilarious.

Down the block, the vicar’s son, Tim, was returning, and they stiffened.  He was alone, Mr. Cartwright not with him.  Maud actually clasped Jo’s hand and squeezed her fingers.

“Miss Bates?” Tim said as he ran up.  “I checked on Mr. Cartwright for you.”

“Yes.  What have you learned?”

His cheeks flushed as if he was embarrassed.  “I’m sorry, Miss Bates, but Mr. Cartwright left town this morning.  At dawn.”

Jo cocked her head, as if he’d spoken in a foreign language she didn’t understand.  “Left…for where?”

“Apparently, he was off to Scotland for some hunting.”

Maud sucked in a sharp breath, and Jo weaved side to side, scarcely able to keep her balance.  She couldn’t have heard correctly.

“You’re sure?” Jo asked.

“Very sure.”  Tim withdrew a letter from his coat and offered it to Jo.  “The proprietor of the boarding house made me give you this.”

Jo gaped at it as if it were a venomous snake.  She was afraid to reach for it, but ultimately, she grabbed it and read it slowly as Maud tried to peek over her shoulder. 

“What does he say?” Maud asked.

“It’s a bill for Mr. Cartwright’s lodging,” Jo murmured.  “He didn’t pay what he owes, and the proprietor is demanding we pay for him.”

“You’re joking!”


Maud yanked the letter away and scanned to the bottom to the amount that had accrued.  “Well, I never!” she huffed.  “What gall!  What insolence!  How dare he?”

Jo couldn’t decide if Maud was referring to Mr. Cartwright or the proprietor.

There was an awkward silence, then Jo said to Tim, “By any chance, was there a message for me from Mr. Cartwright?”

“No, Miss Bates.  He simply packed his bag and departed.  He…ah…claimed he’d had enough of London and the people here.”

“I see…”

“I told the proprietor about your wedding.”

“And…?” Maud asked when Jo couldn’t.

“Mr. Cartwright never mentioned any wedding,” Tim responded, “and the proprietor had no idea he was betrothed.  He’d been…ah…keeping company with an actress the entire time he was staying at the man’s house.”

“What?” Maud gasped.

“I thought you should know,” Tim muttered.

Jo’s knees gave out, and she collapsed down onto the step. 

Behind her, Maud was whispering to Tim.  She slipped him a coin, telling him to talk to his mother, to apprise the vicar that Jo’s name could be scratched from his schedule.  But Jo couldn’t focus on them.

She could only ponder handsome, cheerful Mr. Cartwright who was supposed to rescue her, who was supposed to provide the contented future she’d dreamed of having.

“What now?” she wailed to the gray sky.

It had been cool and cloudy all day, and it was starting to sprinkle.  The drops plopped on the sidewalk, on her shoulders and bonnet too.  The rain was cold and uncomfortable, but she didn’t feel it.

She didn’t feel anything at all.

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Cheryl Holt is a New York TimesUSA Today, and Amazon “Top 100” bestselling author of forty-eight novels.

She’s also a lawyer and mom, and at age 40, with two babies at home, she started a new career as a commercial fiction writer. She’d hoped to be a suspense novelist, but couldn’t sell any of her manuscripts, so she ended up taking a detour into romance, where she was stunned to discover that she has an incredible knack for writing some of the world’s greatest love stories.

She is considered to be one of the masters of the romance genre, and her emotional, dramatic, and riveting stories of passion and illicit love have captivated fans around the world. She has won or been nominated for many national awards. For many years, she was hailed as “The Queen of Erotic Romance”, and she’s also revered as “The International Queen of Villains.” She is particularly proud to have been named “Best Storyteller of the Year” by the trade magazine Romantic Times BOOK Reviews.

Cheryl lives and writes in Hollywood, California.


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).


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 
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

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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.


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

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
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